Frequently Asked Questions
This FAQ page complements the Bauer College Doctoral FAQ page.
Joining the Program
What is the deadline for application?
We begin accepting applications in September for the following academic year. We strongly recommended that all applicants submit your online application/uploaded documents before the deadline.
Is there an orientation for doctoral students?
Yes, there is a one-day Bauer College orientation for new doctoral students, which provides lots of useful information about critical contact people in the college, registration, and how to set up accounts, among various other topics. Attendance is mandatory.
Who can answer additional academic or administrative questions after the orientation?
Your first contact person for academic or administrative questions is the MIS doctoral coordinator, currently Randolph Cooper. The doctoral coordinator may refer students to LaToya Rogers, the DISC Department Business Administrator, for information on specific administrative procedures.
Do MIS students attend the “quant boot camp” prior to starting the program?
Though the MIS area does not require new doctoral students to attend this workshop, it is a good idea for all MIS Ph.D. students to attend it.
Do Bauer Ph.D. students receive financial aid?
All students admitted into the Ph.D. program receive financial aid up to five years. See the College page for details. Our doctoral students work as graduate assistants, doing joint research with faculty members.
Do students get health insurance?
Doctoral students have two options for health insurance: they may purchase their own insurance, or they may choose the university’s insurance (HealthSelect Blue Cross Blue Shield).
Do doctoral students need to make tuition payments every semester?
Every semester, doctoral students need to pay fees before they are due – and tuition or partial tuition if and when applicable. The student’s out-of-pocket costs every semester includes all the non-reimbursable student fees. “Emergency loans” (also known as “bridge loans”) are an option available online to students every semester when they log in to make the tuition payments. These loans are due in 90 days (3 months).
Where could students get additional information about student loans?
Information on student loans is available at the Financial Aid Office.
Can students have another full-time or part-time job while in the doctoral program?
RAs may not have another full-time or part-time position. Students may leave their RA position and accept another job after they are at the dissertation proposal stage of the program. In such cases, students will lose their RA income and their GTF fellowship (tuition waiver) and they will be responsible for paying all courses and fees. Historically, we have found that students who leave early have great difficulty finishing, so we strongly discourage all students from working any additional jobs until they have graduated with their PhD.
What does GTF stand for?
The Graduate Tuition Fellowship (GTF) is the tuition reimbursement award that doctoral students receive for up to five years, and generally covers the tuition cost of 9 SCH in each of the long semesters (fall and spring). In some cases, it may cover tuition costs for limited summer enrollment in the first and/or fifth year of studies. Tuition reimbursement beyond the fifth year is unlikely to occur.
Computers, Supplies, and Parking
Do doctoral students get computer equipment from the college?
The Decision and Information Sciences (DISC) Department provides laptop computers for all new students. (The DISC department houses the MIS program and the Supply Chain Management program.) Students typically receive their laptops by Sept. 1.
What is the policy for the use of the photocopy machines in the department?
Doctoral students receive an account number with a predetermined limit of photocopies. Once students reach the limit, they can pay $25 to the Office Coordinator to increase this amount.
How do students get an internet account?
Our Office Coordinator, will be the contact person for students to get their Bauer email account.
How do students get a parking permit?
Student permits are available at uh.edu/parking. The cost of the permit is added to tuition, so students need a PeopleSoft number to apply for a permit.
Do most doctoral students buy textbooks online, at the bookstore, or get used ones from other students?
Textbooks are usually available at the UH bookstore, but it may be more affordable to get them online. There’s a search engine that allows students to compare book prices across several online vendors with just one search. Several classes do not require textbooks but rather students receive a reading list of journal articles. Students tend to keep their books for future use in research projects.
How do students decide in which courses to register?
Students need to contact their Advisory Committee Chair to make these decisions. During the first year in the doctoral program, the departmental doctoral coordinator serves the role of the advisory committee. In the spring semester of the first year, students should form an advisory committee following the specifications described in the departmental policies.
What types of jobs do RAs do?
RA work incorporates the entire spectrum of research activities. On one side, students may help professors with photocopies or trips to the library. On the other side, students may become coauthors with their professors in research projects and contribute to the theory and/or methods part of a journal submission. Other typical activities of RAs are data collection, data entry, and literature searches. The research assignment typically does not include teaching assistance for their assigned professor, with the exception of helping to proctor exams.
What is the selection process for an advisor? How much flexibility does a student have in choosing topics?
We encourage students to seek out faculty and ask about areas of expertise and interest and to use the entire department as a resource as they pursue their Ph.D. Students invite faculty to be their advisor of the research practicum, chair of their advisory committee, or chair of their dissertation committee. The faculty tend to honor those requests when possible. The student’s topic is not tied to the advisor’s area of research, but the more aligned the interests the better the synergy in the collaboration. RA assignments are made by the doctoral coordinator with consultation with the faculty. When making assignments an attempt is always made to match the interests of the doctoral student with the interest of the faculty member, however this is not always possible.
How can students find more information about the preliminary exam and the comprehensive exam?
The the college doctoral policy is a rich source of information about the exams.
When do students start taking dissertation hours?
When doctoral students finish all their coursework, they need to take nine hours of dissertation credits while they study for comps. These hours do not need to be with their eventual dissertation chair. In the semester after students pass their comps, they register for nine dissertation hours with their actual dissertation chair. Students need to take two years of dissertation hours (nine in the fall + nine in the spring + six in the summer, per year). Also, being an RA requires students to be full-time students and take nine dissertation hours in the fall/spring or six dissertation hours in the summer semesters. When students have enough dissertation hours and are not RAs anymore, they only need to take three dissertation hours per semester to meet the college’s continuous enrollment policy. As a general rule, students will be responsible for nine dissertation hours (and six in the summer) until they are in the 5th year and then they can take three dissertation hours.
When do doctoral students start looking for an academic job?
Typically, students are in the job market after they have defended their dissertation proposal. In most cases this happens during the summer after the third year in the program. Many students use the placement services of the Association for Information Systems. A student’s dissertation chair and other members of faculty are a great source of information during the job search.
How many papers do doctoral students typically publish before graduation?
Successful graduating students tend to have one to two papers published, as well as several conference presentations in national conferences. With an invigorated push for research and more involvement of doctoral students in research, the expectation is that all students should be able to be successful researchers upon graduation.
Do doctoral students receive funding for attending or presenting in conferences?
Students need to check current departmental and college policies for conference funding or ask the Ph.D. coordinator for advice. Students typically get reimbursed for conference expenses when they present papers at national conferences or are on the job market.
When should doctoral students start attending and submitting papers to national conferences?
We encourage students to attend the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS) or the annual conference of the Association for Information Systems as many times as they can, as these conferences will be help them meet scholars and other doctoral students, learn about the academic profession, and prepare for future job searches, among many other learning and networking opportunities. Doctoral students are strongly encouraged to submit their papers to national conferences such as the ICIS or AIS as early in the program as possible.
Do doctoral students need to attend departmental colloquia, job talks, and student defenses?
Yes, attendance to the colloquium series, job talks and student defenses is required since these activities are both learning and networking opportunities.
Do doctoral students get feedback about their performance in the program?
Yes, in addition to their grades and informal conversations with faculty members teaching their courses, doctoral students are evaluated every year by the doctoral coordinator, their advisory committee chair, or their dissertation committee chair depending on their year in the program. As specified by college policies, students receive an annual review letter by June 30th of each year.
What are the teaching responsibilities?
All MIS doctoral students will teach at least one undergraduate course after completing their coursework and comprehensive exam, if not earlier. Rather than being a TA or teacher’s assistant, the doctoral student is in charge of everything: syllabus, course preparation, exams, etc. Subsequent doctoral student teaching is at the discretion of the department chair and may fluctuate based on departmental needs.
Do students take classes that prepare them for their teaching assignment?
The University requires doctoral students to take two courses (GENB 6000 and GENB 8000) prior to them being able to teach. In addition, and where feasible, before teaching a class, students are required to audit the classes of a faculty member teaching that course.