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Program Details

PhD student studying

The program requirements cover coursework, research, teaching and academic service.


Program Track

The Ph.D. program requirements cover coursework, research, teaching and academic service. You will be required to complete 72 credits beyond the baccalaureate degree, including 42 credits of coursework, 6 credits of summer research and 24 credits of dissertation work, with additional coursework as appropriate. You are also required to successfully complete a comprehensive examination before starting your third year of study.


To acquire deep knowledge in a desired field, you are required to take courses in the:

Major Field: 4 doctoral seminars, independent studies and other Ph.D.-level courses (minimum of 12 credits)

Supporting Field: 3 advanced Ph.D.-level courses in a related field (minimum of 9 credits)

Research Methods: 4 advanced graduate-level courses (minimum of 12 credits)

Business Courses: 3 MBA-level courses (minimum of 9 credits); students holding an MBA (or a master’s degree in a relevant area) may transfer up to 9 credits

Comprehensive Examinations: Students must successfully complete a comprehensive qualifying exam before starting their third year in the program. The exam requires demonstrating mastery of coursework materials and competent research capabilities. It determines whether a student should be permitted to "advance to candidacy" by identifying those students who are best suited for dissertation work and those who are not.


You will engage in research and publication activities with faculty throughout the program duration. A solid publications record is a strong predictor of the number and quality of academic job opportunities available to you upon graduation. The specific research requirements include:

Summer Research Project &
Second-Year Paper:
a 6-credit mentor-directed project conducted starting the first summer and continuing throughout the second year

Brown-Bag Research Presentations: presentations to department faculty every semester starting in the second year to demonstrate progress on an ongoing or a new research idea

Research Seminars: attending, participating and presenting in research seminars your department organizes

Publications: ideally, complete three journal research papers by the time you are ready for the job market, with at least one of them listing you as the lead author

Dissertation Thesis: a dissertation and 24 credits of dissertation work, guided by a committee of five faculty members


To develop as an academic, you are required to teach two courses at the Whitman School, starting from the third year in the program. You will develop the skills needed to succeed in the classroom by taking part in the following activities:

  • Syracuse University’s Teaching Assistant (TA) Training Program
  • Shadow the course(s) you are assigned to teach at least one semester prior to teaching
  • Training sessions on the use of technology inside and outside the classroom

Academic Service: You will be expected to provide academic service to the school only to the extent that it furthers your academic progress and does not interfere with meeting program requirements. If you are fully funded by Whitman, you will provide 20 hours a week of research assistantship (RA) whereby you will help faculty conduct research and teaching. Additional service duties may include reviewing research papers, assisting with school/deparment-hosted professional meetings, helping to host guest research scholars, etc.