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Earning an Online MIS PhD - Management Information Systems Doctorate

A Phd in Management Information Systems Online awards graduates the highest academic achievement in Management Information Systems. These programs are usually

research-intensive, focusing on the intersection of business management practices and computer science and information technology. Business Information Systems involves the use of computers in organizations and the integration of computer skills with the functional areas of management. Busy working professionals with current careers in information technology might find that distance-learning presents a convenient format and warrants consideration.

PhD in Management Information Systems Online - Basics

Often a 4-5 year full-time commitment, an Online PhD MIS program typically combines conceptual and procedural skills and intense research. Some doctoral programs do allow considerable leeway for completion time, which may be helpful to students with ongoing careers. Prospective doctoral students usually need a master’s degree from an accredited university, although some programs admit students with a bachelor’s degree. If the master's is in a field other than management information systems, preparatory courses may be required.

FACT: Information Research Scientists are likely to have excellent job prospects, as there are a limited number of Ph.D. graduates each year.[i]

Doctoral programs require the completion of a dissertation, so students are usually paired with an advisor who supervises their research. Fully online programs may be rare, although students may be able to complete the bulk of their courses and research online, there may be onsite requirements as well (e.g. intensives, consultation with faculty). An oral defense of one’s dissertation is among required in-person components to the doctoral program.

Why Consider a MIS PhD? Is a Phd in Management Information Systems Online Right For You?

An Online MIS PhD degree is considered the credential of choice for advanced research roles as well as teaching above the post secondary level. There is no guarantee that a PhD leads to senior roles, however, the rigorous training may set you apart from others. Potential upper level roles (in order of advancement) in management information systems may include[ii]:

  • IT Director
  • Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
  • Chief Information Officer (CIO)
  • Top Executive

Types of Online MIS PhD Programs

Doctoral MIS programs are offered as Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), Doctor of Science  (D.Sc.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs with concentrations in business information systems or other related areas such as computer science.

Online Doctor of Business Administration - MIS concentration

Scholars interested in an applied research doctoral program might be inclined to choose a Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.) with a Management Information Systems Concentration. Possible learning outcomes could include the ability to analyze complex business situations and devise strategies to optimize operations. Students generally take a combination of computer systems courses along with theories of management in order to prepare them to potentially assume organizational leadership positions.

Course curriculum in a Phd in Management Information Systems Online program is likely to vary between universities, but required courses, specialized courses and original research is common. Some of the coursework in an online DBA-MIS program might include topics such as:

  • Business ethics
  • Scholarly writing (dissertation prep)
  • Organizational behavior
  • Management
  • Statistics (descriptive, univariate)
  • Economics
  • Human resources management
  • Business policies
  • Information Technology Management (operations management)
  • Data communications management
  • Database administration management
  • Qualitative & quantitative research

Online Doctor of Philosophy - MIS concentration

Online MIS Phd degrees are offered as the D.Sc. and Ph.D. in management information systems and tend to be more research-oriented doctoral degrees. Designed to prepare students for potential teaching and research careers involving the design, analysis, implementation and operation of computer-based information systems and other related operational and economic issues. Students at this level of academia often choose a concentration area such as:

  • Decision support
  • Knowledge and data management,
  • Healthcare information systems
  • Information assurance security

Coursework in an Online MIS PhD program may include topics such as:

  • Applied statistics
  • Quantitative research methods
  • Knowledge management
  • Information assurance and computer security research
  • Health informatics research
  • Information systems programming
  • Operations management
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Economic Issues

About Online

Online MIS PhD doctoral programs usually involve a combination of web-based coursework and formal on-site meetings or intensives; students should verify with the graduate school to make sure they are available to travel to campus if needed. If you have reliable Internet and are self-motivated, distance learning often makes use of technology such as:

  • Interactive course web boards
  • Web conferencing
  • Live and streaming videos of classes
  • E-mail, text, web chat
  • A type of learning management system (portal)


Accreditation varies. State and regional bodies typically award institutional accreditation. Business Schools may be accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)[iii], the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (ACBSP)[iv]or the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE).[v]

Take the Next Step

If you aspire to a leadership role in your field, acquiring the conceptual and practical skills may help you stand out in a competitive market, teach the next generation, or even innovate new methods of business information systems.  Why not take the next step and review your options for Phd in Management Information Systems Online programs today!

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