Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Business Administration with a concentration in Information Systems and Decision Sciences (PBAIS)
The purpose of this posting is to document the policies and procedures followed by the Information Systems and Decision Sciences (ISDS) Department in admitting and serving graduate students. It also includes certain Graduate School requirements which apply to all departments. The information contained here is not designed to supplant the LSU Graduate Bulletin, and students are responsible for knowing current university rules and regulations, especially various calendar deadlines.
Among the BA-ISDS PhD program’s strengths are:
- A limited and selective enrollment that provides students opportunities to develop personal and professional ties with faculty and fellow students;
- Opportunities to work with faculty actively engaged in a wide range of on-going research projects, the results of which are published in leading academic and practitioner journals;
- Admitted students generally receive a competitive level of funding through departmental research or teaching assistantships. Students are also eligible for fellowships and other awards offered by the LSU Graduate School.
- A culture of collegiality that encourages students to work with multiple faculty across different fields;
- Access to an extensive range of library resources, computerized and on-line databases, and statistical software for classroom applications and research;
- Access to the cultural riches of Baton Rouge (the state capital) and nearby New Orleans;
- Graduates typically accept employment at major colleges and universities in the US and abroad. Recent graduates have held positions at Cornell University, Louisiana Tech, University of South Florida, University of Louisiana-Lafayette, Southeastern University, Concordia University (Canada), IESE (Spain), among others.
Philosophy and Intent
The PhD is the terminal degree awarded in Business Administration at the Louisiana State University. As such, it is the highest degree that can be earned within the ISDS Department. Consequently, individuals must demonstrate an extraordinary devotion to scholarship and exhibit a mastery of research methodology and ISDS concepts and theories to be considered candidates for the PhD.
The primary mission of the PhD in Business Administration with a concentration in ISDS is to develop trained professionals who are qualified to instruct in a university environment and who are capable of conducting scholarly research. All candidates are required to demonstrate broad knowledge in the domain of ISDS as well as a detailed knowledge in a focused area of concentration within ISDS. The broad domain is represented by knowledge of Information Systems, Decision Sciences and Operations Management.
Applications and supporting materials for all graduate study must be submitted through the online application site for the LSU Graduate School: www.lsu.edu/gradapply. Official transcripts, official test scores, and other materials that come from third-party sources must be mailed to: Graduate Student Services, 114 West David Boyd Hall, Baton Rouge, LA 70803. These paper documents are stored electronically and departments have access to all materials submitted by and/or on behalf of a student applying to graduate study.
The statement of purpose should include:
- Career objectives and reasons for wanting to pursue a PhD;
- How the applicant’s academic or professional background has prepared him/her for PhD studies;
- Reasons for selecting the ISDS program at LSU;
- An outline of possible research interests;
- Any other information that may assist the department in their admission decision
To be considered for admission within the college and the department, applicants should have successfully completed course work equivalent to the MBA or MS in ISDS. In general, a minimum GPA of 3.5 should have been maintained on prior graduate work and a score of 600 or above must have been achieved on the GMAT. Applicants who have graduated from non-U.S. institutions must take the TOEFL or IELTS and meet the minimum requirements established by The Graduate School; furthermore, applicants should display English language proficiency. Satisfaction of these threshold standards, however, does not guarantee admission. Final admission decisions will reflect a consideration of all relevant documents, as well as current department resources.
The department uses a rolling admission process. The application deadline is consistent with the LSU Graduate School’s deadlines.
The PhD program at LSU, similar to most other research-oriented schools, has three distinct phases: (1) course work, (2) general exams, and (three hours) the writing of a dissertation and its oral defense. Each of these phases is covered below.
(1) Course work
After students have been accepted in the PhD program, they should schedule an interview with the department’s graduate advisor before or during registration of their first semester of study. At this meeting, the graduate advisor will advise the student regarding course work to be taken during the first semester. During the first year of study, all students will take a qualifying examination. This examination will be oral and will be administered by each student’s advisory committee. This examination serves two distinct purposes: l) to determine whether a student is qualified to continue work on the doctorate in ISDS, and 2) to determine course work.
It is the individual student’s responsibility to request this examination. The request should be directed to the student’s major professor. Individual students, with the advice of their major professor, will arrange the examination. Care should be taken to schedule the examination sufficiently early in the fall or spring semester to permit the student to earn residency credit (See residency requirements in The Graduate Bulletin).
As students pursue their course work, they will be expected to consult with their major professor (or the graduate advisor, if necessary) concerning academic or other problems that might arise, especially if any changes are to be requested in their departmental-level academic course plan. The precise set of courses the student will take will be determined by the student’s committee in accordance within departmental policies.
(2) General Examination
The general examination consists of written and oral portions. Students who have completed all required course work are eligible to take the general examination. After students have successfully completed the general examination and an independent research project, they are admitted to candidacy for the PhD and begin to work on their dissertation. If a student does not complete the dissertation within four years of passing the general examination, it must be retaken.
The doctoral committee must be comprised of at least four members of the graduate faculty, including the major professor, who acts as chair. Doctoral committees must include a minimum of two graduate faculty members from the major department, at least one of whom must be a full member. The remaining members may be from the major department or may be from other departments pertinent to the student’s area of concentration, with the provision that at least one of the remaining members must be a full member of the graduate faculty. Any declared outside minors require representation either from among the first five members of the committee or by additional appointments to it.
After students have prepared a formal dissertation proposal, they present the proposal to the committee chair for approval. With the chair’s approval, students may schedule a formal defense of the proposal before their entire committee. Students are responsible for arranging the date and time of the proposal defense, and inviting the ISDS faculty to attend. A copy of the proposal should be deposited with the department’s administrative assistant five school days prior to the defense. The committee will approve the proposal in writing, or state in writing why the proposal is rejected. If rejected, the procedure is started over.
Students are responsible for scheduling the final examination, which is primarily a defense of the dissertation, at least three weeks in advance. They are responsible also for notifying the ISDS faculty of the date, time, and place of the exam at least two weeks prior to the date of the exam. Students shall be judged to pass the examination if not more than one member of the dissertation committee dissents. Results of the examination shall be reported to The Graduate School by the chair. The graduate advisor must also be notified of examination results.
Selected Graduate School Rules
- Students with graduate assistantships are required to enroll in nine hours per fall and spring semester. If they also receive a summer assistantship, they are further required to enroll for six hours during the summer semester. Students with fellowships are required to enroll for nine hours per fall and spring semester and six hours per summer semester.
- A minimum of nine hours of dissertation credit is required for the PhD degree.
- The finished dissertation must be in the hands of the dissertation committee at least three weeks in advance of the date established by The Graduate School as the final day for submitting dissertations to The Graduate School to meet the graduation deadlines for a given semester.
- At least three months must elapse between the passage of the oral comprehensive and the acceptance of the dissertation by The Graduate School.
Although this guide offers useful information about the PhD program at LSU, there are always questions not answered in a standard guide, and each doctoral student has special needs. When questions arise, please seek help from the graduate advisor, other faculty members and/or fellow students.
Length of Study
Most students should plan on spending four years in the program. Course work typically takes two full years; for example, three courses each in fall and spring semesters the first year, two courses in the summer, then three courses each in fall and spring the second year to complete the minimum courses. Students who have taken such a schedule usually prepare for their Comprehensive exam during their second summer and sit for the exam in early fall. Most doctoral students seek academic careers and the central market for academic placement occurs one full year before positions are actually available.
Sequence of Course work
Entering students tend to concentrate on research methods courses because they have not selected a supporting field. They also must take the four core ISDS doctoral- level seminars offered, usually only one per semester. In the first two semesters, a student would take two ISDS doctoral core courses, typically two or three research methodology courses, and one or two ISDS courses supporting their minor concentration. The second year of course work contains the balance of the ISDS doctoral core courses, research methodology, supporting field and ISDS course work, often including at least one independent study course to pursue special interest areas. Of course, all of this depends on how quickly you choose a supporting field and on the availability of courses.
Research assistantships are an important part of your program because they provide “on the job training.” As mentioned above, you are expected to show initiative in research assistant duties. Also, you should expect to receive training via your assistantship. Assuming adequate progress in the PhD program is being made, research assistantships are renewed annually for up to four years.
A half-time research assistantship involves 20 hours of effort per week during the semester. The workload usually varies across the semester, so that some weeks require more time and some less.