Program structure

Our goal is to develop candidates with an integrated perspective on management to address complex global issues. Our emphasis is on international business, one of our school’s core areas of specialization. 

Our PhD program focuses from an international perspective in the areas of:

You can also take content specific coursework to gain expertise in the traditional domains of business.

The doctoral program is a four-year, full-time research-focused program. You will spend the first two years on formal coursework and research projects. You will spend your last two years writing and defending your dissertation.



During the first two years of the PhD program, you will take a variety of courses in research methods and foundation courses in international management. At the end of your second year, you will take a comprehensive doctoral candidacy exam to ensure you have reached a depth and quality in your understanding of the field.

We require all PhD students to take 12 formal courses in research methods and foundations courses:

Students will benefit from a solid foundation in advanced theory and methods during the first two years of the program (3 courses) including:

Each term throughout their program, students will take BUS 670 Academic Career Development, a course designed to support them in their journey towards a career in academia. All students will be active contributors as part of the overall research program at the Gustavson School of Business, and are also engaged in the academic community. 


Year three begins at the successful passing of the doctoral candidacy exam. You will work closely with a supervisor to develop a dissertation topic. Within six months of passing the doctoral candidacy exam, you will formally defend a dissertation proposal. During your third and fourth years, you will work closely with your supervisor to develop your dissertation.

International exchange/industry practicum opportunities

To round out your research experiences in your third or fourth year of the program, you can take part in an international research exchange or an industry practicum. You can take part in international research exchange opportunities at select research-focused universities abroad with whom our professors have strong ties. The industry practicum allows you to develop a stronger connection between theory and practice. This experience will improve your appreciation for the context of the phenomenon under study, by engaging in ethnographic or participant observation research with an organization (government, private business, not-for profit entity).

Teacher training

Teacher training is an essential component of our PhD program. Through our comprehensive Teacher training program, you will be mentored and given rich opportunities to learn how to effectively teach university-level courses. At the start of your 3rd year, after successfully passing your candidacy exams, you will begin your formal training by taking BUS 686 Foundations of Learning and Teaching. Once this has been completed, you will teach a full, for-credit course in our undergrad programs to apply your teaching skills and meet your funding obligations.