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.
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.
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.