HOME | PhD Program Overview
  • Program Overview

    PhD studies at MIT Sloan are intense and individual in nature, demanding a great deal of time, initiative, and discipline from every candidate. But the rewards of such rigor are tremendous:  MIT Sloan PhD graduates go on to teach and conduct research at the world's most prestigious universities. 


    PhD students fulfill their coursework and methodology requirements by taking advantage of the more than 150 subjects offered at MIT Sloan — in addition to hundreds more offered across MIT. Students may also avail themselves of courses at other local universities.

    *As you may have noticed, our main MIT Sloan page recently got an update. This may have affected the PhD program pages. If you are unable to find a page you are looking for, please email us, sloanphd@sloan.mit.edu.

    PhD Program curriculum at MIT Sloan is organized into three broad areas, each of which contains several research groups: 

    Management Science Behavioral & Policy Sciences
    Economics, Finance & Accounting

    Master’s Thesis

    In addition to taking elective classes, students in the second year of the program are expected to complete their first major research paper which will be a master’s thesis, earning them an SM in Management Research.

    General Examinations

    The single most important hurdle in the PhD experience at MIT Sloan is the General Examinations. The exact form of these exams can vary according to the faculty and students involved, but they always involve written and oral parts given by the area faculty covering all of the relevant material.


    After students complete the General Examinations, the stage is set for them to begin work on a dissertation or thesis, the most unstructured and difficult part of doctoral studies. Students must choose a topic, define it to the satisfaction of a faculty committee, investigate it thoroughly (including gathering data at field sites), and write the dissertation.

    Dissertations typically take two forms: book-style chapters or three separate essays. They are usually completed within two to three years of passing the General Examinations. The final step before achieving the doctorate is a public defense seminar, which is open to the entire MIT Sloan community.