Feb 26, 2024  
2018-2020 Graduate School Catalog 
2018-2020 Graduate School Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

PhD Business Administration, Program Information

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The Ph.D. program prepares graduates for careers in teaching, research and consulting in various functional areas of business. Graduates of the program are expected to make significant contributions to the advancement of knowledge of business practices through research and consulting and to disseminate such knowledge through their teaching.

The curriculum is designed to provide graduates with in-depth exposure to a specific business content area, sophisticated analytical methods, and education techniques. This last feature is unique to the program and is structured around different aspects of exposure to university-level teaching.


Admission into the Doctoral Program is in the Fall semester only. The deadline for applications is February 1. Completed applications must include all supporting documents and test scores before they can be considered for review. Applications completed after the deadline will be deferred for consideration in the next admission cycle.

Criteria for Admission

  • A Masters Degree in Business from a AACSB-accredited college or university with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Students without such backgrounds will be required to take MBA level business courses at an AACSB-accredited institution in order to ensure adequate preparation prior to enrollment in required doctoral courses.
  • Outstanding applicants who only possess a Bachelor’s degree may be considered for admission if they possess a GPA of at least 3.5. However, students will be required to enroll in additional preparatory courses, prior to commencing their doctoral studies.
  • A satisfactory score on the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) taken no more than three years prior to applying;
  • For students from non-English speaking countries, a minimum score of 550 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL); the exam must not have been taken more than three years prior to applying. This requirement may be waived for students who have had at least a year of university-level education in English;
  • Three completed recommendation forms from people who are qualified to comment on the applicant’s academic preparation and potential for success in the Doctoral Program;
  • An essay on professional plans and what role the doctorate will play in attaining them.

Additional Information for International Applicants

  • Completed Supplemental International Applicant Information Sheet;
  • An evaluation of the applicant’s credentials either from Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc., P.O. Box 92920, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202-0790, (414) 289-3400 or World Education Services, Inc. Bowling Green Station P.O. Box 5087, New York, NY 10274-5087, (212) 966-6311. The application for evaluation of foreign credentials must be sent directly to Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. Official or certified true copies of all grade reports, mark sheets, certificates, diplomas, and similar academic records testifying to the completion of secondary and post-secondary work must accompany the application. These records must include a list of subjects studied, the grades received in each subject on each examination, the maximum and minimum passing marks on each examination, and the student’s rank in class. Documents not written in English must be accompanied by official English translations.
  • Applicants must not send any foreign transcripts, certificates, or portfolios to the School of Graduate Studies.
  • International students who fail to register for at least 9 credits each fall and spring semester will jeopardize their visa status and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

New Student Orientation

The New Student Orientation is conducted by the Graduate School early in the Fall semester. All new students should attend this one day orientation, where they are provided with information regarding the institution, the school, and their program.


Upon joining the program, the Program Director assigns the student an advisor in his/her department. The advisor is expected to assist the student with choosing classes and introduce the student to the research orientation of the area faculty. The student is expected to work closely with the area faculty. The student is also expected to participate in the research seminars of the department, to cooperate with individual faculty members on research projects, and to seek advice from a number of faculty members on their choice of courses and research projects. The student can also expect that the faculty will provide them with appropriate evaluations of their progress.

Students must register for 9 credits each semester in order to be considered for funding. Those who register for less than 9 credits will not be offered research assistantships. In addition, students who are funded by the university will not be allowed to pursue other employment options. Any student who secures additional employment while being funded by the university will have their funding withdrawn.

Individual Study Plan

To assure that students plan their work properly with appropriate advice from the faculty, students are required to maintain an Individual Study Plan, a copy of which is retained by the Program Office. The student submits an initial plan when registering for first semester courses. This plan must be updated every semester, before December 1 and May 1. The plan must be approved by the student’s faculty adviser before a copy is submitted to the Program Office.

Annual Evaluation

At the end of every academic year, the student is provided with a written evaluation of his/her performance by the Program Director, based on information provided by the department coordinator and other faculty in the student’s department. This evaluation is based on an assessment of the student’s performance in coursework, research, and professional development activities. This evaluation includes one of the following statements:

  • The area faculty considers the student’s progress satisfactory.
  • The area faculty determined that the student needs to improve his or her performance in order to complete the program.
  • The area faculty advises the student to withdraw from the program.

A copy of the evaluation is provided to the Graduate School and becomes a permanent part of the student’s record.

The Foundation/Methodology Requirement

The faculty in each major specifies courses, often taught outside the department administering the major, that provide students with foundation for the major course work and methodology for their research. The student must complete five to seven of these courses, depending on the major.

The Professional Development Requirement

Throughout the period of study, all first and second year students who are funded by the University, full-time and part-time, must attend Professional Development Seminars. These seminars are intended to provide students with information about the university, the program, and the profession of university research and teaching. Seminars meet on a day and time specified during the academic year, but not in conflict with classes.

Students are also required to attend all departmental seminars and the research methods lecture series sponsored by the Center for the Advancement of Research Methods & Analysis (CARMA). This center is hosted by Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and lectures will be simulcast. These sessions will be viewed either in Rms. 211 or 303. A schedule of the simulcast sessions will be made available on Blackboard.

Teaching Requirement

Before graduating, a student must teach at least one course in his or her area of expertise, under the guidance of a faculty member. This assignment will be determined by the department under which the student is studying and timing will be at the discretion of the department chair. The department will identify a senior faculty member to evaluate the student’s teaching performance after which feedback will be given and a grade will be assigned. The student may be asked by the evaluator to develop a plan of action to correct any deficiencies identified during the evaluation. All students, whether or not they are supported by the university are required to complete the teaching requirement. Students who may have taught classes at other institutions are not exempt from this program requirement.

The student must also prepare a teaching portfolio, designed for prospective employers and containing a statement of teaching philosophy, syllabi and other teaching material, and peer evaluations of the student’s teaching. Students are asked to provide the Program Office with a copy of their Teaching Portfolio upon completion of this requirement.

English Proficiency Recommendations

All students in the program must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement, and students who do not have an academic degree from a country where the primary language is English may also need to take courses to improve their English skills.

On entry, first year students who do not have an academic degree from a country where the primary language is English MUST take an examination to find out whether they need to take two of the following courses:

  • ENGL 111 Comprehension, or
  • ENGL 250 Vocabulary Development, and
  • ENGL 353 Advanced Grammar

These courses are offered every semester but students are expected to complete them by the first semester of their second year. The courses, which do not count towards graduation credits, are designed to bring the student’s English and writing proficiency up to the level of a U.S. high school graduate. Taking courses in English will not count towards the requirements for a normal course load by a full-time student.

The Major and Minor Fields

The Major

A student must complete six courses (18 credits) in his or her major. These courses usually define the broad area in which the student writes a dissertation and eventually works as a scholar and teacher. The courses taken to satisfy this requirement must be approved by the department doctoral faculty, who may require additional courses to correct academic deficiencies.

Requirements for a major are formulated by the department responsible for the major, with the approval of the Program Director and the Ph.D. Committee. Information on these requirements and on the faculty for each major is provided on the program’s web page.

The Minor/Early Research Requirement

The purpose of the minor field is to prepare students to be effective researchers and teachers at the university level. It is also designed to give them skills in empirical and case research, writing and presentation. Recognizing the importance of teaching skills in career development, the courses are designed to guide students in understanding relevant issues associated with teaching college students. Emphasis is therefore placed on developing pedagogical skills and knowledge of psychological and other bases of learning. Three courses (9 credits) must be completed in a minor designed to support the work in the major.

The first part of the Minor Field Exam will be a case study with teaching notes completed under the guidance of a faculty member. The designated faculty member assigns a grade at the completion of the case study. The student must submit the case study, as approved by the designated faculty member, to the program office in order for the grade to be recorded. This case study also serves to satisfy the requirements for the student’s first summer paper.

The second part of the Minor field exam is an original research paper prepared under the guidance of a faculty member that has been determined to be of publishable quality. This second summer paper should demonstrate the student’s ability to initiate and complete an original research project. It may evolve into as the student’s dissertation proposal.

Both sections of the Minor Field exam must be completed before a student will be permitted to sit for his/her Major Comprehensive exam.

Major Field Examination

The purpose of the major field examination is to determine whether the student has acquired sufficient mastery of his or her major area of study to warrant admission to candidacy. The examination is conducted by a committee of at least four members of the student’s area faculty. The student should obtain a copy of the Advancement to Candidacy form from the Program Office, complete the first page of the form, and submit it to the chairperson of the examination committee at the time of the examination. The Advancement to Candidacy form is an official program document. The entire examination committee must sign the form on the second page, indicating whether the student has passed or failed. The chairperson should then return the form to the Program Office for the Program Director’s signature. If the student fails the examination, the form is retained in the Program Office (and should be retrieved by the student when the examination is repeated). If the student passes, the Graduate School is informed and the student is then officially advanced to candidacy, or ABD (“all but dissertation”) status.

Full-time students are required to take their qualifying examination in the second semester of their third year of course work. Part-time students may delay this timetable by only one year. A student who fails the examination must take it a second time and pass within one semester. Students who fail the second time must leave the program; no third attempt is allowed.

In order to appeal a decision by the qualifying examination committee, a student must submit a written statement to the Program Director within two weeks of receiving notification of the decision. Any such appeal is reviewed by the Doctoral Program Committee after feedback from the qualifying examination committee. Final decisions will be communicated to the student by the Program Director. The Graduate School will also be advised of the decision and the recommendation.


To complete his or her doctoral degree, the candidate must pursue an original investigation under faculty direction and present the results in a dissertation. A dissertation must address a major research issue. It is expected to result in a significant contribution to the received body of knowledge in the field of study. Students work under the guidance of a dissertation committee and, as part of their preparation, enroll in 12 credits of dissertation seminars. These seminars are designed to guide students in their development of a proposal, proposal defense, and dissertation defense.

After completing six credits of dissertation seminars, a student presents a dissertation proposal to their dissertation committee. The committee consists of four members, one of whom is an external faculty member. The external faculty member must come from outside the School of Business. All members of the Committee are selected by the student and must meet the following requirements:

  • The Chairperson must be from the major area and must hold the rank of no less than Associate Professor with Tenure.
  • One additional member must be from the major area.
  • At least one other member must be from the foundation area but not the area of specialization.
  • The external member may come either from the major or minor areas.

Within one year of passing the qualifying examination, the candidate must submit a written proposal that presents the projected content of the dissertation. The proposal is the vehicle for communicating the candidate’s project to the faculty. It should provide sufficient detail to allow faculty knowledgeable in the subject area to determine the validity and acceptability of the research, both in terms of quality and quantity. The dissertation proposal should be prepared and defended in public before the candidate’s Dissertation Committee as soon as the candidate and the adviser have agreed on preliminary guidelines for the dissertation. The chairperson of the Dissertation Committee, the dissertation adviser, determines the format of the proposal defense and conducts it. The outside member should be consulted about the written proposal and should be present for the proposal defense.

After the proposal defense, the Dissertation Chair submits a copy of the proposal to the Program Office, together with suggestions for revising the proposal. The student then revises the proposal and prepares a document that shows how the issues raised have been addressed in the revised proposal. Once the Dissertation Committee approves this document, a student may continue with the dissertation process. This summary should be provided on the Proposal Defense Form.

In addition to the information above, here are some additional instructions concerning the dissertation, including procedures for the proposal defense.

Please Note:

  • Students who pass their qualifying examination will be automatically placed on academic probation if they have not defended their proposal within a year after being informed that they have successfully completed the examination.
  • The Dissertation Committee is the candidate’s advising group. The candidate is strongly advised to submit research results to all its members on a regular basis. The committee should regularly review the candidate’s program of study and may prescribe additional course work or readings at any time. The completed dissertation must be approved by all members of the committee.

It is important to note that dissertations are written in consultation with and not in spite of the Dissertation Committee. The dissertation must be in the hands of all members of the committee at least one month prior to this defense. After the student completes the dissertation, the Chairperson certifies to the Doctoral Program Office that no major revisions or problems are anticipated and requests that the defense be scheduled. Upon receiving this notification and a copy of the completed dissertation, the Program Office will circulate an announcement of the defense to all members of the faculty and students who may have an interest in the topic of the dissertation. The format of the defense, which is set by the dissertation adviser, must include an opportunity for any member of the faculty or student attending the defense to question the candidate on the research. At this examination, the candidate must defend the dissertation and otherwise satisfy the committee and other faculty members in attendance that he or she is qualified to receive the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

At the time of the final examination, the student is responsible for obtaining from the Doctoral Program Office the Advancement to Candidacy Form upon which the result of the qualifying examination is recorded. The committee members complete this application at the final examination and sign the title page of the dissertation to signify their acceptance of it.

Once the program director certifies that all program requirements have been completed for the degree of doctor of philosophy, the candidate must deliver the candidacy application to the School of Graduate Studies. Students are expected to submit their final dissertations to the graduate school in electronic format and in keeping with university guidelines for submitting electronic dissertations. The dissertation must be prepared following the Graduate School’s style guide which may be downloaded or obtained from the Program Office’s website. Students who deposit their dissertation by the stipulated Fall semester deadline are considered December graduates by the university but are still required to register for the fall semester that has already begun. Students who deposit their dissertation by the stipulated Spring semester deadline are considered May graduates and are required to register for the spring semester that has already begun.

In the event that the Dissertation Committee fails to accept the dissertation, a new defense date will only be scheduled after all recommended changes have been completed. When the student revises the dissertation so that it is acceptable to the committee and the faculty, the dissertation defense must be reconvened, with the revised dissertation again being provided to the committee a month in advance and notice again being provided to the faculty at least two weeks in advance. These changes and the new defense must occur within the stipulated time set by the University for completing doctoral studies at the institution.

Graduation Requirements

  • A grade point average of at least 3.3, on a 4 point scale, in all courses taken at Morgan State University;
  • A minimum grade of B in each course taken in the area of specialization;
  • No more than two grades of C or less may be earned in the program;
  • Pass written and oral comprehensive examinations covering major and minor areas of an approved course of study;
  • Successful oral defense of a proposed and completed dissertation;
  • Submit a final draft of the dissertation to the Director of the Doctoral Program.

Withdrawing from a Course

Students may withdraw from the program by completing a form that can be obtained from the Program Office. A student may withdraw from a course through the third week of classes. Courses dropped during the first two weeks of class are deleted from the student’s record; courses dropped after this period will receive an F grade. A student who fails to submit a complete update to their individual study plan within one month of the due date is considered to have withdrawn from the program.

Withdrawal forms may be obtained from the Program Office. The form requires the department chair’s signature. If the course is required for the qualifying examination for the major, the doctoral coordinator must also approve the withdrawal. If dropping the course implies a delay in the student’s qualifying examination beyond the date required by program rules, the permission of the Program Director is required.

A student considering withdrawing from a course should also remember that full-time status, required for financial aid and student visas, requires that the student take 3 degree courses each semester, not including any English classes that are being taken for remedial purposes. A student who withdraws from a course and falls below the full-time requirement will (1) forfeit any award they currently receive from the university, and (2) become ineligible for an award in the next semester.

Leaves of Absence

Students who are obliged to interrupt their studies may apply to the Program Director for a leave of absence from the program. The director will consider an application for a leave of absence only when the student has a definite date for returning to the program and a clear study plan approved by the department coordinator, for his or her work after returning. Please note that a leave of absence is not retroactive. If the leave is granted, the student is allowed to register for “matriculation continued.” This category of registration is available only to students who are not active in the program. A student working on his or her dissertation and in contact with his or her adviser or committee must register for one or more credits of dissertation research.

A student is not required to update his or her Individual Study Plan if he or she is on leave and will continue to be on leave the following semester. Students must do so, however, during the advising period preceding their return. A full-time student who leaves the program to take a job will not be considered for a leave of absence unless they plan to leave the job at the end of the leave period. A part-time student will not be considered for a leave of absence because of changes in her or her employment situation.

A student who cannot meet the program’s conditions for a leave of absence but wants to leave the program and return should withdraw and apply for readmission when the opportunity arises. We are generally inclined to readmit a student in whom our faculty has already invested time and energy, provided the student is in a situation where he or she can progress in the program. We are unwilling, however, to use leaves of absence to encourage delusions about the possibility of progressing in the program while engaged in other employment.

Dismissal from the Program

A student is dismissed from the program if he or she fails the qualifying examination and either does not take it again within one semester or else does so and fails the second time as well. A student may also be dismissed from the program for egregious violations of the student code of conduct.

Students can also be dismissed from the program by action of the Program’s Director if, as advised by the Department Coordinator, they fail to make satisfactory progress towards completing their degree. The following are examples of conditions that usually indicate lack of satisfactory progress:

  • A grade point average below 3.0 for one academic year.
  • Failure to participate in required professional development activities.
  • Failure to complete assistantships in a satisfactory manner.
  • Failure to make progress commensurate with the student’s Individual Study Plan.
  • Failure to take the qualifying examination when required (by the end of the second year for a full-time student; by the end of the third year for a part-time student).
  • Failure to submit a dissertation proposal within one year after completing the qualifying examination.
  • Exceeding the time limit for completing the program (seven years from the date of first enrollment for a student who begins as a full-time student; eight years for a student who begins part-time). Adjustments to these timetables will not be made for students who change their enrollment status during their course of study.

When a student is considered eligible for dismissal because of lack of progress, the student is warned in writing of the faculty’s concerns and given a probationary period of one semester to correct his or her deficiencies. The warning may specify particular problems that must be corrected to avoid dismissal. If the student fails to remedy the lack of progress by the end of the probationary period, the student will be dismissed from the program.

Residency Requirements and Time Limits

Anyone who enters the program as a full-time student must complete the program within 7 years after entering. Anyone who enters the program as a part-time student must complete the program within 8 years of entering. An official leave of absence does not extend this time limit. When a student exceeds the time limit, he or she is no longer in the program and will not be permitted to register.

The Program Committee may consider requests for extensions from students who have exceeded the time limit. Its policy is to grant extensions only for a few months (one semester at the most) and only if the request includes a date for the final defense of the dissertation within the period of the extension.

In addition, students need to note that:

  • Acquiring a doctoral degree requires a strong commitment. Students who stretch out their studies are usually unable to complete them. Thus, full-time students must enroll in a minimum of 9-credit hours per semester. With the exception of credits transferred at the beginning of a student’s program, all courses must typically be taken at Morgan State University. The Doctoral Program Committee in very rare cases will grant transfers of credits from other institutions.
  • Students must pass written and oral comprehensive examinations. Written and oral comprehensive examinations covering the major area of study are scheduled by the fall of the third year of enrollment in the program.
  • A written comprehensive examination covering the minor field is also scheduled in the summer of the first year of enrollment.
  • A dissertation proposal must be successfully defended within 12 months of passing the comprehensive examination in the area of specialization.

All requirements for the program must be completed by the end of the stipulated period of study. An extension of not more than one academic year may be granted under extenuating circumstances. Only the Doctoral Program Committee may grant such an extension.


Students who have withdrawn from the program or failed to submit a timely update to their study plan may apply for readmission. Such an application is normally considered only during the semester prior to the semester for which one seeks readmission. Decisions on readmission are made by the Program Director in consultation with the faculty of the student’s major and will be communicated to the graduate school. Students who have been dismissed from the program cannot be considered for readmission. Students who have left the program by exceeding the time limit for completing their degree will not be readmitted to the program.

Elements of Business Operations

Each student is required to demonstrate mastery of the major elements of business administration prior to taking doctoral seminars. The elements cover such functional areas as accounting, finance, organizational behavior, marketing, information systems, general and operations management. They are designed to give students a broad knowledge of business operations. The following School of Business & Management (SBM) courses address these areas:


Every student must satisfy these 3-credit prerequisites prior to beginning formal doctoral study. Each course requirement can be satisfied in one of 3 ways:

  • By taking and passing an equivalent course to SBM courses from an AACSB-accredited institution with a grade of at least B, a maximum of five years prior to admission;
  • Possession of an undergraduate major in the subject area;
  • Passing a proficiency examination administered by the relevant department with a grade of at least B.


Higher-level courses may also be required depending on area of specialization.

Foundation: 21 Credits

The Foundation is common to all students and is designed to provide students with an understanding of the philosophy and tools of scientific inquiry. Emphasis is placed on developing students’ research skills. Particular attention is placed on quantitative and qualitative methods involved in research processes. All foundation courses must be completed prior to enrolling in specialization courses. The specific courses will be partly discipline-specific, but all students must take and pass the following as part of their foundation:

Other Foundation Courses

Three of these courses are chosen by students with the approval of their advisors.

Area of Specialization: 18 Credits

Each area has a separate set of requirements including research skills and methodology courses. Students choose specific courses with the approval of their advisors. Morgan offers specializations in accounting, finance, information systems, management, and marketing. The goal of specialization is to give students a firm grounding in a functional area of business. This area reflects the student’s chosen area of theoretical and intellectual interest.

Courses are designed to develop knowledge and analytical capabilities to contribute to intellectual developments in the field. Following is a list of course offerings.

Courses are designed to develop knowledge and analytical capabilities to contribute to intellectual developments in the field. Following is a list of course offerings:

Dissertation: 12 Credits

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