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What Are the Courses in a Doctoral Degree in Information Technology?

Information technology is a complex discipline that includes the fields of computer science, information systems and telecommunications. Read on to learn more about courses required for a doctoral degree in this area.

Overview of Doctoral Degree in Information Technology

A Doctor of Philosophy in Information Technology (IT) can take from three to five years to complete, and it prepares graduates for high-level research positions or professorships in areas of information technology. In addition to the core required courses, doctoral candidates are typically also required to pass comprehensive examinations and write a dissertation.

Important Facts About This Field of Study

Prerequisites Master's degree in a related field; relevant experience may be preferred or required by some schools
Online Availability Some schools offer fully online programs
Key Skills Detail oriented; math, critical thinking, analytical skills
Possible CareersIT strategist, technical manager, chief information officer
Median Salary (2018) $142,530 (for all computer & information systems managers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 12% growth (for all computer & information systems managers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Core Courses

The first year of a doctoral program in information technology is typically devoted to completing a required set of core courses. These classes may include in-depth seminars on computer science, information systems, networking and database administration. The core courses of a doctoral degree in information technology ensure that doctoral candidates have a foundation in all areas of the field, which helps them pursue their own specific research interests. Some of the core courses for the Ph.D. in Information Technology include the following topics:

  • Computer science
  • Programming languages
  • Software systems design
  • Modeling communication networks

Research Courses

In addition to IT-specific courses, doctoral students are also often required to take seminars that focus on research methodologies. These courses prepare students to develop and pursue their own research topics for the dissertation, which they may continue to explore in their professional lives. Research courses offered to Ph.D. students can include those listed below:

  • Quantitative and qualitative research methods
  • Strategic analysis research
  • Research design