Doctor of Engineering Science

The Doctor of Engineering degree is officially designated Eng.Sc.D., but in practice is typically referred to as DES.  The engineering school’s official description of the DES program is here.

The PhD is the Computer Science Department’s primary doctoral program.  The Doctor of Engineering Science variant of the doctorate has identical academic requirements to the PhD program, described here.  The most significant difference between PhD students and DES students is a DES student is expected to work for an employer who funds their tuition and other expenses to attend the doctoral program part-time; DES students receive no funding from Columbia.  Although part-time, the DES is an in-person, on-campus program like the PhD and DES students are not permitted to attend remotely.  Note SEAS imposes a maximum time to degree of seven years despite the part-time status. There are also some differences in registration for PhD vs. DES students and in the application for defense. DES students should contact the department’s PhD Program Administrator ( for assistance in registration and in filing the application for defense.

The department rarely approves the admission of part-time students, i.e., DES students, and then only if the DES applicant was recruited by a tenured or tenure-track member of the Computer Science Department faculty who asked to be the student’s research advisor.   DES students must be advised by a tenured or tenure-track Computer Science faculty member throughout the program; lack of an acceptable advisor is grounds for immediate dismissal.  DES applicants must already hold a masters degree in Computer Science or a strongly related field to be considered for admission.  Computer Science DES students cannot be admitted through the Columbia Video Network (CVN); only the department’s doctoral admissions committee can admit DES students.

Last updated on December 15, 2023.