Part-Time PhD Programs in Business: How Do They Work?

A part-time Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Business program allows a student to take their Ph.D. on a part-time basis while working full-time. Part-time students are generally given longer to complete the degree program.

Part-time Ph.D. programs in business are uncommon, but some schools allow students to pursue doctoral studies in part-time formats, as long as they meet the same academic and admissions requirements as full-time students.

Overview of Part-Time Ph.D. Programs in Business

Most Ph.D. programs in business are offered full-time, so there are few part-time Ph.D. programs in business. Usually, part-time programs are offered to students on a case-by-case basis, so availability is limited. These programs are intended to prepare individuals for academic research and teaching careers. Within a business Ph.D. program, students may choose a concentration such as:

  • Accounting
  • Information Systems
  • Management

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


A part-time Ph.D. covers that same material and has the same degree requirements as a full-time degree program; however, students have more time to complete the program and take fewer courses per semester.

Course Requirements

While part-time students take fewer courses at a time, how many courses they are required to complete each semester is dependent on the institution. An institution that offers part-time Ph.D.s may offer courses in the evening, on weekends or through distance learning to accommodate part-time candidates. However, part-time students must have a flexible work schedule if the institution only offers courses during the day. Course topics may include:

  • Marketplace design
  • Economic theory
  • Stochastic modeling
  • Organizational economics
  • Behavioral finance
  • Financial econometrics
  • Corporate theory

Residency Requirements

Additionally, the university may have a residency requirement stipulating that all students spend a specific period of time on-campus. Length of residencies varies by institution. Part-time candidates are generally given longer (six years rather than four years) to fulfill these requirements and complete their degrees.

Application Requirements

Part-time Ph.D. candidates must meet the same admissions requirements as full-time applicants. In order to be considered for admission, applicants must have at least a bachelor's degree, and they may be required to fulfill a minimum GPA requirement. They must also submit the following application materials:

  • Completed application
  • Application fee
  • Undergraduate and graduate transcripts
  • Personal Statement
  • GMAT or GRE scores
  • Resume or curriculum vita
  • Recommendation letters

Although part-time business Ph.D. programs are hard to come by, they may be available on a limited basis. Coursework and application requirements mirror those for on-campus students.

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