Schmid College of Science & Technology

Computational and Data Sciences

» Doctorate in Computational and Data Sciences

Computational and Data Scientists construct mathematical models, develop quantitative analysis techniques, and use computers to analyze and solve scientific real-life problems. Our mission is to provide graduates with innovative tools and a collaborative approach to meeting tomorrow’s challenges.

Chapman University offers both M.S. and Ph.D. programs in Computational and Data Sciences. The programs follow a uniquely interdisciplinary approach to solving critically important problems, using mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, statistics and computing. Through modeling, simulation and study of specific phenomena via computer analysis, data mining and software engineering, you will learn to apply extraordinary technology and processes to answer the world’s most complex questions in fields including: Predictive Analytics, Earth Systems Science, Bioinformatics and Biotechnology, Genomics and Drug Design, Population Genetics, and Economic Science.


+ - Program

The Ph.D. Program in Computational and Data Sciences offers an interdisciplinary and personalized course of study that emphasizes innovative research and applications of research. After completing a set of core courses teaching the basic methodologies and techniques of computational science, students will specialize in an area based on shared interests with one or more faculty mentors, culminating in a final dissertation of the student’s choice.

Since employers continue to seek computer professionals who can combine strong technical skills with good interpersonal and business skills, the Ph.D. in Computational and Data Sciences prepares students for employment in academia, scientific research laboratories, private industry and governmental agencies. In addition to organizations under the Departments of Interior such as BLM and USGS, the Doctorate in Computational and Data Sciences offers employment opportunities with NGOs and non-profit organizations, as well as manufacturing and private sector companies.

The program is offered at the Chapman campus located in Orange, California.

+ - Curriculum

Requirements for the Ph.D. in Computational and Data Sciences

Core Courses
 (13–16 credits)
CS 510* Computing for Scientists (3)
CS 520 Mathematical Modeling (3)
CS 530 Data Mining (3)
CS 540 High–Performance Computing (3)
CS 555 Multivariate Data Analysis (3)
CS 595 Computational Science Seminars (1)
* waived for students with strong computing backgrounds

Elective and Research Courses
(45 credits)
15 courses selected from among the graduate courses in computer science, computational sciences, mathematics, physics and economic sciences. Courses and descriptions can be found in the Course Catalog. A minimum of 15 credits (five courses) must be at the 700 level (excluding the dissertation courses).

Dissertation (12 credits)
CS 797
Dissertation Research (1–6)

Total Credits - 70–73

See the Chapman University Catalog for course descriptions.

+ - Faculty

Meet our math, physics and computation faculty.

To search for a specific faculty member, visit our searchable faculty directory.

+ - Admission


1.  Online application for admission (includes $60 non-refundable application fee)
2.  Official transcript from degree granting institution.  A cumulative grade point average of 3.000 is required.
3.  Graduate Admission Test Scores – The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test scores are required and must have been taken within the last five years.  Applicants must achieve the following minimum scores which are listed as previous version test scores and new version test scores:

  • Verbal: 500/153
  • Quantitative: 550/146
  • Analytical Writing: 4.0/4.0

4.  Letters of recommendation – two letters of recommendation are required, including one from an academic source which describes your professional and academic abilities.
5.  Statement of Intent – a 750 word essay.  Applicants are expected to address science topics they are interested in and how they envision applying computational science in those areas.
6.  Resume – a resume or curriculum vitae is required.


7.  Applicants whose first language is not English or who have completed their undergraduate degree outside of the United States are required to achieve an acceptable score on one of the following English language proficiency exams which must have been taken within 2 years of the date of application for admission to Chapman University.

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL),
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE Academic) or
  • Cambridge English Advanced Exam(CAE)

Ph.D. Computational and Data Sciences applicantsmust achieve a minimum score of:

  • TOEFL: 600 (PBT) or 100 (iBT)
  • IELTS: 7.0
  • PTEA: 68
  • CAE: Level C1

8.  Complete and submit the International Supplemental Application Guide

Practical Training
If you are an F student, you have the option of working in the United States (after one academic year of study) by engaging in practical training during your program or after it ends. Practical training can provide valuable work experience by sharpening and adding to the skills you are learning in school. There are two types of practical training available for F-1 students: curricular practical training (CPT/internship) and optional practical training (OPT). 

Recipients of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in certain STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields may be eligible for a one-time 17-month extension of post-completion OPT (for a total eligibility of up to 29 months). The 17-month Stem Extension OPT is approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  Our International Student and Scholar Services office will assist you with this application.  
For questions regarding any international student services, contact Susan Sams, Specialist International Student & Scholar Services /(714) 997-6829.


  • Differential Equations
  • Data Structures
  • Probability and Statistics

All prerequisite courses must be met by the end of the first semester.



Tuition per credit - $1,445

Financial assistance is available in the form of federal loans, department scholarships, teaching assistantships and research assistantships.  Most of our students receive some form of financial support from Chapman University and some receive additional aid through our industry partnerships.  Our industry partners provide scholarship funding as well as internship opportunities for our students.

All students who submit a complete application will be automatically considered for a department scholarship.  Admitted students will be notified of scholarships soon after receiving confirmation of admission.

More information can be found on the Financial Aid website or by contacting our Graduate FA department or (714) 628-2730.


Priority Admission: January 15, 2017
Regular Admission: March 15, 2017

See the Academic Calendar for semester start and other dates.

Prospective Student FAQ

Contacts - You are always welcome to contact the Program Assistant, Robin Pendergraft, / 714-997-6993 and the Program Director, Dr. El-Askary, / 714-289-2053.
NOTE:  Please include on email to our admissions and international student’s offices when it is appropriate.

Admission – please contact Monica Chen, our admissions coordinator, at or 714-289-3590 regarding your application, scheduling a campus visit or other non-program specific questions.
Apply by May 1st  - Apply Now

International Students – View our international student’s admissions page for information regarding applying to Chapman -

Tuition - Contact Student Business Services at 714-997-6617 for information regarding tuition, fees, billing & payments.  Please note that program staff are prohibited from discussing financial information.

Federal Financial Aid - For more information, email

  • or call (714) 628-2730.  The FAFSA must be filed by March 2nd.   Must be enrolled at least half time to qualify for federal loans.  This means 4.5 units.   If students are interested in receiving loans, they must complete the appropriate applications.

Housing - For graduate student housing options, contact Housing and Residence Life at (714) 997-6603. 

Are scholarships available?  Yes, Schmid College offers tuition support to a select number of students each semester (fees and other university charges are not covered).  Scholarships are awarded based on the application materials submitted.  There is no separate application process for scholarships awarded by Schmid College.  In order to be eligible, students must submit application materials by the May 1st deadline.  Students will receive award notification at time of acceptance.  We also have opportunities for paid research and teaching assistantships for qualified students.   

When can I start?  Due to the nature of the courses, we strongly suggest starting in the fall semester.  Possible exceptions are*: 
Students with a very strong computational background who can waive out of Computing for Scientists, which is a prerequisite to the rest of the program and is only       offered in fall.
Students who need prerequisites before beginning the MS.  Some applicants who are strong in the sciences, but lack a solid background in math and computer science, are given the opportunity to take undergrad courses at Chapman to build their skills in areas they may be lacking.
*Please let us know if you feel you fit into either of those categories and would like to start in spring.

Can I transfer courses?
M.S. students  - Up to 6 credits may be accepted as transfer credit
Ph.D. students - Up to 30 credits completed toward an M.S. degree may be accepted as transfer credit.

+ - FAQ

Q:  How long does it take to complete the MS program? The PhD program?

A:  The length of time it takes to complete the program varies, depending on the amount of courses taken each semester.  Students enrolled full time usually complete the MS program in two years and the PhD in four years.  Students may also attend on a part-time basis.

Q:  What scholarships are available?

A:  Many of our students receive some form of financial support from Chapman University and some receive additional aid through our industry partnerships.  Our industry partners provide scholarship funding as well as internship opportunities for our students.  Some scholarship search options are found on the Financial Aid - Outside Scholarships page. 

Q:  Can I transfer courses taken online?

A:  Yes, we accept online courses that meet all transfer requirements and are from regionally accredited schools.  

Q:  Can I count my MCAT/GMAT score towards the GRE requirement?

A:  Although it depends upon the individual circumstances, we do sometimes use other test scores as a replacement for the GRE.  Please contacts us if you would like to discuss this option.

Q:  What type of options do I have to take night time classes?

A:  We offer late afternoon and evening courses every semester.  Students nearing the end of their program will also take more research-based independent study courses with their advisors.

Q:  Can I send in transcripts to show coursework from non-degree granting institutions? 

A:  Yes, we will take all courses you have completed into account for both admission and transfer credit.

Q:  Are Chapman's Computational and Data Sciences degrees STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) programs?

A:  Yes, students in our program are eligible to apply for STEM benefits.  See the International Student & Scholar Services for more information.  You can also contact Susan Sams, Specialist International Student & Scholar Services, at or 714-997-6829, with any questions.

Q:  What is OPT 

  Optional Practical Training or OPT allows you to work for one year, following graduation, in a job related to your major or field of study.  See the International Student & Scholar Services for more information.  You can also contact Susan Sams, Specialist International Student & Scholar Services, at or (714) 997-6829, with any questions.

Q:  What is CPT?

A:  Curricular Practical Training or CPT allows you to participate in an off-campus paid internship that is related to your major or field of study.  See the International Student & Scholar Services for more information.  You can also contact Susan Sams, Specialist International Student & Scholar Services, at or (714) 997-6829, with any questions.


Hesham El-Askary
Program Director
(714) 289-2053

Robin Pendergraft
Program Assistant
(714) 997-6993

Monica Chen
Graduate Admissions Counselor
(714) 289-3590

Graduate Financial Aid
(714) 628-2730

Susan Sams
International Student & Scholar Services Coordinator
(714) 997-6829