School of Business

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Academic Program

A Ph.D. student must master the basic concepts and skills relevant to all areas of business research: philosophy of science, research methodology, statistics, and quantitative analysis. Then, the student must develop and demonstrate expertise in the chosen field of study before defending an original dissertation. The process is outlined below.

For detailed information on the academic requirements and process, see the Ph.D. Handbook (77KB pdf) and Dissertation Guidelines (60KB pdf).

Core Course Requirements

Full-time students must complete the core coursework during the first year; part-time students may take two years to complete the core courses.

  • FINA 6290* Quantitative Methods (optional)
  • DNSC 6274 Statistical Modeling and Analysis OR ECON 8375 Econometrics I
  • MGT 8390 Philosophical Foundations
  • ECON 8301 Microeconomic Theory I OR FINA 8397 Macroeconomics
  • DNSC 6275 Advanced Statistical Modeling and Analysis OR ECON 8376 Econometrics II
  • MGT 8385 Research Methods and Design
  • MGT 8398 Independent study to satisfy summer paper requirement

* course numbers subject to change

Qualifying Exam

After completing core coursework, a student sits for the qualifying examination. The Qualifying Examination Subcommittee solicits questions from members of the Doctoral Committee, faculty who teach first-year core courses, and other research-active faculty, and uses these suggestions to prepare the examination.

Faculty Advisory Group

Next, the doctoral candidate formally declares a field of study and identifies a faculty advisory group, which consists of three or more full-time GW faculty who advise and monitor the students progress. Both the field of study and the faculty advisory group must be approved by the GWSB Doctoral Committee.

Summer Paper Requirement

During the fall semester, all second-year students submit a research paper for evaluation and feedback from the Doctoral Committee. The paper is ultimately targeted for submission to an academic journal or conference, but must also be formally presented at a research workshop presentation to faculty and fellow students.

Study Plans

With the guidance of research-active faculty advisors, students must prepare and submit a study plan by September 30 following the successful completion of the qualifying exam. Study plans are reviewed and approved by the GWSB Doctoral Committee.

Comprehensive Evaluation

Through successful completion of the comprehensive evaluation, a doctoral candidate establishes mastery of the current and classic literature in the chosen field. The faculty advisory group administers the comprehensive examination, which is evaluated by an assigned faculty member in the chosen field.

Dissertation Process

Immediately following the comprehensive examination, a student chooses an Advocate and a Research Advisory Committee to guide the dissertation process. Students are required to defend a dissertation proposal and final dissertation. For further information on the academic requirements and process, see the Ph.D. Handbook (201KB PDF).