Department of Management - PhD Plan of Study

PhD Plan of Study

The W. P. Carey School of Business PhD consists of a minimum of 84 semester hours of approved graduate coursework beyond the bachelor's degree. Students who have completed a related masters-level graduate degree can potentially transfer up to 30 hours of credit to help satisfy this requirement. Students are required to take 12 hours of dissertation credit. Specific coursework must be approved by faculty members in the student's area of excellence.

Basic Program

The courses comprising the Basic Program are intended to provide the foundation for advanced study in the Management area of concentration and supporting coursework. As such, the student's first 24 credit hours in his or her plan of study should consist of at least 12 credit hours from the Basic Program.

According to W. P. Carey School of Business guidelines, the basic program consists of a minimum of 12 credit hours of coursework. This requires at least:

  • For strategy students, three credit hours of graduate-level coursework in economics. For organizational behavior students, three credit hours of graduate-level coursework in a foundational discipline such as psychology, sociology or communication.
  • Six credit hours of coursework in quantitative methods.
  • Three credit hours of coursework in the behavioral sciences (for organizational behavior students, this is in addition to the foundational work in the first bullet above). This requirement is normally fulfilled by taking courses outside of the department in foundational disciplines such as psychology and sociology.

Advanced Program

The advanced program consists of a minimum of 30 credit hours. W. P. Carey School of Business guidelines require a minimum of 15 credit hours in a single program area (management) and a minimum of nine credit hours in 700 level seminars, excluding independent studies (790) or research (792). These requirements include the four management core modules (3 credit hours each), at least two specialty management modules (1 credit hour each), two research methods courses (6 credit hours), and one research ethics course (1 credit hour). The additional nine credit hours of supporting coursework may be fulfilled with additional specialty modules or other coursework. The specific courses taken represent the student's area of specialization and are selected by the student with the help of the program committee.

Management Core Modules (6 credit hours)

All students will take the management core modules, delineated below. These 3-credit seminars are 15-weeks in length and are typically completed during the first two years of study.

Strategic Management Seminar

This seminar surveys foundational theories as well as contemporary work in strategic management. The aim is to provide a survey of the strategic management field, from theory and research on the effectiveness of business level strategies and managing competitive dynamics to create competitive advantage, to theories and research on the strategies of large multi-product firms, how they are governed, and how the portfolio of businesses is managed. Topics include industrial economics' influence on strategy, transaction cost, agency, resource dependence, network and resource-based view theories. We explore diversification, governance, upper echelons, sociocognitive approaches, and strategy process.

Organizational Behavior Seminar

This seminar examines the classics from the history of OB scholarship, as well as more current topics, theories and research supported by those classics. The module will provide a preview of core OB topics such as motivation, group dynamics, leadership, and organizational culture, as well as examine: (1) micro or individual level explanations of organizational behavior (topics such as attitudes, ability, personality, demographics, motivation, perception, and decision-making processes), and (2) the influence of macro-micro linkages, the macro context - organizational identity, strategy, structure, culture, and climate - power and politics, and social dynamics.

Specialty Management Modules (minimum of 2 credit hours)

Other modules are offered that cover more specialized areas in management. Students must take a minimum of three 1-credit seminars (5-weeks in length) within the first two years of study. Examples of modules that have been offered include:

  • Organizational attachment
  • Emotion in organizational life
  • Organizational culture
  • Leadership in organizations
  • Organizational withdrawal
  • Compensation management
  • Organizational learning, change and innovation
  • Role of occupations in organizational life
  • Organizational Sensemaking
  • Coping with change
  • Strategy development and implementation
  • Alliance and network strategies
  • International strategy
  • Corporate governance
  • Economic theories of organization
  • Institutional theory

First- and Second-Year Major Papers

Students are required to write one major paper in each of their first two years, either sole-authored or coauthored with a mentor or colleague. The papers are intended as: (1) a developmental vehicle for the student that (2) will result in publication in top quality journals (although credit is not dependent on publication). Students should individually decide (perhaps in collaboration with the Plan of Study advisor) what topic they will work on.

Given that most of the research papers will be collaborative, and given that these papers may involve lags and delays in data collection, the supervising faculty member(s) involved with the project will determine when there has been adequate progress to assign a grade.

Research Methods (6 credit hours)

The Management Department offers two 3-credit seminars in research methods: Research Methods I and Research Methods II. The two courses introduce a variety of research designs and methods commonly used in management and organizational research. The topics covered include the scientific process and philosophy of science, formulating research questions, measurement validity and reliability, laboratory and quasi-experimentation, survey research, case study research, qualitative methods, longitudinal designs, cross-level designs, measurement issues in cross-cultural and international management research, and various data analysis techniques.

Additional Coursework (minimum of 9 credit hours)

A minimum of 9 credit hours of coursework must be taken to support the student's advanced plan of study. All supporting coursework must be in graduate (502 and above) level courses. Only 3 credit hours of supporting coursework in 590, 592, 790, or 792 courses will count towards the 9 hour minimum.

Supporting courses depend on the student's chosen area of specialization and should be used to support that choice. Courses may be taken in any department or college within the university. Many students find supporting coursework in economics, psychology, sociology, communications, and marketing. In addition, some courses at other universities may be taken with approval by the PhD Coordinator.

Supporting Coursework (minimum of 30 credit hours)

Once minimum program requirements are met, remaining credit hours may be taken with elective courses. Students with a previous graduate degree may use up to 30 credit hours of that coursework to satisfy these requirements, subject to the approval of the PhD committee and ASU Graduate Education. (Note: these are 30 semester or trimester credit hours. For students transferring in credits from quarter programs, the credit hours may not be equivalent.)

Dissertation (12 hours)

The dissertation represents a major research project of an original and creative nature that will advance the state of theory in the student's major field, while meeting the requirements of ASU Graduate Education. Given the emphasis on research in the program, the dissertation should not be viewed as the student's first research project. However, when the dissertation is completed, it signifies individual competence as a researcher.

The dissertation process is supervised by a dissertation committee composed of at least three people: a chair and two other faculty members. In the case of two co-chairs, at least a third faculty member is required. The student should select a chair from the list of eligible faculty in the department, based on mutual research interests. The selection of additional members of the committee should be based on the contributions they might make to the final product. The student, in selecting members, should consider the mix of knowledge and skills across the committee. In order to make informed judgments in this area, students should make substantial effort to interact with faculty to become aware of their research interests and areas of expertise.

Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive examination is taken by each student upon completion of all or most coursework and is meant to demonstrate competence in the general field of management and in the student's area of specialization.

The exam is administered by the Department of Management. It is an open book written exam, 15 hours in length and divided into two separate exam days. The first day is 9 hours long and consists of three questions. One question covers research methods and the other two questions cover organizational behavior and strategic management/organization theory, identified by the Graduate Committee as those that every management student should know. The second day is 6 hours long and consists of two questions covering the student's area of specialization. One specialty item will be in the student's general area (e.g., OB, strategy), and the other specialty item will be more narrowly defined. The student will negotiate with his/her comprehensive exam committee to identify his/her specialty domain.