This ranking was updated in November 2020. The 2020 updates may affect the ranking order, but the list remained in the original ranking order.
Does improving the effectiveness of a business sound like something you would love to do for a living? Would you love to research systems and processes that could improve business? If you have a background in business and are interested in how technology, the management of people, operating systems, and business processes all work together, then an online doctorate in management information systems might be your next scholastic step. Upon graduation from the program, your skillset will be invaluable to maximizing a company’s business potential, therefore giving you a competitive edge when you begin looking for positions in your field. You’ll be ready to take on a career in the business workplace, or as a consultant or professor if you desire that path. While there are many online PhDs in business administration, for this ranking, we focused on affordable online schools that either had a direct major in MIS or had a concentration available. Below you will see our picks for the most affordable online PhD programs in management information systems for 2019. They are not ranked in order of importance, but rather by tuition cost, with #1 being the cheapest online PhD degree in MIS.
#3 University of Illinois at Chicago
Online Doctor of Philosophy in Management Information Systems
Graduate Enrollment: 10,683
With over 31,000 students across 15 colleges and distance education, the University of Illinois is Chicago’s only public research university that has an impressive 18:1 student-faculty ratio. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, the University of Illinois at Chicago offers an online PhD in Management Information Systems. To be admitted to the program, students must have completed the GRE within 5 years of the application date. Unlike many programs, there are no restrictions on the bachelor’s degree field. The only requirement is that the student has taken courses in math and business. Sample classes include Risk Management, Statistical Quality Control and Assurance, Supply Chain Analytics and Decision Models, Vendor Management, and Query Processing in Database Systems. Students will complete 32 credit hours towards their dissertation, which they will write utilizing original, content-related research. All students will undergo an annual evaluation and preliminary exam.
Out-of-State Graduate Tuition: $27,566
#2 Northcentral University
PhD in Business Administration -Management Information Systems concentration
Graduate Enrollment: 11,058
Because Northcentral University is strictly an online graduate university, they have the opportunity to hone in on specific groups of studies and provide a quality, innovative education that prepares passionate professionals to excel in their respective careers. Accredited by the Senior College and University Commission, Northcentral University offers an online, research-based PhD in Business Administration with a concentration in Management Information Systems (MIS). In this 60-credit program, students will take 20 courses and can expect to complete the program in about 45 months. Students will take advanced business courses that specialize in the MIS field that address topics like organizational information systems and information management strategies. Students enrolled in the program will work with LAN/WAN database systems. Northcentral University has many benefits including weekly start dates, maximum schedule flexibility, no group assignments, and one-on-one interaction with a personalized mentor.
Graduate Tuition: $11,064
#1 Liberty University
Online DBA with a specialization in Information Systems
Graduate Enrollment: 38,461
Located in the Lynchburg, VA, Liberty University is a non-profit Christian institution that desires to impact the world through its dedication to a comprehensive, quality education. As the most affordable graduate tuition on this list, Liberty University offers a cheap online DBA degree with a concentration in information systems. In this 60-credit program, classes will follow an 8-week format, and students can earn their degree in 3.5 years. Because this program results in a business degree, students will receive advanced coursework in business principles, but will also focus on the information systems perspective within that framework. Coursework for the program includes Enterprise Models, IT Infrastructure, Systems Analysis Modeling and Design, and Human-Computer Interaction and Emerging Technology. With an online education being ranked consistently in the top 5, Liberty University provides an affordable, quality education you can trust. Liberty University is accredited by SACSCOC. It is important to note that in order to be admitted to the program at Liberty, a student’s master’s degree must be accredited by ACBSP or AACSB.
Graduate Tuition: $22,747
What is a Doctorate Degree in Management Information Systems?
A doctoral degree in management information systems is the highest level of study of a company’s technological information systems and the management and organization of its people. The goal for professionals in this field is to develop systems and processes that ultimately create profit and increased value for the company. The information gathered helps business executives make informed decisions. A PhD or DBA in this area of study will allow graduates to teach at the university level, conduct innovative research, or work in high-level corporate or business positions.
1. How long does it take to get a doctorate degree in Management Information Systems?
Doctorate degrees are much different than master’s degrees, and usually have longer programs, ranging anywhere from 3.5-5 years. The benefit of dedicating that kind of time to a discipline is that you become an expert in your field, holding the highest degree possible. Most programs have mandatory time limits for finishing the degree, with some as generous as 7-8 years. If you plan to take your time getting your doctorate degree, make sure to check your given program to confirm that it fits within your timeframe. It is important to note that in order to get a PhD in MIS, you must also hold both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in a related business field. If you do not have a previous degree in business, the University of Illinois at Chicago might be a wise choice for you, as that program doesn’t have any requirements for degree majors, other than some math and business course prerequisites.
2. Are online doctoral programs good?
While some students may be concerned that an online degree may not hold the same weight as a traditional degree, as culture changes, employers are thinking less about the nature of the degree and more about the total package of the applicant. In fact, most online doctoral MIS programs are geared toward working professionals, so employers understand that students are juggling work and school at the same time, which could say a lot about your ability to manage schedules and work under pressure. And because online education requires a high amount of self-discipline, completing the degree can be a sign of a hard worker that would be an asset to any business’ staff. The flexibility of online education is also something to consider, as it would allow you to continue to work if necessary.
3. Are there any management information systems programs that do not require a GRE/GMAT for admission?
Most programs do require a certain score on the GRE/GMAT for admission. Even if you find a program that does not require standardized testing for admission, it may be important to remember that most master’s degree programs require the GRE or GMAT. If you’ve already taken the test for admission to that program, you might be eligible to use your score towards admission to a doctoral program, as long as it fits within the given timeframe.
4. Are there any online doctorate degrees in MIS that do not require a dissertation?
This seems to be a complicated and controversial topic, but the short answer is yes, there are some online doctoral programs that do not require a dissertation. While all of the programs on this list require a dissertation in the last few semesters of the curriculum, you could potentially find a related program that does not require one. The thought process here would be that these programs are designed specifically for professionals in the given field, and therefore, the dissertation is replaced with research or capstone projects instead of a dissertation. However, you will want to consider what your goals are. Is it important to your career aspirations to have a well thought out and targeted dissertation? Does that give you merit or specific credit in your desired field? Do you feel like your degree will be taken seriously if you don’t have a completed dissertation? There isn’t a right or wrong answer here; in most situations, people understand that the nature of education is changing. The decision is up to you!
5. Are all online doctorate programs in MIS accredited?
No, not all online doctoral programs are accredited. However, every program on this online MIS rankings list is accredited. While it may not be a requirement to attend an accredited school for your future job plans, it is definitely something to consider when finding the right program. Accredited institutions have standards to adhere to, and the accreditation mark certainly vouches for the validity of the program. Programs on this list are accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
6. Are there online MIS programs with no prerequisites?
No, all online and traditional doctoral programs require both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. In most cases, schools require the degrees to be in a related business field. Double check the details of your program to make sure your current degrees will be the right fit for admission.
7. How much do online doctorate MIS programs cost?
While the cost of education is rising, you can still find schools with reasonable and affordable tuitions. All of the programs on this list are under $24,000 with Liberty University coming in at #1 with yearly tuition coming in at just under $8,000. When considering which school to choose, you’ll need to weigh the benefits and flexibility of the program with the yearly tuition and decide which is the best fit for your needs!
8. How can I pay for my online doctorate degree?
Making room in your budget for school costs can be daunting. But luckily, there are many scholarships and financial aid options available. Most schools have information on their websites to help guide you in that process. For military service members, many schools have tuition discounts or special scholarships available, so make to sure to look for those in your search. Another option is to talk to the institution where you currently work. Some have tuition reimbursement programs, where they will pay for your education, and you can pay them back through working contracts. In addition, many schools require PhD students to be teaching assistants, which could also aid in lowering tuition costs.
9. Are there any doctorate MIS programs that are accelerated?
None of the online MIS programs on this list are accelerated, and most take 3.5-5 years to complete. If you decide to get your doctorate degree, it will certainly be a long-term commitment, so make sure you are ready to take on that extra load before you apply to a program. More important than anything else will be the flexibility of the program you choose and whether or not the terms of it will fit into your lifestyle well. Things to consider will be the length of classes and the format of the classes (asynchronous and synchronous).
10. Does the location of the school matter for my online degree?
If you are taking a 100% online doctorate MIS program, the location of the school will not matter, as all coursework will be submitted online. However, some degree programs offer blended options or have mandatory orientation or seminar requirements, so make sure to check the details of your program before fully committing. Other students might prefer to live geographically close to their chosen school for support in advising or practicum placements. That decision will be completely up to you and what you prefer. Note that many schools do have online advising and student support, as well as video/Skype capabilities with faculty and mentors. But if face-to-face support is important to you, choosing a school near to you might be a wise choice.
Degree Concentration Types
The degrees mentioned in this rankings list include:
Doctor of Business Administration (DBA): This higher level degree focuses on the advanced study of business administration and will help you learn to solve business-related problems. This DBA degree most likely has a concentration in a related management information systems field and would be ideal for professionals who desire to advance a business, consulting, or teaching career within MIS.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD): This degree is geared more towards the students who desire to become an expert in the field as a professor or researcher. However, graduates with a PhD are not limited to that path.
While there are a plethora of business administration degrees that generally touch on MIS, most of those degrees are very general. For this rankings list, we only chose schools that are online, affordable, and have a direct degree or concentration in MIS specifically.
FAQ Career Questions
1. What can I do with an online PhD in Management Information Systems degree?
With a Doctorate degree in MIS online, students can typically take one of two paths: academia or business. The academic path lends itself to careers as professors, teaching assistants, and expert research specialists in the area of MIS. The business path will be directly working in a more corporate setting, creating processes that will increase the profit and value of the given company. It might be wise to determine what your career goals are before enrolling in a program, so you can choose the specific degree and school that will best fit your post-graduate goals.
2. How much can I earn with an online doctorate MIS degree?
While there are many jobs within this field, a common profession would be a senior information manager. And according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’s s solid choice financially with the annual mean wage at $146,360. Though graduate school is expensive, making a very good living could help you pay back any student debt you have in no time.
3. What job can I get with an online management information systems doctoral degree?
First, you’ll want to decide if you are choosing the academia, research, or business route because that will determine what direction you will go! If choosing the business field, graduates can become senior information managers (including CIO, CTO, or Director of Systems Development) or computer/information systems managers. Some graduates might even be able to pursue top executive level or entrepreneurial positions as well.
4. Can I work while I get my online MIS doctoral degree?
In almost all cases, yes, absolutely. Most of the online programs on our list are designed with working professionals in mind and present material in an asynchronous format, which allows students to complete the curriculum in their own time frame. In some cases, where on-campus visits are required as a part of the hybrid program, classes are offered on Saturdays or weeknights to accommodate working schedules. To be safe, make sure to check the details of your program before committing fully. You’ll want to understand the details of the program before spending any money, making sure the class format and structure works for your lifestyle.
5. Are there professional associations for MIS professionals?
Yes! There are many associations related to MIS, and you can find very specific ones related to your exact line of work. However, a few general ones include the Society for Information Management, Information Management Forum, and the Association for Information Systems.
This concludes our ranking of the Most Affordable Online Doctoral Degrees in Management Information Systems. Thanks for checking it out!
- National Center for Education Statistics
- School websites