Information Systems Major

PhD students in IS are required to complete at least 46 credits of coursework, as outlined below. Students generally complete their major coursework within their first two years in the program. During the summer after the first year, students work on a summer research project. A paper based on that project is submitted and presented to the faculty during the Fall of the 2nd year. After completing all relevant coursework, students take a comprehensive exam at the beginning of the third year. Following successful completion of the comprehensive exam, students commence work on their dissertation research. The dissertation is an independent research project conducted by the student under supervision of a dissertation committee, assembled by the student. Research interests of the current faculty include technical, behavioral, organizational, and social issues related to information systems. Students may, in their dissertations, choose to pursue any of these avenues.

Required Courses in the Major (18 credits):

Specific course numbers may change between semesters. The most recent designation for each course is shown below.


Social and Behavioral Research in Information Systems


Research Methods in Information Technology


Strategic Management of Information Technology


Information Systems Economics


Current Topics in IS research (taken twice, in the Fall of 1st and 2nd years)

Research Methodology (12 credits):


Applied Microeconomics


Applied Regression

BMGT 882

Applied Multivariate Analysis I

BMGT 883

Applied Multivariate Analysis II

Students should consult with their advisor to determine other methods training needed for their research. Students may substitute courses on a case-by-case basis when approved by the IS PhD program director, in consultation with the student’s advisor.

DO&IT Seminar (4 credits):


Research in Decision, Operations, & Information Technologies (1 credit, taken 4 times)

Minor (12 credits):

4 courses in the minor, determined in consultation with the student’s advisor and the IS PhD program director.

Other Requirements:

Incoming students will attend MathCamp before the start of their first year. This requirement can be waived if the student demonstrates sufficient math skills.

Any student admitted without a sufficient technology background will be required to take at least two technology-related classes, generally BUDT 620 and one other MBA-level course. These courses will be determined in consultation with the IS PhD program director.

Admission to Candidacy:

To be admitted to candidacy students must successfully complete all coursework in the major (including methods courses and 4 credits of the DO&IT Seminar), the first year summer paper, and the comprehensive exam.

Recommended Schedule and Milestones for the Information Systems PhD

Year and Semester


Year 1, Semester 1

Complete BMGT808I Information Systems Research
Complete BMGT808G Microeconomics
Complete either BMGT808L Technology Artifact in Information Systems Research (o) or BMGT808A E-Commerce and Supply Chain Management (e),
Work on research assistantship with faculty
Plan to extend research on seminar papers

Year 1, Semester 2

Complete BMGT808I Research Methods in Information Technology
Complete BMGT808X Applied Regression
Complete either BMGT808D Strategic Management of Information Technology (e) or BMGT808D Information Systems Economics (o)
Work on at least one publication for submission to a conference

Year 1, summer

Conduct independent research with faculty advisor and write paper for presentation in year 2

Year 2, Semester 1

Complete either BMGT808L Technology Artifact in Information Systems Research (o), or BMGT808D Information Systems Economics (e)
Complete BMGT882 Applied Multivariate Analysis I
Complete one course in the minor
Begin work on a paper for submission to a journal

Year 2, Semester 2

Complete either BMGT808D Strategic Management of Information Technology (e) or BMGT808D Information Systems Economics (o)
Complete BMGT883 Applied Multivariate Analysis II
Complete one course in the minor
Prepare to submit journal article by the end of summer

Year 2, summer

Prepare for comprehensive examinations
Develop preliminary ideas for a dissertation topic

Year 3, Semester 1

Complete one course in the minor
Conduct research for dissertation proposal
Begin work on second journal article
Teach one undergraduate course here or next semester

Year 3, Semester 2

Complete one course in the minor
Defend proposal

Year 3, summer

Conduct dissertation research
Submit second journal article

Year 4, Semester 1

Complete enough of dissertation to be able to interview at the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS) in December

Year 4, Semester 2

Complete enough of dissertation to be able to give a job talk by January

Year 4, Summer

Finish and defend dissertation; prepare articles from dissertation


For academic issues, contact:
Prof. Siva Viswanathan 
Professor of Information Systems 
Coordinator, IS Phd Program 
Phone: 301-405-8587 

For admission issues, application status, or other questions, please email or call 301-405-2214.

Information On Choosing a Doctoral Program

How should a potential applicant choose among the large number of PhD programs in information systems and related fields? You can find considerable information about doctoral programs on AISNET.

At universities like Maryland, the PhD program concentrates on research, and it is important for you to be excited by the prospects of a career as a researcher when considering doctoral studies.

In evaluating schools, the first question is what kind of research does the IS faculty conduct? Are faculty members prominent in the field, are they currently involved in leading-edge research and are they publishing their results? You can learn a great deal from looking at faculty research pages on different schools' websites. (We are pleased that a recent editorial in MISQ (Sept. 2001) rated Maryland's information systems group as one of the top in the country.) Schools have different emphases in their programs, for example, one school may focus on looking at information systems from an economics perspective while another might focus on technology. Maryland has a diverse group of IS faculty with interests in managerial, economics and technical areas.

You also might want to consider the size of the IS faculty; a larger, more diverse faculty can support research in many different areas, giving you a wide choice in dissertation topics.

Location is another consideration, especially if you are interested in field research. A school in a major metropolitan area offers greater access to businesses and potential research sites.

A good way to learn more about a school is to send email to faculty members with questions about the school and their research. You can also gain an interesting perspective by sending email to doctoral students who are currently enrolled in the PhD program.

Prof. Siva Viswanathan
Coordinator, IS PhD Program