Jul 17, 2024  
2023-2024 Academic Catalog 
2023-2024 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Data Science and Engineering, PhD

Contact Information

Dr. Randy Hoover
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
E-mail: Randy.Hoover@sdsmt.edu

Department Website

Students are responsible for checking with their advisors for any program modifications that may occur after the publication of this catalog.

PhD in Data Science and Engineering

Offered jointly with University of South Dakota (USD).  Courses are offered at both South Dakota Mines and USD campuses.

Degree requirements

Distribution of credits

Core requirements: 12 credits
Research requirements: 36 credits
Elective requirements: 24 credits
Total credits: 72

At least 36 of the required 72 credits must be taken at the 600-level or above.

Students may apply 24 coursework credits and 6 research credits from a previous MS degree toward the PhD requirements, subject to approval by the student’s committee.

Core requirements

Elective requirements

Each PhD program of study is individually designed to meet the goals of the student. Courses from a variety of areas, for example biology, chemical engineering, chemistry, computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, industrial engineering, materials and metallurgical engineering, mathematics, mechanical engineering, or other disciplines may be used to fulfill the elective requirements in a manner intended to complement the student’s research. Elective courses in the area of the student’s intended research are to be selected in consultation with, and approved by, the student’s advisory committee and major advisor. 

Research requirements

The completion of a doctoral dissertation, approved by the student’s graduate advisory committee and the Dean of Graduate Education, is required for this degree. PhD students are expected to participate in the creation of new knowledge and applications in biomedical engineering.

**At least 36 credits of 898 are required.  No more than 36 credits of 898 may be counted toward the degree. 


Detailed information on examination policies, admission to candidacy, and defense of dissertation may be found in the Graduate Education section of this catalog and the BME Graduate Handbook.

Qualifying examination

The qualifying exam tests the student’s background knowledge and ability to pursue advanced courses and dissertation research. All students coming into the Ph.D. program are required to take the qualifying exam within the first 2 years. The qualifying exam shall be satisfied by completing ONE of the items below: 

  1. Successful publication of two high impact peer reviewed Journal or Conference papers as approved by the student’s graduate committee. 
  2. Successful presentation of two papers in the student’s field of study (one seminal paper, and one paper at the boundary of knowledge as indicated by the date of publication being no older than two years from the date of the examination). The student will work with their graduate advisor to discuss and ultimately select the papers for presentation. 
  3. The successful defense of a master’s thesis may be used as the qualifying examination, at the discretion of the student’s graduate advisory committee. 

Comprehensive examination and admission to candidacy

The comprehensive examination is given to evaluate the student’s ability to formulate a research problem. It shall consist of a research proposal defense in which students will be required to write and orally defend their research proposal to their graduate advisory committee. Review of comprehensive examinations will be accomplished as soon as possible by all members of the committee. Upon successful completion, the major professor and department head will recommend to the dean of graduate education that the student be admitted to PhD candidacy. 

All students coming into the PhD program with an MS degree are required to complete the comprehensive exam within two academic years (fall, spring, summer semesters). Students coming into the program with a BS degree must complete the comprehensive exam after their coursework is substantially completed. The comprehensive examination, and subsequent admission to PhD candidacy, must be completed at least 12 months before the dissertation is defended.

Dissertation defense

A dissertation defense and a final oral examination are required for this degree.

Additional requirements

In addition to these degree-specific requirements, the student must also meet the requirements and policies applied to all graduate degrees  by the Council of Graduate Education.

Objectives and Outcomes

Student Outcomes:

  1. Have the ability to analyze current research and identify knowledge boundaries.
  2. Understand data as an abstract concept and how data encodes and captures information and insights.
  3. Derive insights from large, complex data sets.
  4. Be fluent in programming, data processing, model development, statistical analysis, model evaluation, and data visualization.
  5. Effectively communicate complex ideas to a variety of audiences and stakeholders both verbally and written.
  6. Recognize the ethical and legal issues relevant to data science and their impact on society.
  7. Develop both novel and applied data-driven solutions from a wide array of scientific fields.
  8. Understand the theoretical underpinnings of data science methods as well as how these underpinnings apply in practical applications.