Doctoral program FAQs

You may have additional questions about our Ph.D. program. Below are some frequently asked questions and answers about the program, categorized by subject.

If you have additional questions, please email us.

Admissions process
Admissions criteria and evaluation
International students
General program questions

Admissions process

  • I applied for admission in a previous year. What is the reapplication process?
    If you applied a year or more ago, you will need to complete the entire application process again. However, unless your credentials have substantially improved since your previous application, your admission likelihood is unlikely to change.
  • When can I expect to hear whether I have been admitted?
    Admission decisions are generally made in late March or early April. Applicants will receive written notification from the Office of Graduate Admissions.
  • Are admission interviews required?
    Once you submit your application, interviews (in person, by phone or Skype) will be conducted by invitation only to selected students who have applied. Interviews are generally conducted by members of the department admissions committee.
  • Should I visit with Ph.D. admissions committee members before I apply?
    No, you need not; your application should speak for your abilities. The department admission committee will call candidates who are short-listed.
  • Do you accept transcripts if I send them to you directly?
    No, your transcripts should be sent by the university you graduated from. We will not accept transcripts sent to us by the applicant.

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Admissions criteria and evaluation

How is my application evaluated?
Your application is evaluated by the Ph.D. committee in the department (Finance, Management or Marketing) to which you applied. In addition to the general requirements of the WSU Graduate School, the committee considers factors such as your letters of recommendation, GMAT scores and personal statement of career objectives (limited to 750 words). Based on the committee's assessment, a recommendation is made to the WSU Graduate School, which has final approval of your application.

What sort of previous coursework would make me a more competitive applicant?
Graduate coursework related to the field you plan to earn a Ph.D. intends to make an applicant more competitive. For example, computer skills and a strong quantitative background, with coursework in calculus, probability, statistics, economics and linear algebra, tend to make a candidate more competitive in Finance.

Is a master's degree required for admission to the Ph.D. program?
A master's degree is not required, but students with relevant graduate degrees will be more competitive in the application process.

Does the university from which I earned my previous degrees matter?
Yes. Your previous degrees must be earned from an accredited U.S. or known/reputed international university. We do not accept degrees from for-profit, online institutions.

If I provide you with my GMAT score (or GPA, or resume, etc.), can you tell me my chance of admission?
No. Because we consider many factors in the admissions and financial aid selection process, it is impossible to predict one's chance of admission or aid without reviewing a complete application. However, you can review a class profile of admitted students.

Does the Ph.D. program require work experience?
While we don't require work experience, it is a positive factor in admission decisions.

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Do you accept the GRE instead of the GMAT?
We require valid, recent GMAT scores from all Ph.D. applicants (taken within the last 5 years). In general, we do not accept the GRE in lieu of the GMAT.  In rare circumstances, on a case-by-case basis, the Management and Marketing Ph.D. coordinators may consider exceptional GRE scores in lieu of the GMAT. However, Finance Ph.D. admission will always be based on the GMAT scores.

What's the minimum required GMAT score?
While the minimum GMAT score is 600, the average score of those admitted to the program is typically much higher. A lower score may be compensated by strength in other aspects of the candidate's application.

I've taken the GMAT more than once; what score will the committee use?
If you've taken the GMAT more than once, the highest GMAT score is used when evaluating the application as long as the score is within the last 5 years.

I need to have my official GMAT score report sent to Wayne State University. What is your university code?
The code for the Ph.D. program at Wayne State University is 1898. Visit to learn how to have your official score reports sent to us.

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International students

My native language is not English but most of my college courses were taught in English. Do I still need to take the TOEFL?
We require the TOEFL or IELTS of all international applicants whose native language is not English, regardless of the language of instruction through their education. The only exception is for those who have completed a degree from an accredited college or university in the United States.

Do you accept the IELTS instead of the TOEFL?
Yes. We require all international students whose native language is not English to submit valid TOEFL or IELTS scores. The tests are waived for those international candidates who have earned a college or university degree from an accredited institution in the U.S.

What's the minimum required TOEFL score?
The minimum required TOEFL score is 600 (250 on the computer-based test and 100 on the Internet-based test).

I need to have my official TOEFL or IELTS score report sent to Wayne State University. What is your university code?
The code for the Ph.D. program at Wayne State University is 1898. Visit or to learn how to have your official score reports sent to us.

Must international applicants submit evidence of financial support with their application for admission?
Financial support documentation can be submitted after you receive your admission confirmation. Wayne State University, however, cannot complete your visa documentation (the I-20) until it receives proof of adequate financial support. We do not offer "conditional" acceptance to the program prior to an admission decision.

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I am enrolled in another Ph.D. program. Can I transfer to WSU?
A student who has begun a Ph.D. program at another university is welcome to apply, but you will need to complete our program in full. Students may petition to have no more than six Ph.D. credit hours transferred, which can only be applied to elective courses.

Can I transfer in credits from a master's degree?
Up to 15 credit hours from a relevant master's degree may be transferred into our Ph.D. program as determined by the departmental Ph.D. coordinators.

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General Program Questions

Does the Mike Ilitch School of Business offer a part-time Ph.D. degree?
No. The Ph.D. program is a full-time program. We expect candidates not to work anywhere else during the four-year program. Applicants are expected to pursue the degree on a full-time basis.

How long will it take me to complete the program?
We anticipate students will graduate in four years.

Does the Ph.D. program offer spring admission?
Given the structure of the curriculum, our program is designed for fall semester admission only.

How many students are typically enrolled in the Ph.D. program?
Historically, each of our three Ph.D. tracks has had 5 students per year.

Should I take any particular courses to prepare for the Ph.D. program?
While we have no prerequisites for enrollment, students with limited quantitative backgrounds may benefit from taking accounting, mathematics, econometrics and business statistics before enrolling. Analytical thinking and mastery quantitative tools can have a significant influence on success in the program.

Can I expect to teach while in the Ph.D. program?
Teaching experience is increasingly a key component of competitiveness in the Ph.D. job market. Over the course of the program, students will be required to teach. Every attempt is made to defer teaching until the summer after the student's third year in the program, but staffing requirements may provide opportunities to teach prior to that time.

How do I apply for a graduate assistantship?
All students offered admission to the Ph.D. program are automatically considered for graduate assistantship; there is no additional application to complete. Awards go to candidates who are accepted into the program for four years.

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