VCU, Spanish university launch joint international Ph.D. program

Krzysztof Cios, Ph.D.
Krzysztof Cios, Ph.D.

Virginia Commonwealth University will introduce a dual-Ph.D. program this spring with international partner University of Cordoba (UCO). Created through the support of a Global Education Office International Strategic Initiative Award in 2013, the program — the first of its kind between VCU and an international university — will award degrees from the VCU School of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science and the UCO Department of Computer Science and Numerical Analysis.

“There are many advantages to this program for students,” said Sebastian Ventura, Ph.D., associate professor of computer science and numerical analysis at UCO. “They get dedicated advisers from both universities, and they get six months of experience collaborating with well-respected research teams abroad — in the U.S. for Spanish students and in Spain for American students.”

VCU is well known internationally for its distinction and extraordinary commitment to advancing the human experience, and this new dual-degree program represents an important new step onto the global stage, said VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D.

“Cordoba is well regarded across the globe for excellence, and they have been an ideal partner for years,” Rao said. “Joining together the University of Cordoba and VCU’s globally recognized School of Engineering makes both institutions stronger and serves to educate and work with communities of scholars on two continents. I am excited about the significant difference this extraordinary dual-degree program will make for VCU, Cordoba and the world.”

There will be great employment opportunities for students graduating from this program, both in the U.S. and in Europe.

To be eligible for the program, students must have a master’s degree in computer science. Once in the program, candidates will experience an immersive and rigorous set of didactic and research requirements.

To graduate, students must publish at least one journal paper that tackles an original research problem before their final defense takes place. The work must receive approval from both programs. After completing the dual-Ph.D. program, graduates will earn a Ph.D. degree in engineering within the computer science track from VCU and a Ph.D. degree from UCO’s Advanced Computer, Energy and Plasma Physics program.

“Global companies such as Microsoft, Google and IBM want workforces with cross-cultural experiences and bilingual skillsets,” said Krzysztof J. Cios, Ph.D., chair of VCU’s Department of Computer Science. “This new program will give students an unparalleled foundation to function well in diverse environments. There will be great employment opportunities for students graduating from this program, both in the U.S. and in Europe.”

About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 30,000 students in 233 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Twenty-two of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 11 schools and three colleges. The VCU Health brand represents the VCU health sciences academic programs, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Tappahannock Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, and MCV Physicians. The clinical enterprise includes a collaboration with Sheltering Arms Institute for physical rehabilitation services. For more, please visit and