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

Ph.D.: Management Concentration

We are no longer accepting applications for the Fall 2022 term

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

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 630.

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 our 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 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 Ph.D. 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 by the end of the 5th semester (but no earlier than the 4th)
  • 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 Ph.D. Seminars Offered by the Management Unit
9 Credits

Students are required to take following three 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

  • MGMT594 – Doctoral Topics I – Seminar in Organizational Theory
  • MGMT595 – Doctoral Topics II – Seminar in Strategic Management
  • MGMT599 – Doctoral Topics III – Seminar in Organizational Behavior
Additional Seminars Offered by the Department
3 Credits

MGMT 584 – Doctoral Topics IV – Seminar in Entrepreneurship

Special Topics (Directed) Seminar on Case-by-Case Basis Offered by the Department Only if a Student is Interested in Ethics and Justice
3 Credits

MGMT 600 – Special (Doctoral) Topics V – Directed seminar, for example, in ‘Ethics and Justice’
Please note that PhD Teaching Course (3credits-see below) can be included in the graded course credits (36 credits).

Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. Coursework</5>
9 Credits

A minimum of 9 credit hours of coursework approved for graduate credit must be designated and approved by the student’s Ph.D. 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.

Ph.D. Teaching Course
3 Credits

This course is part of the 36 credits of graded coursework. All Ph.D. 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. Again, this course can be included in the graded course credits (36 credits).

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 (Mgmt 800: 3 Credits Graded On A Satisfactory/Fail (S/F) Basis)

The second-year paper is a pass/fail, faculty-supervised independent research project. This involves an empirical study that proposes and tests hypotheses demonstrating data collection skills along with capabilities to statistically analyze the same and discuss results outlining contribution to theory and methods. The goal of the project is to develop a manuscript the student can submit to a recognized scholarly journal, which upon publication will help students in their job placement. Please review section 2.6 of handbook for details. This paper involves following critical steps:

  1. Your program committee chair and committee members play a key role in developing your second year paper. You are expected to start working with them since the beginning of your program. Discuss and submit a Second-Year Paper Form (Appendix A) to the CCB Graduate Programs Office.
  2. The student must formally present the study to the Department during the 5th semester but no later than the 6th unless the department makes an exception. Students must circulate the copy of their second year paper to the unit at least one week prior to their presentation.
  3. The faculty will decide the grade for the MGMT 800 requirements as satisfactory (Pass) or not (Fail).
  4. A grade of Incomplete (I) will be submitted for the one who does not meet minimum requirements.

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

Please review sections 2.7 and 2.8 of the handbook to learn about the important milestones of Written Field Examination/ Written Comprehensive Exam and Preliminary Oral Examination (Oral Field Examination/ Oral Comprehensive Exam). Students generally take comprehensive exams at the end of their 4th semester, once required courses have been taken. 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

Management unit’s written exam is a two-day exam, with each day consisting of a six to eight-hour exam period (8a to Noon, and 1p to 5p or 1 to 3p with some flexibility). This exam is scheduled over no more than three consecutive days with no more than eight scheduled hours in any single 24-hour period. The unit requires that the exam be closed-all-sources. A student’s Comprehensive Exam Committee, consisting of the PhD Coordinator, members of the student’s program/dissertation committee, in consultation with the Management faculty, determines eligibility and develops the exam.

The written exam is scheduled by the Management faculty and it generally takes place around Labor Day weekend in the student’s fifth semester. Students should also note that the Written exam is a requirement of Ph.D. Program in the Carson College of Business, and is NOT part of the WSU Graduate School’s preliminary exam. Thus, this exam should not be scheduled through the Graduate School.

Once the written exam is over, the comprehensive examination committee and other interested faculty will grade the examination. Faculty are not explicitly revealed students’ identity while grading the exam, and students will not be revealed individual faculty’s ratings of their performance.

Please review section 2.7 to learn about the options in case of failing the written exam.

Preliminary Oral Examination

Please review section 2.8 of the handbook to learn about the preliminary oral exam. This exam is taken after the student has passed the written exam. The Ph.D. student schedules the preliminary oral exam through the WSU Graduate School at least ten working days before the examination is to be held. The scheduling must first run through the College of Business’ Graduate Programs Office. The preliminary oral examination must be scheduled during the Fall or Spring semester and may not be scheduled during finals week

IV. Dissertation Committee Formation

Please review section 2.9 of the handbook to learn about the formation of dissertation committee, which provides guidance for the dissertation process. It includes (a) a dissertation proposal defense and (b) a final oral examination.

V. Dissertation Proposal Defense

Please review section 2.10 of the handbook to learn about the dissertation proposal defense. The exact nature of the proposal will depend on the requirements set forth by the Dissertation Committee. The dissertation proposal must be orally defended in a meeting with the Dissertation Committee (discussed in a relevant section of this document) that is open to the faculty and graduate students.

VI. Final (Oral) Dissertation Examination

Please review section 2.11 of the handbook to learn about the final oral examination. In the Management, unit, the final oral defense is the student’s defense of his/her dissertation. The completed dissertation must be defended in a forum open to faculty of the entire Washington State University.


Leah Sheppard
Associate Professor
Department of Management, Information Systems, and Entrepreneurship
Todd Hall 437D

Program at a glance

Degree offered: Doctor of Philosophy
Number of faculty working with students: 11
Number of students enrolled in program: 12
Students with assistantships/scholarships: 83%*
Priority application deadline: January 10

* Remaining students are Fulbright scholars or students supported by their governments)

Universities and colleges employing recent graduates:

  • Oregon State University
  • Illinois State University
  • University of North Texas
  • University of North Carolina-Wilmington
  • University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
  • Peking University, China
  • Sungkyunkwan University, Korea
  • Wichita State University
  • University of Alaska, Anchorage; and more