PhD in Information Technology: Online and Campus-Based Programs

A doctoral education in information technology (IT) equips you for a wide range of research, teaching and supervisory positions in the technology field. Learn about the format for this program, the courses you'd take and whether you can complete some classes online. Find out what career opportunities you could gain by earning a Ph.D. in IT. Schools offering Information Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is Involved in a Ph.D. in Information Technology Program?

A Ph.D. in Information Technology program consists of research-based training in the advancement of technical theory, design and use of information systems, policies and services. This highly specialized area allows you to focus on a very specific area of information technology, such as information systems, security, computer science or software engineering.

To enroll in a doctoral program, most schools require that you first earn a master's degree in a related technology science. You're usually recommended to have some experience in the field to receive the most benefit from doctoral-level studies. Your program will include some lecture, seminar and classroom training, though you'll also conduct research in one or more areas in the information technology field.

Prerequisites Master's degree in technology science field
Common Courses Information management, operating systems, network security, technology law, public policy
Possible Careers Chief information officer, technical project manager, university professor, technology director
Online Availability Online programs are available; residency or on-campus work may be required

What Courses Could I Take?

In a doctoral degree program in information technology, you're encouraged to develop your own research and ideas to contribute to current theories, technologies and computer systems. Your coursework and research will be based on your particular concentration area. For example, if you pursue a concentration in information systems, you might focus on operating systems, networking and database improvements. If you wish to explore in-depth topics in secure telecommunication systems, network security, intrusion detection, software design or data encryption, you could select a Ph.D. program with an information security track. Some possible core and elective course topics include:

  • Public policy
  • Technology laws
  • Information management
  • Society and technology
  • Organizational technology
  • Education and technology

What Can I Do With My Degree?

With society's continued reliance on computer systems, networking and information security, the demand is high for professionals with advanced knowledge in emerging technologies, wireless networks, language processing and data protection. With information technology expertise at the doctoral level, you can qualify for positions in a wide variety of settings, such as academic institutions, government agencies, nonprofit organizations or corporate establishments.

In academia, a doctoral degree allows you to teach at the university level. As a professor, you could also implement your own independent research projects. In the public, nonprofit and private sectors, earning a Ph.D. in information technology could prepare you for management and executive positions, such as chief information officer, technology director or technical project manager. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand was projected to increase 15% for technology managers and 13% for postsecondary instructors between 2014 and 2024.

Can I Earn This Degree Online?

Some schools offer doctoral programs in information technology online. You might be required to participate in some on-campus advising and research or to establish residency through a 4-day, weekend session. Though online programs allow you to study at your own pace and on your own schedule, available courses and concentrations could be limited.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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