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PhD Overview

PhD Program Lead business education and research for the digitally driven world

The Doctor of Philosophy in Management prepares you for a career in teaching and scholarly research at the university level. This full-time program emphasizes a strong foundation in both methodological and theoretical training.


Highly individualized, the doctoral program allows students to pursue their own areas of interest. Candidates are expected to work closely with the Merage School faculty members and, when appropriate, with faculty from other academic units on campus. A teaching requirement, supported by an ongoing seminar in pedagogy, will give you valuable experience in the classroom. 

  • 3.81 Average Graduate GPA
  • 66% Female Students
  • 70% International Students

Program Structure

The doctoral program reflects the School's philosophy that a broad and cross-functional orientation is necessary to appreciate complex business problems that extend beyond the narrow confines of a particular discipline. Students planning academic careers can take advantage of teaching opportunities, along with instruction in teaching techniques that are especially effective in management education.

Within the general field of management, many disciplines and technologies are appropriate for advanced study. Because you work closely with the Merage School faculty, areas of concentration often parallel the strengths of faculty members. These areas include accounting, finance, information systems, marketing, operations and decision technologies, and organization and management, and strategy. The doctoral program is divided into two phases, qualification and dissertation.

The Qualification Phase provides students with a general exposure to their area of specialization, the discipline of management, and methodological tools. The doctoral program curriculum is based on a flexible menu system, consisting of two menus of courses – one for research methods and one for theoretical breadth courses. 

Coursework requirements are approved by the faculty from your area of specialization. Before advancing to candidacy, your are also required to complete 4 breadth courses on the school-wide menu and the theoretical menu, outside your major field. During this phase, you acquire the knowledge necessary to conduct original research and scholarship including: 

  • Knowledge of research, theory, and key issues in the major subfields in the area of specialization
  • The appreciation of critical analytic abilities relevant to the area of specialization
  • Research methods relevant to the area, including both knowledge of methods and a demonstration of the capacity to use the methods

To advance beyond the Qualification Phase, you must complete all required coursework, a written preliminary examination, and a formal oral qualifying examination. The maximum duration of this phase is 9 academic quarters or 3 calendar years.

Academic Advisor

As a Phase I PhD student, you will be assigned an academic faculty advisor from your area of specialization to assist you in getting acclimated to the Merage School PhD program. The advisor guides you in planning your PhD coursework and supervises your academic progress for the first two years of the program. 
 
During this phase, you have the opportunity to identify/discover your research interests and find a faculty member who best fits your research needs. The Academic Advisor and the Qualifying Advisor may or may not be the same person.

Qualifying Advisor

At the beginning of the third year, the Qualifying Advisor provides you guidance in pursuing your research interests. The Qualifying Advisor may also be the chair of your thesis committee.

The Dissertation Phase requires the completion of a significant original research project and a dissertation which demonstrates your creativity and ability to launch and sustain a career in research. The type of research project selected is an important determinant of the amount of time you will spend in this phase. Upon approval of the dissertation and final examination (dissertation defense), your doctoral committee recommends the conferral of the degree. The Dissertation Phase is expected to take 24 months after you have advanced to candidacy, which ordinarily occurs three years into the program. The normative time to degree is five years.

Browse all PhD placements by area of study. 

Learn more

Professor Terry Shevlin is a professor of accounting, Paul Merage Chair in Business Growth, Associate Dean of Research and Doctoral Programs at the UCI Paul Merage School of Business. He earned his PhD from Stanford University in 1986 and joined the faculty at the University of Washington where he worked for 26 years until joining UCI in the summer of 2012.  He visited the University of Iowa in 1991-92.  He held the Paul Pigott/Paccar Professor of Business Administration from 2004-2012. While at Washington he held various administrative position: faculty director of the PhD Program 1998-2006 and Accounting Department Chair from 2006-2012.  He has served as editor on three academic journals: Journal of the American Taxation Association (1996-1999), Senior Editor, The Accounting Review (2002-2005) and Co-editor, Accounting Horizons (2009-2012) and on numerous editorial boards (including the top four accounting journals).  He has published nearly 30 articles in the very top accounting and finance journals.

UC Irvine’s faculty are top-notch and care deeply about their students. I wanted to attend a program that developed my interests, honed my skillset and was ultimately vested in the outcome of my education. I can categorically say that UCI has exceeded all my expectations.
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