Online MIS PhD Program Overview

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

Essential Information

Doctoral MIS programs are offered as Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) rather than Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs. Fully-online DBA programs in MIS are rare to nonexistent, but hybrid programs that can be completed partially online are available. In these programs, students are able to complete coursework online but will typically be required to complete a residency. These programs are research-intensive, with a focus on advanced business operations and information technology concepts. Acceptance into these programs typically requires a master's degree in a related field.

Graduates are typically qualified for university teaching positions. Graduates may also go on to work as computer and information systems managers, systems analysts or database administrators, though most of those careers only require a bachelor's or master's degree.

DBA with MIS Specialization

Through a combination of computer systems training and study of philosophies and theories of management, students prepare to assume organizational leadership positions. Required courses, specialized courses and original research train graduates to analyze business situations and devise strategies to optimize operations.

Typically, admission to an MIS doctoral program requires that the student hold a master's degree from an accredited institution. If the master's is in a field other than management information systems, preparatory courses may be required.

Program Information and Requirements

Online programs, designed for working professionals, allow students considerable latitude for completion time. At some universities, individuals may take seven years to get through the online program. An oral defense of a student's dissertation is among required in-person components to the doctoral program. In addition, some programs may have short residency requirements, often used for dissertation consultation with faculty advisors and for on-campus seminars.

Didactic portions of the programs and some seminars are delivered entirely online. Students may attend real-time electronic classes or download the sessions for later viewing. Typically, a course management system, such as Blackboard is used for discussion rooms, bulletin boards and assignments. Some programs may also provide information on CDs, while students and faculty communicate through discussion rooms and e-mail.

Technical requirements include a computer with Internet access. Recommended software applications include Internet Explorer, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Microsoft Word or Office, Outlook Express and antivirus software. DSL or cable Internet access is recommended. Some programs require a CD-ROM drive.

Course Topics

In addition to specialized courses in management information systems and a dissertation based on original research, DBA candidates must complete courses in ethics, scholarly writing, organizational behavior and management, statistics, economics, human resources management and business policies.

Information Technology Management

This examines information systems from a business point of view, including using information systems in business operations management decisions. Tools and terms of information technology are explored to provide insight into the use of computer data to manage an organization's materials, marketing, manpower and money.

Database Administration Management

This course relates data models to human resources, information technology and information systems. Students examine the progression of data collection, conversion and migration.

Information Systems Strategies

Students learn the underlying principles of effective information systems management. Traditional and current management concepts and trends are examined with consideration for future developments. Reasoned writing and critical thinking skills are emphasized.

Data Communications Management

Students investigate the transition from traditional communications networks to future telecommunications applications, including satellite tracking design and technical support engineering. Subjects include wireless, broadband and sensor networks and the social, economic and managerial issues of data communications transition.

Qualitative and Quantitative Research

By applying research methods, students develop skills for data collection and analysis. They become familiar with descriptive statistics, univariate statistics, data reduction, variance and covariance. By combining qualitative and quantitative investigative methods, students learn to ask effective questions in the analysis of collected data.

Career Information

Opportunities for MIS DBA graduates in the private and public sector include computer information systems manager, systems analyst and database administrator. The BLS anticipated a 15% increase - faster than the average for all occupations - in employment opportunities for computer information systems managers from 2014-2024. Systems analysts could expect faster-than-average job growth of 21% during the same decade, and database administrators job opportunities were expected to increase 11% - faster than average - over the same period (

As of October 2016, reported a national median salary of $82,060 for information systems managers. Senior systems analysts came in at $85,677, while the median for senior database administrators was $102,446.

Students who enroll in online doctoral programs in management information systems will find most programs very accommodating to students who have a full time job. Because of this, some programs may take up to seven years to complete.

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