Courses & Seminars

The Strategic Management Ph.D. program seeks to train students to engage in research that addresses fundamental problems relating to business strategy formulation and implementation by firms. The Strategy group at the UCLA Anderson School of Management administers the Strategic Management Ph.D. program. A strong analytical orientation, centered largely on economics, underlies the program.

The program trains students to analyze a firm's response to its environment and its competitors, with a focus on innovation. It combines strong theory development with rigorous empirical methods to develop cutting-edge research on important questions in business strategy. Ph.D. candidates complete a series of core classes that introduce students to the core fields in strategic management and frontier research in a number of different fields, including competitive strategy, innovation, intellectual property, non-market strategy, global strategy, organization theory, entrepreneurship and market institutions. Students often choose to integrate strategic management with other disciplines, such as finance, entrepreneurship, technology management, political science, psychology and sociology.

Our program is differentiated from other top Ph.D. programs in a number of ways. The faculty expertise spans a broad theoretical base - encompassing economics, psychology, sociology, political science and statistics - with an inclination toward strong training in methods. We believe that this combination is required to produce well-trained students who will be able to grow intellectually over the course of their careers and, more immediately, obtain an academic appointment at a top business school. This allows students to select a level of analysis for their dissertation that conforms to their interests and strengths while also allowing them to conduct research on the cutting edge of interesting questions in strategy, innovation and decision-making.



In addition to individual requirements from the areas of study, known as major field requirements, all Ph.D. students are required to take 13 quarter courses from outside the major field of study.


In their first year, all students in the program enroll in the graduate microeconomics sequence (ECON 201A, 201B and 201C) offered by the Economics department.


In their first year, all students in the Strategy Ph.D. program enroll in the graduate econometrics and statistics sequence (MGMTPHD 201A, 201B and 201C). Students must pass the econometrics exam.

Core Classes

In their first two years, all students in the Strategic Management Ph.D. program are required to enroll in the following classes:

  • MGMT 420: Business Strategy
  • MGMT 292A: Research and Development Policy
  • ECON 271A, B and C: Industrial Organization, Price Policies and Regulation

One or two advanced doctoral seminars are usually offered each year. Until advancement to candidacy, students will enroll in all seminar courses offered by faculty. Doctoral students may enroll in courses in the Anderson School or elsewhere on campus to develop the substantive background needed to complete a dissertation in their area of interest. These include, but are not limited to, finance, entrepreneurship, innovation and technology, game theory, stochastic processes and their applications, statistics, organizational behavior, economic sociology, psychology, behavioral decision-making, marketing, operations, law and political science.

In addition to an econometrics examination, students sit for a field examination administered by the Strategy area faculty. Regardless of their initial preparation for the Ph.D. program, students must sit for and pass the field examination by the end of the third year in the program. It is expected that most students will pass these exams one year before the respective deadlines.

The third year of the program involves independent study and research supervised by a faculty adviser and culminating in a research paper. In addition, students receiving summer support must produce an initial research paper by the fall of their second year. The final stages of the Ph.D. program are focused on crafting and defending an independent research proposal before a faculty committee nominated by the student. This proposal forms the basis for the student's dissertation. We expect students to complete the program within four or five years.



Every quarter, the group holds faculty research seminars in which faculty from around the world present the latest research in topics related to strategic management and decision-making. We also hold doctoral student seminars in which students present their own original research to receive feedback from their fellow students and faculty. All students are required to attend and enroll in these courses during their entire period of study at UCLA.

Faculty Seminars

These seminars are hosted by your area of study and closed to the public; distinguished faculty from other universities present their latest papers and findings.

On October 28, 2016, Robert Seamans of NYU presented his paper, “Technology Opportunities and Local Institutions: Airmail and Innovation.” The paper and talk focused on how technology opportunities can stimulate innovation, explore the role of local institutional characteristics, and link these opportunities and local institutional characteristics to local economic growth. This was done by studying how early U.S. airmail, which added new routes into different cities between 1918 and 1932, stimulated growth in airplane-related patents at a local level. Seamans found evidence of an increase in airplane-related patents in areas that experienced a route opening; however, there was no evidence of an increase in non-airplane related patents. Local institutional characteristics such as availability of finance, high skilled workers, and existing knowledge base played an important complementary role. However, there appeared to be little effect on measures of local economic growth.

Strategy was also pleased to host job candidate Atal Gupta of Stanford University, who presented the paper “Impacts of Performance Pay for Hospitals: The Readmissions Reduction Program” on January 27, 2017. Policy makers are increasingly tying payments for health care providers to their performance on quality measures, though there is little empirical evidence to guide the design of such incentives. Gupta deployed administrative Medicare claims data to study a large federal program, which penalizes hospitals with high rates of repeat hospitalizations (''readmissions''). He exploited the introduction of the penalty and policy-driven variation in penalty across hospitals to identify the effect of the program on hospital admission and treatment decisions, and on patient health.

Other visiting presenters have included Jennifer Brown of Northwestern and NBER, Amanda Kowalski of Yale, Andy Newman of Boston University, Marion Aouad of UC Berkeley, and Joshua Krieger of MIT.

Student-run Seminars

Our student-run seminars exist exclusively for Strategy Ph.D. students. They present their current research and receive feedback. With no faculty in attendance, your peers critique your work and become invaluable, supportive colleagues and friends in the process.

Job Market Papers

These seminars provide opportunity to defend your work, receive research career feedback and influence others’ work-lives. The toughest audiences you will ever face, the experience is all about preparing you for your professional life and positioning you for candidacy as a faculty member at one of the world’s highest caliber institutions.