Business Administration Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Degree


The Ph.D. in business administration is designed to inspire and train scholars to identify, investigate, and solve novel business challenges that influence business and society, particularly, those that are triggered by technological changes. Our program has a sharp emphasis on the effects of technological innovation on discipline-based theories and research. Our faculty adopt an apprenticeship model in working with students to become independent scholars, cutting-edge researchers, and well-trained educators at research-oriented universities.

The program offers three areas of specialization:

Digital Transformation: Digital transformation emphasizes the integration of digital technologies that have altered the marketing of products and services, as well as the management of information systems. In this area of specialization, you will study the design and development of digital artifacts and their implications for interpersonal interaction, analyze the modes of human information processing in digitally transformed business contexts, and theorize the emergence of new business models and ways of organizing in digitally immersive environments.

Strategy and Innovation: A distinct feature of 21st century competition is the pivotal role played by technological innovation as a competitive advantage for organizations. In the strategy and innovation specialization, research emphasizes the growing role of technological capabilities and innovation-based products and processes as a source of competitive advantage. You will acquire knowledge and skills to address novel research questions about firm-level strategy and innovation-related challenges faced by managers and policy makers.

Finance and Accounting: The finance and accounting specialization emphasizes new challenges and research areas that have emerged from technological innovations within finance and accounting disciplines. These areas include FinTech, high-frequency trading, alternative trading systems (dark pool and ECNs), crowdfunding platforms, P2P lending platforms, blockchains, cryptocurrencies, data analytic tools in auditing and credit rating, digital transformation of SEC filings and corporate disclosures. In this area of specialization, you will study the antecedents and consequences of technology in finance and accounting.



At the intersection of innovation, technology and business, Saunders faculty consistently publish their research in elite journals across the following three Ph.D. specialty areas.

  • Digital Transformation
  • Finance and Accounting
  • Strategy and Innovation

Learn more about Business Administration Ph.D. research

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the Ph.D. program in business administration, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Complete an online graduate application*. Refer to Graduate Admission Deadlines and Requirements for information on application deadlines, entry terms, and more.
  • Submit copies of official transcript(s) (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work, including any transfer credit earned.
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree (or US equivalent) from an accredited university or college.
  • Submit a current resume or curriculum vitae.
  • Two letters of recommendation are required. Refer to Application Instructions and Requirements for additional information.
  • Not all programs require the submission of scores from entrance exams (GMAT or GRE). Please refer to the Graduate Admission Deadlines and Requirements page for more information.
  • Submit a personal statement of educational objectives. Refer to Application Instructions and Requirements for additional information.
  • International applicants whose native language is not English must submit official test scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. Students below the minimum requirement may be considered for conditional admission. Refer to Graduate Admission Deadlines and Requirements for additional information on English language requirements. International applicants may be considered for an English test requirement waiver. Refer to the English Language Test Scores section within Graduate Application Materials to review waiver eligibility.

*Application fee is waived for fall 2022 applicants.

Assistantships and Financial Aid

All incoming students are provided an assistantship, which includes tuition and stipend. As part of assistantship, all first-year students are assigned research activities. In subsequent years, students are assigned a combination of research and teaching responsibilities. Students making satisfactory progress toward the degree can expect to be provided assistantship for a maximum of five-year period.

Learn more about graduate admissions