Organizational Studies Ph.D. Degree

Admissions to the Ph.D. in Organizational Studies program were suspended effective October 2007.

The Organizational Studies Doctoral Program meets the special needs of persons desiring a Ph.D. degree in the interdisciplinary field of organizational administration. The program draws upon the resources of several departments/schools concerned with organizational processes, including Management, Psychology, Public Administration, Sociology, Educational Administration, and Educational Psychology. The program is based on the model of the scientist-practitioner who will be competent to undertake a variety of careers, including a teaching position in a university, a professional position within a private or public sector organization, or a professional position as a consultant on organizational problems. The program emphasizes development of competencies in teaching, research, and the application of research findings to practice. The doctoral program requires the completion of at least 63 credits beyond the baccalaureate degree. Advanced standing will be given for prior graduate study that is relevant. Most students who are admitted to the program already have a master's degree in business, social science, or public administration. Applicants must satisfy the general University requirements for admission to doctoral study described early in this Bulletin. Doctoral students are required to demonstrate proficiency in a core set of competencies acquired during their first two years. Students are also required to carry out a research project, a conceptual paper, successfully complete doctoral examinations in research methods and the specialization, and successfully complete and defend a doctoral dissertation.

Program of Study
The Ph.D. program allows students considerable flexibility in designing a program of study relevant to their individual interests and career plans. The distribution requirements for the program include: 4 statistics/methods courses, work motivation or organizational psychology, leadership, human resource management, organization theory, and strategic management. The statistics courses must be on advanced aspects (e.g. multivariate statistics). The program director has primary responsibility for reviewing and approving the distribution requirements of students. By the end of the second year each student must declare a specialization. Most students will select a standard specialization in organizational behavior, human resources management, organization theory, or strategic management. A unique specialization is possible if at least 3 program faculty members agree to serve as the committee, but it must be approved by the program director. A specialization includes 12-15 credits of relevant coursework at the 600 and/or 700 level, and it can include independent study and/or a second research project. The specialization faculty will identify key competencies, provide a list of relevant courses, and provide a reading list to prepare a student for the comprehensive exam on the specialization. The student and his/her advisor will identify specific courses to be used for the specialization, and a proposed program of study must be submitted to the program director for review and approval. A student cannot change his/her specialization without approval of the director, who will consult with the relevant faculty and specify conditions for making the change. Students are also required to take the Proseminar in Organizational Studies for 4 semesters.
One Research Project is required and it must be finished by the end of the fourth semester. The project should be an empirical study or meta-analysis written in a format suitable for submission to a professional meeting. Students must also write a conceptual paper that is relevant to the specialization. It must be approved by the specialization advisor and program director prior to taking the comprehensive exam in the specialization. Students are usually required to present the research project and the conceptual paper in a Proseminar session. Any remaining coursework taken by students consists of other electives selected by the student with the approval of his/her guidance committee.

Required Examinations

  1. Students are required to pass a Methods Exam for which competencies will be clearly specified. The exam must be taken at least once in the second academic year, and it must be passed by the end of the third academic year. Only 3 tries are allowed, and a third attempt is contingent on satisfactory progress in the coursework and research project.
  2. Students are required to pass a comprehensive oral examination on their area of specialization. The exam committee consists of 3 program faculty members with expertise in the subjects included in the specialization. The exam cannot be taken until after the student passes the methods exam and completes the conceptual paper. The comprehensive oral exam must be passed by the end of the fourth academic year, and each student has a maximum of 3 tries. Finally, students are required to make a successful oral defense of their dissertation.

Registration Requirements

Each student in a doctoral program must engage in full-time study in at least two semesters during the first 2 years of the doctoral program. Full time study consists of at least 12 credits for the semester, but students with a graduate assistantship may meet the residency requirement by the satisfactory completion of a minimum of 9 registered credits each semester. There is a minimum of 6 credits required in a non-residency semester, but after all required courses are completed, the registration requirement drops to a minimum of 3 credits for the semester. After a student is advanced to candidacy, the registration requirement is one load credit each semester for dissertation research until the dissertation is completed.

Transfer Credits and Advanced Standing

A maximum of 27 graduate credits can to transferred from other universities or other graduate programs at the University at Albany. Transfer credits are usually applied toward electives, and any exceptions must be approved by the program director.

Admission to Candidacy

A student is admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree upon completion of the following requirements:

  1. Satisfactory completion of all required coursework;
  2. Completion of registration requirements for two semesters of full time study;
  3. Satisfactory completion of the statistics and methods qualifying exam;
  4. Satisfactory completion of the research project;
  5. Satisfactory completion of the conceptual paper in the specialization;
  6. Satisfactory completion of the comprehensive exam in the specialization.


A candidate for the Ph.D. degree must submit a dissertation based on original research which represents a significant contribution to the field of organizational studies. Requirement and guidelines for preparation of the dissertation are contained in a separate document available from the Program Director.