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Majors & Degrees

Timelines & Requirements PHDCO

The online Doctor of Philosophy in Cyber Operations program accepts students for the fall semester only, although classes are offered in the fall, spring, and summer terms.

Dakota State University seeks highly motivated individuals with education and professional credentials that will enable them to be successful doctoral students. Students must have a bachelors or master’s degree in computer science to apply. 

Only US citizens and permanent card holders are eligible to apply to this program.

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Admission requirements

Requirements to apply

  • A master’s degree from an institution of higher education with full accreditation for that degree.
    • Students must have either bachelors or master’s degree in computer science to apply. 
  • Minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent on an alternative grading system).
  • Knowledge/academic experience in low-level programming including assembly language.  Practical, academic, or a general understanding of reverse engineering, malware analysis, or software exploitation are helpful.
  • No GRE scores required

Application deadline

  • April 15 for the following Fall semester
    • All application materials must be received by April 15 for admission for the following fall semester. Students enter the program in the Fall semester only.

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Application materials checklist

  • Completed online application
    • Submit the $35 application fee.

    • After submitting your online application, you can log into your application portal to complete any remaining application documents and check the status of your application.

  • 3 letters of recommendation
    The person writing the recommendation must complete the survey letter for you to upload directly to the application portal (instructions and template included in application portal). 
  • Official Transcripts 
    Official trancripts can be submitted to DSU-GraduateAdmissions@dsu.edu.
  • Goal statement/purpose of study 
    • There is no required formatting for your goal statement/purpose of study in the application process., but be as straightforward about your goals and aspirations as possible. Try to organize your thoughts in an essay/narrative format. Our Admissions Committee wants to know:
      • Why this degree?
      • Why now?
      • What do you wish to do with the degree upon completion?
      • What skills do you possess that will help you succeed?


Are assistantship awards available? 
Not currently. Since this is an online program only, assistantship awards are not available for students in this program. 

How long does the degree typically take to complete?
For part-time students who take 1 class at time, the program coursework can take 3-4 years to complete. For full-time students who take 2 or more classes at a time, the program coursework can take 2-3 years to complete. The dissertation phase takes doctoral students at least 1.5 years to complete. This program can look different to each student, it all depends on how much or little time you’d like to take to complete the degree. The DSU Graduate Office and faculty are here to support you in all your academic endeavors and guide you at whatever pace works for you.  

Can I review what research or dissertation topics DSU doctoral students are currently working on? 
Absolutely! The DSU Beadle Scholar Archive has an extensive backlog of recent Dissertation/Research Topics completed by DSU Doctoral and Master’s Students. 

Does this program require the GRE to apply?  
No, DSU does not require a GRE score for graduate program applications.

How much does the program cost? 
DSU bills tuition per credit hour. You can review the breakdown of costs per credit here: DSU Tuition Costs The PhD in Cyber Operations program is a CSC program with different costs associated for the online coursework modality.

Can the application fee be waived? 
The $35 application fee is required for all programs and cannot be waived by University Policy.

When can I expect to hear if my application has been accepted?
Depending on the program, admission decisions may take up to several weeks after submitting all application materials or after the application deadline. 
You can always refer back to the portal to check on your application status, or if there are any remaining requirements needed: apply.dsu.edu/apply.

Have a question not answered here?
Contact GradOffice@dsu.edu for additional support.

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Contact Us

Office of Graduate Studies and Research
(605) 256-5799

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