Why pursue a Ph.D. in business?
A doctorate in business opens the opportunity to teach in the United States and foreign schools of business. A business school professor has a busy but remarkably rewarding professional life. He or she has the opportunity to help young people make their mark in the business world while at the same time engaging in academic studies. (The range of these studies can be surveyed by browsing the faculty listings for each of our majors.) Salaries for business school professors in the United States and many other countries are generally higher than salaries for professors in the arts and sciences and some other professional schools. A recent report by AACSB International on the shortage of business school professors that is driving up salaries is available here.
Is teaching the only career opportunity for those earning a doctorate in business?
Some of our graduates, especially in finance, information technology, operations research, and supply chain management, prefer to pursue opportunities in business. Others go into research in non-university settings. But the vast majority work in higher education.
Should I pursue a doctorate in business if I am interested in teaching but not in research?
Many of our successful students set out to earn a doctorate because of their love of teaching and were initially willing to engage in research only because they recognized that research is expected of business faculty in almost all colleges and universities. Eventually, however, these students fall in love with research. The research effort required to earn a doctorate is too intense and demanding to allow success if your heart is not in it.
Is the doctoral program appropriate for someone who wishes to improve their credentials as a business consultant or manager?
No. The program's training in both teaching and research is far too demanding to be appropriate if your goal is not a career as a business professor. If you have a different career goal, you may find it more practical to complete a doctoral degree in an allied field. You may also wish to consider one of the master's degrees offered by the Rutgers Business School.
Learning more about the campus and the program
How distinguished is Rutgers University?
A university in Shanghai recently ranked the top 500 universities in the world on the basis of the recognition and publications of their faculty and alumni. The number of times Rutgers faculty were cited was 48% of the number of times Harvard faculty were cited. Overall, Rutgers ranked number 33 in the United States and number 44 in the world.
How do I learn about the research being done in your program?
Information about the research of faculty members and their doctoral students. There you will find links to lists of faculty members in each department, with information about their publications and research interests, their past research with doctoral students, and, in some cases, topics they would like to explore with doctoral students in the future. A more comprehensive list of RBS faculty members, including those not on the doctoral faculty, is available here. Here is a compilation of abstracts for dissertations in the program during the past 5 years.
How do I get to the Rutgers - Newark campus, and where do I park?
Directions and maps are available here. Visitors are urged to use public transportation, which is very convenient. Those who must drive may find it difficult to park on the street, but parking facilities are available. The nearest one:
Do you welcome visits to campus by potential applicants?
Yes. The program office, on the 4th floor of 1 Washington Park, is staffed most weekdays between 8:30-4:30pm. Our staff can provide pointers for touring the Rutgers-Newark campus and locating faculty and other students who can give you insights into the program. To make sure someone is in the office when you come, call or email in advance: 973-353-1002 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is there a way for me to meet the faculty and current student in my program of study before being accepted to the doctoral program?
Yes, you can meet current faculty and students by attending the research seminar for your potential program of study. Here are some sources for the schedules for these seminars:
- For Accounting and Accounting Information Systems, you may verify the schedule by calling 973-353-1644.
- For Information Technology and Operations Research you may verify the schedule by calling 973-353-1643.
- For Finance, you may verify the schedule by calling 973-353-1147.
- For Marketing, you may verify the schedule by calling 973-353-1327.
- For Supply Chain Management, you may verify the schedule by calling 973-353-5266.
- For Organization Management and International Business, you may verify the schedule by calling 973-353-1650.
Can you advise me, before I finalize my application, on whether my particular academic and professional record is likely to gain me admission?
No. The evaluation of the details of each applicant's record requires consultation with several faculty members in the particular major, and we normally undertake this consultation only when the application is complete and the application fee has been paid. We have tried to answer, on this web site, all the general questions that do not relate to the evaluation of a particular applicant's record. We will be glad, however, to talk with outstanding applicants, by e-mail, by telephone, or in person, when they do have questions not answered here. Please formulate your questions as specifically and precisely as possible and send them by email to email@example.com.
Who makes the decision on admission? If I am rejected for admission, can I find out why?
Working closely with individual departments, we rank potential applicants according to the strength of their credentials and the fit of their interests with those of faculty members available to mentor them. Because of the large amount of faculty mentoring required by a doctoral student, we admit very few students that are from the top of the list. No single factor is predominant in determining a student's position on the list. There are always highly qualified students on the list below those that we end up admitting.
Can the $70 dollar application fee be waived?
No. The application fee cannot be waived. The fee is used to cover the cost of processing the application and correspondence.
What are my chances for admission?
Our admission rate is less than 10%. We receive several hundred applications and enroll only about 20 new students each year. In most majors, we admit at most two or three students each year. Since the numbers are so small, it is impossible to predict whether a particular student's qualifications will earn admission until all applications are received and compared.
Do I need a master's degree in order to be admitted?
No, but because admission is so competitive, the majority of our students do come to the program with a master's degree. A recent check of the records of the students in our program who have entered in the last four years show that 90% had some prior graduate study, even if they had not completed a master's degree, and that 60% had completed a master's degree. But each year we admit a few students with no previous graduate study.
Do you prefer applicants who have previously earned an MBA?
No. We welcome applicants who have previously earned an MBA, but it is less helpful as preparation for the research conducted in a business doctoral program than a master's degree in one of the social or mathematical sciences.
Should my letters of recommendation be written by former professors or by associates in business, church work, or military service?
Because academic ability and skill is so important in the program, at least one or two letters should be from people familiar with your academic or research work.
If I have taken the GRE, do I also need to take the GMAT?
No, either test is acceptable.
If I took the GMAT or GRE more than five years ago, do I need to retake it?
Yes. For the sake of comparability, we require GMAT or GRE scores no more than 5 years old before admitting any applicant. We sometimes accept students with low GMAT scores because of the strength of their grades or their letters of recommendation, but we need to know how applicants compare on recent GMAT or GRE scores. Please do not contact the program office asking for a waiver of this requirement.
How high does my GMAT or GRE score need to be in order for me to be admitted?
No general answer can be given to this question. Admission is competitive. In a given major in a given year, we may admit only one or two students, or perhaps no students at all. But we weigh all aspects of each applicant's record, and the applicant who is admitted may not be the one with the highest GMAT/GRE score. For the students admitted into the program in Fall 2023, the average total GMAT score was 638. The average total GRE score was 328 (159 in verbal and 169 in quantitative).
Is the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) required for all international students?
An official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score is required for nonnative speakers of English. The minimum score for admission is 79 for the internet-based test. This requirement is waived for those who have received a post-secondary degree from an institution where the medium language of instruction is English and is located in a country that English is the primary language. Please note that participating in correspondence or online courses does not satisfy this requirement. In lieu of the TOEFL we also accept International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score, applicants should have at least a 6.5 for the IELTS.
Who makes the decision on admission? If I am rejected for admission, can I find out why?
The final decision on admission is made after consultation with the faculty for the program of study. When asked about why a student was not admitted, we always give the same answer: "We rank potential applicants according to the strength of their credentials and the fit of their interests with those of faculty members available to mentor them. Because of the large amount of faculty mentoring required by a doctoral student, we admit only a very few students from the top of the list. No single factor is predominant in determining a student's position on the list. There are always highly qualified students on the list below those we end up admitting."
Do you admit students for part-time study?
Can I be admitted on a probationary basis if my academic qualifications are marginal for the program?
No. Each student in the program requires a large investment of faculty time, and we have no shortage of highly qualified applicants. So we do not admit marginal applicants on a trial basis.
Can I take courses in the program on a non-degree basis, without being admitted as a student in the program?
Yes, permission of the instructor and the program director is required and is normally given if the instructor feels that the presence of the potential student will strengthen the class for the other students. See our statement of admission policies regarding enrollment as a non-matriculated student.
Can I take a couple of courses in your program while studying English in the Rutgers-Newark ESL Program?
Yes, you may. This would provide you an opportunity to demonstrate your potential to our faculty. However, subsequent admission into our program is not guaranteed.
If I want to pursue a teaching career in a business school, should I apply to more than one doctoral program in business?
Yes. All doctoral programs in business are small. They accept only a small fraction of their applicants each year, and the selection depends on many factors in addition to the applicant's qualifications (fit with faculty interests, availability of financial aid for the particular major, etc.). So you should apply to several programs. Links to the web sites for all the doctoral programs in business in the United States can be found at the web site for The Ph.D. Project. (The Ph.D. Project is devoted to recruiting minority applicants for business doctoral programs, but its web site is an important resource for all potential applicants.)
Do you participate in the Ph.D. Project?
Yes. We are proud to have been a participant since the project began in 1994. We share the Project's goal of increasing the proportion of business school faculty in the United States who are from disadvantaged minority groups. We participate each November in the recruiting fair at the conference that the Project holds in Chicago for potential minority applicants to business school doctoral programs.
If I am admitted with financial support, can I expect it to continue for four years?
Yes, if your performance in the program is adequate.
If I can pay my own tuition and do not need any financial help, can I be assured of admission to your program?
No. Admission is competitive and limited even for students who pay their own way, because doctoral teaching and supervision requires a large investment of faculty time and energy. In general, we will not admit a self-supported doctoral student unless we are convinced that the student will succeed in the program and make a substantial contribution to the school's research mission and environment.
If I have applied for admission with financial aid, and another university has made me an offer with an approaching deadline, should I check with Rutgers on the status of my application?
If you want to make sure your application is complete and under review, or you want to withdraw your application, please call 973-353-1119 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Along with all the major graduate schools in the United States, we support and respect the resolution of the Council of Graduate Schools which sets April 15 as the earliest date at which institutions will ask potential graduate students to decide whether to accept offers of admission with financial support. Acceptances after April 15 are considered binding, but students have the right to change their mind about any earlier acceptances. If you do not hear from us before April 15, this means that we have given higher priority to offering our financial aid to other applicants, and we fully realize that if we turn to you after April 15 it may be too late.
If I have enough financial resources to support myself in your program for only a year or two, can I hope for tuition remission, a teaching assistantship, or other forms of financial support thereafter?
No. We will not admit a student on a self-supported basis unless we are convinced that they can support themselves during the entire period required to complete their doctoral study and are committed to doing so. Self-supported students are eligible to compete for certain summer research scholarships and other research or teaching opportunities, but these opportunities pay far too little to cover tuition and living expenses. More substantial forms of financial aid, such as teaching assistantships that provide tuition remission and health benefits, are reserved for continuing students who were admitted with financial aid or for new admissions. If a teaching assistantship becomes available in the middle of a semester, when it cannot be used to admit a new student, it may be awarded to a self-supported student on a temporary basis, but any such awards are usually made to relatively senior self-supported students, who have demonstrated that they have the means to continue in the program without such financial help.
Can I attend your program full-time while working elsewhere part-time or full-time?
No. By accepting admission as full-time students, applicants commit themselves not to take or continue paid employment, even self-employment, outside the university. Our faculty have the highest standards of performance at the doctoral level, and in order to meet those standards, students must study full-time.
Is financial support available for students who have not completed their degree after four years?
Yes, provided that sufficient progress has been made. Some professional associations award dissertation fellowships. We often provide dissertation fellowships for students in their fifth year who have applied for an outside fellowship and have defended a dissertation proposal by the time decisions are made at the end of the fourth year. Some departments also hire students who are completing their dissertations as temporary instructors.
Program of Study
Can I write my dissertation in an area in which you do not offer courses?
Yes, if there is a faculty member qualified and willing to supervise the research. Dissertation research ideally should go beyond course work and into new areas.
Can I design an individualized program by myself?
No. The expertise of a faculty member is required in order to put together a coherent set of courses outside the existing program. The faculty member must identify relevant and available courses from the other schools in the university and may also need to design and teach reading courses needed to fill gaps. These are both very demanding activities, requiring strong belief on the part of the faculty member that providing the individualized program would be an important contribution to management knowledge. For these reasons, application for an individualized program is accepted only when accompanied by a detailed plan developed in cooperation with a member of our faculty who agrees to mentor the student.
Life in the Program
Why is a doctoral program more demanding than an undergraduate or master's program?
Undergraduate and master's degrees are earned mainly by taking courses. The principal work in a doctoral program, in contrast, is research. Students in our program take three courses each semester during their first four semesters, but even during that time they must attend research seminars, learn to read the research journals in their field, and begin to work on research projects with faculty members. Their remaining time in the program is devoted almost entirely to research. Developing the skills to do academic research is a demanding, apprentice-like activity.
Will my business experience help me in your doctoral program?
Maturity, wherever gained, is a valuable asset in any doctoral program, and business experience may guide students in the selection of research topics. Research in a business doctoral program is, however, academic, and business experience cannot substitute for skills needed in academic research—which include skills in writing and in verbal and quantitative analysis.
How long does it take to complete a doctoral program?
Our program can be completed in four years—two years of courses, followed by two years writing a dissertation. Some students are able to complete the program within that time. However, the average time for completion, in our program and in nearly all other doctoral programs in business in the United States, is between five and six years.
If I already have an MBA, will some of my course work be waived?
No. The courses for our doctoral program are more academic than MBA courses. A large proportion of our students enter with MBAs and do not have any courses waived. On the other hand, some of the methodology requirements for some of our majors can be waived on the basis of courses students might have already taken as part of a master's degree in economics or statistics.
How many of your students come from other countries?
In recent years, about 40% of our students have come from abroad, about 40% from New Jersey, and about 20% from other locations in the United States. About 60% to 70% of our applicants are from abroad.
Do you offer courses in the evening?
Most of our courses are during the day. Because many required courses are taught only once every two years, students must be available full-time (all day, five days a week) in order to complete the program.
Should I try to complete my dissertation as quickly as possible?
We strongly encourage our students to complete their course work, take their qualifying examination, and identify a dissertation topic as quickly as possible. Once a good dissertation topic is identified, however, it is all-important to the student's subsequent career that the he or she take the time to make the dissertation as good as possible.
Getting a Job With Your Doctorate In Business
Where can your graduates obtain jobs?
Over 2/3 of our graduates obtain jobs in higher education. We have placed graduates in highly ranked business schools, including Cornell University and London Business School. Placement of our graduates in recent years are listed here.
How does the Doctoral Program help in placement?
Announcements of positions across the country are received and posted by the program office. The program director and department chairs often respond to inquiries by recommending particular students. Officials from regional colleges attend an annual session to explain their criteria in recruiting to our students. Placement in nationally ranked colleges and universities, on the other hand, depends on efforts by the student and their adviser to make the quality of the student's work widely known. We encourage our students to attend national meetings to present their work and to attend the doctoral consortia organized by professional associations, which give students pointers on making their way in the academic job market. Our faculty also make personal efforts to make their students' work known.
Should I expect to take a job as a beginning professor before completing my degree?
Because of the severe shortage of well qualified business professors, a student still working on his or her dissertation will often take a job as an acting assistant professor at another university, with the understanding that "acting" will be removed from the job title once the dissertation is completed. We strongly discourage this. Prospects for one's subsequent career are much better if the dissertation is completed before one embarks of the new demands of a teaching position.