Ph.D. in Business Administration

Program Overview

Program Timing

The Ph.D. can be able to be completed on a full- or part-time basis.  The expectation is that full-time students will finish the program within four years; while part-time students will require no more than seven years.  In line with those expectations, the program will be delivered year-round in three twelve-week sessions.  Fall and spring sessions will begin with the traditional semesters and the summer session will begin one to two weeks after the conclusion of the spring session.  

Student Support

Full time students will receive a tuition waiver, as well as full financial support for four years. In turn for support, full time PhD students will work as research assistants and teaching assistants. In Year One and Year Two of the program, students receive research assistantship, while in Year 3 and Year 4 students receive teaching assistantships.   Part time students do not receive tuition waivers or assistantships, but maybe eligible for research and teaching assistantships on a case by case basis.

Program Specializations

The program has six distinct specializations. These specializations are in line with the faculty expertise at the Manning School of Business. The Accounting, Finance, MIS, and Technology Management programs will be offered in Fall 2013, Leadership and International Business will be offered in Fall 2014.     

Accounting specialization

The accounting specialization will concentrate on relevant bodies of knowledge, such as financial accounting, managerial accounting, auditing, and taxation.  The curriculum is designed to develop a high level of student technical and research competence in a specifically defined program area of business.    Strong attention will be paid to linking accounting research with accounting practice, specifically guidance relative to best and evolving practices in the accounting field.

Finance specialization

The finance specialization will develop scholars with a deep understanding of financial markets, investment theories, financial innovations and strategies, and the current challenges facing financial specialists.  This program will be grounded with course content, research methodologies and projects developed collaboratively by faculty and financial industry partners to meet the research challenges facing the financial community. 

Management Information Systems specialization

 The MIS specialization will focus on innovative and competitive IT/IS management theories, strategies and practices and their impact on organizations and society.  Consistent with the other specializations, the MIS specialization will concentrate on current IT/IS challenges facing the industry today.  IT/IS industry input and collaboration will be continually sought to develop appropriate projects and maintain currency in this program.

Technology Management specialization

 The technology management specialization will develop scholars that are thought leaders on the manner in which innovations, specifically in high technology industries, are managed across the technology life cycle.  Ph.D. students will gain a thorough understanding of the existing research on the macro level, as well as the firm and managerial level.  On the macro level, Ph.D. students will understand the nature of innovation cycles, industry structure, and competitive dynamics.  Additionally, Ph.D. candidates will research the public and business policies that serve as the foundation of technology clusters.  On the firm and managerial level, Ph.D. candidates will study the ‘best practices’ that technology firms employ to gain competitive advantage.  They will focus on technology management in both entrepreneurial ventures, as well as established organizations, i.e. corporate entrepreneurship.     

International Business specialization 

The International Business (IB) specialization will prepare scholars who have interests in the theory, research, and practice of management with a cross-border or cross-cultural dimension.  Given the trend of globalization and the importance of emerging economies, international business has become one of the fastest growing areas of interest by both academic researchers and practitioners.  The IB track will prepare students with a thorough understanding of broad topics related to modern multinational enterprise, including evolving forms and management practices in cross-border business; the cross-border differential impact of cultural, social, economic, technological, political, and other institutional forces on strategies, organizational forms, and management practices; the international competitiveness of firms, industries, and nations.  

Leadership specialization

 The leadership specialization will craft scholars that have a thorough understanding of the complex facets of organizational leadership.  Leadership is one of the most studied organizational dynamics, and still one of the least understood.  Leadership Ph.D. students will be expected to develop a strong understanding of the theoretical lineage of leadership, from great man theory and trait theory up until more recent dynamic leadership theories.  The curriculum will introduce aspects of various decision making theories to better understand the nature and manner in which organizational leaders make decisions and examine the intersection of leadership with ethics, diversity, corporate social responsibility, and sustainability.

Program Curriculum and Flow

Students must complete 64 credits:  46 course credits and 18 dissertation credits.    Progress through the program can be broken down into four distinct stages:

  • Completion of core courses and core exam
  • Completion of specialization/elective courses and comprehensive exam
  • Completion of dissertation proposal
  • Completion of dissertation defense   
Each is briefly discussed below.

Core Courses and Core Exam

Upon admittance into the program, students will focus on core courses.  The objective of these courses is to provide PhD students with the requisite tools to conduct rigorous research.    Certain core courses are required of specific specializations, these are indicated in the below table. 19 credits are completed across the core – six core courses (each 3 credits), as well as the managerial research seminar (1 credit).
Course Title
Research Design Methods I*
Research Design Methods 2*
Econometrics I*
Econometrics II**
Qualitative Research Methods**
Organizational Theory***
Microeconomic Theory**
Managerial Research Seminar*

* = Denotes a core course to be taken by all specializations
** = Denotes a core course to be taken by students within finance specializations
***= Denotes a core course to be taken by students within technology management, leadership, international business, and MIS specializations

After completing the majority of the core courses, typically at the end of the first year for full time students, students will undertake a core exam.  This exam is designed to ensure that the student can apply the concepts from the first year of course work.   Exams are graded by a team of faculty; adequate performance is required for advancement in the program.   

Specialization/ Elective Courses and Comprehensive Exam

After completing the majority of core courses, students will then transition into specialization and elective courses. Each specialization requires five 3-credit courses. These courses are selected with the guidance of a faculty advisor.   PhD students will also complete four elective courses.   These elective courses may draw from other specializations across the program or across the broader university. Again, elective courses are selected with the help of a faculty advisor or the associate dean.
After all courses are completed, PhD students take comprehensive exams.    Comprehensive exams are critical to the student’s progression. Comprehensive exams are compiled by a faculty team. The exams are meant to test the student’s knowledge of the larger business scholarship, as well as the student’s chosen specialization area. The format of the exam is determined by the faculty within the specialization area, as well as Associate Dean. Exams are graded by a team of faculty; adequate performance is required for advancement in the program.   

Dissertation Proposal

The dissertation proposal is started after successful completion of the comprehensive exams.   It has four distinct activities.    
Selection of a faculty advisor.

  • Identification of a research question.
  • Building a dissertation committee.  
  • Preparation of a dissertation proposal.
  • Students will orally defend the proposal to his/her dissertation committee, as well as the larger university academic community.   

Dissertation Defense

After the proposal receives committee approval, then the PhD candidate will execute the research in line with the approved plan detailed in the proposal. Throughout the process, the Ph.D. candidate will work closely with his/her advisor, as well as keeping his/her dissertation committee apprised of the progress or setbacks. Upon completion of the research project, the Ph.D. candidate will put forth a final written report, i.e. dissertation, and defend his/her work to the dissertation committee as well as the larger academic community. Once the dissertation receives unanimous committee approval, then the Ph.D. candidate receives his/her doctorate degree.