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


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.

Field Examination

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.


Third Year


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.




Three different seminar series provide a collegial forum for accessing the intellectual capital you need to succeed. These seminars further prepare our Ph.D. students for research, presentation and job market success.

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.

The marketing area hosted Evan Weingarten from The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania on October 7, 2016, where he presented his paper, "The Effect of Salience on Valuation: Addressing the Dual-Causality Problem in Decision Biases." The question Weingarten set out to ask was, how do individuals evaluate products? While many decades of research have proposed models of how individuals integrate information and what influences evaluations, many of them don’t address the interdependence of the accessibility of an input and the diagnosticity of those inputs determining whether or not that input will be used in judgment. Weingarten found that accessibility can influence diagnosticity, and diagnosticity can influence accessibility, contending that the framework applies not only to memory-based but also to stimulus-based decision-making. Among other explorations, Weingarten also looked at how attributes in more salient top and bottom positions of a product profile had consistently higher part-worths than attributes in middle positions

Marketing also hosted Kaitlyn Woolley from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, presenting her paper, "The Experience Matters More Than You Think: People Value Intrinsic Incentives More Inside Than Outside an Activity." Here, Wooley documented a shift in the value assigned to intrinsic incentives, finding that people value these incentives more inside an activity than outside the activity.

Student-run Seminars

Our student-run seminars exist exclusively for Anderson and Marketing 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 the opportunity to defend your work, receive research and career feedback, and influence others’ work lives. With the toughest audiences you will ever face, this 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.