Below please find the 2015-2016 program requirements.


A minimum of 13 semester courses at doctoral level are required.

Foundational Courses (4 courses)
  • Perspectives on Research in Organizations: This one semester course exposes students to cutting edge research across a spectrum of management functions and demonstrates how various types of research contribute to important management questions. Students are introduced to a range of vibrant scholars and are encouraged to foster a research community across the first year cohort.
    • Perspectives on Research in Organizations (HBS 4008)
  • Organizational Analysis and Behavior: A comprehensive two semester series on organizational theory and behavior.
    • Macro Topics in Organizational Behavior (HBS 4480)
    • Micro Topics in Organizational Behavior (HBS 4482)
  • DBA Research Development Course: This year long course provides a structured research experience in which students can work on both the substance of a project and learn about the process of research. The course also provides a continual stimulus to completing a required second-year paper.
    • DBA Research Development Course (HBS 4006)
Research Methods Courses (4 courses)

Students must take four research methods courses.

Design of Field Research Methods (HBS 4070)

Students must take three additional research methods courses from either behavioral sciences research methods or econometric research methods. Research methods courses that meet this requirement include, but are not limited to:

  • Behavioral Science Research Methods
    • Seminar in Applied Statistical Methods (HBS 4809)
    • Intermediate Statistical Analysis in Psychology (Psychology 1950)
    • Multivariate Analysis in Psychology (Psychology 1952)
    • Intermediate Quantitative Research Methods (Sociology 202)
    • Advanced Quantitative Research Methods (Sociology 203a)
    • Analysis of Longitudinal Data (Sociology 203b)
  • Econometric Research Methods
    • Introduction to Econometrics (Economics 1123)
    • Introduction to Applied Econometrics (prerequisite Economics 2110) (Economics 2120)
    • Advanced Quantitative Methods II (KSG API 210i)
    • Probability Theory (Statistics 210)
    • Incomplete Multivariate Data (Statistics 232)
  • Research Design Courses
    • Design of Field Research Methods (HBS 4070)
    • Experimental Methods (HBS 4435)
    • Field Experiments (HBS 4430)
    • Advanced Quantitative Research Methodology (Gov 2001)
Additional Doctoral Courses (5 courses)

Management students are required to take five additional doctoral courses. Management students are required to take five additional elective doctoral courses and are strongly encouraged to take one of the following series:

  • Microeconomics
    • Microeconomic Theory I (HBS 4010/Economics 2020a)
    • Microeconomic Theory II (HBS 4011/Economics 2020b)
  • Psychology
    • Social Behavior in Organizations: Research Seminar (Psychology 2630)
    • Advanced Social Psychology (Psychology 2500)
  • Sociology
    • Sociological Theory: Seminar (Sociology 204)
    • Organizational Analysis: Seminar (Sociology 243)
Business Education for Scholars & Teachers (2 courses offered in January term)
  • Business Education for Scholars and Teachers – Organizations: This three-week, full day immersion course introduces students to basic functions an operating organization, including accounting and management, marketing, management, finance, and operations. 
  • Business Education for Scholars and Teachers – Markets: This two-week course introduces students to how operating organizations deal with external markets, such as having a strategy, understanding capital markets, and thinking broadly about markets from a multidimensional viewpoint, through case-based classes at HBS and field work.
MBA Course (recommended 1 course)

It is recommended that all students complete one case-based HBS MBA course.

Research Seminars (recommended 1 course)

Students are strongly encouraged to attend and participate in seminars throughout their program. Students are expected to attend the:

  • Organizational Behavior Unit Seminar

Good Academic Standing

To remain in good academic standing, DBA students are expected to maintain a B+ grade point average.


Students are required to complete a teaching engagement of one full academic term that includes at least 8 hours, or 3 class sessions, of front-of-class teaching experience and at least 16 hours of teaching preparation time.

Special Field Exam

Students are required to pass the Special Field Exam at the end of the second year or beginning of the third year. This exam has two parts: a written exam and an oral exam based on a research paper a student has written.

Dissertation Proposal

By the end of their third year, all students are required to obtain approval of their dissertation proposal by their Dissertation Chair.


Students are required to write a dissertation, which typically takes the form of three publishable papers, to the satisfaction of their Dissertation Committee. The dissertation defense is oral and open to the public.