Doctor of Philosophy in Analytics and Data Science (Ph.D.)


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Program Description

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Analytics and Data Science

Kennesaw State University's Ph.D. in Analytics and Data Science is an advanced degree which has been developed to meet the market demand for Data Scientists.

This degree will train individuals to translate large, structured and unstructured, complex data sets into information to improve decision making. This curriculum includes a heavy emphasis on programming, data mining, statistical modeling, and the mathematical foundations to support these concepts. Importantly, the program also emphasizes communication skills - both oral and written - as well as application and tying results to business and research problems.

Because this degree is a Ph.D., it creates flexibility. Graduates can either pursue a position in the private or public sector as a "practicing" Data Scientist - where continued demand is expected to greatly outpace the supply - or pursue a position within academia, where they would be uniquely qualified to teach these skills to the next generation.


The general structure of the KSU Ph.D. program will include three stages:

  • Pre-Program Requirements
  • Coursework
  • Project Engagement and Research/Dissertation

Stage 1: Pre-Program Requirements

Successful applicants will have completed:

  • A masters degree in a computational field (e.g., engineering, mathematics, computer science, statistics, economics, finance, etc)
  • Calculus I and II
  • Programming Experience (e.g. SAS, R, SQL, Java, Python)
  • Supervised modeling experience

Stage 2: Coursework

The Ph.D. in Analytics and Data Science will begin with 48 hours of coursework/instruction, spread over (expected) four years of study, plus six hours of electives and 24 (minimum) hours of dissertation and internship (78 total hours). In response to market needs and skill gaps, the Ph.D. in Analytics and Data Science will have a strong interdisciplinary and application orientation.

Students will be required to complete a comprehensive examination of their course materials before they are considered to have completed this stage. The comprehensive examination will cover materials from all of the three areas of study; Computer Science, Mathematics, and Statistics.

Core Required Courses for the Ph.D. in Analytics and Data Science:

Statistics Core

  • STAT 8240 - Data Mining
  • STAT 8250 - Data Mining II
  • STAT 8330 - Applied Binary Classification

Select electives from the following:

  • STAT 7900 - Special Topics
  • STAT 8110 - Quality Control and Process Improvement
  • STAT 8140 - Six Sigma Problem Solving
  • STAT 8030 - R Programming
  • STAT 8210 - Applied Regression Analysis
  • STAT 8220 - Time Series Forecasting
  • STAT 8225 - Applied Longitudinal Data Analysis
  • STAT 8310 - Applied Categorical Data Analysis
  • STAT 8320 - Applied Multivariate Data Analysis

Mathematics Core

  • MATH 8010 - The Theory of Linear Models
  • MATH 8020 - Graph Theory
  • MATH 8030 - Applied Discrete & Combinatorial Mathematics for Data Analysts

Computer Science Core

  • CS 7263 - Text Mining
  • CS 7267 - Machine Learning
  • CS 7265 - Big Data Analytics
  • CS 7260 - Advanced Data Base Systems

Additional Required Courses

  • DS 9000 - Doctoral Research Seminar
  • DS 9700 - Doctoral Internship
  • DS 9900 - Ph.D. Dissertation Research
  • Two free electives, to be selected from the Statistics, Mathematics, or Computer Science content area.

Program Total (78 Credit Hours)

Stage 3: Project Engagement and Research/Dissertation

The Ph.D. in Analytics and Data Science is an advanced degree with a dual focus on application and research - where students will engage in real-world business problems, which will inform and guide their research interests.

To ensure that our Ph.D. students in Analytics and Data Science are exposed to the latest issues and challenges of working across a wide variety of data contexts, individuals will be required to engage with one (or more) of the dozens of organizations which have agreed to sponsor doctorate-level projects for a minimum of three semesters (9 credit hours of engagement + 15 credit hours of dissertation research). These organizations span the continuum of application domains, including healthcare, banking, retail, government, and consumer finance. Students will also continue to work with the faculty adviser through their final year of project engagement and dissertation research.

A Ph.D. in Analytics and Data Science will require a formal Dissertation process, involving an interdisciplinary committee, comprised of faculty from Statistics, Computer Science, and Mathematics.

Students pursuing a Ph.D. in Analytics and Data Science would be required to take 48-course hours, 6 hours of electives spread over four years, dissertation research (12-hour minimum) and internship (12-hour minimum). In total, this degree is a minimum of 78 credit hours of courses, internship, and dissertation.


  • Online Graduate Application - There is a non-refundable $60 application fee.
  • Transcripts - Official transcripts from EACH College and/or University you have attended. Must be in a sealed envelope from the institution or sent electronically from the institution directly.
  • GRE Score Report - Request that your scores be sent electronically to KSU (school code 5359). No department code is necessary. A minimum Quantitative score is 160.
  • Resume - Can be uploaded to the online application.
  • Statement of how this degree facilitates your career goals - Can be uploaded into the online application.
  • Three Letters of Recommendation - Can be sent electronically through the online application.
    • At least one must be from an academic source.
    • At least one must be from a source outside of the academic community.
  • Successful completion of Math courses through Calculus II
  • Base SAS Certification preferred
Last updated April 2019

About the School

Kennesaw State University is a comprehensive university recognized for its entrepreneurial spirit, global engagement and sense of community. As Georgia’s third-largest university and one of the fifty ... Read More

Kennesaw State University is a comprehensive university recognized for its entrepreneurial spirit, global engagement and sense of community. As Georgia’s third-largest university and one of the fifty largest public universities in the country, Kennesaw State offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degrees, including an increasing number of doctoral programs. Read less
Kennesaw , Marietta + 1 More Less