PhD Common Questions

▼   Is this right program if I'm looking to make a change from industry to academia?
Yes, this program is positioned to allow you to transition from industry to academia. It is also suitable for those who wish to adapt from industry experience into a consulting role and acquire the tools and perspective to conduct rigorous research & projects for clients.
The Mitchell PhD is also a good fit for instructors in business schools and colleges seeking a doctoral degree.
▼   Is the program accredited by the AACSB?
The Mitchell College of Business is an AACSB accredited institution and therefore the programs offered by the School are accredited. USA is accredited by SACS.
▼   Is the PhD a practical "hands on" degree or is it research based?
Given the emphasis on academic careers, the degree is more research based rather than "practical project" oriented. Of course, research problems investigated are from the "real world" of business
▼   What is the research requirement?
Students are to submit at least one paper to a conference (with instructor approval), prior to comprehensive exams. After comps, students will complete a dissertation to include data collection that is approved by a dissertation committee.
▼   Are there plans to offer concentrations other than business management and marketing?
At present we offer the PhD in Business Administration with concentrations in Management, Business Analytics and Marketing.  Additional concentrations will be considered based on market demand.
▼   Does the program offer assistantships? Can doctoral students get financial assistance as a TA or RA?
No. Unlike a traditional PhD. program, this program does not offer assistantships to students. The program format includes courses that meet 3 weekends during fall, spring and summer semesters. Thus the program also allows those living outside the city to visit during 9 weekends a year.
However, students enrolled in the PhD program may be eligible for up to $20,500 per year in Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loans. The maximum amount that graduate students may borrow under the Federal Direct Loan Program is $138,500. Federal Graduate PLUS loans are federally sponsored loans that may allow credit-worthy graduate students to borrow up to the full cost of the program, less other financial aid received including Federal Direct Loans. Both programs are administered by the USA Office of Financial Aid.
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▼   Is lodging covered by the fees? Are textbooks covered by the program fees?
No, lodging, travel, and meals are not covered by the fees. However, the cost of textbooks for the courses is included in the fees.
▼   Can I pay in-state tuition?
According to the Admissions office, students enrolling at the University of South Alabama who come to the state of Alabama from another state [with the exception of the Service Area in Florida (Escambia and Santa Rosa counties) and Mississippi (George, Greene, Harrison, Jackson, Perry, and Stone counties)] for the purpose of attending school will be considered a "non-resident student" for tuition purposes. The Office of Admissions determines a student's residency status at the time of admission. For the complete residency policy please click here.
▼   When do the classes meet? Is it online?

This a lock step program for students in either of the concentrations. You will enroll in the same courses as those in your cohort group. Our PhD program is designed to meet during weekends - three weekends in the summer and four weekends in the fall and spring. This allows U.S. students to return to their place of work during the week. Each semester, you'll be enrolled in two courses during the weekends (Friday - Sunday).Classes meet during mornings, afternoons, and late evenings. On Sundays, you'll have classes until about noon. See table below.
There is no online component to the PhD program during the first 2-years other than interactions with faculty between weekend classes and submissions.

For more information and program dates, please visit

▼   What courses are offered in the program? What is the curriculum?
You can find information about the program contents including the schedule of courses at
▼   How many hours should a student dedicate to the PhD program?
Beyond hours spent during weekend classes, a student can expect to devote a significant amount of time per week on assigned readings and analysis of materials provided. In other words, students are required to keep up with the work on a regular basis and cannot put off activities/assignments until the next meeting.
▼   The FAQ document generally references that "a student can expect to devote a significant amount of time per week" on assignments and analysis. Is it possible to quantify the amount of time which I could expect to devote to each class?
It is difficult to quantify the time element because time needed depends on your background prep, learning style, etc. If you have a recent business degree (Bachelors or Masters), then you are likely to comprehend the basics of the concepts and in the program, you will be devoting time to new knowledge creation and understanding how theories are interpreted and studied. Thus, you'll need less prep time compared to those who might have completed the business courses a while ago and been working for 15 years or more. Prep time can also vary by course - more readings in organizational behavior compared to statistics.
▼   How are the course exams?
The nature and format of the course exams, if any, vary by contents and by faculty. In each case, the faculty member will apprise students of the format, contents, and timing of the course exams.
▼   Are there any comprehensive exams?
Yes, the program includes a comprehensive exam after successfully completing all the course work. It will be during the summer after the second academic year. The specific structure and criteria regarding the nature of the content, number of questions, time limits, grading, etc. will be provided in advance of the exam.
The maximum number of attempts to accomplish the comprehensive exam will be limited to two. If the 1st attempt is not successful, then the 2nd should be satisfactorily completed before the end of the semester.
▼   How much time do I have to complete the degree?
All PhD degree requirements must be completed within ten years.  Under extraordinary circumstances, an appeal may be made to the Graduate School Dean for a time extension.
▼   What are the admission standards?
Applicants need to have a Master's degree in business from a nationally accredited school and significant managerial or academic teaching experience. Applicants with degrees from foreign institutions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Final admission into the program is subject to the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies and the PhD admissions committee.
▼   Can a GRE be a substitute of GMAT?
We don't require either GMAT or GRE for admission to our program.
▼   Is an interview part of the requirements for admission into the PhD Program?
Yes. After you have met the requirements for admission including submission of the application and other required documents, we'll arrange for you to meet with the PhD selection committee comprised of the PhD faculty.
▼   Are there plans to admit students in the fall?
Currently the program is structured to begin during May/summer of each year with the fall being the second semester for the new students. Each year, the cohort of students starts in May and not in the fall.
▼   How many students will be accepted each year?
We limit the size of each cohort in order to provide better interaction between students and faculty during the course work and more importantly during the research phase of the program.
▼   I have achieved excellent academic and professional performances though I don't have a Master's degree. Although, I searched on your websites and found out that all the applicants should have a Master's degree. Do you accept a student without Master's degree in the PhD program?
 Sorry, we don't accept students without an MBA, MS or other Master's degrees in business or at least an undergraduate degree in business with a professional Master's degree. One reason for this is that in the PhD program we expect a deeper level of understanding and comprehension, beyond the basics, in various management areas. Therefore, without a good background at the Master level, it would be difficult for students to complete the program.