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The PhD program in Computer Science (further in the text: PhD program), fully taught in English, is designed to provide advanced skills and sophisticated knowledge for individuals planning a career in academic, industry and research settings in any subfield of computer science. The program focuses on the development of an in-depth understanding of the nature, implementation and evaluation of computing principles and applications together with the growth of research skills. The current areas of research interest for the PhD in Computer Science encompass a wide spectrum, with specific focus on priority areas for Kazakhstan, such as artificial intelligence, systems, data analytics, information security, and smart cities.
These areas are also aligned with well-known international research priorities: Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies (Information and Communication Technologies; Artificial Intelligence); Health, demographic change and well-being (Personalized medicine; Telemedicine; Smart Houses and Smart Cities).
By the completion of the PhD program, students will be capable of designing and conducting independent, innovative, original and high-quality research in computer science. In addition, program graduates will be prepared for working in industrial and academic environments, e.g., as university faculty members, senior researchers, engineers and product developers.
The PhD program has been designed in line with the revised Graduate Programs Framework of Nazarbayev University (2019)
Applicants applying to the Program are expected to have:
1. An undergraduate degree (Bachelor’s degree or equivalent)
2. A Master’s degree or equivalent
During the application period final year students may submit official current transcript for consideration.
3. A competitive CGPA in applicant’s Master’s (or equivalent) degree.
4. High level of English proficiency
The absolute minimum requirement for English language proficiency test reports for admission to the program is:
1) Overall IELTS test score of 6.5 (with sub-scores no less than 6.0) or the equivalent TOEFL score as posted on the ETS website;
2) Applicants, at the discretion of the Admissions Committee, can be exempted from submitting the language proficiency test report if:
- one of their earlier academic degrees was earned in a country with English as the language of official communication, academic instruction and daily life;
- an undergraduate and/or graduate degree was earned in a program which was officially taught in English.
5. Strong reading, analytical, and mathematical skills as demonstrated by GRE test (recommended);
6. High motivation and strong interest in the Program as outlined in a statement of purpose;
7. Relevant research interest and knowledge of research subject as demonstrated in a written research proposal;
9. Two letters of recommendation (one from academic source).
Application package checklist:
1. Complete Application form;
2. National ID (for the citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan) and passport (for international applicants);
3. Official document confirming name change (if applicable);
4. Degree diplomas (Bachelor’s and Master’s or equivalents) with transcripts;
During the application period final year students may upload official current transcript for consideration.
5. IELTS or TOEFL certificate valid as of date of online documents submission;
6. Document confirming English as the language of instruction (only for applicants who earned their degree in a program which was taught in English and request an exemption from submitting IELTS or TOEFL).
Applicants should provide a detailed certificate/reference from the university indicating the number and list of subjects completed in English.
7. GRE certificate valid as of date of online documents submission (recommended);
8. Statement of purpose outlining the applicant’s prior educational career, statement of his/her interest in the Program, his/her long-term career goals, and how the program would help him/her to achieve these goals (500 words);
9. Two confidential letters of recommendation written within the last two years (to be provided by referees electronically or in hard copy after receiving an email request);
10. Resume (1 page);
11. Consent for Applicant’s personal data processing (according to the template in applicant’s personal account).
All required documents indicated above (excluding letters of recommendation) must be uploaded by candidates to the Personal account before the indicated deadline.
All submitted documents shall be in English or with notarized English translation.
Submission of a complete application package does not guarantee admission to the Program.
Applicants recommended for admission must provide hard copies of all documents as requested by the Admissions Department within established period of time.
Applicants who obtained their degree diplomas/certificates from foreign education institutions must request their official transcripts to be sent directly to the University: 010000, Astana, Kabanbay Batyr Ave., 53, Nazarbayev University, Admissions Department.
Standardized test reports shall be sent by the official test administrator directly to the University.
Nazarbayev University Institutional Codes:
• GRE – 6496
• TOEFL – 6762
Aims and Objectives
The overarching aim of the program is to develop high quality doctoral researchers who are ready and able to make a lasting contribution to addressing scientific, technological, economic, societal and environmental challenges of global significance. It is closely associated with the aim of Kazakhstan to increase its global competitiveness and join the top 30 most developed countries in the world by 2050.
The program aims to prepare:
- specialists for advanced careers in (national and multinational) industry and academia in Kazakhstan, in neighboring countries and internationally;
- future policy and decision makers for careers in governmental agencies, public service and the social economy, in Kazakhstan, and globally;
- entrepreneurs who will be able to promote advanced and innovative science-rich technologies;
- anywhere in the world;
- new generation of commercially aware and technologically advanced scientists;
- technologists to lead future developments in Computer Science;
- future academics and researchers in computer science for careers as specialists in universities of Kazakhstan and other parts of the world.
Program Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of the program, the students will be able to:
- Review, analyse, and evaluate the body of scientific literature in their field of study in Computer Science;
- Identify appropriate research topics in their field of study in Computer Science, and generate hypotheses about such topics;
- Plan, develop, analyse and communicate research in writing and verbally independently;
- Make an original contribution to the knowledge in their area of specialization within Computer Science;
- Judge technically and ethically and relate their research to the broader field of knowledge in their Computer Science sub-discipline;
- Develop their academic/scholarly career through presentations, publications, and national and international networking.
- Possess an in-depth and sophisticated understanding of their domain of study
- Be intellectually agile, curious, creative and open-minded
- Be thoughtful decision makers who know how to involve others
- Be entrepreneurial, self-propelling and able to create new opportunities
- Be fluent and nuanced communicator across languages and cultures
- Be cultured and tolerant citizens of the world
- Demonstrate high personal integrity
- Be prepared to take a leading role in the development of their country