Skip Navigation
Oklahoma State University
Watson Graduate School of Management

Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University

Academic Program

As a general guideline, the Ph.D. requires 60 credit hours beyond the master’s degree. Coursework comprises 42 of those hours. The other 18 are associated with the dissertation. In between the completion of coursework and the start of the dissertation, students are required to successfully pass comprehensive examinations. Typically, completion of the Ph.D. involves a 4-year commitment.

Coursework is generally completed within the first two years of study. The program emphasizes coursework in content areas and research methods/statistics important to the field. Ph.D. study in management at Oklahoma State University has been divided into the following functional areas:

  • Organizational Behavior
  • Strategic Management

Required Courses

  • MGMT 6313 Advanced Organizational Behavior
  • MGMT 6323 Advanced Strategic Management
  • MGMT 6333 MESO Organization Studies
  • MGMT 6343 Contemporary Research in Management I

Content Seminars

  • MGMT 6353 Advanced Research Methods
  • REMS 6003 Analysis of Variance
  • REMS 6013 Multiple Regression Analysis in Behavioral Studies
  • REMS 6320 Advanced Multivariate Analysis
  • MGMT 6553 Structural Equation Modeling Applications in Business


Additional coursework to round out the 42 hours will be chosen by the student, in conjunction with a faculty committee, to support the individual student’s specific interests and/or needs. In cases where an incoming student does not have an undergraduate degree in Business or an MBA, it may be determined that s/he needs to take one or more leveling courses in the functional areas of business (e.g., Accounting, Finance, Marketing, etc.). 

Additionally, for students without adequate or recent statistical training, it may be determined that s/he needs to take one or more basic statistics courses before stepping into the normal sequence. Decisions about the need for such courses and whether they count toward the 42 hours rests with the Ph.D. Coordinator and/or a faculty committee.


18 credit hours are associated with the dissertation.

Qualifying/Comprehensive Exams

After the completion of all coursework, the student must pass qualifying/comprehensive examinations covering research methods/statistics and a content area (organizational behavior or strategic management). These exams are constructed and evaluated by a faculty committee. The purpose of the exams is to determine whether the student has acquired and can demonstrate the knowledge and skills required to 1) conduct a dissertation, and 2) to function successfully in the profession. Successfully passing the exams allows the student to enter the dissertation stage of training.


The completed dissertation represents the culmination of a period of intensive research. As such, the first phase of the dissertation involves the development of a formal written dissertation proposal, under the guidance of a dissertation advisor and committee, which is defended orally before the dissertation committee in an open meeting. Following approval of the proposal, the research is conducted and the dissertation is written. This second phase is marked by extensive interaction between the Ph.D. candidate, the dissertation chairperson, and the dissertation committee. The final phase involves a defense of the dissertation before the management faculty in an open meeting. Successful defense of the dissertation marks the earning of the Ph.D.