PhD in Organizational Behavior Curriculum

Our doctoral program is structured to resonate with our department’s mission of developing world-class researchers interested in doing high quality work of enduring consequence. Hence our course requirements encourage continual development of reading, writing, and relational skills to help you to effectively explore and seamlessly communicate your ideas.

Year One

Fall Semester

Spring Semester

Year Two

Fall Semester

Spring Semester

The program is designed for full-time, year-round engagement for four years. Although some students choose not to maintain local residence in latter stages of the dissertation and to complete it more slowly, the PhD in OB is designed and supported as a four-year journey.

Unless otherwise stated, all courses are offered every other year as one-credit-hour seminar courses, meeting once a week for five weeks.

In addition to the listed courses, there is also a weekly OB Department Seminar designed to create and sustain an appreciative, intellectually nourishing learning space for the OB community. The OB Department Seminar is organized and managed by the first year PhD students in close relationship with the course instructors, and is required for both the first and second year cohort groups. Seminar sessions alternate between first/second-year student meetings and gatherings of the OB community of students and faculty from within and outside the department. The seminar provides a forum for sharing the ongoing research and scholarship of the department through preparation and presentation of Integrative Scholarship Papers, Qualifying Papers, Dissertation Proposals, and Dissertation Defenses. It is also a platform for developing productive and collaborative research relationships and for increasing collective knowledge of the current state of the art in OB and related fields.

Research Requirements and Deliverables

The coursework is delineated for the first two years of the PhD. This provides a strong theoretical foundation for conducting future research.

Integrative Scholarship Paper

At the end of the first year, each doctoral student is required to have completed an Integrative Scholarship Paper (ISP). This is a critical review and integration of the literature about a topic or problem of interest. It can be thought of as a report on the current state of the scholarly conversation about the topic, encompassing historical perspectives on the evolution of the scholarly conversation to date, an examination of how the topic is approached by different disciplines or schools of thought, theoretical propositions, and suggestions for future research. Students are expected to work with one faculty advisor with support from other faculty and doctoral students to submit their ISPs for journal publication during the second year of the doctoral program.

Qualifying Paper

During the summer of their second year in the doctoral program, students complete a Qualifying Paper. Generally, this is an initial empirical investigation or meta-analysis of the topic of choice. The student is expected to form a committee, headed by a faculty advisor of the student’s own choosing and two other departmental faculty members who guide the research. Often understood as a “mini-thesis,” the student is expected to produce an in-depth analysis of the research question explored through a relevant method of inquiry. Students are expected to submit the qualifying paper for journal publication consideration during the third year of the doctoral program.


Doctoral students undertake dissertation research during their third and fourth years in the program. Each student forms a committee consisting of three departmental faculty members (one of whom will be the department chair) and one faculty member from outside the department but within the university to guide the research conducted. An original and significant endeavor, the dissertation includes a detailed review of the chosen topic, relevant research questions, methods of inquiry used, findings obtained, and an analysis of their implications.

Though all three deliverables (the ISP, Qualifying Paper, and Dissertation) may optimally flow within a single stream of inquiry, the student is free to choose a different topic of interest for each.

For additional information review the general bulletin.