MIS PhD Plan of Study


Program Requirements

Technically, the PhD in MIS is a PhD in Management with a concentration in MIS. However, we usually refer to it as the MIS PhD program or an MIS PhD.

The MIS PhD program starts with a solid foundation in research methodology. Building on this, it offers a unique synthesis of state of the art technologies and approaches from Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence , Economics, Operations Management, Psychology and Sociology, to name a few.

There is a mix of hands-on and theoretical work: students learn how to implement, deploy and evaluate business information systems that are of interest to academia and industry alike. The MIS PhD degree requires a major in MIS plus a minor in a related discipline from another department.

View MIS Doctoral Student Handbook

Major Requirements

The major course work consists of a set of foundation courses (21 units), quantitative methods (9 units), specialization (6 units) and participation in the MIS research seminar (6 units). The table below lists the major requirements including the required courses.

Requirements Courses
(21 units required)

MIS 531: Enterprise Database Management
MIS 611A: Design Science Research Methodologies
MIS 611B: Behavioral Research Methodologies
MIS 611C: Economics of Information Systems
MIS 611D: Topics in Data and Web Mining
MIS 615: Network Science: Theory and Applications
MIS 696A: Readings in MIS

Quantitative Methods
(9 units required)

MIS  601: Statistical Foundations of Machine Learning

The student should consult his/her major advisor to select two additional quantitative methods courses.

(6 units required)
The student should consult his/her major advisor to select two courses that contain the basic knowledge in a chosen area of specialization such as Information Technology, Information Economics, Management and Organization, Quantitative Methods and Operations Management.

(6 units required)

MIS 699: Research Workshop

Minor Requirements

Students are required to take courses in one or more minor areas. The minor requirements are determined by the department that offers the minor. Students should consult the major advisor and the minor department for guidance. Some possibilities include cognitive science, communications, computer science, decision science, economics, industrial engineering, linguistics, management and organization, marketing, psychology, sociology and statistics. 

Students must have at least one supporting minor of nine or more units for the PhD. If a doctoral student chooses two supporting minor subjects, each minor must have at least six units of coursework.

Registration Requirements and Procedures

PhD students should let the Program Coordinator know which MIS courses you want to register for each semester. The program coordinator can register you for those courses. Other courses on campus might require special approval. It is up to you to investigate the requirements to register for graduate level courses in other departments.

Flexibility to Meet Your Needs

The MIS Doctoral program offers a high level of flexibility in terms of course work, which is determined by the student's chosen specialization in major and minor. As such, each individual student can work with his/her advisor to design a unique plan of study. The following table gives a sample plan of study to illustrate the basic timeline.

Sample Plan of Study

Year/Semester Plan of Study
Year One-Fall

MIS 696A, MIS 531, MIS 611A, MIS 596A, MIS 699

Year One-Spring MIS 611B, MIS 611D, Quant II (multivariate or other quant class) MIS 699
Year One-Spring (May) Core Exam (Written)
Year Two-Fall MIS 611C, Quant III, Minor 1, Specialization I, MIS 699
Year Two-Spring MIS 615, Minor Course 2, Minor Course 3, Specialization II, MIS 699
Year Two-July Submit proposal for prelim
Year Three-Fall Other courses as needed to fulfill specialization, quantitative methods and/or minor requirements, MIS 699
Year Three-Fall (Mid October) Written Preliminary Exam (Research paper and presentation)
Year Three-Spring Other courses as needed to fulfill specialization, quantitative methods and/or minor requirements, MIS 699
Anytime before the Oral Comprehensive Exam Minor Exam (if needed; consult the minor department)
Year Three-Early June * Oral Comprehensive Exam (oral exam with preliminary dissertation proposal)
Year Four-Fall Begin dissertation credits
Year Four-Spring Continue dissertation credits
Year Four-Early June * Dissertation Defense (Completed dissertation and oral exam)

This is a sample plan of study. Specific sequence of courses can vary depending on the schedule of courses being offered.

* These exam times are flexible, and students should consult the major advisor for guidance.

Doctoral Program Checklist

First Year  When
Teaching Assistants Training Online (TATO).                         


Submit Annual Report                     February
Pass core examination May
Second Year   
Submit PhD Plan of Study (in Grad Path) December
Submit Annual Report      February
Third Year   
Submit Written Prelim Proposal*                                            July
Written Prelim *               October
Submit Annual Report                     February

Oral Comprehensive Exam           

Submit Comp Exam Committee Appointment form and Announcement (in GradPath)                         

Spring semester
Submit the Doctoral Dissertation Committee Appointment form 

After oral

(after passing oral exam and ideally 6 months prior to defense)

Teach one class for the MIS Department Summer or academic year
Fourth/Fifth Year   
Teach one class for the MIS Department. (each year) Summer or academic year
Prepare Job Placement Packet August of the Job Market Yr.
Present Practice Job Talk               Fall of the Job Market Yr.
Submit Annual Report                     February
Submit Announcement of Final Oral Examination to Grad. Degree Certification Seven working days prior to the exam
Final Oral Defense of the completed dissertation When Ready

* Note: The Program Coordinator retains copies of all official departmental documentation. University paperwork is held in GradPath. Departmental paperwork (associated with the written prelim) should be submitted to the Program Coordinator.