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PhD in Information Systems
Approved by the Faculty Board on 26 Sept, 2012 (ØS-sak 12/71)
Vedtatt i fakultetsstyret for økonomi og samfunnsvitenskap 26.09.12
General requirement: Applicants who have at least a master´s degree or equivalent in a relevant area of study will be considered for admission. In addition, there is a requirement for at least 90 ECTS credits (one and a half years of study) in subjects related to information systems, where 30 of these credits are from the 4th and 5th year of study.
Compensatory course work:Applicants with a master´s degree or equivalent, but who do not have sufficient knowledge in information systems, will be requested to take additional courses at the master´s level before being formally accepted into the specialisation. A PhD Committee will decide on an individual basis which/how many additional courses at the master´s level will be required.
Grade requirement: Average of B (or equivalent) or better.
See also Supplementary regulations for the PhD degree at the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at University of Agder, § 5.1 Conditions for admission.
General description of the specialisation
The PhD specialisation in Information Systems consists of four components: core courses, methods courses, specialisation courses, and a dissertation. The coursework aims to provide the candidates with a) a thorough grounding in literature in Information Systems, b) a solid methodological foundation, and c) an opportunity for in-depth focus in areas relevant to Information Systems in which a candidate has specific interest. In addition to the courses offered by UiA, candidates will be allowed to take, subject to approval, doctoral courses offered by other national and international academic institutions.
The four components of the specialisation are:
Core course (10 ECTS)
- IS-607 Theoretical foundations of Information Systems (10 ECTS)
Methods courses (15 ECTS)
- ME-620 Research methods in Information Systems (5 ECTS)
- EX-602 Philosophy of Science (5 ECTS) or equivalent. This course also covers the required training in research ethics
- Method elective(s) (5 ECTS)
Specialisation courses (5 ECTS)
Dissertation (150 ECTS)
In total, the coursework consists of 30 ECTS. The coursework will normally be completed through the first 2-3 semesters of the PhD specialisation. The dissertation project will be initiated in parallel with the coursework, guided by the appointed supervisor(s). Dissertation seminars will be arranged to support the candidates in developing their dissertation work, and will give the opportunity to present and discuss this with other PhD candidates and faculty.
Coursework and appointment of supervisor(s)
Coursework and beginning of dissertation work
Coursework and dissertation work
Completion of dissertation and dissertation defence
In the following, each of the course modules of the specialisation are described further.
Core course. The course titled Theoretical Foundations of Information Systems will provide the students with an understanding of core concepts and theories prevailing in information systems research.
Methods courses. The purpose of the methods courses is to provide candidates with a solid methodological foundation. A minimum of 15 ECTS are required in the methods area. The Philosophy of Science course is given in collaboration with other PhD programmes at UiA. The course on Research Methods in Information Systems will provide the candidates with an overview of the main methodological approaches applied in information systems research. In addition, the candidates will be required to take one or more elective courses focusing on advanced topics related to quantitative or qualitative methods, depending on the methodological approach used in the dissertation. These method electives will be provided both internally in collaboration with other PhD programmes at UiA, and by external partner institutions.
Specialisation courses. The specialisation courses go into depth in specific topics currently on the research agenda in the information systems area. These courses are intended to give the PhD candidate sufficient knowledge within a subfield of information systems and to start producing research in this field. Examples of specialisation courses (all 2,5 ECTS) that have been given by the Department of Information Systems include:
- Research issues on eGovernment
- Research issues on Enterprise Systems Note: The courseannounced for April 24-26, 2013, is cancelled - may be offered later this year
- Research issues on ICT for Development
In addition, the candidates will be encouraged to take specialisation courses offered by other universities in Norway and abroad. As part of this category of coursework, participation in research seminars and conferences may also give course credits, subject to approval by the PhD Programme Committee. It will also be possible to arrange readings courses tailor-made for individual candidates in specialised areas of interest and competence, where the completion of such courses will require writing a scientific paper. The content of such courses is subject to approval by the PhD Committee.
Intended learning outcome
Upon successful completion of the proposed PhD specialisation in Information Systems, candidates should have the knowledge, skills and the general competence needed to be at the research frontier of the field.
Knowledge: The candidate should be able to:
- list, describe and discuss the theories that are central and at the core of the information research literature
- list, describe and evaluate the research methods, approaches and paradigms that are used in information systems research
- list and discuss the seminal research papers and list the relevant outlets to publish their research
Skills: The candidate should be able to:
- select, integrate and apply a broad range of skills and techniques, tools and practices useful in the study of organisational and societal aspects of information systems development and application.
- develop new knowledge, theory, methods, interpretations and forms of documentation within the field of information systems
- evaluate and judge the adequacy of using different theories and methods in the research process
- formulate research questions, plan and conduct research at the research frontier within information systems
- write different scholarly texts within the field of information systems and reflect on the research and writing process
- critically evaluate and pass constructive judgment on scholarly work within information systems and related disciplines
- establish and maintain scholarly networks
General competences: The candidate should be able to:
- identify and reflect on relevant ethical questions in the research process and conduct own research according to established ethical standards
- contextualise scholarly phenomena historically, institutionally and culturally
- present own and others scholarly work in relevant forums
- develop further skills and practices useful for their particular type of investigation
- describe the process of conducting research for practice, and how research meets the needs of IS practitioners and general managers concerned with IT management.
The courses will be run as seminars including reading assignments, class discussion and presentation of term papers.
The assessment is based on term papers graded as pass or fail, where pass is equivalent to a grade B or better.
The PhD degree in Information Systems will qualify for careers both in private and public sector, as well as academia.
The programme leads to a PhD degree from the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, with a specialisation in Information Systems.
Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences
PhD coordinator Bjørn Erik Munkvold
Phone: +47 38 14 17 72