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Two Manning School of Business Professors posing at the 2017 Commencement.

Doctoral Program

Apply in 2018 to begin in fall 2019. New cohorts are accepted every other year and start in the fall of odd-numbered years.

Application Information

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 (Ph.D. in Business Administration Brochure, pdf).

Ph.D. Concentrations

The program has five active areas of concentration:

Program Curriculum and Flow

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 and 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.


Student Support  

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.

Contact the program director

Kimberly Merriman
Phone: 978.934.2657
Email: kimberly_merriman@uml.edu