Online PhD in Information Technology Management

Getting an online PhD in Information Technology Management (IT Management or Technology Management) can help students increase their body of knowledge in the area of management coupled with IT services such as computer engineering and networking technology. As more and more companies are conducting business online, IT management has become an increasingly needed skill. Managers in this field have a combined responsibility of ensuring productivity and strategic optimization amongst the operational information technology units or devices in the company. With this advanced degree, professionals within this field will focus on the technological, scientific, and engineering aspects of computers, such as Internet support, information networks, hardware and software design. It also concentrates on specializations such as Construction Management, Digital Communications, Human Resource Development and Training, Manufacturing Systems, and Quality Systems. The online PhD schools usually require a bachelor's degree in IT or management, but you may have to take prerequisite classes if your academic committee notices any absences of certain course requirements in your official transcripts. In general, an online doctoral program takes about two or three years to complete. Different programs will offer a variety of courses, but most online PhD in IT Management programs, such as Indiana State University's Technology Management PhD program, require a technology core, a research core and an internship for completion of the degree.

About Online PhD Programs in Information Technology Management

As with any PhD program, self-discipline and motivation are integral, but even more so when you are pursuing your doctoral degree online. A Program Planning Committee will assist you in planning your curriculum, but students must still be able to manage their time well. Course lectures are conducted over the Internet through streaming video, virtual classrooms, downloads and podcasts. Assignments and projects are also assigned and submitted over the Internet. Some schools may allow you to defend your dissertation over the Internet as well, but the majority of schools, such as Indiana State University and others, require that your dissertation be defended in person and on-campus. This is one reason why choosing a school in your area may be an important part of finding the right school and PhD program for you. Indiana State University's PhD program is actually offered in conjunction with four other universities as part of a consortium: Bowling Green State University, University of Central Missouri, East Carolina University, and North Carolina A&T.

Year One:

  • Introductory Research Methods. Through Indiana State University, this course concentrates on qualitative and quantitative research design. This requirement can be met through previous courses in introductory research taken at the master's degree level.
  • Impacts of Technology. This course analyzes the historical developments of technology as well as its characteristics and how it affects human adaptive systems. Future technological advancements are also explored.
  • Strategic Planning of Technological Processes. This class teaches candidates about planning and preparing for possible opportunities and threats within Information Technology through use of visioning, assessment, logistics, quantitative forecasting and structural design.

Year Two:

  • Technological Research Methods. This course is used to train PhD candidates in technological research as applied to industrial, government and social organizations and covers multiple models of conducting research.
  • Strategies for Technical Management and Communications. Using strategical methods employed by IT organizations, students learn how to solve problems interactively with an emphasis on synchronous and asynchronous methods.
  • Legal Aspects of Industry. This course studies national and international legal systems within constitutional, administrative, civil and criminal law. Ethical and societal responsibilities are also explored.

Year Three:

  • Advanced Statistical Analysis in Technology. This course approaches factorial experiments, analysis of covariance and other advanced test parameters and involved data interpretation via statistical analysis.
  • Technological System, Assessment and Innovation. In this course, candidates will explore local and international environments in order to study the assessment and innovation of various technological systems.
  • Residency Seminar. This on-campus advanced seminar focuses on the development of leadership topics within technology management. Two sessions of this course are required during the student's residency semester, with each session lasting a total of five days.

Nine credits of dissertation study are required for all candidates and must be offered by arrangement with the Chairperson of the Dissertation Committee. Some schools, such as Indiana State University may have a residency requirement which involves the completion of a portfolio which is first discussed with your advisor at the start of the program. Your portfolio must involve the work you have done within the doctoral program and not prior to your admittance in the program. Your portfolio must be approved prior to your dissertation proposal and are judged on its variety, quantity, quality, uniqueness, initiative, collaboration and independence. Most programs also require an internship. An example of a dissertation topic is “Accelerating the Development of Adaptive Thinking in United States Army Captains” which involves research conducted through the Human Resource Development specialization.

Value and Criticisms of a PhD in Information Technology Management

A PhD in Information Technology Management can help move you into one of the foremost leadership positions in the field of Information Technology in addition to increasing your earning power. Additionally, if you are interested in conducting your own research on a topic within the field and then applying your findings in the field or in academia, the online PhD is a fantastic way to earn the respect of your peers and will prove impressive to employers, putting you at the forefront of an expanding discipline. If you are interested in doing a PhD through a program that has an on-campus residency requirement, completing the rest of the program online may or may not be an option. Criticisms of earning a PhD in Information Technology Management include high tuition costs. Another criticism is that as technology advances, especially with the advent of social media as well as more and more people telecommuting, it is possible that management practices and tactics can change over time. PhD candidates should be mindful of whether or not their research findings or dissertation may become outdated over time.

Application & Admission Requirements

To be admitted into most PhD programs, prospective candidates must submit a completed application form, $35.00 application free, GRE or GMAT scores from within the past five years, original post secondary transcripts, and five recommendation letters. Prospective candidates must also submit an employment verification letter confirming three years of work experience, a current Vita, and a completed Career Goal Statement. Application deadlines vary between schools. For example, Indiana State University has set application deadlines on January 15th for fall entry and August 15th for spring entry, while other online schools like Capella University accept applications on a rolling basis. A bachelor's degree from an accredited university is also required, as are adequate test scores and undergraduate grade point averages. For acceptance to Indiana State University's program, work experience should be related to one of the technological specializations within the doctoral program, such as Construction Management, Digital Communication Systems, Human Resource Development and Industrial Training, Manufacturing Systems and Quality Systems.

Career Options & Job Market

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Information Technology managers can earn an average of $73,760 annually. The annual average salary of an online doctoral degree holder in Information Technology is placed around $120,000, but can increase considerably depending on the employer and PhD graduate's personal skills. Also according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the last two decades there has been a high demand for specialists in IT management. There will continue to be a high demand for professionals who possess knowledge in fields related to security databases, company computers and Information Technology management. The job outlook for managers in this area of expertise is expected to grow faster than the national average for all occupations at twenty-four percent. Despite this encouraging job outlook, it is expected that competition for these positions will be fierce. An online PhD in IT management can give you an edge on the competition as the level of research completed and experience will be appealing to employers.

Where to Find Information

  • Indiana State University Consortium PhD Program offers more in-depth information on this leading online PhD program in Technology Management.
  • University of Central Missouri Technology Management PhD Program informationAs one of the members of the PhD consortium offered by Indiana State University, some courses and advisors may be situated here.
  • Bowling State Green As one of the members of the PhD consortium offered by Indiana State University, some courses and advisors may be situated here,
  • ATMAE, also known as the Association of Technology, Management and Applied Engineering is the foremost professional accrediting organization for IT Management programs. This is an excellent resource while searching for the right online PhD program for you.

How to Get Funding

You will have to pay distance learning tuition fees depending on your program. These costs are usually much cheaper than the tuition with traditional programs. Financial aid and assistantships are also available, as well as fellowships that may require teaching or research requirements. Current employers may also be willing to cover your tuition with stipulations that you continue to work with them once your degree has been earned.

  • Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship. For third and fourth year PhD candidates, this fellowship covers full tuition costs for two academic years and provides a $28,000 stipend to recipients.
  • Dr. Clois E. Kicklighter Doctoral Student Scholarship. Established in 2003 by the Association of Technology, Management and Applied Engineering (ATMAE), this scholarship program annually awards $2,500 scholarships for students in doctoral programs.
  • Indiana State University Technology Management PhD Program. The school recommends contacting program coordinators about the availability of fellowships, which usually include a combined stipend of approximately $15,000. Assistantships are also available through Indiana State University or one of the four other members in the PhD consortium.

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 or ATMAE.