The Strategy PhD program stresses research rather than coursework. Our flexible curriculum allows you to design a program of coursework that will meet your specific needs. 

Course Requirements

You are required to take nine PhD level courses or course equivalents.

Fuqua Strategy course: There is typically one PhD course offered by Fuqua strategy 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 should take all Fuqua strategy courses that are offered.

Required Courses

  • Strategy Doctoral Seminar
  • Microeconomics
  • Econometrics

Electives

Fuqua strategy faculty typically offer the following elective courses:

  • Economics of Innovation
  • Modeling of organization and strategy

In addition, 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.

Second Year Paper

At the end of the second year during the summer, students should produce a research paper. Most students will do so in collaboration with a faculty member. Formally, the student shall present the paper in the strategy seminar series no later than the end of Fall Term 1 of the Fuqua Academic Calendar in the third year. Each student will set up a committee, which will include at least one faculty member from outside the strategy area. The committee, with input from the rest of the strategy faculty, will evaluate both the presentation and the paper.

Comprehensive Exam

Students must exhibit satisfactory performance on a written comprehensive examination that tests the student’s understanding of the research discussed in the doctoral seminars and workshops. The comprehensive examination is written by a committee of the strategy faculty. The examination committee will grade the exam. Depending on performance on the examination, students may be dismissed from the program or asked to retake the examination. Students are not permitted to take the comprehensive exam more than twice. The examination committee will determine any additional qualifications for a student to retake the exam and when the timing of that exam will occur.

Teaching and Research Assistantships

A critical part of the strategy doctoral program is forming professional relationships with faculty members and learning about the research and teaching processes. All students are expected to help faculty with research and teaching as needed, with the general expectations of 10 hours per week for students in years two through five, and 4 hours per week during year one. Hours worked above these amounts generally qualify for hourly compensation at pre-specified rates established by Fuqua, with the specifics of the work arrangement determined with consultation of the faculty member needing assistance. Work on co-authored projects does not qualify as research assistance.

Preliminary Exam

This requirement is satisfied if the student exhibits satisfactory performance on the written comprehensive exam, as well as the second year paper.

Dissertation Proposal

We suggest students form a dissertation committee in the Fall of their fourth year, with the proposal occurring in the Spring of the fourth year. Students have until the end of the summer of the fourth year to complete this requirement.

Dissertation Defense

We expect students to defend their dissertation by the end of their fifth year in the program.

Sample Program Schedule

With most coursework tailored to your research interests, there isn’t a ‘typical’ course schedule in the Strategy PhD program. 

Year 1

Fall

Spring

Summer

Coursework
  • Microeconomic Theory
  • Econometrics I
  • Strategy Research Workshop
Coursework
  • Organization Theory

 

Research

 

Year 2

Fall

Spring

Summer

Coursework
  •  Elective (e.g., Industrial Organization or other)
  •  Advanced Methods courses

 

Coursework
  •  Elective (e.g., Organization Behavior, Economics of Technical Change)
  •  Advanced Methods courses

Written comprehensive exam at the end of Year 2

 

Research
  • Second Year Summer Paper

 

Year 3

Fall

Spring

Summer

Preliminary Exam*
  • Original Research Paper
  • Oral Presentation

 

Coursework (Optional)

Research

Research

 

Year 4

Fall

Spring

Summer

Research

Dissertation work committee formation

Research

Dissertation Proposal*

Research

 

Year 5

Fall

Spring

Summer

Research

Research

Dissertation Defense*

 

Asterisk indicates key milestone (qualifying, preliminary, and final exams)