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The PhD program in information systems (IS) prepares students for an academic career of scholarly research and university-level teaching.

From studying human-computer interaction, online reviews and social media design, to IS implementations and strategy, doctoral students explore real-world IS problems using a variety of methods, including surveys, experiments, archival data analysis, and analytics.

Message from the Coordinator

Monideepa Tarafdar

The Information Systems (IS) PhD takes a theory-inspired and practice-engaged approach to research, in order to understand how individuals, organizations and communities develop, design, use, and are affected by, information systems. We want our doctoral students to investigate relevant and interesting IS phenomena grounded in the IS discipline, and be intellectually curious, rigorous, critical and creative in their approach to research problems and research designs.

Research in our program targets the intersection of (1) implementation, design, and use of information systems, and (2) business and societal domains of their application, to produce research that can make a difference to theory, and practice and/or policy making. Our faculty’s research encompasses on a variety of technologies (e.g., ranking algorithms, social media and AI applications), domains of application (e.g., online communities and algorithmic work), and methods (experiments, secondary data analysis, surveys). Our course work focuses on a strong theoretical and methodological foundation in the IS discipline, combined with an understanding of how IS are applied to the pressing issues of our time. We investigate research problems that can make a difference to organizations and/or society, bringing to bear methods that combine the power of different kinds of data. Our goal is to develop outstanding researchers and teachers who will make substantive contributions to scholarship and knowledge creation, and to place them in academic research institutions.

Our doctoral program is successful because it offers:

  • World-class faculty who actively research, publish and shape-steer the scholarship in the top IS journals
  • Collaborative and creative intellectual community that supports doctoral student scholarly development
  • Comprehensive, rigorous and relevant coursework that equips students with the theories, concepts and methods needed to investigate IS problems
  • Individual attention from multiple faculty members to support students in early research endeavors and multiple publication opportunities
  • Preparation for the IS academic job market
  • Exposure to the IS research community from around the world through support for traveling to international conferences (AMCIS, ICIS, HICSS, ECIS, etc.) and on-campus research talks

We welcome applications from individuals who have a strong academic record, are eager to investigate, why and how IS are developed, deployed and used, and aim to pursue a scholarly career in academia. Relevant industry experience can be an advantage, but it is not a must.

Monideepa Tarafdar
Charles J. Dockendorff Endowed Professor and PhD Coordinator in Information Systems

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Callout Blocks

Students generally complete a PhD in Information Systems within 4-5 years, beginning their studies in the fall semester. Students must take 45 credits of coursework, building foundational knowledge in information Systems and Research Methods before taking minor and elective courses. The program includes a first year core exam (summer paper); a comprehensive examination generally taken after completing the second year; a 3-course teaching requirement and a dissertation.

Areas of Study

Research in information systems draws from a number of fields including psychology, sociology, human-computer interaction, computer science, marketing, management and sociology.  Topics of study include:

  • Theories and concepts in the IS discipline
  • Research methods (experiments, surveys, big data analysis, statistics, econometrics)
  • Domains in the IS discipline (e.g. Human-computer interaction, post adoptive use, negative psychological, behavioral and societal effects of IS, algorithmic work, artificial intelligence and related concepts, social media driven phenomenon and online communities)
  • Theories in psychology, management and sociology
Degree Timeline

YEAR 1: Coursework, including core courses; Core exam (summer paper)

YEAR 2: Coursework, including core courses, research electives and minor area courses; Comprehensive exam

YEAR 3: Development of dissertation proposal; Teaching; Additional coursework as needed;

YEAR 4-5: Dissertation; Teaching


IS Doctoral Candidates