The Singapore Management University (SMU) PhD in Business programme develops exceptional scholars who have a deep understanding of the issues confronting the business world and who are able to conduct cutting-edge independent research in specializations including Finance, Marketing, Operations Management, Organisational Behaviour & Human Resources, and Strategic Management & Organisation.

The programme is run by the SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business which is is one of the youngest institutions worldwide to be conferred the EQUIS and AACSB accreditations. The accreditations cover all programmes, including the PhD. Faculty members at the School consistently publish in top-tier business journals, and our rigorous and intellectually stimulating curriculum prepares our graduates for diverse careers in academia and industry.

The Singapore Management University (SMU) Lee Kong Chian School of Business offers:

PhD in Business (Finance)
This rigorous and intellectually stimulating programme emphasizes advanced study in the areas of finance, economics, statistics and quantitative research methods. The programme is taught by a group of dynamic faculty who consistently publish in top finance journals.

At the end of the programme, graduates will have the skills needed to conduct in-depth research into a specific sub-field in finance such as asset pricing, corporate finance, and market microstructure. Graduates will also have a broad appreciation of the field’s key research issues. Given the tremendous relevance of finance to the global economy, a graduate of this programme will be well prepared for diverse careers in academia, industry, international organizations, and the public sector.

Broad research strengths include Asset Pricing; Corporate Finance & Governance; Hedge Funds; Institutional Investors; Market Microstructure; and Private Equity.

PhD in Business (Marketing)
This programme trains students to conduct rigorous and relevant research focused on understanding and predicting marketing actions of firms and managers, and consumer behaviour. This is a highly selective programme geared towards training students to become marketing faculty in top-tiered research-focused schools.

The learning experience includes undertaking coursework across SMU and close collaboration with, and exposure to, world-renowned marketing faculty members who will offer advanced research topic courses. PhD students will also be able to leverage on the resources of SMU’s world-class research institutes and centers such as the Centre for Marketing Excellence and Institute for Service Excellence.

Broad research strengths include E-Retailing; Digital Marketing; Financial Impact of Marketing Actions; and Role of Feelings & Emotions in Consumer Decision Making.

PhD in Business (Operations Management)
This highly competitive programme emphasizes theoretical research with practical relevance. Students are expected to complete rigorous coursework, collaborate closely with the Operations Management faculty members and attend regular research seminars.

Students will also have opportunities to interact with renowned visiting scholars from different parts of the world. The programme aims to place its graduates into faculty positions at leading universities, and managerial positions in industry, public sector and international organizations.

Broad research strengths include E-Commerce & Omnichannel Retailing; Healthcare Operations Management; Product and Service Design & Development; Purchasing & Sourcing Management; Supply Chain Management; and Sustainable Operations.

PhD in Business (Organisational Behaviour & Human Resources - OBHR)
The programme equips graduates with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to conduct highly rigorous research in OBHR in major research universities worldwide. The programme, taught by an international group of faculty members who consistently publish in the field’s most respected journals, provides hands-on training in research right from the onset as well as a stimulating curriculum emphasizing psychological foundations of organizational behaviour & human resources, statistics and research methods. A nurturing approach is adopted by our faculty members who will help students succeed in the job market and in their careers.

Broad research strengths include Creativity; Culture; Ethical Behaviour; Judgement & Decision Making; Mindfulness; Organisational Justice; Performance Measurement; and Trust.

PhD in Business (Strategic Management & Organisation)
This programme equips students with the skills, knowledge, and competencies to conduct high-quality research in the areas of strategic management and organizations. Students can choose their research topics from a variety of sub-areas within the domains of strategic management and organization theory, corporate and business strategy, innovation, technology management, entrepreneurship, and corporate governance.

The programme provides rigorous training by faculty members who regularly publish in top academic journals. This ensures that our students will be well equipped to start their academic careers as competent, independent and published researchers.

Broad research strengths include Entrepreneurship, Innovation, International Business, Organisation Theory, and Strategic Management.

PhD in Business Programme Structure

The PhD in Business is a full-time programme, with a maximum candidature of five years. In the first two years of study, students will enroll in intensive courses to build their research depth and breadth. The coursework is intended to prepare students for dissertation research. Students are required to sit for a PhD Qualifying Examination (QE) to assess their mastery of fundamental concepts and theories. On successful completion of the QE, the student will be ready to embark on the dissertation, which is based on original, independent research.


  • 6 Foundation Courses (6 Course Units)
  • 2 Electives (2 Course Units)
  • 4 Advanced Research Topics Courses (4 Course Units)
  • PhD Dissertation (28 Course Units)

Oral Defence of the Dissertation Proposal
This is an oral presentation of the proposed topic to a Dissertation Committee. A written dissertation proposal will have to be submitted before the presentation. A supervisor, with the expertise in the chosen topic, will be appointed. He or she guides and mentors the student throughout the dissertation work.

Oral Defence and Completion of the PhD Dissertation
This is an oral presentation of the written dissertation report to the Committee. After possible revision(s) to the report and upon fulfillment of all necessary requirements, the Committee will recommend to the University to award the PhD degree.

Admission Requirements

  • At least a good Bachelor’s degree. A Master’s degree is useful but not required.
  • Good GRE or GMAT results.
  • Good TOEFL or IELTS scores (for applicants whose medium of instruction at the Bachelor’s/Master’s level was not in English).

PhD Students’ Professional Development

Students are also provided professional training. These include teaching, English communications and presentation skills, as well as career development workshops such as interview preparation. Furthermore, students also have opportunities to share their research contributions with the international research community through reputable refereed research conferences, in Singapore and abroad. SMU provides funding for our students to attend such conferences.


Scholarships available

The Singapore Management University (SMU) PhD Programmes: Research Excellence across Management, Social Science & Computing

A premier university in Asia, the Singapore Management University (SMU) is known internationally for its world-class research and distinguished teaching. It generates leading-edge research with global impact and aims to produce broad-based, creative and entrepreneurial leaders. Home to over 8,300 undergraduate and postgraduate students, SMU is known for its interactive and technologically-enabled pedagogy of seminar-style teaching in small class sizes. The university comprises six schools – School of Accountancy, Lee Kong Chian School of Business, School of Economics, School of Information Systems, School of Law and School of Social Sciences – offering a wide range of Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD degree programmes in various disciplines.

SMU offers four PhD programmes:

  1. PhD in Business, with specializations in:
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Operations Management
  • Organisational Behaviour & Human Resources
  • Strategic Management & Organisation

PhD in Economics PhD in Psychology PhD in Information Systems (computing as well as management)

Benefits of Pursuing the SMU PhD

  • SMU prepares our PhD students to become world-class academic or industry thought leaders in their specialized fields by providing opportunities for deeper integration across management, social science, and computing. Our students are well equipped to create or generate impactful and real-world solutions. SMU encourages our students to undertake multidisciplinary research during their PhD journey.
  • There are also many opportunities for our PhD students to participate in research and teaching teams at the schools as well as SMU research centers and institutes comprising internationally-known faculty members who are experts in their specialized fields.
  • Over and above academic training, SMU PhD students also participate in professional development activities (such as presentation and teaching skills training). This training is useful to them during their PhD studies as well as after they graduate.
  • Being on a city campus, PhD students have easy access to industry partners who provide research data and validation platforms as well as SMU’s research facilities which include proprietary and published databases.
  • SMU provides our PhD students with scholarships that cover tuition fees and provide living stipends as well as provides generous conference funding for students to share their research contributions with the international research community.
  • Our PhD graduates have found good placements at prestigious academic institutions and industry organisations.
Program taught in:
Singapore Management University

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Last updated May 24, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
4 - 5 years
- Scholarships available
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Closing date for applications is 31 Jan 2019
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