Decision Sciences Ph.D. | Program Overview


Program Overview

The Decision Sciences Ph.D. program intends to prepare students for research careers. The program is designed for full-time students only and requires four to five years of full-time study, with an emphasis on research from the outset. The program emphasizes the construction and analysis of mathematical and statistical models representing real-world managerial problems, and the understanding of the role and use of such models in the management of complex organizations. Such problems are analyzed using tools from mathematics, operations research, probability, and statistics. Research in Decision Sciences focus on foundational issues such as dealing with uncertainty, modeling complexity and risk preferences, as well as on novel applications in operations and project management.

The Decision Sciences Ph.D. program consists of fourteen courses, equivalent of forty-two credit hours, as part of the study plan of students. These include:

  • Three general methodology courses.
  • Five core Decision Sciences doctoral courses and seminars.
  • Five doctoral level elective courses.
  • A directed research course taken over the first two summers of the program.

Throughout the program, students become familiar with research methods and the literature in their major fields through research projects and directed readings. The completion of course work and comprehensive exam requires no more than two years.

Early student participation in research is strongly encouraged. The Decision Sciences Department and the Institute for Integrating Statistics in Decision Sciences host a seminar series, which introduces students to cutting-edge research and provides a forum for faculty-student interactions.

The research phase begins as early as the first year, when students serve as teaching and/or research assistants, and continues throughout the doctoral program. Students should gradually become more involved in the design and execution of research and, by the end of the second year, have typically produced at least one paper suitable for publication, typically co-authored with a faculty member. The later years of the program are dedicated to the dissertation.