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Washington State University
Carson College of Business PhD: Management Concentration

PhD: Management Concentration

Now accepting applications for Fall 2024

This program will prepare you to conduct high-quality research publishable in top-tier journals and to teach at a business school.

Admission requirements

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.

Desired prerequisites

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

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

As an entering PhD student, you should be competent in statistics and business (management, economics, psychology, human resources management, finance, accounting, marketing, and 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.

Progress in the Program Milestones

Per CCB requirements, students should have:

  • submitted the program of study by the end of the first year of enrollment in the PhD program
  • formed a Program Committee no later than the third semester in the program
  • presented the second-year paper by the end of the 5th semester
  • gotten their program of study approved by the WSU Graduate School at least one month before scheduling the (comprehensive) preliminary oral exam if changes were made after first year-end submission
  • taken written field exams between the 4th and 5th semester
  • taken the oral prelim exam by the end of the 5th semester (after passing the written field exam)
  • formed a Dissertation Committee by the end of the 5th semester
  • defended a dissertation proposal (as approved by the Dissertation Committee) by the end of the 6th semester
  • defended the dissertation by the end of the 8th semester (could be extended up to 10th semester depending on the nature of research and potential for superior employment)
  • passed the English Competency exam by the end of the 2nd semester (ESL TAs only)


Students are required to earn 72 credit hours, 36 of which must be graded. As such, students must take an additional 36 credits (either graded or pass/fail) to reach a total of 72 credits. Thus, “Research” and “Other Directed” credits may be taken to reach the total of 72 credits. A breakdown of credits could be as follows:

  1. 36 credits of graded coursework,
  2. 4 credits of other coursework (graded (e.g., BA 596) or S/F (e.g., BA 598—see below), and
  3. 32 research credits

Sample Curriculum

I. Graded Course Credits

36 Credits

Required PhD Seminars Offered by the Management Unit
12 Credits

Students are required to take following four doctoral seminars. The seminars are designed to ground the student in the literature and integrate research streams in the management field, and thus help to provide a foundation for comprehensive exams

  • MGMT584 – Doctoral Topics IV – Seminar in Entrepreneurship
  • MGMT594 – Doctoral Topics I – Seminar in Organizational Theory
  • MGMT595 – Doctoral Topics II – Seminar in Strategic Management
  • MGMT599 – Doctoral Topics III – Seminar in Organizational Behavior
PhD Research Tool Requirement (Methods/Statistics/Econometrics Courses)
15 Credits

Students must take a minimum of 15 credits (1 CCB methods course + 4 other courses from recommended list below) of the research toolkit courses, which ground them in methods, design, and estimation techniques in order to assist them in becoming productive empirical scholars.

1 CCB Methods Course (3 Credits):

  • MKTG/ MGMT 593— Seminar in Research Design—CCB Research Methods Seminar

4 courses from the recommended list below contingent on your focus (Micro, Macro, or a Mix):

  • ANOVA (e.g., PSYCH511, STAT507, STAT512)
  • Regression, Econometrics and Linear Models (e.g., PSYCH512, SOC521, SOC522, STAT530, ECONS511/STAT 531, ECONS512/STAT552, MGTOP591, BA596, MKTG594)
  • Psychometric Theory (PSYCH514, PSYCH516)
  • Multivariate Statistics or Categorical Data Analysis (e.g., STAT519/MGTOP519, STAT 520)
  • Other useful research tool courses include: Ed_Psych 572 (Meta-Analysis), COM 580 (Mixed Methods), time series analysis (STAT516/MGTOP516), and statistical computing (STAT 536), among others.

Your program committee may substitute courses from above list and/or suggest additional courses. All the courses must be approved by your program committee.

Additional PhD Coursework
9 Credits

A minimum of 9 additional credit hours of coursework approved for graduate credit must be designated and approved by the student’s PhD committee. Examples include (but are not limited to) courses in psychology, sociology, economics, finance, marketing, political science, and mass communication. Courses must be related to an area of study selected by the student and approved by the student’s program committee.

PhD Teaching Course
3 Credits

All PhD students are expected to take the course BA 596—Doctoral Topics (Seminar in Management Teaching). Ideally, this course is taken in the fall semester of the second year in the program, before the student has full course responsibility for teaching a class. This course counts toward the additional 4 credits of graded/ungraded coursework.

Professional Development Seminar
1 Credit

This one credit seminar (BA 598), part of the 4 credits of other coursework, is a pass/fail colloquium designed to enhance research and teaching skills and to provide professional socialization of doctoral students from all fields. Students are required to take this course during their second semester in the program.

Other Important Milestones

II. Second-Year Paper

The second-year paper is a pass/fail, faculty-supervised independent research project. This involves conducting an empirical study that proposes and tests hypotheses, and involves the collection and analysis of data. The goal of the project is to develop a manuscript that can be submitted to a recognized scholarly journal.

III. Written Field Examination and Preliminary Oral Examination (Comprehensive Exam)

Students take their comprehensive exams after the 4th semester and before the end of the 5th semester. The comprehensive exams are intended as an opportunity for the student to demonstrate their knowledge of the discipline. Comprehensive exams consist of:

  1. A written field examination, and
  2. A preliminary oral examination.

Students must pass the written exam before moving on to the preliminary oral exam and must pass the oral exam before moving on to work on the dissertation.

Written Field Examination

The management unit’s written field exam is a 2.5 day, open-book exam that typically takes place in late June after the student’s 4th semester in the program. A student’s comprehensive exam committee, consisting of the PhD coordinator, members of the student’s program/dissertation committee, in consultation with management faculty, determines eligibility, develops and grades the exam.

Preliminary Oral Examination

The preliminary oral examination is taken after the student has passed the written field exam. The preliminary oral examination takes place during the student’s 5th semester in the program.

IV. Dissertation Proposal Defense

Before completing their dissertations, students will first propose its topic, hypotheses, and proposed methods in front of their dissertation committees. Students must pass the proposal defense before completing their dissertations.

V. Final (Oral) Dissertation Examination

Students will produce a written dissertation and defend it before their dissertation committee. Students must pass the dissertation defense to earn their PhD.


Jeremy Beus
Associate Professor
Department of Management, Information Systems, and Entrepreneurship
Todd Hall 437C

Program at a glance

Degree offered: Doctor of Philosophy
Number of faculty working with students: 11
Number of students enrolled in program: 7
Students with assistantships/scholarships: 100%
Priority application deadline: January 10

Universities and colleges employing recent graduates:

  • University of Alaska, Anchorage
  • Appalachian State University
  • Oregon State University
  • Illinois State University
  • Indiana University
  • University of Minnesota Duluth
  • University of North Carolina-Wilmington
  • University of North Texas
  • Peking University, China
  • Sungkyunkwan University, Korea
  • Wichita State University
  • University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee