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Doctoral Program

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.

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Apply by February 1 to begin in Fall 2019.

Full TimePart TimeCohort

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. New cohorts are accepted every other year and start in the fall of odd-numbered years.  

Ph.D. in Business Administration Brochure (pdf)

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Concentrations

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

Contact the Program Director

Kimberly Merriman
Phone: 978-934-2657
Email: kimberly_merriman@uml.edu

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.


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 program is highly competitive. The following criteria must be met prior to consideration. Waivers are granted only by the written approval of the Ph.D. program director.

  • Graduate of an accredited U.S. college or university or an approved foreign equivalent institution.
  • Earned grade point averages of 3.0 or better in all prior undergraduate and graduate studies.
  • Minimum of four years full-time relevant work experience is preferred.
  • Satisfactory GMAT or GRE taken within the last ten years.
  • Submit three letters of recommendation.
  • International students are expected to at least meet the minimum UMass Lowell TOEFL requirements.

The faculty admissions committee will review all of the above materials in a portfolio approach. In addition, students are expected to have successfully demonstrated graduate level knowledge in seven functional areas: Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Organizational Behavior, MIS, 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 or denied consideration.

Application Process

Applying to the Manning School of Business is done through the UMass Lowell Graduate Admissions. When the Ph.D. applicant has successfully submitted all material, the package is forwarded to the Ph.D. Program Director. Upon receipt, the director will review the applicant’s package in conjunction with a team of faculty members. Final recommendations are conducted by the Director, then provided to the UMass Lowell Graduate Admissions. All applicants will be notified of the final decision through the school.

Application Timing

The Ph.D. Program admits students every other year. The next cohort will begin fall 2019 with applications accepted starting fall 2018. Potential applicants are encouraged to attend the Spring 2018 Open House where they can meet the faculty, and are welcome to contact the program director, Kimberly Merriman, Ph.D. with questions. The application deadline for the fall 2019 cohort is Feb. 1, 2019.

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