Washington University's Olin Business School is one of the nation's leading research institutions, with a faculty whose research productivity consistently ranks among the highest in the business school community. Olin faculty members are recognized the world over for their important contributions to the creation of new knowledge. We also take great pride in our commitment to excellence in teaching.

Our PhD students are guided by highly productive researchers who are among the nation's top scholars. Faculty work closely with students to help them hone their research skills, often building one-on-one mentoring relationships that include co-authoring research papers. 

Development of strong problem-solving skills equips our students to strategically address complex, unstructured business issues that result in innovative thinking and new ideas for research that have value to the academic community and application in the business world.

Olin's PhD program in business provides:

  • A challenging core curriculum and a strong background in basic disciplines.
  • Emphasis on collaborative relationships between faculty and students, which enhances the educational process and the search for the student's first faculty appointment.
  • Personalized advising for successful completion of PhD program requirements and a customized course of study that fits the student's particular area of interest.
  • A collegial network built on mutual respect and a shared school of thought. Olin faculty members promote one-on-one mentoring relationships, often partnering with students for research that leads to co-authoring papers.
  • A competitive edge in the business education market.
Contact:Erin Murdock

PhD in Business Administration

PhD students must complete 72 semester hours, maintain satisfactory academic progress, pass certain examinations, fulfill residence and teaching requirements, and write, defend, and submit a dissertation.

Upon successful completion of business PhD study, the student is awarded a PhD from the Graduate School at Washington University.

Core Foundation

  • A strong foundation in microeconomics or psychology, probability & statistics, and quantitative methods
  • Exposure to the student's area of specialization and the required research tools
  • Successful completion of the core exam


  • Course work in one or more areas of study
  • In-depth knowledge in chosen field
  • Active association with the research process through faculty mentoring
  • Completion of the field exam


  • Participation with faculty in research activities
  • Research paper presentation
  • Individual research pursuing a specialized topic of interest
  • Preparation and defense of the student's dissertation