Two universities propose South Dakota’s first doctorate program in computer science

Capitol News Bureau

A man types on a computer keyboard in this photo illustration. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota State University at Brookings and Dakota State University at Madison have made a joint request to offer students a doctorate degree in computer science.

The South Dakota Board of Regents will decide Wednesday, October 7, in Rapid City whether to approve the two universities’ plan.

There isn’t a similar program in South Dakota.

The universities would use their current course offerings. They offered data showing demand in South Dakota is growing for people with computer degrees.

SDSU and DSU estimated they would have four students apiece in the program in 2021. Enrollment would gradually grow to 28 students apiece in 2024.

The narrative distributed to the regents notes, “Over the last five years, eleven graduates of SDSU’s M.S. (master degree) in computer science program have completed a Ph.D. in computer science at another institution or are in the process of working towards that degree. All have stated that they would have continued their studies at SDSU if the degree was offered. Currently, three SDSU M.S. students are applying at other universities and would stay here if the Ph.D. program is offered.”

The narrative also said, “The M.S. in computer science at DSU currently acts as a feeder to the doctor of cyber security or doctor of information systems programs. A M.S. in computer science is required
for the cyber Ph.D. Several MSCS graduates have gone on to these other programs as a
substitution for a Ph.D. in computer science and have indicated that they would have preferred
a computer science Ph.D. program. DSU’s MSCS program also receives several inquiries a
semester about the availability of a Ph.D. program directly or regarding the ability to continue
into a computer science Ph.D. program at DSU.”

It also stated, “The program being offered at both SDSU and DSU will also allow similar faculty at other (South Dakota) schools the opportunity to stay in state for their Ph.D. as well. DSU has also had inquiries from outside entities on the possibility of them supporting targeted research efforts at DSU with doctoral level students in computer science.”

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