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:


The Carlson School requires one exam score. It can be either the GMAT or GRE. There are no fixed cutoffs for consideration of an application. Scores cannot be more than five years old.

TOEFL or IELTS (International Applicants)

International applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency. The Carlson School expects a total score of 100 for 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.

Personal Statement

In the online application system there are multiple options for statements to upload. We only require a personal statement. Other statements are not required by our program. Please include in your personal statement:

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