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PhD in Computer Information Systems

A PhD in Computer Information Systems is a full-time program best-suited for scholars who want to pursue careers in education and research facilities. It equips you with the necessary knowledge and skills to perform elaborate analyses and reviews and publish your research in reputable journals.

Of course, you need to satisfy several requirements in the required field to qualify for a Ph.D. You get the opportunity to team up with fellow faculty members to conduct research and present their findings in conferences both locally and internationally.

This faculty allows you to major in computing systems but does not limit you to it. As a doctoral student, you will be required to research a wide range of topics that include the following:

  • Mobile platforms
  • E-Commerce
  • Social media
  • Privacy and security
  • Information economics and strategy
  • Healthcare management
  • Big data
  • Process innovation and IT-enabled services
  • Business analytics
  • Accounting
  • Strategic operations management
  • Managerial decision-making
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Economics

Admission Requirements

Like every other academic discipline, you need to meet certain requirements to pursue a PhD in Computer Information Systems. Primarily, you must have a bachelor’s degree or a master’s from an accredited institution. There aren’t any limitations as to the field of study you should have pursued before your application.

Your cumulative GPA must be at least 3.00 in the most recent 60 hours of your first bachelor’s degree course or a GPA of at least 3.00 in your relevant master’s degree course. Other requirements include:

  • Official transcripts
  • A graduate application form and application fee
  • Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) score
  • Proof of English proficiency for applicants who aren’t native English speakers, irrespective of where you reside at the time

Although it is not a mandatory requirement, applicants are recommended to have an MBA or master’s degree and at least two years of experience in a full-time job related to Computer Information Systems. You must also display prowess in using computer technology for analysis as well as strong mathematics and quantitative skills. Your bachelor’s degree must be in a field that is directly related to Computer Information Systems.

Coursework for PhD in Computer Information Systems

The degree takes 84 credit hours and requires an elaborate written exam and a dissertation before completion. At least 42 credit hours are dedicated to your doctoral coursework and 12 credit hours for your dissertation with an exemption of 30 hours from your master’s degree, depending on the institution you apply to. Additionally, some universities allow you to determine a workable study schedule with your program committee.

The degree coursework comes with a variety of areas to specialize in depending on your interests. They include:

  • Security and privacy
  • Technology adoption
  • IT-enabled services
  • Business analytics and big data
  • Information economics and strategy
  • Healthcare IT
  • Mobile platforms, eCommerce, and social media

Computer Information Systems Core Units

These are the primary units that build your basic knowledge before you can proceed to specialize in your field of interest. They are essential in equipping you with research skills at the doctoral level and include:

  • Analytical research
  • Philosophy of science
  • Information systems research themes
  • Organizational and strategic research

CIS Core Method Courses

These provide you with a foundation for the research methods you will apply to fulfill your dissertation. They include:

  • SEM and regression methods
  • Qualitative research techniques
  • Basic research methods

Computer Science Courses

Your doctoral program has to incorporate several computer science units. They are essential in understanding modern digital challenges and providing insight into what their solutions might be. These courses include:

  • Cloud computing
  • Computer networks

Computer Information Systems doctoral coursework differs from one institution to another so you should expect a few variations here and there. In most colleges, you may find yourself studying advanced research techniques in econometrics or statistics.

Elaborate Exams

The end of your coursework ushers in a session of elaborate examinations to determine whether you have acquired the required skills. These exams differ depending on your university but mostly, they comprise a written and oral exam.

Dissertation Requirements

A Phd in computer information systems is not complete without a dissertation. It is an excellent way to portray your research and analysis skills and is mandatory in most institutions. You have to justify your dissertation with an oral exam that is commonly referred to as a dissertation defense.


You have to meet your university’s requirements to attain candidacy. These usually involve passing the provided exams and successfully justifying your dissertation. Once you have satisfied these requirements, you will be notified by your college Dean. Most doctoral programs of this nature must be completed within 10 years or less, depending on your institution.


Your doctoral degree should equip you with impeccable communication skills to be expressed in writing. Although you may be called upon to make presentations of your research to organization shareholders or give a lecture at a college, your research papers must be coherent in their message. Your papers must be strategically organized and written to inform, describe, and advise the reader, whoever they might be.
A doctoral graduate’s best tool is their research skills. Whether you land a job at a private firm or a government institution, you will be called upon to research certain technological systems and provide actionable findings. As such, you should be able to come up with relevant research questions and break them down with the research techniques you have been taught.

Career opportunities

You will be spoilt for choice on what high-profile career to pursue as soon as you graduate with your PhD in Computer Information Systems. Doctoral degree holders in this discipline can work in the teaching, private or research industry with six-figure salaries to match. Here are some of the most common career opportunities for you:

Teaching and Research

If you choose to follow the research path, you will be continually designing, evaluating, and implementing various information systems. You will also be tasked with analyzing how the economy and various organizations related to technology.

This degree also gives you the required qualifications to become a college professor. Here, you have to perform your research and have your findings published in scholarly journals and books. Of course, your primary duty will be to impart knowledge to your students but it would also be your responsibility to stay abreast with trending developments in technology. As such, you must keep studying, researching, holding discussions with colleagues, and even attending related seminars. You can work full-time or even do research when you do not have sessions scheduled.

Private Sector

The private industry is said to be more lucrative in terms of salaries and if you are interested, that is a path you can comfortably take. You can work in financial organizations, tech companies, and consulting firms, or even start your own. Some graduates have even gone on to assume the following managerial positions:

  1. Director of IT operations
  2. Director of systems development
  3. Chief technology officer
  4. Chief information officer

Salary Expectations and Work Environment

A doctoral degree in Computer Information Systems is not easy to attain or cheap, for that matter. That is why you need to know that your effort and qualifications will be appreciated. As such, here are the average salary expectations for career paths in CIS:

Computer Information Systems Managers

On average, a CIS manager bags a salary of $140,000. Most organizations allow the flexibility of work on the premises or remotely. They have a job outlook of about 15% and are required to portray the following skills:

  1. Decision-making
  2. Organization
  3. Communication
  4. Leadership
  5. Analytical skills

Computer Information Systems Research Scientists

You can earn a salary of no less than $100,000 with moderate flexibility at work. Your job would entail working from a government office with plenty of time to work remotely when conducting independent research. The job outlook for this position is 19% with the following required skills:

  1. Attention to detail
  2. Innovativeness
  3. Mathematical expertise
  4. Critical thinking skills

College Computer Information Systems Teachers

Do you feel intrigued by the idea of passing on information and would like to influence the quality of future computer scientists? Become a professor! The job has an outlook of 8% which is quite low. In addition to your doctoral degree, you may need anything between 5 to 10 years of experience under your belt to land this position.

Working hours are flexible but unless in special circumstances, you are required to work on campus. We might also mention that it is the least paying, going by our salary estimates. Post-secondary CIS teachers earn an average of $82,000 and must display the following skills:

  1. Communication skills
  2. Writing skills
  3. Critical thinking
  4. Resourcefulness
  5. Research skills

Final Thoughts

Phd in computer information systems gives you a golden opportunity to change the world through research. Instead of sitting at a desk from morning to evening, you can engage in research projects that impact not only the IT industry but also the health and economy of your country. Whether you choose to major in research, become a college professor, or both, we can guarantee that you will never suffer a boring day.

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