Jun 25, 2024  
Rensselaer Catalog 2022-2023 
Rensselaer Catalog 2022-2023 [Archived Catalog]

Management Ph.D.

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Core Requirements

Each semester, the student is expected to take a selected number of graduate-level courses and doctoral seminars. The courses are structured into three buckets – 1) Tools and Methods Courses, 2) Foundational Discipline Area courses and 3) Thematic Research Seminars. Through courses taken prior to admission or graduate courses at Rensselaer, management Ph.D. students must demonstrate knowledge that covers basic business disciplines.

Because the doctoral degree is research-oriented, the student must complete a research paper in the Thematic Research Seminar Courses. In consultation with their faculty advisor, students normally submit an outline of their goals and a Plan of Study by the second year. The plan indicates courses the student intends to enroll, including thesis credits, to meet the 72-credit graduation requirement. By the second year, the student is expected to complete all course work, a qualifying examination on research methods, and a comprehensive exam in their focal area. This is followed by a candidacy exam and a final dissertation defense.

Focal Areas

Candidates typically work on research topics aligned with articulated thematic research areas. The Lally School, consistent with its mission to create and disseminate knowledge leveraging technological and analytics advances, to address the greatest challenges faced by the world in the 21st century, has articulated several thematic research areas. Candidates, while developing their research focus in one of more thematic research areas, will also develop their disciplinary domain through consultation with faculty. They include traditional disciplines such as finance, information systems, marketing, operations management, strategic management, organizational behavior, as well as interdisciplinary domains such as quantitative finance, supply chain management, financial technology, and entrepreneurship.

Students choose specific courses in consultation with the Ph.D. director. Students are expected to participate in research workshops and symposiums organized by the Lally school. Participation in these events should enable the student to get exposed to, learn about and engage in, research in his/her research domains. These events also provide an opportunity for the students to present their work, get feedback and learn.

The student’s progress will be evaluated yearly. Depending on the student’s stage of development in the program, criteria of evaluation include:

  • Performance in the methodology courses and doctoral research seminars
  • Appropriate Plan of Study.
  • Coursework/thesis registration.
  • Successful completion of the qualifying exam and the comprehensive exam.
  • Formation of doctoral committee.
  • Completion of candidacy exam.


The qualifying exam will be conducted at the end of the first year in the program and will test the student’s proficiency in research methods. Faculty in the student’s area of desired expertise will prepare the comprehensive examination, which includes a written and, when deemed necessary, an oral examination. Once a student chooses a dissertation topic, the faculty advisor recommends a doctoral committee for that student to the Office of Graduate Education. This recommendation is based on the student’s interests and objectives within the Plan of Study. Each student, will prepare a dissertation proposal consisting of a problem statement, supporting literature, objectives of the study, a clear statement of the goals of the research and an accompanying research plan and proposed research methodology. The presentation of this research topic to the academic community, followed by an examining session conducted by and limited to the student’s doctoral committee, will comprise the candidacy examination. A student will be admitted to candidacy upon satisfactory performance of the candidacy examination and by meeting the requirements in designated focal areas.

The culmination of doctoral studies is the dissertation, which represents the results of an original investigation and demonstrates capacity for independent research. Students will present the results of their dissertation research to the Rensselaer community and be examined by their doctoral committees. Upon satisfactory completion of this examination (and university requirements), students will be awarded a doctoral degree in management.

Outcomes of the Graduate Curriculum

Students who successfully complete this program will be able to:

  • Demonstrate competency, both theoretically and methodologically, in their area of specialization.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in conducting original research and contribution to knowledge.
  • Demonstrate ability to write and present academic research papers in scholarly settings, such as academic conferences.
  • Demonstrate ability to write high-quality papers for submission to academic journals.
  • Demonstrate effective presentation and speaking skills in the classroom and in professional academic and business settings.


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