PhD Policies & Procedures

Core Course Requirements

To ensure that every student has the skills to be successful in his/her chosen field, only Ph.D.-level courses are accepted for credit beyond the master’s level.  Exceptions have to be approved by the Ph.D. program committee.

Two elective independent study courses are mandatory. Within these courses the student will work with an HSTM professor to develop a research paper. The papers must be submitted to a conference or to a journal.

Every Ph.D. student must give at least one research presentation once a year at the Howe School Ph.D. conference. This may be a 20 minute whiteboard talk in the HSTM Ph.D. research conference (e.g., in the seminar), or an outside talk such as a workshop or conference.

PhD Activity Review

Each student's learning and research progress is reviewed by the HSTM Ph.D. program committee near the end of the Fall and Spring semesters.

  • In preparation for this review, each student must submit a brief progress report describing the learning and research progress since the last review as well as his/her plans for the time period before the next scheduled review.
  • After drafting the report, the student should confer with his/her advisor for approval. Once approved, the report should be submitted to the Ph.D. program director.
  • Each faculty instructor of a doctoral seminar will be required to provide a brief report about the performance of the student. The report should be submitted to the Ph.D. program director.
  • In addition, Ph.D. students who have taken research credits (MGT960) must also submit a report to the Dean of Graduate Academics on a special form—the "Doctoral Activity Report" (DAR). The DAR must be signed by the advisor and the Ph.D. program director.
  • It is acceptable to write a single report and submit the DAR to the Ph.D. program director as well as to the graduate office.

The outcome of the progress review is that a student is placed into one of three categories: good standing, probation, or terminated.

  1. A student in good standing is making satisfactory progress toward his/her degree, and is expected to follow through on the plans outlined in his/her progress report.
  2. A student on probation is making inadequate progress toward his/her degree. A student on probation will receive a letter from the Ph.D. program committee that explains what remedial actions he/she must take to return to good standing, and by what time each action must be taken.
  3. Only students who were on probation in the preceding semester will be considered for termination.

Qualifying Examination

Each fulltime Ph.D. student must pass qualifying exams no later than the fourth semester of study.  Each part-time Ph.D. student must pass qualifying exams no later than the sixth semester of study.  Exceptions have to be approved by the Ph.D. program committee.

The exam has two purposes: to certify that the student is broadly educated in key research methods and management research areas, and has the knowledge to perform original research.

The qualifying exam tests student competency in research methods and research fields. Based on their doctoral coursework students will be examined in research methods and specific research fields. The exam is a comprehensive written exam.

The exams will be conducted by faculty who taught the Ph.D. courses taken by the students. A chair for the examination committee will be appointed by the Ph.D. program committee and will develop the exam in collaboration with four other faculty members who have currently taught Ph.D. courses in the program.

Each exam will be graded by all five faculty members who created the exam. The exam is passed with a simple majority vote of the faculty.

The exams are offered at the beginning of Fall and Spring semesters.

A student may take qualification examination up to two times. Any parts of the examination that were passed the first time do not need to be taken the second time.

The form for the qualifying exam has to be filled out by the Ph.D. student and approved by the advisor and the Howe School Ph.D. director.


It is expected that students, once enrolled in the doctoral program, will remain enrolled without interruption until graduation. However, sometimes it is necessary for a student to take a leave for a reason such as personal difficulty, health, etc. If such a situation arises, the student must petition the Ph.D. program committee in writing for a leave, which, if granted, will last for one semester. To extend the leave, a new petition must be filed. Neither indefinite leave nor excessive repetition of leave is permitted. While the student is on leave, any time limit he/she faces (e.g., completing the qualifying exam within two years) is suspended for the length of the leave.