Information Technology, PhD

College of Information, Science & Technology

Vision Statement

The PhD program is to prepare students with the following abilities:

  • Strong understanding of the theory and application of information technology focused around the core areas of computer science, management information systems and interdisciplinary informatics.
  • Knowledge of the analysis, design, development, and implementation of current and future information technologies;
  • Excellence in conducting and managing high-quality, basic and applied research;
  • Solid grounding in the fundamentals of academic teaching;
  • Strong foundation in multidisciplinary and emergent areas in information technology

Program Contact Information

Dr. Sajda Qureshi, Graduate Program Chair (GPC)
Peter Kiewit Institute (PKI) 173E
402-554-2837
squreshi@unomaha.edu

Ms. Leslie Planos, Advisor
Peter Kiewit Institute (PKI) 176C
402-554-3819
lplanos@unomaha.edu

Program Website

Admissions

Application Deadlines

  • Fall: February 15
  • Spring: September 15

Program-Specific Requirements

  • For applicants that are required to take the TOEFL: must score at least 577 paper-based; 233 computer-based; 90 iBT, 7 IELTS, or 61 PTE.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE): must score 310 out of 346, or GMAT: must score above the 80th percentile
  • Three (3) Letters of Recommendation
    • From references who are able to give an in-depth evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses with respect to academic work, and who are competent to judge your probability of success in graduate school.
  • Statement of Purpose is required (not to exceed two pages) which address the following questions:
    • What do you hope to accomplish with a Ph.D. in Information Technology?
    • Why are you applying to this specific program?
    • What background or qualifications do you have that you believe are essential to success in this program?
    • What general area or topics do you hope to study?
    • What do you expect to be doing five to ten years after finishing the Ph.D. program?
  • Writing Sample
    • Evidence of graduate potential in the form of academic papers, publications, theses or project reports done in an academic or industrial setting.
  • Resume

Degree Requirements

The PhD in IT program requires 90 credit hours of graduate-level studies. Undergraduate course credits taken at UNO or another institution cannot be counted toward the PhD degree in IT. Dual-listed undergraduate courses ending in 8**5 cannot be counted as course credits in the PhD program. Only three courses ending in 8xx6 are allowed in the 45 hours of doctoral-only coursework.

The coursework taken by a student is entered into a plan of study that must be approved by the doctoral program committee before the beginning of the PhD student's second year of studies. 

The coursework consists of foundation courses, doctoral seminar and colloquia, a major field of study, an optional minor field of study, and the dissertation. Incoming PhD students are placed into one of three tracks (computer science, information systems, or integrated informatics) based on their backgrounds and research interests. The different categories of credit-hour requirements for the program are outlined below.

Foundation Courses24
Foundation courses constitute any of the courses offered in the Master's Degree in IT-related field (i.e.: Computer Science, Management Information Systems, Cybersecurity, IT Innovation). In order to complete the breadth requirement, students must successfully complete a course in an area that is not their own.
Core Courses12
RESEARCH DIRECTIONS IN IT
COLLOQUIUM ON IT RESEARCH
COLLOQUIUM ON IT TEACHING
COLLOQUIUM ON IT PROFESSION AND ETHICS
An approved statistics course
An approved graduate research methods course
Major Field of Study18
Coursework in the major field of study provides students the advanced study needed to develop an in-depth knowledge of their chosen field of research. At least 3 courses (9 hours) must be in 9000-level courses. The remaining courses should include at least one 8000-level graduate-only course.
Electives12
In consultlation with your advisor.
Dissertation
The coursework taken by a student is entered into a plan of study that must be approved by the doctoral program committee before the beginning of the PhD student’s second year of studies. Undergraduate courses, either taken at UNO or at other universities, are NOT allowed to be counted as credits toward the PhD degree.24
Total Credits90

Comprehensive Examination & Admission to Candidacy

The comprehensive examination can be taken after the student has completed all coursework according to his or her plan of study and formed a supervisory committee.  Comprehensive exams comprise of three parts:  Part 1 of the comprehensive exam is set by the Doctoral Program Committee which comprises faculty who are not on the candidate's supervisory committee.   Part 2 of the comprehensive exam is set by the candidate's supervisory committee.  Part 3 is the dissertation proposal defense. The comprehensive exam consists of a written part (1 and 2) and an oral part (3). The written part of the exam is divided into two sub-parts that will be scheduled over two consecutive days in the following order.

  1. Written Part I Examination Format and Procedure: The Doctoral Program Committee is responsible for examining the candidate's knowledge and ability to conduct academic research in the Breadth area.   Before taking the written part of the exam, students will provide a selection of 4-5 topics from the areas covered in the CIST 9080 course. The selected topics should not have significant overlap within the major or minor area of study given in the student’s plan of study. The topics should be selected so that they express a breadth in the areas in the core disciplines of the program in computer science, information systems and integrated informatics. The Doctoral Program Committee will select two topics from the set of 4-5 topics and inform the student in advance of the exam. The material related to the topic for preparing for the comprehensive exam (e.g., paper reading list) will already have been provided to the student when the student took the CIST 9080 course. Questions on the selected topics will be set by the faculty presenter(s) of the topic in CIST 9080. The answers will also be evaluated by the topic’s presenter(s), either individually or by a group of faculty members selected by the topic’s presenter(s).
  2. Written Part II Examination Format and Procedure: Depth exam is set and graded by the candidate's supervisory committee.  The questions for the second part of the written comprehensive exam evaluate the student’s understanding of his or her major field of study. ​

Once the student has successfully passed both written portions of the comprehensive exam, they may proceed to the oral exam.

  1. Oral Examination Procedure: The oral component of the comprehensive exam is the defense of the student’s dissertation proposal. The oral portion cannot be taken without successfully passing both written parts of the exam.

The faculty grading the candidates' exams will be responsible for communicating the pass/fail grade to the Doctoral Program Committee. A PhD student advances to candidacy after successfully passing all parts of the comprehensive examination.  Should the student fail the comprehensive examination or a part thereof, he/she may be allowed to re-take it during the following academic term upon specific recommendation by the Doctoral Program Committee.  Students may appeal their comprehensive exam grade if they believe that their grade was assigned in an arbitrary or capricious manner.  See the PhD IT program grade appeal policy and process for more information.

Dissertation

Dissertation Credits

The dissertation of a PhD candidate is supervised by the chair or co-chairs of the student’s supervisory committee in consultation with other members of the supervisory committee. While doing his or her dissertation, the candidate should take hours for the course CIST 9990. A minimum of 24 hours of this course is required for graduation. Dissertation course credits should be taken only after the PhD student advances to candidacy. PhD students may take dissertation credits during the semester they apply for candidacy if they have completed all their other courses, but the dissertation credits taken under these circumstances should be kept to a minimum. Dissertation credits cannot be taken if the student does not pass the written part of the comprehensive exam.

IMPORTANT NOTE: A minimum of seven months must elapse between the date of the PhD student’s advancement to candidacy and the date of his or her dissertation defense.

Scheduling Dissertation Defense

When the supervisory committee deems it appropriate for the PhD candidate to defend his or her dissertation, the PhD candidate should prepare a dissertation thesis and submit it to the supervisory committee members. While submitting the dissertation thesis to the supervisory committee, the candidate should also submit a final oral exam form to the Office of Graduate Studies. The final oral exam form requires the signatures of the supervisory committee members and the doctoral program committee chair, and should be submitted at least four weeks before the desired date of the dissertation defense. Supervisory committee members should sign this form after receiving the final draft of the dissertation.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Before scheduling his or her dissertation defense, the student should refer to the Office of Graduate Studies website and/or the current Graduate Catalog for the graduation checklist, thesis filing deadlines and commencement dates for the semester in which he or she plans to graduate.

Exit Requirements

  • Completing Graduation Requirements
  • After successfully defending his or her dissertation, the student should complete a Report on Completion of Degree form and contact the Office of Graduate Studies to apply for graduation.

Teaching Requirements

  • All PhD students are required to teach at least ONE course while studying in the program.
  • Students who are assigned to teach a course will be designated as the instructor for a section of the course, and will be trained and evaluated by a mentor before teaching the course.

Method of Allocation

The steps for a student being allocated as a teaching assistant for a course are outlined below:

  • The student will inform the DPC chair about the plan to teach a course along with a list of preferred courses
  • If the student is teaching a course for the first time, this information should be sent TWO semesters before the semester in which the planned course is intended to be offered
  • If the student has taught the course in the past, this information should be sent ONE semester before the semester in which the planned course is intended to be offered
  • The DPC chair will consult with the unit chairs responsible for course scheduling to determine the need of instructors for different courses to make a suitable allocation
  • The student will undergo mentorship under the faculty member responsible for teaching the course by attending the lectures and doing additional duties as determined by the mentor, ONE semester BEFORE the semester in which the planned course will be offered
  • The student will be assigned as an instructor for the planned course, if, after undergoing the mentorship, the mentor determines the student is suitable for teaching the course

Timing of Teaching Activities

Teaching a course is an intense activity and can usually consume considerable time and effort. To avoid interference with his or her research work, a student should plan to teach a course, especially if teaching it for the first time, toward the beginning or mid-point of their Ph.D. studies. Students should plan to teach a course usually in the second or third year of studies.

Residency Requirements

All full-time doctoral students must complete 24 hours within 18 months in order to meet the residency requirement of the University. Part-time students must complete 18 hours during the same period. The residency requirement ensures that progress toward the degree occurs within a reasonably compact time frame, enabling the doctoral student to integrate his or her course work with the dissertation.

Progress Report

At the end of each semester, every doctoral student (full-time or part-time) must complete the Progress Report form and submit it to the Director of the Doctoral Committee. An electronic copy of this form is available on the PhD website under the “Current Students/Forms” link.

Satisfactory Progress

A minimum of three years of full-time graduate study is normally required to complete a doctoral program. The maximum time allowed by the Graduate School is eight years from the filing of the student’s program of study in the Office of Graduate Studies. Students not making satisfactory progress will be counseled out of the program. This timeline applies as long as the quality of work standards are maintained by the student.

Leave of Absence

Under extraordinary circumstances, e.g., medical problems, a student may request a leave of absence from the program for a period of no more than one year. The request must be submitted to and approved by the student’s supervisory committee and/or Doctoral Program Committee. The request should include necessary modifications to the Plan of Study as a result of the leave.

The leave of absence stops the clock for the total time required for the program and the time required to meet the residency requirement. If a student withdraws in mid-semester and is approved for a leave of absence, the clock starts at the beginning of the following semester. A student does not have to have met the residency requirement in order to apply for a leave of absence.

If a student does not return to the program within the one year approved for the leave of absence, then the student must submit an application to re-apply to the program. Re-admission to the program is not guaranteed at that point. Please refer to the Graduate Catalog for the complete policy on a leave of absence.

Grade Appeal Policy

The Grade Appeal Policy for UNO Graduate Courses policy will be followed in determining the course grades that are eligible for appeal.  In the event that a doctoral student would like to appeal their grade, the PhD in IT program grade appeal policy and process will be followed.  According, to the PhD in IT program grade appeal policy, doctoral students may initiate a grade appeal when they believe their grade for a doctoral course or exam has been arbitrary or capricious (see the Grade Appeal Policy for UNO Graduate College Courses).  An "arbitrary or capricious action" is an action taken without regard for the facts or circumstances.  The Student Grade Appeal Committee will be assembled by the chair of the Doctoral Program Committee (DPC) and will comprise up of eligible representatives or those with no conflict of interest from the DPC and specialization advisory committee.  The Student Grade Appeal Committee will adopt the UNO Graduate Council's criteria for determining whether a grade has been assigned in an arbitrary or capricious manner.  Please refer to the full PhD in IT grade appeal policy.  

CIST 8106  INFORMATION SYSTEMS ARCHITECTURE AND ORGANIZATION (3 credits)

To examine the frameworks and tools used to develop an organization's information systems architecture. To provide the analytical skills and conceptual frameworks with which to make recommendations and decisions regarding the integration of information technology components into an information systems architecture. (Cross-listed with CIST 4100).

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): CIST3100, ISQA3310 or ISQA8050

CIST 9040  COLLOQUIUM ON IT RESEARCH (1 credit)

The purpose of the course is to provide a forum for interaction among doctoral students and faculty on topics of relevance to professional success as researchers. Topics to be discussed include: nature of research in information technology; research problem selection, development, and presentation with special emphasis on the doctoral dissertation; dissertation process; development and crafting of papers for journals; collaboration on research projects; and review process for journal papers.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Admission to PhD program in Information Technology or permission of instructor. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

CIST 9050  COLLOQUIUM ON IT TEACHING (1 credit)

The purpose of this course is to provide a forum for interaction among doctoral students and faculty on topics of relevance to professional success as teachers/educators in university settings.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Admission to PhD program in Information Technology or permission of instructor. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

CIST 9060  COLLOQUIUM ON IT PROFESSION AND ETHICS (1 credit)

The purpose of this course is to provide a forum for interaction among doctoral students and faculty on topics of relevance to professional success as members of the academy.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Admission to PhD program in Information Technology or permission of instructor. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

CIST 9080  RESEARCH DIRECTIONS IN IT (3 credits)

The purpose of this course is to provide a forum for interaction among doctoral students and faculty on topics of relevance to IT research and make them familiar with current and future research directions in IT.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Doctoral standing in Information Technology or permission of course coordinators. CIST 9040 is recommended. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

CIST 9900  SPECIAL TOPICS IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (1-3 credits)

This course is designed to acquaint students with issues which are current to the field or emerging trends in the information technology area. Topics will vary across terms. This course may be repeated, but no topic may be taken more than once.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Permission of the instructor. Additional prerequisite courses may be required for particular topic offerings.

CIST 9980  INDEPENDENT STUDY IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (1-3 credits)

This course allows students to research a topic of their interest that is not available in a formal course. The topic to be studied must be agreed upon by the student and the instructor.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Permission of the instructor. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

CIST 9990  DISSERTATION (1-12 credits)

The dissertation is an original research project conducted and written under the direction of a faculty dissertation committee "supervisory committee". The dissertation provides the student with an apportunity to do original research that contributes to advancing the body of knowledge in information systems and/or information technology.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Admission to the Ph.D. program in Information Technology. Admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. Prior to enrolling for dissertation hours, the students must have permission of the supervisory committee. Not open to non-degree graduate students.