Over the last few decades, information technology has expanded to include nearly every facet of life, including commerce, business, education and personal use. This field continues to grow each day, making information systems, as well as related areas in business and computer science, one of the top choices for college students. Seeking a degree in information systems enables you to learn more about business processes and procedures, hardware, software and usability. As a Ph.D. candidate, you can explore information systems and embark on a program of study that equips you with specialized knowledge and skills.
Ph.D. program requirements for information systems will vary among schools, but there are similarities among most institutions. Many are highly selective and use a multi-step process to single out the most qualified candidates. You must have already earned an undergraduate or graduate degree and preferably have taken courses in business, computer science, economics or engineering. Your GRE or GMAT scores are reviewed along with a writing sample which you must provide. Other requirements might include academic and personal references and a statement of academic objectives, or what you would like to achieve in the program and why.
Common Core and Specialized Courses
Many schools take an interdisciplinary approach, combining information systems study with computer science, which means that degree seekers will take a variety of courses in both areas. Some common core classes which you’ll likely take during the first part of the program include technical foundations, microeconomics, statistics and probability and research in information systems. Once required courses are satisfied, many programs enable students to specialize their studies in areas such as technical, economics or behavioral/managerial.
Doctoral candidates will submit a thesis or dissertation as part of their Ph.D. program. These often begin early in the program, with students considering and selecting their topic under the guidance of a faculty member. The thesis or dissertation is an original research project each student conducts and submits to the dissertation committee at the conclusion of the program. Many schools also require students to defend their dissertation at a public meeting in front of a review board in addition to submitting it to academic journals for publication.
As one of the highest paying and most in-demand fields, getting your PhD in information systems can lead to a range of career possibilities. Many graduates seek employment in research or academic settings, while others work as analysts, network administrators, software engineers or web designers. Consulting is another option for information systems Ph.D.s. This is a diverse area with a huge range of job opportunities from technology problem solving to network implementation.