Nov 16, 2018  
Graduate Record 2015-2016 
Graduate Record 2015-2016 [ARCHIVED RECORD]

Doctoral Program - Graduate School of Business Administration

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs

Return to: Darden Graduate School of Business Administration: Programs/Courses  


The Darden School offers an intellectually demanding doctoral program for a small, select group of high-potential applicants: men and women who already have a breadth of knowledge in the functional areas of business and who have a strong interest in academic research.

The program aims to be distinctive, not only by providing sound training in the theory and methodology of the student’s chosen field, but also by training students to perform advanced academic research. Graduates of the program are expected to be able to conduct rigorous research that contributes to the growth of knowledge in their domain of expertise and to deepening our understanding of business The program fosters an environment in which students are immersed in the research literature, pushed to think critically, cultivate their own ideas, and work with their peers and faculty colleagues to generate new insights. We also ask student to work closely with faculty on their research, including direct involvement in research projects of interest to faculty members as a way of building the capabilities of students and enhancing their research portfolio.

A doctoral student must specialize in a major field of study. The school currently has major fields in  management, specifically entrepreneurship, ethics, and leadership in organizations (LO).  


Acceptance of an applicant as a student in the doctoral program is based on the following criteria:

  • an assessment of the applicant’s willingness to commit his/her energy to the expeditious completion of a vigorous program of study in a manner consistent with the high intellectual and personal integrity expected by the faculty of a candidate for a profession; of the applicant’s ability to manage effectively the difficult challenges posed by independent study; and of the applicant’s ability to work cooperatively with others;
  • an appraisal of the applicant’s ability and capacity to undertake and to complete satisfactorily the requirements of the Program;
  • assurance that applicants ordinarily have obtained a Master’s Degree in Business Administration or the equivalent.

Application forms may be requested from:
Director of the Doctoral Program
Darden Graduate School of Business Administration
University of Virginia
P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
(434) 924-7247
(800) UVA-MBA-1

Applicants are required to take the Graduate Management Admissions Test given by Pearson Vue. Those who have already taken this test should request the Educational Testing Service to forward their test results or should submit a true copy of the scores to the director of the doctoral program.

Foreign applicants must also take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) examination in order to be considered for admission.

Applicants seeking further information regarding the program and admission may write to the director of the doctoral program.


The administration of the doctoral program has been assigned by the Darden School faculty to the Doctoral Operating Committee, a standing committee of the faculty. Each major field of doctoral study established by the faculty has a major field advisor who is a member of the doctoral committee. The general administration of the doctoral program is the responsibility of the director of the doctoral program.

Financial Assistance

Students offered admission to the doctoral program may also be offered a range of financial support. Many of our admitted students receive a generous scholarship, a tuition waiver, and a stipend. Students who are offered assistance may receive such support for the full 4 years of the program, but such decisions are made on a year-to-year basis and depend on the students’ satisfactory progress within the program.

Degree Requirements

Students in the program are required to complete two years of full-time coursework in the program. These courses include seminars taught at Darden and courses offered on Main-Grounds. Subject matter included material specific to a major field of study, related topics in management, training in research methods, and a course in pedagogy. You also must take and successfully complete comprehensive exams after you are done with coursework before you can pursue your dissertation. Finally, you are required to complete a dissertation – an extended piece of original research that is approved by a committee of faculty with whom you will work to finish your project.

The program is designed to be completed in four years: two years for course work and just under two years for dissertation (with comprehensive exams coming immediately after coursework and before the dissertation). 

Required Courses for All Doctoral Students

All doctoral students must complete doctoral-level courses in research methodology and pedagogy.

Comprehensive Exams

This examination is normally taken by the end of the student’s second year of full-time work. The exams are primarily concerned with a student’s knowledge and scholarly assessment of the management literature as well as an area of specialization. Each student should demonstrate doctoral-level skills and knowledge concerning the field’s fundamental problems, theories, and conceptual frameworks, and should show a well-developed capacity to reason logically, orally, and in writing.

Dissertation Research Proposal

Each student is required to prepare a dissertation research proposal and to pass a proposal examination before conducting research and writing the dissertation. The purpose of the proposal and examination is to obtain assurance, from the viewpoint of both the faculty and the student, that the research project is worthwhile and feasible.


Each student is required to present an acceptable dissertation based on an approved proposal. A reading committee, of which the dissertation supervisor is normally chair, will determine whether a dissertation is acceptable. The dissertation must contribute to knowledge in the field and constitute an originial piece of research. Each student is expected to present a public oral defense of the dissertation as part of the requirements for the doctoral degree.

Residence Requirements and Program Length

University requirements for the doctoral degree are two continuous academic semesters of full-time graduate study (or the equivalent) in residence toward the doctoral degree, not including previous semesters in residence at the University of Virginia for the purpose of obtaining another degree. Experience suggests, however, that a minimum two years of full-time work in residence is usually needed to complete the formal requirements of the degree.

Academic Standards

Course Requirements

No course at the Darden School in which the student’s grade is not at least B (or equivalent) shall be counted toward the completion of the major field course requirements. Courses taken in other schools to fulfill degree requirements shall be counted for this purpose only if the student receives at least the minimum grade acceptable for credit toward a graduate degree in the schools within which the courses are taken. A student whose work in a major field course fails to meet these standards, and whose work is otherwise satisfactory, may arrange for remedial work with the course instructor or may take another course; any student whose work in more than two major field courses has not been acceptable shall have failed to meet the academic standards of the doctoral program.

Dissertation Proposal Examination

A student is ordinarily expected to pass the initial dissertation research proposal examination within six months following the major field examination. A student whose initial examination is not scheduled within 12 months, or who fails the examination twice, shall have failed to meet the academic standards of the doctoral program.

Time to Complete Program

The maximum time a student is allowed to complete the program is 60 months, beginning with initial registration. Not completing the program within the 60 months will likely terminate the student’s enrollment in the program.

Failure of a student to meet the academic standards of the doctoral program will result in the termination of the student’s enrollment in the program. The doctoral program committee is authorized to act on behalf of the faculty in receiving and acting on petitions for readmission. In acting on these requests, the committee may establish such requirements and conditions for readmission as it considers appropriate. Students may appeal decisions to the Darden School faculty.

After the residence year has been completed, a student’s tuition is calculated according to the number of semester course credits for which the candidate is registered. 

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs