Competency Requirements

Embarking on doctoral study in business administration presumes that you have developed the following competencies:

  • Computing: working knowledge of a general-purpose language like C, Fortran, or Basic, as well as hands-on experience in writing, debugging, and running computer programs;
  • Mathematics: knowledge of linear algebra and introductory calculus;
  • Statistics: knowledge and skill at least in the introductory level in topics such as descriptive statistics, probability, hypothesis testing, analysis of variance, correlation, regression, and chi-square.

Some primary fields have additional requirements. If you require additional work in any of these competency areas, you should either take college-level courses prior to starting your doctoral program or sign up for the optional mathematics preparatory camp offered prior to the start of the fall semester.

In addition, the Graduate School at Penn State has an English standards requirement. All doctoral candidates must establish competency in this area by the end of their third year or before taking the oral portion of the comprehensive examination, whichever comes earlier. To meet the competency requirement, the Graduate School requires that you complete a course in writing, a course in oral communication with a grade of at least a B, and that you complete a writing task. Under some circumstances, a student may be exempted from the course work.