PhD Program Requirements

The primary requirements for graduation are the completion of a thorough course of study, a comprehensive examination with both oral and written components, a second year research paper, and a dissertation that covers a management topic based on a strong theoretical and methodological approach.

The doctoral program in management is a full-time program. Doctoral students are expected to have full-time status, to participate in research projects conducted by management faculty, to participate in the department's research seminars, and to present research seminars. Students will receive full funding for five years guaranteed.

Comprehensive Exams

After completing their coursework, students take both a written and an oral comprehensive examination. To take the comprehensive examination a student must have no more than one incomplete course. The written examination deals only with topics relating directly to a major in management. It tests a student's knowledge of the field, and offers a student opportunities to critique and integrate current developments, to generate research questions, and to derive practical implications.

The Management Department offers doctoral comprehensive examinations only once each year typically in the late spring. Exams are tailored to individual students given their area of specialization. Students are expected to exhibit competency in all areas of management and expertise in their choosen area of specialization. Students are also expected to demonstrate that they can devise effective research designs. The Ph.D. Program Committee decides which questions appear on a specific examination. As a rule, the examination is closed book -- students cannot refer to books or notes. The possible grades are: 4 denoting High Pass, 3 denoting Pass, 2 denoting Marginal, 1 denoting Fail.

Any student who attains an average score of 2 or better passes the written portion of the examination and may take the oral portion of the examination. Any student who attains an average score lower than 2 fails the written portion of the examination and must take the entire examination over again. Except in special circumstances, a failing student will have to complete an additional year of study before taking the examination again.

A student who passes the written portion of the examination is told of any topics in which he/she performed poorly or in which her/his knowledge remains in doubt. He or she then has a week to ten days to prepare for the oral portion. However, the oral portion of the examination is not restricted to these topics: the examiners have the right to inquire about any part of the field of management. Each student chooses two members of his/her orals committee and the Department Coordinator chooses two members. A student should come to the oral portion of the examination prepared to talk for twenty minutes about her/his research interests. This presentation and the ensuing discussion are intended to help students to develop dissertation ideas. If failed, the examinations may be retaken only once, after an appropriate period of further study; the student must retake both the written and oral sections. The examination committee normally provides a failing student with a written statement of the reasons for failure.

Summer Paper

Following comprehensives, students will write an original summer paper in the second summer of their residency that is of publishable quality and/or reflects the ideas he/she intends to pursue for the dissertation. Students will be required to present their summer papers in a department seminar in their third year


After passing the comprehensive examination and completing the summer paper, a student chooses a dissertation committee and prepares a written dissertation proposal. A dissertation committee consists of at least three members: normally two members represent management and one member represents another field. The student designates one member of the dissertation committee as chairperson.

A dissertation committee can include persons who are not affiliated with New York University, but the chairperson must be a member of the Stern School's faculty.

After the dissertation is at least 25 percent done but less than 50 percent done, the student presents a dissertation proposal. The student presents this proposal to an advisory committee composed of (a) the three (or more) members of the intended dissertation committee and (b) two faculty members chosen by the Department Coordinator: at least one of the latter of whom should come from outside the Management department. If the advisory committee accepts the proposal, the student prepares a memorandum that summarizes the discussion and specifies how the proposal is being revised to meet major criticisms.

A completed dissertation must satisfy three members of the dissertation committee. The student must also present the completed work at a public seminar that is attended by the dissertation committee and other interested people.

A student must complete all requirements within six years of entry into the doctoral program.

Advising and Policies

The Management Department has a Doctoral Committee that meets regularly to evaluate student progress, advise the Coordinator on admissions decisions, consider policy changes, etc. Each year students prepare a Progress Report and Plan which is the basis of an annual evaluation and feedback process involving advisors, faculty for whom students work in research practicum, and the Management Doctoral Committee. We have found this process to be a valuable way to provide our students with guidance when it is most useful.