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That's the DSU equation. We're a four-year university with nationally recognized programs, cutting-edge facilities, and the brightest thinkers. But we're also a tight-knit, inclusive community. Small class sizes mean hands-on training and individualized attention. All this with an affordable, public school price that's among the best values in the region.

Majors & Degrees

Timelines & Requirements (PHDIS)

The Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems (PHDIS) program accepts students in the Fall and Spring semesters, although classes are offered in the Fall Spring, and Summer semesters. 

Dakota State University seeks highly motivated individuals with education and professional credentials that will enable them to be successful doctoral students.

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Admission requirements

Requirements to apply

  • A bachelor’s degree from an institution of higher education with full accreditation for that degree.
  • Minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent on an alternative grading system).
  • Knowledge in business fundamentals and information systems.
    • If you don’t have the coursework or experience needed to meet the above knowledge requirements, you may still be admitted to the program, if you meet the other minimum requirements. You may need to complete additional coursework or demonstrate competency.
  • No GRE scores required

Application deadline

Submit your application by:

  • March 15 for admission for the following Fall semester
    • All application materials must be received by March 15th for admission for the following fall semester. Students enter the program in the Fall semester only.
    • Competitive assistantships are available for this program for full-time, on-campus students, only. You should indicate on your application if you wish to be considered for an assistantship award. A separate assistantship application and resume are required in the application portal if you wish to apply.

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Application materials checklist

  • Completed online application
    • Submit the $35 application fee.

    • After submitting your online application, you can log into your application portal to complete any remaining application documents and check the status of your application.

    • Select a specialization area: Analytics/Decision Support, Cyber Security, HealthCare Information Systems. Review specialization coursework requirements here.
  • 3 letters of recommendation
    The person writing the recommendation must complete the survey letter for you to upload directly to the application portal (instructions and template included in application and portal). 
  • Purpose statement (in application) 
    • In 200 to 300 words, share your purpose for choosing this graduate degree and how you feel prepared. Our Ph.D. Information Systems admissions committee wants to know:
      • Why are you choosing to pursue this degree?
      • What role does this degree program play in your career objectives?
      • What special knowledge, skills, or experiences prepare you to succeed in this program?
      • Include information about teaching and research experience, written in a professional manner.
    • This is also an opportunity to expand on how you meet the program admission requirements.
  • Official transcripts
    Official transcripts should show a conferred bachelor's degree. Transcripts with graduate credit can be submitted for credit-transfer consideration. 

    Official transcripts can be submitted to DSU-GraduateAdmissions@dsu.edu.

Additional application requirements for international applicants only

  • English translated transcripts
    Submit your transcripts with English translation. 
  • English proficiency documentation
    For scoring requirements, visit here.


How much does the program cost? 
DSU bills tuition per credit hour and the cost varies between online coursework and on-campus coursework. You can review the breakdown of costs per credit here: DSU Tuition Costs On-Campus costs are determined by your residency status.

Does this program require the GRE to apply?  
No, DSU does not require a GRE score for graduate program applications.

The GRE is only required if you are applying for a graduate assistantship (outside of athletics). We like to see scores of 290 or higher to be considered for graduate assistantships.

Does DSU require English proficiency scores for international applicants? 
Yes, please visit International Admissions Requirements for more information on English proficiency requirements and additional application materials required for international applicants. 

I already have a Master’s Degree in Information Systems (or closely related field), will my credits transfer?
Your transcripts can be reviewed in the application process to determine if credits can transfer toward the PhD IS program at DSU. Be advised, transcripts are not reviewed outside the application process. Up to 27 credits can be transferred into this degree from an MSIS degree at another accredited University if approved by the admissions committee.  

Are assistantship awards available? 
Yes, competitive assistantships are available for full-time on-campus graduate Students that are accepted into this program. However, there are limited assistantships available. GRE scores are required for consideration. Preferred GRE scores should be around 320 or higher to be considered for an Assistantship. Online Students are not eligible for assistantship awards. 

How long does the degree typically take to complete? 
For part-time students who take 1 class at time, the program coursework can take 3-4 years to complete. For full-time students who take 2 or more classes at a time, the program coursework can take 2-3 years to complete. Then the dissertation phase takes doctoral students at least 1.5 years to complete. This program can look different to each student, it all depends on how much or little time you’d like to take to complete the degree. And it is entirely up to you! The DSU Graduate Office and Faculty are here to support you in all your academic endeavors and guide you at whatever pace works for you.  

Are there any residency requirements for this program? 
If you select to take the program online, then there are no residency requirements for the degree. But if you select the On-Campus program, it would be required of you to attend classes at DSU’s physical campus in Madison, South Dakota. 

Can I review what research or dissertation topics DSU doctoral students are currently working on? 
Absolutely! The DSU Beadle Scholar Archive has an extensive backlog of recent Dissertation/Research Topics completed by DSU Doctoral and Master’s Students.

Can the application fee be waived? 
The $35 application fee is required for all programs and cannot be waived by University Policy.

When can I expect to hear if my application has been accepted?
We expect to notify Ph.D. applicants for this program about admission decisions in early May. 

Have a question not answered here?
Contact GradOffice@dsu.edu for additional support.

Graduation requirements

The PhD in Information Systems program requires a total of 72 credit hours. This includes:

  • Successful completion of all courses listed on your PhD Plan of Study, within the seven-year time frame
  • A GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent) with no more than six credit hours of a "C" grade and no grade below a "C" in the courses on your Plan of Study
  • Satisfaction of Regental standards for residency, which allows up to nine credits transferred from other universities.
  • 27 hours of masters-level Information Systems courses, which may be waived for students who already have an MSIS degree.
  • Nine credit hours of research methods
  • 24 credit hours of research specialization, including research seminars, core courses, and electives
  • Screening examination
  • Qualifying portfolio
  • 12 credit hours of dissertation

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Contact Us

Office of Graduate Studies and Research
(605) 256-5799

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