Information Systems Ph.D.

Information Systems PhD program

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

Jeff MullinsJeff Mullins
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

Ruba Aljafari is an Assistant Professor of Business Information Technology at the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech. Before joining Pamplin, she served on the faculty of the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh. She earned a PhD in information systems from the Sam Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas and two master’s degrees in information systems (University of Nebraska) and international business/economics (Jordan University). Her research interests include antecedents and consequences of ICT implementations in organizations, usability, and healthcare IT, with a special emphasis on patient-centered e-health and analytics. Her work has been published in leading journals in information systems, human-computer interaction, and health informatics, such as MIS Quarterly, Journal of Management Information Systems, Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 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 an Associate Professor of Information Systems in the Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. He has authored refereed publications in prominent IS and Business journals such as Information Systems Research, MIS Quarterly, MIS Quarterly Executive, Information Systems Journal, Communications of the Association of Information Systems, Decision Support Systems, International Journal of Information Management, and the Journal of Business Logistics. He was awarded the 2020 Association of Information Systems Early Career Award which “recognizes individuals in the early stages of their careers who have already made outstanding research, teaching, and/or service contributions to the field of information systems” and is given to 6-8 individuals each year. 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 is an assistant professor in the Department of Management, Entrepreneurship, and Technology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Previously, Hamid was an assistant professor at Bentley University. He received his Ph.D. in Information Systems from the University of Arkansas. His research focuses on cybersecurity, privacy, and cybercrime. His work has been awarded twice at the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS) and nominated for the Best Conference Paper Award.
His research has also been published in journals such as the MIS Quarterly, International Journal of Information Management, Computers in Human Behavior, Information Technology & People, Behaviour & Information Technology, and Journal of Computer Information Systems. He has also served as an associate editor for the ICIS and ECIS conferences and received the "Reviewing Award" from the European Journal of Information Systems. Hamid has been a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) since 2003 and has received cybersecurity certificates such as Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Security+, and several others from Microsoft and Cisco.
"By joining the ISYS Ph.D. program at the Sam M. 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 collaborating with faculty members in the IS department to ascertain the fundamentals of a cutting-edge research project."


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

ISYS 52003: Experimental Design ANOVA, experimental design, introduction to basis of statistics.
ISYS 56203: Multivariate Analysis Principal component analysis, regression analyses.

Information Systems Courses

ISYS 61303: Survey of IS Research This is an introductory seminar in information systems research for doctoral students. Its objective is to introduce participants to major streams of IS research and discuss many of the important roles and responsibilities of an IS researcher. Also, this course will play the important role of introducing participants to the research of the current IS faculty.
ISYS 62303: IS Research Projects The students will understand the ideas underlying a scientific contribution; understand the practical challenges in designing and executing a study; Design and execute a study; Write an empirical journal article.
ISYS 63303: Individual-Level Research in IS This course aims to expose students to individual-level research in IS. It provides a window into major streams of individual-level research in IS and reference disciplines. May be repeated for up to 18 hours of degree credit.
ISYS 64303: Team-Level Research in IS This course aims to expose students to team-level research in IS. It provides a window into major streams of team-level research in IS and reference disciplines.
ISYS 65303: Macro- and Meso-Level IS Research This course aims to expose students to research at the macro- and meso-levels. For example, it could provide a window into major streams of organizational-level research in IS and reference disciplines. Topics could also include: change management, ERP research models, implementation, applications, and successes/failures, and ERP simulation models. Other topics that fall within the purview of the course are: large-scale technology and process innovations in organizations--e.g., software development process innovations and RFID will be examined at various levels (e.g., organizational).
ISYS 66303: Systems Development The course provides an in-depth study of systems development as an area of research, understanding of the theoretical and conceptual foundations, insight into the current state of the research area, utilizes both IS and reference discipline literature as appropriate, guidance for conducting research projects and producing publishable research, an opportunity to work on cutting-edge research.
ISYS 67303: Emerging Topics Various emerging topics, such as RFID applications and RFID supply chain, ethical decision models, behavioral modeling, piracy and privacy issues, and virtual worlds.
ISYS 68303: Theory Development To acquire theory development and writing skills, to understand challenges in developing and writing theory sections of papers, and to discuss approaches to writing good empirical journal articles. This course is suited for all social sciences students and is particularly appropriate for students conducting behavioral research in the business disciplines.
ISYS 6010V: Graduate Colloquium Presentation and critique of research papers and proposals.

Supporting Fields

  • In addition to BADM 61101 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

  • Written exam, research tools and IS (at the end of all coursework)
  • Research proposal: 1 week take-home response to call for proposals
  • Oral exam

Comprehensive Exams

  • 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.