Program Structure


Students are expected to complete certain prerequisites before matriculation or shortly thereafter. These courses, which can be waived on the basis of previous course work, consist of mathematics through advanced calculus, matrices, differential equations and real analysis; a year of probability and statistics; microeconomics and computer programming.

Prerequisites for entering Ph.D. students are the following (or their equivalents):

MATH 32A, 32B Differential and Integral Calculus of Several Variables
MATH 33A Matrices and Differential Equations
MATH 131A, 131B Real Analysis
MATH 170A Probability Theory
STAT 100B, 100C Statistics
COMP SCI 10C Introduction to Programming
ECON 101 Microeconomic Theory

The Ph.D. student reaches the objectives of the program through [1] the major field requirement, [2] the research requirement, [3] the breadth requirement and [4] their dissertation. A combination of formal and informal learning experiences and employment on or off campus is also important to the development of our students through the program. These program requirements are detailed below.

[1] Major Field Requirement

Study in the major field normally consists of about ten courses. Qualifying competence is required in four subject areas: decision analysis, optimization, stochastic models and operations planning and scheduling. Students can achieve this competence with courses listed below. In-depth competence is required in a subfield chosen by the student and guided by the student's personal Doctoral Committee. This subfield may be in virtually any area covered by DOTM.

The Written Qualifying Examination normally is given once a year to all students who believe that they have achieved qualifying competence in the required subject areas. It is based on these courses (or their equivalents):

MGMT 203A Economics of Decision
MGMT 210A Mathematical Programming
MGMT 210B Applied Stochastic Processes
MGMT 210C Network Flows and Integer Programming
MGMT 242A Models for Operations Planning, Scheduling and Control

The format of the Major Field Examination varies, but it usually is given in two parts: the Written Qualifying Examination and the Depth Examination. It mainly consists of a sit-down examination approximately 6 hours in length, administered by the Chairman and the faculty who teach these courses. Take-home and oral components may also be included.

The Depth Examination is tailored to the individual student and the chosen field of depth study, and is designed to test competence to undertake original research in the depth field. It is usually take-home in nature, at least in part, and is administered jointly by the student's Doctoral Committee Chair and two faculty representatives of the depth field designated by the Chair of DOTM. Normally the Major Field Examination is completed at the end of two full years of study.

[2] Research Requirement

The research requirement has two parts.  The first is to take five courses in methodological subjects clearly distinguishable from the student's major field of study. These will normally will be drawn from options in computer science (algorithms and complexity in the Computer Science department, telecommunications networks in the Electrical Engineering department), graduate-level economics (microeconomics and game theory in the Economics department) and graduate-level statistics (Statistics department). Normally at least four of the following courses are included:

EE 232B Telecommunications and Networks
ECON 201A Microeconomics
ECON 201B Noncooperative Games and Information Economics
STAT 210A Applied Statistics
STAT 210B Data Analysis

The second part of the research requirement is to write a research paper at the quality level set by leading scholarly journals. This paper provides an opportunity for the student to improve and demonstrate their research skills. Normally it is written on some aspect of the student's chosen field of specialization, and may be preparatory to the dissertation.

[3] Breadth Requirement

It is recommended that students without prior coursework in management use the breadth requirement as a way to gain familiarity with the functions, processes and major contexts of management. Eight breadth courses are required (five if the student already has a graduate degree). The breadth courses normally include basic studies in accounting, finance and marketing.

[4] Dissertation

The student starts thinking about possible research topics and exploring mutual research interests with faculty starting sometime in the second year. When a suitable topic and dissertation advisor have been identified, and after the satisfactory completion of the Research Requirement and the Major Field, the student should contact the Doctoral Office to propose the appointment of the Doctoral Committee. The Doctoral Committee will administer the Formal Seminar and Oral Qualifying Examination on the Dissertation topic, supervise the dissertation research and administer the Final Oral Examination.


Click [here] for a listing of Ph.D. level courses offered by the DOTM area.