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Ph.D. in Business Administration

Doctoral - PhD Business Administration

Program Description

The Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Business Administration program is designed for outstanding students who wish to earn an advanced research degree in preparation for a career in university teaching and research, business, and/or government. To achieve this objective, the program provides a specialized education in a business administration discipline, emphasizing intensive training in research methods applicable to business processes. Students have the opportunity to pursue both a major field of study and a cognate, leveraging the range of business expertise offered at the Darla Moore School of Business.

Major emphasis and cognate course work may be chosen from the following:

Additional cognate course work is available in:

  • Insurance 
  • Banking 
  • Real Estate
  • Other departments inside and outside the Moore School of Business


Specific prerequisites vary by major areas of concentration, and prospective applicants are encouraged to contact the Director of Ph.D. Programs for details.

For students whose academic background is not sufficient to satisfy the required prerequisites, deficiencies are made up by taking the appropriate course(s) along with their program of study for the doctorate.

Language Requirement

Proficiency in statistical methods can be substituted for language proficiency. Evidence of proficiency will be demonstrated by successful completion of all statistical course work on a student’s program of study or by earning a passing mark on a statistical qualifying exam administered by faculty in the student’s major area of concentration.

Core Requirements

All doctoral students are required to complete a core of at least 18 semester hours of research-tools course work as specified by the student's Ph.D. advisory committee. The specific course work required cannot include more than six semester hours of research-tools course work from the major area of concentration.

Major and Cognate Areas of Emphasis

Beyond the required core, a student must complete at least 24 additional semester hours of course work, including:

  • At least 15 hours in a major area of emphasis.
  • A minimum of nine hours in a cognate area.

Required Examinations

Near the end of the student's third term in the program, the Graduate School requires each Ph.D. student to pass a qualifying examination to be admitted to candidacy. The purpose of this written and/or oral examination is to establish at an early date whether the student should be allowed to continue in the program. 

Upon completion of all required course work, candidates must pass a comprehensive examination consisting of two parts:  a written and oral exam. The oral examination must be taken within three weeks of the successful completion of the written examination. This examination may not be taken more than twice.


Each candidate must complete a minimum of 12 dissertation credit hours and present and defend a dissertation that gives evidence of original and significant research. The dissertation must be completed no later than five years after the comprehensive examinations.


The intent of a residency requirement is to ensure that doctoral students benefit from and contribute to the full spectrum of educational and professional opportunities provided by the graduate faculty of a research university. Residency is required for at least three academic years after the student has begun graduate work. At least two of the three years must be spent in full-time residence at the Moore School. A student has eight calendar years to complete a program, beginning with the first semester of matriculation.