Get Started

To receive additional information about this program and speak with a member of our team, please complete the form.

UMass Lowell Manning School of Business is looking for top doctoral students with an intellectual curiosity about the nature and manner in which business organizations work. Graduates are competent in conducting independent research and teaching.

Program Overview

The Ph.D. can 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 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.

Pulichino Tong Business center written on the front of the building.

Virtual Information Session

Learn more about the Manning School of Business Ph.D. Program.

Watch the February 2023 Virtual Information Session (begins at 09:45)


The Ph.D. program has the following areas of concentration:

Contact Information

Tao (Tony) Gao, Ph.D.
Ph.D. Program Director
Associate Professor, Marketing, Entrepreneurship & Innovation
Phone: 978-934-5236

  • The program includes four essential learning outcomes, requiring students to demonstrate: research skills, communication skills (oral & written), functional specific knowledge, and ethical skills. Progress through the program can be broken down into four distinct stages:

    • Completion of core courses and first-year summer paper
    • Completion of concentration courses and comprehensive exams
    • Completion of dissertation proposal
    • Completion of dissertation defense.

    Core Courses and First-Year Summer Paper

    Upon admittance into the program, students will focus on core courses. In addition, certain advanced-level research method courses are required of specific concentrations. After completing the majority of the core courses, typically at the end of the first year for full-time students, students will complete an original research paper in the summer of the first year. The first-year summer paper provides an excellent introduction to research, and adequate quality of the summer paper is required for advancement in the program.

    Concentration Courses & Comprehensive Exam

    After completing the majority of core courses and advanced-level research method courses, students will then transition into concentration courses. Each concentration requires six three-credit courses. These courses are selected with the guidance of a concentration coordinator.

    After all courses are completed, Ph.D. 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 concentration area. The format of the exam is determined by the faculty within the concentration area, as well as the Ph.D. program director. 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 adviser
    • 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. The dissertation may take the form of a single monograph, i.e. the traditional dissertation, or three separate papers. This is at the discretion of the chair and committee.

    Dissertation Defense

    After the proposal receives committee approval, the Ph.D. 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 adviser, as well as keep 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, the Ph.D. candidate receives his/her doctorate degree.

    For complete program details and course descriptions, please visit the the Academic Catalog.

  • Full-time students can apply to receive a tuition waiver and financial support for a determined number of years. In turn for support, full time Ph.D. students work as research assistants and teaching assistants. The financial support is conditional upon academic performance and TA/RA evaluations. Part time students do not receive tuition waivers or assistantships, but may be eligible for research and teaching assistantships on a case by case basis.

  • Admission Requirements

    Admission into the Manning School of Business doctoral program is highly competitive. Applicants must be graduates of an accredited U.S. college or university or an approved foreign equivalent institution, with earned grade point averages of 3.000 or better in all prior undergraduate and graduate studies. See the “Apply online” button below for the list of admissions materials needed with your application. 

    A minimum of four years full-time relevant work experience is preferred. In addition, students are expected to have successfully demonstrated graduate level knowledge in seven functional areas: Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Organizational Behavior, Management Information Systems, Operations Management and Strategic Management. Additionally, they will demonstrate undergraduate competency in Calculus, Statistics and Micro/Macro Economics. Students without such knowledge will be required to take the appropriate course(s) for consideration into the program.

    Application Process

    Applying to the Manning School of Business doctoral program is done through UMass Lowell Graduate Admissions (see “Apply online” button below). When the Ph.D. applicant has successfully submitted all material, the Ph.D. Program Director will review the application in conjunction with a team of faculty members. Final recommendations are conducted by the Director. UMass Lowell Graduate Admissions will notify applicants of the final decision.

    Application Timing

    The Ph.D. Program admits students every other year. The next cohort begins Fall 2023 with an application deadline of March 1, 2023. You are also welcome to contact the Manning School of Business Ph.D. Program Director, Tao (Tony) Gao, Ph.D., with any questions. 

    Apply Online

Request More Information