Ph.D. in Cyber Studies - College of Engineering & Natural Sciences

Ph.D. in Cyber Studies

The interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Cyber Studies draws on faculty expertise across the University of Tulsa (TU) to conduct cutting-edge research at the interface between cyber and many disciplines. The program seeks high-achieving students who want to pursue independent scholarly research.

Students in the Ph.D. in Cyber Studies program will:

  1. Demonstrate expertise and proficiency in the discipline’s areas including cyber security, networking, data analysis, and a disciplinary specialization relevant to cyber studies.
  2. Create and advance the body of knowledge in cyber topics by and submitting scholarly papers to peer-reviewed conference proceedings and journals.
  3. Demonstrate research skills and professional behavior consistent with the scholarly cyber scientific community.

A wide range of disciplinary perspectives are valuable when researching cyber topics. The Ph.D. in Cyber Studies is designed to accommodate many such perspectives while ensuring that students acquire core knowledge from relevant disciplines to become effective, independent researchers in cyber-related domains. As such, students entering the program come from disciplinary backgrounds that reflect the composition of the School of Cyber Studies Faculty – computer science, engineering, business, and the humanities.

The Ph.D. in Cyber Studies is open to both full-time and part-time students, local or remote. The full curriculum is described in the University Bulletin.

Full-time Ph.D. in Cyber Studies students who are selected for merit-based assistantships will receive full tuition remission and an annual living stipend of approximately $30,000. Awards are renewable annually subject to satisfactory performance and progression towards degree completion as described in the Bulletin. To receive support, full-time Ph.D. students are required to work through research or teaching assistantships. Students supported by assistantships are expected to relocate to Tulsa.

Applications for Spring and Fall 2022 are now open. The priority deadline for Fall 2022 is February 1, 2022. Early applications are strongly encouraged, as decisions for assistantships are made at the time of admission and there is a limited number available.

We also welcome applications from independent, highly motivated part-time students who currently work in cyber and have completed a master’s degree.

If you have questions, please first review the FAQ below. If you still have questions, please reach out to Dr. Sal Aurigemma, Graduate Program Advisor for the Ph.D. in Cyber Studies, or Dr. Tyler Moore, Chair, School of Cyber Studies.

Ph.D. in Cyber Studies Frequently Asked Questions

Research assistantships are typically supported by external research funding. In recent years, faculty have received awards from the US National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, Department of Energy and Department of Homeland Security. TU also hosts the innovative TU-Team8 Cyber Fellows program, which supports students who conduct research on projects with high commercialization potential. Students funded by teaching assistantships support courses offered through the School of Cyber Studies.

On your application, please check the box indicating your interest in that program. Checking that box does not preclude you from being considered for other assistantship opportunities.

No. Any Ph.D. program offered by the College of Engineering and Natural Sciences is eligible for the program. Of course, we do anticipate that many of the students in that program will want to pursue a Ph.D. in Cyber Studies.

The statement of purpose should explain why you want to pursue a Ph.D. in general and in cyber studies in particular. Explain how your professional and educational background have prepared you for this program. Indicate which faculty you are interested in working with, as well as the topics that interest you. If you have already communicated with a faculty member about a Ph.D. topic, please say so. If you have not, consider reaching out to some faculty before you apply.

A dissertation must be advised by a faculty member in Cyber Studies. Please visit this page for the most up-to-date list. If there is a TU faculty member you’d like to work with who is not a faculty member in Cyber Studies, please let us know. The School is new and is adding new members regularly.

Yes. Note that completing a Ph.D. takes a lot of time and effort, and is traditionally a full-time job. Nonetheless, for highly-motivated individuals with domain expertise from their day job and a Master’s degree already completed, part-time study may work. You will need to indicate that this is your plan on the statement of purpose, and find an advisor who is willing to supervise you.

Yes. Full-time students supported by assistantships will typically need to reside in Tulsa. For students not supported by assistantships, the program can be completed remotely. Once again, the caveat is that you must find an advisor who is willing to supervise remote students. Note that not all courses will be offered both online and in-person. Required doctoral courses (e.g., CYB 7083 and CYB 8003) will be offered in a hybrid fashion as required. Elective courses and those in the disciplinary specialization may or may not be offered online.

Yes. Note that some assistantships have citizenship restrictions depending on the funding source. But there are no restrictions on who is eligible for the PhD program.

No. Doing a Ph.D., while also carrying out the duties of an assistantship and working in a different full-time job, is not feasible.

The Ph.D. in Cyber Studies is brand new. Nonetheless, there have been many successful Ph.D. graduates from TU whose research focus has been in cyber studies. In recent years, TU Ph.D. graduates have gone onto faculty positions at University College London, Wake Forest and Ole Miss, for example. Many Ph.D. graduates pursue careers in industry or government, having gone on to work at places such as NVIDIA, General Motors, and the National Security Agency.

This is a personal decision. If the faculty member you work with works in a department offering Ph.D. study (e.g., computer science, psychology), consider reaching out to that faculty member for their thoughts. There is no right answer. You should also look at the degree requirements. One advantage of the Ph.D. in Cyber Studies is that it is designed to facilitate interdisciplinary study. You can take courses in multiple disciplines that align more closely to your research area. Many of the most fruitful areas for impactful research lies at the interface between disciplines, which the Ph.D. in Cyber Studies actively cultivates. You’ll also be part of a community of scholars with varied disciplinary backgrounds. Through regular research seminars, you will be exposed to many new ways to approach problems, which can be intellectually invigorating.