Strategic Management & Entrepreneurship (SM&E)

The field of Strategic Management & Entrepreneurship (SM&E) deals with the creation, growth, transformation and performance of firms and industries, and investigates the effectiveness of various attributes and actions of an organization and its top management teams in order to gain competitive advantage and achieve organizational goals. Example topics of (SM&E) study include competitive advantage, industry evolution, technological change, product ecosystems, boundaries of the firms, contracting theory, transaction cost economics, mergers, acquisitions, alliances. The behavioral area within SM&E focuses on reputation, status, organizational identity whereas the sociological area focuses on networks, population ecology and status. The Entrepreneurship area of the program looks at creation of new firms, employee mobility, the role of venture capitalists, and entrepreneurship within firms.

SM&E Curriculum

Major Specification (18 credits)

Students are required to take nine substantive courses in various SM&E content areas, such as Organizational Theory, Sociological Foundations of Strategy, Boundary of the Firm, Firm Sustainability, Behavioral Strategy and Asymmetric Information and Decision Making, Industrial Organization Economics, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, SM&E foundations or other topics offered based on faculty expertise. 

Students are also required to attend and participate in the Students Presentations Series (SPS) and Career and Professionalization Seminar Series (CAPSS) sessions each semester during the program – as these sessions will focus on developing critical research and career-related knowledge, skills, and attitudes. 

Minor Specification (12 credits)

Students may choose a set of courses for their minor that significantly enhances their ability to make scientific contributions to their major field and that will improve their placement prospects. These courses could be from within the M&O department, other departments within Smith, or outside of Smith. This option can often encompass a selection of courses both inside and outside the department. For example, many students in SM&E take one or more courses in the Economics Department, but other options, such as information technology, OB/HR, sociology, are also possible.

Research Methodology (Research Tools) Requirement (15 credits)

Students are required to take the following research methods courses: 

  1. A general research foundation course that covers basic method topics relevant for business research.
  2. Two econometrics courses covering basics of statistical theory, various models of regressions like linear, non-parametric, censured models, structural models etc. 
  3. Three short courses of advanced methods topics such as endogeneity, factor analysis and structural equation modeling, mediated and moderated regression, social network analysis, multilevel modeling, and other advanced topics offered by the M&O department.
  4. Additional courses for remaining credits can be taken either within the M&O department or from relevant offerings outside Smith.

Summary of Typical SM&E Curriculum

  Fall Spring Summer
Year 1 Core Classes
Method Classes
Core Classes
Method Classes
Complete First Year
Research Paper
Year 2 Core Classes
Method Classes
Minor Classes
Core Classes
Method Classes
Minor Classes
Comprehensive Exam
Complete Second Year
Research Paper
Year 3 Method Cases (If Needed)
Elective Cases (If Needed)
Method Cases (If Needed)
Elective Cases (If Needed)
Year 4 Dissertation Proposal
Year 5 Graduation

Academic Requirements

Requirements for advancement from “Ph.D. student” status (years 1-2) to “Ph.D. candidate” status (years 3-5) 

  1. Completion of, and satisfactory grades in, all Curriculum requirements 
  2. A completed First Year Research Paper 
  3. A passing grade on the Comprehensive Exam 
  4. A completed Second Year Research Paper

First Year Research Paper Requirement

The intent of the first year paper is to develop student skills in writing the theoretical framework of a paper. The paper may be based on course research papers or be based on a different original idea.

Comprehensive Examination 

Students must pass a comprehensive examination at the end of their 2nd year to proceed in the program. This exam will cover all core material covered during the two first years.

Second Year Research Paper Requirement

Ideally, a second year research paper project will involve the student from the inception of the project. This is because students are likely to learn the most and have the best prospects for a publication in a top journal if they join a project at its inception so that they can participate in all phases, including conceptualization, design, data collection, analysis, and write-up. It may be best to think of the project as similar to a master’s thesis in terms of the scope and quality of the project.


Robert H. Smith School of Business
Map of Robert H. Smith School of Business
University of Maryland
Robert H. Smith School of Business
Van Munching Hall
College Park MD 20742