PhD Program

Program Objectives

The primary aim of the doctoral program is to train you to become an academic researcher capable of contributing on the cutting edge of research in Management, particularly within your area of expertise. We will provide you with the learning experiences, readings, and methodological training needed to do academic work at the highest level. Our program is distinctive in that it has a cross-disciplinary curriculum and cohort of students who have interests that span multiple areas within Management: Ethics, Entrepreneurship, Leadership in Organizations, and Operations and Management Science.

We expect that you will hit the ground running and see yourselves as researchers from day one. Your aim should be to try to conduct original research that contributes to the literature from the start of the program, even though it may take you a year or more to create a paper that merits submitting to a journal. We expect you to cultivate a research portfolio beyond your dissertation while you are here and to strive to have multiple publications (or at least papers accepted at journals) before you complete the program in the four years you are with us. To effectively compete for the available jobs you will need to demonstrate both promise and a track record of accomplishment before you leave us. We will do everything we can to help you, particularly to provide an environment where you can excel and cultivate your skills as a researcher. To make it the best possible experience, we need everyone committed to excellence, to hard work, and to collegiality from day one. The results, based on past experience, should make for a memorable four years and the start of a rewarding career in the academic community. It is our pleasure to welcome you to that community.

The Darden School offers an intellectually demanding doctoral program for a small, select group of high-potential applicants: men and women who already have a breadth of knowledge in the functional areas of business and who have a strong interest in academic research.

Program Administration

The administration of the Doctoral Program has been assigned by the Darden School faculty to the Doctoral Program Operating Committee, a standing committee of the faculty. Each established major field has a major field advisor who is a member of the Doctoral Committee. The general administration of the Doctoral Program is the responsibility of the Director of the Doctoral Program.

Areas of Specialization

What areas can I specialize in within the doctoral program?

Currently our program supports specialization in Ethics, Entrepreneurship, Leadership in Organizations, and Operations and Management Science (OMS). All students will graduate with a degree in Management and our curriculum is designed to provide training for all students in the basics of management as well as specialized training in their chosen area of focus.

  • The Business Ethics specialization provides cross-disciplinary expertise in applied ethics and management theory. Based on the conviction that ethics is an inseparable part of management, management disciplines, and management practice, the program trains doctoral students in theoretical and applied ethics. Research areas may include theoretical or empirical studies; students are expected to supplement their studies at Darden with courses in the U.Va. Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
  • The Entrepreneurship specialization focuses on the process of value and wealth creation in society both through the efforts of individual entrepreneurs and corporate entrepreneurs. Research areas include cognitive studies in entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial finance, ethics and entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship and economic development, entrepreneurial strategies, and corporate entrepreneurship.
  • The Leadership in Organizations (LO) specialization focuses on the social and psychological dimensions of leadership and the context of organizations. Students are expected to master theoretical and empirical work related to the study of leadership, human relations management, organizational behavior, and organization theory.
  • The Operations and Management Science (OMS) specialization is focused on studying the processes that organizations use to transform inputs into outputs that create value for society. Inputs include such things as human, capital, and technological resources, all of which typically represent a significant portion of a firm's total costs and controllable assets. Scholarship in OMS is conducted at the industry, organization, product, service, process and individual level of analysis, and includes decision problems that involve uncertainty, competition, risk attitudes and multiple (often competing) objectives. These elements arise in a variety of contexts and research in OMS is naturally interdisciplinary. Methodologically, OMS focuses primarily on formal economic models of decision-making and methods that apply formal models to practical decision problems. Recently, this modeling and methodology focus has been complemented by econometric, experimental and field-based empirical research. Please consult the OMS PhD Progam Handbook for additional details.

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