Frequently Asked Questions about the Program

Qualifications & General Program Questions

What types of individual study for the PhD?
The Stern PhD Program seeks to admit students from a diverse range of backgrounds and who have a passion to learn and ask interesting questions, who demonstrate a high level of academic ability, and exhibit the motivation to develop into top quality researchers.

Do you have a part-time program?
We do not have a part-time PhD program. Doctoral students must enroll on a full-time basis and may not hold outside employment. Students must also be in residence for the duration of the program.

How long does the PhD program normally take to complete?
The program typically takes five years to complete.

Will a prior master's degree or MBA reduce the time it takes to complete the PhD program?

Generally not. MBA/masters coursework does not overlap with our PhD courses. However, masters coursework could fulfill some electives a student would need to take. The time it takes to complete a PhD is determined less by completing coursework than by completing the dissertation.

Can I get an MBA while I'm doing my PhD?
No. The PhD and MBA curricula are entirely different and PhD students may not pursue an MBA degree at the same time.

Do I need a master's degree or prior work experience?
A master's degree is not a requirement for admission. Students who will have earned a bachelor's degree by the time of Fall semester enrollment may apply. Previous work experience is also not a requirement for admission.

Financial Aid

How much does the program cost?
All admitted students who are not funded elsewhere receive a full tuition scholarship, health insurance and a living stipend, for up to five years. Students are only responsible for paying a small portion of their registration fees (currently $275 per semester). Funding is guaranteed for five years provided that the student is in good standing. There is no separate application for financial aid.

Do PhD students have to work to earn a living stipend?
Our living stipend is provided in the form of a fellowship. Students are not expected to secure jobs as teaching assistants or research assistants. However, all students are required to teach one Stern undergraduate class in their fourth year, and some may need to teach again in the fifth year, as part of their funding package. The main criteria for receiving a fellowship is meeting all program requirements and maintaining good academic standing.

Admissions Process

When should I apply?
All application materials are to be submitted through our online application unless otherwise indicated, by our December 31 deadline.

When are admissions decisions made?
We make admissions decisions starting in late February through mid April.

Does every department accept new students each year?
Yes. Each area of study – accounting, economics, finance, information systems, management, marketing, operations management, and statistics – looks to enroll new students each year.

How many people apply, and how many people get in?
We receive anywhere from 900-1300 applications a year, across all areas combined. We admit approximately 50 applicants, and, on average, enroll 20-24 new students each year.

Do you accept transfer PhD students?
Yes. Transfer applicants should apply the same way as other applicants. If you are admitted, depending on your prior coursework, you may be waived out of some courses and the time to complete Stern's PhD program could be reduced. Transfer students must take Stern's comprehensive exams.

Do I need to find a faculty adviser in order to apply?
No. Admission decisions are made by departmental faculty committees and the Doctoral Office based on applicants' potential for academic success and research potential in their field of study. Admission decisions are not made based on fit with one particular professor but rather with the department as a whole. Students work with several different professors on research for the first few years and select an adviser around the third year.

Is the admission process any different for international students?
The admission process is the same for international applicants and U.S. applicants. The only exception is that international students whose native language is not English must also submit the TOEFL score. Our current students come from over 20 different countries. We sponsor international students on the F-1 or J-1 visa after a student has been admitted to our program.

How can I waive the TOEFL requirement?
International students whose native language is not English are required to submit an official TOEFL score report that is less than two years old. Our program code for the TOEFL is 2586. We do not accept the IELTS. The TOEFL requirement may be waived if an applicant has received a university degree in an English-speaking country by the time of application.

How do I re-apply?
People who applied in the past and wish to re-apply should submit an entirely new application, along with supporting documents. Please note that applicants may apply a maximum of three times to the Stern Ph.D. Program.

Can I request feedback on my application if I do not receive an offer of admission?
No. The admission committee cannot offer individual feedback on application decisions.

How much is the application fee? Can the fee be waived?
Our application fee is $75 and is paid online at the time you submit an application. U.S. military members or U.S. veterans who have served active duty are eligible for application fee waivers. Just prior to submitting your application, email your request for an application fee waiver to and include documentation of service. If you are experiencing severe economic hardship and would like to request an application fee waiver, please email Requests should include a detailed rationale for the application fee waiver and will be considered by the Admissions Committee on a case-by-case basis. Once an application fee is paid by an applicant, it is non-refundable. Please be sure to contact prior to paying your application fee.

Do you have an interview process?
We do not have a uniform interview process. Some departments may invite finalists for an interview over the phone or in person before making an offer of admission, but this is not always the case. Interviews are determined on a case-by-case basis.

Can I start the program in the spring semester?
We admit for the fall semester only. The application deadline is December 31. This is a recent change for the 2016-17 application cycle, and we will honor our old application deadline of January 5 for the 2016-17 cycle only.

Should I submit the GMAT or GRE?
Either test score is equally fine to submit, except for applications to the Accounting department, which prefers the GMAT. All applicants are required to submit an official GMAT or GRE score report that is less than five years old. Our program code for the GRE is 2582. Our code for the GMAT is 5TF-HW-82. It is not necessary to include a department code.

What is the minimum GMAT / GRE requirement?
We do not have a GMAT or GRE cut-off score. The average GMAT score for admitted applicants is above 700. The average GRE scores for Verbal and Quantitative sections are both above 160. However, standardized tests are just one of many application components we look at and a score below 700 on the GMAT or 160 on the GRE sections does not disqualify applicants from serious consideration.