Below please find the program requirements for a students in Strategy. Doctoral students in Strategy generally complete the program in four to five years. Below are the program requirements:


A minimum of 13 semester courses at doctoral level are required. Each semester students will consult with the Strategy faculty coordinators to receive approval of their course selections.

Foundational Courses (2 courses)
  1. Microeconomics Theory: A comprehensive two semester sequence on economic theory:
    • -Microeconomic Theory I (HBS 4010/Economics 2020a)
    • -Microeconomic Theory II (HBS 4011/Economics 2020b)
Research Methods Courses (4 courses)
  • Students must take four research methods courses, including one course in research design.

    Courses that fulfill this requirement include, but are not limited to:
    • Introduction to Econometrics (Econ 1123)
    • Introduction to Applied Econometrics (Econ 2120); (Econ 2110. Introductory Probability and Statistics for Economists may be a required prerequisite)
    • Econometric Methods (Econ 2140)
    • Time Series Analysis (Econ 2142)
    • Advanced Applied Econometrics (Econ 2144)
    • Computational Economics (Econ 2149)
    • 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)
    • Probability Theory (Statistics 210)
    • Multivariate Statistical Analysis (Statistics 230)
  • Research methods courses that meet the research design course requirement include, but are not limited to:
    • Advanced Quantitative Research Methodology (Gov 2001)
    • Design of Field Research Methods (HBS 4070)
    • Empirical Methods in Corporate Finance (HBS 4220)
    • Experimental Methods (HBS 4435)
    • Matched Sampling and Study Design (Stat 240); (Stat 140 or Econ 1127 are strongly recommended as prerequisites.)
    • Program Evaluation: Estimating Program Effectiveness with Empirical Analysis (HKS API-208)
Additional Doctoral Courses (7 courses)
  • Strategy students are required to take five additional doctoral courses.

    • The Foundations of Strategy (HBS 4110)
    • Either Empirical and Analytical Methods for Strategy Research (HBS 4115) or (HBS 4720) The Economics of International Business
    • Two breadth courses
    • Three elective doctoral courses
MBA Courses (2 courses)

All students without an MBA degree are required to complete two case-based HBS MBA courses.

Research Seminars

Students are strongly encouraged to attend and participate in seminars throughout their program. In the third year, students are required to attend:

Good Academic Standing

To remain in good academic standing, doctoral 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.  The exam consists of an oral portion in which the student will be examined on content from the student’s reading lists.  The written component of the special field examination requirement requires students to submit a publishable paper.  This paper must be approved (pass/fail) by two faculty members in the student’s unit.

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.