PhD in Technology Programs examine many facets of the behind-the-scenes advanced technologies that define modern business and industry. Individuals who pursue a Doctorate in Technology work to develop competency in interdisciplinary research as they explore a technical area in-depth. With the availability of disciplines to choose from, candidates could zero in on an area that aligns with their goals—then, through coursework and inquiry, study to learn how to think critically and communicate effectively.
written by Rana Waxman
To understand the variety of PhD in Technology programs there are, think as far as the definition of technology. Technology is the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes. It spans all the products, processes, machinery and tools developed through these efforts and thus includes engineering and applied sciences. Applied sciences are pure sciences (e.g. geography) that are used to develop information that could intervene, interpret or explain phenomena (e.g. geographic information systems, or GIS).
Admission to technology PhD programs could vary. ‘Masters plus PhD’ programs are intended for those persons who have earned a Master of Science degree. ‘Direct to PhD’ programs are for students who enter directly from a Bachelors degree. Persons who want to apply to a PhD program may also need relevant prior coursework and experience in the discipline to ensure a significant potential for success in the program. Another possible requirement is that a match exists between the applicant’s goals and interests and that of the program’s intent and the faculty research.
Three of the main types of Technology PhD programs are the (1) Doctor of Philosophy - PhD, (2) Doctor of Business Administration – DBA, and the (3) Doctor of Computer Science – DCS. Each may have distinct requirements to consider. A PhD is primarily a research degree. Both the DBA and DCS are academically equal to a PhD and are professional doctorate degrees. They are typically planned-out to help students reach excellence in the practice of a specific skill or profession.
PhD in Technology programs are planned-out for those who seek the highest academic award in their field of interest. A PhD program usually requires a student to contribute original thought to their field via a written dissertation. The structure and length of a program is not necessarily the same in every school and program. However, four features that students might find in a Technology PhD program could include the following.
Technology major courses are both central and often flexible to enable a student to add breadth and depth as they find appropriate. These could cover technology from a global perspective and may include a course that analyzes research in industry and technology.
Cognate courses could help students build competence in a field rationally related to their career objectives. Some examples could include business and management, instructional technology and quality control, although each university may have its own approved topics.
PhD graduates are generally expected to not only be able to critically evaluate and utilize research, but also be able to design, conduct, and report suitable research in the technology disciplines. To this end, other functional courses might include multivariate statistics, quantitative experimental design and qualitative research methods. These courses are usually key players that could help students build a solid set of discovery skills with which to approach their dissertation.
The PhD in Technology dissertation must usually show a student’s ability to conduct significant research in the technology discipline they have studied as well as those areas that intersect with it. Candidates are typically expected to demonstrate mastery of the key literature in the field and use this to ground and inform their inquiry.
A Doctor of Computer Science (DCS) is the terminal degree for computer science students. A DCS degree program covers the basics of how to think and act strategically. Students may gain an ability to predict future technical trends and contribute to their field through action research and practical projects. Students might be required to take a series of about 96 credits which might include core courses, electives, research methods and dissertation topics. Additionally, students might choose a focus for their studies through an area of emphasis, which might include topics such as the ones below.
In some schools, a DCS curriculum is planned-out in a three-year format. First year core courses might explore current topics in computer science and information systems and qualitative techniques. Research courses are often taught to enable a broad overview of the student’s area of emphasis. This could put the research into context and inform the student’s selection of a research topic for the dissertation. Year two is often given to more in-depth coursework.
In the final year, students might wrap up any emphasis courses and complete doctoral research courses. Then, to earn their DCS degree, students must satisfactorily complete and defend a research proposal and dissertation.
A Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is a practitioner-scholar doctoral degree in business administration and management. It is often aimed at current business executives who have a Master's degree in a discipline or field related to the program major and who have practical business management experience.
In some universities, students may be required to complete about 60 credits. These may be divided into foundation courses, core and emphasis courses, and doctoral studies. Foundation courses could orient students to the tools and skills needed to stay on track in their program. Core courses could discuss topics such as business operation, marketing, finance, leadership and business strategy. Other courses could provide a broad discussion of information systems management, and the impact they have on decision and collaboration.
Those who want to focus on Business Intelligence might take extra courses in data warehousing, modeling, analysis and information science. For their final dissertation, students may conduct action research. For instance, they might conduct an extensive review of available information. Then, apply their knowledge to solve a dilemma in their area of study.
DID YOU KNOW?
5% of all STEM occupations require a minimum of a Doctorate or Professional degree.i
Doctorate in Business Information Systems programs are typically intended as professional doctoral degrees where students build technical and or managerial competency. Business information systems explores the links between people and technology within organizational settings. Students may learn to evaluate, develop and implement information and communication technologies to drive business processes and optimize its performance.
Those who want to refine their digital skills might consider a Doctor of Computer Science (DCS) with an emphasis in an area like big data analytics. Courses could delve into the tools and techniques used to analyze distributed, unstructured data.
Students who want to enhance their ability to strategically manage people and technological operations might be interested in a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program. A DBA in Information Systems Management could provide an overview of advanced business topics. Moreover, students might learn to identify new uses for technology as well as how to leverage technology to drive business results.
A PhD in Computational Science may aim to produce mathematical scientists who could solve problems through discrete math, statistics, linear algebra and related methods. Some programs might delve into an area of emphasis such as data science. Data science uses mathematics and statistical tools to enable an organization to effectively use data. Those who pursue a PhD in Data Science study a variety of techniques and theories. For instance, coursework for this major could include classes in data mining, big data integration and data visualization.
Doctor of Computer Science (DCS) programs seek to instill students with a solid grasp of a specific subject related to computer science. Students might learn to predict trends as they explore high-level design issues. Coursework could also discuss and assess security for distributed systems. Since a DCS degree program could entail intensive research and written projects, students in some programs might work to develop a software process improvement plan for an organization and design, test, and implement an experiment.
A PhD in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity could provide students with the chance to develop advanced skills in research areas such as information confidentiality, compliance, and risk management. Information systems play a key role in many infrastructures from commerce and banks to health and national security. Cybersecurity links the disciplines of computer science and information technology. Courses might therefore discuss management theory as well as multivariate modeling.
Students who prefer applied research might choose a Doctor of Computer Science (DCS) in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance. This type of doctorate degree could help students to cultivate the theoretical, research and applications capabilities needed to manage and forecast future issues and developments in this field. Courses might thus be tuned to security management, enterprise tools and security architecture.
PhD in Information Science programs explore the interplay between complex technological systems and their uses in a social context. The field of information science studies the design and use of information systems and the impact this has on individuals and society. Students might learn about the creation, representation, organization, application and analysis of digital information rather than focus on the computer and communication technologies that support them. As a result, coursework draws from the social sciences, cognitive psychology, cultural studies, mathematical analysis and more.
By contrast, a Doctor of Computer Science (DCS) in Enterprise Information Systems degree program could enable students to build practical and technical abilities. Students take courses in strategy and explore enterprise tools and technology. This emphasis may help students learn to manage the IT implementation processes and effectively communicate technical material to non-technical decision makers.
A PhD in Information Technology program explores information security or network architecture and design. Or it may focus on IT within a specific industry. At the same time, candidates could study to learn how to formulate new theories to advance knowledge in an area of IT.
Coursework could expose students to emergent research trends and help them to synthesize literature and understand how to make decisions that relate to the technology life cycle. Learners might also take a class to study how to create a business plan to develop an IT consulting practice.
PhD in Technology Management programs show students how to put information technology policies and processes into use. Technology Management PhD students are instructed in how to conduct in-depth analysis of principles of productivity and quality management. Other courses might examine concepts in systems control, business planning, forecasting and personnel management.
Some universities might also offer a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in Information Technology Management. As a professional doctorate, a DBA could focus on emerging trends and technological influences. DBA students often engage in multidisciplinary, applied business research. This type of curriculum could provide instruction on how to lead IT strategy, manage technology, people, and operations. A course in finance could help students develop a sense of how to make savvy financial decisions. Other business topics could draw from marketing and change management. For a final project, students may be required to showcase their ability to conduct research that is tied to an organization and leverages their knowledge to solve a real-world problem.
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