Academic Programs Catalog

The Eli Broad College of Business and The Eli Broad Graduate School of Management

Graduate Study

Business Administration - Doctor of Philosophy

The Doctor of Philosophy degree in business administration is earned primarily by prospective college or university teachers and research personnel. This program provides an opportunity for developing a high degree of specialization in one of the following major fields of concentration:  accounting, information technology management, finance, logistics, marketing,  organizational behavior–human resource management,  operations and sourcing management, and strategic management.

A guidance committee assists the doctoral student in planning a rigorous program of multidisciplinary study. Graduates are expected to be capable of specialized and innovative research.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university, students must meet the requirements specified below.

The business administration programs to which the requirements that are referenced in the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Business Administration statement apply are listed below by the units that administer them:

Department of Accounting and Information Systems
    Information Technology Management
Department of Finance 
Department of Management
    Organizational Behavior—Human Resource Management
    Strategic Management
Department of Marketing
Department of Supply Chain Management
    Operations and Sourcing Management


Applicants for admission must possess a bachelor's degree from a recognized educational institution, a superior academic record, and very strong scores on either the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Persons admitted must have the qualifications of perseverance and intellectual curiosity, and an interest in scholarly research. Evidence of these qualities is obtained from an appraisal of a statement of purpose submitted by the applicant and letters of recommendation.

Admissions decisions are made by a faculty committee in the department of the student's major field of concentration and are reviewed by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Business Administration

The following degree requirements are applicable to all doctoral students in business administration. Students should contact individual departments concerning any additional requirements they may impose.  The general requirements are:

  1. Complete a major field and one minor field of study. A major field consists of a minimum of three courses totaling at least 12 credits; a minor field consists of a minimum of three courses totaling at least 9 credits. Specific major and minor fields may require additional courses and credits.
  2. Know and be able to apply concepts, tools, and techniques of business practice. A student who enters the doctoral program without having earned a business degree from an institution accredited by the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business should develop a broad understanding of the functional areas of business: Accounting, Finance, Management, Supply Chain Management, and Marketing. Such background, if necessary, would be provided by undergraduate or master's level course work as specified by the student’s program guidance committee.
  3. Achieve competence in economic and/or behavioral analysis by completing graduate level course work in these areas.  Specific requirements are established by the student’s major department.
  4. Complete a minimum of four graduate–level courses totaling at least 12 credits in research related areas.  The areas chosen are expected to be relevant to the student's dissertation research and in subsequent professional endeavors.
  5. Pass a written comprehensive examination in the major field and successfully complete the requirements for the minor field, which may also include a written comprehensive examination.  At the option of the student's major department, an oral component may be added to the major comprehensive examination.  The student's major field advisor must certify to the Doctoral Programs Office that the student has met the requirements for taking a particular written comprehensive examination before the student will be permitted to sit for that examination.
  6. Defend a dissertation proposal orally in an open meeting.  Because the purpose of this requirement is to provide faculty input for the dissertation research, it should be satisfied before the majority of the research effort is undertaken.  A successful defense of the dissertation proposal is achieved when three–fourths of the student's dissertation committee, including the chairperson, approves the defense.  The guidance committee will report to the Doctoral Programs Office the successful completion of this requirement.

    All of the members of the student's guidance committee should be in attendance at the defense of the dissertation proposal.  The date, time, and place for the defense of the dissertation proposal will be announced to the Broad School faculty ten days in advance of the event.

    With the exception of doctoral dissertation research credits, all course work listed on the student's approved guidance committee report must be completed with grades reported before the student will be permitted to defend the dissertation proposal.
  7. Complete a doctoral dissertation judged to be a satisfactory contribution to knowledge by the student's guidance committee and successfully defend the dissertation in an open meeting.

Academic Standards

A record of performance and action consistent with high professional standards is required of every degree candidate.

To be in good standing, a doctoral student must attain at least a 3.25 cumulative grade–point average by the end of the second semester of full–time enrollment and thereafter or, on the initiative of the department of the student's major field of concentration and with the approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, the student will be dismissed from the doctoral program.

A comprehensive appraisal of each doctoral student's performance is made annually by a review committee composed of faculty members in the department of the student's major field of concentration. The formal review must include the following areas:  performance in course work and on comprehensive examinations, performance in teaching and/or other duties that might be required of a graduate assistant, participation in department colloquia, and progress toward the completion of degree requirements. As a result of the review and based upon college and department standards, one of the following actions will be taken:  (1) the student will remain on regular status in the doctoral program, (2) the student will be placed on probationary status that is conditioned on specific improvements in performance, or (3) the student will be dismissed from the doctoral program. Copies of the results of the yearly appraisal will be provided to the student, the student's major field advisor, and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.