10 Best Doctorate in Information Technology Online [2021 Guide]

Home » 10 Best Doctorate in Information Technology Online [2021 Guide]

Ready to start your journey?

Maybe you already work in information technology and want to advance into a managerial or research position. Maybe you want to change directions and break into academia.

Doctorate in Information Technology

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Or, maybe you haven’t even started out in the field yet but have a clear, ambitious vision of what you want to do with your life. In each case, a doctorate in information technology online may be exactly what you need to get you where you want to be.

Doctoral Programs in Information Technology Online

Computer Programmers working in the office

Getting your PhD in information technology online can help you advance into the upper echelons of the career field. It also may open doors that would simply be inaccessible without the credential and the expertise the credential represents.

A PhD can also help you make a leap forward in the amount of money you earn. The increased level of specialized knowledge that the degree can help you obtain may elevate your profile and set you apart from the pack in a big way.

If you’re already working in IT and are looking at PhD programs, you may want to teach, take on higher-level research roles, or qualify for leadership positions. An online PhD in information technology can help you achieve any or all of those endeavors without having to quit your day job.

If you’re not yet in the IT field and are simply looking far ahead, then an information technology doctorate may be a great goal to shoot for. It’s a career field with high demand and typically good pay because information technology plays into nearly every aspect of modern life.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the information technology job field to grow by 11%, significantly faster than most occupations. The BLS also reports that the median annual wage for information technology professionals is $91,250, more than twice as much as the median annual wage for all professions.

The courses you’ll take in earning your PhD will depend on your program and your research specialization, but some material is generally found in most programs.

There’s a good chance you’ll be studying parallel computation, dynamic and nonlinear programming, research methods, data compression, and signal processing, among other things.

PhD in IT Careers & Salaries

PhD in IT Careers & Salaries

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that in the next decade, information technology jobs will grow by 11%, a rate outpacing the growth of the general job market by a healthy margin.

The BLS also reports that the median annual wage for information technology professions is over $91,000, substantially higher than the median annual wage for all occupations.

Because computers are so common in modern life, the potential uses of a PhD in information technology are almost unlimited. Some job titles include software developer, database administrator, professor, and IT manager.

Careers Annual Median Salary
IT Director $151,150
Computer and Information Research Scientist $126,830
Computer Network Architect $116,780
Software Developer $110,140
Information Security Analyst $103,590
Database Administrator $98,860
Computer Programmer $89,190
Management Analyst $87,660
Information Technology Professor $85,540
Network and Computer Systems Administrator $84,810

With the ever-growing usage of computers in business, science, and the arts, there are usually many different opportunities for those with information technology doctorates.

Choosing an Online Doctorate in Information Technology Degree

Doctorate in Information Technology Degree student studying on her computer

In choosing a doctorate in information technology online degree, some considerations will be unique to you and your goals.

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Others are quite common.

  • The first thing you’ll probably want to make sure of is that the school is regionally accredited. You’re most likely familiar with this already from your undergraduate work, but here’s a friendly reminder.
  • Next, you may want to look into how the school’s program ranks against the rest in the nation. Even if the rankings are primarily based on perception rather than substance, it’s good to know what kind of standing your prospective school has.
  • Find out how long the program takes to complete and make sure that it fits into your schedule. Also, find out if it has a residency or internship requirement and make sure you’ll be able to complete those.
  • See how many of your previous credits will transfer. If any do not, it’s possible that you’ll have to fulfill some requirements with classes on top of the regular PhD course load, which may extend your time to graduation.
  • Find a program that focuses on your personal interests or goals.
  • Tuition cost. Find out how much the degree costs and make sure you’re comfortable paying that bill.

With something as momentous as selecting a PhD program, it’s always good to break things down to bite-size chunks so you don’t become overwhelmed.

IT Doctorate Curriculum & Courses

Computer Network Architect working in data center

You’ll likely delve into all kinds of fascinating topics while studying for a doctorate degree in information technology online. Some common topics are:

  • Algorithms: Algorithms are sets of programmed rules that computers follow in order to perform calculations and to solve problems. These courses can give you the opportunity to take a deep dive into algorithmic structures and help you learn how to use algorithms in real-world situations.
  • Computer networks: Computer networks are groups of connected computers that can share information. They’re essential to information technology. These courses can help you learn the finer points of how they work and how to make them work for you.
  • Software development: These courses can help you learn how to build your own software for internal use or for sale in the free market.
  • Artificial intelligence: The study of artificial intelligence can take you to the very edge of innovation and discovery.  This is a field with the potential to revolutionize daily life.
  • Parallel computation: This is the study of using computers to conduct multiple processes simultaneously.
  • Nonlinear programming: These classes explore how computers can solve optimization problems that have nonlinear constraints or objective functions.
  • Data compression: This is the study of taking digital information and squeezing it down into fewer bits.
  • Information technology research methods: This study can help you learn how to conduct your own research and most likely begin designing studies you’ll use to complete your PhD.
  • Queuing systems: When talking about computers, a queue is list of jobs waiting to be processed. This seems like an absurdly simple topic. It isn’t. Not even close.
  • Sequential Circuits: This is the study of combination logic circuits composed on logic gates, input variables, and output variables.

The courses you end up taking will depend on the specific study niche your chosen program offers.

Admissions Requirements

Doctorate in Information Technology Degree student studying online

Some admissions requirements may be unique to any given university, but many are found at most universities.

  • Prior degrees: All PhD programs will require that you have a bachelor’s degree. Some may also require that you’ve already completed a master’s degree, as well. Some allow you to complete your masters on the way to earning your PhD.
  • Coursework: Some foundational knowledge will be expected. If you haven’t already fulfilled the required coursework, you’ll likely have to do so before officially starting your PhD program.
  • Job history: Many information technology programs will want you to have a background working in the field.
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores: While more and more schools are dropping GRE requirements, there are still plenty that will want to see them.

Today, most schools are getting softer with their requirements and offering an alternative to fulfill them. Even if you can’t meet exactly what your prospective school wants, ask an admissions counselor to see if they have ways to make up for them.

Accreditation

Doctorate in Information Technology Accreditation

Schools voluntarily seek out accreditation to prove their respectability and legitimacy. Regional accreditation is the goal of most schools in order to be taken seriously.

There are seven regional accrediting agencies. They inspect schools to make sure they meet at least the minimum of a standard of quality. National accreditation sounds like a big deal, but it really isn’t. It’s about the least-respected form of accreditation that there is.

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Make sure your school is at least regionally accredited before spending your time and money on it.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

financial aid for Doctorate in Information Technology students

If you’re going for a PhD or even an online masters in information technology, you’ve probably already been through this before. Still, we’ll give you a little refresher.

  • The most common form of financial aid is the federal student loan. You can start the process for securing these funds here. Federal loans don’t have much of a barrier of entry, but like any other loan they have to be repaid.
  • Your state probably also has a higher-education loan program. Generally, the only requirement is that you’re a state resident.
  • Your employer may have an educational reimbursement program. Talk to your human resources department to find out.
  • Scholarships are great because they don’t have to be paid back. Some are given based on merit and some are given based on your racial, socioeconomic, or religious background.
  • Grants also don’t need to be paid back. In going for a PhD, the grants you’ll most want to look for will be distributed based on your area of research.

Investing some time in finding whatever free money is out there may pay dividends far higher than the opportunity cost lost in searching.

What Can You Do With a PhD in Information Technology?

Database Administrators checking the data center

There are many things that you may be able to do with a PhD in Information Technology. Some of the things you may do are:

  • Teach information technology at the university level
  • Develop software
  • Manage information systems
  • Do computer research
  • Build computer networks
  • Provide information security.

This list is just scratching the surface of the possibilities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the field to grow by 11% and estimates the median annual wage for the specialization at $91,250 a year.

How Much Does an Online Doctorate in IT Cost?

Doctorate in IT student studying on his laptop

Different programs carry different costs. The range is actually quite broad. You may find schools offering online PhD programs in information technology for less than $200 per credit hour. You may also find schools charging over $400 per credit hour.

You may also be able to mitigate the cost if you can qualify for scholarships or grants.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Doctorate in Information Technology Online?

Doctorate in Information Technology student studying at home

Doctorate degrees generally take 4 to 6 years to finish. The time depends on a few factors, with the school’s program design being only one.

You may be able to cut down the time it takes by beefing up your resume with plenty of coursework and professional qualifications. You may be able to hustle harder than you’ve ever hustled before and shave months or even years off.

Realistically, those expedited cases are few and far between. It takes time to get a PhD. It’s not unheard of for people to take upwards of 8 years.

Are There Any Affordable Doctoral Programs in IT Online?

Affordability is subjective, but generally there are indeed quite a few affordable doctoral programs in IT online. Many schools in the lower end of the price range charge between $200 and $300 per credit hour.

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Schools are also increasingly offering flat tuition rates no matter your state of residency. So, search wide and you’ll likely find some programs that fall within your budget.

Is a Doctorate in Information Technology Worth it?

Computer Programmers happily working in the office

Yes, a doctorate in information technology is worth it for many students. You may have unique circumstances that allow unlimited advancement regardless of educational credentials, but for many, a PhD in information technology would greatly elevate career options.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics vouches for the marketability of an information technology PhD. Jobs in the computer and information technology field are projected to increase by 11% over the next ten years, faster than the average growth of all occupations. Common careers in this field include computer systems administrator, information technology professor, information security analyst, computer network architect, IT director.

Beyond money, earning a doctorate in information technology may reinvigorate your mind and soul with the study of fascinating subjects that light you up inside. It may also give you increased opportunities to contribute to an important field and make the world a better place for all of us.

All of this makes an information technology degree worth it for many.

Universities Offering Online Doctorate in Information Technology Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Bowling Green State University

Bowling Green State University

Bowling Green State University offers a Ph.D. in Technology Management for technical professionals who need schedules that are both academically rigorous and flexible.

There are five specializations offered under the umbrella of this degree, but they all share the same goal of preparing students for industry management positions or teaching positions in higher education.

  • PhD in Technology Management

Bowling Green State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Capella University

Capella University

The Doctor of Information Technology degree from Capella University is a 100% online degree that is designed to prepare students for upper-level positions in the information technology field.

Courses are designed to teach students to conduct in-depth research, find innovative technical solutions, think critically, perform advanced design and coding, and communicate effectively in all forms.

  • Doctor of Information Technology

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

City University of Seattle

City University of Seattle

City University of Seattle offers a Doctor of Information Technology degree whose main goal is to teach students to develop advanced KSAs in information technology innovations and prepare for senior-level positions in private industry, education or government.

Course topics include cyber security, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, data science, and other advanced IT topics.

  • Doctor of Information Technology

City University of Seattle is Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Colorado Technical University

Colorado Technical University

Students at Colorado Technical University can earn their Doctor of Computer Science – Cybersecurity and Information Assurance degree in 100 credit hours.

In addition to six doctoral research courses and a final symposium, students may also take courses in qualitative and quantitative research, security management, digital systems security, technological innovation, and more.

  • Doctor of Computer Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance

Colorado Technical University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Dakota State University

Dakota State University

Dakota State University’s Ph.D. in Information Systems is an expert-level program designed for information technology professionals hoping to shape the future of information systems and security.

There are several specializations. Each is focused on providing students with an advanced understanding of information systems in order to create new, innovative technology.

  • PhD in Information Systems

Dakota State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Liberty University

Liberty University

Students hoping to achieve the highest levels of management in information technology can take Liberty University’s online Doctor of Business Administration in Information Systems program.

The program blends traditional research with hands-on experience in real-world settings. A premium is placed on both business management and the design and implementation of advanced technological strategies.

  • DBA in Information Systems

Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Middle Georgia State University

Middle Georgia State University

Middle Georgia State University’s School of Computing now offers a Doctor Of Science In Information Technology. It’s a brand new program implementing the cohort model of education where all students begin and finish at the same time. It’s an online program spanning two years of four, short sessions encompassing 54 total hours.

  • Doctor of Science in Information Technology

Middle Georgia State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern University

The Ph.D. in Information Systems at Nova Southeastern University is a 67 credit hour program offered through the school’s College of Computing and Engineering. The flexible course schedule is designed for working professionals.

There are seven core courses in areas like systems analysis, project management, and information science, along with two research courses and a dissertation.

  • PhD in Information Systems

NSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of the Cumberlands

University of the Cumberlands

The University of the Cumberlands offers an online Ph.D. in Information Technology to students hoping for high-level positions in information technology. Course topics include data science, information governance, and threats to IT infrastructure, among others.

Students earning the degree are expected to be able to manage data-driven decisions, empower smart cities, employ big data analytics, and more.

  • PhD in Information Technology

The University of the Cumberlands is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Walden University

Walden University

The Doctor of Information Technology program at Walden University is an intensive, immersive program featuring seminar courses, IT leadership simulators, doctoral research study and residencies.

Graduating students should be equipped to analyze best practices, conduct research to determine solutions, critically evaluate current research and tech, demonstrate IT leadership skills, and more.

  • Doctor of Information Technology

Walden is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Getting Your Doctorate in Information Technology Online

Doctorate in Information Technology student studying at a cafe

It’s rarely easy to commit to investing significant amounts of time or money, but the fact of the matter is that few degrees are as likely to pay off as a PhD in information technology.

Information technology is one of the hottest career fields in the world today. A PhD in the subject can help place you in a very small pool of people with the highest academic credential in a highly marketable specialization.

This is IT we’re talking about. Nothing is ever guaranteed, but it is a career field that is in high demand.

Ready to start your journey?
Jeff Suwak
WRITTEN BY
Jeff Suwak
Jeff covers online higher education programs and trends. He has a BA in English, as well as multiple certifications from the University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan, and the University of California. Jeff's background is in technical communication, science writing, and music journalism.