PhD in Business Administration

Management information systems specialization


The PhD Program in MIS in terms of its reputation, research record and research grants received, stands at the top of Canadian business schools and at the very top rank in the international arena. A recent assessment of research productivity showed that the UBC MIS program ranks 6th in the world among public universities, and 9th overall, in terms of publications in top MIS journals. 

Our graduates have academic positions in Canada, the USA, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Students in our program work closely with faculty and other students in a stimulating intellectual environment to create outstanding research. 

An active group of senior and junior academics is the distinguishing feature of the MIS faculty at UBC. These researchers investigate a wide variety of topics, including systems analysis, databases, telecommunications, electronic commerce, economics of information systems, intelligent systems, strategic and organizational issues, and planning for MIS. Their methods include laboratory experiments, field studies, survey methods, econometrics, modelling, and computational simulation. This rich portfolio of topics and research methods allows substantial flexibility for our PhD students in selecting a research topic. 

Students admitted to our program usually have training in one of the following: business administration, computer science, engineering or science. Those who do not have the required prerequisites in business and information technology are requested to take courses in these topics during the early stages of their program. 

Once admitted, you are assigned an advisor who will guide him or her through the different stages of the program. In your first summer of studies students work under the supervision of a faculty member on a research project that eventually could form the basis of their thesis research. Unless you are funded from outside sources, at least three years of funding is guaranteed to all admitted students. 

Program of study

Students will take courses in research methods (12 credits), a minor area (9 credits) and the following MIS comprehensive core courses (15 credits):

  • COMM 693 Seminar in Research Methodology
  • COMM 633 Modelling Methods in Information Systems
    Pre-requisite: At least nine graduate course credits in information system topics.
    The course addresses fundamental concepts about the role, use, construction and evaluation of theories and theoretical models. It examines the main types of models used in information systems research, discusses the role of modelling in information systems development, and presents some modelling approaches used in systems analysis and design.
  • COMM 634 Research Seminar in Management Information Systems
    This course covers the methods that are commonly used to conduct research in the information systems field. Topics include data gathering approaches, measurement, laboratory, field, and survey methods for data collection, meta-analysis, process tracing, and reviewing and critiquing of research papers.
  • COMM 635 Research Seminar in Management Information Systems (Take twice)

Sample program sequence

A typical sequence for a PhD student in MIS may look as follows. (Selection of minor area and elective courses depend on the your interests and background.)

Year 1 Fall - COMM 525, COMM 693, BAIT 500, MIS foundations course
Year 1 Winter - COMM 634, COMM 635, research methods course, MIS foundations course
Year 1 Summer - Summer Research paper, Teaching Methods Course 

Year 2 Fall - COMM 633, minor area courses, research methods course, MIS foundations course
Year 2 Winter - COMM 635, minor area courses, research methods course
Year 2 Summer - Comprehensive examination 

Years 3 and 4 - Work on thesis 

Image of woman with a headset talking