2017-18 Academic Catalog

Business Administration - Ph.D.

Director of Graduate Studies in Business: Dr. Nicole Ponder
200 McCool Hall
Box 5288
Mississippi State, MS  39762
Telephone: 662-325-1891
E-mail: gsb@business.msstate.edu

The College of Business offers a full-time degree program leading to the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Business Administration.  The concentrations available under this degree include the following.

  • Information Systems
  • Finance
  • Management
  • Marketing

Admission Criteria

The applicant for admission to the Ph.D. program in business must hold a bachelor’s degree from a recognized institution of higher learning and have demonstrated high promise of benefit from graduate study. All general requirements stated in this publication must be met. The doctoral applicant must also present a GMAT score from a test administered within the last five years; an undergraduate GPA of 3.00/4.00 or above, both cumulative and over the last 60 hours of undergraduate work; and a GPA of 3.25/4.00 on all prior graduate work.  A GRE score may be presented in lieu of the GMAT, but the GMAT is strongly preferred.  Consideration will be given to an applicant who is deficient in not more than one of the quantitative specifications cited above.

Enrollment in the Ph.D. program is limited to the number of openings available in each academic year.  An applicant whose quantitative credentials meet the stated criteria above may still be denied admission.  Included in the qualitative consideration are such factors as the quality of previous academic studies, the meshing of the purpose of study and the opportunities in the proposed field of study, prior professional and employment activities, and a recommendation of the faculty in the proposed field of study, including the availability of faculty support for research.

An international applicant not holding a prior degree from a U.S. Institution must submit a TOEFL report of 575 PBT (84 iBT) or an IELTS score of 7.0.  

Application Deadlines

Students are admitted to the Ph.D. program in the fall semester of each year.  Applicants to the Ph.D. program with a concentration in Finance are admitted only in odd years.  In order to receive full consideration for both admission and assistantship, complete applications must be received by the Office of the Graduate School by January 15.  The following deadlines apply separately to applications for admission and graduate assistantship.

Admission

The primary decision date for fall admission is the first of March.  Since admission decisions are often competitively based for a limited number of openings, applicants are strongly encouraged to have all application and supporting materials in the Office of the Graduate School by January 15.  Completed applications received after this date will continue to be screened until the end of April for fall admission.  Applications received from the Office of the Graduate School after April 30 will be considered for admission only for fall of the following year.  It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all supporting materials are received.

Assistantship

While an application for assistantship may be submitted at any time for vacancies which may arise, regular appointments are for the academic year (i.e., fall and spring semesters) and begin with the fall semester.  To receive full consideration for a fall appointment, the Application for Graduate Assistantship in Business must be received by the Office of Graduate Studies in Business by January 15 of that year.  Since only applicants who have been admitted to a degree program can be considered for graduate assistantship appointments, all admission application materials must also be received by January 15 for those desiring full consideration for a graduate assistantship offer.

Prerequisite Courses

The following are undergraduate courses (prerequisite courses) that must be completed either in the student’s undergraduate program or after enrollment in the Ph.D. program at Mississippi State University.  These courses are not considered as part of the student’s formal graduate program of study and do not apply toward fulfillment of minimum credit hour requirements.  A grade of C or better must be received in all prerequisite courses.

Business Computer Systems3
Business Finance3
Business Statistics6
Calculus3
Legal Environment of Business3
Principles of Accounting6
Principles of Economics6
Principles of Management3
Principles of Marketing3
Production Management3

Graduate Committee

Each student’s course of study and research is directed by a committee of graduate faculty called a graduate committee.  A graduate committee must contain at least five members, all of whom must be members of the graduate faculty.  The graduate committee that works with the student through the coursework stage of the program is the graduate program committee.  When the student completes all coursework and requirements thereof, the graduate program committee is dissolved and the graduate committee is reformulated as the graduate dissertation committee.

Program Committee

The initial graduate committee is the student’s program committee. The committee is composed of the following.

  • The chair, who must be a Level I member of the graduate faculty and from the concentration field
  • At least two other members from the concentration field of study
  • One member from the support area or minor field
  • One member from the College of Business. 

This graduate committee is charged with specifying the courses that will constitute the student’s program of graduate study and administering the comprehensive examination. The graduate program committee is dissolved when the student passes the comprehensive examination.

Dissertation Committee

The graduate committee formed following a successful comprehensive examination is the student’s dissertation committee.  The base requirements in constituting the committee are as follows: all members must be on the graduate faculty; three members, one of whom is the chairman and must be a Level I member of the graduate faculty, are from the concentration; one member from the support area or minor; and the remaining members from areas germane to the dissertation.  One member of the committee, who may or may not be the chairman, is designated as the dissertation director.  This committee is charged with approval of the dissertation topic proposal and administering and grading of the final defense of the dissertation.

Dissertation Sub-Committee

The sub-committee is composed of the dissertation director and two other members from the graduate dissertation committee. While all members of the dissertation committee should be viewed as resources available to the student, the sub-committee is the group that will work actively with the student throughout the dissertation process.  The members of the dissertation sub-committee are referred to as active members and for this reason the sub-committee is often referred to as the active committee.

Dissertation Readers

Members of the graduate dissertation committee who are not part of the dissertation sub-committee are referred to as readers.

Transfer of Credits

It is anticipated that an appreciable percentage of the students in the doctoral program will hold master’s degrees in business or economics from recognized institutions for which they will be allowed credit approximating the first year of the doctoral program.  In exceptional cases, limited additional transfer credit may be allowed.  In no case will transfer credit be allowed for courses in which grades of C or less were earned.

Residence Requirement

At some time in the doctoral coursework, the student shall be required to devote two consecutive regular semesters (fall/spring) with a minimum load of 9 hours per semester to the graduate program at Mississippi State University.

Academic Performance

A student in any Ph.D. program in the College of Business may not continue in the program with grades below B in more than 6 hours of core coursework, regardless of the overall average.  Thus, any program is terminated automatically when a seventh credit hour below B is recorded on core coursework.  In addition the normal MSU requirements for satisfactory progress in a Ph.D. program will be applied.

Time Limit

A student in a Ph.D. doctoral program must complete the program within a period of five years after passing the Preliminary/Comprehensive Examination.

For More Information

For more information about the Ph.D. program in Business or application materials, contact the Director, Graduate Studies in Business.

Program of Graduate Study

The doctoral degree is awarded based on the demonstration of mature scholarship and ability to conduct meaningful and independent research. The degree is not granted as a result of taking a given set of courses or earning a given number of credit hours.  While formal coursework is important, the specific courses and number of hours required will vary for different students.  Thus, there is not a total number of courses or hours that will satisfy the degree requirements uniformly for all students. The coursework required for each student is based on: the student’s ability to demonstrate to the graduate faculty a thorough grasp of the fields selected; the student’s particular interests with regard to teaching and research; and the student’s ability to conduct meaningful and independent research.  A minimum of 36 credit hours must be taken in the student’s program at MSU.

The proposed program of graduate study is specified by the student’s graduate program committee in consultation with the student.  During the first semester of enrollment, a proposed program of graduate study, approved by the graduate program committee, is to be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies in Business for approval.  A copy of the fully approved program of graduate study will be provided to the student and each individual whose signature appears on it.  The student’s signature is required on the program of study.  The program at a minimum consists of a designated concentration field and a support area or minor field from within the College of Business, a research and teaching tools component, and dissertation research.  Proposed changes in an approved program of graduate study must be approved in the same manner as the original program.

Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration

Concentration Minimum Requirement
24 hours with no more than 6 hours outside the College of Business24
Support Area Minimum Requirement
9 hours with no more than 6 hours outside the College of Business 1,29
Optional Minor
12 hours graduate coursework in one discipline 212
Research and Teaching Tools 3
Research methods 49
BQA 9333Statistical Methods for Business Research3
BQA 9533Advanced Statistics for Business Decisions3
Graduate-level instructional methods course3
Dissertation Research Requirements
20 hours dissertation research in concentration 520
Total Hours71-74
1

With the approval of the program committee and the Director of Graduate Studies in Business, the student selects at least 9 hours of coursework to support his or her study of the concentration field. The courses can be chosen from one or several disciplines; hence no examination will be given.

2

Support Area Minimum Requirement or Optional Minor must be chosen.

3

None of the courses in this area may be counted toward the course requirements in the concentration or support area. 

4

Courses are selected by the student’s programming committee with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies in Business.

5

All research hours must be taken in the student’s program at Mississippi State University.  All students who have completed coursework and/or who have been admitted into degree candidacy must be continuously registered during at least two academic terms per year.

The list includes the minimum coursework requirements beyond the baccalaureate stipulated by the graduate faculty in the College of Business for the Ph.D.

Examinations/Completion Requirements

The following written and oral examinations are required of all Ph.D. students.

Quantitative Area Qualifying Examination

The Qualifying Examination in the Quantitative Area is a three-hour written examination covering the subject matter of BQA 9333 and BQA 9533.  The examination is offered twice a year by the graduate faculty in Quantitative Analysis.  The Office of Graduate Studies in Business maintains the schedule of examination dates. The student must be enrolled during the semester in which the examination is administered.  The student must register for the examination with the Office of Graduate Studies in Business at least 30 days prior to the scheduled date of the examination.  The student must sit for the qualifying examination in the quantitative area by the end of the third regular semester of study.  Two failures on the qualifying examination result in automatic termination of the student’s program.

Preliminary Examinations

Preliminary examinations are written examinations required in the concentration and each minor field.  For each field in the College of Business, preliminary examinations are offered twice a year by the graduate faculty of the respective field.  The Graduate Studies in Business office maintains the schedule of examination dates.  The student must register for the examination with the Office of Graduate Studies in Business at least 30 days prior to the scheduled date of the examination.

The student may sit for a preliminary examination after completing 18 hours of graduate coursework at Mississippi State University and completion of all required coursework in the field of the examination.  An academic area may stipulate additional requirements to sit for the concentration preliminary examination in that area.  All preliminary examinations must be taken within 42 months after beginning coursework if the appropriate coursework is available.  The student must be enrolled during the semester the examination is administered.  Three failures on a preliminary examination in a given field result in automatic termination of the student’s program.

  1. Concentration Field Preliminary Examination—An eight-hour written examination is required in the concentration field.
  2. Minor Field Preliminary Examination(s)—A four-hour written examination is required in each minor field.

Comprehensive Examination

All doctoral students are required to pass a comprehensive (oral) examination.  It may be scheduled following passage of the qualifying examination, passage of all preliminary examinations, and when the student is within 6 hours of completing all coursework.  The comprehensive examination must be scheduled within the first year of the student’s eligibility to sit for the examination.  The examination is scheduled through the Office of Graduate Studies in Business at least two weeks prior to the date desired for examination.  The student or a committee member may request that the Office of the Graduate School appoint an outside observer to attend the comprehensive examination.

The examination is administered by the student’s graduate program committee.  A student may pass the examination with no more than one failure or dissenting vote from a member of the graduate program committee.  A student who fails the comprehensive examination cannot apply to re-sit for the examination until a period of four months has elapsed from the date of the original examination.  Two failures on the comprehensive examination result in automatic termination of the student’s program. The student’s graduate program committee is dissolved upon passage of the comprehensive examination.

Proposal Defense

Following passage of the comprehensive examination the student is eligible to defend a dissertation topic proposal.  The proposal defense is scheduled by the chairman of the graduate dissertation committee through the Office of Graduate Studies in Business and is administered by the student’s graduate dissertation committee.  The student must be enrolled during the semester in which the examination is administered.  The request to schedule the proposal defense must be made at least two weeks prior to the anticipated date of the defense.  A proposal defense will not be scheduled sooner than two weeks after a copy of the written dissertation proposal has been distributed to all members of the graduate dissertation committee and the unit within which the concentration field is housed.  The proposal defense is open to all interested parties, and copies of the proposal are available through the unit housing the concentration.

At the conclusion of the public defense, the graduate dissertation committee will meet in closed session, with and/or without the student, regarding approval of the proposed dissertation topic.  The committee may approve subject to revisions, delay the decision, or fail to approve the proposal.  The Office of Graduate Studies in Business is notified by the committee chairman of the committee’s decision.  Upon unanimous approval of the dissertation proposal by the members of the graduate dissertation committee and the approval by the director of Graduate Studies in Business, the student is admitted to candidacy for the doctoral degree.

Dissertation and Final Defense

The dissertation is required of all candidates for the doctorate and must show mastery of the techniques of research and a distinct contribution to the field under investigation and study.  The dissertation must conform to the regulations set by the Graduate Council as specified in the manual Standards for Preparing Dissertations and Theses.  This manual is available on-line at http://library.msstate.edu/thesis/index.asp.

The final defense of the dissertation is an oral examination.  The examination is scheduled by the chairman of the graduate dissertation committee through the Office of Graduate Studies in Business and is administered by the student’s graduate dissertation committee.  The student must be enrolled during the semester in which the examination is administered.  The request to schedule the final defense must be made at least two weeks prior to the anticipated date of the examination.  The examination will not be scheduled sooner than two weeks after a copy of the final manuscript has been distributed to all members of the graduate dissertation committee and the unit within which the concentration field is housed.  To qualify for graduation in a given semester the final defense must take place at least by the “Last day for final examination for doctoral degree” as published in the graduate academic calendar of this publication. The final defense of the dissertation is open to all interested parties and copies of the manuscript are available through the unit housing the concentration.  At the conclusion of the public defense, the graduate dissertation committee will meet in closed session, with and/or without the student, regarding the results of the final defense of the dissertation.  The committee may pass subject to revisions, delay the decision, or fail the student on the final defense.  A student may pass the examination with no more than one failing or dissenting vote from a member of the graduate dissertation committee.  The results of the final defense are transmitted to the Office of Graduate Studies in Business by the chairman of the graduate dissertation committee at the conclusion of the meeting. To qualify for graduation in a given semester, the Office of Graduate Studies in Business must report the results of the final defense to the Office of Graduate School at least by the “Last day for submitting examination results” as published in the graduate academic calendar of this publication.

A student who fails the final examination cannot apply for reexamination until a period of six months has elapsed from the date of the original examination.  Two failures on the final examination will result in the student‘s being terminated from further consideration as a doctoral candidate.

For further information on dissertation and defense please refer to the “Doctor of Philosophy” section in this publication.