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Tertiary study options for knowledge management in 2022

This article is part of a series on education and professional accreditation for knowledge managers.

Courses offering tertiary study in knowledge management (KM) largely emerged during the initial heyday of KM in the late 1990s and 2000s. However, KM is no longer a management buzzword despite the underlying problems of low worker engagement, increased concerns about psychosocial safety and mental health, and near-zero productivity growth in the developed world for a decade.

Tertiary education in KM has always been a hit or miss affair, with widely varying curricula and learning experiences depending upon the background of their teachers and provenance of their learning materials.

The vast majority of KM degrees have been postgraduate master-level degrees, but an occasional Bachelor-level degree has been offered, along with various opportunities for PhD study.

The content and focus of KM study has traditionally been heavily influenced by the school or faculty in which the degree has been “housed”. Past KM degrees have been offered as part of Business and Management, Information Sciences, Technology, Policy and Government, and even Health!

A number of past articles in RealKM Magazine have also pointed out that the absence of a standardised syllabus and/or broadly-recognised accreditation of courses are likely to have hampered sustainability and growth of options for formal education and accreditation as KM professionals.

Regrettably, these factors have combined with the result that there are now substantially fewer options at the tertiary level for professionals seeking expertise and formal accreditation in the field of KM in 2022. (Non-degree study options are not covered in this article but will be considered in a later RealKM article.)

The good news is that with advances in telepresence and videoconferencing, it has never been easier to study a degree online. As such there are still a number of worthwhile options available for potential students.

A roundup of known KM study options is provided below, including summaries of the institutional ‘pitch’. Note that:

  • Descriptions are largely summarised directly from the university website
  • Inclusion or exclusion from this list should not be interpreted as an endorsement by RealKM
  • Since master-level courses are the most likely point of interest for professionals seeking to enter and progress their career in the field of KM, a more detailed evaluation of the open-entry master-level courses will be provided in coming articles.

Master level study programs

  • Columbia University, Master of Science in Information & Knowledge Strategy (IKNS)
    Grounded in the field of Knowledge Management, this course offers students an inter-disciplinary curriculum that provides foundations in information science, organizational psychology, and change management as well as practical skills in project management and executive leadership. Students can study full-time or part-time, online or on-campus.
  • George Mason University, Organization Development and Knowledge Management
    Helps students develop OD and change management skills in an interdisciplinary, experientially-oriented framework that prepares professionals move into positions of increased responsibility and leadership. Available both on-campus, online, or in a mixed delivery environment.
  • Kent State University, Master of Science: Knowledge Management
    Offers a comprehensive “pure KM” syllabus which prepares professionals to serve as leaders who guide organizations into improved performance through better use of organizational knowledge. The course is available 100% online, which can also be studied at the Graduate Certificate and PhD level. International study encouraged.
  • Southern Cross University, Master of Business Administration (Information and Knowledge Management)
    An online MBA which teaches students to strategically plan and effectively execute their firm’s digitization initiatives and knowledge management activities and projects, equipping students with the needed knowledge and skills to advise and lead businesses in new directions from advancements of digital technologies and networks.
  • Tseng College, Master of Knowledge Management
    Using KM principles, students are equipped to help organizations solve issues and achieve a competitive advantage through management of the intellectual and knowledge-based assets of organizations. Delivered fully online, the program features work-friendly scheduling and takes two years to finish. Note that this Master-level program is currently only available to organisations seeking to commission and fund an exclusive cohort of the program for its employees.

PhD level programs

  • Bangkok University International, PhD in Knowledge Management and Innovation Management
    Offers a PhD program in knowledge and innovation management for executives who seek to creatively turn knowledge embedded in their organization into innovations that have business value. Includes coursework study in advanced research methodologies for social science and theories and current issues in KM and innovation management. The program is online, but with an in-person requirement.
  • Galilee International Management Institute, PhD in Knowledge Management
    Offers a unique PhD in Knowledge Management for people seeking to understand how knowledge and its creation can greatly contribute to achieving organisational and social advancement. The fully online program offers a multi-disciplinary PhD encompassing economics, organisational behaviour, management, business, informatics, and sociology.
  • International School for Social and Business Studies, PhD in Knowledge Management
    Described as a modern, applied, multidisciplinary executive programme that has its implementation tailored to employees from various fields, offers individualized research work and access to international environment of professors and students from several continents. The online program is structured as a mix of coursework and plus completion of a research dissertation.

Partial KM programs

There are also several courses that incorporate knowledge management as a component of the curriculum, but that have a significantly broader focus than just KM. These include:

  • RMIT Melbourne, Master of Business Information Technology
    Aims to produce ethically and socially responsible business analysts, project managers and IT consultants who are ready to innovate and lead, acting as a bridge between IT and the business. Offers one specialised subject in KM plus a number of subjects on related and relevant topics.
  • Charles Sturt University, Master of Information Studies
    Offers a global gateway into a broad range of employment options in the library, information and cultural sectors. Offers one specialised subject in KM plus a number of subjects on related and relevant topics (eg metadata).

Readers are welcome to provide their own feedback on any of the courses if they have enrolled in the comments below or via the contact form. Similarly, if readers know of any additional KM degrees not covered in this article, please let us know in the comments below so that this article can be updated.

RealKM Magazine would like to acknowledge and thank Arthur Shelley, John Antill, John Hovell, and Dan Ranta for their insights and intelligence into the current state of knowledge management tertiary offerings.

Header image source: Shahid Abdullah on Pixabay, Public Domain.

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Stephen Bounds

Stephen Bounds is an Information and Knowledge Management Specialist with a wide range of experience across the government and private sectors. As founding editor of RealKM and Executive, Information Management at Cordelta, Stephen provides clear strategic thinking along with a hands-on approach to help organisations successfully develop and implement modern information systems.

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