Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior

Program information

Note: The doctoral program is not accepting applications in organizational behavior for the fall 2021 term.

The doctoral program in organizational behavior (OB) prepares students for success in research universities as faculty members specializing in organizational behavior. The field of OB seeks to develop knowledge of how individuals and groups think, feel and behave in organizational settings and to apply that knowledge to foster effective management of individuals in work settings.  Its origins include psychology, sociology and anthropology. 

Key research areas within the discipline include employee well-being, work design, teams, decision-making, ethics, emotions, leadership, careers, individual differences, motivation, creativity and innovation, organizational change, culture, and cross-cultural differences. 

Application deadlines

  • Fall application deadline: Jan. 10, 2021

  • Apply starting Oct. 1, 2020. Notification of admissions will be made by April 15.



  • Research

    Key research areas within the discipline include employee well-being, work design, teams, decision-making, ethics, emotions, leadership, careers, individual differences, motivation, creativity and innovation, organizational change, culture, and cross-cultural differences.


  • Teaching

    Part of our mission is to develop effective teachers. To that end, all doctoral students are required to teach at least two sections as independent instructors. The school and university prepare and reward doctoral students for excellence in teaching through various programs and awards.

Program details

Core courses

A graduate course in economics

BE 701: Business Economics OR BE 917: Advanced Managerial Economics OR ECON 700: Survey of Microeconomics

BE 917: Business Economics, is preferred. Students coming into the program directly from an undergraduate degree may consider substituting BE 701: Business Economics, or ECON 700: Survey of Microeconomics. In the event a student has taken a graduate economics course prior to enrolling as a KU doctoral student, she/he may waive the requirement and substitute either an elective doctoral content course or a statistics/research methods course for this requirement.

MGMT 905: Philosophy of the Behavioral and Organizational Sciences

MGMT 906: Behavioral Research Methods

MGMT 916: Seminar in Organization Theory

1 of 2

Management area HRM content course(s)

1 of 2

Management area OB content course(s)

1 of 2

Management area Strategy content course(s)

Concentration courses

Second Management area course from student’s area of specialization

Elective content or statistics/methods course

Elective content or statistics/methods course

Additional information

Elective content or statistics/research methods courses can be from the Management area or from elsewhere at KU, and can be MGMT 998: Independent Study in Management.

Supporting courses

PSYC 790: Statistical Methods in Psychology I

PSYC 791: Statistical Methods in Psychology II

PSYC 893: Multivariate Analysis

PSYC 894: Multilevel Modeling

PSYC 896: Structural Equation Modeling I

Additional information

For the statistics/research methods course requirements, students may substitute an equivalent statistics or methods course as an elective with faculty advisor approval.

More information:

View a detailed list of courses in the Academic Catalog.

Area of concentration

Each aspirant, with the assistance of his or her faculty advisor and the area faculty, selects an area of concentration.

The area of concentration is selected from the traditional business disciplines of accounting, finance, human resource management, marketing, decision sciences, organizational behavior, and strategic management. An aspirant may also propose an interdisciplinary area of concentration that is a combination of these disciplines or include emphasis such as international business, law, and economics.

The aspirant must take at least five advanced courses in the area of concentration. These courses may include those offered outside the School of Business.

Supporting areas

Coursework in the area of concentration is supplemented and strengthened by study in one or two supporting areas. A supporting area is one that supplements and complements the area of concentration.

The aspirant will satisfy the supporting area requirement by taking at least four advanced courses in the supporting areas (at least two courses in each of two supporting areas, or at least four courses in one supporting area). Courses recommended for preparation for the qualifiers may not be included in satisfying the supporting area requirement.

Research methodology

For successful qualifier assessment, the student’s program of study should include adequate preparation in research methodology.

Sound research is always grounded on sound methodology. A doctoral student in marketing has the opportunity to develop methodological skill in probability and statistics, optimization, uncertain reasoning, game theory, and econometrics. A typical doctoral dissertation often utilizes one or more of the following research methodology: empirical, analytical, behavioral, and computational.

Year 1

  • Coursework
  • Research

Year 2

  • Coursework
  • Research

Year 3

  • Comprehensive exams

Year 4

  • Dissertation proposal

Year 5

  • Dissertation defense

Some students can complete the program in four years.

Program faculty

Organizational behavior doctoral students