PhD in Management

Boston University’s PhD program addresses this need by training scholars to develop and sharpen management theories to enhance their contribution to management education and practice. Students acquire advanced knowledge of literature and theory in their area of specialization—the major—as well as solid grounding in a minor (for example, a social science discipline such as sociology, economics, or political science) that broadens their foundation. They also gain theoretical and practical knowledge of advanced research skills, essential for publishing in leading academic journals.

The program ensures that students develop an appreciation of the role of their research domain in managerial and organizational contexts, and can translate their learning from scholarly research into effective teaching. Our faculty, which has earned worldwide recognition for its scholarly and applied research, is the school’s major resource for doctoral education. Their commitment to advancing management knowledge through research published in top journals, and improving the quality of teaching, enables them to effectively mentor doctoral students, who, in close collaboration with faculty, are part of the intellectual capital of the school.

Residency

After matriculation into the PhD program, a candidate for the degree must register for and satisfactorily complete a minimum of 32 graduate-level credits at Boston University. More courses may be needed, depending on departmental requirements.

PhD in Management Curriculum

The curriculum provides the graduate with a combination of major and minor foci which incorporates both the depth and breadth of knowledge and research skills required to contribute to management research. It creates the capacity for learning and innovation in the face of rapid changes in the social, economic, technical, and political contexts of management. The curriculum has the following specific learning goals:

Students must:

  1. acquire advanced knowledge of literature and theory in their area of specialization (the major).
  2. gain adequate knowledge of literature and theory in an area other than their specialization (the minor).
  3. acquire theoretical and practical knowledge of advanced research skills.
  4. have adequate preparation to teach at the undergraduate and master’s level in a business school.
  5. demonstrate an adequate appreciation of the role of their area of specialization in managerial and organizational contexts.
  6. be capable of producing original research of quality appropriate for publication in scholarly journals.

Course Requirements

The minimum course requirement is 16 courses (64 credits).

Course category Number of courses Total credits
Research Methodology 5 20
Major area 5 20
Minor area 4 16
DS 906 Philosophy and Science of Research 1 4
DS 907 Teaching, Publishing, and Dissemination of Knowledge 1 4
Total 16 64 

Course choices must be approved by the department liaison prior to registration each semester. The department liaison must also approve whether courses will be accepted as meeting the requirements for classification as major, minor, or research methodology courses. In the fall of the first year, all students are automatically registered for DS 906 Philosophy and Science of Research, unless their department liaison specifically requests otherwise. In the spring of their second year, all students are automatically registered for the DS 907 Teaching, Publishing, and Dissemination of Knowledge seminar, unless their department liaison specifically requests otherwise.

Research Methodology Courses

Candidates are required to complete five courses in research methods and design. Students, with the advice and approval of department liaisons, will choose these courses. Courses may be taken at the School of Management or may be selected from appropriate courses offered in other disciplines at the University.

Major Area Courses

Students must acquire advanced knowledge of literature and theory in their area of specialization (the major). Such competence is gained by coursework, participation in seminars, and independent study. Candidates must complete five doctoral courses in the major area and pass a qualifying examination at the end of their coursework.

Minor Area Courses

Students are encouraged to choose a minor that draws on one or more of the social sciences that management theories draw on: for example, sociology, psychology, economics, and political science. Minor area courses may be selected from doctoral-level courses, including independent studies, from any department at the School of Management (other than the major area), or from other graduate departments at the University. The four-course minor may also be custom-designed as an interdisciplinary conceptual area with the advice and consent of the department liaison. For example, a student may define the minor as “human behavior” and take four doctoral-level courses in psychology, anthropology, and sociology to meet the requirement.

Philosophy and Science of Research & Teaching, Publishing, and Dissemination of Knowledge

All students are required to take the DS 906 Philosophy and Science of Research and DS 907 Teaching, Publishing, and Dissemination of Knowledge.

MBA Foundation Courses

In order to demonstrate a foundation in managerial literacy, students who do not have an MBA may be required by their department to take up to four MBA foundation courses, outside their major department. The liaison will determine if any of these requirements can be met with waiver exams.

Additional Requirements

Curriculum Paper

During coursework, candidates are expected to prepare a paper suitable for publication. This paper will typically be presented to the School of Management faculty and doctoral students before the end of the second summer session in the program. Students should consult with their department for individual department policies regarding the paper. The curriculum paper must be successfully completed and passed by the department in order for a student to sit for the comprehensive qualifying examination.

Qualifying Examination

Students must appear for a qualifying examination after completion of all coursework and the curriculum paper to demonstrate that they have:

  • acquired advanced knowledge of literature and theory in their area of specialization;
  • acquired advanced knowledge of research techniques; and
  • developed adequate ability to craft a research proposal.

Guidelines for the examination are available from the departments. Students who do not pass either the written and/or oral comprehensive examination will be reviewed by the Mathematical Finance Program Development Committee (MF PDC), which will determine if the student will be withdrawn from the PhD program. In addition, the PhD fellowship (if applicable) of any student who does not pass either the written and/or oral comprehensive examination on the first attempt will be suspended the semester after the exam was attempted.

Dissertation

Following successful completion of the qualifying examination, the student will develop a research proposal for the dissertation. The final phase of the doctoral program is the completion of an approved dissertation. The dissertation must be based on an original investigation that makes a substantive contribution to knowledge and demonstrates capacity for independent, scholarly research.

Doctoral candidates must register as continuing students for DS 999 Dissertation, a 2-credit course, for each subsequent regular semester until all requirements for the degree have been completed. PhD students graduating in September are required to register for Dissertation in Summer Session II preceding graduation.

Academic Standards

Time Limit for Degree Completion

After matriculation into the PhD program, a candidate for the degree must meet certain milestones within specified time periods (as noted in the table below) and complete all degree requirements within six years of the date of first registration. Those who fail to meet the milestones within the specified time, or who do not complete all requirements within six years, will be reviewed by the PhD Program Development Committee and may be dismissed from the program. A Leave of Absence does not extend the six-year time limit for degree completion.

Milestone Period
Complete all required courses (no incompletes) and curriculum paper, which must be approved by the department and submitted electronically by the student to the PhD program office. End of 3rd-year fall
Successfully complete comprehensive examination. End of 3rd year
Have a dissertation committee with at least three members, a committee chair, and a dissertation topic. End of 4th-year fall
Have a defended dissertation proposal. End of 4th year
Complete dissertation. End of 6th year

Performance Review

The Mathematical Finance Program Development Committee will review the progress of each doctoral candidate. Maintenance of a 3.30 cumulative GPA in major courses and a minimum of 3.30 in all courses constitute good academic standing. A student’s overall grade point average is inclusive of all grades earned at courses taken at the Graduate School of Management, those taken at Boston University outside of the Graduate School of Management, all directed studies, and all courses taken at consortium schools through the Cross-Registration process. Students who are not in good academic standing will be allowed one semester to correct their status. Failure to do so may result in probation or dismissal from the program, at the discretion of the Program Development Committee.

Graduation Application

Students must submit a graduation application at least seven months before the date they expect to complete degree requirements. Students must initiate the process for graduation. The application is available in the Graduate Programs Office, and should be returned there for graduation in September, January, or May.

If graduation must be postponed beyond the semester for which the application is submitted, students should contact the PhD Associate Director to defer the date. If students wish to postpone their graduation date past the six-year time limit for completion, they must formally petition the PhD Program Development Committee (PDC) for an extension. The petition, which must include the reason(s) for the extension as well as a detailed timetable for completion, is subject to departmental and PDC approval.

PhD requirements are complete only when copies of the dissertation have been certified as meeting the standards of the Graduate School of Management and have been accepted by Mugar Memorial Library.