Ph.D. in Business with a Specialization in Management

Program Description

We typically admit 2-3 students per year, though we are not accepting new students for Fall 2019. Admitting a few students at a time enables a student-to-faculty ratio that affords students personalized attention and close mentoring relationships.

The Ph.D. in Business with a specialization in management aims to prepare students for successful academic careers. Its focus is on training scholars who can advance knowledge impactful for both research and practice. Students benefit from a stimulating and supportive environment that challenges them to grow and develop as researchers and teachers.

This is a full-time, residential program. Students spend the first two years in coursework designed to provide foundational knowledge in the field of management; beyond the core classes, students also have the ability to customize their classwork and training to meet their personal interests and needs. Upon completion of coursework, students take a comprehensive exam and pass on to the candidacy where they work on their dissertation. Involvement in research projects in a variety of roles is strongly encouraged and expected throughout the duration of the program. View more information on the Ph.D. program structure.

We typically admit 2-3 students per year. This enables a student-to-faculty ratio that affords students personalized attention and close mentoring relationships. Students work closely with faculty in research collaborations, growing from graduate assistants to junior colleagues as part of their training. Engaging in the research process thus enables students to emerge from the program as fully rounded scholars. Students are awarded tuition waivers, a stipend and a benefits package. View more information on our financial assistance options.

Admission Process

Successful applicants to the program are those who can provide convincing evidence that they possess the desire and aptitude to engage in high quality academic research. We seek applicants with high-level analytical skills and strong intellectual curiosity. Furthermore, communication skills and an ability to both collaborate successfully and work independently is essential. We review applications in the spring, and applicants begin their program during the subsequent fall semester.

Applicants should submit the following information through the Office of Graduate Studies. All application materials except transcripts must be submitted electronically. The application includes three letters of reference, a personal statement, a resume, transcripts, and standardized scores (GMAT or GRE and TOEFL).

Application Materials

Reference 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 the doctoral program.

Your personal statement should describe why you are interested in pursuing 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. The statement should also include your reasons for interest in our program specifically, your research interests (if you have any at this stage), work experience, honors or awards and any other information you consider pertinent.

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 100 iBT or their equivalent). 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.

Financial Assistance

Student Compensation and Benefits

All students accepted into the Ph.D. program in the management department will receive a graduate assistantship to cover their studies for four years (contingent on continued progress). The graduate assistantship includes a 10-month per year stipend of $25,000, full tuition remission for all courses taken during the year (including the summer) and a health insurance plan covered by the University of Nebraska's student health insurance. Students are also encouraged to apply for one of the fellowships offered in partnership with the university.

The assistantship is one of the primary ways through which research and teaching skills are developed and is thus a major part of the doctoral program. Graduate assistantships involve 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. Support for graduate assistants will be considered for a fifth year provided that students continue to make satisfactory progress on program requirements and successfully complete teaching and research assignments.

Research Assistantships

Research assistants are assigned on a rotating basis. RA assignments typically involve students assisting faculty with their scholarship, including data collection, study design, statistical analyses and writing work. The assistantships aim to help faculty members with their scholarship and to provide students opportunities to obtain experience in the research process. The aim of this process is to facilitate research collaborations that result in high-quality publications.

Teaching Assistantships

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 assistants typically start by helping faculty with grading, by supporting course activities and shadowing faculty in the classroom. Students are then assigned to teach their own class, typically by the third year. This provides them with experience in the classroom and ensures that they possess a portfolio of teaching experiences needed to successfully pursue academic jobs.

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 Department of Management 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, with an additional $1,000 being possible for select conferences. Students currently looking for academic positions are further provided with support during their job market year. Students may also apply for travel support from Nebraska Graduate Studies.

Program Structure

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 (Organizational Behavior, Human Resource Management, Strategic Management and Organization Theory) during their first two years. These 3-credit seminars are a semester long, and their sequence rotates based on the year.

Specialty Management Topics (3 credit hours minimum)

We 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.

Methods (12 hours)

These courses involve general research methods modules as well as specialized statistics courses intended for researchers.

Support Area Electives (9 hours)

Remaining credit hours are met through Ph.D.-level elective courses that are used to comprise a support area. Support areas reflect students’ chosen area of specialization and their interests, and are designed in consultation with their faculty advisor and must be approved by the Ph.D. Coordinator. Courses may be taken in any department or college within the university, and can relate to content areas or research methods.

First-Year Paper

The first-year paper is focused on gaining experience in empirical research. For this paper, students seek a faculty sponsor who provides them with access to existing datasets. Under the faculty member's guidance, the student will clean, analyze, interpret the data and write up a paper. This paper is presented 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.

Comprehensive Examination

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

The exam is administered in June of the student's second year, and is comprised of a three-part closed book exam focusing on two core research areas (selected by the student) and a research methods component.


Completion of a dissertation reflects an individual's competence as a researcher. This process is supervised by as dissertation committee composed of at least four members. The student forms the dissertation committee after completion of their comprehensive exams.

For HR and OB, the faculty who can form the dissertation committee are: Gwendolyn Combs, Jake Messersmith, Janet Near, Jenna Pieper, Troy Smith and Joya Yu. For Strategy, Organization Theory and Entrepreneurship, the faculty available to form this committee are: Jonathan O’Brien, Laura Poppo, Varkey Titus, Jr. and Jifeng Yu.

Annual Evaluation of Student Progress

All students are 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.

Life in Lincoln

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.


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:


Pieper, Jenna R
Associate Professor
HLH 325 Y
P.O. Box 880491
Lincoln, NE 68588-0491