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PhD Procedures & Requirements

Most students complete the PhD program in approximately four years of full-time study. Some enter the program upon completion of a master's degree. While a few doctoral students have earned an MBA or equivalent degree, knowledge of business or previous graduate work is not a prerequisite for admission to the doctoral program.

You will work closely with an Advisory Committee, comprised of a sponsor and two other members of the faculty, who are usually from your area of study. Together, you will develop a program of study to meet your objectives and the requirements of your area of interest. You program of study is tailored to suit your individual needs and career goals. There is a great deal of interaction between students, sponsors and other faculty in the program area.

In addition to course work, you will assist in faculty research during the first year. These activities lead to the first doctoral paper in which you identify a topic of interest, work on the topic and prepare the paper.

During the second year, you will work on a project leading to your second doctoral paper. Both doctoral papers are presented in a colloquium open to the faculty and graduate students.

While it is possible that one or both of these papers may form the underlying framework for your doctoral dissertation, the main purpose is as an intellectual challenge to begin to develop research skills needed for your later work. The faculty advisor works with you to develop these skills. The papers themselves may arise from work that is of joint interest to you and your advising faculty. Together, you and your advisors will strive for a creative, scholarly papers which contributes to the literature in the field.

The first and second doctoral papers should be completed prior to sitting for comprehensive examinations. Comprehensives will be written and, additionally, they may be oral. These exams are comprehensive in your field and include sections on research methodology and quantitative methods. After passing the comprehensive examinations and completing the first and second papers, you are ready to write a dissertation  that represents a significant and original contribution to knowledge in the area.

You will present a dissertation project proposal to your Thesis Advisory Committee. This committee provides advice and guidance during development of the research topic and research and is charged with approving the thesis when the research is completed and presented as the doctoral thesis. A written proposal must be approved by the Thesis Advisory Committee at least two semesters before the defense. The defense will consist of an oral presentation of the project and its findings in a colloquium open to the public.

Georgia Tech requires doctoral students to complete a minor field of study consisting of nine semester hours. You and your sponsor determine the course work necessary to fulfill this requirement.

You will also teach while in the program. Your advisors will provide coaching, support, and feedback to students during your teaching experience. The Scheller College of Business faculty is dedicated to excellence.

PhD applications are actively encouraged only in areas where faculty resources and research activities are sufficient to serve PhD students adequately. Applicants whose interests do not coincide with these areas may propose alternative concentration areas. Such proposals will be considered in light of available faculty resources and research interests.