ISDS Doctoral Program
ISDS Doctoral Handbook
August 15, 2011
Unless otherwise stated, in the document below "doctoral committee" will mean the ISDS Department Doctoral Committee. This committee consists of all the tenured/tenure-track members of the ISDS Department.
Program Structure for the ISDS PhD Program
This document is in six parts:
- Part 1: Course requirements
- Part 2: Research requirements before admission to candidacy
- Part 3: Teaching requirements
- Part 4: Comprehensive examinations
- Part 5: After the comprehensive examinations
- Part 6: Performance evaluation
0-4 business courses
Four foundational courses in Accounting, Finance, Management and Marketing are needed.
These may be waived based on prior coursework as described in the Muma College of Business PhD handbook.
- The following graduate IS courses are required for all graduating ISDS PhD students.
This requirement can be waived if a student has taken these or equivalent graduate
courses in a prior program.
- ISM 6124: Advanced Systems Analysis and Design
- ISM 6218: Advanced Database Management
- ISM 6225: Distributed Information Systems
- Two graduate Economics courses
See Muma College of Business PhD handbook for the required economics courses and waiver conditions.
- Three quantitative courses, plus an additional research elective. The following three
courses will satisfy the three quantitative course requirement for ISDS doctoral students:
- QMB 6375 Applied Linear Statistical Models
- QMB 7566 Applied Multivariate Statistical Methods
- QMB 7565 Introduction to Research Methods
- Five courses in the major field (at 6000 level or higher).
- ISM 6930: Computational Methods in Business.
- ISM 7911 MIS Research Seminar (Seminar in Technical IS research)
- ISM 7912 Seminar in Behavioral IS Research
- Two additional ISM course at the 6000 level or higher. Note that the three courses taken to satisfy (A) above can also count toward this requirement.
- Three courses in a support area.
Can be any three graduate courses taken in one or more related fields such as Economics, Computer Science, Psychology, Industrial Engineering, Marketing, Accounting, Finance and Management. These courses should be chosen in consultation with the advisor or ISDS doctoral coordinator.
- Other course/credit requirements that must be satisfied prior to graduation:
- Need at least 21 hours enrolled in dissertation credits. Note that students may register for dissertation hours only after they are admitted to candidacy. Admission to candidacy normally occurs after the student has passed all parts (written and oral) of the comprehensive examinations. See the Graduate Catalog on rules pertaining to admission to candidacy.
- Need at least 90 graduate semester hours after the undergraduate degree, at least
45 of which must be at USF. In addition to courses, students can satisfy the 90 hour
- Registering for dissertation credits.
- Registering for "Directed Research" (or independent study) courses in the department.
- Continuous enrollment requirement. Students who have not yet graduated are expected
to be continuously enrolled for a certain number of dissertation credits each semester
as noted in the Muma College of Business handbook and USF graduate catalog.
An adequate grade will be defined as a B grade or higher for courses in which A through F letter grades are awarded, and as an S grade for courses in which either an S or U are awarded. If a student does not receive an adequate grade for a completed course, this will be considered making "unsatisfactory progress" in the doctoral program. Students making unsatisfactory progress will be evaluated by the doctoral committee as described in this document.
Students are strongly encouraged to start early in pursuit of their research interests. To this end, students are required to write two research papers in their first two years.
These papers for instance could be based on prior work done by the student in their seminar or methodology courses as they continue to develop their ideas. Alternately, these papers may be the result of students collaborating with faculty members independent of their coursework. Students are not obligated to continue these papers for their dissertation and can continue to explore topics for their dissertation independent of these paper requirements.
- First-Year Paper: The first research paper is expected to be a paper that can be submitted to an academic conference. This paper should be 15 to 20 page double spaced in length. This paper can also be an expanded literature review into an area of interest of the student. The paper has to be submitted to the PhD coordinator by August 15 of the student's second year (i.e. at the end of the first summer after their first year in the program). Evidence of satisfactory completion of this requirement is made by the PhD coordinator. Students are encouraged to submit this paper to at least a conference during their second year.
- Second-Year Paper: The second research paper is expected to be 35-40 pages double
spaced and written in an academic style and format. The paper has to be submitted
to the PhD coordinator by August 15 of the student's third year (i.e. at the end of
the second summer after their second year in the program).
While a "complete" research paper with results is preferred, the second year paper may also be a very detailed proposal for research that may be submitted to a journal with the proposed experiments, analysis or artifact development completed within a few months of submission of the paper. Evidence of satisfactory completion of this requirement is made via a positive assessment by the students' oral (comprehensive) examination committee.
Students who have not completed these research papers on schedule will be considered making "unsatisfactory progress" in the doctoral program.
Students are expected to attend all departmental activities relevant to the doctoral program, as determined by the department chair and PhD coordinator. These activities typically include invited speakers, research seminars and presentations, job talks by faculty candidates, and meetings with potential doctoral students. Students who fail to participate will be considered making "unsatisfactory progress" in the doctoral program.
In the first two years funded doctoral students who are on assistantships are expected to actively seek and work with faculty on research leading to their first and second year papers. By the end of January in the Spring semester in each of the first two years, the student must send the PhD Coordinator a detailed email about how they plan on completing the relevant paper requirement due that year. This email should also list names of faculty who will be advising them on their research.
An important part of an academic career is being a good teacher. To this end, students funded by USF assistantships are expected to teach two courses per year in their third and fourth years. Students who expect to need help should actively seek help from faculty in their first two years. They should also plan to take or sit in with permission on classes they expect to teach. Evidence of satisfactory teaching performance is made based on course evaluations and feedback by the course coordinator to the department chair. Students may be asked to attend courses in the Teaching Enhancement Program and/or observe the course coordinator's classes and/or work with the course coordinator on how to improve their teaching performance. Receiving unsatisfactory evaluations or negative feedback will be considered making "unsatisfactory progress" in the doctoral program.
There are two parts to the comprehensive examinations: (i) a written examination and (ii) an oral presentation and successful defense of the second year research paper. Students will be considered to have passed the comprehensive exam if they pass the written exam and successfully present and defend their second year paper.
The written examination will have five parts. Four of these parts will be based on the following four required courses: the two departmental research methods courses (Research Methods and Computational Methods in Business) and the two departmental seminar courses (ISM 7911 and ISM 7912). In addition, the fifth part of the exam will test IS domain knowledge and will be based on the three required graduate IS courses listed previously in this document in section (A) under "Course Requirements – Core Courses".
By the end of the first (Fall/Spring) semester following the completion of the required research methods and departmental coursework (and no later than the end of the fourth year) students should have passed both parts of the comprehensive examinations. For funded doctoral students this will normally occur during the Fall semester of their third year.
Qualifications required to take the Comprehensive Examination
Students must have:
- Satisfactorily completed the required department and research methods courses,
- Submitted the first year research paper, and
- Corrected any problems as detailed in any unsatisfactory progress report letter.
Rules Related to the Written Examination
Students must take the examination as soon as they are qualified and this will normally be at the end of their second year in the program. The written examinations will be offered in July each year. The exams may also be offered at other times based on the department's decision. Failure to sit for the written examination when the student is qualified to take the examination without permission of the department chair or PhD coordinator is considered a complete failure of the first sitting. This student will also be considered as making "unsatisfactory progress" in the doctoral program.
As noted previously the written exam will have five parts. If a student receives satisfactory evaluations on all parts of the exam in the first sitting the student will be considered to have passed the written exam. In general we anticipate that students taking the written exams will pass in the first sitting.
In the unlikely event that a student's performance in one or more parts in the first sitting is "unsatisfactory" then the student will be asked to re-take those parts in a second sitting. For students funded by the department, the second sitting should be within 4 months of the date when the unsatisfactory decision is communicated to the student if the students wishes to retain their funding. For all students the second sitting should be within the four year limit to complete comprehensive examinations. If the student receives satisfactory evaluations on all parts of the exam that they are required to take in the second sitting, the student will be considered to have passed the written exam.
In case of unsatisfactory performance on any portion of the partial or full exam on the second sitting the student will be asked to leave the doctoral program, but can continue taking courses to obtain a Masters degree in MIS. Failure to sit for this examination without written permission from the department chair will also be considered a failure of the second sitting.
Rules Related to the Paper Presentation
As noted above, presentation and successful defense of the second year paper will constitute the second part of the comprehensive examinations. Students are expected to schedule a presentation in the early Fall semester of the third year and present the paper to a faculty examining committee of at least three members. This orals examining committee will evaluate both the paper as well as the presentation. In evaluating this paper and the presentation, the committee will focus primarily on the originality of the research and/or research plan, potential for current or future publication, ability to think creatively, and communicate and carry out research independently. A student will have satisfactorily completed this requirement when the committee agrees that the research paper and presentation satisfies these requirements.
If a student passes the presentation then this component of the comprehensive examination will be completed. If a student receives an unsatisfactory evaluation of the presentation then the student will be given the opportunity of presenting the research a second time. For students funded by the department, the second presentation should be within 4 months of the date when the unsatisfactory decision is communicated to the student if the students wishes to retain their funding. For all students the second presentation should be within the four year limit to complete comprehensive examinations. In case of unsatisfactory performance on this second round the student will be considered to have failed the comprehensive examinations and asked to leave the doctoral program but can continue taking courses to obtain a Masters degree in MIS.
Students will be "admitted to candidacy" after passing their comprehensive examinations. At this point students will be expected to form a dissertation committee and work on their dissertation proposal. After passing their proposal defense students will work to complete the dissertation and schedule a dissertation defense. Students must adhere to rules specified in the Graduate Catalog for time restrictions for completing their dissertation.
After the Fourth Year
After the Spring of the fourth year, Muma College of Business and departmental financial support ends. In order to maintain active status in the doctoral program, students must sign up for regular dissertation credit hours as required by the college and university graduate policies.
Doctoral students will be evaluated at the end of Spring of each year by the PhD coordinator. Any "unsatisfactory progress" assessment will be evaluated by the Doctoral Committee for the ISDS Department. The committee may recommend one or more of several corrective actions including but not restricted to:
- Additional coursework.
- Additional research assignments such as a paper and/or presentation requirement.
- Withdrawal of funding.
- Termination from the program. In cases where a student is terminated from the doctoral program the student may be permitted to continue taking courses to obtain a Masters degree.