Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems

Admission Requirements | Program Requirements | Course Requirements | Our Doctoral Students | Frequently Asked Questions


The Graduate School at UMBC is located in the heart of the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area, a premier location known for its flourishing tech industry.

Our Ph.D. is one of the few programs that approaches Information Systems in a holistic sense, including the social and political elements of building and maintaining complex, large-scale systems. We have a diverse, multicultural faculty and student body that practices an interdisciplinary and applied approach to Information Systems.

Our well-renowned full-time faculty is involved with a wide variety of externally funded projects and they are also proudly featured in top scholarly venues.



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Admission Requirements

  1.  The majority of successful applicants have an undergraduate GPA well above 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale).
  2. The IS Ph.D. program builds on an understanding of the design, development, analysis, and use of computer-based information systems. Successful applicants will have demonstrated aptitude and/or interest in one or more of these areas. In addition, applicants should have or be willing to acquire the necessary competence in some of the following areas depending on their research concentration: statistical analysis, experimental design, programming, databases and data mining, computational analysis, in order to conduct sophisticated research at the doctoral level.
  3. All applicants are expected to read, speak, write, and understand the English language fluently. Those whose native language is not English are required to take a language proficiency test. The only exception to this requirement is for students who have earned a post-secondary degree from an accredited university in the United States. Students who have received post-secondary degrees from a U.S. institution and whose native language is not English may be required to demonstrate proficiency in English.

    We currently accept Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), IELTS (International English Language Testing System), and PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English). The minimum acceptable combined TOEFL score is 550 (written), 213 (computer based) or 80 (iBT-Internet based). The TOEFL code for UMBC is 5835. For IELTS, the minimum acceptable total score is 6.5. A minimum score of 53 is required on the PTE Academic test. We will also accept Duolingo English test. The minimum required score is 115.

  4. GRE scores are optional:
    The IS department is multi-disciplinary with faculty of varied research interests. While the GRE is not required, it is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your capabilities. The importance of the GRE in the admissions process may vary substantially by subject area. Whether or not you submit the GREs, you are required to demonstrate analytical and writing skills as described in the second bullet in the SOP section.
  5. Statement of Purpose (included in the online application). Please elaborate on the following:
    • What research area are you interested in? Why would you like to work in that particular area?  What aspects of your background will prepare you to work in that area? What are your career goals? What prior experience do you have in conducting/assisting in research?
    • You are required to demonstrate analytical and writing skills, for example, through GREs, industry experience, research experience, certifications, challenging professional or academic projects, coursework performance, papers or articles published, achievements in national or international contests, hackathons, and/or code/visualizations you have created. You can use additional documents to show evidence of some of these qualities.
    • Also, look on the web for information about the professors and their research. Indicate which research area(s) you are interested in working in, perhaps commenting on the interdisciplinary nature of your interests.
    • You are strongly encouraged to contact individual faculty members with whom you are interested in working and discuss with them about your background and interests.
  6. Three letters of recommendation
  7. Official transcripts of all post-secondary schools (Electronic Transcripts: If you are submitting transcripts electronically, please forward to Kathie Nee,, for domestic applications and to Scott Philips,, for international applications.
  8. The UMBC Graduate School will accept official WES ICAP Course-by-Course evaluations as fulfillment of the requirement for official transcripts in the admissions process.


The deadlines for the Ph.D. program are:

  • Fall semester: January 7
  • Spring semester: September 1

All application materials must be submitted by the deadline. Only applications that are complete by the deadline, with all required documents, are considered. Upon request, incomplete applications will be kept open for the following semester’s admission decisions.


If you need any further information please contact Shannon Carey (Keegan), Graduate Programs Manager,