Degree Requirements

Doctor of Philosophy in Business

The program is designed for students who wish to become scholar-teachers. It develops the capacity for effective teaching and original research by providing mastery of the knowledge in a particular field, a thorough understanding of research methodology, the ability to communicate effectively, and the motivation for continuing self-education. Students must specialize in a concentration and develop a broad knowledge of other areas of business and their interrelationships in the management function.

As of fall 2012, 38 students were enrolled in the Ph.D. program. The program will continue to be limited in size so each student can work closely with faculty members to receive substantial individual attention.

Ph.D. Degree Requirements

By the end of the third semester of the aspirant’s program (excluding summer sessions), an aspirant must complete the following qualifier requirements. All aspirants must demonstrate some proficiency in doing original research of publishable quality and some proficiency in teaching.

  • Human Resources Management, Organizational Behavior, and Strategic Management Ph.D. students must take MGMT 905 Philosophy of the Behavioral and Organizational Sciences, MGMT 906 Behavioral Research Methods, and MGMT 916 Seminar in Organization Theory. These students also must take 1 course in microeconomic theory (BE 917, BE 701, or ECON 700).
  • Finance Ph.D. students must take a 2-course sequence in probability and statistical methods. The requirement could be satisfied by taking DSCI 920 and DSCI 921, or equivalent courses in other departments. Finance students also must take one course in regression (DSCI 922).
  • Accounting, Decision Sciences, Information Systems, and Marketing Ph.D. students must take a 2-course sequence in probability and statistical methods. The requirement could be satisfied by taking DSCI 920 and DSCI 921, or equivalent courses in other departments. These students must also take 1 course in microeconomic theory (BE 917 or ECON 700).

These courses should be completed in the first 2 years of a student’s program. In addition, students must take area-specific core courses defined by their area group. At or before the end of the aspirant’s third semester in the program, a qualifier assessment team, composed of five faculty members, holistically determines whether or not a student continues in the program.

The aspirant for the Ph.D. in business administration must have an area of concentration, supporting areas, and preparation in research methodology.


Each aspirant, with the assistance of her or his faculty advisor and the area faculty, selects an area of concentration from the traditional business disciplines of accounting, information systems, finance, human resources, decision sciences, marketing, organizational behavior, and strategic management. An aspirant also may propose an interdisciplinary concentration that is a combination of these disciplines, or may include emphases such as international business, law, and economics. The aspirant must take at least five advanced courses in the concentration. These courses may include those offered outside the School of Business.

Supporting Areas

Course work in the area of concentration is supplemented and strengthened by study in one or two supporting areas. A supporting area is one that supplements and complements the concentration. The aspirant satisfies the supporting area requirement by taking at least 4 advanced courses in the supporting areas (at least 2 courses in each of 2 supporting areas or at least 4 courses in 1 supporting area). Courses recommended for preparation for the qualifier assessment may not be included in satisfying the supporting area requirement.

Probation and Dismissal Guidelines

To be in good standing, a student must maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade-point average; if the grade-point average falls below 3.0, the student is placed on probation. This is followed by a letter to the student confirming the probation and explaining the student’s options.

A student is placed on probation for 1 academic semester. If the cumulative grade-point average has not risen to 3.0 in the next semester of enrollment (excluding summers), the student can either be dismissed or allowed to continue on probation. Continued probation requires the area director for the student’s concentration to write a letter to the Ph.D. team explaining why the student should be allowed to continue.

A graduate student can be dismissed on recommendation of the area director for the student’s concentration. Usually a graduate student is dismissed because of a low grade-point average; however, failure of examinations or failure to make satisfactory progress toward the degree is also cause for dismissal. Academic dismissal should occur before a semester begins; but if a student is dismissed during the semester, the dismissal is effective only at the end of the semester in which the Ph.D. team gives notification of dismissal.

Research Methodology

When preparing for the qualifier assessment, area groups should ensure that the student’s program includes adequate preparation in research methodology.

Responsible Scholarship

Students in the first year must enroll in BUS 903 Responsible Conduct of Research. This course builds students’ abilities to analyze ethical issues and introduces students to various issues that may arise while engaging in the research endeavor.

Note: Contact your department or program for more information about research skills and responsible scholarship, and the current requirements for doctoral students. Current Lawrence and Edwards Campus policies on Doctoral Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship are listed in the KU Policy Library.



Students enroll in BUS 902 Teaching Seminar during the first semester in which they teach independently. Before the completion of the Ph.D. program, all students also must have teaching experience equivalent to teaching at least 2 undergraduate courses independently in 2 different semesters.


To advance to candidacy, the student must pass a written-oral comprehensive examination in the concentration. Finally, the student must pass an oral defense of the dissertation research proposal and the dissertation.

Contact Info

School of Business

Summerfield Hall
1300 Sunnyside Ave.
Lawrence, KS 66045
Charly Edmonds, Director, Ph.D. Program
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