Regents approve new doctoral programs in Computer Science and Cyber Security

4 December 2018

Valeria Rodriguez

[email protected]

    By Fall 2019,  there will be two new additions to the doctoral programs at UCCS prompted by the Board of Regents’ decision and approval to split the engineering program earlier in November. For the College of Engineering and Applied Science, these programs are to be a well-received addition to the Mechanical, Aerospace and Electrical Engineering doctoral programs already offered.

    Undergraduate and graduate students interested in extending their educational career in Computer Science and Cyber Security will soon have the opportunity nearby and close at hand to an independent PhD program. The spectrum of doctoral programs for Computer Science and Cyber Security run from fundamental studies to applied programs.

    Some areas of study the doctoral program for Computer Science will include are theoretical algorithms, research in the fundamental nature of computers and how to solve its problems. This may partake in designing a new programming language or machine learning language through the application of algorithms.

    As for Cyber Security, programs provided are analyzing operating systems, software security and research initiatives in physical, cyber and homeland security. This specialty is “urgent in today’s personal, business, and government operations” as described by the College of Engineering and Applied Science web page.

    Jugal Kalita, professor and head of the department for Computer Science, addresses the importance of these doctoral programs for a student.

    “Bachelors is what’s known right now. For a masters, there is a push to create new knowledge, but it doesn’t go very far. The PhD program is where innovation happens. A PhD prepares students to be independent thinkers, performers, creators of knowledge and practice,” said Kalita, discussing the levels of knowledge a student experiences in their career.

    The students encouraged to apply are described by Kalita as someone who has a “burning desire” in this field, to explore “somewhere no one else has, in whatever small way” and in addition to having strong foundational knowledge of the material, and being prepared to work hard.

    Furthermore, Kalita explained the PhD for the engineering community is to motivate the creation of new knowledge through addressing the unknown and “developing new techniques, new approaches to solving problems” with solutions that have not been known before, or “Doing better” as Kalita sets it.

    With these doctoral additions, Kalita said he would hope to see an increase of faculty for the Computer Science department. Currently the faculty contains 18 members, all sharing 75 to 80 sections a semester.

    “It’s pretty tight,” shared Kalita.      

    He also explained that faculty do not have the sufficient time to juggle research while providing the attention necessary to their students. His goal with these doctoral programs is that once the research is applied and created, then published, a positive reputation will come along with it and consequently increase the size of the department.

    “This department is ambitious and we want to grow in stature,” said Kalita in describing his goal to have the department grow to be the top 50 in the country or top 100 in the world for the study of Computer Science and Cyber Security.  

    According to Kalita, with a larger department, faculty may specialize their instructing, whether it’d be undergraduate or graduate programs, and also have the supply of time, to focus on creation and dissemination of knowledge.  

    The doctoral programs in Computer science and Cyber Security not only hold an opportunity for students to elevate their contribution in this field of study, but also present a development of knowledge, in this field, for the UCCS and Colorado Springs community to take part in during the age of technology.

    “Computing has become an essential part of our lives and instead of just being a user of the infostructure, [you are to] also play a role in shaping that infostructure,” concluded Kalita.