About the Program

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Program Structure

PhD Students in the Kresge LibraryTimeframe

Doctoral study is a full-time, year-round enterprise. Accordingly, we admit only full-time students who are expected to devote their entire energies to the program. Although some students may finish more quickly, on average the program requires five years to complete.

Financial Aid

Students admitted to the Doctoral Studies Program are generally provided full funding for four years. The typical funding package includes a full tuition waiver, health insurance, and a combination of fellowship stipend and assistantship stipend. Funding for students who bring their own funding from an external source are considered on a case by case basis. No additional application is required for financial support.

Degree Requirements


The first two years of the program are usually devoted to courses that satisfy University, Business School and Area requirements.

University Requirements

Cognate Courses: Two graduate-level courses in University departments or colleges outside the Business School---designed to increase students' intellectual breadth.

Common Fields: economics, psychology, sociology, statistics, engineering.

Business School Requirements

General Background Courses: Basic knowledge in Accounting, Finance, Marketing and Organizational Behavior.

Students entering with an MBA will usually have satisfied this requirement while others fulfill it through Doctoral, MBA or Executive Education courses.

Analytical Tool Courses: Mastery of statistical inference. Typically, a one-year, graduate-level sequence in statistical methods and probability is taken from the University Statistics Department or Economics Department. Individual areas determine the appropriate sequence and additional courses to prepare students for research in their fields.

Area Requirements

Doctoral Seminars: These sequences acquaint students with research literature and current themes and controversies in the field.

Departmental seminars are supplemented by school-wide doctoral seminars in research methods and research on decision making under uncertainty.


Although coursework is important, independent research skills are the main goal of the doctoral program achieved under a mentorship model.

Research Assistantships

From the first semester, students work with faculty formally and informally as research assistants.

Research Requirements

Additionally, students must satisfy departmental research requirements.

Instructional Development

Because doctoral students are generally preparing for demanding business school teaching careers, we offer excellent training in this area.

Our Instructional Development Program guides students by providing special mentors and addresses instructional concerns through multiple avenues. Lectures, workshops, brown bag discussions, a course in teaching methodology, class observations of master teachers, videotaping of instructional presentations and experience with the latest technologies are all part of the program.

Instructional Development Program

A required sequence tailored to students' experience.

Classroom Experience

Students teach at least one undergraduate course in their specialty, typically during the third year of doctoral study.

Students are paid as graduate student instructors for the courses they teach.

Preliminary Examinations

Preliminary examinations are a prerequisite for candidacy. They are designed and administered by each area to evaluate student mastery of basic knowledge.

The Doctoral Dissertation

When students have fulfilled requirements—classes completed with all grades recorded, all breadth requirements completed, preliminary exams passed and summer research paper completed—they are eligible to prepare a Doctoral Dissertation, an original and significant piece of research, conducted and written under the guidance of a faculty committee.

The time from dissertation proposal to oral defense of the completed project is often two years.