Work & Organizations Requirements

Work & Organizations PhD Program Virtual Information Sessions:
Wednesday, September 4 from 8:30 - 9:45 am
Tuesday, October 29 from 8:30 - 9:45 am

The Work and Organizations Ph.D. program develops scholars to assume research and teaching responsibilities at leading universities throughout the world. The program is academically rigorous with a focus on developing research excellence and a teaching portfolio. Our program is a full-time, 5-year, in-residence program. You are encouraged to design a meaningful research program within the larger context of our field. Opportunities for doing this are available through content, method, and analysis seminars; research with departmental faculty members; and independent research and study. 

The Work and Organizations Ph.D. curriculum is designed to expose you to a multidisciplinary view of management, work, and organizations in terms of research questions, theory, methods, and analytic approaches while allowing for in-depth and focused research in certain areas based on faculty expertise and your interests. In your first two years, you'll complete topical seminars and related coursework, including sets of required core seminars in the fundamentals of organizational behavior, human resources research, organizational economics, and quantitative methods while also working closely with selected faculty in a research program. 

The curriculum blends focused coursework in the Department of Work and Organizations with supporting coursework offered by other top-ranked University of Minnesota departments such as Psychology and Applied Economics. In the third year, you'll have the opportunity to teach your own course as well as make initial plans for developing a research topic for your doctoral dissertation. You'll then complete your dissertation and other research in the last two years of the program.

Students follow a pre-set program integrating WORG specialty seminars, methods, and outside theory and methods courses. They must complete all department PhD seminars totaling at least 24 credits, as well as methods coursework totaling at least 16 credits. All department PhD seminars and methods coursework must be taken A-F. Outside theory and methods courses should be developed in consultation with the student's adviser. 

Required Theory Core

  • Fundamentals of Organizational Behavior
  • Fundamentals of Economic Analysis for Work and Organizations
  • Fundamentals of HR Research

Required Analytical Core

  • Econometrics I
  • Psychometrics
  • Advanced Multiple Regression
  • Research Methods for Work and Organizations

Teaching Preparation

  • In addition to other activities, students take six teaching-oriented workshops or enroll in GRAD 8101, Teaching in Higher Education. 

Special Topics – Expanding Expertise

All students take a minimum of four special topics seminars during the first two years of coursework to deepen their expertise in specific areas. These seminars are taught by WOrg faculty. Examples of these special topics include:

  • Mood and Emotions and Work
  • Employee Health and Well-Being
  • Models of Turnover
  • Job Seeking
  • Performance in For-Profit, Nonprofit, and Government Organizations
  • Experimental Economics
  • Antisocial Behavior at Work
  • Personality at Work
  • Socialization
  • Diversity
  • Flexible Workplace Practices
  • Groups and Teams
  • Social Networks
  • Internal Labor Markets
  • Labor Unions

First and Second Years

Students take the majority of their coursework, working closely with faculty on research. All students take written preliminary exams the summer after their second year in the program.

Third Year

In their third year, students defend a third-year paper as part of an oral preliminary exam. They take elective coursework as desired and also have the opportunity to teach their own course, typically in the undergraduate program. Students begin planning their doctoral dissertations. Students also teach an undergraduate course in their third year. 

Fourth and Fifth Years

Students focus on developing their research program and finalizing their dissertation.

Fundamentals of Organizational Behavior (Core Seminar)Outside Theory or Statistics Course
Fundamentals of Economic Analysis for Work and Organizations (Core Seminar)Outside Theory or Statistics Course
EconometricsSpecial Topics Seminars
Research Practicum/WorkshopResearch Practicum/Workshop
Psychological MeasurementOutside Theory or Statistics Option
Advanced Multiple RegressionResearch Methods in Work and Organizations (Core Seminar)
Fundamentals of HR Research (Core Seminar)Special Topics Seminar
Research Practicum/WorkshopResearch Practicum/Workshop

PhD students gain teaching experience by serving as teaching assistants for each of their five years in the program. Moreover, students teach their own course at least once during the program, typically in their third year. The University's Center for Educational Innovation also offers developmental opportunities.

During their years in the doctoral program, students are expected to actively participate with advisers and other faculty members in research projects with the goal of publishing the results. Students should also attend national academic conferences.

To get a sense of the research being undertaken at Minnesota, PhD applicants are encouraged to explore the faculty profiles.

Involvement in research is facilitated by research assistantships in multiple years of each student's program.