About the PhD in management sciences

Learn more about admission, funding, and curriculum.

Getting in

If you've got a technical background, like engineering, math, and computer science, and want to develop analytics skills and solve real-world business problems, this is your place. Our program is small—just two to four students start each year—and accordingly competitive. We give preference to those with strong GPAs, prior graduate work, and research experience in a relevant field.

First, you need to meet the minimum PhD admission requirements. Other criteria for admission include:

Academic record
The minimum GPA is 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. We also consider the rigor of your undergrad or master's institution(s) and grades you earned in quantitative courses.

GMAT or GRE score
There isn't a specific minimum score, but successful applicants typically have very strong quant and analytical scores.

Statement of purpose
Content and overall seriousness are considered.

Letters of recommendation
We're interested in their assessment of your strengths, weaknesses, motivation, and ability to succeed.

English proficiency
International students need significant proficiency in English. We accept TOEFL or IELTS. We'll also review your GMAT or GRE Verbal (80th percentile or higher is recommended) and accumulated years of graduate study in English.

Financial support

We guarantee our PhD candidates funding support for four years, with support for the fifth year subject to progress toward the degree. Our financial aid package includes:

  • All tuition payments
  • A 12-month stipend for living expenses (approximately $21,000)
  • Health and dental insurance

PhDs earn the stipend by serving as research or teaching assistants. See details on the base funding package.

Other benefits

  • Departmental research fellowships for exceptional students
  • Funding for travel to academic conferences to present your research
  • First-year fellowships, which allow you to explore different research areas with faculty and establish a foundation for your own research
  • Graduate College first-year fellowships for exceptional students; these include a stipend supplement for up to five years and up to four summers of support
  • Summer Graduate College and departmental fellowships for post-comprehensive exam students, typically $2,500–$3,000 per summer
  • Graduate College research fellowships, which release you from teaching to concentrate on your research

Curriculum and sample plan of study

The PhD in management sciences requires 72 semester hours of credit, in addition to a dissertation. The typical time to complete the degree is five years.

The plan of study is very flexible. You can take elective coursework in any year of the program. The outline below is a sample for demonstration purposes; we'll work with you to outline a plan of study that aligns with your goals.

Year 1 and 2

  • Departmental core: Management Information Systems and Quantitative Methods/Operations Management
  • Interdepartmental core: Courses from departments such as Economics, Marketing, or Finance
  • Research methodology courses (four): Mathematical Statistics I and II plus two methodology courses (options include Linear Programming, Heuristic Search Methods, Discrete Optimization, Applied Stochastic Process, Applied Multivariate Analysis, and more)

Year 2 and 3

  • Courses in major area of study (4–5 courses) and minor area of study (4–5 courses)
  • Year three: Written comprehensive exam

Year 3

  • Elective coursework (3–4 courses)

Year 4

  • Fall semester: Thesis proposal defense
  • Spring semester: Progress toward thesis completion

Year 5

  • Submission of completed dissertation
  • Final oral dissertation defense

    Next Steps