Online PhD in Knowledge Management: Distance Learning Doctorate Info

Learn about online certificate and degree programs with knowledge management courses. Get an overview of the program types, requirements and course descriptions available for this field.

Essential Information

Knowledge management involves the methods that organizations use to obtain and maintain value from their intellectual assets, including processes, technologies and people. Ph.D. in Knowledge Management programs aren't typically offered remotely, but there are online Ph.D. programs in library and information science that offer relevant coursework and have minimal in-person requirements.

Graduate certificate and master's degree programs are available, and both the certificates and master's degree programs can be completed entirely online. Some schools may allow individuals to apply the credits earned from the certificate program toward a master's degree in KM. Topics covered in both graduate certificate and master's degree programs include employee expertise, business intelligence, organizational management, intellectual capital and database management.

Certificate in Knowledge Management

An online KM certificate program teaches students - often consisting of working professionals - the tools and methods for mapping an organization's knowledge. To manage this information, students learn how to design and implement business and information systems. Program applicants need to hold bachelor's degrees.

Program Information and Requirements

Most knowledge management certificate programs consist of 7-8 online courses. Students usually take about 12-18 months to complete the program. Compared to a master's degree program, this type of certificate program has about half the number of classes.

To access lectures, assignments and conversations online, participants need up-to-date computers with Internet access, Web browser and e-mail. Schools may prefer a particular Web browser, typically Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox. Software plug-ins, such as Java or Flash, might be required for course management software or media files to run properly.

Course Topics

General education classes are not part of the program. Course management software, usually accessible through a school's website, provides online access to classes.

Fundamentals of Knowledge Management

In this introductory course, students receive an overview of knowledge management's theories, history, tools and technology. Analyzing real-world documents and databases helps participants understand how to design and implement knowledge systems.

Knowledge Management in Organizations

This course discusses how knowledge management is generated, acquired, used and deployed. Students analyze the functionality of large, formal organizations to see how they manage KM decision making, system structures and changes.

Knowledge Management Issues and Strategies

This class discusses legal, productivity, social and ethical issues related to information flow among organizations, as well as within them. Also covered is a thorough definition of intellectual assets, including how an organization uses these assets in a competitive and global economy.


Master's Degree in Knowledge Management

A master's degree program in knowledge management teaches students how to identify, capture, organize, index, store, integrate, retrieve and share an organization's information. Participants learn how to analyze intellectual assets to recognize previous mistakes and identify best practices. Also imparted are the leadership skills required to motivate individuals and teams to participate in the contribution of knowledge.

Program Information and Requirements

As working professionals, degree candidates take about 10-13 classes on a part-time basis. Depending on the number of classes, the program can take approximately 2-3 years to complete. Because the program is delivered completely online, participants keep in contact with peers and instructors through e-mail, chat and online forums. Video conferencing may also be used.

Schools usually recommend using a relatively new computer with an Internet connection. It may be necessary to install a specific Web browser or plug-ins that will work best with the school's course management software.

Course Topics

Although programs have many common elements, their coursework emphasis might differ from school to school. For example, one program may emphasize the technology aspects of knowledge management, while another may focus on the library science side.

Knowledge Management in the Information Age

As an extension of an introductory knowledge management class, this course discusses how leading-edge companies and the military use KM. Also covered are the problems and advantages of KM in a global economy.

Strategic Competitive Intelligence

In order to remain competitive, businesses must constantly build and enhance business intelligence. This course discusses the tools, cultures, ethics, management and other key considerations of KM acquisition. Also covered are methods to protect an organization's intellectual assets from threats and vulnerabilities.

Knowledge Management and Technology

Knowledge management analysts must remain aware of the technological changes in the field. Students learn how social networking, blogs, Twitter and wikis are changing how people communicate and how they share and create knowledge. Future KM graduates receive an overview of existing technology tools and are shown how to select and apply the most appropriate ones.


Career Information

Common industries for individuals with knowledge management expertise are in consulting, marketing, real estate, telecommunications, information technology and legal services. Graduates can start careers as knowledge analysts or knowledge specialists. In October 2016, PayScale.com reported a salary range of $44,342 - $95,000 for knowledge analysts.

Obtaining a master's degree makes it possible for graduates to pursue job opportunities with more responsibilities and higher pay. High-level job titles in knowledge management include chief knowledge officer, director of knowledge management and vice president of knowledge management. PayScale.com reported that as of October 2016, knowledge managers made a median annual wage of $70,535, while directors of knowledge management earned a median salary of $122,936 as of October 2016.

Continuing Education Information

Professional certification as a Certified Knowledge Manager is achievable by passing an exam administered by the non-profit Knowledge Management Professional Society. Other professional certifications may exist for KM through for-profit organizations. It's a good idea to research available certifications for career goal appropriateness and level of acceptance before pursuing a certification program.

Online programs in knowledge management teach students how to map an organization's knowledge through the design and implementation of business and information systems. These programs are available as graduate certificates or master's degree programs.

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