FAQs

If you do not see your question listed hear please contact the PhD Program Office at businessphd@rhsmith.umd.edu.

How many students are currently in your program?

There are approximately 100 students in our program. We are happy to have a 1:1 ratio of students to faculty. This ratio ensures that each PhD student gets the maximum attention and access to resources.

How long does it take to complete the PhD Program?

The required coursework for a PhD takes between 2 to 3 years to complete. Preparation and presentation of a thesis proposal, completion of the thesis research, and defense of the final thesis usually takes twelve to eighteen months at a minimum. Thus, it is reasonable to expect that the entire PhD program will take four years to complete.

Do you offer a part-time program? Distance learning?

The Smith School of Business PhD program is strictly a full-time program. There are no PhD level courses offered through distance learning at this time.

What kinds of people study for the PhD?

PhD students entering the Smith School Program come from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, with the most important distinguishing feature being an eagerness to discover new things and an aptitude for research methods in business. While the program is small relative to the size of the Smith School as a whole, the PhD students do form a united, self-helping group. We are proud to have a very strong Association of Doctoral Students (ADS), which provides a variety of social opportunities for students and faculty to interact and build relationships. Our PhD students are also highly integrated among faculty in the state-of-the-art Van Munching Hall facility. This close proximity to faculty mentors, advisors, and other PhD students creates an environment that is conducive to high levels of quality research.

Do most Smith School PhD graduates enter the academic field?

It is expected that students who enter the Smith School PhD Program will assume a faculty position at an academic/research institution upon completing the program.

How many applications do you receive each year? How many students do you admit?

The number of completed applications is generally between 600 and 800. Admission results are usually between 18-24 students. The number of students admitted to each specific area of specialization varies from year to year depending on funding, faculty-student ratio, and quality of applicant pool.

What are the application deadlines?

The deadline for domestic students is December 15. The deadline for international students, regardless of visa type, in is also December 15.

When will I be notified of the decision?

The admissions committee meets throughout the months of January and March to identify their choices for admission. The departmental programs begin making decisions starting in late March and continue doing so until spaces are filled.

How much is the application fee? Can it be waived? Can I pay the fee after I find out if I have been admitted?

The application fee for both international and domestic students is $75. There is a cost associated with processing applications. That cost is met through the payment of the application fee. We do not provide fee waivers under any circumstances. We will not begin our evaluation of an application until we have confirmation from the Graduate Admissions Office that the fee has been paid. As a result, you may not pay the application fee at a later time, nor can you wait to pay the fee until after you find out if you have been admitted. We understand that currency restrictions often present payments problems for international applicants. In these cases, international students may have their fee paid by a third party (someone who is currently in the United States and has access to USD). Should you choose to do this, please make sure that payments clearly identify the applicant by name and date of birth.

What standardized tests are required for admission? Is there a minimum score?

All applicants must take either the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). You must submit a score report that is less than five years old.

In recent years, the average GMAT score has been approximately 700. The average GRE score in both the verbal and quantitative sections has been approximately 700.

While officially there is no minimum test score that is used as a cut-off, good performance on one of the standardized tests is usually required for a favorable admission decision. A high score on the quantitative test can offset lower scores on other portions of the exam(s).

If I already have a graduate degree, do I still need to take the GMAT or GRE?

Yes.

How do I sign up to take the GMAT or GRE?

Visit the Educational Testing Service (ETS) Web site (http://www.ets.org) for more information.

Is the TOEFL required? Can I get a TOEFL waiver if I have spent time living or studying in an English speaking country?

The TOEFL test is a mandatory and non-negotiable application requirement for students whose native language is not English. For questions regarding the TOEFL requirements, please contact the Office of International Services.

Is there a minimum requirement for grade points average (GPA)?

Given the competitive nature of admission to the program, most students admitted do have rather high GPA. In recent years the GPA for undergraduate and graduate degree has been around 3.4 (out of 4) and 3.8 (out of 4) respectively.

How many letters of recommendation do I need and who should write them?

All applicants should submit at least three completed recommendation forms. If the individuals writing the recommendation wish to write a letter, please be sure they also complete the recommendation form.

The selection committees prefer to see recommendations from academics, but non-academics may submit recommendations as long as they can speak to the applicant's academic abilities.

May I send additional pieces of information, such as papers, to supplement my application?

Supplemental materials (e.g. writing samples, resumes) may now be submitted online or mailed with all your other application materials to the Enrollment Service Office. All materials will either be scanned or directly forwarded to the PhD Program Office.

Are interviews, prior work experience, or a background in business-related courses required?

The answer to all three of these questions is not necessarily. Application decisions are primarily dependent on our evaluation of a candidate's ability to handle complex course material and do original research. While experience is helpful, evidence of strong intellectual ability as indicated by test scores, course grades, or comments in the letters of recommendation is the most important factor. However, every candidate being seriously considered for admission will be contacted for a phone interview and campus visits are also encouraged, if location permits.

Is prior graduate work required? Will the time required to complete the PhD be reduced if I already have a master's degree?

Prior graduate work is not required for admission into the PhD Program. While it is useful in that it expands your breadth of knowledge and provides you with a better background for dealing with the difficult core courses, a master's degree will not reduce the time required to complete your degree. The University does not accept transfer credits of any kind at the PhD level. Students are required to take all of their courses for the PhD program here at the Smith School. In some instances, waivers of up to one or two courses can be awarded.

Can I reapply if I am denied admission? How do I reapply?

Yes. We maintain application materials for three years. If you wish to reapply you must submit a new application and application fee. If you would like to update any other supporting materials please do so. You can also request that supporting materials in a prior application file be used for your new application.

Do you offer financial aid? Are international students eligible?

The Smith School of Business offers full financial aid (tuition remission, stipend, and health insurance benefits) to ALL admitted PhD students. This aid is guaranteed for four years if performance is satisfactory. The number of students accepted in any department is therefore determined by the amount of financial aid available. Unfortunately, due to the availability of financial aid, some qualified applicants cannot be accepted.

Is the financial aid provided enough to meet the minimum requirements for living expenses for international students?

Yes. The standard financial support package offered is enough to cover a student's living expenses for the year. Since more than half of our program consists of international students, we are very sensitive to their needs, as well as those of our domestic students. We actually work with the Office of International Education Services (IES) to ensure that the students we admit will be sufficiently covered in terms of visa approval, etc. You will find that the stipend is sufficient to cover your housing, meals, transportation, books, and other living expenses.