Online PhD in Information Technology Project Management

An online PhD program in Information Technology Project Management, or IT Project Management will train students in the elements necessary for the successful development and completion of projects involving data, computing and telecommunications. Students will become well-versed in project preparation, development, planning and controlling IT projects, supervising vital interfaces with users and retailers, matching development needs with system preservation. Students who enter this online PhD program should have a background in information technology as well as business administration. Entrepreneurship is one of the many important skills that an online doctoral degree in IT project management can help obtain. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an Information Technology Project Manager develops the requirements, budgets and schedules for their firm's information technology projects. Additionally, an IT project manager coordinates the project from development all the way through implementation and works with employees, clients, vendors and consultants. In most instances, a project manager will run a project that involves upgrading the IT system within an organization, such as the company's security, infrastructure, databases or network systems. While pursuing an online PhD in an IT Project Management program, students are expected to focus on research, leadership, risk management and project planning and execution.

About Online PhD Programs in Information Technology Project Management

Students who earn their PhDs in Information Technology Project Management online have the benefit of applying some of the techniques and methodologies within the field of information technology through their online learning experience. The “out-of-classroom” advantage has proven to be valuable as the scope of project management operations have continued to expand as businesses have gone global through the introduction of many technological advancements in the last few decades. Online PhD candidates are expected to develop projects that can be managed in ways that will deliver cutting edge solutions for growth amidst stiff competition in the market. Capella University is one online institution offering a PhD program in IT Project Management. All classes are available online through virtual classrooms, but students are also expected to attend three seminars as part of their residency. Capella University requires 120 credit hours toward the degree. Up to 32 of these credits can be transferred from another institution.

Year One:

  • Information Technology Research and Practice. A foundation course where students focus on the basics of technological research and examine current and emerging research processes and methods.
  • Survey of Research Literature in Information Technology Management Infrastructure. In this course also offered by Capella University, students analyze research literature associated with selecting, deploying, and operating information technology within organizations.
  • Information Technology Technical Foundations. This doctoral seminar focuses on a wide range of IT management topics and also assists students in practicing the basics of academic writing, critical thinking and research.

Year Two:

  • Advances in Information Technology. In this course, PhD candidates explore enterprise-wide systems, data warehouses, and network-based applications.
  • Quantitative Research Techniques. Students examine the foundations, methods and applications of quantitative research design, measurement and analysis.
  • Survey of Applied Research Methods. Students are asked to examine the issues related to management science research ethics and the role of the Institutional Review Board.

Year Three:

  • Advances in Project Planning. By identifying and evaluating project management research, students learn how to initiate, define and plan results-driven projects.
  • Advanced Risk Management. This course teaches students how to prevent, mitigate and manage project risks and identify strengths and weaknesses in project risk management research.
  • Program and Portfolio Management. Students must evaluate and apply program integration and portfolio management techniques as well as examine methods used to optimize the overall value of project portfolios.

As part of their colloquia residency requirement, doctoral candidates at Capella University online must attend three 3-day conferences before their dissertation is completed.

Value and Criticisms of a PhD in Information Technology Project Management

For anyone with an interest in teaching or conducting research for a business school or MBA program, the Information Technology Project Management PhD would be the highest level of education you could complete and can make you more appealing to academic institutions. Earning an online PhD in IT Project Management can also increase your potential earning power. In the business world, however, real-world experience beats doctoral research. One major criticism of a PhD in IT Project Management is that generally speaking, PhDs are more highly regarded in academia than in the business world. If your goal is to teach at a business school or within an MBA program, the PhD will be valuable and necessary. If you're hoping to earn a job at the top of a Fortune 500 company, however, the PhD will not carry the same weight that years of work and leadership experience will. While the business world will always see a demand for project managers, a demand for people with doctoral degrees in project management is scarce. The best bet may be to pursue the PhD in IT Project Management after several years of experience managing in a variety of projects so that your research can complement your hands-on experience.

Application & Admission Requirements

Most online doctoral programs require a bachelor's or master's degree in a field related to Information Technology Project Management, such as computer science, information science or anything within business administration. Prospective applicants without a master's degree, if accepted, will usually have to complete the equivalent of a master's degree as part of their PhD study. In addition to a completed application and transcripts, online PhD programs in Information Technology Project Management require that prospective candidates submit GRE test scores, recommendation letters (one of which should be written by a former or current employer), a résumé, and a statement of purpose. Applicants should also already have a breadth of knowledge and experience in computational proficiency. Earning a scholarship or fellowship may require additional admissions criteria, such as an interview or completion of courses in a specialized area of study.

Career Options & Job Market

Job growth for Information Technology Project Managers will be faster than the average for all other occupations, and job prospects should be excellent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Earning a PhD online in IT Project Management may also increase your earning power, particularly at universities. Doctoral graduates can also find jobs at computer systems design organizations; software publishing firms; data processing and hosting companies; management, scientific and technical consulting services; and healthcare organizations. Postgraduates with MBAs or prior business administration experience can move to the top of a company, possibly by securing a position as chief technology officer or chief information officer at an organization. Information technology projects are based on a variety of expertise support systems formed by a large group of personnel in most cases, especially in international companies. Postgraduates in the field of information technology are well aware of the sprawling opportunities that advances in information technology have recently created, so competition is expected to be stiff.

Where to Find Information

How to Get Funding

Earning your Information Technology Project Management PhD online will be cheaper than earning one at a traditional bricks-and-mortar establishment. Funding opportunities include Federal Stafford loans (which you can apply for by filing a FAFSA annually) or scholarships, fellowships and grants offered by professional project management or information technology organizations, such as the Project Management Institute or Microsoft. Although they tend to be more expensive, traditional bricks-and-mortar schools currently have more scholarship and grant opportunities for graduate and professional students. Capella University awards scholarships to students pursuing degrees in Project Management at $500 per quarter for four quarters. It is important to note, however, that the scholarship award may decrease a student's amount of available financial aid funds.

Essential Advice

  • Weigh your options and do the research. You'll need to know for sure whether an additional degree will increase your earning potential more than a bachelor's or master's degree in a similar field would.
  • Try to obtain a scholarship, fellowship or grant. Studying at a PhD level is costly, and you may not be able to predict how many years it will take you to complete it.
  • Talk to current PhD candidates and graduates about course load, time management, what admission materials they submitted, and so on. This is the best way to learn if the program is right for you.
  • Check the school's credentials. Once you find a program, make sure it is accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.