This is the first version of the 2022-23 General Catalog. The final edition and the historical PDF will be published during the fall semester.

The Ph.D. in informatics emphasizes preparation for research, teaching, and scholarly endeavor in academic settings or private, industrial, or governmental laboratories. Students focus on applying informatics research to a field of choice (e.g., health, biology, human-computer interaction, geography, design).

Learning Outcomes

Students will exhibit:

  • broad, up-to-date knowledge of informatics topics including computational thinking, software development, data analytics, human-centered computing concepts, and professional ethics;
  • domain-specific knowledge and skills related to the field of application of informatics research;
  • fluency at reading, analyzing, synthesizing, and communicating research; and a
  • thorough understanding of relevant research methods and ability to conduct original research that contributes to the field of informatics.

The Doctor of Philosophy program in informatics requires at least 72 s.h. of graduate credit. A total of 19 s.h. of core courses are required plus an additional 12 s.h. of courses approved by a student's committee. The remaining 41 s.h. may be completed with additional coursework or through reading or research hours. Students must maintain a program g.p.a. of at least 3.00.

It requires completion of coursework, satisfactory performance on the qualifying exam, comprehensive exam, and the proposal, plus the production and formal defense of a dissertation describing original research results.

Students select an advisor from among the program faculty. On the rare occasion when students choose a Ph.D. advisor who is outside the program, a co-advisor from the program faculty must be designated.

The Ph.D. with a major in informatics requires the following coursework.

Core Courses

Students complete a total of 19 s.h. in core coursework. The student’s advisor and the rest of the student’s committee consisting of at least two other faculty select remaining courses (12 s.h. minimum) for a total of at least 31 s.h. of coursework.

Programming

This course:
CS:5110/IGPI:5110Introduction to Informatics3
One of these:
CS:3210Programming Languages and Tools3
CS:3980Topics in Computer Science I3
GEOG:5055/IGPI:5055Geospatial Programming3

Statistics

One of these:
BIOS:4120Introduction to Biostatistics3
STAT:4143/PSQF:4143Introduction to Statistical Methods3

Data Science

One of these:
BAIS:6480Knowledge Discovery3
STAT:4540/BAIS:4540/IGPI:4540Statistical Learning3
An additional course (consult advisor)

Databases

One of these:
CS:4400Database Systems3
GEOG:4580/IGPI:4581Introduction to Geographic Databases3

Human Factors

One of these:
CS:4500Research Methods in Human-Computer Interaction3
CS:4510Human-Computer Interaction for Computer Science3
GEOG:5540/IGPI:5540Geographic Visualization3

Ethics

This course:
CS:5980Topics in Computer Science III1

Elective Core Coursework

Coursework selected in consultation with advisor and committee12

Electives

The remaining 41 s.h. may be completed with additional coursework or through reading or research hours.

Comprehensive Examination

Ph.D. students must pass a comprehensive examination at or near completion of their coursework requirements. Students prepare a 20-30 page survey/discussion (along the lines of the introduction and literature review from an eventual thesis) for distribution to their faculty committee, followed at least two weeks later by a 20-40 minute oral presentation, and a question/answer session.

Students may request that the M.S. degree be granted at the time of the comprehensive exam. The M.S. degree without thesis is awarded upon successful completion of the comprehensive exam but may, at the examination committee's discretion, be awarded even if students do not pass the exam. Students also may choose to complete the thesis requirements and be awarded an M.S. with thesis degree.

Dissertation

Students complete dissertation coursework in consultation with their advisor.

Upon successful completion of all requirements, including the dissertation and its oral defense, students are awarded the Doctor of Philosophy degree.

For more information about the Doctor of Philosophy requirements, see the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Informatics website.

Ph.D./M.D.

Students may work toward the Doctor of Medicine degree and a Ph.D. in informatics in a combined degree program offered by the Carver College of Medicine and the Graduate College. Applicants must be admitted to both programs before they may be admitted to the combined degree program. See the Medical Scientist Training Program (Carver College of Medicine) in the Catalog.

Students applying to the Ph.D. program do not need a master's degree prior to admission. Students who hold a master's degree upon entering the Ph.D. program may apply to use transfer credit from their master’s degree courses toward their Ph.D. program requirements.

Students applying to the Ph.D. program who are not selected for admission are automatically considered for admission to the M.S. program if they do not already hold a master's degree.

Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College; see the Manual of Rules and Regulations on the Graduate College website. They also must meet the admission requirements of the informatics program; see Ph.D. and M.S. Admission on the program's website.

The program emphasizes preparation for research, teaching, and scholarly endeavor in academic settings or private, industrial, or governmental laboratories.

Sample Plan of Study

Sample plans represent one way to complete a program of study. Actual course selection and sequence will vary and should be discussed with an academic advisor. For additional sample plans, see MyUI.

Informatics, Ph.D.

Plan of Study Grid (Manual)
Academic Career
Any SemesterHours
72 s.h. must be graduate level coursework; maximum of 33 s.h. of graduate transfer credits allowed upon approval. More information is included in the General Catalog and on department website. a
 Hours0
First Year
Fall
CS:5110 Introduction to Informatics 3
STAT:4143
Introduction to Statistical Methods
or Introduction to Biostatistics
3
Elective course b 3
 Hours9
Spring
STAT:4540
Statistical Learning
or Knowledge Discovery
3
CS:4400
Database Systems
or Introduction to Geographic Databases
3
GEOG:5055
Geospatial Programming
or Programming Languages and Tools
or Topics in Computer Science I
3
CS:5980 Topics in Computer Science III c 1
 Hours10
Second Year
Any Semester
Qualifying Exam d
 Hours0
Fall
GEOG:5540
Geographic Visualization
or Human-Computer Interaction for Computer Science
or Research Methods in Human-Computer Interaction
3
Elective course b 3
Elective course b 3
 Hours9
Spring
Elective course b 3
Elective course b 3
Elective course b 3
 Hours9
Third Year
Any Semester
Comprehensive Exam e
 Hours0
Fall
Elective course b 3
Elective course b 3
Elective course b 3
 Hours9
Spring
Elective course b 3
Elective course b 3
Elective course b 3
 Hours9
Fourth Year
Fall
Dissertation Proposal Defense f
Elective course b 3
Elective course b 3
Elective course b 3
 Hours9
Spring
IGPI:6520 Research for Dissertation b 8
Final Oral Exam g
 Hours8
 Total Hours72
a
Students must complete specific requirements in the University of Iowa Graduate College after program admission. Refer to the Graduate College website and the Manual of Rules and Regulations for more information.
b
See the General Catalog and department website for specifics about elective coursework requirements; may be a combination of research for dissertation hours, directed readings, independent study, and graduate coursework.
c
Typically this course is offered in spring semesters only. Check MyUI for course availability since offerings are subject to change.
d
Typically completed during second year fall semester. See the General Catalog and department website for specifics.
e
Taken before the end of third year. See the General Catalog and department website for specifics.
f
Typically completed six months prior to final oral exam (dissertation defense).
g
Dissertation defense.