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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 of time as it takes to earn a bachelor's degree, depending on the program. Explore what the program consists of and common career paths. View article »

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  • 0:03 Duration of a Ph.D. in…
  • 0:49 First Two Years
  • 1:21 Final Years
  • 2:03 Career and Salary Information

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Video Transcript

Duration of a Ph.D. in Business

A Doctor of Philosophy in Business is a widely available academic program that students with a keen interest in advanced business concepts and methods may be interested in pursuing. We will discuss how long this degree takes to obtain and some key components of the degree.

Earning a Ph.D. in Business generally takes about four to five years, in addition to obtaining a bachelor's degree. 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.

Students my also be interested in earning a Ph.D. in Business online, which could be completed in as little as two years total.

First Two Years

During the first two years of a Ph.D. in Business, students take a variety of different courses across all areas of 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.

Possible areas of concentration include accounting, finance, information technology, marketing, decision science, strategic management, organizational behavior, or international business.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Accounting and Bookkeeping
  • Business Economics
  • Business Finance
  • Business Management and Operations
  • Business Marketing
  • Business Support and Administrative Services
  • Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development
  • Hospitality Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Information System Management
  • International Business
  • Sales and Merchandising
  • Specialized Sales

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 March 2017 information from PayScale.com, postsecondary professors with a Ph.D. earned between $49,180 and $152,328 annually. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that postsecondary business professors earned a median wage of $77,490 in May 2016.

Individuals interested in earning a Ph.D. in Business can find programs at many universities and can typically expect to spend at least four years completing their studies, which involves taking a number of business courses, selecting a concentration, and writing and defending a dissertation.

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