PhD students’ curriculum will establish the foundation on which they build their program of original research, ultimately culminating in your dissertation. The program of research and study is customized to each student’s interests and background.
- Complete coursework in statistics, research methods, and content courses such as social psychology, organizational behavior, and decision-making
- Pass a first-year paper requirement
- Pass written qualifying exam at the end of Year 2
- Present original research to the Management and Organizations faculty annually, starting with presentation of the first-year paper in Year 2
- Act as teaching assistant throughout PhD program
- Pass a Preliminary Exam (third-year paper, which can be basis of dissertation)
- Successfully defend Dissertation Proposal
- Successfully complete final Dissertation Defense Exam
Required and elective courses are designed to develop a strong foundation in organizational behavior, with an emphasis on “micro” factors. Coursework will be tailored to individual background and interests. The time frame for taking classes generally extends over 2 to 2.5 years.
The plan of study required for the management PhD is designed to provide students with sufficient breadth to successfully complete the qualifying exam and have a strong foundation for conducting research in topics that relate to management and organizations, such as interpersonal perceptions, motivation, decision making, perceptions of fairness, diversity, leadership, and team processes. In addition, rigorous statistical and methodological training is essential for success as an academic researcher. The requirements that follow are minimal guidelines; we expect that all students will take additional courses in their area of specialization, chosen in consultation with the faculty advisor. Any variation from the courses prescribed below requires approval of a request, submitted in writing, to the PhD committee. Students may apply for a waiver from the PhD committee if they have completed similar coursework at a previous institution.
- Statistics. We expect all students to complete at least two semesters of graduate level statistics training. The psychology sequence is recommended for students who plan to conduct and analyze experiments. This sequence covers common statistical tools such as ANOVA and regression, and covers the design of experiments. Students may also consider the Sociology sequence, and those seeking a more rigorous mathematical treatment might consider courses in the statistics or computer science departments. Students planning a more macro focus in their research should consider the Economics sequence. Because a solid statistical background is imperative for success in our program, we require a B (or its equivalent) in each of these courses. Additional statistics courses are recommended.
- Research Methods. We require at least one semester course in research design and methods, to be completed before the end of the second year of graduate study. Again, multiple courses in research methods are recommended.
- Core Courses. We require all students to complete the following three foundational courses: Behavioral Decision Theory (BA925), Social Psychological Perspectives on Organizational Behavior (BA921), and Micro OB: Foundations of Organizational Behavior (BA923). These courses must be completed by the end of the second year of the program before taking the qualifying exams.
- Electives. You will work with your research advisor and the M&O Ph.D. coordinator to choose elective courses that will bolster your foundation in your specific research interest areas. These may include courses from management, psychology, sociology, economics, marketing, strategy, and other areas, depending on your specific education needs.
- First Year Paper. We require all students to register for a directed research course (BA999) in the Fall of the second year. A grade will be awarded in this course upon successful completion of the first year paper, as determined by the student’s advisor and the other designated faculty readers.
First Year Paper
The first-year project is an opportunity for students to begin conducting empirical research in collaboration with a faculty member. With advisor guidance, students should choose a project that will allow them to experience as many aspects of the research process as possible within a 1-year time frame – i.e., generating hypotheses, collecting data, analyzing data, reporting results, etc. Ideally, this paper should be suitable for both presentation at a professional conference and eventual submission (following some revision) to an academic journal. The student should provide copies to his or her faculty advisor and a second faculty reader (selected by the student in consultation with the advisor), along with the Ph.D. coordinator. The advisor and second reader are expected to provide feedback to the student as well as a brief written summary appraisal of the work to the Ph.D. coordinator. If the first-year project does not meet minimal standards, the student will be asked to rewrite the first-year paper. The first year paper is due on September 30 of the second year. A late paper will be looked on poorly during the second-year review, which decides whether students may continue in the program.
Beginning in the second year, students should give annual presentations to the faculty and student members of the M&O area. These presentations will be approximately one hour including a Q&A period. Students will present one of their ongoing research programs in the style of a typical colloquium or job market talk. Faculty will evaluate and provide comments to help guide the research program. For students in the second year, it is expected that the presentation will be based on the first year paper. Students can be scheduled to give a presentation after they have received a grade for the course associated with the first year paper (see item b above).
This is a field examination designed to certify a student’s competence in each of three major functional areas of our management group (behavioral decision research, social psychology, and micro-organizational behavior). We expect that completion of the three core courses plus some additional background reading should be sufficient preparation for these exams, which must be taken at the end of the student’s second year of the program. The examinations will be scheduled approximately four weeks following the end of spring classes (generally, late May or early June). The exam period will take approximately two days and consist of general essay questions requiring a synthesis of extant literature in a given area. The exam will be evaluated by a group of faculty called on by the PhD coordinator. This group will determine whether further actions are required depending on the level of the performance on the exam.
Second Year Review
In the summer after completing the qualifying exam, students will be reviewed by the M&O faculty to assess their suitability for continuing in the program to pursue an academic research career. This review will include an evaluation of research in the first two years (including the first-year paper), course work, and performance on the qualifying exam. The outcome of this review process can be continuation in the program, leaving the program with a Masters of Arts of Business Administration, or dismissal from the program.
The preliminary examination takes place during the third year, and is a requirement of The Graduate School. At this time, the student will submit a completed research paper that is suitable for submission to a journal. The paper should be completed under the supervision of the faculty advisor, who will serve as the chair of the preliminary exam committee. The preliminary exam committee needs to be formed and approved by The Graduate School at least 30 days prior to the date that the committee evaluates the paper.
The dissertation proposal is a comprehensive presentation of the student’s existing work toward his or her dissertation as well as a proposal of the remaining steps to complete the dissertation. It is typically made in the student’s fourth year. At this stage, the student must assemble a dissertation committee (which is assumed to be the preliminary examination committee but may be modified). The committee assesses whether the student has shown satisfactory progress toward identifying a novel and testable dissertation topic and whether the student’s preliminary theorizing and data collection shows sufficient promise. The proposal typically includes both collected data and proposals for new empirical studies. Faculty may make suggestions for improvement in the dissertation topic or methods during this stage.
The dissertation defense is a comprehensive presentation of the student’s dissertation. At this stage, the dissertation committee assesses whether the student has shown sufficient mastery of theory, methodology, and analysis to submit their dissertation and be granted a PhD from Duke University. The final examination and subsequent submission of the dissertation are the final stages in the doctoral program.
Our graduate program is designed to train young scholars for academic careers. Our priority is therefore to encourage students to assist in courses that they could list on their vitae and teach in their first faculty position. The Fuqua PhD program requires studies to participate as teaching assistants in Years 2-5 of the PhD program. The required 180 hours each year will allow students to gain experience and familiarity with several different courses during their time at Fuqua. Occasionally, students may be asked if they are interested in additional TA assignments that are paid, which would be beyond the 180 hours. Students should feel free to accept or decline extra work of this sort. Extra TA work should not distract from progress on research. When in doubt, students should consult with their advisor and/or the area PhD coordinator.
Other Teaching Opportunities
We encourage doctoral students to pursue opportunities to teach on campus. Traditionally, PhD students have been unable to teach in the daytime MBA program. However, other programs at Fuqua and around the University have had our PhD students teach their students. Students should wait to seek teaching opportunities after passing their qualifying examination. In addition, although not required to teach in programs, PhD students may complete Duke’s “Certificate in College Teaching.” Some students in the past have taken advantage of this opportunity, and we have heard good things about it. The goals of this program include training in best practices, systematic assessment, and opportunities for reflection and sustained improvement.
Sample Program Overview
How the program of study will be scheduled depends on background, needs, and interests. Students will take roughly three courses per semester for the first 2 to 2.5 years.
|Coursework Research||Coursework Research||Research|
|Coursework Research Submit First-Year Paper||Coursework Research Qualifying Exam*||Research|
|Coursework (Optional) Research||Coursework (Optional) Research Preliminary Exam*||Research|
|Research Dissertation Proposal*||Research||Research|
|Research||Research Dissertation Defense*|
Asterisk indicates key milestone; teaching assistantships will vary in duration in timing throughout the program