How Long Does IT Take to Get a PhD in Business?

The time it takes to earn a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Business may be the same length as it takes to earn a bachelor's degree depending on the program. Explore what the program consists of and common career paths.

Length of Time it Takes to Get a Ph.D. in Business

Earning a Ph.D. in Business generally takes about four to five years. Students can find these programs at 4-year universities. The first two years of study usually include completion of core courses such as organizational theory, microeconomics and qualitative and quantitative research methods.

First Two Years

During the first two years, students also select areas of concentration, such as accounting, finance, information technology, marketing, decision science, strategic management, organizational behavior, or international business. Once the first two years of coursework are completed, students take comprehensive exams that demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of their selected area of concentration.

Final Years

The final two to three years of the business Ph.D. program focus on the completion of a teaching assignment and a dissertation. During the teaching assignment, students assist faculty members with research and in teaching some courses. Students often receive a stipend during their teaching assignment.

Students select a dissertation topic and defend their proposal in front of a dissertation committee. This is typically done during the third year. The fourth year is spent conducting business-relevant research for the dissertation. The completed dissertation is submitted to a supervisory committee and is examined by the examining committee, although the supervisory committee may sometimes serve as the examining committee as well.

Career and Salary Information

A Ph.D. in Business prepares graduates for careers in education, but more specifically, for teaching and academic research positions at the postsecondary level. Graduates often go on to become professors of business. According to January 2016 information from PayScale.com, post-secondary professors with a Ph.D. earned between $50,416 and $155,909 annually. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that post-secondary business professors earned a median wage of $74,090 in May 2014.

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