You are here: Home / Ph.D. Program / Emphasis in Management and Organization / Program Milestones

Program Milestones

Department of Management and Organization PhD Program Milestones

Candidacy Exam

Ph.D.s in room 453The Candidacy Examination is a qualifying exam that is given before a student is formally admitted into candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. The main component of the Management and Organization Candidacy Exam is a written comprehensive examination administered during the summer after the student’s first academic year in the program, which covers all the core Departmental seminars (organizational behavior, organization theory, strategic management, and two research methods seminars). The candidacy examination can also include an oral examination of the student’s knowledge, if deemed necessary by the student’s Candidacy Committee. One purpose of the Candidacy Exam is to determine whether a prospective candidate has the capacity to continue study at the doctoral level. Additionally, the Candidacy Exam is a forum for diagnosing and counseling the candidate concerning future studies.

Choosing a Concentration

The Management & Organization faculty has diverse interests that provide many opportunities for collaborative research. Our doctoral program embraces a cross-disciplinary philosophy that encourages students to think broadly and look at subject areas from different points of view. The main areas of concentration covered by the department include: strategy, organizational behavior and organization theory. Students must choose a concentration prior to beginning the dissertation proposal (see below), and most students develop specific interests in connection with faculty much earlier. We recommend that students focus in one area with a secondary concentration in another area. For example, a student might focus on organizational behavior but have a secondary interest in organization theory. In addition to the areas of concentration, students have an opportunity to develop expertise in a supporting area of study such as social networks, cognition, social issues in management, innovation, etc., and by taking course work in other academic programs on campus.

Research Paper (“Working Paper”)

Before embarking on the doctoral dissertation, the student must complete an empirically-based Research Paper (which also serves as the comprehensive exam)  project (which we term the “Working Paper”). It is a College-wide requirement that this paper be completed and approved before the beginning of the student’s third academic year in the Ph.D. program. In addition to completion and approval of the paper, the student must also do an oral presentation of the paper. Most of the projects that serve as the basis for the Working Paper emerge out of joint work that the student conducts with a faculty member as part of the research assistantship. To fulfill the research paper requirement, the student must play a substantial role in the research, especially in the development of the theoretical framework, and must be first author on the resulting publishable-quality paper. A good number of doctoral students' work arising from this Working Paper research project have been published in top-tier journals in the past (see below).

Dissertation Research Proposal

The student’s doctoral dissertation committee guides the dissertation research. A typical committee includes the doctoral adviser, plus two members of the Management & Organization faculty, and one faculty member from outside the Smeal College. A successful dissertation proposal defense means that the student can proceed with the doctoral dissertation research, under the continued guidance of the dissertation chair and committee members. Doctoral students' work arising from dissertations has been published in many top-tier journals. (See a selection below).

Doctoral Dissertation Defense

Once completed and found to be sufficiently sound by the student’s dissertation committee, the student defends the written dissertation orally before the committee. The dissertation defense is open to anyone who wishes to attend.

Illustrative Program Timetable

The following table illustrates a sample program based on an individual who already has a master's degree entering the doctoral program (each student's individual progression will vary based on the courses they need to take and the scope of their dissertation research). Many students take 5 years to complete the program.

Illustrative Program Timetable
Semester Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5

Fall

MGMT 528 - Seminar in Organizational Behavior (3)

MGMT 592 - Qualitative Research Methods (3)

STAT 501 - Regression Methods (3)

MGMT 590 - Colloquium (1.5)

Statistics & Methods Requirement (3)

Supporting Area Course or M&O Elective (3)


Statistics & Methods Requirement or Supporting Area Course (3)

Supporting Area Course or M&O Elective (3)

Dissertation Proposal

Comprehensive Exam

Dissertation Research
Dissertation Research

Research Assistant

Research/Teaching Assistant

Research/Teaching Assistant

Research/Teaching Assistant
Research Assistant

Spring

MGMT 538 - Seminar in Organization Theory (3)

MGMT 578 - Seminar in Strategic Management (3)

MGMT 591 - Organization Research Design (3)

MGMT 590 - Colloquium (1.5)


Statistics & Methods Requirement (3)

Supporting Area Course or M&O Elective (3)

MGMT 590 - Colloquium (1.5)

MGMT 597A or equivalent

Supporting Area Course or M&O Elective (3)

BA 591 - Professional Communication (1)

Dissertation Research

Dissertation Research

Dissertation Proposal

Research Assistant

Research/Teaching Assistant
Research/Teaching Assistant
Research/
Teaching Assistant
Research Assistant

Summer

Candidacy Examination

Research Assistant

Working Paper

Research/Teaching Assistant

Dissertation Research

Graduation

 

Back to Ph.D. in Business Administration - Management and Organization