Since the early 2000s, the demand for IS PhD students has declined to the point where a critical oversupply of PhDs now exists. The reasons for this outcome are both multiple and complex. A primary driver for the oversupply of PhD students is the rapid and marked decline in IS/IT course student enrolments over the last five years. This decline in turn led to student/faculty ratios that were untenable. Attempts have been made to rectify this problem by laying off faculty. Yet imbalances remain and will constrain future academic hiring. At the same time, the pool of IS faculty has continued to increase due, in part, to an over-production of IS PhD students targeted for traditional IS faculty positions. In this paper, we consider the many factors, their complex inter-relationships, and the types and likely success of favorably altering these factors. We conclude that desired outcomes are not likely to occur in the short term. We propose some alternatives that could be adopted to IS PhD production, many of which are already in limited use in various institutions. We also describe the actions we believe are needed to achieve broader adoption of these alternatives.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Demand-side issues and solutions, Supply-demand imbalance for information systems PhDs, Supply-side issues and solutions
Persistent URL
Conference 28th International Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 2007
Kumar, K, Weber, R. (Ron), & Welke, R. (Richard). (2007). Restoring the viability of phd programs in information systems: Getting past denial and targeting non-traditional markets. In ICIS 2007 Proceedings - Twenty Eighth International Conference on Information Systems. Retrieved from