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Washington State University
Carson College of Business PhD: Operations & Management Science Concentration

PhD: Operations & Management Science Concentration

Now accepting applications for Fall 2024

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

We prefer the GMAT, but we do accept the GRE test as a substitute.

Desired prerequisites

Most successful applicants to the 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 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.

PhD Professional Development Seminar

1 Credit

Students will take the one-credit college-wide professional development colloquium (BA 598) during their first year or as soon as possible when approved by the area coordinator.

PhD Teaching Course

3 Credits

Students will take the 3-credit BA 596 teaching course, ideally in the fall of their second year.

PhD Research Tool Requirements

12 Credis

  • Math 464—Linear Optimization
  • Math 516—Numerical Simulations for Probabilistic Models
  • Stat 443—Applied Probability
  • Stat 556—Introduction to Statistical Theory
  • Also Recommended: MgtOp 470—Business Modeling with Spreadsheets

PhD Major Field Requirements

15 Credits

  • MgtOp 596—Doctoral Topics I
  • MgtOp 596—Doctoral Topics II
  • Choose at least three of the following, depending on background, research interest, and course availability:
    • MgtOp596—Doctoral Topics III
    • MgtOp516—Time Series
    • MgtOp519—Applied Multivariate Analysis
    • Math 548—Numerical Analysis
    • Math 553—Graph Theory
    • Math 555—Topics in Combinatorics
    • Math 564—Convex and Nonlinear Optimization
    • Math 565—Nonsmooth Analysis and Optimization with Applications
    • Math 566—Optimization in Networks
    • Math 567—Integer and Combinatorial Optimization
    • Math 574—Topics in Optimization
    • Stat 511—Statistical Methods for Graduate Researchers
    • Stat 512—Analysis of Variance of Designed Experiments
    • Stat 520—Statistical Analysis of Qualitative Data
    • Stat 530—Applied Linear Models
    • Stat 533—Theory of Linear Models
    • Stat 536—Statistical Computing
    • Stat 544—Applied Stochastic Processes
    • Stat 548—Statistical Theory I
    • Stat 549—Statistical Theory II
    • Stat 572—Quality Control
    • Stat 573—Reliability
    • Mktg 593—Seminar in Research Design
    • EconS 501—Microeconomic Theory I
    • EconS 510—Statistics for Economists
    • EconS 511—Econometrics I
    • EconS 512—Econometrics II

Additional PhD Coursework

9 Credits

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

PhD Research Credit Requirements

Minimum of 32 Credits

In addition to the research tool and field requirements, the PhD in business requires an additional body of research credits in preparation and development of the final dissertation. A minimum of 32 (800-level) research credits hours is required.

Qualifying Exam

In addition to the CCB progress requirements, students are required to pass a qualifying exam. The exam is typically taken in June after the first year of study. Only one retake is allowed, typically in the subsequent August. Students may be able to earn a waiver from certain portions of the exam, depending on their performance in Stat 443, Stat 556, Math 464, and MgtOp 470.


Yixuan Xiao
Associate 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