Program of Study

The OID Department’s Ph.D. program has three areas of specialization: decision processes (DP), information systems (IS), and operations management / operations research (OM / OR).  In all three areas, the program is designed to be completed in four to five uninterrupted years, including summers, of full-time study and research.

In the first year the students take foundational courses, including the departmental core, microeconomics and statistics, and at the end of the year they take a written qualifying exam.  Over the first year students also identify an area in which they wish to focus their education and research, and during the first summer they work on a research project in their chosen areas under the supervision of a faculty member.  A paper based on this research project is completed by the end of the summer, and early in the fall of the 2nd year students present their research results as a part of an oral qualifying exam.

Upon passing the qualifying exam, students develop a program of in-depth study and research organized around their research interests.  Advanced courses help in the final choice of an area of specialization and a dissertation topic.  During the summer between their second and third years, students write a second research paper under the supervision of a faculty member. This paper provides an important transition between coursework and dissertation research, and often becomes a part of the dissertation.

In the third year students finish their course work and begin the preparation of a dissertation proposal. This proposal provides some initial results and a specific plan for the completion of a dissertation. The formal defense of the dissertation proposal generally occurs at the end of the third year. After formal approval of the proposal, the student completes the dissertation. A student completes the program by successfully defending his or her dissertation.