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

Ph.D.: Management Information Systems Concentration

Currently accepting applications for Fall 2019

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

18 credits

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

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, you must also demonstrate proficiency in the following courses.

MIS core

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

Supporting field requirements

15 credits

This coursework will provide you with the expertise necessary to conduct high-quality research in your chosen field. Because the discipline of Management Information Systems draws on the expertise of a number of other fields, you will compete research seminars selected in consultation with your advisory committee in areas such as (but not limited to) psychology, management, marketing, communication, sociology, etc.

You may meet these requirements by completing appropriate courses in multiple disciplines. There should be some related underlying themes connecting the courses selected. Also, contingent upon the approval of your advisory committee, you may transfer up to 12 credit hours completed in other accredited graduate programs to the WSU Ph.D. program.

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

Other requirements

1 credit

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. The exams will test your knowledge in four areas:

  • MIS core knowledge. This 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. 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 from a behavioral standpoint.
  • 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.


Robert Crossler
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
Washington State University