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Academic Requirements

General Program Requirements

The general expectation is that students can complete the program within five years of admission. During your time in the program you must serve as a teaching and research assistant, along with teaching at least one course. Within this general framework, the seven areas of concentration have specific requirements, as well as guidelines for format and timing. Detailed requirements information can be found under each area of concentration:

International Student Requirements

All international students are required to demonstrate English language skills. We require TOEFL or IELTS scores for all international applicants UNLESS English is their first language or the applicant has attended an English speaking institution for 24 quarter credits or 16 semester credits within two years of the application date. A TOEFL score of 600 (60 on section 1) for the paper-based test, or a total score of 100 for the internet-based TOEFL test is expected. For those students matriculated into the program we require a score of 27 for the speaking portion of the TOEFL, otherwise students will have to take the Spoken English Test for Teaching Assistants (SETTA) once on campus. For those taking the IELTS we require a 7.0 or higher.


The first two years are spent taking pertinent coursework, determined by the student with the advice of the area coordinator. Students must complete at least 40 semester credits or coursework within the first two years of the program, including:

  • Courses in a major area and in a minor or supporting program
  • An integrated sequence of methodology courses in areas such as statistics, research design, cognitive modeling, econometrics, psychometrics, survey methodology, or database design
  • Also maintain a 3.3 minimum GPA

Preliminary Examinations

Students must successfully complete both a written preliminary exam and oral exam. The written exam usually occurs during the summer after the second year of coursework. After passing the written prelim, students can schedule the oral prelims typically during the third year.

Dissertation Proposal and Final Defense

As a research degree, all PhD students receive comprehensive research training by working closely with faculty advisers. Following the oral preliminary exam, students pursue their dissertation research, completing a proposal and final dissertation defense.

Doctoral Minor in Business Administration

Carlson School offers a graduate minor in business administration through its PhD Program.

To complete this minor a student must complete at least 16 graduate credits from one of our concentrations: Accounting, Finance, Information Decision Sciences, Marketing, Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship, Supply Chain and Operations, or Work and Organizations.

For more information please contact: Earlene Bronson

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