Top 10 Best Online PhD of Information Technology Programs (Doctorates)

Top 10 Best Online PhD of Information Technology Programs (Doctorates)

We rank the top online PhD degree programs in information technology.

Key Takeaways

  • While not necessary to enter the job market, an online PhD in information technology is necessary for positions within academia, research, and top leadership positions within IT.

  • Employment opportunities in information technology are expected to grow much faster than other occupations according to the BLS.

  • An online PhD in information technology offers a similar curriculum to its traditional on-campus counterpart, but it offers more convenience and flexibility for busy professionals.

Until computer systems break down, it’s simple to overlook how dependent every element of professional life has become on computers. A company’s IT manager may be the only thing preventing total disaster, whether in business, healthcare, education, or any other sector.

Given that a PhD in information technology relates to things happening online, it makes sense that one can earn this degree online. The desire for technology managers’ expertise has made this one of the fastest expanding fields, despite IT only becoming a notion in the last 30 years.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts this career will grow by 15% by 2031. Although acquiring a PhD in information technology is not necessary to take advantage of this growth curve, it does earn abilities and credentials that few others possess.

An online PhD education, however, is essential to successfully teach, research, or run a small or large IT operation.

Featured Programs

 What is A PhD in Information Technology?

A PhD in information technology, or IT, entails a research-heavy academic workload that typically takes three to five years to finish. PhD programs train students for professions in academia, business, and government, among others.

With an online PhD in information technology, graduates can work in an academic field, either teaching or conducting research, or work in nearly any other field that requires computer support.

Information technology PhD holders can work in many positions, performing tasks such as:

  • Building computer networks
  • Creating and managing databases
  • Implementing and supporting security measures across a network
  • Troubleshooting issues with computers or other mobile devices
  • Managing software applications
  • Managing computer hardware
  • Designing, developing, and implementing computer-based information systems

Key Point: Graduates with a PhD in information technology will most often be in leadership positions within a company.

With an online doctoral program in IT, researchers can also focus on interdisciplinary fields, including AI, data analytics, information systems, and cybersecurity.

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 What are the requirements in an online PhD program in information technology?

To know what you’re about to get into, here is a broad breakdown of what is necessary to be admitted into an online PhD in information technology degree program:

Admission Requirements

The majority of PhD online programs in information technology include competitive requirements. For instance, some colleges and institutions demand that candidates have a minimum 3.5 GPA and a graduate degree in information technology or a closely related field.

Additionally, applicants to an IT online doctoral program should obtain recommendation letters and certified college transcripts from each previously attended university before applying for programs. The majority of online PhD programs also call for an essay and an in-person or telephone interview.

Credit Requirements

PhD in information technology programs require students to complete 55 to 70 credit hours, depending on the institution’s demand or the student’s chosen concentration, if any. Most schools, especially ones that offer 100% online degree programs, allow students to enroll part-time or full-time.

Online master’s degrees and online doctorate programs share similar class or coursework schedules with added research-related classes. Doctoral students can work with academic staff during their research projects, research colloquia, and departmental lectures.

Pre-Candidacy Research Projects

Working on research projects over the first one or two years of the program helps you get ready for candidacy acceptance. These research projects also aid in developing the abilities required to formulate queries and address actual IT issues

Preliminary or Qualifying Examination

A doctoral degree always provides qualifying exams to measure how well students can ace the prerequisites for candidacy. The academic and practical knowledge required to work on the research project is filled in part by these pre-candidacy exams.

Teaching Requirement

In almost every PhD online program, students are required to instruct undergraduate courses or assist the professor in the classroom to get doctoral students ready for a career in academia. This asserts the educational leadership aspect of this program/

Dissertation Proposal

The research hypothesis, which is in an area of information technology, will be presented in the dissertation proposal. Before beginning work on the proposal, a committee of faculty members for the doctoral degree program must approve it.

Successful Dissertation Defense

PhD students must present their original work through the dissertation proposal. They are required to justify their analyses and be authorities on their IT-related dissertation topic.

This is a crucial component of an information technology PhD. It shows that the student has achieved mastery of the skills required to carry out independent research projects after receiving their degree.

Optional Requirements

PhD candidates in information technology may attend conferences and land relevant internships. These types of opportunities allow students to share research knowledge and build social networks, both of which are especially helpful in a job search.

Bottom Line: Earning an online PhD in information technology is a challenging and lengthy process. Successful graduates will have contributed original research and findings to the field and built a network of contacts that will help them to advance in their career.


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 What courses can you expect to take in an online PhD degree program in information technology?

While specific courses may vary across different information technology programs, you can expect to take the following types of courses:

First Year Core Courses

The first year of an online PhD program in information technology is usually reserved for a required set of core courses. Classes may include topics like:

  • Computer science
  • Networking
  • Database administration
  • Information systems
  • Software design

Research Courses

The second year of an online PhD degree in information technology program typically focuses on research. Students focus on courses that will instruct them on research metholodogies and design.

These courses will prepare the PhD candidate to choose a topic to research for their dissertation.

Courses may include:

  • Research Processes, Theory, and Practice in Information Technology
  • PhD students must learn about research processes, theory, and practice, considering that this is what a PhD is all about. This introductory course helps students learn how to put ideas into effect in real-world situations. Along with quantitative and qualitative methodology, this course also covers researchers’ techniques to make findings.

  • Literature Review
  • This course aids students in learning how to read, assess, and apply knowledge obtained in research papers. These resources enable students to expand their dissertation plans and pick high-caliber sources for their assignments. Students specify whatever research gaps in the literature they want to address in their dissertations.

Dissertation Preparation

Years three through five (and beyond), are usually dedicated to research and writing for the dissertation. Students may participate in courses and seminars such as:

  • PhD Dissertation Research Seminar
  • Students participate in class discussions and give input on each other’s dissertations throughout this course. Students use the criticism they receive to improve their thesis. To enhance their research and writing techniques, students also learn best practices for research methodologies.

  • Doctoral Comprehensive Examination
  • The full assessment process is reviewed for students in this last course. Students look over the test’s guidelines and evaluation standards. Students receive their doctoral degrees after passing this exam and submitting and defending their dissertation.

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 PhD in Information Technology Careers

A bachelor’s or master’s degree in information technology can assist students in finding entry- and mid-level positions in this industry, while doctoral degrees lead to even more options. For instance, positions involving a lot of research may require a PhD in IT.

Here’s a list of the most common occupations for information technology PhD holders.

Postdoctoral Researcher/Research Fellow

The fundamental objectives of postdoctoral fellows and postdoctoral associates working on the research staff are to further their education and experience. Despite having a doctorate, individuals can only act as leading investigators if they are regarded as independent researchers. You could also need to perform specific instructional duties.

Most jobs have a fixed tenure of between six months and three years.

Assistant Professor/Professor

Typically, an assistant professorship is the first step toward tenure and publishing original research. They might be given the title of professor once they have served their tenure.

Evaluating an associate professor’s papers, research, and teaching might take a long time. Between five and seven years are spent on the tenure track.

Computer and Information Research Scientist

Research scientists develop creative applications for both new and old computer technology. Research scientists investigate computing-related issues and create models to solve them. They work with engineers and scientists to identify system demands and computing requirements.

Research scientists create new programming languages, software platforms, and other tools to enhance how humans interact with computers. They commonly use approaches from data science and machine learning experts to test the functionality of software systems.

Chief Information Officer

A chief information officer directs the information technology strategy of a company, fostering innovation through regulatory and technical adjustments. The chief information officer of a business may be in charge of strategic planning, vendor management, and project management.


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 The 10 Best Online IT PhD Programs

 Bowling Green State University

Bowling Green State University was established in 1910 as a public institution to satisfy the objectives of this particular progressive era, focusing on public education and excellent teacher preparation.

BGSU aims to redefine student achievement while enhancing its dedication to research, creative endeavors, partnerships, and outside engagement. Today, BGSU is creating novel public-private and public-public collaborations and new, relevant, and meaningful academic programs.

One of BGSU’s top online degrees is the PhD in Technology Management, which was created in cooperation with five other HLC-accredited universities. Students conduct research utilizing a range of qualitative and quantitative research techniques to advance fundamental and transferable applied knowledge in technology management.

Early in the program, there is a focus on research, providing students the chance to create research projects that suit their background and career goals.

Five disciplines will be available for students to select from, including Digital Communications, Construction Management, Quality Systems, and Manufacturing Systems. Additionally, there will be credit requirements for students’ technical specialty, general technology core courses, and professional studies.

  • Required Credits: 66
  • Completion time: 3–5 years
  • Format: Online

What we love about Bowling Green State University:

The Life Design offering. BGSU is the only US university offering a broad Life Design program as an additional learning opportunity to help students prepare for fulfilling lives.

Bowling Green State University is great for students who:

Value education, a tight-knit community, and a lot of school spirit.

Bowling Green State University might not be the best fit for students who:

Are unwilling to compete. BGSU is a demanding school that wants students to work hard and succeed.

University Fast Facts

  • Location: Bowling Green, Ohio
  • Institution Type: Public
  • Admission Rate: 79%
  • Graduation Rate: 56%
  • Online Student Enrollment: 2,458
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Learn More about Bowling Green State University.

 Indiana State University

Indiana State University is among the top university picks for college students due to its vast degree offerings and financial affordability. ISU offers 160+ degree options from undergrad to graduate level, fostering substantive knowledge and practical experience in its students’ education.

With ISU’s high GPA and academic standards, access to professors, and robust support system, students feel the school does everything possible to help them succeed.

Aside from being one of the top universities for business and healthcare-related degrees, ISU also offers a top-notch online PhD in Technology Management that equips graduates with the knowledge and abilities needed to contribute to society’s public and commercial sectors.

Students will develop their technological and scientific innovative capabilities and leadership abilities. While some coursework can be done online, doctoral candidates must participate in a doctorate residence, which entails studying on campus and undergoing academic supervision.

Students can choose one specialization: digital communication systems; construction management; manufacturing systems and quality systems; and human resource development and industrial training.

  • Required Credits: 66
  • Completion time: 4½ years.
  • Format: Hybrid

What we love about Indiana State University:

The affordability. Indiana State University wants to keep tuition hikes to no more than the Consumer Price Index increases.

Indiana State University is great for students who:

Are interested in having many possibilities to learn, hang out with friends from all backgrounds, and engage in a wide range of extracurricular activities. ISU is perfect for those who enjoy big campuses with the same advantages as tiny colleges.

Indiana State University might not be the best fit for students who:

Get easily intimidated by a vast campus, prefer to avoid having their worldview challenged, rattled, and reformed, or feel awkward around people from other racial, religious, or cultural backgrounds.

University Fast Facts

  • Location: Terre Haute, Indiana
  • Institution Type: Public
  • Admission Rate: 94%
  • Graduation Rate: 41%
  • Online Student Enrollment: 3,078
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Learn More about Indiana State University.

 Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern University is a pioneer in creating an original and creative approach to education, allowing its graduates to help make the world healthier and better. NSU is one of just 50 institutions nationwide to get Carnegie’s Community Engagement Classification, which classifies the school as a research university with “high research activity.”

To give students more confidence in receiving a world-class education, NSU has achieved the reputation of being the largest private, non-profit university in the US that satisfies the requirements of the US Department of Education to serve Hispanic students.

Nova Southeastern University offers an outstanding PhD in Information Systems designed to help professionals in various information systems fields open better career opportunities. Doctoral students will learn the skills and knowledge necessary to develop innovative answers to significant, current-day problems involving information systems.

Students can pursue graduate studies while keeping their current job thanks to NSU’s innovative program structure, which blends conventional and online instruction.

  • Required Credits: 51-66
  • Completion time: 6 years
  • Format: Hybrid

What we love about Nova Southeastern University:

The tight-knit community and dedicated faculty and staff. Classes have a low student-teacher ratio, which allows instructors to get to know their students and give them enough attention in every class.

Nova Southeastern University is great for students who:

Seek individualized and personalized degree programs.

Nova Southeastern University might not be the best fit for students who:

Want a bigger, more diverse student population and degree offerings.

University Fast Facts

  • Location: Fort-Lauderdale-Davie, Florida
  • Institution Type: Private
  • Admission Rate: 76.2%
  • Graduation Rate: 62.1%
  • Online Student Enrollment: 5,971
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC-Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges

Learn More about Nova Southeastern University.

 North Carolina A&T State University

With students from six continents and virtually all 50 states, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is the country’s most extensive and diverse HBCU. The institution, a top research university in the Southeast, takes pride in its STEM leadership and produces more African American professionals than any other university in the country in engineering and agricultural science fields.

There are more than 100 majors available to students at bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate levels.

Although NC A&T may not be frequently considered an online college, they provide excellent online coursework, including a PhD in Applied Science and Technology.

One of the fascinating aspects of this program is that it is different for each student because the study plan is customized to meet their needs. The courses that students take will depend on their interests in IT, such as web design, e-commerce, or internet security.

Depending on the student’s technical expertise, the curriculum has a minimum of 90 credits. After completing the program, a residence and final dissertation are required.

The program has eight concentrations students can choose from: Applied Chemistry, Applied Physics, Atmospheric, Environmental and Energy Science, Bioscience, Data Science and Analytics, Information Technology, STEM Education, and Technology Management.

  • Required Credits: 42 (post-MS) - 66 (post-BS)
  • Completion time: 6 years
  • Format: Hybrid

What we love about North Carolina A&T State University:

The welcoming and safe environment for everyone—Black, Asian, White, Hispanic—the privileged and the less advantaged—and everyone in between.

North Carolina A&T State University is great for students who:

Are ready to adjust in different situations as necessary to accomplish their goals, and prepared to put in significant effort to learn and advance their education

North Carolina A&T State University might not be the best fit for students who:

Want to study at a university that offers a wide range of dual degree programs.

University Fast Facts

  • Location: Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Institution Type: Public
  • Admission Rate: 57%
  • Graduation Rate: 52%
  • Online Student Enrollment: 5,023
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC-Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges

Learn about North Carolina A&T State University.


 University of Central Missouri

The University of Central Missouri offers an excellent education at a very affordable price. Like any larger university, the school offers over 150 undergraduate degree programs, with student experiences varying by major.

The faculty and staff ensure that no students feel like a number—instead they try to get to know each student and help them reach their academic and career goals.

On the front edge of online college programs, the University of Central Missouri provides a PhD in Technology Management that helps students develop their technology involvement and research skills, positioning them to become societal leaders.

Students can finish their degrees online without interrupting their personal or work schedules. Graduates will have the knowledge and abilities to work in public and commercial sectors and promote technology and education.

Five specialties are available for students to choose from, including Quality Systems, Manufacturing Systems, Construction Management, and Digital Communications. Students will have access to labs with the necessary tools to carry out their research.

  • Required Credits: 57-60
  • Completion time: 4 years
  • Format: Online

What we love about the University of Central Missouri:

The small class sizes, traditions, and affordable tuition fees.

The University of Central Missouri is great for students who:

Want to study in a calm, laid-back university. Additionally, UCM is best for students who want an affordable yet comprehensive college education.

The University of Central Missouri might not be the best fit for students who:

Prefer large class sizes, an urban environment, and a modern-day campus and atmosphere.

University Fast Facts

  • Location: Warrensburg, Missouri
  • Institution Type: Public
  • Admission Rate: 76%
  • Graduation Rate: 48%
  • Online Student Enrollment: 1,270
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Learn More about the University of Central Missouri.

 Capella University

While Capella University has a physical office in Minneapolis, Minnesota, it’s a purely online college that allows students to complete their degrees online, at their own pace, and from wherever they choose. Employers hold Capella University in high regard.

The online university has regional accreditation. Which implies that, like most traditional schools, its programs and degrees are recognized as long as they meet standards.

Capella University offers a PhD in Business Management with a concentration in Information Technology Management, designed to prepare students for fast-paced IT environments.

In this program, students will study how to formulate workable solutions to business challenges, assess technological trends, and establish a systems-thinking approach to problem-solving. Students will also discover how to establish a strong global perspective and take ethics into account when making decisions and exercising leadership.

  • Required Credits: 75 (can transfer up to 12 credits)
  • Completion time: 4-6 years
  • Format: Online

What we love about Capella University:

The flexibility, affordability, active peer support, and faculty guidance.

Capella University is great for students who:

Have self-motivation. Students should have determination, discipline, and focus on completing their degree programs.

Capella University might not be the best fit for students who:

Prefer to have an on-campus learning experience. Since Capella University is 100% online, students will have zero in-person interactions with their peers and instructors.

University Fast Facts

  • Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Institution Type: Private
  • Admission Rate: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 19%
  • Online Student Enrollment: 38,930
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Learn More about Capella University.

 Northcentral University

Founded to provide higher education to working people everywhere, Northcentral University is now a proud affiliate of the private, non-profit National University System based in La Jolla, California.

With doctoral, master’s, and bachelor’s degrees in various subjects, NCU offers a top-notch online educational experience. Courses are taught one-on-one by an NCU professor with a PhD degree and have weekly start dates with no physical residency restrictions.

Students who wish to obtain a professional degree in information systems can enroll in the PhD-TM Information Systems specialization at Northcentral University.

This online PhD program focuses on helping students successfully design, distribute, and use information and communications technology to address issues facing businesses, governments, and society. Students will establish a strong foundation in programming, communications, and IT.

To develop “big picture” critical thinking and comprehend the effects of technological progress on people, students will also study organizational theory and the social sciences. This mixture equips students with the skills and knowledge necessary to assume a leadership position in the digital future.

  • Required Credits: 60
  • Completion time: 50 months
  • Format: Online

What we love about Northcentral University:

The rigorous academic environment is both customized and relevant to the workplace. NCU ensures students receive a distinctive one-on-one learning model with the doctoral faculty.

Northcentral University is great for students who:

Want to earn a degree without leaving their job or participating in any on-campus program.

Northcentral University might not be the best fit for students who:

Refrain from fast-paced terms. While the university offers flexibility, the school still encourages students to complete coursework faster to avoid deadlines and graduation delays.

University Fast Facts

  • Location: San Diego, California
  • Institution Type: Private
  • Admission Rate: 59.09%
  • Graduation Rate: 37.5%
  • Online Student Enrollment: 12,471
  • Accreditation: WSCUC-WASC Senior College and University Commission

Learn More about Northcentral University.


 University of the Cumberlands

The University of Cumberlands, founded on Christian values and service-based leadership, aspires to be a renowned institution that fosters intellectual and professional development within a community centered on its students.

Cumberlands provides students from all walks of life with a high-quality, reasonably priced education through interdisciplinary studies. The university ensures access to underrepresented student populations, allowing them to pursue quality education.

The university encourages faith in action through a community centered on students and innovates to enhance students’ academic performance and career readiness.

The National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security calls The University of the Cumberlands a “National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense.”

One of the degree programs the school takes pride in is the online PhD in Information Technology, a multidisciplinary, research-intensive program built around the fundamental disciplines of management information systems, computer science, and interdisciplinary informatics. Students will have a practical understanding of analyzing, planning, developing, and using current and future information technologies.

As do traditional doctorate learners, online education students will develop proficiency in managing and conducting top-notch basic and applied research using a solid foundation in the principles of academic instruction.

  • Required Credits: 60
  • Completion time: 3–5 years
  • Format: Online

What we love about the University of the Cumberlands:

The affordability. Compared to dozens of other “similar league” universities, UC provides affordable, high-quality PhD programs, according to U.S. News & World Report.

The University of the Cumberlands is great for students who:

Value a tight-knit community and getting to know everyone on campus

The University of the Cumberlands might not be the best fit for students who:

Prefer a university with vast financial aid offerings.

University Fast Facts

  • Location: Williamsburg, Kentucky
  • Institution Type: Private
  • Admission Rate: 85%
  • Graduation Rate: 65%
  • Online Student Enrollment: 18,000
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC-Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges

Learn about the University of the Cumberlands.

 Capitol Technology University

Capitol Technology University is an institution of higher learning with a STEM focus that offers undergraduate and graduate programs in engineering, information sciences, and technology leadership. CTU is also known for its flexibility, growth opportunities, strong ties with businesses and organizations, and how it allows students to customize their curriculum to meet changing labor market demands.

The school ensures that, as it offers offers online doctoral programs across many disciplines, the faculty and management carry out novel curricula, scientific research, and entrepreneurial endeavors for the professions they serve that profit a varied community of learners.

Capitol Technology University offers one of the best online PhDs in Technology, designed to prepare students to assume leadership positions in particular technological disciplines, such as engineering and research.

The majority of this online PhD program curriculum is made up of coursework and dissertation research. Students have a research proposal when they enroll in the program. Students collaborate closely with a research committee to further develop their research idea.

  • Required Credits: 60
  • Completion time: 3 years
  • Format: Online

What we love about Capitol Technology University:

The university’s core values. The university is in constant pursuit of improvement to accommodate new societal demands.

Capitol Technology University is great for students who:

Are looking to earn degrees without leaving their current careers.

Capitol Technology University might not be the best fit for students who:

Thrive in vibrant campus life. Capitol Technology University only focuses on education. It is a small, dry campus.

University Fast Facts

  • Location: South Laurel, Maryland
  • Institution Type: Private
  • Admission Rate: 47%
  • Graduation Rate: 48%
  • Online Student Enrollment:
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Learn More about Capitol Technology University.

 Dakota State University

Dakota State University was established as a college for teacher preparation. Although Dakota State University has subsequently changed its primary emphasis on education to the cyber sphere, it continues to be one of the few colleges in the country that gives students the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed in any field.

Most likely, a student will take classes from all four of the university’s colleges during their time at DSU. This enables them to acquire knowledge outside their concentration area and broadens their educational experience, which their future employer will value in addition to their degree.

One of the reasons why DSU is famous and renowned is because of its technology-related degrees, including the online PhD in Information Systems. This program provides the educational groundwork students need to understand complex IT problems and the advanced research methods to solve them. For students looking to supplement their work experience with further education, obtaining a PhD in information systems at DSU is a great option.

Dakota State University is another university on the list recognized as a Center of Excellence by the NSA and the DHS.

  • Required Credits: 60
  • Completion time: 4 years
  • Format: Online

What we love about Dakota State University:

This small and simple campus gives students a close community feel and easier navigation.

Dakota State University is great for students who:

Want to learn more about computers, regardless of their concentration area.

Dakota State University might not be the best fit for students who:

Seek an active Greek life on campus or plan to play many sports in college. Additionally, DSU is not suitable for students who struggle with using technology.

University Fast Facts

  • Location: Madison, South Dakota
  • Institution Type: Public
  • Admission Rate: 85.6%
  • Graduation Rate: 46%
  • Online Student Enrollment: 1,773
  • Accreditation: HLC-Higher Learning Commission

Learn More about Dakota State University.