Online PhD in Applied Management & Decision Sciences

Dec 04, 2019

Essential Information

While Doctor of Philosophy programs in engineering management and decision sciences, typically known as decision sciences and engineering systems programs, are not found in an online format, they might prepare bachelor's-degree holders for careers that involve examining the ways in which organizations make business operations decisions. Some programs allow students to choose concentration areas, such as industrial and systems engineering or business optimization. To graduate, most Ph.D. candidates must complete a written dissertation on a topic of their choosing. Students must hold a bachelor's degree in a relevant field and meet GPA requirements to be eligible for these programs.

For those who are seeking a fully online program, a Ph.D. in Business Administration may be more appealing. These accredited programs offer flexibility, and individualized faculty supervision, with no physical residency requirement. Most of these programs offer a specialization in management.

Education Prerequisites

The majority of Ph.D. programs require applicants to complete undergraduate coursework, which usually means earning the minimum of a bachelor's degree. Some decision sciences and engineering systems programs require Ph.D. applicants to have already completed coursework in statistics, engineering economics and computer programming. Several Ph.D. programs also have minimum grade point average (GPA) score requirements.

Course Topics

Students learn ways of improving overall profits by reducing costs, and they also receive training for increasing company efficiency by eliminating inadequate systems or personnel. Ph.D. courses in engineering management and decision sciences cover topics in mathematics, computer sciences, business and engineering. Coursework may include:

  • Supply chain design and analysis
  • Computational optimization
  • Data analysis
  • Systems theory
  • Systems performance analysis
  • Decision technologies
  • Linear and nonlinear programming
  • Organization and management processes
  • Data mining
  • Decision analysis methodologies

Career Information for Graduates

Graduates should possess the skills to identify decision-making problems, create decision optimization protocols and set-up evaluation tools to monitor business operations. They often go into decision sciences field research for various industries, such as technology, economics, transportation and health care. Possible job titles for graduates to consider include:

  • Operations research analyst
  • Management consultant
  • Computer systems analyst

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment growth for operations research analysts is projected to be 26%, management analysts or consultants 14% and computer systems analysts 9% from 2018-2028 ( As of May 2018, the BLS stated that operations research analysts earned a median annual salary of $83,390, management analysts $83,610 and computer systems analysts $88,740.

Continuing Education Information

There are no higher degrees past a Ph.D., but professionals may pursue additional degrees and certificates to obtain industry-specific training. Information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed that workers in fields related to the decision sciences, such as operations research analysts, would need to stay on top of industry changes by participating in continued education courses and seminars ( Continued education coursework topics in this industry may include technology upgrades, business practices and legal issues.

Professionals may also consider earning voluntary certification. According to the BLS, those interested in consultant work might pursue the certified management consultant (CMC) program offered by the Institute of Management Consultants. To earn the CMC designation, applicants must meet experience and education requirements prior to passing written exams and interviews. In order to renew certification every three years, certified professionals must participate annually in activities related to education and professional development, outreach programs, ethics and work experience.

While doctoral degree programs in engineering management and decision sciences are not available completely online, related Ph.D. programs in business administration with a concentration in management are available. These programs teach students advanced business principles such as such as supply chain management, data analysis, programming, and decision analysis methodology.

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