PhD in Information Systems

On Campus and Online

An Innovative, Research-Oriented Doctoral Program

This PhD program is designed to prepare students primarily for careers as members of faculty in academic information systems units and secondarily as professionals in non-academic research and professional organizations. The program focuses on developing traditional technical and empirical research skills and is also characterized by four distinctive elements that enhance the traditional model:

  • A commitment to practical relevance
  • An emphasis on producing quality teachers
  • A research apprenticeship requirement
  • Interdisciplinary research

In addition, interested students can enhance their studies with an emphasis in global information technology.

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Program Objectives

Basic and advanced theory

Provide training in basic and advanced information systems theory and practice so that students master the technical and conceptual tools needed for conducting high-quality IS research.

Advanced, specialized training

Provide advanced, specialized training in a number of IS disciplines such as enterprise resource planning, global information technology, information resource management, artificial intelligence, data mining, data warehousing, e-commerce, knowledge management, and supply chain management so that students acquire expertise that can be applied in a wide range of academic, government and private sector environments.

Research experiences

Afford structured and supervised research experiences so that students develop the technical, conceptual, and communication skills that are required to conduct high-quality, independent research.

Provide instructional development so that students will be effective teachers.

Student Success

Universities recruit our graduates

Students graduated in recent years were invited by some top universities for faculty positions including Florida International University, James Madison University, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and the University of Toledo, among others.

Student publications

Current students in this program have papers published in top journals including Information Systems Research (ISR), Journal of the Association of Information Systems (JAIS), Information & Management (I&M), Information Systems Frontiers (ISF) and accepted papers in AMCIS and ICIS conferences.

Program Costs


Kathleen P. and Joseph M. Bryan Fellowship

This award is granted to both undergraduate and graduate business students based on academic merit. Numerous students receive aid from this fellowship each year.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition and fees for the Ph.D. in Information System (IS) program depend on whether you are an in-state or out-of-state student.

For in-state students, total tuition and fees are approximately $3,700 per semester. For out-of-state students, total tuition and fees are approximately $10,600 per semester.

For detailed information on all tuition and fee charges, see the Cashier’s Office website.


The program requires two years of course work, followed by a written comprehensive examination, an oral examination, a proposal defense, a written dissertation, and a dissertation defense.

While the coursework may be customized for each student in consultation with the Ph.D. Director, the major elements of the coursework include courses in the major (IS), supporting area, research methodology, and teaching preparation. The supporting area can be from within the Bryan School or outside depending on the research focus of the student. There are requirements for a research apprenticeship during the first two years and an organizational internship if necessary.

Students entering into the program with deficiencies may be advised to take additional “leveling” courses. Students are advised to work closely with department faculty and the Ph.D. Director in order to identify and develop research interests early during the program.

Core Courses (21 credit hours)

  • ISM 760 Contemporary Research Methods in Information Systems
  • ISM 785 Theories of Information Systems
  • ISM 786 Principles of Scientific Inquiry in Information Systems Research
  • ISM 788 Seminar in IS Research Methods

The above 4 courses are required and any 3 from courses below or other courses approved by advisor.

  • ISM 753 Information Systems Research Seminar I
  • ISM 754 Information Systems Research Seminar II
  • ISM 755 Information Systems Research Seminar III
  • ISM 756 Information Systems Research Seminar IV

Supporting Area (9 credit hours)

Courses are chosen in consultation with the Ph.D. Program Director.

Research Methodology (12 credit hours)

Courses are chosen in consultation with the Ph.D. Program Director. Possible courses include:

STA 661 Advanced Statistics in the Behavioral and Biological Sciences I (3 credit hours)
STA 662 Advanced Statistics in the Behavioral and Biological Sciences II (3 credit hours)
STA 671 Multivariate Analysis (3 credit hours)
ERM 682: Multivariate Analysis (3 credit hours)
ERM 731 Structural Equation Modeling in Education (3 credit hours)
ELC 664: Foundation of Interpretive Inquiry (3 credit hours)

Teaching Education (4-7 credit hours)

ISM 782: Practicum in IS Teaching
Courses are chosen in consultation with the Ph.D. Program Director.

Organizational Research Internship

ISM 783: Organizational Research Internship
Required of students lacking relevant work experience, as determined by the Ph.D. Program Director.

Research Seminars (7-8 credit hours)

ISM 789: Research Seminar Information Systems
A minimum of 7 hours taken throughout the program.

Research Apprenticeship

Two papers must be submitted for publication in conference proceedings or journals prior to taking written comprehensive examinations.

Comprehensive Exams

The major exam has two parts. The first part is composed of IS content from the various courses and elsewhere. The second part is designed to evaluate the research readiness of the student. Typically, the major exam is given once in the Fall semester and once in the Spring semester. If the student fails at the first attempt, a second chance may be allowed by the PhD committee/Director.

Oral Exam

Following the written comprehensive exam, the student is given an oral exam by a four-member committee. On successful completion of the oral exam, the student applies for doctoral candidacy.

Proposal Defense

The student will prepare a dissertation proposal, which will involve a thorough investigation of a basic and significant problem or question within the major area of study. The completed proposed research should be substantially original in research material and interpretation and make a contribution to the existing field of knowledge. The proposal would be defended before the dissertation committee. The defense may be attended by others outside of the committee. The dissertation committee will be comprised of four members: three from the department and one from outside, typically from the supporting area. The committee will be chaired by one of the major area members.

Dissertation (18-24 credit hours)

ISM 799: Dissertation
Upon completion of the dissertation, it will be defended in front of the dissertation committee. The defense may be attended by others outside of the committee.

Admissions Information

Prospective students interested in applying to the PhD in Information Systems (IS) program should use UNCG’s online application system. You can begin an application at any time, save the results, and return to complete the application at your convenience. Be sure to specify that you are interested in the PhD in Information Systems (IS) program. Please note that the Department of Information Systems and Supply Chain Management will not be able to view your application or make decisions on admission until your application is both complete and submitted.

The PhD in Information Systems (IS) program is available to students with master’s degrees in appropriate areas such as business, computer science, public administration, engineering, or the social sciences. Students without masters’ degree in business will need to take additional courses to establish an understanding of business processes.

Application Deadline

Be sure to submit and complete your application in full before the deadline.

Fall Semester:January 31


In addition to the transcript from a master’s degree, the admission decision is based on an evaluation of the following criteria:

  • GRE scores
  • Three letters of recommendation (from former professors or work supervisors, No letters from friends, family or colleagues not in supervisory roles)
  • Superior performance in graduate courses
  • A personal statement (One page, single-spaced that includes your background, goals, research, and reasons for applying to UNCG)
  • Resume (optional but encouraged)

If you have questions about these requirements, please feel free to contact us at or (336) 334-5666).

For information about additional university admission requirements and procedures, please see the Guide to Graduate Admissions. International applicants, in particular, should also see Graduate School’s International Application Requirements for important information. Any questions about these requirements and procedures should directed to The Graduate School.

Have Questions?

To learn more about the PhD in Information Systems program please contact Dr. Al Salam at

Dr. Al Salam

Bryan 427

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