Online Doctoral Degrees in Computers: Program Options

Dec 03, 2019

Get info about online doctoral degree programs in computers. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, and check out career and continuing education options.

Essential Information

Doctoral degrees in computers qualify professionals to work in leadership roles in information technology (IT). Career paths for individuals who complete an online doctoral degree in computers include research, education, government and executive business roles.

Several schools offer online doctoral degree programs in computers. Program majors may include computer information systems, computer science, and computing technology in education. These programs may be offered entirely online or through hybrid programs that combine online and on-campus work.

These programs are open to students with a master's degree, although some schools may accept students with bachelor's degrees. Most programs require some experience working with computers.

Doctoral Degrees in Computers

Online doctoral degrees in computers follow the same format and curriculum as campus-based programs. To complete the program, students obtain and submit coursework online and attend lectures through synchronous and asynchronous webinars. These doctoral degrees can be completed on a full- or part-time basis. Students are responsible for their own Internet service, as well as computer equipment.

While some colleges provide students the opportunity to complete their entire degree through the Internet, others combine online and onsite learning. In blended programs, the online component is supplemental and the Internet is used to access class materials such as library services, discussion boards and presentations.

Information and Requirements

Individuals who are interested in enrolling in a doctoral degree program in computers usually need a master's degree and may also be required to have a certain number of years of experience working in the field of computer science. Most programs also require a minimum GPA for admittance. Earning a doctoral degree takes 1-2 years and usually includes research projects and a dissertation.

If enrolled in an online program, students may be allowed to access online lectures on their own schedules or they may have to log on in real time. In a hybrid program, most work is done on campus, supplemented by distance learning opportunities.

Examples of online doctoral degrees in computers include a Ph.D. in computer information systems, computer science and computing technology in education. Individuals who are interested in becoming a professor or working in academia should consider an advanced degree in computing technology in education. Information systems and general computer science degrees focus on the in-depth knowledge needed to excel in business operations. Some doctoral programs provide students the option to specialize in information security.

Common Coursework

Students can pursue many careers with a doctoral degree in computers, and the coursework in their doctoral degree program will reflect their future goals. Most courses have a focus on research, and students may be required to take courses that explore research skills. Other courses may include computer network security, distance learning and human-computer interaction.

Human Computer Interaction

This course focuses on user interfaces and the elements, tools and procedures needed to manage a successful environment. Coursework covers research in human computer interaction and the projected developments in this area.

Network Security

Advanced topics in IT security areas, such as network protocols, wireless security and intrusion detection are discussed in this class. Students focus on the technical challenges of securing networks and how to tackle those challenges.

Online Learning Environments

This class is designed for individuals who are interested in an education career. Curriculum covers the online communication process, as well as the theories and practices to achieve successful results using online learning systems. Students learn the best way to implement an online learning system to supplement or replace traditional on-campus learning.

Qualitative Research Methodologies

Individuals enrolled in this computers course learn the necessary steps to perform a research study. Students learn how to properly design a project, collect and analyze data, and interpret and present the findings.

Career Information for Graduates

Graduating with a doctoral degree in a computer field qualifies an individual to work in executive roles in business or education, such as Chief Information Officer (CIO), professor or administrator. Although it is not expected that jobs will increase at the executive level, salaries for experienced computer professionals remain among the highest. As of May 2018, the median wage for all chief executives is $189,600 ( The BLS also reported a median salary of $82,220 for computer science professors.

Continuing Education Information

Earning a doctoral degree in computers is the highest level of education an individual can achieve in the IT field. However, many professionals who hold advanced degrees attend workshops and seminars to continue learning and updating their skills.

Individuals who have an education or career background working in the fields of computer science or computer information may wish to continue their education by pursuing an online doctoral program in the field, which can be completed in about 2 years.

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