University of Arkansas

Walton College

The Sam M. Walton College of Business

Information Systems Ph.D.

In addition to preparing students to be world-class researchers, the Information Systems Ph.D. program seeks to prepare students to teach effectively in an information systems curriculum.

Who We Are

The Information Systems Ph.D. program is ranked as one of the top programs in the world. It comprises of an outstanding faculty who are committed to preparing students to be outstanding scholars. The program promotes both research and teaching excellence.

Why an Information Systems Ph.D. at Walton?

A degree from the ISYS Department offers the students many opportunities to be part of a program comprising of outstanding faculty and a long rich tradition.

  • Consistently ranked in the top 5 programs globally based on publications in premier IS journals.
  • Collaborative projects with faculty, in addition to independent research.
  • Access to organizations such as Wal-Mart, Tyson Foods, IBM and Microsoft.
  • Competitive funding for program duration.
  • Faculty who are thought leaders in the field and hold top positions in professional entities (e.g., editors of major journals)
  • Access to our world-class Enterprise Systems infrastructure
  • Placement at prominent universities, such as Indiana, Pittsburgh, HEC, Cincinnati
  • Conduct research through centers such as the Behavioral Business Research Lab and the Blockchain Center of Excellence.

Research Areas

Our research areas include, but are not limited to, Business Analytics/Intelligence, Enterprise Systems, Digital Innovation, Ethics in IS, Healthcare IT, Cybersecurity, Knowledge Management, Neuro-IS, Organizational Impacts of Digitalization, Social Media and Networks, Strategic Management of IS, Open Source Development, Technology Implementations in Developing Countries, User Acceptance of IT, and Technology Diffusion.


Information Systems Ph.D Degree

Information Systems Ph.D.

Information Systems Faculty
View faculty and research interests

Duration of Program: 4-5 years

Program Start Date: Fall

Application Deadline:
January 15

Curriculum Overview
View a Course Listing

Admissions Information
View Info and Requirements

Required Test: GMAT or GRE

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Varun Grover
Executive Director, David D. Glass Endowed Chair and Distinguished Professor
Information Systems Department

Amber Grace YoungAmber Grace Young
Director of Ph.D. Program and Assistant Professor
Information Systems Department


Current Ph.D. Students

View a listing of our current Information Systems Ph.D. students.

View Ph.D. Students

Meet Information Systems Ph.D. Students

Dr. Taha Havakhor

Dr. Taha Havakhor

Dr. Taha Havakhor is currently Assistant Professor of Management Information Systems in the Fox School of Business at Temple University. His research focuses on transformative digital strategies and the economic value of digitization, both in established and entrepreneurial firms. His scholarly work investigates how technology and talent are fused together to create digital innovations and foster development in the U.S. economy. The results of his work have been published or are forthcoming in leading outlets such as MIS Quarterly, Journal of Marketing, Information Systems Research, Information Systems Journal, and the Journal of MIS. Taha has an active engagement with a few venture capital firms that specialize in investing in DevOps and Big Data startups in areas such as Silicon Valley and New York City. He received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Arkansas in 2016.

“Doing a Ph.D. in information systems (IS) at Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas was truly a transformative experience for me. The Ph.D. program has a unique structure that allows exposure to various areas of IS research and is enriched by a rigorous curriculum of seminars and colloquia. The program is renowned for its world-class faculty, strong connections with the industry, and an excellent track record of scholarly publications. As a Ph.D. student, I was blessed to have access to a rich pool of resources that enabled me to find my academic path. I will always be grateful to the faculty and staff at the ISYS department and Walton College of Business for the opportunities and support they provided me.”

Dr. Ruba Aljafari

Dr. Ruba Aljafari

Dr. Ruba Aljafari is Assistant Professor of Information Systems and Technology Management at the University of Pittsburgh, Katz Graduate School of Business. She is currently pursuing several research projects that focus on the dynamics of ICT implementations in organizations, usability, and healthcare IT, with special emphasis on patient-centered e-health and analytics. Her work has been published in leading journals in information systems and human-computer interaction, such as MIS Quarterly and the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies.

"The ISYS department at the Walton College of Business provides a nurturing environment that prepares Ph.D. students for research careers. Students get the privilege to take seminars with established scholars who are genuinely interested in students’ success. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to acquire knowledge and key professional lessons from scholars at the ISYS department."


Dr. Zachary Steelman

Dr. Zachary Steelman

Dr. Zachary Steelman is Assistant Professor of Information Systems in the Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. He has authored refereed publications in prominent IS journals and conferences such as Information Systems Research, MIS Quarterly, MIS Quarterly Executive, Information Systems Journal, Communications of the Association of Information Systems, Americas Conference on Information Systems, and the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. His research interests include the selection, development, and management of IT portfolios for individuals, teams, and organizations. He has worked with a variety of Fortune 500 organizations to examine the impact of IT infrastructure and policy changes on individuals and the organization, specifically within the context of IT consumerization.

“I chose the University of Arkansas after having an amazing experience here in the Masters of Information Systems program. Interacting with the faculty, as well as being introduced to their research, sparked an interest in me to continue my education. I chose to pursue a Ph.D. to allow myself to experience the cutting edge of technology and to help others find a passion for it, as well.”

Hamid Nikkah

Dr. Hamid Nikkah

Hamid Nikkah is currently an assistant professor at Bentley University and received a Ph.D. in Information Systems from the University of Arkansas in 2020. His research focuses on individual behaviors and interactions with information technologies, especially in security and privacy settings. His research has been published in the International Journal of Information Management and Journal of Computer Information Systems as well as various international and national information systems conferences.

“By joining the ISYS Ph.D. program at Sam Walton College of Business, I learned how a high-quality research agenda can expand scientific and practical knowledge. Ph.D. seminars in the Information Systems department are taught by world-renowned research faculty and represent world-class research that enhanced my theoretical and analytical understanding. Students can benefit from the collaboration with faculty members in the IS department to ascertain the fundamentals of a cutting-edge research project. During my time in the Ph.D. program, I published in refereed journals and conferences, received two research awards from the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), and presented my research papers in prominent conferences.”

Academic Overview

Requirements for the Ph.D. in Business Administration with emphasis in Information Systems include core courses and elective courses in the area as well as research tools and courses in supporting fields.

In addition to a dissertation (18 hours), the degree program generally consists of the following coursework (43 hours): research tools (9 hours); ISYS core courses (21 hours); and supporting field courses (13 hours). In addition to the 61-hours post-Master’s hours, there is an additional requirement that the student satisfactorily complete a one-hour Graduate Colloquium during the fall and spring semesters of each of the first two years, or as long as the student is attending classes on campus in pursuit of the degree.

After completion of the required coursework for the first year, requirements for the degree include successful completion of a Qualifying Examination focused in Research Tools. Final requirements for the degree include successful completion of a Comprehensive Examination, successful defense of a Dissertation Proposal, and successful defense of the Dissertation.

To view detailed descriptions of the following Walton College courses, visit the Graduate School Catalog.


Program Outline

Research Tools
Information Systems Courses
Supporting Fields
  • In addition to BADM 6111 Teaching Seminar, courses for this requirement will be determined in consultation with the student’s Departmental Graduate Advisory Committee. All courses taken for this requirement must be graduate level and/or taken for graduate credit. These courses are normally taken outside the ISYS Department.
Comprehensive Exams
  • A. Written exam, research tools and IS (at the end of all coursework)
  • B. Research proposal: 1 week take-home response to call for proposals
  • C. Oral exam
Dissertation Requirements
  • Successful defense of Dissertation Proposal
  • Successful defense of Dissertation
Summer Research Requirements
  • 1st Summer Paper
  • 2nd Summer Paper


Admissions Requirements for the Ph.D. Programs

Applicants who wish to apply for the doctoral program with an emphasis in Information Systems must submit their application to the Graduate School of Business by January 15th.

  1. Applicants are expected to have knowledge (undergraduate or graduate credit) of business information systems, a programming language (COBOL suggested), systems analysis, design, development, and database processing.
  2. Applicants are expected to have an MBA, masters of information systems, or another appropriate master’s degree. Acceptance of the applicant’s previous academic work, including an assessment of currency, is at the sole discretion of the ISYS department. Prior coursework in accounting, economics, business law, finance, marketing, management, math, business statistics, and business computing is expected. Applicants who are deficient in any of these areas may remove these deficiencies by satisfactorily completing the appropriate courses after their enrollment in the University. The IS doctoral advisor will determine the additional courses.
  3. Satisfactory GMAT or GRE scores, GPA and previous academic record, letters of recommendation, statement of career objectives, and personal interview are required.
  4. Applicants whose native language is not English must present satisfactory scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The TOEFL is required. A spoken English test score is required of all international Ph.D. applicants and the internet-based TOEFL is our recommended test. You may take the IELTS Academic or the PTE-A as an alternative.