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Degree Requirements

Mathematics Requirement

A strong background and ability in mathematics are important for successful completion of the program. A minimal mathematics prerequisite for entering PhD students is a thorough working knowledge of the material covered in a two-semester introductory calculus sequence.

The entering student must be able to use mathematics as a language, translating verbal descriptions of phenomena into the appropriate mathematical framework. Students with some background in linear algebra, the elements of optimization, and probability and statistics will be better prepared for required course work.

Residence and Course-Credit Requirements

To maintain good standing as a PhD candidate, a student must be registered for two terms out of three during the trimester academic year, although once involved in research toward a thesis, students are generally expected to be in residence in all three terms. Satisfactory completion of 20 full-time courses is required for the PhD degree. The exact number and selection of courses is determined by the student in consultation with faculty members in the major field.

Normal course loads during the autumn and spring terms are four to five courses per term; summer-term course loads are generally lighter, with heavier emphasis on research work. Students receiving financial aid often serve as teaching or research assistants; a maximum of two assistantships per term is allowed. PhD candidates are allowed, but not encouraged, to take one in five courses for R (registration) credit. The other courses must be taken for letter grade credit (H = honors; HP = high pass; P = pass; LP = low pass; F = fail). Students are expected to take courses in their major fields for letter-grade credit.

Advanced Standing

Up to 10 courses of relevant graduate work completed at Columbia or at another university may be credited toward the course requirement for the degree. If a student has completed more than 20 graduate courses at Columbia before entering the PhD program, he or she may be granted a maximum of 15 courses of advanced standing. The advanced standing granted depends on the assessment by the Doctoral Committee of the quality and relevance of the work. Credit for advanced standing is not conferred until the PhD student has successfully completed at least one term in the program.

Proficiency Requirements

Students must satisfy requirements in the following areas:

  • Breadth Requirements
  • Field Examination
  • Oral Examination

Breadth Requirements

Students entering the doctoral program with only a bachelor’s degree are required to take two courses from the other divisions of the Business School: Accounting; Decision, Risk and Operations; Finance and Economics; Management; and Marketing. For students entering the program with a graduate-level degree other than an MBA or its graduate equivalent, this requirement may be waived, subject to approval of the doctoral coordinator. Students holding an MBA or its equivalent are automatically exempt from the breadth requirement.

Field Examination

The student demonstrates proficiency in the major field by passing comprehensive written examinations.

Oral Examination

In the oral examination, a student’s preparation to do independent research is evaluated, in-depth knowledge within the major field is examined, and ability to relate basic knowledge from other areas to the major field is tested. The student will present a dissertation proposal and must answer questions not only on the proposal but also on relevant background.

The oral examination is normally held within one year after the written major field examination. The oral examination committee is usually composed of four faculty members. At least two committee members are chosen from the student’s major field.

Application Deadlines

Master of Science in Marketing >

For Fall 2016 Entry:

Available: August 1st, 2015
Deadline: January 4th, 2016


Master of Science in Financial Economics >

For Fall 2016 Entry:

Available: August 1st, 2015
Deadline: January 4th, 2016


Master of Science in Management Science and Engineering >

For Fall 2016 Entry:
To be determined


Available 8/1/15
Sept 2016

Deadline: 01/05/16

MS Marketing
Deadline: 01/04/16

MS Financial Economics
Deadline: 01/04/16


Doctoral Program News

Young Alumni Balseiro wins George B. Dantzig Dissertation Award

At the 2014 Informs national meeting, Santiago Balseiro was honored for his work in "Competition and Yield Optimization in Ad Exchanges". We congratulate Santiago on his accomplishment.

Read More Here

Ethan Rouen wins Deloitte Doctoral Fellowship in Accounting

The Deloitte Foundation has awarded $25,000 grants to 10 top accounting Ph.D. candidates through the Deloitte Foundation’s annual Doctoral Fellowship program. Given to students who plan to pursue academic careers upon graduation, the award will support the 2015 recipients’ final year of coursework and the subsequent year to complete their doctoral dissertation.

Read More Here

Honigsberg featured in Ideas at Work

The August issue of Ideas at Work features research that doctoral candidate Colleen Honigsberg led in conjunction with Sharon Katz.

Read More about Colleen

Wazlawek featured in Ideas at Work

Abbie Wazlawek's joint research with Professor Daniel Ames is featured in the June 24th, 2014 edition of Ideas at Work

Read More about Abbie

Ethan Rouen featured in Ideas at Work

Ethan Rouen's joint research with Professor Dan Amiram is featured in the May 15th, 2014 edition of Ideas at Work

Read More about Abbie

Rivas Wins Fellowship

The PhD program is proud to congratulate Miguel Duro Rivas, who was awarded the Nasdaq Educational Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship.

Read More about Miguel

Wong wins Deloitte Fellowship

We are proud to announce that Yu Ting (Forester) Wong is one of the recipients of the 2014 Deloitte Foundation Doctoral Fellowship in Accounting.

Read More About Yu Ting >

The PhD Program Congratulates John Yao

PhD student John Yao was a finalist in the 2013 M&SOM (Manufacturing & Service Operations Management) student paper competition.

Read More About John >

Honigsberg Named Postdoctoral Fellow

The PhD program is proud to congratulate Colleen Honigsberg, who was named the Postdoctoral Fellow in Corporate Governance at the Millstein Center at Columbia Law School in October 2013

Read More about Colleen >


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Top Ten Doctoral Program Questions

Here are the most frequently asked questions about the Doctoral Program.

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The Program takes a minimum of four years to complete. Most students complete the process in five years.

We do not require a business undergraduate degree or masters to apply or be accepted to our Doctoral Program. We have had several students from degree programs including: Economics, Statistics, Psychology, Sociology, Mathematics, and Engineering, among others.

Unlike an undergraduate or master level program, where individual courses are incorporated with a highly structured learning experience, the doctoral education places an emphasis on self-directed learning and close relationships with a select few faculty in a particular area of specialization. Programs typically involve intense reading of academic journals and writing original research. Doctoral students usually grow close relationships with their faculty mentors. These advisors work closely with the students to define a course of research and help provide guidance in the dissertation process.

You can study in one of our five divisions: Accounting, Decision, Risk and Operations, Finance and Economics, Management, or Marketing. A more nuanced understanding of these fields can be seen in the areas of expertise of the Business School’s faculty research.

Unfortunately our Doctorate is available only as a full time, in residence program.

Apply using our online application. We ask that you do not send any documents directly to the School, all materials can be submitted online. Please comply with the posted application deadlines, being sure to include all required components of the application.

The aim of our Program is to accept 23 students per year (Accounting: 4, DRO: 4, Finance: 6, Management: 5, Marketing: 4).

While we have no prerequisites for application, students with limited quantitative backgrounds may benefit from taking accounting, mathematics, econometrics and statistics before enrolling. We encourage you to explore each Division’s requirements before applying the Analytical thinking and quantitative tools have a significant influence on success in the program.

No, the goal of the Doctoral Program is to place graduates in academic institutions as top researchers and instructors. If you have a different goal in mind we encourage you to investigate our MS Programs which combine the Doctoral level coursework in a masters package.

A full financial aid package is offered to most admitted students, this includes tuition, fees, and stipends. Our living stipend is provided in the form of a fellowship. Students are not required to secure jobs as teaching or research assistants. However, most students do during their careers as a way to supplement their funding package.

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