In this article, we profile the top 20 online PhD in management information systems degree programs.
Employment of computer and information managers is projected to grow 12 percent over the next six years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) – Occupational Outlook Handbook. This is a faster-than-average growth rate than all other occupations. As companies and organizations expand their business to digital platforms, the need for MIS managers will increase. Demand for jobs also means a demand for qualified candidates with both education and experience.
Top 20 Online PhD in Management Information Systems Programs Methodology
We looked at 143 colleges and universities listed by the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) College Navigator that offered online graduate programs in management information systems or closely related degrees. From our original pool of schools, we narrowed our search by including only institutions that offer online PhD in management information systems or closely related doctoral degrees. We further narrowed our search by applying the following criteria: Regional or national accreditation, online or hybrid/blended completion pathways, and rankings (school or program) with a major publication like U.S. News and World Report. We then listed the programs and schools according to raw affordability.
Below is our list of the top 20 online PhD in MIS programs.
#20 – Columbia University
Online PhD in Computer Science
New York, New York
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $46,956
Columbia University in the City of New York offers a type of online PhD in management information systems. This partially online program is open only to students who have earned a master’s in computer science from Columbia University. In addition to the master’s degree, applicants must have three letters of recommendation, transcripts, a resumé, and a personal professional statement. Also, the GRE is required for admission. A total of ten courses are required. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank Columbia #3 in best national universities and #6 in best value schools. Also, the graduate engineering programs, such as the doctor of engineering in computer science, ranks #1 in the nation.
#19 – George Washington University
Online PhD in Systems Engineering
Washington, District of Columbia
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $29,840
One of the top online MIS PhD programs on our list is the online PhD in systems engineering at George Washington University. It’s important to note that the program is designed for working adults with online classes and Saturday meetings that mesh with a busy work schedule. The program takes three years to complete. Furthermore, courses are taught by university professors with direct research and application experience. These courses explore topics that include elements of systems engineering, trends and directions, and the integrative nature of systems engineering. Additionally, George Washington University is a top-ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks GWU #63 in best national universities and #68 in best value schools.
#18 – Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Online PhD in Systems Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $26,286
One alternative to an online MIS PhD is in systems engineering like the one offered at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The degree format is set up as a blended program with most of the courses delivered online. Required research seminars take place in a virtual classroom where all participants may interact with each other. A minimum of 60 credits beyond the master’s is required for the successful completion of the degree. In order to apply to the program, applicants must submit official transcripts from accredited institutions, three letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose. Additionally, there is no GRE requirement. U.S. News and World Report ranks WPI #59 in best national universities and #59 in best value schools.
#17 – Nova Southeastern University
Online PhD in Information Systems
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $20,419
Nova Southeastern University’s online PhD in management information systems requires a minimum of 64 credits that can be completed entirely online. The program is open to information systems professionals seeking advancement and career opportunities Courses delivered online include:
- analytics and business intelligence
- database systems
- information security management
- managing risk in secure systems
- social perspectives of information systems
Admissions require an earned master’s in a relevant discipline and a satisfactory graduate GPA. U.S. News and World Report ranks Nova Southeastern University #191 among the best national universities. Also, many of the online graduate programs have earned top 100 rankings.
#16 – Northcentral University
Online PhD in MIS
San Diego, California
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,526
Northcentral University’s online PhD in management information systems comprises 60 credit hours and 20 classes. The estimated completion time is 45 months for the PhD in management information systems online program. The program is designed for working adults who want to advance their MIS careers by developing strong business knowledge and conducting extensive research in the field. Through one-to-one mentorship from professors with doctoral degrees, students examine current trends impacting organizational information systems. The school is accredited and ranked by major publications. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks Northcentral among the top national universities.
#15 – Colorado Technical University
Online Doctor of Management – Technology Management
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,803
Colorado Technical University offers a PhD in management information systems online that requires 100 credits. The fully online Doctor of Management degree program is ideal for individuals who have earned a master’s in information technology. In addition, the program offers an online curriculum, multiple start dates throughout the year, and an opportunity to earn a doctoral degree in just three years. Some of the online classes include:
- advanced career strategies for the scholar-practitioner
- current topics in technology management
- leading technology change and strategic planning
- principles of research methods and design
Major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank Colorado Tech as a top regional university in the West.
#14 – The University of Tennessee
Online PhD in Industrial and Systems Engineering
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,084
One of the top online MIS PhD programs on our list is offered by the University of Tennessee. The PhD in industrial and systems engineering requires an undergraduate degree and strong academic background that meets the admissions criteria for the master’s program. The PhD journey includes earning a master’s degree in industrial and systems engineering. In addition to the undergraduate degree, applicants must also provide satisfactory GRE test scores. The program requires a minimum of 72 graduate hours beyond the bachelor’s degree, which does not include the master’s thesis. The school and its programs are ranked with major publications. U.S. News and World Report ranks the institution #115 in best national universities.
#13 – Old Dominion University
Online PhD in Instructional Design & Technology
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,904
Old Dominion University offers online MIS PhD programs, including the PhD in instructional design & technology. This 60-credit program is open to busy adults who desire to pursue individual interests in the design of technology-based instruction, human performance technology, instructional design, and quantitative and qualitative research. Students take live, regularly scheduled online class meetings and access course materials online from any location. The program is well-suited for working students who require a flexible learning format. Courses include advanced instructional design, cognition and instruction, and trends and issues in contemporary instructional design. U.S. News and World Report ranks Old Dominion #215 in best national universities.
#12 – Grand Canyon University
Online DBA in Data Analytics
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,555
Grand Canyon University’s DBA in data analytics might appeal to individuals researching PhD in management information systems online programs. The DBA, with an emphasis in data analytics, is offered fully online and provides a solid framework to build and evolve evidence-based theories and practices in the contemporary demands of a global economy. The program relies heavily on business intelligence, data mining and researching, and data warehousing principles. For those interested in a technological business degree, the DBA in data analytics is an ideal doctoral program. Courses include analysis of existing research, approaches to research design and data analysis, and using business analytics for competitive advantage. Your master’s GPA and GRE or GMAT scores are needed for admission. U.S. News and World Report ranks GCU #230-#301 among the best national universities.
#11 – Bowling Green State University
Online PhD in Technology Management
Bowling Green, Ohio
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,608
Bowling Green State University’s online MIS PhD program is open to working students who desire a flexible learning format. Students entering the program typically work full-time and seek high-level management in technology roles. TMany of the online classes are taught by university professors. These classes include advanced research methods, research design, research methodology, and statistical analysis in technology research. Admission requirements include a master’s degree in a relevant field from an accredited university with a GPA of 3.5 or better, GRE or GMAT results, and five letters of recommendation. U.S. News and World Report ranks Bowling Green State #215 in best national universities and #121 in top public schools.
#10 – Colorado State University
Online PhD in Systems Engineering
Fort Collins, Colorado
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,000
An online PhD in systems engineering like the one offered at Colorado State University might appeal to individuals researching online PhD in management information systems programs. The online PhD in systems engineering is a competitive program for working professionals. The program is designed for senior management and top-level executives and only accepts a handful of students each semester. Courses are delivered online and include dynamics of complex engineering systems, engineering risk analysis, information technology and project management, simulation modeling and experimentation, and systems engineering processes. The dissertation may require a campus visit. U.S. News and World Report ranks Colorado State University #140 among the best national universities.
#9 – Liberty University
Online DBA in Information Systems
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,723
For individuals bent with a business interest yet seeking online MIS PhD programs, an online DBA in information systems like the one offered at Liberty University is ideal. This 100% online doctoral program prepares graduates to excel in business through academic research and practical application and training. The hands-on DBA degree offers online classes taught by university professors. These courses include enterprise models, human-computer interaction and emerging technology, IT infrastructures, and systems analysis modeling and design. The program consists of 60 credits and takes 3.5 years to complete. This Christian university ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, Liberty ranks #230-#301 among the best national universities.
#8 – Texas Tech University
Online PhD in Systems & Engineering Management
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,849
Some of the top online MIS PhD programs on our list are systems and engineering management programs like the blended PhD program at Texas Tech University. The program prepares engineering management professionals for current and future leadership roles. While the program does involve two summer residency terms that require two-week stretches on campus, most of the courses may be taken online. Courses include advanced theoretical studies in systems management, decision theory and management science, productivity and performance improvement in organizations, and simulation models for operation analysis. In addition, all applicants must submit GRE scores and three letters of reference. U.S. News and World Report ranks Texas Tech #187 in best national universities.
#7 – North Carolina A & T University
Online PhD in Technology Management
Greensboro, North Carolina
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,731
North Carolina A&T University and Indiana State University offer a joint PhD that will appeal to individuals researching online MIS PhD programs. The online PhD in technology management can be tailored to meet specific career goals in management, business, IT, and information systems. It is important to note that classes are taught by doctoral professors with practical experience in the field of interest. These classes include e-commerce, internet security, and web design. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report ranked North Carolina A&T among the top universities. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school #230-#301 among the best national universities. Also, the online graduate computer information technology programs rank #38 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.
#6 – Sam Houston State University
Online EdD in Instructional Systems Design and Technology
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,575
One of the most affordable online MIS PhD programs on our list is the EdD in instructional systems design and technology from Sam Houston State University. The program consists of 60 credits and classes delivered entirely online. Additionally, applicants to the program must offer official transcripts showing the receipt of a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Applicants must also submit acceptable scores on the GRE and provide three years of teaching, administrative, or instructional design experience. Three letters of recommendation are also required for admission. U.S. News and World Report ranks Sam Houston #230-#301 in best national universities. Also, several online graduate programs rank among the top 50 and top 100 programs in the country.
#5 – Indiana State University
Online PhD in Technology Management
Terre Haute, Indiana
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,472
Indiana State University offers a PhD in management information systems online degree designed to prepare students wanting to pursue technology management positions in public and private sectors. The online PhD in technology management is a 66-credit hour program that requires one major area of specialization, while technology management may be chosen as a specialization. Students complete 18 credits in the major specialization area, along with credits in the general technology core, research core, and professional studies core. Admission requirements include a master’s degree in a relevant field from an accredited institution, a minimum GPA of 3.5, and results from the GRE or GMAT. Relevant work experience is also required. U.S. News and World Report ranks Indiana State #230-#301 in best national universities.
#4 – East Carolina University
Online PhD in Technology Management
Greenville, North Carolina
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,270
The College of Engineering and Technology at East Carolina University offers an online PhD in management information systems-related degree program. The consortium-based, internet-enabled PhD program offers online classes and five technical specializations. Students on their way toward a PhD in technology management can specialize their PhD by selecting one of the specializations. These specializations include construction management, digital communications systems, human resource development, manufacturing systems, and quality systems. Applicants must hold a master’s degree from an accredited university or college and provide official transcripts. U.S. News and World Report ranks East Carolina #194 in best national universities and #106 in top public schools.
#3 – University of North Texas
Online PhD in Information Science
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,165
One of the top schools with PhD in management information systems online programs is the University of North Texas. This accredited university offers a PhD in information science, which offers a flexible format and learning plan that can be tailored for most students. The program offers several concentration areas for further tailoring of the degree. Admission criteria include a completed application, a completed master’s degree from an accredited institution, competitive GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, and a completed personal statement. U.S. News and World Report ranks the University of North Texas #230-#301 among the best national universities.
#2 – Dakota State University
Online PhD in Information Systems
Madison, South Dakota
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,367
One of the most affordable online MIS PhD programs on our list comes from Dakota State University. The online PhD in information systems benefits students wanting to become researchers, professors, and IS directors or managers. Three research specializations are also offered and allow students to tailor their doctoral degrees. These research areas include analytics and decision support, information assurance and computer security, and healthcare information systems. Admission to the program requires an earned bachelor’s from a fully accredited institution, an undergraduate GPA of 3.0, and satisfactory GRE scores taken within the last five years. U.S. News and World Report ranks Dakota State #118 in best regional universities in the Midwest and #36 in top public schools.
#1 – University of the Cumberlands
Online PhD in Information Technology
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,970
The most affordable online PhD in MIS program on our list is offered by the University of the Cumberlands. The online PhD in information technology is designed for working students and professionals who want to work from home and complete a doctoral degree. The program covers a wide range of information systems and technology topics. Some of the courses include topics in big data, emerging threats to information technology and systems, enterprise risk management, information governance, and technology for a global economy. Admission requires a completed master’s degree from an accredited college or university with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. U.S. News and World Report ranks the school #230-#301 in best national universities.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I do with an online PhD in management information systems?
Management information systems managers, typically those with online PhD in management information degrees, plan, coordinate, and direct computer and information technology-related activities within an organization. They are responsible for managing teams of specialists and implementing and meeting computer systems and information systems goals.
Specific job duties vary with the job title. Below are some of the most common roles for individuals with a PhD in management information systems:
Chief information officer (CIO): CIOs often focus on a specific area of information systems, such as electronic data processing or information security. CIOs manage teams of specialists and are responsible for meeting information goals. They oversee the implementation of a company’s technology and coordinate teams of IT specialists to carry out and meet goals.
Chief technology officer (CTO): CTOs evaluate new technology within an organization. They determine how to best use the new technology and work with CIOs on implementation. CTOs generally have more technical experience than CIOs.
IT/IS director: IT or IS directors, including management information systems (MIS) directors, supervise employees and take charge of an organization’s information technology department.
IT/IS security manager: The role of an IT/IS security manager is to oversee an organization’s network and data security. Working typically with top executives, the role of the IT security manager is to promote a culture of information security throughout departments and the overall organization.
What is the career outlook for individuals with an online PhD in management information systems?
The Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a favorable career outlook for computer and information systems managers. In fact, a 12 percent projected growth rate through the year 2026 reveals a faster rate than most other occupations. Related careers, such as operations specialties managers, also show a favorable growth rate higher than 10 percent.
BLS indicates employment growth will result from the need to fill job openings as firms and organizations expand their operations to digital platforms. In general, information systems managers will oversee the responsibilities for implementing these expansion goals.
Also, an increase in cybersecurity and overall IT security within an organization’s departments will require additional personnel. With the popularity for cloud computing growing, IT and IS managers will be needed.
Over the next several years, we should see a continued shift in IT services from IT departments in non-technology companies, such as schools, healthcare operations, and financial firms. This shift will open up more job opportunities as these companies and organizations hire managers to oversee cybersecurity and IT departments in-house.
The overall job outlook for individuals with an online PhD in management information systems is favorable, in both private and public sectors. As the demand for IT and IS managers increases, highly educated experts will be needed to train students for roles as information systems managers.
What will I earn with an online PhD in management information systems?
The United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the median annual wage for computer and information systems managers in 2017 was $139,220. BLS also reports the lowest ten percent of management information systems managers earned less than $84,000, and the highest ten percent earned more than $208,000.
Most information systems managers work full-time. Depending on company culture and issues that arise, management may be needed to work more than forty hours a week. Most of the time, managers spend time working with teams and meeting to develop solutions to problems. BLS surveyed that in 2016, approximately one in three computer and information systems managers worked more than forty hours per week.
PayScale, a global compensation research organization, also determines average salaries for individuals with PhDs in management information systems. According to PayScale, the average salary for an individual with a PhD in MIS is $121,000.
Years of experience impact compensation. The more experienced an individual is, the more money they will likely make. The industry rewards hard work and education. Also, the more experience, the more advancement opportunities. Top-level industry professionals with years of experience generally occupy senior management positions.
How long does it take to earn an online PhD in management information systems?
Students enrolled in online PhD in management information systems programs should expect to spend two to four years completing the requirements for the degree. Traditional PhD programs take four to six years, though time may be cut off by enrolling in an online doctoral program.
While completion time varies with programs, enrollment impacts the duration of time required. Full-time or part-time enrollment can either shorten or lengthen the time required to earn a PhD in management information systems online degree. The pathway is shorter for full-time students. Part-time enrollment takes an average of 12-18 months longer to complete degree requirements than full-time enrollment. The average part-time online PhD in management information systems program takes 48 months to complete, while a full-time program takes 36 months on average.
Another factor impacting completion time is research. Non-thesis PhD programs exist and do not require the extensive research required of dissertation and thesis programs. This does not mean a non-thesis pathway to a PhD will require no research. Many non-thesis programs require a research paper.
Accelerated online PhD in management information systems programs also exist, though are uncommon. These programs provide a fast-paced work environment that allows students to earn a PhD in approximately 18-24 months.
What are the admission requirements for an online PhD in management information systems?
Generally speaking, admission requirements for an online PhD in management information systems are similar. PhD programs look for qualified students with academic promise.
According to many of the online PhD in management information systems programs on our list, a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university is the first step toward admission eligibility. Some programs, however, ask for more education. Programs might require a master’s degree in management information systems or a closely related field of study. The programs on our list ask for regional or national accredited bachelor’s and/or master’s degrees. Also, programs that offer a terminal master’s along the PhD journey do not typically ask for a master’s degree at the time of admission. If your degree is pending, programs will often accept a letter from your institution’s registrar listing the anticipated date of graduation.
GRE or GMAT test scores are often required by top-ranked MIS programs. However, not all programs require graduate examinations. Some programs will waive the GRE requirements when an applicant shows promise. If an applicant offers an undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or better, the GRE requirement may be waived.
Additional admission requirements for online PhD in management information systems programs include letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, writing samples, and work experience.
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