PhD in Business Administration

Doctor of Philosophy: 60.0 quarter credits (Post-Master's)
Doctor of Philosophy: 90.0 quarter credits (Post-Bachelor's)

About the Program

Drexel's PhD in Business Administration program prepares  candidates for careers in academic research and teaching. The Drexel program is characterized by a healthy respect for the interrelations among the different branches of knowledge and a close, collaborative relationship between each PhD candidate and the faculty. Lebow's faculty take a hands-on approach to research, mentoring students on a daily basis. The support of LeBow's collaborative, collegial research environment provides our doctoral students with tremendous research opportunities.

The program enables students to complete their doctoral coursework in two years. Students begin specializing in their chosen area during the first year of study. Specializations are available in five areas: accounting, decision sciences, finance, marketing, and management (organization and strategy).  For information about doctoral work in economics, please visit the PhD in Economics page.

PhD students complete a minimum of 60.0 quarter credits beyond the master's degree. Students who enter the program without a master's degree must complete 90.0 credits beyond the bachelor's degree. The degree requirements describe the basic structure of the PhD in Business curriculum.

Time Requirements for Program Completion

Time requirements are placed on graduate programs of study to ensure that students receive instruction in, and graduate with, the most up-to-date, current knowledge available in their discipline. It is expected that all graduate students will be able to complete their degrees within the stated time requirements.

University policy provides that students who enter the PhD program without a master's degree must complete their studies for their PhD within seven years after initial graduate registration. Those who enter the PhD program with a master's degree from Drexel are permitted five years after initial registration to complete the PhD degree.

Students who find that these time requirements are inadequate due to special circumstances must discuss this with their specialization coordinator and the director of the PhD program. Together they may request an extension prior to the end of the student's stated time limit (either seven or five years). All formal extension requests must give a reasonable time for completion with an accompanying revised plan of study. Should an extension be required, please be aware that all courses will be reviewed for timeliness; some earlier coursework may have to be repeated.

Extension requests must be forwarded, after approval by the specialization coordinator and the LeBow PhD Director, to the Graduate Studies Office, which will make the final decision. The extension request for doctoral students must consist of a new plan of study and a letter of request, signed by the student, the specialization coordinator and the LeBow PhD Director.

Full-time Status

The PhD Program in Business expects all PhD students to maintain full-time status during their course of study. PhD students are considered to be full-time if they are registered for nine or more credits during three terms of the academic year.

Registration Requirements

University policy requires that doctoral students register for at least one credit in the term in which they take their candidacy exam. Students must also be registered for one credit in the term in which they graduate.

If PhD candidates are not working on campus, taking courses or otherwise using campus facilities during the summer, students may petition to take the summer off by completing the summer registration release form. This form is available in the Graduate Studies Office. With the support of the supervising professor and graduate adviser and final approval granted by the Graduate Studies Office, a doctoral student may be released from the registration requirement for summer term only.

In Absentia Status

PhD candidates who have completed all coursework and residency requirements, who will not be using campus facilities, but may occasionally consult with their supervising professor, may request in absentia status. Such requests take the form of a letter from the student, with the support of the supervising professor and graduate advisor indicated by their signatures or accompanying letters. The Graduate Studies Office grants final approval. Doctoral candidates in absentia must register for two credits each term they are in this status. Doctoral candidates may not be considered in absentia during the term in which they defend their dissertation.

Leave Of Absence

Doctoral students may take time off from their studies for family or medical emergency, military service or other extenuating cause. The time clock does not stop except for military service. Students will be expected to finish the degree in the normal time allotted.

For additional information about the program visit the PhD Program in Business page.

Admission Requirements/Financial Aid

The LeBow College of Business seeks applicants with exceptional ability and motivation who can succeed in a research-oriented program. Admission to this full-time program is competitive and highly selective. Applicants are only admitted for full-time status. Applicants must specify their proposed area of specialization, and their credentials are ultimately compared to the credentials of other applicants in the same specialization area. There may be relatively few openings in a given area. A master's degree is not a requirement, although most admitted students have one.

In reviewing an applicant's credentials, the faculty consider the following factors:

  • Prior Academic Accomplishments: The faculty will examine all course work taken prior to application, paying particular attention to the specific courses that have been completed. Applicants should have attained a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) for all undergraduate course work completed. They also should have attained a minimum 3.3 average for any graduate-level course work taken. The faculty generally expect applicants to demonstrate a substantially higher level of accomplishment than these minimum requirements.
  • Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) or Graduate Records Examination (GRE): Applicants to all specializations within the PhD program are required to submit scores from either the GMAT or GRE.  While all specializations will accept either one, applicants applying to the Accounting, Management (Organization or Strategy), or Marketing specializations should submit GMAT scores.  Applicants to the specializations in Decision Sciences, Economics, or Finance should submit the GREs. GMAT and GRE scores are not accepted if they are more than five years old.
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): applicants whose native language is not English and who have not already received a degree from a U.S. university, must also submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
  • Personal Statement/Essay: Each applicant must submit a personal statement. The personal statement should explain the applicant's educational and personal experiences that have influenced the decision to pursue a PhD and should discuss the candidate's career plans and goals. The faculty are especially interested in learning about an applicant's prior research experience and the commitment to future research in the applicant's area of specialization.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Two letters of recommendation must be submitted in support of the application. Applicants are strongly encouraged to seek recommendations from academics or other professionals who can assess the applicant's likelihood of success in a research-oriented PhD program.

Admission Procedures

The PhD Program in Business admits students each fall. To be considered for admission, the completed application must be received by the LeBow College of Business Office of Graduate Admissions no later than January 15th. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that all transcripts, test scores and letters of recommendation, as well as the application form and the personal statement, are received by Drexel University no later than January 15th.

Assistantships and Financial Aid

The LeBow College of Business strives to provide a graduate assistantship to each entering PhD student. Therefore, each applicant to the PhD program is automatically considered for a graduate assistantship as well as for admissions into the program. First-year graduate assistants are assigned to work with a faculty member on research activities. During the second and subsequent years, graduate assistants are generally assigned a combination of teaching and research responsibilities. Assistants receive a stipend and 27 credits of tuition remission per academic year. Doctoral students who are making satisfactory progress toward the degree can expect to be provided with an assistantship for at least four years.

For questions about applying, please contact:

The LeBow Ph.D. Program Office
Bennett S. LeBow College of Business
Drexel University
3141 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-2875
(215) 895-6952

Degree Requirements

60 credits (Post-Master's degree)
90 credits (Post-Bachelor's degree)

  • 15.0 credits of core courses
  • 30.0 credits of specialization requirements
  • 15.0 credits of dissertation research
  • 30.0 credits for students without Master's degree

Core Program

PhD students in business select one of two broad streams of research:

  • behavioral based research; or
  • economics based research.

Within each stream all students pursue a common set of core courses during their first year of study. This core consists of course work in research methodology (three courses) and economics (two courses) or behavioral science (two courses). In addition to these core courses, students also take courses in their specializations during their first year in the program.

Each research stream consists of 5 core courses. All courses are 3.0 credits each.

Economics Stream Core Courses *
ECON 902Mathematical Economics3.0
ECON 910Advanced Microeconomics I3.0
ECON 940Econometrics I3.0
ECON 941Econometrics II3.0
STAT 931Statistics for Economics3.0
Total Credits15.0


Decision Sciences students may make substitutions for the econometrics series. Their research methodology sequences is comprised of Statistics, STAT 924 Multivarate Analysis and OPR 922 Operations Research Methods I.

Economics Stream First Year Core Sequence

ECON 902Mathematical Economics3.0
STAT 931Statistics for Economics3.0
 Term Credits6.0
ECON 910Advanced Microeconomics I3.0
ECON 940Econometrics I3.0
 Term Credits6.0
ECON 941Econometrics II3.0
 Term Credits3.0
Total Credit: 15.0

Behavioral Stream

Behavioral Stream Core Courses
STAT 924Multivarate Analysis3.0
STAT 932Statistics for Behavioral Science3.0
MGMT 906Foundations of Research in Behavioral Science3.0
MGMT 907Research Analysis in Behavioral Sciences3.0
MKTG 940Multivariate II3.0
Total Credits15.0


Behavioral Stream First Year Core Sequence

MGMT 906Foundations of Research in Behavioral Science3.0
STAT 932Statistics for Behavioral Science3.0
 Term Credits6.0
MGMT 907Research Analysis in Behavioral Sciences3.0
STAT 924Multivarate Analysis3.0
 Term Credits6.0
MKTG 940Multivariate II3.0
 Term Credits3.0
Total Credit: 15.0

First-Year Examination

After the completion of the core coursework, students are examined on their competence in the core material and their readiness to proceed to their specialization area.


The PhD Program in Business offers specializations in five areas.

  • Accounting
  • Decision Sciences
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Organization and Strategy

Each specialization area consists of 10 courses (30 credits) in addition to the 5 stream courses. The courses outside of the stream courses are either department requirements or electives selected by the student with the approval of their PhD coordinator.  Up to 3 of the electives may be independent studies or dissertation research courses subject to the approval of the student’s PhD coordinator and the Director of the LeBow PhD Program. The requirements of each area of specialization are discussed in detail on the Lebow College of Business PhD Program Areas of Specialization web page.

Candidacy Examination

At the completion of their coursework, students take written and oral candidacy examinations. These examinations test each student's preparation for dissertation research. Once the candidacy examinations are passed, the student is recognized as a PhD candidate.

Doctoral Dissertation

The doctoral dissertation is a piece of original research designed to make a contribution to the student's chosen discipline. Each candidate selects a dissertation adviser and an advisory committee of additional faculty members is formed. The candidate prepares a detailed dissertation proposal that is defended before the University community. After successfully defending the proposal, the candidate conducts the research (15-credit minimum) and prepares a written dissertation. The completed dissertation is then defended in a final oral examination.

Dissertation Format Review

In addition to meeting the Thesis Advisory Committee's standards of originality and scholarly content, all doctoral dissertations must conform to university format requirements. Students should obtain a copy of the Thesis Manual from the Office of Graduate Studies or from the Thesis Reviewer in 5038 MacAlister Hall.

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