PhD Business Information Systems


Programme Description

The PhD Business Information Systems (BIS) is a full-time programme taken over four years (48 months) from the date of first registration for the programme.

The PhD Business Information Systems (BIS) degree programme aims to enable students become proficient in research and development skills in the Information Systems field. 

Students will develop an in-depth knowledge of a specific area of concentration, as well as the problem solving and analysis skills that will enable them make significant innovative contributions to the Information Systems field.

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Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this programme, students should be able to:

  • Critically discuss both seminal and emerging Information Systems research issues and topics;
  • Critically analyse research literature in the Information Systems field in order to identify and articulate gaps in current knowledge;
  • Identify and synthesise relevant literature to effectively theorise Information Systems phenomena;
  • Select, articulate and justify methodological choices for achieving particular research objectives in the Information Systems field;
  • Conduct empirical research through the gathering and analysis of data in a fashion commensurate with the highest international academic standards of methodological rigour and transparency;
  • Effectively document and communicate the context, objectives, methodology, findings and implications of original research;
  • Make an original and significant contribution to the Information Systems research literature based on empirical research;
  • Clearly describe the academic and practical contributions and implications of their research, the limitations of their research, and appropriate directions for future research.
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Practicalities & Assessment


The programme contains a number of components that support the student's PhD research and thesis submission. Part I is designed to familiarise students with the research topics, issues and methods underpinning Information Systems research at the PhD level. Part II provides modules designed to assist students in refining the research topics they began developing in Part I, culminating in the presentation and defence of their thesis proposal. Part III focuses on conducting the thesis research and on the writing of the thesis. 

Please note:
Due to the taught nature of Year 1 of the programme, students enrolling in Year 1 must be available to participate in taught modules on the first day of Semester 1 in the appropriate year.


The primary determinant for the award of PhD (Business Information Systems) is the submission, successful examination and defence of a satisfactory thesis.

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Entry Requirements

irish/EU Students

A candidate must have obtained a standard of at least Second Class Honours, Grade I, in an approved primary or Masters degree to gain entry to the programme.

More Detail visit the Graduate Studies Office website. 

International Students

Below is a checklist of documents that must be provided with your application - click on this to download a printer-friendly version.

A candidate must have obtained a standard of at least Second Class Honours, Grade I, in an approved primary or Masters degree to gain entry to the programme

English Language Requirement

  • IELTS: 6.5- with no individual section lower than 5.5
  • TOEFL: 90 - with minimum scores as follows: Listening- 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 17
  • Cambridge Proficiency Exam: Grade C
  • Cambridge Advanced Exam: Grade B
  • Pearson PTE: Minimum Score of 63 with no section score below 59

More Detail visit the International Office website. 

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Application Process


  • Dr Karen Neville at [email protected] or +353 (0)21 4658612 for initial inquiry.
  • Students apply at the online application portal.
  • You will need to apply at least three months in advance of your estimated start date.
  • There is a single start date each year for PhD BIS students: September (start of teaching semester 1).

More Detail visit the Graduate Studies Office website. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

PhD BIS Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why do people choose to do a PhD? 

You will need a PhD if you wish to pursue an academic career or if you wish to lead academic or commercial research teams. As well as signalling that you can undertake significant independent research, a PhD defines someone who is an expert in a particular area.

  • Is a PhD for me? 

Doing a PhD will prove more challenging than an undergraduate or masters degree. However, for many, it will be far more rewarding as it allows them to contribute to their chosen discipline rather than just learn about what others in the discipline have done. To succeed you will need to be able to work with minimal direction, be comfortable with uncertainty, and enjoy solving puzzles.

  • When does the programme start? 

Unlike most PhD programmes, the PhD (BIS) only takes new entrants once a year (September). This allows us create groups of PhD candidates that are at the same stage of their doctoral education. Although you will be undertaking independent research, you will benefit from the support of like-minded individuals who have a shared experience.

  • Why is there coursework on the programme? 

The PhD (BIS) programme is one of the "new style" PhD programmes in that it includes a significant amount of coursework in advance of writing a thesis. There are 12 hours of seminars per week for the first 18 months. These courses provide you with the full range of skills required to choose your research topic, conduct your research, and write your thesis.

  • Do I need a research proposal to apply? 

Unlike other PhD programmes, you will not need to have selected a research topic before you start. Over the first year of the programme, you will study current research issues in the Information Systems field and learn how to write a research proposal. This means that you will develop your research interests and your proposal under the guidance of experienced researchers.

  • Is funding available? 

The department offers a number of bursaries each year. The bursary covers your fees as well as paying you a monthly salary. Further details are available from the Department. You will also receive guidance on applying for a research grant to help you fund your studies.

Business Development Modules for PhD students

The Cork University Business School (CUBS) is actively developing business development/ entrepreneurship modules and programmes for broad audiences, including research students within UCC.

The following PG coded modules are available annually to every PhD student in UCC. These modules will broaden the vocational training of PhD students beyond their research domain and should also enhance the Universities entrepreneurial culture.






PG7031 Creativity and Opportunity Recognition

Semester 1

Thurs 2-4   



PG7032 Marketing for High Technology Entrepreneurs

Semester 1

Wed 3-5



PG7030 Technology Business Planning

Semester 2

Mon 2-4



Each module consists of 12 * 2 hour lectures in a central campus locations and Students must attend 80% of the classes to get the credit.

Please check the module description links for more details. All modules assume no previous knowledge.

Please return this form to book a place on one of the modules for semester 1 to Dr Brian O'Flaherty



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