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Washington State University
Carson College of Business Ph.D.: Operations & Management Science Concentration

Ph.D.: Operations & Management Science Concentration

We are no longer accepting applications for Fall 2021

This program will prepare you for a career in business, industry, or government using expertise gained in applied problem solving and data analysis. You will receive rigorous fundamental training in statistics, research methods, mathematics, and operations research, followed by theoretical study within your field of interest. All students are expected to produce publishable research for peer-reviewed journals prior to graduation.

Admission requirements

A minimum admissions index score of 1250 is required to be considered for admission. The index is based on the formula GPA x 200 + GMAT (and a TOEFL of 580 for ESL students). There is not a minimum GMAT score requirement. However, successful candidates typically exceed 650.

We prefer the GMAT, but we do accept the GRE test as a substitute. In either case, the exam must have been taken within 5 years of the time of application to WSU. A GMAT conversion will be applied to the GRE score submitted by applicants who take the GRE in lieu of the GMAT. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) provides a conversion chart. The converted GRE score will then be applied to the Carson College of Business admissions index score in the same manner as a standard GMAT score.

Desired prerequisites

Most successful applicants to the program have attained, at minimum:

  • Bachelor’s degree from a four-year accredited university
  • 3.25 GPA
  • 600 GMAT score

As an entering Ph.D. student, you should be competent in math and business (accounting, economics, finance, management, marketing, operations management), and have adequate computer skills and a good command of the English language. If you are deficient in any of these areas, additional coursework and preparation (beyond the major course of study) may be required. Your advisory committee will determine those requirements.

Major field requirements

15 credits

Required Courses

  • MgtOp 596: Doctoral Topics I
  • MgtOp 596: Doctoral Topics II

You also will choose at least three additional courses from a list of approved courses selected to match your background and research interests.

Supporting field requirements

9 credits

Courses in supporting fields should be selected from one or more related academic areas. You will complete a minimum of 9 credit hours of graded coursework approved for graduate credit by your advisory committee.

Research tool requirements

12 credits

  • Stat 443: Applied Probability
  • Math 464: Linear Optimization
  • Stat 556: Introduction to Statistical Theory
  • Math 516: Simulation Methods

Ph.D. research credit requirements

24 credits, minimum

In addition to the research tool and field requirements, students in the Ph.D. program must complete an additional body of research credits as part of the preparation and development of the final dissertation. A minimum of 24 (800-level) research credits hours is required.

Additional Ph.D. coursework requirements

6 credits, minimum

In addition to the requirements listed above, you must complete 6 additional credits in the form of designated classes or specific study credits (independent readings) approved by your advisory committee. You may also select college and department colloquium credits.

Qualifying exam

In addition to the CCB progress requirements, students are required to pass a qualifying exam in the areas of Probability & Statistics and Operations Research if they do not attain a pre-established grade-point average in certain related required courses in the first year of study. The exam is typically taken prior to the start of the second year. Only one retake is allowed.


Dr. Yixuan Xiao
Assistant Professor
Department of Finance and Management Science
Todd Hall 469

Program at a glance

Degree offered: Doctor of Philosophy
Number of faculty working with students: 5
Number of students enrolled in program: 10
Students with assistantships/scholarships: 100%

Universities and colleges employing recent graduates:

  • Northeastern University
  • University of Michigan-Flint
  • Grand Valley State University
  • University of South Dakota
  • Wilfred Laurier University (Canada), and more