Doctoral admissions

The Doctoral Program

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; we engage our doctoral students to work in research projects with faculty members throughout their doctoral program to help prepare them for academic careers upon graduation.

Students attend on a full-time basis and concentrate their studies on one of three tracks: financemanagement, or marketing. Each applicant applies for and is admitted to a specific program track. Only the Finance concentration will be admitting for Fall 2025 (as of March 14, 2024).

Our doctoral program has had a nearly 100 percent success rate in placing students in tenure-track positions at research-oriented universities. Our program graduates have published in highly-ranked scholarly journals, such as The Accounting ReviewJournal of Marketing Research, The Journal of Banking and Finance, and Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology.


The program is composed of a minimum of 90 credits, with 60 credits of graduate-level coursework and 30 credits of dissertation research. Students with a completed master's degree will typically receive 15 credits for having completed that degree (see below).

An academic Plan of Work (PoW), approved by the Discipline Ph.D. advisor, is developed during the first year of the student's program. Progress toward completion in light of this PoW is reviewed annually and adjustments to it are made by the Discipline's Advisor when needed.

Coursework takes two years for students who have completed core business courses, typically in a master's degree program prior to admission, and three years for those who have no graduate business credits. Qualifying examinations, preparation of the dissertation proposal, and completion of the dissertation itself typically takes an additional two years.

Written and oral qualifying examinations are required at the end of coursework. This is followed by the student's dissertation, based on original research conducted by the student. The dissertation is completed under the guidance of the student's dissertation advisor and a dissertation committee.

Financial assistance

Ph.D. students are funded through assistantships for four years. These pay all tuition and fees, health insurance, and a monthly stipend. Assistantships require students to support faculty members in their research and teaching activities and are conditional on continuous "good" academic standing determined by the Discipline's doctoral program Advisor. Students will receive a fifth-year of funding when they complete their qualifying exams and defend their dissertation proposals. The fifth-year funding requires teaching two courses per semester while completing the dissertation.

Admission requirements

Admission to the Ph.D. program is open from Sept. 15 through Jan. 15 each year. 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 for three to four years. Students cannot hold a full-time job during the program.

Ph.D. applicants may be admitted into our program with a master's or a bachelor's degree and must meet Wayne State University's graduate student admission requirements. They must be competent in written and oral communication, and especially so in analytical and quantitative skills.

Pending a review by the Wayne State University Graduate School, entering students will be able to transfer up to 15 master's level credits to their doctoral program, leaving 45 course credits to complete their coursework, plus 30 dissertation credits to complete their Ph.D. degree.

Applicants are evaluated for admission based on the following requirements.

  • A minimum Graduate GPA of 3.5
  • A Minimum GMAT score of 600 (or its GRE equivalent)
  • Three recommendation letters from, for instance, former professors or work supervisors
  • A Statement of Purpose (SOP) indicating why the applicant is pursuing the Ph.D. degree and why in our program, including career objectives for after graduation
  • Enriching life experiences, such as study abroad programs, work experience in a business or managerial setting, or service to others

The admission committee in each discipline considers these plus a personal interview, sometimes conducted in a video setting, in its evaluation of candidates. The admission process is selective and aims to establish a good fit between the candidate's background and objectives and each discipline's programmatic goals.

International students

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

International applicants must meet the university's English proficiency requirement of a minimum TOEFL score of 550 (paper test) or 79 (Web-based test). This requirement may be waived for those applicants who have completed a master's degree at a university in the United States. Each discipline decides on this separately.

Per university policy, students who have earned a graduate degree or in another Ph.D. program at Wayne State University may transfer into the Ilitch School doctoral program by completing a Change of Graduate Status Request (pdf), rather than through applying online. These students, however, are still be placed in the pool of all applicants and considered in light of the qualifications held by all applicants.

Learn more

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

For more information, contact Professor Attila Yaprak, the Ph.D. Program Director at 313-577-4213 or via email at