UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

PhD Degree Requirements

PhD in Business Administration degree requirements:

Business Fundamentals: courses in your major area of concentration
  • The level of competence should be roughly equivalent to the MBA core courses.
  • Most students entering with an MBA or similar degree meet this requirement without additional course work.
  • You will need to take the appropriate courses if you do not meet this requirement prior to beginning the program.
  • You may need to take specific courses to meet specific requirements (e.g. finance).
Economics: microeconomic and macroeconomic theory
Research Methods/ Quantitative Methodologies: minimum five courses (15 hours) in Research Methods and Quantitative Methodologies.
  • One course must be in research methods covering topics such as philosophy of science, research design, sample selection, etc.
  • Three courses must focus on quantitative methodologies. These include statistics, operations research, econometrics, etc.
  • One course may be in specialized research methods (e.g., survey research, lab experimentation) or other quantitative methodologies topics.

Research Paper

  • During the summer and fall following the first year, you must complete a research paper.
  • The paper will be evaluated and approved by the student's faculty.
  • The paper's purpose is to give the student important research experience, as well as research and writing skills.
  • Most papers are presented later at professional meetings, and many lead to publication.
  • Some papers develop into dissertations.

Comprehensive Examination

  • You must pass a written comprehensive examination after completing your course work. This usually takes place at the end of the second year.
  • Some areas may require an oral examination in addition to the written exam.
  • The exams are from your major area of concentration as well as relevant material from the other requirements.

Teaching/ Research

For each of the following you need to dedicate a semester:

  • Work with faculty on the development of your teaching skills.
  • Serve as a teaching assistant.
  • Serve as a research assistant.


  • You must complete a dissertation in order to graduate from the program.
  • In most cases, the dissertation proposal is completed during the student's third year in residence, and the dissertation is completed during the fourth year.