You are here: Home / Ph.D. Program / Why Choose Smeal

Why Choose Smeal

The Smeal Ph.D. program is differentiated by a commitment to research of our world-class faculty, strong faculty support of Ph.D. students, and a nearly one to one ratio of students to faculty.

World-Class Faculty

The internationally recognized faculty at Smeal are deeply committed to research and to Ph.D. education. It is why we're here. Our research spans a broad range of topics, in and about organizations. If you have a special area of research interest, seek out a faculty member listed on our site and talk to them. One way to identify faculty with similar interests is to look at their recent publications.

Collaborative Relationships with Faculty

We keep our program deliberately small—maintaining close to a one-to-one ratio of students to faculty. And, unlike many other universities, our faculty are not spread scores of miles apart or many hours away. Instead, they are close by, available, and dedicated to spending time in interactions with Ph.D. students. From your first semester in our Ph.D. program, you will be encouraged to work closely with faculty on current research projects, from which jointly authored papers are submitted and published in each field's top journals.

Once they acquire the skills and motivation to do so, Ph.D. students are also encouraged to follow their own research interests rather than be compelled to follow a particular faculty member's interests.

"I would like to conclude with letting you know what I think was the strongest positive in the program at Penn State. I am referring to the major commitment towards the Ph.D. program by the faculty and the department as a whole. I am currently very involved in the program here, and it takes up a tremendous amount of time. I have also come to realize that this time commitment is not shared by that many faculty nationwide. However, Penn State was different. I am appreciative of the support that I received ... Thank you."
Recent Smeal Ph.D. Graduate

Supportive Environment

We believe a Ph.D. program should provide a supportive, nurturing environment. If you come to Smeal, your training will be rigorous, but we do not look on it as a "weeding-out process" or "trial-by-fire". Instead, our program is student-centered. We provide a flexible set of courses to fit with student interests. We realize that the best advertising for a world-class Ph.D. program is having superior graduates.

Strong Graduate Career Placement

Our goals at Smeal are to place our Ph.D. students in the top research institutions in the world, and to ensure they have the tools to make major contributions to their scholarly fields. For example, in the last five years, Smeal students have taken positions at schools such as Harvard, MIT, Wharton, Columbia, University of North Carolina, Texas A&M, University of Texas at Austin and the University of Maryland. Furthermore, our students have won many national and international grants, awards, and honors.

Strong Financial Aid Opportunities

As part of our supportive environment, we offer all our full-time students with continuing scholarships or assistantships for 5 years, as long as they are making satisfactory progress toward placement in a top academic position. Tuition waivers are included in these scholarships or assistantships. Furthermore, we provide support for your travel to national conferences to present papers to academic colleagues. We want to do whatever we can to foster success in your program and your academic career. Removing financial roadblocks can help us reach that objective.