PhD in Management Information Systems

Washington State University Carson College of Business

Program Description

PhD in Management Information Systems

Washington State University Carson College of Business

PhD in Information Systems

The Ph.D. in IS at WSU focuses on behavioral issues in MIS, enabling students to develop critical skills in both research and teaching, and therefore compete for, and succeed in, the best academic jobs in the country.

Admission Requirements

Candidates must reach a minimum admissions index score of 1250 to be considered for admission. The index is based on the formula GPA x 200 + GMAT. There is not a minimum GMAT score. However, sucessful candidates typically exceed 650. GMAT score report code 09D-TL-81 Pearson Test of English score report code: 8Z2-GT-38

General Competency

In general, students accepted in the program need to satisfy the following requirements:

• A Master's degree (M.S., M. A. in a related discipline, or preferably MBA), although outstanding applicants with bachelor's degree will be considered.

• A minimum GMAT score of 600 is recommended for admission (The scores of several admitted applicants in recent years are considerably higher).

• GPA higher than 3.25 on a 4.00 scale.

• Some technology-related background (educational or professional).

• Fit between applicant and faculty areas of interest, and also compatibility of applicant's goals with the doctoral program's goals

• Letters of recommendation

• Work experience (while not necessary, appropriate experience can make an applicant more attractive to the program.)

While applicants can have diverse profiles, an educational or business background that reflects an understanding and interest in information systems or computer science creates a stronger applicant. Students with an MBA or good business experience are preferred. Since the program is focused on producing research ready faculty that can be placed at peer or better research institutions, incoming students should additionally have both good written and oral communication skills, as well as a reasonable level of skill in mathematics to facilitate the mastery of research methods and statistics.

MIS is a profession that merges both technology and business, and as such, graduates from our program must show adequate understanding of non-MIS business disciplines, such as accounting, marketing, management, etc. Usually, these requirements are automatically satisfied by those coming in with a Masters degree in Business Administration. If there are deficiencies in this area, additional coursework beyond the formal requirements for the degree may be needed in order to successfully prepare for the comprehensive (or qualifying) examination. Likewise, a student with any information systems technology related deficiencies might also require additional coursework for adequate preparation.

Management Information Systems Major Field Requirements (18 credits)

Program requirements in this area are intended to develop proficiency in the student's major field of study. These requirements are focused on MIS Research and on MIS Core knowledge, and are shown below:

a) MIS Research (9 credits)

  • MIS 596: MIS Research Foundations
  • MIS 598: MIS Research Topics
  • MIS 599: MIS Research Proposal Development

In addition to the research seminars shown above, students must also demonstrate proficiency in the following courses, being registered for at least 3 of the 4:

b) MIS Core (9 credits)

  • MIS 572 Database Management Systems
  • MIS 574 Business Telecommunications
  • MIS 582 Systems Analysis and Design

Research Methods and Statistics Requirements (15 credits)

The purpose of these courses is to provide grounding for students in the area of philosophy of science, research methods, research design and statistics in order to assist them in becoming productive information systems scholars.

Students must take a minimum of 12 credits of statistics, which should cover topics such as design of experiments, ANOVA, multivariate analysis, regression, psychometric theory, and SEM.

Courses strongly recommended include:

  • Statistics -- Psych 511, 512, 513, and 514

Students need to get written approval from the MIS Ph.D. Committee in order to substitute (or waive) any of the above statistics courses in this series.

It is also required for students to take the 3 credit college wide research methods course, plus either a second (pre-approved) research methods course or an additional (pre-approved) statistics course.

Possibilities include:

  • Mktg 593: Survey of Research Methods

One additional research methods or statistics course from other disciplines.

Possible courses include:

  • Research Methods: COM 509, SOC 520
  • Qualitative Research Methods: SOC 523, COM 591
  • Psych 515 (Advanced SEM)

Supporting Field Requirements (15 credits)

The major field of Management Information Systems draws on numerous contributing disciplines for the purposes of research. In consultation with the doctoral student's committee, supporting doctoral level coursework may be selected from areas such as (but not limited to) research seminars in Psychology, Management, Marketing, Communication, Sociology, etc.

The above requirements may be fulfilled by taking appropriate courses from multiple disciplines, although there needs to be some degree of coherence in the underlying themes of the courses. Also, contingent upon approval by the student's committee, up to 12 credit hours may be transferred from previous work from accredited graduate programs.

Other Requirements (1 credit)

Students will also be required to take BA 598 Research and Professional Development Seminar (1 credit) that will be coordinated by the CCB Graduate Programs Office.

Comprehensive Exams

The goal of the comprehensive exams is to assess the student's overall mastery of the core body of knowledge in the field and the degree of preparation to undertake research independently or with minimal supervision. Specifically, the exam will test the student's knowledge in three areas:

• MIS core knowledge: MIS Core knowledge includes a thorough understanding of Systems Analysis and Design, Database Systems, Data Communications, and the management and strategic application of information systems to the organization.

• MIS research: The student should be able to demonstrate a very thorough understanding of MIS research, including explanatory theories and past research findings. In addition, the student is expected to demonstrate command over the relevant literature from his/her supporting discipline.

• MIS research methods and statistics: The student should also have an extensive knowledge of statistics and the research methodologies which can be employed to study MIS from a behavioral standpoint.

• Oral and Written Communication Skills: Given our focus on producing MIS scholars who can be successful at accredited, peer or better research universities, the student is also expected to show a high level of written and oral communication skills exhibited in the written and oral comprehensive exams.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated May 11, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2017
Full time
Start date Sept. 2017
USA District of Columbia, District of Columbia
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