Frequently Asked Questions

How many students are currently in your program?

Typically, we have 80-90 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?

We believe that the program takes five years to complete, which is the guaranteed funding support. The required coursework for a PhD takes between two to three years to complete. Students must complete two teaching requirements. There are research projects and papers due within the first 2-3 years. Preparation and presentation of a dissertation proposal, completion of the dissertation research, and defense of the final dissertation usually takes twelve to eighteen months at a minimum. Thus, it is reasonable to expect that the entire PhD program will take five years to complete.

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

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

What are the backgrounds of your PhD students?

PhD students entering the Smith doctoral programs 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 most of our students do have graduate-level degrees, it is not required for admissions. Our students represent a combination of work experience and only academic experience.

Do most Smith PhD graduates enter the academic field?

It is expected that students who enter the Smith PhD program will assume a faculty position at an academic/research institution upon completing the program. Thus, our training centers around the development for academic placement.

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

The number of completed applications is generally 400±. Our goal is to admit 1-3 students per area of specialization. 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 20. The deadline for international students, regardless of visa type, is also December 20.

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 in March.

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. The application fee is regulated by the University of Maryland Graduate School. Check to see if you are eligible for a waiver.

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. There is no minimum score and test scores are not a decision marker for admissions. However, we do find that our enrolled students receive competitive scores.

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


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

Visit the Educational Testing Service (ETS) website 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 Smith doctoral programs comply with the policies set by the University of Maryland requirements for international students and the evidence of English proficiency.

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

Given the competitive nature of admission to the program, most students admitted do have a rather high GPA. In recent years the GPA for undergraduate and graduate degrees 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) are optional.

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. Learn more about reapplication.

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