DBA students must take a full-time course load, in residence, during their first two years. Students who have earned an MBA degree within five years from an AACSB-accredited university take fourteen courses:

Operations Management: 4 courses

Doctoral-level courses provide in-depth knowledge of the field and include:

  • OM 920 Theory of Technology and Operations Management (A)
  • OM 921 Models in Manufacturing and Services Operations Management
  • OM 922 Theory of Technology and Operations Management (B)
  • OM 999 Directed Study (Curriculum Paper)

Students concentrating in Health Care Operations or Services Operations Management may take a doctoral level seminar appropriate for their area of study in lieu of 922.

Minor: 4 courses

Minor courses enable you to approach management issues from a broad perspective. The minor may be fulfilled through courses in a second management department, or by defining a conceptual minor that integrates related courses in other departments or Boston University Schools.

Research: 4 courses

Research courses build your methodology capabilities. Operations Management students must show mastery of both statistical and modeling research methodologies. OM Students are required to take four research courses at least one of which must be an advanced statistics course and at least one of which must be an advanced modeling course. The lists below show the currently approved research courses for Operations Management:

Modeling Courses

Graduate courses in Mathematics and Manufacturing Engineering such as Stochastic Processes, Optimization, Control Theory and Simulation.

Statistics Courses

Graduate courses such as Mathematics for Econometrics and Econometrics from the Economics Department, Advanced Multivariate Analysis from the Mathematics Department, and Multivariate Statistics and the Design of Experiments offered in the Questrom School of Business.

Cross Disciplinary: 2 courses

Doctoral students are required to take two cross disciplinary courses: DS 903, a two-credit teaching and learning seminar, and DS 905, a four-credit research methodology course.

MBA Foundation Courses

Students who do not have a recent MBA degree (within five years) from a university accredited by the AACSB take four additional foundation courses in management.

Program Requirements

  • Curriculum Paper: While taking courses and before the end of the second summer in the program, you prepare a paper suitable for publication, which is presented to faculty and other DBA students.
  • Qualifying Examination: After completing all coursework, you must demonstrate mastery of the literature in your major area by satisfactory performance on this exam.
  • Dissertation: You must prepare and successfully defend a proposal for your dissertation. After the proposal is approved by your dissertation committee, you research and write the dissertation, which must be approved by the committee.

The below grid illustrates a typical sequence of courses preceding the dissertation stage:

OM DBA Recommended Course Sequence
Semester 1

OM 920 Theory of Technology & Operations Management (A) (Major)*+

MA 569 Optimization Methods

DS 903
Teaching Seminar (Cross Disciplinary)

ENG EK 500 Probability with Statistical Applications (Research Methods)

All students attend OM/IS Seminar Series (no credit)

14 Credits***

Semester 2

IS 919 Technical Seminar (Major)*

OM 921 Models in OM (Major)*

MA 684/5 Multivariate Analysis (Research Methods)


All students attend OM/IS Seminar Series (no credit)

OM Students will be assigned to “shadow” a professor in OM725

12-16 Credits***

Semester 3

OM 922 Theory of Technology & Operations B (Major)*+

Readings in Management (Cross Disciplinary)*

MA 685 Advanced Topics in Applied Statistical Analysis ( Research Methods)


All students attend OM/IS Seminar Series (no credit)

12-16 Credits***

Semester 4

IS919 Strategy Seminar (Research Methods)*




Curriculum Paper (no credit)

All students attend OM/IS Seminar Series (no credit)

12-16 Credits***

* No transfer credit allowed for fulfillment of these courses

+ Offered in alternate years.

** Higher level math and statistics courses may be taken with consent of advisor.

*** A total of 54 credits are required before entering the dissertation phase


OM 920: Theory of Technology and Operations Management

This course introduces students to some foundational ideas in the technology and operations management (TOM) literature. Course material is divided in three modules: supply chains, capacity, and technology/ product/ service development. Some of the topics covered across these modules are: inventory theory; the role of information in the design of supply chains, products, and services; centralized, hierarchical, and distributed planning; workforce and job design; flexibility; productivity, quality and learning at the task level; productivity and learning within and across organizations; architecture of product, services, and organizations.

Each topic touches upon both classic and neo-classic treatment of the research issues. The classics, largely drawn from book chapters, typically address optimization decision models. The neo-classical treatment, representing a growing trend in TOM, tends to be empirical studies. Some of the sessions will feature invited presentations from Questrom School of Business faculty engaged in research on related themes. The course provides exposure to theory issues and informs the students about a suite of methodological options that ought to be considered while building their subsequent research. Discussions also identify linkages to models covered in OM921, a follow on course offered in the spring term.

For each session, two students are designated as discussants responsible for introducing the material to the rest of the class. Introduction is followed by debate and concluding remarks from a faculty moderator. The course does not require a graduate level background in either mathematical or social science methodology. Discussants may not be familiar with some of the technical details/ methodology associated with their material. They are expected to work with the instructor, during office hours, before the class to learn this material. Each discussant must circulate two-page summary of the key ideas, formulation, and solution techniques to the rest of the class. Students will also be given mid-term and end-term take home exams that are designed as synthesis exercises. Instructor: Joglekar

OM 921: Models in Technology and Operations Management

This doctoral course is a survey of some of the basic analytical models used in Manufacturing and Technology Operations Management research. The course will include theory as well as discussion of current articles in the management science literature. Current articles will be used as entry points and motivation for tracing back the theory and the historical applications of the basic models used by researchers today. Theoretical topics will include stochastic inventory theory, Markov decision processes, queueing theory, computer simulation, and Bayesian statistical models. Readings from current journal articles will illustrate the use of these models in areas such as product development, technology management, supply chain management, capacity planning, and health care management. A primary goal of the course is to gain experience in how these models can help illustrate important managerial trade-offs and give managerial insights for decision making. Students will be expected to read and present articles from journals to the class for discussion, and are expected to write a paper and take an exam. Instructor: Pekoz

Prerequisite: a course in probability and statistics such as ENG EK 500, and optimization such as CAS MA 569