SME focuses on the management of organizations from a top or general management perspective. It addresses both the external relations between the organization and its environment and the internal processes of organization adaptation and change. Students develop an individual program of study in consultation with their faculty adviser. The program combines coursework with active involvement in faculty research, research seminars, and opportunities for teaching.


Students must take a minimum of five (20 credits) semester-long SME PhD seminars (Mgmt 8101, 8302, 8401, 8402, and either Mgmt 8202 or 8501), which includes at least one organization studies core seminar, one strategy core seminar, and one seminar in ethics, international management, or entrepreneurship. In addition, students must take all seminars in their major area of concentration (e.g., org studies, strategy, etc.). Alternatively, students may choose to combine two areas as their major area of concentration (e.g., strategy/international management, org studies/entrepreneurship, etc.). Students should also complete Grad 8101 and Apec 8211. As part of the supporting field requirements, students must take a strong methods sequence, which can be tailored to individual needs. They are strongly encouraged (but not required) to develop a good understanding of the fundamentals in a particular discipline (e.g., economics, sociology, etc.). All department PhD seminars and methods coursework must be taken A-F.


The department offers the following PhD courses regularly:

Seminar in Strategy Content

Review of research on the bases and characteristics of organization strategy.

Seminar in Strategy Process

Review of research on processes of strategy formulation and implementation.

Seminar in Entrepreneurship

Review of research on new venture creation and opportunity realization in new and existing firms.

Theory Building and Research Design

Problem formulation, conceptual modeling, theory building, and research design in the social and behavioral sciences.

Seminar in International Management

Overview of the field of international management research.

Seminar in Organizational Theory

Major theories and current research on organizational and interorganizational topics from a macro perspective.

Other Topics in Strategy, as designed by professors

First Year Exam

At the end of their first year in the doctoral program, students must complete two requirements : an Article Review Exam and an Oral Article Presentation. In the Article Review Exam each student must prepare independently a short written critique of one published research paper from a field journal assigned to them. In the short Oral Article Presentation they are required to successfully defend their critique before a faculty panel.

Second Year Paper

The Second Year Paper is due after the second summer in the program and is an original research requirement that involves an empirical written paper that demonstrates the student’s original research efforts. The purpose of the Second Year Paper is to assess each student’s scholarly development and his/her ability to identify and investigate theoretically rich, important issues in a way that will significantly expand current knowledge. Guidelines for the second-year paper will be provided by the PhD coordinator.

Written Prelim

During the summer after the students’ second-year in the program, they take an in-house, open-note exam covering two and a half days. The first two days of the exam typically cover strategy, organization theory, and research methods; the last day typically covers either entrepreneurship or international business.

Oral Prelim

The oral exam usually occurs during the student’s third year in the program, typically by the end of fall semester of the third year. The format will be a presentation of the second year paper to the oral prelim committee who will then evaluate the student's work.

Proposal Defense

Can occur within one semester of passing the oral prelim, but no later than two semesters before a student plans to graduate or leave for placement.


Students are expected to get involved in research with department faculty as quickly as possible. Each year, students will be assigned as a faculty RA, but the PhD student should also seek out additional opportunities to engage in research with faculty. They are also expected to attend all department-organized research colloquia, job talks, and workshops. Students are required to serve as teaching assistants and are expected to teach at least one section of a course. They will meet with the PhD Coordinator in the fall and spring semesters of each year to discuss progress goals and receive feedback on performance. For more information students may refer to the SME PhD PhActs, an informal student-maintained handbook that offers an overview of the management field as well as descriptions of specific courses that might help students develop an individual course plan.