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 academic work of enduring consequence. Hence our program and course requirements encourage continual development of reading, writing, research methods and statistics, and relational skills to help you to effectively study and communicate your ideas. Coursework is completed in the first two years of the program, as follows.

Year One

Fall Semester

Spring Semester

Summer Semester


Year Two

Fall Semester

Spring Semester

The PhD in Organizational Behavior program is designed for full-time, year-round engagement. Although some students may take shorter or longer to complete the program, it is generally completed in four to five years.

Each semester during the first two years, students participate in the ORBH Dynamic Modules which are a series of short courses, each meeting once a week for five weeks. These Modules are designed to introduce the knowledge bases and key research of organizational behavior and related fields as well as share the current research interests of the department’s faculty.

Students also participate each semester in the ORBH Research Seminar which is designed to create and sustain an intellectually nourishing and appreciative learning space for the entire community. The ORBH Research 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. The ORBH Research Seminar sessions include gatherings of the department’s learning community of doctoral students and faculty. It provides a forum for discussion and advancement of ongoing research and scholarship through preparation and presentation of Integrative Scholarship Papers, Qualifying Papers, Dissertation Proposals, and Dissertation Defenses. Thus the ORBH Research Seminar is a department-wide platform for developing productive and collaborative research relationships and for increasing collective knowledge of the current state of organizational behavior 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 their faculty advisor, with support from other faculty and doctoral students, to submit their ISPs for consideration for conference presentation and journal publication during their second and subsequent years 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 or pilot study, 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 their qualifying paper for consideration for conference presentation and journal publication during their third and subsequent years of the doctoral program.


Doctoral students undertake dissertation research after completion of their qualifying paper. Each student forms a committee, consisting of three departmental faculty members (one of whom will be the committee 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, research methods, 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.