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Washington State University
Carson College of Business Ph.D.: Management Information Systems Concentration

Ph.D.: Management Information Systems Concentration

We are no longer accepting applications for Fall 2021

This program focuses on behavioral issues in MIS, enabling you to develop critical skills in both research and teaching, and therefore compete for, and succeed in, the best academic jobs around the globe.

Admission requirements

A minimum admissions index score of 1250 is required to be considered for admission. The index is based on the formula GPA x 200 + GMAT (and a TOEFL of 580 for ESL students). There is not a minimum GMAT score requirement. However, successful candidates typically exceed 650. (A GRE score may be accepted in lieu of the GMAT if approved by the admissions committee. 81-85 GRE percentile equals estimated 630-650 GMAT score).

We prefer the GMAT, but we do accept the GRE test as a substitute. In either case, the exam must have been taken within 5 years of the time of application to WSU. A GMAT conversion will be applied to the GRE score submitted by applicants who take the GRE in lieu of the GMAT. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) provides a conversion chart. The converted GRE score will then be applied to the Carson College of Business admissions index score in the same manner as a standard GMAT score.

Desired prerequisites

In general, you must meet the following requirements to be accepted into the program:

  • A master’s degree (M.S., M.A. in a related discipline, or preferably MBA), although outstanding applicants with bachelor’s degrees will be considered
  • A minimum GMAT score of 600
  • A GPA higher than 3.25 on a 4.00 scale
  • Some technology-related background (educational or professional)
  • Interests and goals that complement faculty interests and the program’s goals
  • Letters of recommendation supporting your candidacy for admission
  • Work experience (while not necessary, appropriate experience can enhance your candidacy for admission)

While applicants may have diverse profiles, an educational or business background that reflects an understanding and interest in information systems or computer science is advantageous. Students with an MBA or business experience, in particular, are preferred. Because the program is focused on graduating students qualified to teach and conduct research at leading institutions of higher education, you should have good command of the English language, both spoken and written, and have a reasonable level of skill in mathematics to facilitate the mastery of research methods and statistics.

Because MIS is a profession that merges the fields of technology and business, you will be expected to demonstrate understanding of non-MIS business disciplines, such as accounting, marketing, management, etc. Usually, these requirements are automatically satisfied if you enter the Ph.D. program with an MBA. If you are deficient in any of these areas, additional coursework and preparation beyond the formal requirements for the degree may be needed in order to successfully prepare for the comprehensive (or qualifying) examination. Likewise, if you have any information systems technology-related deficiencies, you may need to complete additional coursework for adequate preparation.

Major field requirements

12–15 credits

These courses will enable you to develop proficiency in your primary area of study.

MIS research

12–15 credits
  • MIS 595: MIS Research Foundations
  • MIS 596: MIS Doctoral Topics
  • MIS 597: MIS Research Methods
  • MIS 598: MIS Research Topics
  • MIS 599: MIS Research Proposal Development

Research methods and statistics requirements

15 credits

These courses will provide you with a solid grounding in the areas of philosophy of science, research methods, research design, and statistics—knowledge critical for becoming a productive information systems scholar.

You must complete a minimum of 12 credits of statistics, addressing 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

You will need to get written approval from your advisory committee in order to substitute (or waive) any of the statistics courses listed in this series.

You also will be required to complete a 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 also is required. Possible courses include:

  • Research Methods: Com 509, Soc 520
  • Qualitative Research Methods: Soc 523 or Com 591
  • Psych 515 (Advanced SEM)
  • BA 598: Research and Professional Development Seminar

Supporting field requirements

3–6 credits

The major field of 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.

Taking appropriate courses from multiple disciplines may fulfill the above requirements, although there needs to be some degree of coherence in the underlying themes of the courses.

Other requirements

1 credit

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

Comprehensive exams

Comprehensive exams will be scheduled to assess your overall mastery of the core body of knowledge in the field and your preparedness to undertake research independently or with minimal supervision. Exams are evaluated based on the degree to which you demonstrate mastery of:

  • MIS research. You should be able to demonstrate a very thorough understanding of MIS research, including explanatory theories and past research findings. In addition, you will be expected to demonstrate command of the relevant literature from your supporting discipline.
  • MIS research methods and statistics. You should also have an extensive knowledge of statistics and the research methodologies that can be employed to study MIS phenomena.
  • Oral and written communication skills. Given our focus on graduating scholars who can succeed at accredited, peer or better research universities, you will be expected to demonstrate a high level of written and oral communication skills in the written and oral comprehensive exams.


Michelle Carter
Todd 440D

Program at a glance

Degree offered: Doctor of Philosophy
Number of faculty working with students: 5
Number of students enrolled in program: 11
Students with assistantships/scholarships: 72.7%
Priority application deadline: January 10

Universities and colleges employing recent graduates:

  • University of North Texas
  • University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • University of Scranton
  • Copenhagen Business School
  • Western Carolina University, and more