Department of Management - Ph.D. Program Timeline

Ph.D. Program Timeline

In the management Ph.D. program, the focus is on learning what it means to be an organizational scholar, especially the research aspects of scholarship (although the teaching aspects become important later in the program). Students start broadly by taking a wide variety of theory-based and methodological classes and working with several faculty members on a diverse set of research projects (typically no more than three at a time). Over time, the student's focus begins to narrow in scope, until he/she has developed a clear research agenda that provides the wherewithal to complete a dissertation and compete for assistant professor positions at Research I Universities.

The ideal timeline for a management Ph.D. spans five years, although some students have completed the program in four. The following example is based on a typical five-year program.

Year One

  • Completes a full roster of required and elective courses:
    • Three core courses within the department — two theory-based seminars and one methods seminar
    • Two statistics courses outside the department
    • One elective outside the department
  • Student is supported as a Research Assistant (working with two professors) -- the primary purpose of the research assistantship is to develop mentoring relationships and to guide students toward doing publishable research
  • Summer of year one:
    • Continues working on in-process research projects
    • Completes first-year research paper

Aim: by end of year one, each student should have initial exposure to doing management research (both organizational behavior and strategy) and have gained the building blocks to a solid foundation of theoretical and methodological knowledge within the management field.

Year Two

  • Completes a full roster of required and elective classes:
    • One core methods seminar within the department
    • Four to six elective seminars (five weeks each) within the department
    • One behavioral science/economics course from outside the department
    • One to two electives from outside the department
  • Student is again supported as a Research Assistant (working with two professors)
  • Summer of year two:
    • Continues working on in-process research projects
    • Completes second-year research paper
    • Takes written comprehensive exams

Aim: by end of year two, each student has had significant research exposure and should have a solid foundation of theoretical and methodological knowledge within the management field

Year Three

  • Student continues to be a Research Assistant (working with one professor)
  • Student also begins learning the craft of teaching by serving as a teaching assistant (TA) for one core MBA class
  • Should be firmly involved in conducting research not only with assigned RA professors, but also beginning to develop independent research ideas and relationships
  • Begins thinking about dissertation topic/idea and putting together a dissertation committee

Year Four

  • Student continues to be a Research Assistant (for one professor)
  • Student also continues learning the craft of teaching by taking responsibility for teaching two undergraduate classes
  • Dissertation proposal submitted and defended by end of year four
  • Continues to work on non-dissertation research projects
  • Starts to consider options for post-graduation career and prepares to be on the job market

Year Five

  • Student continues to be a Research Assistant (for one professor)
  • Student continues teaching two undergraduate classes
  • Works toward completion of dissertation project by end of year five
  • Continues to work on non-dissertation research project
  • Applies for assistant professor positions and engages in on-campus interviews for open positions