Faculty Advisor: Each first-year student will be assigned a faculty advisor (typically, this is the doctoral coordinator). The role of the advisor is to assist with course selection and guidance about research and teaching assistantships and other matters as appropriate throughout the first year. The advisor, in consultation with the operations (and any other relevant) faculty, also provides information regarding the faculty’s expectations for performance in the program and feedback on the student’s performance.
Coursework: In the first year, students are expected to take 3 or 4 classes per term, in accordance with the guidelines described above. Students are expected to achieve a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better by the end of the first year. A student who receives an “F” or does not attain a 3.0 average by the end of the first year may be subject to dismissal.
Outside the Classroom: First year students are expected to spend approximately 10 hours per week on activities outside of formal coursework. This is comprised of beginning work on the first year literature review project, discussing research opportunities with faculty, and, in the Spring term, auditing the Daytime MBA core Operations Management course to gain exposure to MBA teaching and prepare for teaching assistant positions in years 2 – 5.
Summer Proposal: At the end of the spring semester in the first year, students are expected to submit a brief (two page) proposal of their summer activities to the doctoral coordinator. This should include a proposed topic for the first year literature review and an expected timeline for completion of the review. In addition, if the student is pursuing a summer internship, a brief description of that internship and how it relates to the student’s overall doctoral plans should be included.
Faculty Advisor: By the start of the second year, each student should select a faculty advisor to replace the advisor assigned in the first year. (The new faculty advisor and the first year advisor may be the same person, but they need not be; the important issue is that the new faculty advisor is selected by the student.) The second year faculty advisor serves a similar role to that played by the first-year faculty advisor.
Coursework: In the second year, students are expected to take 2 to 4 classes per term, in accordance with the guidelines described above. Students are expected to maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better in the second year. A student who receives an “F” or does not attain a 3.0 average by the end of the second year may be subject to dismissal.
Outside the Classroom: As a part of their graduate fellowship, students are assigned as a teaching assistant (TA) to one or more courses beginning in the second year. In addition, during the second year, students begin research work in earnest, engaging in ongoing research projects with one or more faculty members.
Summer Proposal: At the end of the spring semester in the second year, students are expected to submit a brief (two page) proposal of their summer activities to the doctoral coordinator. This should include a proposed topic for the second year research paper and an expected timeline for completion of the paper. In addition, if the student is pursuing a summer internship, a brief description of that internship and how it relates to the student’s overall doctoral plans should be included.
Third Year and Thereafter
During the third year and beyond, research and teaching assistantships continue as in the second year. Students are expected to maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better in any courses taken in the third year and thereafter.
How Students Spend Their Time
Being a doctoral student in the operations management Ph.D. program is considered a “full time job.” In particular, students are expected to be engaged in coursework, research, and teaching assistant activities throughout the year. As coursework ends in the second and third years, students transition to working on research and teaching assistant work full time.
It is also important for students to maintain face-to-face contact with faculty, other students, and other members of the Duke and Fuqua communities. As such, students are expected to maintain residency in Durham throughout the program, including summers, unless other arrangements have been made with the explicit approval of their research advisor.
Getting Paid: Non-Stipend Billable Hours
Teaching assistant (TA) work is considered to be a part of each student’s graduate fellowship (stipend), and is typically not compensated separately, unless a student is working more than their assigned nominal TA load and has arranged for extra compensation from a faculty member, or if the student is not receiving a stipend. Most students will not need to report hours spent working on TA activities.
Research assistant (RA) work may be compensated above the stipend, in most cases beginning in year 2 in the program. Students may bill up to 14 hours per week to faculty for RA work. In most instances, students will bill a smaller number of hours in year 2 (when the student is still taking courses) and a larger number in years 3 and higher. Students should discuss the details of their non-stipend RA hours with their faculty advisor. Most students will report non-stipend hours spent working on RA activities, up to the maximum allowable time of 14 hours per week.
Research Seminars & Student Presentations
Students must attend all operations management research seminars given by internal and outside speakers, including preliminary and final examination presentations given by their fellow students. The goal of these seminars is to expose students early in the program to the major research issues in operations. Students who have a class conflict with the scheduled seminar times should inform the doctoral coordinator.
The program aims to provide students with teaching experience. This is done mainly by assigning students as teaching assistants to the operations faculty. All students serve as teaching assistants regularly beginning in their second year in the program, typically for 1-2 courses per year. Throughout this process, students learn how to design a course, write a syllabus, prepare homework and exam questions and grade them, give lectures, conduct class discussions and assign grades. Each summer, the doctoral coordinator, in consultation with the OM faculty, will assign TA positions to each student.
In addition, the Graduate School conducts various workshops on topics related to teaching; students are encouraged to participate in those activities.