Security Ph.D. Requirements

The security informatics track of the Ph.D. in Informatics offers the opportunity to conduct practical research in these important security issues:

  • Economics of security
  • User-centered design of security systems
  • Cryptographic primitive design
  • Security modeling
  • Foundational cryptography
  • Threat assessment and analysis
  • Protocol design
  • Provable security
  • Security heuristics
  • Lightweight cryptography
  • Malware
  • Network security
  • Privacy
  • Security auditing
  • Security and computer forensics
  • Trusted computing

Course work reflects our multidisciplinary approach, focusing on both current and emerging security technologies. The program of study includes an exploration of the economic and social impact of information security. Research will be focused on the effect of information security on organizations as well as systems and network security.

Doctoral students may also pursue a combined curriculum in security informatics and human-computer interaction design (HCI/d) that explores the connection among technology, social analysis, and applications. This program combines design space experience with practical application, where students can design interactions for security systems and experimentally verify their effectiveness.

Download the current Ph.D. in Informatics handbook (PDF). We also recommend consulting the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering Bulletin 2018-2019 (use the tabs on the left) and the University Graduate School Bulletin 2017-2018 (use the tabs at the top and at the left) for more detailed information about these requirements.


A student must successfully complete ninety (90) credit hours of graduate-level course work. The specific track requirements are below.

Informatics Coure Requirements (6 cr.)

Security Core Requirements (6 cr.)

Seminar Requirement (6 cr.)

Research Rotation Requirement (6 cr.)

A student must complete two rotations of I790. A third roation will not count for course credit.

Theory and Methodology Requirement (12 cr.)

These courses must be appropriate for a Ph.D. in Informatics.

Minor (6-15 cr.)

A student must complete an internal or external minor approved by the University Graduate School and the School. If a student selects an individualized minor, prior to taking courses, the University Graduate School must approve the proposed minor course list. There is no typical minor; however, students in the Security Informatics track have pursued minors in Computer Science, Psychology, Sociology, and Statistics.

Electives (12-30 cr.)

A student must have all electives approved by the student's advisor and the Director of Informatics Graduate Studies prior to enrolling in the course.

Thesis Reading and Research (minimum 21 cr. maximum 30 cr.)