The primary objective of the PhD with a major in business administration is to prepare a select number of qualified students for careers in university-level teaching and research and for responsible positions in business and government.
Students seeking a PhD must be recommended for acceptance by the Haslam College of Business to the Office of Graduate Admissions. Actual admission is based on the applicant’s overall standing compared with other applicants and with the number of vacancies in each department. The Graduate Council requires the online Graduate Admissions Application, transcripts from all previous college work, and additional information from international students. The college requires the PhD application, scores from the GMAT, and four written recommendations. All materials should be received by the Haslam College of Business no later than March 1. Late applications are considered only if space is available.
Under exceptional circumstances, a student may be considered for acceptance into the PhD program without having a master’s degree. An applicant in this situation should have an outstanding undergraduate background and should represent a deep and sincere commitment to the pursuit of a career in research and instruction.
The PhD normally requires four years of intensive study and research beyond the master’s degree. Typically, the first two years of a student’s program consist of course work, writing, and research. The third and fourth years require completion of courses, the comprehensive exam, and completion of the dissertation. It is emphasized that the PhD program is structured for full-time students only. Upon acceptance of a student by a particular departmental faculty, the student is expected to remain in residence until the dissertation has been completed and all requirements are met for completion of the PhD.
Since the program focuses on the development of competent scholars, heavy emphasis is placed on both teaching and research skills. As part of the doctoral program, each student is required to serve as a teaching assistant to an undergraduate business class or as a research assistant to a senior faculty member. Students with strong teaching skills may be assigned their own classes. Typically, the Haslam College of Business offers financial support for doctoral students during their tenure in the program.
The PhD program is highly flexible, offering a wide array of concentrations and cognates. Moreover, heavy emphasis is placed on individualized instruction and close student-faculty interaction. Instruction takes the form of regular classes, doctoral seminars, and independent study and research. Students are also encouraged to attend lectures and discussions by visiting scholars throughout the year.
The concentrations offered in the PhD program are accounting, finance, marketing, statistics, organizations and strategy, and supply chain management.
More detailed information concerning these specific areas is available by writing directly to each department or by accessing the Haslam College of Business webpage.
Doctoral students must file a program of study that has been approved by their doctoral committee within one year of completing their first year of doctoral studies. This committee is nominated by the department chairperson in a student’s intended area of concentration, subject to the Graduate Council’s policies and procedures.
Students must complete at least three years of full-time course work beyond the baccalaureate degree, with two years of residence on the Knoxville campus.
Students are required to have a sound and broad base on which to build their PhD course work. The departmental doctoral advisor will work with the student to determine what, if any, courses need to be completed. All such work is subject to approval by the temporary doctoral advisory committee and the Dean of the MBA Program. Specific concentrations may have prerequisites.
A minimum of 9 semester hours of graduate research methods must be completed. At least 6 semester hours in statistics courses beyond STAT 531 are required. The remaining 3 semester hours may be completed in additional statistics courses (not to include STAT 531 ) or in other areas such as research methodology, management science, computer science, econometrics, and psychometrics.
Accounting Concentration, Business Administration Major, PhD ; Finance Concentration, Business Administration Major, PhD ; Marketing Concentration, Business Administration Major, PhD ; Organizations and Strategy Concentration, Business Administration Major, PhD ; Statistics Concentration, Business Administration Major, PhD ; and Supply Chain Management concentration, Business Administration Major, PhD.
The concentration is the focal point of the PhD program. Students are expected to master the literature and research techniques in the concentration area and to do quality research as evidenced by the preparation of an acceptable dissertation. A minimum of 12 semester hours of course work is required, including at least 9 hours of doctoral seminars. Graduate work taken in the concentration at other institutions is considered by the temporary doctoral advisory committee in approving the specific course work required. See the appropriate departments for specific course requirements.
A minimum of 9 semester hours of graduate course work is required in an area outside, but complementary to, the concentration. The student may choose the cognate from one of the following – one of the six concentration areas listed above, economics, or a related area in another school or college of the university. Hybrid cognates combining courses from multiple disciplines are permitted with the approval of the doctoral advisor and the temporary doctoral advisory committee.
Comprehensive written examinations over the concentration area are required of each person seeking candidacy for the PhD. This examination is administered in two sessions of approximately 4 hours each. Students qualify in the cognate area by completing a one-session, 4-hour examination or an equivalent jointly approved by the student’s major professor and the student’s advisor in the cognate area. Comprehensive examinations are generally offered during the fall and spring terms. Comprehensive examinations must be taken within five years of matriculation.
When either the concentration or cognate area examination is passed, the remaining examination must be passed within the next thirteen months.
A doctoral student is advised to give serious attention early in the program to the composition of his/her doctoral committee. In accordance with Graduate Council policy, the student and the major professor identify a doctoral committee composed of at least four faculty members, three of whom, including the chair, must be approved by the Graduate Council to direct doctoral research. When the doctoral committee has been formed, the temporary doctoral advisory committee ceases to exist.
Admission to Candidacy
Students may apply for admission to candidacy for the PhD after maintaining at least a B average in course work, successful completion of comprehensive examinations, and acceptance of a research proposal for the dissertation by the student’s doctoral committee.
Admission to candidacy must be approved at least one full semester prior to the date the degree is conferred. (Admission in the fall permits graduation in the following spring semester.)
Application for admission to candidacy must include a listing of all courses taken in each of the fields required for the degree (business functional areas, basic disciplines, concentration, and cognate area). Graduate courses accepted from other institutions must be included. Under “Other Requirements,” the date of acceptance of the research proposal by the doctoral committee should be indicated. The application must be approved by the student’s doctoral committee and the Associate Dean before submission to the Graduate School.
Dissertation (24 hours minimum)
The student must complete a dissertation embodying the results of original research demonstrating the ability to do scholarly writing. The dissertation is supervised by the candidate’s doctoral committee, which must certify its completion and acceptability after oral defense of the candidate’s research effort.
The dissertation normally must be completed within three years of the student’s advancement to candidacy.