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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.
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.
Students must satisfy requirements in the following areas:
- Breadth Requirements
- Field Examination
- Oral Examination
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.
The student demonstrates proficiency in the major field by passing comprehensive written examinations.
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.
Doctoral Program News
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 WorkRead 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 WorkRead 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 2013Read More about Colleen
For Fall 2015 Entry:
Deadline: January 5th, 2015
For Fall 2015 Entry:
Deadline: January 5th, 2015
For Fall 2014 Entry:
Early Decision: Jan 6, 2015
Regular Decision: Feb 15, 2015
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Top Ten Doctoral Program Questions
Here are the most frequently asked questions about the Doctoral Program.
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.
Profiles: PhD Students
When asked about why he chose Columbia Business School Matt says: “It’s easier to stand on the shoulders of giants if you’re passing them in the halls.”
When asked about the Program's sense of community Shiri says: “There is a tight-knit community amongst the marketing students, and the relationships I have formed have been both professionally and personally rewarding.
"I chose Columbia because I wanted to receive a state-of-the-art education from a renowned university."