Curriculum
The Ph.D. program in Data Science requires 60 credit hours, typically consisting of 48 hours of coursework and 12 dissertation hours. A typical student will complete the program in 4 to 5 years. Coursework consists of the following:
 10 core courses (30 hours)
 Two 3hour research rotations, to be completed during the summer semesters after years one and two (6 hours)
 At least 4 elective courses (12 hours)
Students will also complete the following professional activities to qualify for the Ph.D. degree:
 Attend a datascience seminar series during their first 6 semesters. Seminars are drawn from across the university’s departments and institutes.
 Participate in SMU Research Day (poster or threeminute thesis competition) at least once
 Present research at a national or regional conference
 Have a paper accepted in an appropriate venue, to be decided by the student’s degree committee
10 Core courses (30 hours)
Students take 10 core courses in Computer Science and Statistics, the component areas of data science. The Basic Exam (see below) will be based on the firstyear offerings. A student who can demonstrate competence in a core subject from previous training may substitute an elective for the corresponding core course.
Core courses:Blue indicates theory; red indicates methods. 

Computer Science (CS) 
Statistics & Data Science (SDS) 
CS 7330: File Organization & Database Management 
SDS 6327: Math Stat I 
CS 7324: ML in Python (MLI)^{ ††} or CS/OREM 7331: Data Mining 
SDS 6328: Math Stat II 
CS 7350: Algorithm Engineering 
SDS 6336: Methods I 
CS 8321  Machine Learning & Neural Networks (ML II) or

SDS 6337: Methods II 

*SDS 6345: Statistical Learning Methods 

^{†}SDS 7329: Data Security & Ethics 
Students take either CS 7324 and CS8321 (ML track) or CS/OREM 7331 and CS/OREM 8331 (data mining track).
Research Rotations (6 hours)
Students complete 6 hours (3 hours each for two summers) of research experiences known as rotations. Before beginning a research rotation, students must pass the Basic Exam (see below).
Research Rotations are a distinguishing feature of the SMU Ph.D. program in Data Science. For each rotation students spend a semester as a research assistant on a practical application of data science methods under the supervision of a program faculty member. The rotations allow students to improve their collaborative and communication skills in technical areas outside their own fields; they familiarize students with problems encountered in application development; and they provide an avenue for research collaboration and potential funding streams from units and organizations outside of the Ph.D. program and potentially outside the University. Research rotations change annually. At the end of each research rotation students provide a final report on the experience.
Elective Courses (12 hours)
Elective courses may be selected from Computer Sciences, Operations Research and Engineering Management, Statistics and Data Science, or other appropriate data science offerings from outside these departments. Elective courses may also come from application areas or other areas of students’ interests, such as Business, Economics, the sciences, and Learning Sciences.
Examples of elective courses currently available include:
Table 2a. Data Science elective courses 

Computer Science (CS) 
Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) 
Statistics & Data Science (SDS) 
Operations Research & Engineering Management (OREM) 
7320 – Artificial Intelligence 7322 – Intro to Natural Language Processing 7323 – Mobile Applications for Sensing and Learning 7337 – Information Retrieval & Web Search 7339 – Computer System Security CS/ECE 7346 – Cloud Computing 7349 – Data & Network Security 7350 – Algorithm Engineering 7359 – Software Security 8320 – KnowledgeIntensive ProblemSolving 8330 – Database Management Systems 8337 – Information Storage & Retrieval 8350 – Algorithms II 8359 – Advanced Software Security 
8364 – Statistical Pattern Recognition 7365 – Adaptive Algorithms for Machine Learning 7374 – Digital Image Processing 7375 – Random Processes in Engineering 8371 – Information Theory ECE 8372/CS 8372 – Cryptography & Data Security 8381 – Quantum Logic & Design 
6355 – Applied Multivariate Analysis 6357 – Categorical Data Analysis 6358 – Statistics for HighThroughput Biological Assays 6360 – Statistical Methods in Epidemiology 6363 – Time Series 6380 – Theory of Sampling 6385 – Nonparametric Statistics 6390 – Bayesian Statistics 6391 – Bayesian Hierarchical Modeling 6397 – Statistical Methods in Clinical Trials 7331 – Modeling Incomplete & Longitudinal Data

7357 – Analytics for Decision Support 8360 – Operations Research Models 7377 – Statistical Design & Analysis of Experiments

Mathematics (MATH)


6370 – Parallel Scientific Computing




Table 2b. Examples of Electives for Potential Application Areas 

Business 
Learning Science 
Computational Chemistry (CHEM) 

ITOM 6226 – Operations Analytics ITOM 6220 – Revenue Management FINA 6216 – Portfolio Theory & Asset Pricing FINA 6226 – Quantitative Trading Strategies MKTG 6224 – Research for Marketing Decisions MNO 6219 – People & Organizational Analytics 
EDU 7309001 – Intro to Learning Science EDU 7309002 – Data Modeling & the Learning Sciences PSYC 6353 – Psychometrics, Test Construction, & Assessment HGME 6592 – Team Game Production I HGME 6381 – Game Production I

6144 – ComputerAssisted Drug Design, Fundamentals & Application 7108 – Statistical Molecular Thermodynamics 6343 – Advanced Computational Chemistry 

Economics (ECO) 
Psychology (PSYC) 

6372, 6374, 6375 – Econometrics I, II & III 7321 – Labor Economics 7322 – Development of Human Capital 7376 – Macroeconometrics 7377 – Microeconometrics 7378 – Topics in Econometrics 
6314 – Adult Psychopathology 6317 – Biological & Neuroscientific Bases of Behavior 6334 – Developmental Psychopathology 6359 – Affective & Social Neuroscience

Please note that some of these courses may require prerequisites.
Other requirements
Students must complete the following professional activities to qualify for graduation. Each student will
 Attend the Data Science seminar, drawn from relevant seminars of university departments and institutes.
 Participate at least once in SMU Research Day (poster or threeminute thesis); and
 Present research at a national or regional conference.
Assessment
Basic Exam. This exam covers the content of the six firstyear courses and is taken at the end of the first year in the program. It consists of two parts, one covering theory and the other practice. The student must pass both parts before progression to the next milestone (the Qualifying Exam). Students have two attempts to pass the exam.
Candidacy exam. Upon completion of this exam, taken by the end of the 5^{th} semester, the student is admitted to Ph.D. candidacy. The exam will assess the student’s readiness to conduct research and to communicate results competently in writing. It can take either of two forms: (1) the student is assigned a set of research papers and produces a report that synthesizes and extends the methods of the papers, or (2) the student receives an acceptance of a research paper to a peerreviewed journal or conference. The student’s Curriculum Advisory Committee will evaluate the work produced by either method (1) or (2) and assign a passing score if justified.
Dissertation Prospectus: Students present their research findings, along with a literature review relevant to the problem addressed, along with a proposal for the remainder of the dissertation in a written prospectus. Students present the prospectus orally to their dissertation committees.
Dissertation. Students complete a significant body of research and write a dissertation summarizing the nature and significance of the work. They present the work orally before the department and defend the work to their committee.