The program encompasses all aspects of information technology and the branches of engineering most closely associated with information and engineering. Our focus on the science, engineering, and technology of information processing complements and enhances traditional approaches to engineering that are more strongly based on the physical and material sciences. The information technology PhD program is broad, and includes several specific concentrations.
Highlights from the university catalog.
The degree plan outlined here is based on a student who receives a full 30 credit reduction. Students who do not receive a full credit reduction will be required to choose additional credits in consultation with their advisors.
Information Sciences and Technology (ISTC)
Information Security and Assurance (ISA)
Information Systems (ISYS)
Mechanical Engineering (ME)
Software Engineering (SWE)
The term "information technology" as used in Mason's IT doctoral program, is intended to be interpreted in a broad sense as all aspects of information technology and the branches of engineering most closely associated with information and engineering. These aspects of technology are emphasized in Northern Virginia, and the relevance of the IT doctoral program has grown with the increasing dependence of the nation's commerce on the effective use of information. Our focus on the science, engineering, and technology of information processing complements and enhances traditional approaches to engineering that are more strongly based on the physical and material sciences. Thus, the Information Technology PhD program is broad, and not surprisingly includes several specific concentrations.
The general doctoral requirements of Mason apply to this program.
Students are selected on the basis of scholarship and potential from among applicants with appropriate degrees from institutions of high standing.
Generally, a background in an information technology-related area, such as engineering, computer science, operations research, mathematics, and physical sciences is required for admission to the doctoral program. However, in some instances, well-qualified students without a clearly related prior degree (i.e., MS in Information Technology Management, MBA) may be offered admission. Most successful applicants already have a Master's degree, however exceptionally qualified individuals without an MS may be accepted, but will be required to take more courses.
An undergraduate GPA of 3.00 and a graduate GPA of 3.50 are basic requirements for applicants. Applicants are required to submit: application for admission, undergraduate and graduate transcripts from previous colleges and universities, GRE test results, three letters of reference (preferably from college instructors), a résumé, a personal goal statement, and a self-evaluation form to identify research areas of interest. Foreign transcripts must be translated and evaluated (course-by-course preferred) by a member of the NACES Membership. Evaluations can be also be done by George Mason University, at no extra cost to the applicant; however, this typically adds 6-8 weeks to the application processing time. Please review George Mason University's Policy on International Transcript Submission. An applicant's entire background is examined before an admission decision is made.
To ensure a common ground of fundamentals, students should have a background in such topics as calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, discrete structures, probability, and statistics. In addition, students entering the PhD in Information Technology Program must have a sound working knowledge in computing as demonstrated by examples of programs or applications developed and tested in at least one high level programming language environment. Because much of the coursework within this program requires computational proficiency, experience with a variety of languages and computer hardware is useful as is an understanding of computer architecture. Highly-qualified students who do not present evidence of appropriate coursework may be admitted and then required to take appropriate articulation courses.
Those who wish to be considered for Mason's Presidential Scholarship, which provides a stipend and tuition support for three years, must be full-time students and submit GRE scores with a score of at least 1200 or the equivalent score with their application. One Presidential Scholarship is awarded per PhD program per year.
Reduction of Credit
Students must complete a minimum of 72 graduate credits, which may be reduced by a maximum of 30 credits from an approved and completed master's degree. Reduction of credit requires the approval of the program director or designee and the dean or designee of the school. They determine whether the credits are eligible for reduction of credit and applicable to the degree program and the number of credits to be reduced.
Information Technology doctoral candidates must earn a minimum of 72 graduate credits. The program is made up of a breadth requirement (assessed via qualifying exams) and specialized coursework (assessed via the comprehensive exam), followed by preparation of a dissertation proposal, an original research project, and final defense. To advance to candidacy, students must complete all coursework, pass the qualifying and comprehensive examinations, and defend a dissertation proposal.
The following degree plan is based on a student who receives a full 30 credit reduction. Students who do not receive a full credit reduction should choose additional credits in consultation with their advisors.
The PhD program in Information Technology allows students to conduct their doctoral research under the supervision of any eligible faculty member of any of the school's departments. The program encourages students to choose a concentration in one of the following areas:
- Digital Forensics
- Information Security and Assurance
- Information Science and Technology
- Information Systems
- Software Engineering