PhD Program in Management


Program Description

The Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill, renowned worldwide for cutting-edge research, offers a Ph.D. Program in Management where outstanding students conduct fundamental research at the frontiers of management knowledge and practice.

With the collaboration of faculty and industry leaders, the program prepares students to become autonomous researchers, whose teaching, publications and consulting activities contribute to leading universities and organizations around the world.

The Desautels Ph.D. program participates in a joint doctoral program that brings together the four leading Montreal universities (HEC-Montreal, Concordia, UQAM, and McGill). As a result, students gain access to the rich doctoral offerings from other universities and are expected to include professors from other universities on their committees.

Areas of specialization

Before entering the Ph.D. in Management Program at Desautels, students must select an area of specialization from one of the following or from a combination thereof:

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Information Systems
  • Marketing
  • Operations Management
  • Organizational Behaviour
  • Strategy and Organization


The Ph.D. specialization in Accounting focuses on issues related to the use of accounting information by various users (i.e., investors, financial analysts), the effect of regulations and of changes in accounting practices and theory. These include financial reporting and disclosure, management accounting and control systems, and auditing.


The Ph.D. specialization in Finance prepares students for research-oriented academic careers. While students from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply, the typical student holds an undergraduate or a master degree in economics, finance, mathematics, statistics, computer science, engineering or physics.

Information Systems

The objectives of the Ph.D. specialization in Information Systems (IS) are to promote theoretical and applied research on topics related to information systems practice with a combined focus on scientific rigor and relevance.


The Ph.D. specialization in Marketing is concerned with the behavior of consumers, competitors and intermediaries, and the outcomes of their decisions as they relate to the performance of firms and brands. An interdisciplinary field, marketing relies considerably on fields such as psychology, economics, statistics, and sociology to develop theory and methodology.

Operations Management

The Ph.D. specialization in Operations Management is typically characterized by a blend of theoretical and applied research. In addition to the Management Science Research Center of McGill, the area members are affiliated with two main inter-University research centers, GÉRAD and CIRRELT.

Organizational Behaviour

The fundamental objective of the Ph.D. specialization in Organizational Behaviour is to train world-class researchers in this field. The term "organizational behavior" refers to a collection of theory and research that focuses on individual and group attitudes, cognitions and behaviors in organizations.

Strategy and Organization

The Ph.D. specialization in Strategy and Organization is designed to train students in the theory and methods of strategy and organization. Desautels is renowned for its process approach to strategy – a focus on the dynamics through which strategies emerge and are realized in organizations, and the particular concepts and methodologies for studying the dynamics of strategic change.

Program structure

Phase I: Preparation (3 to 12 months)

Before entering the program, you will have selected your area of specialization from the following areas or a combination of them:

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Information Systems
  • Operations Management
  • Marketing
  • Organizational Behaviour
  • Strategy and Organization
  • Enviro option

The required courses in Phase I include:

  • Graduate level courses (as required): Determined at the time of registration, course requirements will depend on the student's academic background and/or the desired area of specialization.
  • Management Research Statistics (MGSC 706): Topics include simple, multiple, polynomial and stepwise regression; matrix approach to regression; one-way analysis of variance, two-way analysis of variance with and without replication; analysis of covariance; multiple comparison procedures; non-parametric statistical methods; one- and multi-sample problems; tests of randomness; and exercises using statistical computer programs.

Phase II - Specialization (18 to 24 months)

When you enter Phase II of the program, you will form a Phase II Advisory Committee of three or more members. At least one professor must represent one of the other universities participating in the joint program. This committee will supervise all of your Phase II work. Its role is threefold:

  • To approve specialization and support field course selection
  • To supervise the Research Paper
  • To administer your Comprehensive Exam and provide you with an agreed list of texts and articles to prepare for the exam.

Phase II is initiated by your filing of the Phase II form, which lists committee members and requirements with tentative completion dates. This phase consists of:

  • Seminar on Research Methodology (or approved equivalent course): An introduction to the fundamentals of research methodology (scientific method, research methods used in management, multiple-method approach), research validity, research measurement, and qualitative research techniques.
  • Seminar in Pedagogy (or approved equivalent course): Presenting the main methods, tools and support activities used in the teaching of management (i.e. lecture method, cases, teaching through practice, etc.), this seminar gives participants the opportunity to practice and improve their teaching skills, and to reflect on university teaching and the place of teaching in an academic career.
  • A minimum of four courses in the student's area of specialization
  • A minimum of two courses in the student's support field
  • A research paper
  • Preparation and completion of a comprehensive exam

Phase III - Dissertation (12 to 24 months)

All Phase III work is supervised by your Phase III Dissertation Committee. This committee may be the same as your Phase II Advisory Committee or may be reconstituted, again with representation from at least one other participating university.

This third phase begins with filing a Phase III form, which contains a list of committee members and a one-page description of your research topic. You then publicly present your thesis proposal, which must be formally approved by your thesis committee. Once the research and written dissertation are completed, you publicly defend your thesis as the final step of the Ph.D. \


The McGill Ph.D. in Management aims to attract individuals who possess a strong academic background, personal initiative, and the potential to become excellent researchers.

Applicants are assessed according to their past academic record, evaluations by former professors or supervisors, performance on standard graduate examinations, relevant work experience and the fit between their interests and the Faculty's focus and objectives.

The McGill Doctoral Committee reviews all completed applications and makes the final admission recommendations to the Joint Doctoral Committee and to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research for final approval.

Candidates typically hold a Masters-level degree, with a strong academic record from a recognized university.

The Ph.D. in Management is a full-time program only. Please note that our doctoral program does not review applications for Special/Exchange/Visiting.

Last updated Jun 2019

About the School

The Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University is ranked as one of the world’s top international business schools. The Faculty’s innovative programs and historic reputation for excellence co ... Read More

The Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University is ranked as one of the world’s top international business schools. The Faculty’s innovative programs and historic reputation for excellence continue to attract the finest students and the most prominent professors from around the globe to its downtown campus located in the vibrant metropolis of Montreal. Read less


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