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Oklahoma State University
watson graduate school of management

Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University

Academic Program

Students must complete 90 credit hours of graduate work, including the doctoral dissertation; 60 hours must come from beyond the masters level (if applicable). For students entering the program with an MBA, this usually works out to a four-year program with two years of course work and an additional one-two years to complete comprehensive exams and to research, write, and defend the dissertation.

Candidates are expected to have or to develop a basic competence in the major functional areas of business and in quantitative methods. Candidates who lack basic competence in any of the areas must take, on a deficiency basis, the necessary courses. The functional areas of business are defined as: marketing, economics, finance, managerial accounting, operations management, and organizational theory. Economics requires six hours of course work. Successful completion of one appropriate graduate course (5000 or 6000 level) in the other areas will normally satisfy this requirement. Students who possess a recent Master’s of Business Administration accredited by the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business are likely to meet these requirements. Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis for students with degrees from foreign universities. All candidates are expected to have completed appropriate basic courses, or to demonstrate competence by examination, in calculus and intermediate statistics.

As a major field of study, marketing requires a minimum of 15 hours of course work. The following required Ph.D. seminars provide 9 of the 15 hours:

  • Seminar in Marketing Strategy
  • Seminar in Marketing Theory
  • Seminar in Buyer Behavior

The remaining six hours can be taken in a graduate marketing seminar that complements the student’s interests. The program requires that students complete a nine-hour minor in another discipline such as management, psychology, sociology, or economics. Alternatively, the minor may be earned in an interdisciplinary field such as international business or public policy. The selection of course work requires the consent of the program committee.

All students are required to take 18 hours of course work in quantitative/research methods. Six of these hours may come from previous graduate-level work. Three specific Ph.D. seminars are required as part of the 18 hours:

  • Seminar in Measurement Theory
  • Seminar in Advanced Marketing Research
  • Seminar in Structural Equations Modeling

SSB Two Year Doctoral Seminar Cycle Schedules

The remaining hours of quantitative/research methods course work can be selected from various areas such as multivariate methods, survey research, experimental design, econometrics, regression analysis, structural equations modeling, and so forth. 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 that 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 marketing faculty in an open meeting.