Wayne State University

Doctoral admissions

The objective of the Ph.D. program at the Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business is to prepare students to become faculty members at major research universities.

The program is research-based and focuses on quantitative skills and global perspectives. We encourage our doctoral students to engage in research projects with faculty members early in the program.

Students attend on a full-time basis and concentrate their studies on one of three tracks: finance, management or marketing. Each applicant applies for and is admitted to a specific program track. 

Admitted Ph.D. student profile (2012-13)
Finance 691
Management 645
Marketing 646

Our finance doctoral program has a 100 percent success rate in placing our students in tenure-track positions. We are also proud to announce that our finance doctoral graduates have papers accepted for publication in top journals, such as The Accounting Review, Financial Management and The Journal of Banking and Finance, within the first year of graduation.


The program is a minimum of 90 credits, with 60 credits of graduate-level coursework and 30 credits of dissertation research.

An academic plan, developed with and approved by the Ph.D. advisor, is required for each student. Progress toward completion is reviewed annually.

Coursework takes approximately two years for students who have completed core business courses prior to admission and three years for those who have no graduate business credits.

Written and oral qualifying examinations are required at the end of coursework. A dissertation, based on the student’s original research, is also required.

Financial assistance

Assistantships, fellowships and scholarships are available to Ph.D. students.

Most admitted students receive a three-year assistantship, which pays all tuition and fees, offers health insurance and a modest monthly stipend. Assistantships require students to support faculty members in their research and teaching activities.

By successfully completing the qualifying exams and defending their dissertation proposals, students can receive a fourth year of funding. The fourth year requires teaching two courses per semester while the dissertation is being completed.

Admission requirements

Admission to the Ph.D. program is open from Sept. 15 through Feb. 15 each year for students. The number of students admitted each year varies by track. The program is small and selective, so there is no conditional admission. At no time are there more than five students in a given track, not including students working on the final stages of their dissertations. Students must start in the fall semester and be on campus regularly for three to four years.

Ph.D. applicants must meet our graduate student admission requirements.

Applicants may be admitted with a bachelor’s or a master’s degree. Students must be competent in math, computing and statistics to satisfy prerequisites for the quantitative courses in the Ph.D. curriculum.

Pending a review by the Wayne State University Graduate School, entering students may be able to transfer up to 15 master's level credits to their doctoral program.

The following are also required for each Ph.D. applicant:

  • Minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA, or a 3.5 graduate GPA
  • Minimum 600 GMAT score
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement of career objectives
  • Apply on or before Feb. 15 for fall admission

We use a combination of test scores, grades, letters of recommendation and a personal interview to make Ph.D. admission decisions. It is a highly selective process that aims to determine a fit between candidates and the program.

International students

International applicants should consult Wayne State University's website for international graduate applicants.

International applicants must meet the university English proficiency requirement of a minimum TOEFL score of 550 (paper test) or 79 (Web-based test). 

For Wayne State graduate students and master's degree holders

Per university policy, if you've been a Wayne State graduate student or earned a graduate degree from Wayne State and are interested in a business Ph.D., you must transfer into the program by completing a Change of Graduate Status Request, rather than applying online.

Learn more

Our Ph.D. program is a member of DocNet-Consortium of Business Doctoral Programs and the Ph.D. Project.

For more information, contact the Ph.D. program director (313-577-0408).