General Questions

What is the purpose of the PhD degree?

The PhD program at the Leeds School of Business is designed to educate scholars for work as faculty members at other top-tier, research-oriented business schools in the United States and around the world. It is not intended to train individuals whose primary interest is teaching, or who desire to return to work in business and industry.

Can I earn a PhD in business at the Leeds School while working?

The Leeds PhD Program is a demanding full-time program intended to train students for a lifetime of scholarship. Given its demands, it is not possible or reasonable to work full-time or part-time in another activity and successfully complete a doctorate at the Leeds School at the same time.

Do you offer a distance learning PhD program?

No. Our program is full-time and requires students to be in residence at least during the coursework phase of the program. Most students remain in residence throughout their entire program.

If I graduate with a PhD from the Leeds School, can I possibly get a job at the Leeds School?

No. A widespread policy of universities around the country is that doctoral programs do not hire their own graduates. This insures that programs do not become ingrown and that scholarship is disseminated widely.


What are the admission requirements?

Students applying to the Leeds PhD Program must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited university or college. A masters-level degree is not required. Previous academic studies do not need to be in business, economics, or related fields. Leeds PhD students come from diverse backgrounds including engineering, psychology, political science, other liberal arts, and the sciences. A complete description of the application process can be found on the How to Apply Page.

How do you make admission decisions?

Since our goal is to educate students for careers in research and teaching at major universities, we evaluate applicants on their prospects of becoming leading scholars in their areas. We take into account previous academic performance, work experience, test scores, and any other activities that present evidence of tenacity and scholarly potential. Since this evaluation is necessarily subjective, it is difficult to make categorical statements about what it takes to ensure admission to the Leeds PhD Program.

Do I need to take the GMAT or GRE?

Yes, you must submit either GMAT or GRE official scores that are less than 5 years old regardless of your previous educational experience. The GMAT/GRE will only be waived if you have a PhD in a related field.

In recent years admitted students who submitted GMAT scores have had an average score of 711. Admitted students who submitted GRE scores have had an average score of 321.

I am an international student and I attended undergraduate and/or graduate school in the US, can I waive the TOEFL?

The language requirement will be waived if your native language is English. International applicants should submit official TOEFL or IELTS scores that are less than 2 years old. Minimum scores accepted: TOEFL 100 and IELTS 7. For more information about English language requirements, please click here.

Do I need an MS or MBA degree?

No, you do not need to have an advanced degree for admittance to the Leeds PhD Program. Many of our students enter the program with an undergraduate degree only. However, a graduate degree may help your application by demonstrating a foundation for advanced doctoral level work and by indicating your ability to do graduate-level work.

Do I need work experience?

Work experience is not a prerequisite for admission to the Leeds PhD Program, but relevant experience can demonstrate a useful foundation for advanced doctoral level scholarship. Many of our students have worked for at least several years before joining our program.

How selective is the program?

Admission to any top doctoral program is highly selective and the Leeds PhD Program is no exception. We receive hundreds of applications annually, but can admit an average of only two students per area. Actual admission ratios vary by year and by area.

How often do you admit students?

We admit students once a year. Application materials are due in December for admission the following fall semester. We typically do not admit students for a spring semester start.

How do I schedule a visit?

Finalists for admission will be invited to campus in the spring; however, you are welcome to schedule a visit earlier on your own. Campus tours are available from the university's Office of Admission.

May I send you my qualifications and be pre-assessed for admissions or likelihood of being admitted to your program?

No. We cannot offer evaluations or assessments to prospective applicants, nor can we offer feedback on anyone’s likelihood of being admitted prior to receiving a complete application. The admissions decisions are made by a faculty committee in each program area and offers of admission are awarded on a competitive basis, after evaluating all applications. We encourage all interested applicants to apply.

The Leeds PhD Program

What is life like as a PhD student?

Life as a doctoral student is not unlike life as any student, except that it is far less structured. Coursework comprises only a fraction of a doctoral student’s time, with research activities comprising the remainder. Research by its nature is unstructured and exploratory, so the path ahead often is not obvious. Tenacity and self-motivation are paramount to success.

How many courses are required?

You will need to complete at least 30 credit hours (10 courses) of graduate-level coursework and 30 hours of dissertation credit while enrolled in the Leeds PhD Program. Many students take additional courses beyond this minimum in order to provide a better foundation for their dissertation research. Your curriculum will be determined by the requirements of your doctoral area, by your research interests, and by the advice of your doctoral advisors.

Can I transfer in credits from another university?

You are eligible to transfer up to 9 credit hours into the Leeds PhD Program, only after one semester of the PhD program has been completed. The eligibility of transfer credits is determined by your area of study, by the faculty in your area, and by your research interests. Transfer credit must also be approved by the Graduate School. Approval of transfer credit cannot be done prior to admission. Doctoral students generally take 30 credit-hours of graduate coursework at CU regardless of their previous studies.

Will I work on faculty research projects?

A fundamental part of a doctoral education is working closely with faculty on research projects. For the first several years of your program, you will work closely with faculty members on their research projects as a research assistant and during the summers on joint research papers. As you develop your dissertation, you will begin to work more independently, but still under guidance of your faculty advisors. Beyond graduation, many doctoral students choose to work with their dissertation advisors on ongoing research projects.

Will I do any teaching as a doctoral student?

An important part of your training as a doctoral student is to develop and refine your skills as a teacher. Consequently, the Leeds PhD Program requires that its students attend 5 Graduate Teacher Program workshops and 3 Leeds School teaching workshops. While in the program, funded doctoral students must TA 3 sections of a semester-long class before teaching on their own for 2 classes. Details about teaching can be found on the Teaching Requirements page of this website.

Will I have an office or place to work? What about computers?

All Leeds PhD students are assigned an office. Offices are generally shared with one or more other students.

There are several computers, printers, and copiers available for student use at the Leeds School of Business. Most students bring their own personal computers for use in their offices and classrooms.

PhD Student Funding

Will I receive any financial support as a PhD student?

Yes. Students in the Leeds PhD Program receive a full tuition waiver, a partial waiver of student health insurance costs, and stipend as long as they are in good standing with the department. Students work approximately 20 hours per week as research and/or teaching assistants in return for support. The annual stipend is $30,000 for the nine-month academic year. While the continuation of financial aid is contingent on satisfactory performance, most students are funded for five years. Please see our funding page for more information.

Are there other ways to earn money as a PhD student?

PhD students can earn additional money through paid summer teaching and summer research fellowships. Students must be careful to balance the demands of their doctoral studies with the amount of additional work that they take on.