The iSchool at Syracuse University is pleased to announce the re-launch of our Doctor of Professional Studies in Information Management. This three-year program is designed to provide mid-career professionals with the opportunity to pursue in-depth inquiry in their field, and achieve a doctoral degree without having to pause their careers.

The program will be almost entirely virtual through distance learning, but with two one-week residencies during each of the students’ three years at the iSchool. The ultimate goal of the program is for each student to write a thesis about an area of interest within information studies and gain the skills they need to take a leadership role in their professional field. The program is also cohort-based, which means that each class will only have 10-12 students who take all their courses together throughout the duration of the program.

“This isn’t like other programs,” said John Jordan, Professor of Practice at the iSchool. “Most PhD programs use thesis credit as independent study, but for our DPS program we have students write thesis chapters as course deliverables beginning in their fourth semester of the program.”

According to Jordan, the re-launch of this program is exciting because typical PhD programs don’t always work well for working professionals who want to keep their full-time jobs while going back to school. The flexibility of the online model and the focus on developing a thesis allows professionals to get the degree needed to take their careers to the next level, without sacrificing years of work experience – and the income that goes with it.

Given this model of learning, Jordan hopes that the program will allow professionals from across many different industries to work alongside each other and learn from one another. He said that the cohort-based model allows the iSchool to “cross-pollinate” across other industries so that students can learn based on the similarities and differences they have with their peers. Students will also have the opportunity to be paired with a thesis partner who they stay with throughout the program to motivate and provide feedback.

“We’re looking for leaders across information industries. If you were to get a PhD in library studies or information technology, you wouldn’t be surrounded by people who are much different than you, but our program aims to bring together leaders from different fields,” said Jordan. “For example, we’ll have military officers learning alongside professionals from major organizations like IBM or the New York Public Library.”

“This program will open doors for professionals from any industry to pursue in-depth study of issues related to information, data, technology and more,” says Raj Dewan, Dean of the iSchool. “We’re creating a space where industry leaders can come together to examine some of the most pressing issues of our information age, while still maintaining their networks and professional lives.”

While this program presents unique opportunities for career advancement for the students, it also provides the iSchool with the chance to expand its network. According to Jordan, this DPS program will create iSchool alumni in many prominent positions who will likely go on to hire iSchool students for internships and graduates for full-time positions.

There’s a huge market and future for doctoral degrees in information management, according to Jordan. The iSchool saw this vision over 20 years ago when the program was initially created, and is ready to move forward with the next generation of information professionals.

“There are professional doctorates for all kinds of things like business, psychology, and education, but there really aren’t many out there right now for information management,” said Jordan. “This new program gives the iSchool the opportunity to be an early mover in this new and important professional degree.”