Students who are progressing through the PhD program will usually complete it in approximately four years of study. Some applicants enter the program upon completion of a master's degree. While a few doctoral students have earned an MBA or equivalent degree, knowledge of business or previous graduate work is not a prerequisite for admission to the doctoral program. Each doctoral student works closely with an Advisory Committee comprised of a sponsor and two other members of the faculty members who are usually from the student's area of study. The student and the Advisory Committee jointly develop a program of study designed to meet the student's objectives and the requirements of his/her area of interest. Each program of study is tailored to suit the individual needs and career goals of the student. Emphasis is placed on active interaction between the student, sponsor and other faculty in the student's area of specialization.
In addition to course work, the student typically assists in faculty research during the first year. These activities lead to the first doctoral paper. The student identifies a topic of interest, works on the topic and prepares this first paper. During the second year the student works on a project leading to the second doctoral paper. Both doctoral papers are presented in a colloquium open to the faculty and graduate students. While it is possible that either or both of these papers eventually may form the underlying framework for the doctoral dissertation, that is not the primary intent. The main purpose of both doctoral papers, and the process through which they are produced, is to challenge the student intellectually and to begin to develop research skills needed in Doctoral Papers (continued) later work. The faculty advisor works with the student on an individual basis to develop these skills. The papers themselves may arise from work that is of joint interest to the advising faculty and student. In all cases, the student and advisor should strive for a creative, scholarly paper which contributes to the literature in the field of study.
The first and second doctoral papers should be completed prior to the student sitting for the comprehensive examinations. The comprehensives will be written and, additionally, they may be oral. The exams will be comprehensive in the student's field and include a section on research methodology and quantitative methods. After passing the comprehensive examinations and completing the first and second papers, the student is ready to write a dissertation or thesis that represents a significant and original contribution to knowledge in the area.
The student will present a dissertation project proposal to his/her Thesis Advisory Committee. The Thesis Advisory Committee provides advice and guidance during development of the research topic and conduct of the research and is charged with approving the thesis when the research is completed and presented as the doctoral thesis. A written proposal must be approved by the Thesis Advisory Committee at least two semesters before the defense. The defense will consist of an oral presentation of the project and its findings in a colloquium open to the public.
Additional Program Requirements
Georgia Tech requires each doctoral student to complete a minor field of study consisting of nine semester hours. The student and his/her sponsor determine the course work necessary to fulfill this requirement. Sponsors will provide coaching, support, and feedback to students during the teaching experience. The College of Management faculty is dedicated to excellence. PhD applications are actively encouraged only in areas where faculty resources and research activities are sufficient to serve PhD students adequately. Applicants whose interests do not coincide with these areas may propose alternative concentration areas. Such proposals will be considered in light of available faculty resources and research interests.