PHD application

Darden Ph.D. Application Requirements

Application Requirements

View applicant requirements information about the Ph.D. program at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.

Thank you for inquiring about the Darden School's doctoral program. We offer admission to our program every four to five years, bringing in a single cohort of students at a time and then working with them to complete their degrees before bringing in a new cohort.

The Ph.D. program is not accepting applications for the 2019–20 academic year.


  • 1. Core Data

    The Darden Ph.D. application begins with a request for demographic information, address, education, professional history and so on. The instructions are straightforward and self-explanatory.

  • 2. GMAT or GRE Score

    Applicants are required to take either the GMAT or GRE.

    The GMAT is offered only as a computer adaptive test in the United States. Pearson VUE administers the GMAT, and Darden's program code is KC7-0X-86. We evaluate only test score results from tests taken prior to submission of the application. The highest score is used, but we do not combine scores from multiple tests. Scores are valid for five years.

    Darden will also accept a GRE score in place of the GMAT. No approval is necessary — just apply with the GRE score. Please note that there is no advantage or disadvantage to taking one test over the other.

    We do not require official test scores in order to process your application and get it to the committee for review. You may self-report the scores directly into your online application. If offered admission, you will need to send official documents. However, offers of admission are not binding until official scores are received. If discrepancies are found between self-reported and official scores, the offer of admission will be withdrawn.

  • 3. English Language Test Score

    As much as 50 percent of a student's grade at Darden depends upon active oral participation. The University of Virginia requires demonstrated English proficiency. The recommended way to demonstrate English proficiency is to submit a TOEFL, IELTS or PTE score. For additional details and guidelines regarding which applicants need to take an English language exam, visit International Applicants.

  • 4. Curriculum Vitae

    Please prepare an academic CV that includes your education, professional employment, teaching experience (if any), publications, conference presentations, honors and awards, research interests/experience, and professional affiliations/memberships.

  • 5. Essay

    Use the essay to display your writing skills and tell us more about yourself. You will be asked to organize a persuasive argument to show us how you think about and approach business and research challenges. Emphasize those experiences, values and goals that are most important and meaningful to you. Be sincere and be specific. Tell us what particular experiences and expertise you will bring to the mix. The essay question field is large enough for you to answer the question thoroughly. 

  • 6. Recommendations

    We require two recommendations that address the questions asked on our recommendation form. Additional recommendations may be submitted, but they should offer additional and valuable insight.

    All recommendations must be submitted electronically. After you have contacted those who will be providing your recommendations, complete the form on the recommender's page of the online application. They will then be sent an email with instructions and a web address to visit in order to complete your recommendation.

  • 7. Interviews

    An evaluative interview is conducted by invitation only after your application has been submitted and reviewed by the admissions committee. Interviews play a critical role in our assessment of candidates and are required prior to acceptance into the program. An invitation to interview is a positive indicator no matter when you receive it.

    Interviews are conducted by admissions committee members by phone and through Skype.

  • 8. Transcripts

    It is expected that all applicants to Darden have completed their bachelor's and master’s degree at a college or university in the United States or hold a college or university degree equivalent to a four-year American baccalaureate degree. Darden will also recognize undergraduate degrees that were earned in only three years of study.

    We do not require official transcripts in order to process your application and get it to the committee for review. You have two options for submitting a transcript. The first option is to scan the official or unofficial transcript as a PDF and upload it in the educational history section of the application. The second option is to mail us the transcript. If you decide to mail the transcript instead of self-reporting the uploaded transcript on the application, we must receive it before the deadline. Our online system will not allow you to submit an application without a transcript (either an uploaded scanned copy or the transcript received through the mail).

    If you completed your education in a non-English-speaking institution, you will need to make arrangements to have your academic records translated and sent with the official transcript. All translations must be complete and literal versions of the original records. If offered admission, you will need to send official documents. If there are discrepancies between self-reported academic information and official transcripts, the offer of admission will be withdrawn. Offers of admission are not binding until academic records are verified.

  • 9. Residency/In-State Status

    The residency section of the application requests information related to verification of residency to establish in-state status for Virginia residents. Residency status is assigned by the Virginia Status Office at the University of Virginia. Visit the Virginia Status Office at the University or call +1-434-982-3391 if you need more information.

  • 10. Visa Information

    While not a required part of the application, admitted international applicants are required to submit a supplemental Darden Request for Form I-20, outlining the financial resources available for their study in the United States. The Form I-20 must show that a student has the financial resources necessary for four years of study. Timely submission of the Darden Request for Form I-20 expedites issuance of the I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for the F-1 Student Visa. An I-20 cannot be issued until submission of the Darden Request for Form I-20, which can be downloaded from the Admitted Student Portal. All I-20 documentation must be original. No photocopies or faxes are accepted.

    The completed Darden Request for Form I-20 and supporting documents should be mailed to:

    Darden School of Business 
    Admissions Office 
    100 Darden Boulevard 
    Charlottesville, Virginia 22903

  • 11. Application Fee

    A nonrefundable application fee of $100 must accompany the application. Online application fees can be paid by credit card (Visa or MasterCard) through Darden's secure server or by check, money order or cashier's check. Credit card payments are preferred.

    The following are eligible for application fee waivers: Military members who have active duty experience within the last three years. Waivers are given to other applicants only under extreme circumstances. To request an application fee waiver, please submit an email to [email protected] detailing your reasons.

  • 12. Honor Code

    Founded in 1842, the Honor System is one of the University of Virginia's most cherished institutions. Based on the principle that students want to be trusted, the UVA Honor Code helps create and strengthen a university-wide community of trust. Students who enroll at the University benefit from the freedom and security provided by the Honor System. Every student must agree to live by and support the spirit of honor. Applicants who are not prepared to embrace this freedom and accept this responsibility should not apply for admission. If you have further questions, please call the committee at +1-434-924-7602 or visit the Honor Committee website. Details of the background and operation of the Honor System are fully explained during your Ph.D. orientation.

  • 13. Apply

    Thank you for your interest in Darden!

    The Ph.D. program is not accepting applications for the 2019–20 academic year.

Financial Aid 

Almost all incoming students, regardless of need and background, are awarded a fellowship that includes tuition, single-person health fees, and a living stipend and assistance to support your research including both books and travel (approximately $48,000 in recent years). 

Although there is no formal commitment, it is expected that financial aid will be awarded for up to four years. All financial aid awards are contingent upon a student's satisfactory academic progress. 

*Financial aid amounts will vary depending on whether you are taking classes (first two years) or focusing on researching and writing (second two years).


“I didn't realize how fortunate I am to be a part of the Darden doctoral experience until after I finished my Ph.D. The exposure to cutting-edge business ethics scholarship is unparalleled. The program structure allowed me to rigorously explore my research interests with the help of first-rate professors who treated me like a real colleague. I never had a hard time approaching anyone for help or advice on an idea I wanted to develop, a paper I had a hard time writing or a dissertation that needed to be done well. But most importantly, the experience travels with me wherever I go. I cannot imagine my life as a business ethicist without all the people and relationships that Darden provided me. This has truly been one of the best decisions I made.” 
Angelo Carrascoso (Ph.D. ’09)

“The Ph.D. program at Darden literally transformed my life. My advisers cared about me as both student and human being, and left me with a far broader intellectual perspective.” 
Susan Harmeling (Ph.D. ’06) 

“Darden's doctoral program is supportive yet challenging. I never stopped working — reading, thinking and writing — and enjoying every minute. But it's the people in the program — the faculty and your fellow students — that make the difference. Everyone associated with Darden's program is incredibly brilliant and generous in their time and attention. Most importantly, the faculty have high expectations and give you every opportunity to meet those expectations.” 
Kirsten Martin (Ph.D. ’06)

“My time at Darden was a life-changing experience. The Darden doctoral student benefits from close, collegial interaction with world-class faculty members set in an environment that blends the strong Jeffersonian intellectual tradition with state-of-the-art facilities. I see the world with new eyes thanks to my time here.” 
Troy Harting (Ph.D. ’05)

“The doctoral program at Darden positioned me to get exactly the job I wanted, and the faculty all went above and beyond to help me achieve my goals. The close collaboration with faculty and encouragement to pursue your own research agenda was outstanding, and I believe it is unique. I could not think any higher of Darden's program and would recommend it to anyone who wants to not only learn to do research but to expand their way of thinking about the world.” 
Jeffrey York (Ph.D. ’09)