Doctor of Science in Information Systems and Communications

The Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) in Information Systems and Communications degree program at Robert Morris University addresses the expanding needs of professionals who manage information resources; who solve information, communication and technology-related problems in organizations; or who educate or train others in applications of information systems and communications.

An interdisciplinary degree delivered in an executive education format, the program incorporates the latest international guidelines adopted by information systems and information sciences organizations for the education of professionals who solve problems in a competitive and changing work environment.

About the Program:
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A Professional Program
The D.Sc. in Information Systems and Communications is appropriate for professionals with decision-making and problem-solving responsibilities related to information systems, communications and technology, including:

  • Chief information officers, chief knowledge officers, network administrators, in-house consultants, training specialists and other managers of information technology resources in corporate and professional organizations
  • Educators and academic administrators in two-year, four-year and graduate institutions, as well as information officers and managers in educational institutions
  • Professionals with a master's degree whose qualifications will be enhanced by such a doctoral degree, including those in fields such as accounting, finance, MIS, management, marketing, health care administration, telecommunications and corporate communications.

Format of Study
An executive-style program, the D.Sc. in Information Systems and Communications is designed to be completed in a minimum three-year period of study. You'll enroll in the program as part of a cohort and progress through the program with your group. Additional course work may be elected or required depending upon your background, career goals and/or range of professional and technical experience. You may enroll in this additional course work at RMU or another institution; however the course work will neither replace the required components of the doctoral program nor count toward the 60 required credits of doctoral study.

Program Goals
In this interdisciplinary doctoral program, you will:

  • Develop and apply skills in a range of investigative methods, including qualitative methods grounded in economic, social and ethnographic disciplines, and quantitative methods grounded in statistical and social scientific disciplines.
  • Conduct research and design innovative, effective solutions to information management and information resource problems.
  • Stimulate field-based information management initiatives that link information, communications, technology and systems within organizations.
  • Track new information technology and assist in incorporating it into an organization's strategy, planning and practice.

Program Structure
The D.Sc. program consists of an integrated sequence of seminars and a capstone field project (research paper) that comprise 60 credits beyond a master's degree. The required courses and the field project are structured over a three-year period, enabling you to complete the degree while continuing to work full time. The structure of the program is as follows:

  • Seven integrated inquiry seminars designed to develop applications of theory in a range of information and communication contexts.
  • Three field investigation seminars focused on strategies for conducting research and investigations into field-based problems.
  • Two capstone seminars from special topics such as data warehousing, data mining and information security.
  • A major field project (research paper) in which you must demonstrate expertise by analyzing and solving an information management problem. The research includes a model or theoretical frame, literature review and an appropriate methodology. The field project must make a significant contribution to the body of knowledge in your chosen problem area.

Area of Specialization
You must select an area of specialization, and your field project must reflect this specialization. You will create an annotated bibliography covering your area of specialization in your first year, due by the time of the qualifier examination.

Optional: In your third year, you may choose up to two doctoral-level seminars at RMU (at no charge) or elsewhere (at your own expense) supporting your area of specialization. Course syllabi must be submitted in advance and approved by the doctoral faculty as to their applicability to your area of specialization.

Program Progression
A typical progression through the Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) in Information Systems and Communications program:

  • Upon admission to the doctoral program, you'll enroll in the inquiry and field investigation seminars in year one.
  • At the end of year one, you must successfully complete a qualifying essay examination to advance to year two.
  • In year two, you'll continue to take inquiry and field investigation seminars as well as Field Project I, in which the formal proposal for your research project is developed.
  • Following successful completion of the inquiry and field investigation seminars in year two, presentation of the proposal as part of Field Project I, and the recommendation of the doctoral faculty, you'll be admitted to doctoral candidacy and advance to year three.
  • In year three, you'll complete two special seminars, whose specific focus reflects the interests of your cohort and industry trends. You'll also enroll in Field Projects II and III, which focus on the methodology, writing and quality assurance of the field project (research paper). To complete your field project, you'll work closely with a doctoral faculty committee consisting of a faculty advisor, several other faculty members (readers) and an external field specialist selected jointly by you and the faculty.
  • At the conclusion of the program, you'll present your field project (research paper) in a public defense announced to the University community. A presentation also may be made to the organization in which the investigation occurred. The field project must be approved by a committee of at least three doctoral faculty members for completion of the degree.

Program Overview
Format and Inclusions
The D.Sc. program is a three year full-time program delivered in an executive part-time cohort driven format. It meets on campus 12 days Fall term and 12 days Spring term for each of the three years. The executive format assures student success and minimizes isolation by scheduling 7 day residencies in late August and early January with additional weekend residencies scheduled for late September, late October, late November or Early December, mid February, mid-March and mid-April - totaling 72 days over the three year period. The campus is 2 miles from the Pittsburgh International Airport and is convenient to many cities.

Select Course Titles

  • Information Age Organization
  • Technology, Human Communication and Information Transfer
  • Ethnography of Information Systems
  • Systems and Usability Studies
  • Leadership, Strategic Problem Solving, and Organizational Change
  • Knowledge Management
  • Economics of Information Systems
  • Data Warehousing
  • Information Technology in Legal Contexts

Doctoral Program Faculty Brief Overview
Program Director
Frederick G. Kohun, Ph.D.         Carnegie Mellon University

University Professor of Computer and Information Systems
Associate Dean, School of Computer and Information Systems
2007 IACIS Computer Educator of the Year
Over 70 publications and 100 presentations world wide

Doctoral Faculty
All are invited into the program on the basis of teaching performance, publications, service record, professional experience, and honors received. Most have numerous co-authorships with their doctoral students past and present including two best paper awards. The faculty include:

Jeanne M. Baugh, Ed.D.   West Virginia University
Rex L. Crawley, Ph.D.   Ohio University
Jay Stanton Carson, D.A.   Carnegie Mellon University
Seth Finn, Ph.D.   Stanford University
A.J. Grant, Ph.D.   Northern Illinois University
Ann Jabro, Ph.D.   The Pennsylvania State University
David L. Jamison, J.D.   University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
G. James Leone, Ph.D.   University of Pittsburgh
Barbara J. Levine, Ph.D.   University of Wisconsin-Madison
Daniel R. Rota, Ph.D.   University of Pittsburgh
Robert J. Skovira, Ph.D.   University of Pittsburgh
David F. Wood, Ph.D.   University of Pittsburgh

Representative of the 92 alums and current 50 students, the D.Sc. program has in its ranks:

  • 40 have chosen to move into higher education are currently teaching in numerous of tier 1 and 2 universities in a variety of academic departments throughout the nation
  • Have published over 70 papers/book individually or in conjunction with the faculty (One book has sold over 400,000 copies!)
  • Both an international sitting diplomat and a sitting United States diplomat
  • Numerous CEO's and Fortune 500 vice presidents
  • Big four consulting firm senior managers
This is brief synopsis of the program and we'd appreciate the opportunity to discuss the program in its entirety with you. Please contact Marina Frazier at 412-397-5209, Dr. Frederick Kohun at 412-262-8395 or visit our website for more details and application process.

Residency Requirements
You must participate in campus residencies with your cohort group during all three years of the program. The campus residencies contribute to the collaborative environment that is a hallmark of this program. Housing is provided at a local hotel during each residency. The housing cost is included in the program tuition. Campus residencies are scheduled according to the following plan:

  • Fall semester: August (7 days); September- December (3 weekends, Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon.)
  • Spring semester: January (7 days); February-May (3 weekends, Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon.)

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's and master's degrees from accredited college or university, recognized international program or equivalent
  • Demonstrated competency in the fundamentals of information systems and communications
  • Information systems/communications experience or equivalence
  • Minimum of five years of managerial and/or technological experience in a specified field
  • Demonstrated writing proficiency
  • Successful completion of an interview with the doctoral admissions committee
  • At least three references from persons in business, professional and/or educational communities
  • A letter from the employer or sponsoring organization endorsing the course of study

Application Procedures
Interested applicants must submit the following to the Graduate Admissions Office:

  1. A completed application with a non-refundable $50 application fee. Or apply online for free.
    (International students also are required to complete a statement of financial support. Refer to the application form for other required admission materials.)
  2. Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate course work from an accredited college or university, a recognized international program or the equivalent.
  3. Current resume documenting a minimum of five years of managerial and/or technical experience in a specific field.
  4. Official scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or equivalent, including the GMAT and LSAT. (This requirement is waived with evidence of an earned master's degree from an accredited institution.)
  5. A 4-5 page essay focusing on the major problems related to information management that the applicant has experienced or observed in the workplace and discussing the applicant's particular area of interest.
  6. Three references from persons in business, professional and/or educational communities.

Program Cost
Tuition information can be found at Tuition & Fee Schedules. The tuition rate includes all University fees except fees for courses that have an online component.

Program Location
Offered at the Moon Township campus only.