PhD in Business Administration

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the deadline to apply?

The deadline to apply is Jan. 2, which is an early priority deadline established by the Muma College of Business. Candidates who apply after this date may be considered on a space available basis, though there are rarely spaces available.

Why is there a priority deadline and a university deadline?

The priority deadline for this program is the date by which an applicant should apply for full consideration of admission and funding. Applicants who apply after the priority deadline, but before the university deadline, will be considered only on a space available basis.

Do I need a graduate degree in order to apply?

A master's degree is not required for admission. However, most competitive applicants have completed a graduate degree prior to starting the PhD. On the rare occasion that a student is admitted with only a bachelors completed, that student will need to complete extra coursework as a part of the PhD in order to reach the credit requirement.

Do I need to send official transcripts and scores when I apply or can I wait for an offer?

Applicants should upload unofficial copies of transcripts and scores to their online application for review purposes. If an applicant is admitted and decides to attend, then official transcripts and scores need to be sent to the university admissions office.

I am an international student with a US degree, can I waive TOEFL?

For admission purposes, international applicants with US degrees may waive TOEFL. However, working as a teaching assistant is required in USF's program and the State of Florida requires certain scores on the speaking portion of the TOEFL for international students to be appointed in a TA position. Therefore, all international students will eventually need to provide TOEFL scores.

Can I use IELTS for the PhD?

For admission purposes, the university can accept IELTS scores of 6.5+ overall. However, working as a teaching assistant is required in this program and the state of Florida requires certain scores on the speaking portion of the TOEFL for international students to be appointed in a TA position. Therefore, all international students will eventually need to provide TOEFL scores.

Who should write my recommendation letters?

Letters of recommendation are meant to provide evaluations on a student's ability and aptitude in regard to graduate study. As such, prior professors are the recommenders of choice. These faculty should be professors who have had significant interaction with applications - by either taking multiple classes with them or having completed a substantial project in one of their classes. For those who are employed in a field related to the intended field of study, a letter from an employer may be of value.

What should I include in my Statement of Goals and Objectives?

The statement of goals and objectives is designed to provide additional information to the admissions committee on the applicant's academic background, professional experience, and motivation for seeking a doctoral degree and undertaking the research involved in earning that degree. Applicants should keep information on personal background brief unless it specifically relates to why a candidate wants to enter a doctoral program. Candidates should highlight any qualifications that differentiate them from other applicants and why those qualifications are significant. They should also outline exactly why they are seeking a doctoral degree and describe any envisioned plans after graduation. Finally, applicants should have some idea of the targeted area of interest as it relates to research in the intended concentration. Applicants should outline this broad area of interest, identify any specific questions that might be considered for research, explain its significance, and, if applicable, explain how this research relates to that of current faculty in the department. This section should also highlight any prior research experience.

Should I contact the faculty of the department prior to applying?

Applicants do not need to contact faculty prior to applying to the program. Admitted students will be matched up with research faculty after admission. It is recommended that applicants review the research interests of USF faculty to get an idea of the areas of expertise within their intended concentration area. Faculty research listings can be found in each school and in faculty bios.

When should I expect to hear from the admission committee?

Application review starts in mid- January. The admission committee will identify applicants they would like to interview and will contact those applicants directly. Admission offers may be made as early as mid- February but are usually not finalized until mid- April.

How many students are usually accepted? How many applications are usually received?

Typically each concentration receives between 20 and 30 applications and they will admit two or three students per year.

What are the current score averages for competitive applicants in each of the concentrations?

  • Finance 710+ GMAT or GRE above the 90th percentile
  • Marketing 680+ GMAT or GRE above the 90th percentile
  • Information Systems 710+ GMAT or GRE above the 90th percentile
  • Accounting 680+ GMAT or GRE above the 90th percentile

What kind of funding is available?

A limited number of graduate assistantships are available for PhD students. Assistantships for Fall 2023 admits will have a stipend of $32,000 per year. These positions have 12 month appointments for the first three years and a 9 month in the fourth year. Graduate assistants work as research assistants and teaching assistants. In addition to the stipend, students on assistantship are eligible for a partial tuition waiver. The tuition waiver covers the tuition portion of the bill. Students are responsible for the fee portion of their bill which includes fees for each credit hour, flat rate fees, distance learning fees, and lab fees. Currently a PhD student taking nine credit hours would expect to pay around $900 in fees per semester (fall and spring). During the summer semester, a PhD student taking six credit hours should expect to owe around $600. Students on assistantship also qualify for a health insurance subsidy.

How do I apply for an assistantship?

PhD applicants are considered for assistantships as a part of the regular application review process. No further application is needed.

What university fellowships are available for new PhD students?

The university has several fellowships that newly admitted students can be nominated for by their departments. Examples are listed below.

  • University Graduate Fellowship
    For outstanding, new students enrolling in a doctoral program. Students must not have taken or be taking classes at USF, degree or non-degree seeking when nominated for this award.

  • Presidential Doctoral Fellowship
    For new doctoral students with exceptional academic credentials (ex. evidence of experience in the field; research productivity, awards, honors; and professional contributions and achievements to the field). Students must not have taken or be taking classes at USF, degree or non-degree seeking, when nominated for this award.

  • Delores Auzenne Fellowship
    For talented new domestic doctoral students who contribute diversity in USF graduate programs. Students should represent individuals who are historically underrepresented in specific disciplines along the dimensions of ethnicity and gender. Student must be a new, incoming doctoral student. A master's student from USF who is entering the doctoral program may be considered for this award.

If I think I qualify for one of these fellowships, how should I address that in my application?

The statement of goals and objectives is the appropriate place for an applicant to address their eligibility and interest in a fellowship.

Are there any outside sources of funding specifically for African American and Hispanic applicants?

The State of Florida's McKnight Doctoral Fellowship program is for African American or Hispanic U.S. citizens who earned a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Up to 50 McKnight Fellowships are granted each year to students pursuing doctoral degrees in eligible fields of study at one of nine participating institutions in Florida. The University of South Florida is one of the participating institutions and business is one of the eligible fields of study. Interest students apply directly to the Florida Education Fund. For more information, please reference the McKnight website:.

How are the concentrations reflected on my degree?

The degree conferred is a Doctor of Philosophy in Business with a specialization in one of the named concentration areas.