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Plan of Study

Professor speaking to class

Core Program

All PhD students pursue a common set of four core courses during their first year of study. This core consists of course work in economics (one course), quantitative methods (two courses), and behavioral science (one course). In addition to these core courses, students also take courses in their specializations during their first year in the program.

First-Year Examination

After the completion of the first year of the program, students are examined on their competence in the first-year material and their readiness to continue in their specialization area.


Each specialization area consists of 11 courses (33 credits). Some of these courses are required and others are selected by the student with the approval of his or her adviser. The requirements of each area of specialization are discussed in detail on this Web site: accounting, decision sciences, finance, management information systems, marketing and organization and strategy.

Candidacy Examination

At the completion of their coursework, students take written and oral candidacy examinations. These examinations test each student’s preparation for dissertation research. Once the candidacy examinations are passed, the student is recognized as a PhD candidate.

Doctoral Dissertation

The doctoral dissertation is a piece of original research designed to make a contribution to the student’s chosen discipline. Each candidate selects a dissertation adviser and an advisory committee of additional faculty members is formed. The candidate prepares a detailed dissertation proposal that is defended before the University community. After successfully defending the proposal, the candidate conducts the research and prepares a written dissertation. The completed dissertation is then defended in a final oral examination.

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