You are required to take a minimum of nine PhD level courses or course equivalents.
Theory and Methods
- (1 course) Microeconomic Theory
- (2 courses) Econometrics sequence (e.g., Advanced Econometrics I and II)
- (2 courses) Advanced quantitative courses (e.g., Machine Learning)
There is typically one PhD course offered by Fuqua Strategy Area faculty each semester. The faculty teaching this course and the content vary from year to year. In the first and second years of the PhD program, students are required to take all Fuqua strategy topics courses that are offered. Students in years three and beyond are recommended to take any topics courses that they have not previously taken.
Example courses include:
- Economics of Innovation
- Organizational Theory
You are encouraged to select electives that match your research interests offered in other areas, by other departments at Duke, or at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
For example, in past years, Strategy students have taken:
- Industrial Organization (ECON825)
- Behavioral Decision Theory (BA 925)
Teaching assistantships and research
A critical part of the program is collaborating with faculty members as well as learning about the research and teaching processes. All students are expected to work as teaching assistants for faculty as needed. Assignments are made by the PhD program coordinator in consultation with faculty. Teaching assistantship above the required hours as specified in Chapter 1 is eligible for additional compensation at the school’s pre-set hourly rate. Students must email their timecards that show completion of the 180-hour requirement to the PhD program coordinator with the certification and approval of the faculty PhD coordinator.
Students are encouraged to seek research opportunities from faculty with whom they wish to work. Such research assistantship can qualify for additional compensation pending funding availability of individual faculty as specified in Chapter 1. Research assistantship on projects on which students are expected to become coauthors is not eligible for additional compensation. The student and faculty member should email the PhD program coordinator to begin the approval process for RA work.
Pursuant to Duke University and The Graduate School policies, students cannot work more than 19.9 hours per week for combined TA, RA, and other departmental work.
Second Year Paper
At the end of the second year, students are required to produce a research paper in collaboration with a faculty member.The student will present the paper in the Strategy seminar series at the end of the Spring Term 2 of the Fuqua Academic Calendar in the second year (typically in May) and no later than the end of Fall Term 1 of the Fuqua Academic Calendar in the third year. Each student will have a primary advisor, and with input from the rest of the Strategy faculty, this advisor will evaluate both the presentation and the paper.
Comprehensive Exam (third year paper)
At the end of the third year, students should produce a comprehensive research paper (typically, a further development of the second year paper). The student will present the paper in the Strategy seminar series at the end of the Spring Term 2 of the Fuqua Academic Calendar in the third year (typically in May). Each student will have a committee, and with input from the rest of the Strategy faculty, this committee will evaluate both the presentation and the paper. Students will be assessed on the following criteria:
- Skill in identifying and structuring for analysis an important research question that has yet to be structured and analyzed in the literature.
- Demonstrating a deep understanding of the state of the literature that allows the student to motivate the importance of the research question in the context of existing knowledge.
- Research competence in theory and methods, as demonstrated by the quality and rigor of the logic and evidence used to answer the posed research question.
These will be assessed through the written paper, the oral presentation, and the student’s performance in the question and answer component of the oral examination.
Students will form a dissertation committee in the fall of their fourth year. A formal dissertation proposal will be made in the spring of the fourth year. Students have until the end of the summer of the fourth year to complete this requirement. The committee, with input from the rest of the Strategy faculty, will participate in the examination of the proposal defense.
Final Dissertation Defense
We expect students to defend their dissertation by the end of their fifth year in the program. The dissertation typically consists of three papers, one of which is a marquee contribution to the field of strategy, which will be used as the student’s job market paper.