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In this ranking, we will be exploring the top online PhD programs in management information systems. Management Information Systems, commonly referred to as just MIS, is a field that is focused on bringing information technology and organizational processes together to help businesses and other organizations function. This type of degree program is where computer science meets business, and it can prepare you for a broad range of careers.

The main focus of this type of degree is to help organizations function more efficiently through the use of information systems. Instead of being primarily applied like a computer science degree would be, these programs have a curriculum that is designed to provide you with practical skills as well as a depth of theoretical knowledge. One of the best parts about this type of degree is that they have such a broad application. Many different organizations and different types of businesses rely on the expertise of MIS professionals to function. Someone with an MIS degree could work in business, healthcare, academia, and more. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in this field are projected to grow as much as 12% over the next decade, which is a rate faster than the national average.

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Management Information Systems Ph.D. Programs

At the Ph.D. level, degree programs in Management Information Systems are going to delve even deeper into technology, data management, operating systems, infrastructure, and more. However, PhD programs tend to be more highly specialized; they are more focused on either the career you’re working towards or the courses you’d like to go on to teach yourself.

MIS is a very broad field that encompasses elements of computer science, information technology, database management, and more. Due to that, there are more Ph.D. programs that fall into the field of Management Information Systems than there are PhDs in Management Information Systems themselves.

The topics that you’ll study at such an advanced level of MIS include innovation, management, decision processes, business database management, machine learning, network security, and more. There are plenty of doctoral degree programs that will cover this information, such as a PhD in Information Technology, Technology Management, Systems Engineering, and Information Systems. We’ve chosen to include all of those different types of programs here, as they all fall under the vast umbrella of Management Information Systems.

Earning a PhD in Management Information Systems Online

online phd programs, degrees in management information, MIS PhDEarning a PhD or doctorate can feel like a hurdle to many people because of the amount of time of the amount of money that they’re worried it will take them to accomplish it. What many people don’t know is that there is a range of PhD programs offered online, and they might be a great alternative for those who have these worries.

Online doctoral programs don’t take as much time as a traditional program. You will not be required to relocate at all, which means that you won’t have to worry about the costs of moving, you won’t have to give up your job, and you won’t have to follow a strict on-campus class schedule. Instead, you can earn your PhD or doctorate from the comfort of your own home as long as you have access to the internet. Many of your courses will be presented asynchronously, which means that you can get online any time of day to work on your classes.

There are some programs that have synchronous elements and that require you to attend campus at times, but even these parts of the program are designed to fit into the lives of working adults. Additionally, online PhD programs can be more affordable. There may be fewer fees or material costs, and online students are often eligible for the same tuition rate as in-state students.

When it comes to online Management Information Systems PhDs, there are not many programs that are traditional MIS programs available. With that said, there are plenty of degrees that fit into the field of management information systems. All of the PhD programs here will help you secure the management information systems career that you want, they will build on the knowledge you have from your previous degrees and work experience, and they will offer you a challenging and flexible curriculum you can take anywhere. All of the degrees featured in this ranking were selected according to the following methodology.


In order to create our ranking of the top ten best online Ph.D. programs in Management Information Systems, we started by creating a list of schools that met our qualifying criteria. In order to be considered, each school must be based in the United States, hold proper accreditation, and offer at least one online or hybrid program in management information systems or a related area of study. No for-profit schools were considered for this ranking.

Once we had gathered a list of schools, they were then scored out of a possible 300 points based on these three factors.

  • Freshman Retention Rate (⅓ final score)
  • Graduation Rate (⅓ final score)
  • Affordability (⅓ final score)

After each school was assigned a score, they were ranked in ascending order based on that score. The top ten are featured here.

All of the information used to rank the schools and discuss the programs was taken from the schools’ individual websites whenever possible. Additional information was also collected from reputable sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. News & World Report, and

We’d also like to note that we are confident that this is a transparent, thorough, and repeatable methodology. No school is ever awarded preferential treatment of any kind, for any reason, from OnlineCollegePlan. We are committed to providing students with an honest and informative resource where they can learn about the online degree programs available to them.

If you’re not quite ready to pursue a Ph.D., you may be interested in checking out an online master’s in management information systems.

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  1. MERIT: 231
    View Profile Average Cost: $26,462

    Ph.D. in Systems Engineering

    Colorado State University Management Information Systems PhDColorado State University offers an online PhD degree in Systems Engineering. This degree program consists of 72 total credits. All of the classes that you’ll need in order to complete your degree are available online; however, if you live close to the CSU campus or you’re the type of student that would benefit from some in-person interaction, you can choose to participate in on-campus portions in some classes.

    Another great feature of this program is that you have the option to take your courses in a synchronous or asynchronous format or even a blend of the two. You will have the opportunity to interact online while lectures are delivered on-campus, or you can watch recorded versions later at your convenience. You may have to attend the campus one time in order to graduate, and that is for the defense of your dissertation.

    This degree program will cover a range of topics like engineering systems dynamics, information technology, and project management, risk analysis, and more. You will take classes like Cost Optimization, Human Systems Integration, and Cybersecurity Awareness. Regardless of the industry, you can tailor this program to meet your needs so that you will graduate from this program prepared to solve the complex problems you may face and to drive innovation in your company.

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  2. MERIT: 231
    View Profile Average Cost: $30,930

    Ph.D. in Industrial & Systems Engineering

    University of Tennessee Management Information Systems PhDThe University of Tennessee is home to an online PhD program in Industrial & Systems Engineering. You can also choose to add a concentration in Engineering Management. This program consists of a total of 72 credits, and you can complete all of the degree requirements through the university’s distance program. If you have completed your master’s degree, you can prepare to complete around 36 credits in this program.

    This online MIS degree program is for those of you who want to work as industrial engineers. In this career path, you would be responsible for designing, installing, and maintaining complex systems that keep businesses running. You could apply what you learn in this program to a career in manufacturing, healthcare, finance, entertainment, or virtually any other industry.

    Students that live outside of Tennessee are eligible to pay a reduced tuition rate that is only slightly higher than what residents are expected to pay. There are no on-campus requirements. If you choose to add the Engineering Management concentration, you will still be able to complete your entire degree online. Students may need to attend the campus in person in order to defend their dissertation.

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  3. MERIT: 228
    View Profile Average Cost: $22,348

    Ph.D. in Systems & Engineering Management

    Texas Tech University Management Information Systems PhDTexas Tech University has an online PhD in Systems & Engineering Management that we have counted among the best online PhDs in Management Information Systems. This degree is presented in a hybrid format. Students will be required to attend campus for the first two weeks of the summer session in their first and second years in the program. In total, this program requires 72 credits for completion.

    Apart from the summer sessions, the rest of the requirements for the program can be completed entirely online. Courses you will need to take on campus are Research Methods in Science and Technology, Systems Management Global Environment, Advanced Theoretical Studies in Systems Management, and a Seminar in Systems Management. The remaining classes and all sufficient electives are available online.

    Online, you will study a range of topics, including operations research, decision theory, management science, productivity and performance improvement, and more. Despite not being a management information systems program in name, this curriculum is designed to cover the same key concepts that you’ll need to excel in any MIS career.

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  4. MERIT: 224
    View Profile Average Cost: $65,046

    Ph.D. in Systems Engineering

    Worcester Polytechnic Institute Management Information Systems PhDWorcester Polytechnic Institute is another institution that offers its degree in a blended format, which is not too uncommon for online doctoral programs. This is a PhD in Systems Engineering program that requires very minimal time on campus because it was designed to fit into the lifestyle of a working professional. This program requires a minimum of 60 credits beyond your master’s degree in order to graduate. You will also be required to complete and defend a dissertation.

    The school asserts that most of the program courses are offered online and that all of the required research seminars can be attended virtually. Students of this program will select two focus areas for their degree as well as complete a ‘research core.’ Additional components of the program include the Qualifying Exam, the Area Exam, and the Dissertation Defense. Throughout the program, you will also be encouraged to attend national conferences. The school will financially support your attendance.

    You will have the opportunity to take a variety of courses that will directly impact your future career. You will work with an advisor to tailor the program to your specific needs. Some examples of courses that you might encounter in this Management Information Systems PhD include Systems Architecture, Global Operations Strategy, Complex Decision Making, and Requirements Engineering.

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  5. MERIT: 222
    View Profile Average Cost: $24,425

    Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering

    Mississippi State University Management Information Systems PhDMississippi State University offers a PhD in Industrial and Systems Engineering degree program that is an online doctoral program. The program consists of a total of 68 credits. The majority of your credits will come from courses that you select with an advisor. This means that this is a program you can easily customize to fit your needs for whatever management information systems career you’d like to have.

    The only two courses that are listed as requirements are Engineering Statistics II and Systems Simulation I. Aside from that, the majority of your courses will relate to industrial engineering; then you will also take some focus area courses, electives, and do plenty of research. In order to earn your degree, you will be required to complete several exams and a dissertation.

    Some of the common areas of study that students choose in this program are management systems engineering, human factors and ergonomics, and operations research. Regardless of your area of study, there are no courses that are part of this program that would require a visit to campus. You can complete this degree entirely online.

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  6. MERIT: 217
    View Profile Average Cost: $13,786

    Ph.D. in Technology Management

    North Carolina A&T State University Management Information Systems PhDNorth Carolina A&T State University offers a rather unique online PhD program because it is one of several schools that offer a joint PhD in Technology Management in a partnership with Indiana University. This is a highly-customizable degree program that is made up of 90 total credits beyond your bachelor’s degree. A unique thing about this online management information systems degree is that you can enter it with a bachelor’s degree. Most PhD options require graduate-level degrees.

    The curriculum consists of several different components. These include a general technology core, a research core, a technical specialization, an internship, and finally, a dissertation. This is a very rigorous program, but you’ll be pleased to know that there are no on-campus requirements outlined on the program website. The concentrations offered in this program include Construction Management, Digital Communications, Human Resource Development and Training, Manufacturing Systems, and Quality Systems.

    In addition to choosing a concentration to specialize in, you will also have the opportunity to choose the classes that will advance your career or help you reach your goals. For instance, you can choose to take classes in e-commerce or internet security in order to fulfill your general technology requirements. This is a truly unique opportunity to earn a management information systems PhD online.

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  7. MERIT: 207
    View Profile Average Cost: $70,443

    Ph.D. in Systems Engineering

    George Washington University Management Information Systems PhDGeorge Washington University has an online PhD in Systems Engineering program that we have ranked among the best management information systems online PhD programs. This program requires a minimum of 54 credit hours for graduation and is designed to be completed in just three years. While this is an online degree, it doesn’t offer the same flexibility that many of the other featured programs do.

    There are two phases to this online PhD program. The first is what’s called the classroom phase, in which you will complete all of your required coursework. This program is presented in an entirely synchronous format. Classes are held on Saturdays at 9:00 am and 1:00 pm. Each class lasts for three hours. Distance students are expected to attend each class meeting through the online portal. In the event that you miss a class, they will be available online for later viewing.

    The second phase is called the research phase. This component of the program is when you will independently complete a minimum of 30 credit hours of research. There are three milestones used to measure your progress in this phase; these milestones are successfully passing a qualifying oral exam, getting an original article published in an approved journal, and successfully defending your dissertation.

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  8. MERIT: 196
    View Profile Average Cost: $41,112

    Doctor of Business Administration with a Specialization in Information Systems

    Liberty University Management Information Systems PhDLiberty University stands out in this ranking of the best online doctoral programs in management information systems because it is the only school offering a traditional business degree. If you pick Liberty, the degree that you’d earn is a Doctor of Business Administration with a Specialization in Information Systems. This is a 60-credit program that the average student can complete in three years.

    Flexibility is another thing that sets Liberty University apart. There are six different start dates that you can choose from throughout the academic year, and the university also has a generous transfer policy. You could bring as many as 15 credits with you to apply towards your degree. All of your classes are available 100% online and asynchronously, and each class is presented in a condensed format that lasts for only eight weeks. This helps you in two ways: you can focus on one class at a time, and you may be able to complete your degree faster.

    You will take business core classes that will cover human resources, professional management, marketing, economics, and all of the other important concepts that are fundamental to business. But, the specialization in Information Systems will have you taking additional courses like Enterprise Models, IT Infrastructure, Systems Analysis Modeling and Design, and Human-Computer Interaction and Emerging Technology.

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  9. Dakota State University
    MERIT: 193
    Average Cost: $21,407

    Ph.D. in Information Systems

    Dakota State University Management Information Systems PhDDakota State University has one of the best online PhD programs for students seeking a PhD in Information Systems. There are three specializations that you can choose from for this degree. Those are Analytics and Decision Support, Information Assurance and Computer Security, and Healthcare Information Systems. Regardless of your choice, you will need to complete a minimum of 88 credits to graduate.

    An additional note about the requirements of this program is that those students who have already earned their Master of Science in Information Systems could have as many as 27 credits waived. All of the classes you’ll need to take can be taken online. This program doesn’t require any visits to campus for you to complete your coursework.

    The average student, which is someone that enrolls having already earned their master’s degree and studies full-time, can graduate in as little as three years. If you have yet to earn your master’s degree, have a masters in an unrelated field, or choose to pursue your studies at a part-time pace, then it will likely take you more than three years to finish. This program, for all students, will culminate in a dissertation.

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  10. MERIT: 170
    View Profile Average Cost: $32,000

    Ph.D. in Information Technology

    University of the Cumberlands Management Information Systems PhDLast but not least in our ranking of the best online PhDs in management information systems, is the University of the Cumberlands. This school offers an online PhD in Information Technology that comprises 60 total credits. You can complete all of the requirements for this degree program online without having to attend campus. Additionally, this is an asynchronous program.

    Each student in this program is required to select a specialty area to focus their studies in. Options that are offered by the university are Information Technology, Systems Security (Cybersecurity), and Digital Forensics. If none of those suit your needs, though, you can also propose a unique specialty area as long as it is related to the core program. These individual concentrations are subject to approval by the program director.

    In addition to the 24 credits you earn from your specialty area, you will also complete 18 hours of core courses. Some of the classes you may take are Data Science and Big Data Analytics, Information Governance, and Enterprise Risk Management, among others. The remaining credits will come from the professional research component. This includes research and statistics courses, a seminar, and the completion of your dissertation.

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How Much Does an Online PhD Cost?

online phd programs, online phd in information, information systems managers, MIS programsAnswering any cost-related questions is always tricky. Online PhD programs are going to have different price ranges based on the field that you’re interested in, the specific school you choose, and a handful of other factors. In addition to the varied cost of PhD programs, each student is going to have a unique financial situation that will play a role.

The most recent report on the average cost of research-based doctoral programs is from the 2011-2012 school year; at that time, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that average cost to be $36,000. That number is representative of all programs though, not just online. Online degrees sometimes have lower costs, but some schools may subject online students to out-of-state tuition rates, which are higher.

Another point when it comes to determining the cost of an online doctoral program is that some programs offer funding packages for students. We are not currently aware of any online PhD programs that do, but these packages can cover everything from tuition to general living expenses. The best way to figure out exactly what you’ll pay to earn your PhD online is to use the calculator on your selected school’s website.

To reduce your costs as much as possible, make sure that you have filled out your FAFSA, explored scholarship opportunities, and talked with the financial aid department at the school you chose.

How Much Does a Doctorate Degree Make?

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It’s no secret that earning a PhD or doctorate degree boosts your earning potential pretty much across the board. No matter what field you want to work in, a PhD will distinguish you as an expert in that field, which almost always leads to an increase in salary. As of 2019, the average salary for employees with a PhD degree and less than one year of work experience is close to $80,000.

Someone who has earned a PhD in a STEM field can expect to earn even more. If you’ve earned your PhD in Management Information Systems, many of the careers you could pursue have very impressive salaries. The average annual salary of an Information Systems Manager is $91,587; for an Information Technology Manager, $97,461 and; for an Information Technology Director, $130,421.

Your level of work experience, area of expertise, and geographical location all play a role in determining what your salary will be; however, a PhD or doctorate degree is associated with higher salaries than any other levels of education regardless of the field.

Is There a PhD in Information Technology?

online phd programs, MIS programs, MIS phd, information managerYes! There are plenty of colleges and universities across America that have programs for a PhD in Information Technology. There are also schools that offer a Doctor of Information Technology as well.

PhD in Information Technology programs are offered both on-campus as traditional programs, and online as distance-learning programs. Each school will have something different to offer, whether that is a specific area of concentration, certain classes, or even a particular program structure. But, they will all cover a similar range of topics.

Some things you can expect to study as part of an Information Technology PhD program are technological assessment, technological innovation, digital communications, information systems, cybersecurity, human-computer interaction, and process optimization, along with so much more. A PhD in Information Technology is likely to consist of some core courses in IT, any specialization or concentration requirements, research courses, and then independent research. PhD programs also require you to complete a dissertation.

How Long Does it Take to Get a PhD in Information Technology?

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The average amount of time it takes to complete a PhD program is between four and seven years. In order to get into a PhD program, you need to have a minimum of a bachelors degree (average of four years); some may even require you to have already earned your masters degree to enroll (average of two or three years). So, in order to earn a PhD in Information Technology, it could take you as many as 15 years. But, you don’t have to take the average path to your degree.

Online degree programs have been steadily innovating since their inception in the early ’90s. Now, there are plenty of options for those students that want to earn their degrees at a fast pace. Accelerated bachelors and masters programs are designed to help qualified students breeze through their programs. Of course, this will still take a lot of hard work. Accelerated programs go by faster, which means you need to be prepared to study a lot so as not to fall behind.

The fastest you could earn such a degree could be as little as five or six years.

How Long Does a PhD take after Masters?

If you already have a masters degree in a field that’s related to the PhD you want to pursue, you’re in good shape. Having a masters degree in a relevant field can help you in multiple ways. Firstly, it is very likely that you have already completed all of the prerequisites; and secondly, the credits you’ve already earned may transfer so that you can apply them to your degree and have fewer classes to take.

Like we said above, the traditional doctorate program takes between four and seven years. In that timeframe, students will have a set amount of courses that they must complete, and that is followed by a period of research to complete a dissertation. Online PhD programs are changing the landscape of doctoral education, though. Some online doctoral programs can be completed at a faster pace than a traditional program.

Typical programs will take you three years to complete if you have already earned your master’s degree in a related field. If you choose a school that has a generous transfer policy, or if you are able to participate in an accelerated online PhD program, you might be able to finish your PhD in just two years.

Would You Like More Information?

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OnlineCollegePlan has a variety of online Ph.D. rankings in other fields if you’re ready to take the next step on your academic journey. Conversely, if you’re just getting started or are unfamiliar with the world of online education, there are some resources for you as well. You can check out the pros and cons of online college, learn about finding and applying for college scholarships, or take a look at the Top 100 Best Online Colleges in America. Best of luck to you, whether you are just starting online college or looking for the perfect online Ph.D. program to suit your needs!

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