Admission Criteria

At the Carlson School of Management we strive to bring in students from diverse backgrounds and experiences in hopes that multiple views and perspectives will enhance student experiences in research and teaching. Although there are no absolute qualifications for admission to the PhD Program in Business Administration most students follow the criteria below:


Although not definitive, the Carlson school typically expects a score of 650 for the GMAT, for GRE scores before August 2011 a score of 1380 (V+Q) is expected, after August 2011 the score expected is 320. Only one exam score is required and it can be either the GMAT or GRE.

TOEFL or IELTS (International Applicants)

International applicants must demonstrate English language skills. The Carlson school expects a total score of 600 (60 on section 1) for the paper-based test. A total score of 100 is expected for the internet-based TOEFL test. For matriculated students if your TOEFL speaking score is less than 27 you will be required to take the Spoken English Test for Teaching Assistants (SETTA) once on campus. For the IELTS we expect a score of 7.0 or higher.

Undergraduate and Graduate GPA

We consider the quality of the school(s) attended, major field, graduate experience, and degrees. A 3.0 or higher GPA is recommended for undergraduate work and a 3.5 or higher GPA for graduate work.

Work Experience

Work experience is not required, but we do consider the relevance of any work experience for research and practice.


We consider demonstrated research capability through undergraduate and graduate research projects, work related projects, and publications.

Letters of Recommendation

We consider the strength and sources of your letters of recommendation.

Statement of Purpose

In the ApplyYourself system there are three options for statements to upload. We only require statement #1 or the statement of purpose. Statements #2 and #3 are optional and not required by our program. Please include in your statement of purpose:

  • Expressed area of research interest
  • Expressed understanding of academic research
  • Fit of research interests with those of the faculty
  • Expression of career goals

Alumni Spotlight

Xiaoxia Peng
Xiaoxia Peng

Graduation: May 2013

Placement: University of Utah

"I am extremely grateful for the years I spent in the Accounting PhD Program at Carlson School. I have obtained solid training in critically thinking about and conducting research. Every PhD student studies economic theories and both analytical and empirical research methodologies. We are also exposed to frontline accounting research and meet with top researchers through weekly workshops and two conferences (empirical and analytical) every year.

Faculty are very approachable, accessible, and supportive, such that we can easily meet with them, discuss our research and receive advice. We have opportunities to present our research and get feedback early in the program. We also independently teach undergraduate students. This not only helps us to build our teaching experience, but also helps us develop presentation skills, which are especially important when it comes to job hunting. The school and faculty provide students with all they need to prepare for a successful career!"