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Communications of the ACM

Supply/demand of IS doctorates in the 1990s

The field of information systems (IS) has experienced a severe shortage of faculty throughout its 20-year history. This shortage now appears to be lessening. A survey of the supply of IS doctorates finds a steady stream of graduates from IS doctoral programs. In 1989, 61 universities in the U.S. offered Ph.D. or Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.) concentrations in information systems. A survey of these programs resulted in 51 responses, including all the programs producing significant numbers of graduates. The following are highlights from the survey: Recent increase in the number of IS doctoral students: In 1988-89 there were 807 doctoral students enrolled in 51 doctoral programs in information systems. The programs admitted 217 new students for 1989-90. In the 1988-89 time period, 36 programs produced 120 doctorates—a 24 percent increase in graduates from the previous year. In the 1989-90 time period, 41 programs expect to graduate a total of 140 students—a 2-year cumulative increase of 44 percent: Downsizing by some programs, but others—including new programs—adding to capacity. In 1988-89, there were 13 programs that produced three or more doctorates. Those 13 programs accounted for 70 percent of all the graduates in 1988-89. In 1989-90, those same 13 programs expect to account for only 39 percent of the total number of graduates. Of the 13 programs, 5 except to have a decrease in the number of students over the next five years. Of 51 schools, 9 offering doctorates in IS have yet to graduate a student. Another 9 schools had their first graduate in 1985 or later. Several additional doctoral programs are in the planning stages. Twenty-three programs expect a growth in the number of students over the next five years. In this article, we examine the supply and demand gap

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