FAQs – Sullivan Ph.D. in Management Program

There are a myriad of reasons people pursue a Ph.D. Many people are motivated by a desire to continue learning and create new knowledge through scholarly research. Others are interested in becoming practitioners whereby they consult with organizations that value research and development of products, services or markets. Sullivan University’s Ph.D. in Management embraces the scholar–practitioner model in an attempt to develop students who connect ideas and actions.

The program prepares practitioners to develop research and application skills that will enable them to serve as leaders and scholars in their organizations. The program also provides options for those who wish to enhance their careers by teaching or training others.

What areas of concentration are available?

Students pursuing a Ph.D. in Management at Sullivan University may choose from four different concentrations:

  • Strategic Management
  • Conflict Management
  • Human Resource Leadership
  • Information Technology

What are the main requirements of the Ph.D. program?

The student’s program includes coursework, projects and other educational activities to prepare the student for the successful completion of the doctoral comprehensive examination and for the development, implementation and defense of the doctoral dissertation. Although the program of study for the Ph.D. in Management is determined largely by the concentration area selected by the student, all students take 24 units of research core, 20 units of management core, 16 units from their selected concentration, 2 units of comprehensive exam and a minimum of 16 units of dissertation. In addition, all students must attend a minimum of two Ph.D. student retreats to fulfill their residency requirement.

How many courses do Ph.D. students take? Who offers them?

Sullivan University’s Ph.D. in Management students take 16 courses total. Then, once all coursework is completed and they pass their comprehensive exams, they are scheduled for dissertation courses. They continue to enroll in the dissertation course until they successfully defend their dissertation research.

How long does it take to complete the formal coursework?

The length of the program depends on whether a student is enrolled full-time or part-time. Full-time students take two courses per quarter, and they may complete their formal coursework in two years. Part-time students taking one course per quarter may complete the coursework in four years. Of course, withdrawing from a course or taking a quarter off from school will extend the length of time it takes to complete the coursework.

Who will be my advisor?

New students are assigned a mentor who will mentor and advise them during their first year in the program. At the beginning of their second year of coursework, students will select their advisory committee. The advisory committee is typically comprised of three members and is headed by the Advisory Committee Chair. All committee members must have earned doctorates from a regionally accredited university. The Advisory Chair and one committee member must be full-time faculty members at Sullivan University or doctorally qualified administrators. The third committee member may be from outside the department or outside Sullivan University.

Then, at the end of formal coursework and after successfully passing the comprehensive exam, students will select their dissertation committee. The dissertation committee is comprised of three members: the dissertation committee chairperson (Dissertation Chair), the methodologist and one other person. Although students are encouraged to retain members of their Ph.D. advisory committees as dissertation committee members, they are not required to do so.

How much flexibility exists in the program?

All students are required to take the research core, management core, comprehensive exam and dissertation units. There is flexibility in the concentration courses students take. For example, if a student selects the Strategic Management concentration, but the research strand lends itself to Conflict Management or Human Resource Leadership, those concentration courses may be substituted for the Strategic Management ones.

What is the nature of the research requirements of the program?

Students in the Ph.D. in Management program are encouraged to engage in research and practice through research projects with faculty, becoming teaching assistants and presenting at conferences. Faculty grant applications are solicited once a year and faculty members receiving grants engage students in their research projects.

Are Ph.D. students required to teach?

Students are not required to teach. However, students who wish to gain teaching experience may apply to become a teaching assistant. Teaching assistants are paired with an experienced faculty member who mentors and guides the student in the online classroom setting.

Is it possible to earn the Ph.D. degree on a part-time basis?

Yes, students who elect to take one course per quarter are considered part-time students.
What are the specific learning outcomes of Sullivan’s program?

Upon completion of the Ph.D. in Management program, Sullivan University graduates should be able to:

  1. Apply principles and theories of organizational management into a variety of organizational settings
  2. Manage and facilitate change in organizations
  3. Analyze and review research critically
  4. Create and promote healthy organizations
  5. Identify research topics in one of three concentration areas
  6. Conduct searches of scholarly and practice literature
  7. Select appropriate research designs and statistics
  8. Design quantitative and qualitative based research studies
  9. Develop expertise in a topic by conducting a major research project

About the Author


Dr. LaVena Wilkin has served as Sullivan University’s Ph.D. Program Director since June 2013. She holds a Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution and is certified as a mediator, conflict coach and employee engagement facilitator. Dr. Wilkin is the editor of the Journal for Conflict Management, co-author of a book entitled Organizational Conflicts: Challenges and Solutions and a regular contributor to Louisville Business First newspaper.

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