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Approved by the Management faculty October 26, 2002, for immediate implementation
(Revisions will be made and announced as needed)
Revised and Updated July 25, 2005
Revised and Updated February, 2007
Revised and Updated August, 2008
Revised and Updated August 2008
Revised and Updated July, 2009
Revised and Updated August, 2012
Revised and Updated February, 2016
The PhD program is a full-time, on-campus program. As a result, fulfilling the PhD program stipulates that all students fulfill the doctoral residency-year requirement as outlined by the Auburn University Graduate School. The residency-year requirement is satisfied by completing a minimum of 18 semester hours (nine of which must be graded) of graduate on-campus coursework during two consecutive semesters. Interruption of this two semester sequence by not taking courses during the summer semester does not constitute a break in continuity.
It is the student’s responsibility to provide an up-to-date email (if other than AU email) address, postal address, and phone number to the Department of Management’s Graduate Officer’s office and your chair (curriculum or dissertation) throughout your PhD experience. Email is the official form of communication for Auburn University; however, we also need up-to-date telephone numbers and home addresses.
A large part of the doctoral education experience is the interaction with peers and faculty members. This is a time to gain those relationships that will be beneficial in the years to come. It is strongly encouraged that students take advantage of these opportunities by keeping a presence on campus. Likewise, it is expected that doctoral students be present and participate in departmental research seminars and other departmental activities, including dissertation defenses, guest speakers, colloquia, and other activities.
No more than nine credit hours may be transferred into the Auburn PhD program. All hours transferred must be approved in advance by the student’s Plan of Study Committee and must be included on the Plan of Study.
A grade of incomplete in a graduate level class must be resolved per the directions of the instructor but no later than six months from the end of the semester in which the course was taken. This applies regardless of the student's enrollment status. A student not enrolled during the semester following the incomplete is not exempt from this rule. Pending removal or recording as an F, an incomplete is counted as a C in determining eligibility for continued enrollment. Failure to resolve an incomplete by the deadline established by the instructor or the six-month period, whichever is sooner, will result in assigning a grade of F and automatic dismissal from the program.
Typically, all qualified full-time PhD students will be provided renewable financial support for four years through Graduate Teaching Assistantships (or research assistantships or scholarships when available). To be eligible to solely teach a course as a GTA, the student must have at least 18 hours of graduate coursework in the area. This means that individuals entering the PhD program without prior graduate work will not be eligible to teach a course by themselves or independently grade assignments until the beginning of their second year in the program. However, such students may be eligible to serve as a lab instructor.
In addition to earning a monthly stipend for the Fall and Spring semesters, GTAs also have their tuition waived as long as they are teaching. Continuation of support will be based upon each student’s acceptable performance and progress in the program. This will be determined at the time of the annual evaluation. Students must seek permission from the department head to add other paid assignments to their Departmental GTA assignment. No cumulative total award can exceed 50%. Summer support is not guaranteed. AU does not waive your tuition for summer unless you are on payroll. However, if it was waived for the previous two semesters, you are eligible to have your summer tuition be at in-state levels (you must request this from the Graduate School). We are committed to do everything possible to provide summer support for those semesters that you are required to take classes.
An orientation and teaching skills seminar is held the week prior to the beginning of Fall semester. Graduate teaching assistants must attend the teaching skills seminar before qualifying for their teaching assignments. All graduate students are encouraged to take advantage of the programs offered in the Biggio Teaching Center located in Haley Center. We would like to see our students enroll in at the very minimum two Biggio Center classes during their PhD experience. If a student receives low teaching evaluations, that student may be required to take additional Biggio classes.
The program is a four year, full-time program. The bulk of coursework is completed in the first two years. The third year is devoted to completing comprehensive exams and research projects. The fourth year is dedicated to dissertation research. Students are permitted some flexibility in choosing their courses when designing their program of study with the approval of their Plan of Study Committee.
Management PhD Statistics and Research Methodology competencies are demonstrated through the successful completion of six methods/design courses:
Two of the following three courses:
Statistics Elective (approved by PhD Coordinator or Management Department Chair)
Students are expected to obtain a grade of B or higher in these courses or may be required to repeat the class by the program committee. In addition to the six statistics classes, the Management concentration includes the following core classes (plus one potential elective class):
Students are encouraged to create a Plan of Study Committee as soon as they identify their research interests and complete the plan of study form. The Plan of Study must be filed with the Graduate School as soon as possible but no later than one semester prior to the semester of graduation. The Plan of Study Form, Form XV, and revisions forms are available on the Graduate School web page.
Selection of a dissertation committee is a natural evolution of the program. It is not intended that the Plan of Study chair ultimately has to serve as a student’s Dissertation Advisor. However, at the point in which a student selects his/her dissertation committee, a revised plan of study must be filed with the Graduate School. The doctoral dissertation chair (or co-chair) must be a member of the Management Department, be Graduate Faculty Level 2, and meet the criteria established by the department. In addition to the chair, the committee must be composed of at least three other members of the Graduate Faculty. At most, only one non-AU faculty member can serve on the committee.
The Department of Management’s goal is for all students to successfully complete the PhD program in a timely manner and acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to assure their future success. Therefore, it is departmental policy to evaluate student performance in the Spring semester of each year. Student evaluations will include performance in coursework, teaching and research activities, meeting program deadlines, other scholarly activities, and citizenship. The evaluation procedure is as follows. Students complete the department’s Annual Progress and Activity Report form and deliver it to their Doctoral Advisor with a copy for your file in the Graduate Programs office by the first day in May of each year.
A meeting of the core faculty in each concentration will be held to review all PhD students. Faculty Advisors will lead the discussion of their students’ progress and performance. Other faculty, such as statistics faculty, may attend the meetings and provide input. The status of each student’s progress will be determined and communicated in writing to the student. A copy of this progress report will be placed in the student’s permanent file, along with an email or signed statement from the student indicating that they have received this progress report. When students are not meeting PhD program requirements, recommendations for specific actions will be communicated to students, which will specify criteria for maintaining departmental support and program involvement.
The student’s major professor, in coordination with the area coordinators, and the Department Chair, will be responsible for individual feedback to PhD students in both written and oral forms within a month of evaluation completion.
The primary objective of the Comprehensive Exam (“Comps”) is to determine if PhD students have adequate mastery of the subject matter in the Management field. The policy stated in this document follows the official guidelines for the required General Doctoral Examination Policy, established by the Graduate School (see Auburn University Graduate School Bulletin).
To become eligible to take comprehensive exams, doctoral students must meet two qualifying conditions. First, they must complete both their Management Department and overall coursework listed in their Plan of Study with a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA. Second, each student must complete a second-year pre-comps empirical, qualifying paper. This study is structured to have the paper front end and research design developed and approved during the first year Spring semester Research Design seminar (MNGT 8030). The second year pre-comp empirical study would then be completed during the student’s second year of coursework (and could be completed as part of a second-year seminar paper requirement). The paper would then be read, evaluated, and signed off on by a primary and secondary departmental faculty member of the student’s choice before the student is allowed to proceed to taking their comprehensive exams. This paper should represent a study design and execution of “publishable quality”, although the paper is not required to meet this standard to complete the qualifying requirement.
The written exam is constructed by the members of the Management faculty under the leadership of the PhD coordinator. A new exam is developed for each administration. Three major content areas are assessed on the written exam—Strategic Management, Organizational Behavior, and Research Methods.
To aid preparation for the exam, faculty will provide a reading list which contains a representative, but not exhaustive, sample of key books and research articles in each major content area (course reading lists may be substituted for comprehensive list). Students should also obtain the most recent syllabi and associated reading lists of the pertinent doctoral seminars and review recent issues of the major journals in the field. Students should be mindful that this exam is comprehensive and thus is not designed to cover only material that has been specifically covered in their graduate courses.
The exam uses an essay format to be completed using a computer (i.e., not hand written). The written exam is given over two consecutive days. Each day consists of two four-hour blocks (typically 8:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. and 1:00–5:00 p.m.). In each four-hour block, students will be required to answer one or two questions. Students might be given multiple questions to choose from, but this is not guaranteed. The exam is closed book (i.e., no external materials are allowed). Day 1 includes one block devoted to Strategic Management and one to Organizational Behavior. Day 2 includes one block devoted to Research Methods and one to the student’s self-identified main area of study (dissertation topic or area) (Strategic Management or Organizational Behavior). The student must specify their primary area of study at a minimum of six weeks before the scheduled comprehensive exam date.
The doctoral coordinator will manage the scheduling and administration of the written exam each year. The written exam may be offered twice each academic year: Once in late June/July (preferred) and once in January (secondary). The exam days will not overlap with the regular academic semester. All candidates will be required to take the exam on the specified dates. Students will be dismissed from the program if they have not completed comps by May 15 of their third year in the program.
Students become eligible to take the exam after they have completed (a) all required course work and (b) a pre-comps empirical qualifying paper (see Section 2). If at all possible, comps will be administered at a reasonable and common time to a cohort successfully meeting these eligibility standards. Students must declare to the doctoral coordinator their intent to take the exam 6 weeks in advance of the scheduled exam date. Once students sit for the exam on the first day, any section not completed will be recorded as failed. If a serious crisis emerges for a student during this two-day period, the student may petition the faculty to take sections missed at a different date. Such events must be thoroughly documented and meet the Auburn University criteria for an excused absence (https://sites.auburn.edu/admin/universitypolicies/Policies/PolicyonClassAttendance.pdf). If a postponement is allowed, the new date should fall within two weeks of the absence. The makeup exam may consist of different questions than those taken by others during the regular examination period.
The grading process is run by the doctoral coordinator. All faculty with Graduate Faculty 1 status may be invited to grade questions that fall within their area(s) of expertise. Faculty who currently teach seminars and/or work with doctoral students are expected to grade questions that they feel competent to grade. The doctoral coordinator works toward ensuring that each question is graded by a minimum of three professors. Faculty evaluators will be blind to the name of the student(s) taking the examination. The grading scale for each question is as follows:
5 = Exemplary. Very complete, comprehensive, and well-integrated answer. Consistently uses the appropriate professional terminology. Integrates and cites supporting literature through answer. Approaches questions and problems critically.
4 = Good. Displays very few gaps in knowledge and understanding of concepts and principles. Integrates and cites supporting literature in parts of answer.
3 = Adequate. Displays a few gaps in knowledge and understanding of concepts and principles. Missing a few key concepts and/or literature.
2 = Inadequate. Inconsistent in use of professional terminology. Makes small critical errors. Displays some gaps in knowledge and understanding of concepts and principles. Limited integration and citing of supporting literature.
1 = Poor. Displays large gaps in knowledge. Demonstrates very limited, no knowledge, or erroneous knowledge of content area. Shows limited understanding of concepts and principles. Makes major and fatal critical errors; does not cite, mention, or integrate supporting literature. Does not make use of professional terminology.
A minimum overall score of 3.75 is required to pass any of the three sections of the exam. If a student passes all three sections, the student proceeds to oral comps and work on their dissertation proposal.
Any student who scores between 3.0 and 3.74 on a section is asked questions about his/her written exam answers for that section during his/her oral comprehensive exam in an effort to gather more data on his/her mastery of the content. Based on this data, a committee consisting of the doctoral coordinator and the faculty who graded the exam either decide that this portion of the written exam has now been passed or they assign additional remediation based on their professional judgment as PhD- holding educators.
Any student who scores between 2.0 and 2.99 on a section will rewrite his/her answers to the relevant questions. This provides the faculty with more data on his/her mastery of the content. Such a rewrite will typically be an untimed write-up in the topic area over a two or three day period (two or three days from when the question is given to the student to when their reply is submitted) be conducted by the doctoral coordinator and student major professor (if applicable). This rewrite would be open books and notes. Based on this data, a committee consisting of the doctoral coordinator and the faculty who graded the exam either decide that this portion of the written exam has now been passed or they assign additional remediation based on their professional judgment as PhD-holding educators (no remediation or discussion during oral comps).
Any student who scores below a 2.0 on a section is considered to have failed that section and must retake that section within one month in the same format as the original exam. The retake is scored using the same system as the initial administration of the exam, except that
(a) A student who scores between 2.99 or below on a retaken section has just one opportunity to rewrite his/her answers. Based on the rewrites, a committee consisting of the doctoral coordinator and the faculty who graded the exam either decides that this portion of the written exam has now been passed or that it has been failed. This latter scenario means that the student has failed a section of the exam twice. Students who cannot pass one or more sections of the written comprehensive exam after two attempts are removed from the doctoral program.
(b) No additional remediation is available if a student again scores 2.99 or below on a section of the exam. Students who cannot pass one or more sections of the written comprehensive exam after two attempts are removed from the doctoral program.
When students successfully complete the written exam, an oral exam is administered. The faculty expects that the oral exam will be administered within 4 weeks of receiving feedback of the written exam. Thus students are strongly encouraged to schedule the oral exam as soon as possible after the announcement of the written exam results. The oral exam is required by the Graduate School as part of the General Doctoral Examination Policy to complete the doctoral degree. Please note that the administration of the oral exam is contingent on successful performance on the written exam. Students are provided with their written test results as soon as the grading has been completed, typically within 3 weeks. The purpose of the oral exam is to provide members of faculty an opportunity to assess a student’s mastery of the three content areas by asking additional questions about those areas and to help the student plan his/her dissertation (assuming the oral exam is passed). Grading of oral exam performance is on a Pass/Fail basis. If the student passes their written comps without stipulation (3.75 or above scores on all 4 sections), then the oral comps are designed to aid development by providing feedback on dissertation proposal ideas and design.
All graduate students undertaking research involving human subjects must arrange for the University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the Use of Human Subjects in Research to review and approve the research. As part of this process you will be required to take an on-line certification exam. To obtain approval, the student must complete the form “Protocol for Research Involving Human Subjects” which can be obtained from the Office of the Provost in Samford Hall. Students cannot proceed with the research experience or proposal until this approval is obtained. This is a university requirement.
Successful completion of the Plan of Study and passing the qualifying paper/comps process allows PhD students to begin the development of their Dissertation Proposal. A Dissertation is intended to be original research, which contributes to the body on knowledge in the field of study. This process includes the following:
By the time the student completes the required PhD coursework, he/she should be focused on the intended dissertation topic. In cooperation with his/her Doctoral Advisor, the student should assemble a Dissertation Committee of at least four members of the graduate faculty of which three are from the Management Department. The chairperson of the Dissertation Committee must meet the departmental criteria for chairing a dissertation. This information can be obtained from the Department Chair. The dissertation chair is especially important in guiding the student through the Dissertation process.
The Dissertation Proposal typically requires the student to complete the first three chapters of a dissertation (introduction, literature review and methodology chapters). It includes a statement of justification for the research, explaining the need and importance of the research topic. It includes an extensive literature review, which provides the conceptual understanding and focus for the research. Finally, it includes a description of the research methodology to be used to carry out the research. In most cases, students will have developed a “proof of concept” for the research by having conducted a pilot research project as part of their manuscript development process. Having sample data and preliminary analysis of the concept allows the student to show the viability of the research project. Formal review of the Dissertation Proposal is considered the Comprehensive Oral Examination.
After the Dissertation Proposal is completed, the student must present and defend his/her proposal to the Dissertation Committee and the Management Department. Successful completion of the Proposal Defense allows the student to be accepted for candidacy by the Graduate School. Dissertation Proposal: A formal dissertation proposal, consisting of introduction, literature review and methodology chapter must be successfully defended and the appropriate paperwork submitted to the Graduate School no later than August 15th of the fourth year in the PhD program. At this point, the student is considered to be ABD and a “candidate.”
The dissertation in a time-consuming process. It is imperative that every student communicate on a regular basis with members of the dissertation committee. These individuals are dedicating a great deal of time and effort to assuring your success.
Completion of the Dissertation and its defense is the final hurdle for completion of the PhD degree in Management. PhD students are required to complete and successfully defend their Dissertation in a formal Dissertation Defense within four years of entering Candidacy. The Guide to Preparation and Submission of a Dissertation, available in University or local bookstores, can be of help in this process.
All students must take 10 semester hours of MNGT 8990: Research and Dissertation. These hours are not included in the Plan of Study and no grade is assigned for the hours. The number of MNGT 8990 hours during any one semester will range from a minimum of one hour to a maximum of 10 hours, depending on the amount of time being spent on the dissertation. After the final draft of the dissertation is completed and approved by the student's Dissertation Committee, it is submitted to the Graduate School for review. An outside reader is appointed by the Graduate School to review and critique the quality of the Dissertation. The Dissertation Committee’s Chair may provide a list of potential names for outside reader to the Graduate School at any time prior to the completion of the first draft of the dissertation. When the Graduate School has approved the dissertation, the student may apply to the Graduate School for his/her final Dissertation Defense (known as the Final Examination). The application must be filed with the Graduate School at least ten working days prior to the final defense to allow time to advertise the defense. Dissertation defenses must be advertised.
The student’s Dissertation Committee conducts the final defense. Successful completion requires unanimous support of the committee (the outside reader will attend but does not vote). All faculty and PhD students are permitted and encouraged to attend the defense. Final copies of the dissertation (two) must be submitted to the Graduate School by the deadline established for the semester of graduation. All dissertations must be microfilmed by University Microfilms International of Ann Arbor, Michigan, which publishes the abstract in Dissertation Abstracts. The student is required to pay for these services.
Dissertation: The dissertation must be successfully defended and the appropriate paperwork submitted to the Graduate School no later than August 15 of the sixth year in the PhD program. It is important that all students familiarize themselves with the Graduate School procedures for the completion of the dissertation and graduation. The summary of graduation procedures and the graduation check lists is available in the Graduate School and on the website for the Graduate School.
It is the student's responsibility to meet the Graduate School’s requirements for graduation, which includes clearance for graduation one semester prior to completion, properly formatting the dissertation, meeting the specified dates for submission of drafts for Graduate School review, and submission of the final dissertation to meet graduation deadlines. There are many forms that must be completed prior to the defense. Please become aware of the necessary procedures and consult with the Graduate School (http://www.grad.auburn.edu/) in Hargis Hall. This is imperative to timely completion and graduation.
Students may be dismissed from the PhD programs in the Management Department for the following reasons:
Manuscript Development Policy
Any deviation from the policies outlined below must be based on the Management Department PhD Program Steering Committee’s approval of a student-generated appeal.
Evaluation criteria will parallel those discussed in Campion’s (1993) “Article Review Checklist: A Criterion Checklist for Reviewing Research Articles in Applied Psychology” (Personnel Psychology, 46, 705-718).
Students can appeal faculty decisions as follows: The student should submit, in writing, the request for appeal and justifications for such request to the Department of Management Chair. An ad hoc PhD Review Committee, appointed by the Department Chair, will review and rule on appealed decisions. The committee will include at least one faculty member outside the student’s area of concentration. The committee will have full authority of the department in reviewing and deciding the case.
While it is hoped that all PhD students can complete their coursework and dissertation within a four-year period of time, please be advised that office space and stipend support is guaranteed only for four years.