Management Ph.D. Students

Ph.D. in Business with a Specialization in Management

Mission Statement

The mission of the Ph.D. program in business with a specialization in management is to develop scholars for academic careers at leading research universities. Graduates enjoy careers that include initiating and conducting original research, teaching at the undergraduate, masters and Ph.D. levels and serving the needs of the profession through their university and professional associations.

Program Description

The Ph.D. in business with a specialization in management is a research-oriented program that prepares students for successful academic careers. The Nebraska program focuses on training scholars who can advance and disseminate new knowledge that has impact for both research and practice. Students learn in a stimulating and supportive environment that challenges them to grow and develop as researchers and teachers.

The Ph.D. program is a full-time, residential program. Students spend the first two years in coursework designed to provide foundational knowledge in the field of management and to allow them to customize their program to meet their personal interests and needs. Upon completion of their coursework students take a comprehensive exam, and pass on to candidacy where they work on their dissertation and other research projects.

The program is selective, admitting 2-3 students per year. This provides students with personalized attention and mentoring. Students work closely with faculty mentors and in employment as graduate assistants. The management department provides individual attention designed to enable students to publish one or more articles before graduation. Because the Ph.D. program is dedicated to training students for research positions in well-known universities, the department cannot accommodate the needs of those not interested in academic careers.

Admission to our Program

Admission to the Ph.D. in business with a specialization in management program is given to those who provide convincing evidence that they possess the desire and capacity to engage in high quality academic research. This is demonstrated through high-level analytical skills, strong intellectual curiosity and the ability to grow and develop as a scholar. Applicants should have outstanding communication and analytical skills, and be able to work independently as well as in mentoring relationships. The Ph.D. Committee will review applications in the spring for admission in the fall semester.

  • Admissions are for fall term only. There is no spring admittance.
  • Applications should be submitted in fall of the year preceding the desired start date.

Admission Process

Applicants should submit the following information through the Office of Graduate Studies. All application materials except transcripts must be submitted electronically (do not send paper forms or resume).

  • Apply online at the Office of Graduate Studies and submit the $50 application fee.
  • The next day you will receive instructions for the GAMES application system (Graduate Admission Management and Evaluation System).
  • You need to submit three letters of reference through GAMES. Letters should address your motivation, commitment, work experience, skills and potential for success in graduate study. One letter from your current employer is preferred (if you are currently working) along with two letters from former professors who can speak to your academic ability and suitability for doctoral studies. If this is not possible, choose letter writers who can best speak to your abilities and the likelihood you will succeed in a Ph.D. program.
  • Personal statement: Please create your personal statement off-line and upload it through GAMES. Your personal statement should describe why you are interested in a Ph.D., what you hope to accomplish with the degree, and why you are interested in the Management Ph.D. at Nebraska. The personal statement provides the opportunity for you to highlight unique qualities and experiences that distinguish you as an applicant to our Ph.D. program. It should address your career objectives and specify how a Ph.D. in Management from Nebraska will assist in achieving your goals. The statement should also include your reasons for interest in our program, your research interests (if you have any at this stage), work experience, honors/awards, etc. Be concise, yet thorough.
  • Resume: Please created your resume off-line and upload it through GAMES.
  • Transcripts: Ask each college or university that you have attended to send one official transcript to:
    University of Nebraska-Lincoln
    Graduate Admissions
    1100 Seaton Hall
    Lincoln, NE 68588-0619
    Tel: (402) 472-2875
  • GMAT Score: You should register to take the GMAT and have the results forwarded to Nebraska. Please use institution code S40-HW-48. You should also submit your scores through GAMES. We will accept GRE scores but GMAT scores are preferred. The Nebraska institutional code for GRE is 6877. For detailed information on how to prepare for or register to take the GMAT, please visit:
  • TOEFL Score: International Students should also include a TOEFL score (minimum score of 550 written, 213 computer based or 80 iBT). Please use institution code 6877. Guidelines for international students can be found at:

Finance Resource Certification Form: Any application who is recommended for admission and expects to hold an F1 (student) or J1 (exchange visitor) visa should submit the Financial Resource Certification (FRC) form.

Ph.D. Student Teaching


Financial Assistance

All students accepted into the Ph.D. program in business with a specialization in management will receive a graduate assistantship to cover their studies for four years (dependent on continued progress). The graduate assistantship in management includes a 10-month per year stipend, full tuition remission for all courses taken during the year including courses taken in the summer, and a basic health insurance plan covered by the University of Nebraska's student health insurance. Students are encouraged to apply for a limited number of fellowships offered in partnership with the university.

The assistantship is one of the primary ways through which research and teaching skills are developed. Therefore, it is an important part of doctoral studies. Graduate assistants are assigned for a total of 20 hours per week, and all students are required to work as graduate assistants for the full four years in the program. Graduate assistants will be considered for reappointment provided that they continue to make satisfactory progress on program requirements and successfully complete teaching and research assignments.

Research Assistants

Research assistants are assigned on a rotating basis. RA assignments typically involve students assisting faculty in research and writing work. They are designed to help faculty members with the publishing process and to provide students opportunities to obtain experience in the research process. Through research assistance, students learn the art and craft of scholarship. Students work closely with faculty to learn how to design, structure and complete research projects leading to publications in high quality journals. Students take this knowledge and apply it to their own learning and research programs. The outcome should be research collaborations generating presentations at professional conferences and publications it in top-tier management journals.

Teaching Assistants

The goal of a teaching assistantship is to provide students with opportunities to develop the skills and experience necessary to create and deliver high quality classroom experiences. Teaching assistance will start with assignments to faculty to help in grading, designing and supporting course activities, and shadowing faculty in the classroom. By the third year students will also be assigned to teach their own class. This will allow them to gain experience in the classroom and have a portfolio of teaching experiences needed for their job search process. Teaching a course/section is considered to be a 10-hour assignment.

Travel Support

Participation in professional conferences is an important part of a student's research and professional development. Therefore, the College of Business and the Management Department offer opportunities to support conference travel for students who are participating in conference activities.

The college will fund up to $500 per year for doctoral students to travel to present papers at approved academic conferences. In addition, the Management Department will provide up to $1,000 per year to students who are presenting at the National Academy of Management, Midwest Academy of Management, SIOP, or other approved meetings. Students in their last year of the program will be supported to attend the National Academy of Management meeting as part of the job search process regardless of whether they are presenting a paper. Students may also apply for travel support from Nebraska Graduate Studies.

Start Something Video play icon

Student Life

Ph.D. students are expected to be active partners in the academic community. The Nebraska community fosters high academic achievement as well as diverse social organizations and events. Students will have opportunities to work with different faculty, develop independent research projects, collaborate on joint projects, and participate in various brownbag sessions, current topics seminars, and doctoral development sessions. Doctoral students will also have opportunities to develop their teaching skills.

The city of Lincoln is friendly and easy to navigate with a nationally noted low crime rate, a wide range of housing choices, a reliable public transit system and numerous options for recreational and personal interest activities.

Ph.D. Plan of Study

The Nebraska College of Business Ph.D. consists of a minimum of 90 hours of coursework beyond the bachelor's degree. Students who come in with a master's degree can receive up to 36 hours of credit towards this requirement.

To complete the Ph.D. in Management students must take a minimum of 54 hours of coursework at Nebraska. These hours are met through required courses, electives designed to comprise a support area, and dissertation hours. Electives are determined in consultation with the student's advisor. The student's program of study must be approved by the Ph.D. Coordinator.

Foundational Courses (12 credit hours)

All students will take the management foundational courses. These 3-credit seminars are semester long. The courses will rotate depending on the year.

  • Organizational Behavior (OB) Seminar (3 credit hours)
    This seminar provides an overview of classic theories in OB and their relation to recently emerging theories in the field. The major topics covered include individual differences, motivation, group dynamics, teams and teamwork processes, leadership, justice, social networks, counterproductive and proactive behaviors, power and politics and organizational change and development. Topics covered include micro or individual level explanations of organizational behavior (e.g., attitudes, ability, personality, demographics, perception, and decision-making processes), the influence of macro-micro linkages (multilevel and meso theory), and the macro context (e.g., organizational identity, strategy, structure, culture, and climate).
  • Human Resource Management Seminar (3 credit hours)
    This seminar reviews classic and current research on selected perspectives in the field of Human Resource Management (HRM). Topics include the historical and theoretical development of HRM, theoretical and methodological perspectives, strategic HRM, talent sourcing and engagement, employee and employer rights and responsibilities, the employment relationship, performance management and total reward systems, motivating retaining and developing human capital, workforce diversity and inclusion, dispute resolution, and global HRM strategies. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the conceptual and methodological strengths and weaknesses of research in these areas and their implications for management practice.
  • Strategic Management Seminar (3 credit hours)
    The strategy seminar involves a critical review of theory and the accompanying empirical research in the field of strategic management. The purpose of the course is to survey strategic management including, but not be limited to, the following theoretical domains: agency theory, behavioral decision theory, the resource based view, upper echelons theory, real options theory, the attention-based view, the knowledge-based view, dynamic capabilities, and signaling theory. Additionally, this seminar will include an overview of recent strategic management topics, such as: business and competitive strategies, mergers and acquisitions, cooperative strategies, corporate strategy, corporate governance, strategic management process and corporate governance.
  • Organization Theory Seminar (3 credit hours)
    This course surveys organizational theory, including the following theoretical domains: contingency theory, institutional theory, network theory, population ecology, prospect theory, resource dependency theory, transaction costs theory, and stakeholder theory. Additionally, this seminar will include an overview of recent organizational theory topics, such as: power and property rights, the Carnegie school, sensemaking, political dynamics, organizational embeddedness, organizational culture, and organizational learning.
Specialty Management Topics (3 credit hours minimum)

We will offer specialty modules that align with faculty areas of expertise and student areas of specialization in management. Students are required to complete 3 credit hours of modules in their first two years of study. They are strongly encouraged to take additional modules in their third and fourth years to enhance their program of study.

Research Tools (12 hours)
  • Methods (6 credit hours)
  • Statistics (6 hours)
Support Area Electives (9 hours)

The remaining credit hours are met through elective courses that are used to comprise a support area. Support areas reflect the student's chosen area of specialization/interests. Students design their support area in consultation with their faculty advisor. All supporting coursework must be doctoral level courses, and must be approved by the Ph.D. Coordinator. Courses may be taken in any department or college within the university. Many students find supporting coursework in economics, psychology, sociology, communications, and marketing. Students can also choose to do their support area in research methods by selecting research tools courses. In addition, courses at other universities may be taken with approval from the Ph.D. Coordinator.

First- and Second- Year Major Papers (6 credit hours)
  • The first-year paper is focused on gaining experience in empirical research and handling data. For this paper students will find a faculty sponsor who will provide access to existing datasets. Under the faculty member's guidance, the student will clean, analyze, interpret the data and write up the paper. The paper must be completed and submitted by August 1, for presentation in a department brown bag in the fall semester of the student's second year. The expectation is that this paper will be submitted for presentation at an approved conference.
  • The second-year paper requires students to take a first author role on a paper in which they design and conduct a research study. Students are expected to conceptualize and design the study, gather and analyze the data, and write up the paper under the supervision of one or more faculty members. This paper may be a pilot or pre-test for a dissertation. The paper must be completed and submitted by August 1, and then presented in a department brown bag in the fall semester of the student's third year. The expectation is that this paper will be submitted for presentation at an approved conference and submitted for publication in a top quality journal.

All students are required to sign up for 1-credit hour brownbags every semester of their program. Brown bag schedules will be distributed at the beginning of each semester. They will involve faculty presentations, invited speakers, special topics discussions, faculty candidate presentations, and other topics.

Comprehensive Examination

After coursework is completed students will take a comprehensive examination. The exam will cover foundational and support area knowledge, as well as students' competence in research tools.

The exam will be administered in August of the student's second year. It is comprised of two parts: 1) a closed book exam taken during the week, and 2) a take-home test taken over the weekend.

  • The closed book exam will be conducted in 3-hour time blocks (9am-12pm, 1-4pm) on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of the exam week. This exam will cover OB, HR, Strategy, OT, and Research Methods. Students will choose one of two questions to answer for each of these topics. Students will be allowed to bring in a single 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper on which they lists references of their choosing (references only, no abstracts or notes are allowed).
  • The take-home exam will cover integrative and specialty topics. The take-home exam will be given to students on Friday afternoon at 4:00 p.m., and they will return it on Monday morning at 9:00 a.m.

Students will be allowed to retake a failed component only once and must do so within six months of their first attempt. Individuals failing to pass any component on their second attempt will not be admitted to doctoral candidacy.


The dissertation represents an opportunity to make an important scholarly contribution to the field. It reflects your ability to design and conduct a high quality research study. Completion of a dissertation reflects an individual's competence as a researcher, and provides search committees an indication of your research interests and potential for early career success.

A dissertation committee composed of at least four members supervises the dissertation process: a chair, two management department faculty members, and one external Nebraska faculty member (from another area of the university). The student forms the dissertation committee after completion of their comprehensive exams. Students should select committee members who can make strong contributions to the project and to the student's learning and development. These selections are made considering a mix of knowledge and skills across the committee. To form strong committees, students should interact broadly with faculty in the department in their first two years to inform themselves of faculty research interests and areas of expertise.

Annual Evaluation of Student Progress

All students will be reviewed on an annual basis. The purpose of this review is to assess student progress and provide developmental feedback to the student. This review will occur at the end of April.

Each year on April 15 students will be asked to submit:

  1. A current vita
  2. A completed activity statement (describe what you have done in the past year and what you plan to do in the next year)
  3. A research statement describing their area of research, research accomplishments and work in progress
  4. A writing sample (submit one piece of writing on which you have taken a leadership role)

The Ph.D. Committee will use these materials as the basis for their review, along with input from faculty who have taught the students in seminars or to whom students have been assigned. A formal review letter will be prepared and feedback will be provided to the students by the Ph.D. Coordinator in early May.

Ph.D. Program Timeline

A Ph.D. program is a process of learning how to become an organizational scholar. This involves acquiring skills as both a researcher and a teacher. In the first year students are acclimating to the academic environment, and learning how to read and critique research articles as well as acquiring proficiency in research methodology and statistical tools. They also work with faculty as research and teaching assistants. As the student progresses in the program they are encouraged to find their focus and begin to develop an area of expertise. By the time they get to their dissertation they will have undertaken the process of identifying a research agenda for themselves that will carry them into their roles in an assistant professor position.

The timeline for the management Ph.D. is four years, though in some cases students might stay in the program for five years. Below is an example of a typical four-year program.

Year One

  • Takes foundational and research tool courses:
    * In fall student takes 2 foundational courses and statistics.
    * In spring student takes Methods I, statistics and specialty courses.
  • Student works as a research assistant (working with two professors) -- the purpose of the research assistantship is to expose students to the research process and develop mentoring relationships with faculty
  • Summer of year one:
    * Continues working on in-process research projects
    * Completes first-year research paper

Objective: By the end of year one, the student should be acclimated to the research environment, have a basic foundational understanding of management theories and research methodology, and be beginning to understand the areas they like and do not like so they can start thinking about areas of specialization.

Year Two

  • Completes foundational, elective, and research tool courses:
    * In fall student takes 2 foundational courses and Methods II.
    * In spring student takes electives and research tools courses.
  • Student continues to work as a research assistant (working with two professors)
  • Summer of year two:
    * Completes comprehensive exam
    * Work on second-year research paper
    * Takes teaching workshop

Objective: By the end of year two, the student should be gaining competence as a researcher, should have a solid foundational understanding of management theories and research methodology, and should identify a general area of specialization.

Year Three

  • Form dissertation committee and begin developing dissertation proposal.
  • Student begins teaching undergraduate courses in the Management Department.
  • Continue as a Research Assistant.
  • Defends dissertation proposal in the spring.
  • Summer of year three:
    * Prepares job search materials
    * Starts job search
    * Attends doctoral consortium and interviews at Academy

Objective: By the end of year three, the student should have defended their dissertation proposal, begun to establish a research program, gained teaching experience, and be ready to go on to the job market.

Year Four

  • Collect and analyze dissertation data in the fall.
  • Interviews for jobs in fall.
  • Continues as a Research/Teaching Assistant
  • Defends dissertation for spring or summer graduation.

Objective: By the end of year four, the student should have completed their dissertation, accepted a position as an assistant professor, gained more teaching experience, and have a solid pipeline of papers to take into their first job.

Year Five (Optional)

  • Complete dissertation.
  • Interview for jobs.
  • Further develop research program.

This option will be offered only with faculty approval.

Year Fall Spring Summer
First Year*
  • Foundational Course
  • Research Methods
  • Statistics I
  • Brownbag
  • Research Assistantship
  • Foundational Course
  • Specialty or Support Area Elective
  • Statistics II
  • Brownbag
  • Research Assistantship
  • First-Year Paper
Second Year*
  • Foundational Course
  • Support Area Elective
  • Specialty or Support Area Elective
  • Brownbag
  • Research/Teaching Assistantship
  • Foundational Course
  • Research Methods
  • Specialty or Support Area Elective
  • Brownbag
  • Research/Teaching Assistantship
  • Second-Year Paper
  • Comprehensive Exam
  • Teaching workshop
Third Year*
  • Form dissertation committee
  • Work on dissertation proposal
  • Brownbag
  • Teaching and/or RA work
  • Defend dissertation proposal
  • Brownbag
  • Teaching and/or RA work
  • Prepare job search materials
  • Apply for interviews at Academy
  • Work on dissertation
Fourth Year*
  • Continue work on dissertation
  • Interviews/campus visits
  • Brownbag
  • Teaching and/or RA work
  • Complete job search
  • Defend dissertation
  • Brownbag
  • Teaching and/or RA work
* Transition to new job or choose fifth year in Ph.D. program
Optional Fifth Year*
  • Complete dissertation
  • Interviews/campus visits
  • Brownbag
  • Teaching and/or RA work
  • Accept job
  • Defend dissertation
  • Brownbag
  • Teaching and/or RA work


Is there a residency requirement? Can I study part-time?
The Ph.D. program is a full-time, residential program.

How many students are typically admitted to the program each year?
Normally 2-3 students are admitted each year.

Can I apply for spring or summer admission?
Admission is for fall semester only.

How long does it take to complete the doctoral program?
The program provides a broad base in contemporary issues in management and normally will take four years to complete: two years of coursework, with the remainder devoted to dissertation research, teaching, and research projects focused on developing a programmatic research agenda.

What is the deadline for applications?
The deadline is February 5 to guarantee full consideration. We normally review application in February, but may review applications again in March or April if openings are available.

What supporting documents are required with an application?
Applicants are required to submit an official transcript from each college or university attended, three letters of reference, a resume, a personal statement, verification of English proficiency (if your native language is not English) and GMAT test score. International student are also required to include their TOEFL score.

How are applications evaluated?
The Management Ph.D. Committee reviews applications using a portfolio approach that considers GMAT/GRE scores, academic performance as evidenced by transcripts, letters of recommendation, the personal statement and resume. We are looking to see if there is a good fit between your abilities and desired outcomes and the goals of our doctoral program.

Is there a minimum GPA requirement?
No, we do not have a GPA requirement, although we expect applicants to have performed well in relevant coursework.

Can I substitute a GRE score for a GMAT score?
Our strong preference is that you take the GMAT, but we will consider GRE scores.

What code do I use for the GMAT?
Use institution code S40-HW-48.

Are there specific course prerequisites required for entry to the Ph.D. program?
There are no specific course prerequisites, but you must demonstrate strong writing skills and quantitative ability.

How do I handle letters of reference?
When you log in to Nebraska's Graduate Admissions Management & Evaluation System (GAMES), you will be able to provide contact information for your reference letter writers. After you have provided a valid email, you will be able to click a button for each reference to have an email request sent to them. This email will contain a secure link with which they can upload a letter. Please do not have them send hard-copies. Be aware that, for security reasons, once you send a request, you will be locked out of making changes to the reference's contact information.

Do you require work experience for admission to the Ph.D. program?
It is not required. Relevant work experience is one aspect of this portfolio, but strong academic performance and intellectual ability are also critically important.

Do I need to have a master's degree?
While a master's degree is not an absolute requirement for admission to the Ph.D. program, candidates who possess a master's degree will be more competitive in the admissions process.

Do I have to provide evidence of English proficiency to be considered?
If English is not your native language, you will be required to demonstrate your ability to undertake advanced academic work in an English-speaking institution. More information can be found here:

Is there a minimum TOEFL requirement?
The minimum TOEFL score required is 550 (paper version), 213 (computer-based test) or 80 (iBT test). The institution code for the TOEFL is 6877. School Type is #2 - Graduate Management

I will soon receive my master's degree from a university in another country and its official language of instruction is English. I wonder if it qualifies for a TOEFL waiver.
To see if the university is on the list for which waivers will apply, please contact the Nebraska Graduate Studies office or check the Graduate Studies webpage pertaining to English.

Where can I find more information for international students?
Guidelines for international students can be found at:

Do you provide health insurance coverage?
All graduate assistants with appointments that qualify for tuition remission receive basic coverage under the university's student health insurance plan. Dependent plans are also available on an optional basis.

Is graduate student housing available through Nebraska?
Students are housed on and off campus. Nebraska offers apartment-style halls. The Courtyards and The Village are designed for single, upperclass, graduate students or non-traditional freshman (resident 20 years of age or older with a freshman classification) ready for a more independent living environment. For more information visit:


Near, Janet P
Professor and Howard Hawks Chair in Business Ethics and Leadership
CoB 325 K
P.O. Box 880491
Lincoln, NE 68588-0491
Mailing Address
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Department of Management
P.O. Box 880491
Lincoln, NE 68588-0491
Shipping Address
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Department of Management
CoB 323
730 N. 14th Street
Lincoln, NE 68588-0491