Students in Management focus on research creating management theory and knowledge that is relevant to business practice. Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the Management program is its focus on real organizational phenomena from a multidisciplinary perspective.

Students typically choose at least one discipline in which to anchor their research, usually economics, psychology or sociology, and develop discipline-based expertise in at least two substantive domains.

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Curriculum & Coursework

Our programs are full-time degree programs which officially begin in September. Many incoming students choose to join us in July to conduct research with an HBS faculty member. Students are expected to complete their program in five years. Typically, the first two years are spent on coursework, at the end of which students take a field exam, and then another two years on dissertation research and writing.

Each of the five DBA programs requires a minimum of 13 semester-long doctoral courses. Students in the Management program are required to complete a year-long discipline sequence typically in microeconomics, psychology, or sociology. Students also complete courses in the areas of business management theory, research methods, academic field seminars, and the Business Education for Scholars and Teachers (BEST) Series. In addition to HBS courses, students may take courses at other Harvard Schools and MIT.


Students are required to complete a teaching assignment for one full academic term.

Field Exam

Students are required to pass a Field Exam in Management at the end of their second or the beginning of their third year. This includes a written exam and an oral examination based on the student’s written exam.

Research & Dissertation

Students in Management begin research in their first year typically by working with a faculty member. By their third and fourth years, most students are launched on a solid research and publication stream. The dissertation may take the form of three publishable papers or one longer dissertation.

Recent examples of doctoral thesis research include: The role of social networks in promoting coordination and innovation within large, complex firms; The process through which professionals manage the boundaries between their work and non-work lives; and How a firm can be systematic in achieving a sustainable competitive advantage by leveraging its employees.

See Program Requirements for detailed curriculum information.