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 24 credits of SME PhD seminsars which includes: 1) required core seminars in strategy, entrepreneurship, organization theory, and research methods, and 2) elective offerings in behavioral strategy, international management, non-market strategy and technology strategy. Students are encouraged to take additional supporting courses offered by the department such as the theory building and research design course (MGMT 8101). Students should also complete GRAD 8101 (Teaching in Higher Education) and APEC 8211 (Econometric Analysis I). 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 to develop a good understanding of the fundamentals in a particular discipline (e.g., economics, sociology, political science, etc.). All department PhD seminars and methods coursework must be taken A-F.


The department offers the following PhD core and elective courses regularly:


Core Courses:

Seminar(s) in Strategy (4 credits)

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

Seminar(s) in Organizational Theory (4 credits)

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

Seminar(s) in Entrepreneurship (4 credits)

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

Seminar(s) in Research Methods (4 credits)

Methods to articulate and answer research questions, and make causal inference.

Elective Courses:

Seminar in International Management (2 credits)

Overview of the field of international management research.

Seminar in Behavioral Strategy (2 credits)

Focus on managers' decison-making processes and behaviors.

Seminar in Non-Market Strategy (2 credits)

Firms' engagement with political, legal and social stakeholders, and the antecedents and consequences of such non-market strategies.

Seminar in Technology Strategy (2 credits)

Survey of research on technology and innovation related phenomena, including firms' patent and knowledge-buidling approaches, technological alliances and portfolios, and technology standards and platforms.


Other Topic 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 three days. The first two days of the exam typically cover strategy, entrepreneurship, organization theory, and research methods; the last day typically covers two of the four electives including behavioral strategy, international business, non-market strategy and technology strategy.

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 preferably no later than two semesters before a student plans to graduate or leave for placement.

Final Dissertation Defense

Preferably this will occur prior to the student leaving 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.