School of Business

Summerfield Hall
1300 Sunnyside Ave.
Lawrence, KS 66045

Charly Edmonds, Director, Ph.D. Program

Financial Aid

Students admitted to the Ph.D. program receive financial assistance. Contingent on satisfactory progress and availability of funds, the school provides financial assistance to most students for the first 4 years of their programs. Financial assistance is available in varying degrees through assistantships, fellowships, grants, loans, and employment.


During the first year, most doctoral students are appointed as research or teaching assistants. Many doctoral students also receive dissertation fellowships while writing their dissertations. During 2013-14, a graduate teaching assistantship paid about $1,800 a month, and a 50-percent-time graduate research assistantship paid about $1,800 a month plus tuition and fees. Appointment as a graduate teaching assistant at 40-percent time or more entitles the student to a 100-percent tuition waiver.

For non-native speakers of English, appointment as a graduate teaching assistant is only made after the student passes the SPEAK test or the Test of Spoken English administered by KU’s Applied English Center.

Fellowships and Grants

The School of Business has been successful in nominating doctoral students for fellowships and grants from sources outside the school. Business students have received awards from the Richard D. Irwin Foundation, Kauffman Foundation, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Beta Gamma Sigma, the American Accounting Association, Accounting Doctoral Scholars, and KU. Several dissertation fellowships normally are awarded annually. These awards allow the student to receive support for a semester while working on his or her dissertation.

The School of Business maintains active files on these and other sources of fellowships and grants, recommends qualified students for the awards, and works closely with students in submitting application materials

Visit the Graduate Studies website for information about other funding opportunities for graduate students at KU.

Assistance in the form of loans or employment is available through:

Financial Aid and Scholarships
Strong Hall
1450 Jayhawk Blvd., Room 50
Lawrence, KS 66045-7518

Ph.D. Admission

The applicant must hold at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. No specific undergraduate preparation in business is required.

The applicant must demonstrate competence as a scholar through a high level of previous academic performance and high percentile scores on the Graduate Management Admission Test or Graduate Record Examination. Scores may not be older than five years at the time of application. In addition, international applicants must present high scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language, or IELTS.

Finally, the applicant must demonstrate the ability for doctoral study in business, either by a record of achievement in previous professional or academic experience, including research and scholarship, or through letters of recommendation and a personal interview.

These requirements are intended only as suggestions for minimum admission standards. They should not be construed as a guarantee of admission to the Ph.D. program.

A $65 nonrefundable application fee for domestic students and $75 for international students, payable to the University of Kansas, must accompany all applications.

Submit your graduate application online.


Doctor of Philosophy in Business

The program is designed for students who wish to become scholar-teachers. It develops the capacity for original research and effective teaching by providing mastery of the knowledge in a particular field, a thorough understanding of research methodology, the ability to communicate effectively, and the motivation for continuing self-education. Students must specialize in a concentration and develop a broad knowledge of other areas of business and their interrelationships in the management function.

As of fall 2013, 42 students were enrolled in the Ph.D. program. The program will continue to be limited in size so each student can work closely with faculty members to receive substantial individual attention.

Ph.D. Degree Requirements

By the end of the third semester of the aspirant’s program (excluding summer sessions), an aspirant must complete the following qualifier requirements. All aspirants must demonstrate some proficiency in doing original research of publishable quality and some proficiency in teaching.

Human Resources Management, Organizational Behavior, and Strategic Management

Ph.D. students must take the following:

MGMT 905Philosophy of the Behavioral and Organizational Sciences3
MGMT 906Behavioral Research Methods4
MGMT 916Seminar in Organization Theory3
Select one of the following in microeconomic theory:3
Business Economics
Advanced Managerial Economics
Survey of Microeconomics


Ph.D. students must take the following:

2-course sequence in probability and statistical methods. Satisfied by the following, or equivalent courses in other departments:
DSCI 920
  & DSCI 921
Probability for Business Research
   and Statistics for Business Research
Finance students must also take one course in regression:
DSCI 922Advanced Regression3

Accounting and Decision Sciences

Ph.D. students must take the following:

2-course sequence in probability and statistical methods. Satisfied by the following, or equivalent courses in other departments:
DSCI 920
  & DSCI 921
Probability for Business Research
   and Statistics for Business Research
1 course in microeconomic theory:
BE 917Advanced Managerial Economics3


Ph.D. students must take the following

DSCI 920Probability for Business Research4
BE 917Advanced Managerial Economics3

These courses should be completed in the first 2 years of a student’s program. In addition, students must take area-specific core courses defined by their area group. At or before the end of the aspirant’s third semester in the program, a qualifier assessment team, composed of five faculty members, holistically determines whether or not a student continues in the program.

The aspirant for the Ph.D. in business administration must have an area of concentration, supporting areas, and preparation in research methodology.


Each aspirant, with the assistance of her or his faculty advisor and the area faculty, selects an area of concentration from the traditional business disciplines of accounting, finance, human resources management, decision sciences, marketing, organizational behavior, and strategic management. An aspirant also may propose an interdisciplinary concentration that is a combination of these disciplines, or may include emphases such as international business, law, and economics. The aspirant must take at least five advanced courses in the concentration. These courses may include those offered outside the School of Business.

Supporting Areas

Course work in the area of concentration is supplemented and strengthened by study in one or two supporting areas. A supporting area is one that supplements and complements the concentration. The aspirant satisfies the supporting area requirement by taking at least 4 advanced courses in the supporting areas (at least 2 courses in each of 2 supporting areas or at least 4 courses in 1 supporting area). Courses recommended for preparation for the qualifier assessment may not be included in satisfying the supporting area requirement.

Probation and Dismissal Guidelines

To be in good standing, a student must maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade-point average; if the grade-point average falls below 3.0, the student is placed on probation. This is followed by a letter to the student confirming the probation and explaining the student’s options.

A student is placed on probation for 1 academic semester. If the cumulative grade-point average has not risen to 3.0 in the next semester of enrollment (excluding summers), the student can either be dismissed or allowed to continue on probation. Continued probation requires the area director for the student’s concentration to write a letter to the Ph.D. team explaining why the student should be allowed to continue.

A graduate student can be dismissed on recommendation of the area director for the student’s concentration. Usually a graduate student is dismissed because of a low grade-point average; however, failure of examinations or failure to make satisfactory progress toward the degree is also cause for dismissal. Academic dismissal should occur before a semester begins; but if a student is dismissed during the semester, the dismissal is effective only at the end of the semester in which the Ph.D. team gives notification of dismissal.

Research Methodology

When preparing for the qualifier assessment, area groups should ensure that the student’s program includes adequate preparation in research methodology.

Responsible Scholarship

Students in the first year must enroll in BUS 903 Responsible Conduct of Research. This course builds students’ abilities to analyze ethical issues and introduces students to various issues that may arise while engaging in the research endeavor.

Note: Contact your department or program for more information about research skills and responsible scholarship, and the current requirements for doctoral students. Current Lawrence and Edwards Campus policies on Doctoral Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship are listed in the KU Policy Library.


Students enroll in BUS 902 Teaching Seminar during the first semester in which they teach independently. Before the completion of the Ph.D. program, all students also must have teaching experience equivalent to teaching at least 2 undergraduate courses independently in 2 different semesters.


To advance to candidacy, the student must pass a written-oral comprehensive examination in the concentration. Finally, the student must pass an oral defense of the dissertation research proposal and the dissertation.