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Strategy Major

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About the Major | Degree and Major Requirements Application Process
Program Costs and Financial Assistance Request More Information 


Strategy is one of seven majors offered through FSU’s College of Business’ Ph.D. in Business Administration. The major admits two or three candidates each fall, and the program takes four to five years to complete.

  • Offers faculty with research expertise in areas such as entrepreneurship, franchising, executive compensation and corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, institutional theory, international business, human and social capital theory and resource-based theory
  • Includes courses that cover a wide range of topics, such as organizational theory, strategic management (several courses), research methods and data analysis
  • Includes two years of coursework culminating in a comprehensive exam, followed by two to three years of research and teaching, culminating with a dissertation

Application Deadlines

  • January 15 – Priority deadline (application review begins and will continue until positions are filled)
  • March 1 – Application submission deadline. All supporting materials must be received by March 15.

For More Information

  • Contact Dr. Michael Holmes, program director, for more information on the Strategy major, its content and curriculum
  • Contact Gail Palo, Ph.D. academic adviser, for more information about the admissions process
  • Learn more about the Strategy faculty and doctoral students.

Recent Student Accomplishments

Placements: Valdosta State University; University of North Texas; West Virginia University; Auburn University; Georgia State University; University of Colorado – Colorado Springs; University of Richmond


  • Rich Devine, Strategic Management Society Best Conference Paper nomination
  • Trey Sutton, nominated for a Best Paper prize at the 2013 Strategic Management Society Annual International Conference
  • Kaitlyn DeGhetto, 2013-14 Outstanding Teaching Assistant

Defended Dissertations:

  • "Competitive Action and Corporate Governance: How Do Boards and Managers Influence Competitive Outcomes," by Michelle L. Zorn; Dr. Bruce Lamont, major professor
  • "Liability of Foreignness in Legitimacy Evaluation: The Legitimacy Challenge Facing Foreign Firms," by Sangbum Ro; Dr. Bruce Lamont, major professor
  • "Drivers of International Investment Decisions: The Role of Safety Risk" by Kaitlyn DeGhetto; Dr. Bruce Lamont, major professor
  • “Firm-State Dependencies, Threat Activation, and Corporate Political Activity” by Andrew L. Sutton III; Dr. Bruce Lamont, major professor

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Strategy doctoral students must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Although we prefer students to also have a master's degree in business or a related field, it is not a requirement. If students have strong credentials and demonstrate maturity, we sometimes allow them to begin the program without a master's degree.

Major Requirements

All accounting doctoral students must complete courses in three areas: Tools for Analytical Research (TAR), Primary Strategy and Support.

I. Tools for Analytical Research (TAR) area

All Strategy doctoral students must take the following eight Tools for Analysis and Research (TAR) courses:

  • ISM 6979 Philosophy of Science
  • MAN 6917 Research Design
  • MAN 6934 Data Analysis
  • MAR 6665 Causal Models
  • PSY 6919r General Linear Model
  • PSY 6919r Analysis of Variance
  • Two (2) Research methods elective courses

II. Primary Strategy Coursework

The primary area courses and seminars provide opportunities for in-depth study. The following doctoral seminars and courses are required in Strategy:

  • MAN 6235 Organizational Theory
  • MAN 6795r Strategy I
  • MAN 6795r Strategy II
  • MAN 6932 Strategy Overview

Additional primary area courses may be selected in consultation with the student's adviser and the Strategy doctoral program coordinator.

In addition to these courses, first- and second-year students will participate in a professional development series that will be an additional registered course in each semester of the first two years of the program. The development series is designed to introduce doctoral students to the roles and responsibilities of faculty, including research ethics, communication with faculty at other universities, the research review process, balancing research, teaching and service, among other topics.

III. Support Area Coursework

The support area provides students an opportunity to concentrate in a field of study complementary to their primary area and career objectives. Typically, the support area will consist of supervised teaching, plus two courses in one of the following fields: finance, management information systems, marketing, human resources and organizational behavior, public administration, sociology, or research methods. The students’ adviser, the doctoral program coordinator, and appropriate faculty from the chosen area must approve support area selections.

Suggested Course Sequence for Strategy Doctoral Students





Year 1

  • Organizational Theory (MAN 6235)
  • Philosophy of Science (ISM 6979) or TAR Elective
  • General Linear Modeling (PSY 6919r)
  • Professional Development
  • Strategy Overview (MAN 6932)
  • Research Design (MAN 6917)
  • ANOVA (PSY 6919r)
  • Professional Development
  • Supervised Research (MAN 6911)
  • TAR Elective
  • Support Area or TAR Elective

Year 2

  • Strategy I (MAN 6795)
  • Data Analysis (MAN 6934)
  • Support Area or TAR Elective
  • Professional Development
  • Strategy II (MAN 6795)
  • Causal Models (MAN 6665)
  • Support Area or TAR Elective
  • Professional Development
  • Present second-year paper
  • Readings for exams
  • Comprehensive exams

Year 3

  • Dissertation Proposal
  • Supervised Research
  • Teach one class
  • Dissertation Proposal
  • Supervised Research
  • Dissertation Proposal
  • Supervised Research

Year 4

  • Dissertation Proposal
  • Supervised Research
  • Teach one class
  • Dissertation Proposal Defense
  • Supervised Research
  • Dissertation Data Collection & Analysis
  • Supervised Research

Year 5

  • Dissertation Data Collection & Analysis
  • Job Market
  • Teach one class
  • Dissertation Data Collection & Analysis
  • Job Market
  • Dissertation Defense
  • Job Market
  • Supervised Research

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Admission decisions are made by the college’s Doctoral Admissions Committee and are based on a combination of factors, including prior academic record from accepted universities; GRE or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) scores taken within the past five years; letters of recommendation; experience; record of accomplishments. Admission is competitive and focused on students with grade-point averages of 3.5 or higher and GMAT scores of at least 600 or GRE scores of at least 155 on each section of the revised GRE.

Application Checklist

  • Login to https://admissions.fsu.edu/gradapp (applications will only accepted through this portal)
  • Begin your application by logging in with your FSUID or clicking the link to register to get one
  • Complete your online application form
  • Include the names and contact information for at least 3 (required) references
    • This will generate automated email sent to your references by our system to request that they submit a recommendation for you and answer a series of standardized questions.
  • Submit your Statement of Purpose (2-3 pages)
  • Submit a current resume or C.V
  • Pay the nonrefundable $30 application fee
  • Request that each college or university you have attended submit an official transcript to FSU
    • Transcripts are considered official if they are sent directly to FSU (either through the U.S. mail or electronically) by your undergraduate or graduate institution. In some cases, an unofficial transcript may be used during the initial review process, however an official transcript must be submitted prior to admission.
  • Request that official GMAT or GRE scores (and TOEFL or IELTS, if applicable) be submitted to FSU 
    • Test scores will only be considered official if sent directly from the testing service. The code for ETS to send (GRE and TOEFL) scores to FSU is 5219. The code to send GMAT scores to FSU is PN8K567.
    • An English proficiency exam score (TOEFL or IELTS) must be submitted for international applicants whose native language is not English or who have not received a college degree from an institution where the instruction is primarily in English.
    • Have transcripts and test scores sent to graduateadmissions@fsu.edu or:
      Admissions Office 
      PO Box 3062400, 282 Champions Way 
      Florida State University


The doctoral program is a full-time program that lasts four to five years. Students should plan to live in the Tallahassee area year-round, including summers. Our program is not set up for individuals who wish to take courses part time or online.

International Applicants

International applicants whose native language is not English and who have not completed an undergraduate or graduate degree in an English-speaking country are required to take either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official test results in order to be admitted to The Florida State University. The College of Business requires a minimum TOEFL score of 600 on the paper-based test and 100 on the internet-based test, or a minimum of 7.0 on the IELTS exam, taken within the past two (2) years.

A minimum score of 25 for each section of the TOEFL is strongly recommended. In addition, international graduate applicants seeking teaching assistantships are required to pass a test of spoken English.

For more international applicant information, visit http://admissions.fsu.edu/international external link icon for information concerning financial responsibilities, degree equivalency, etc.

For further questions regarding the admissions process, please contact Gail Palo, Ph.D. academic adviser.

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Program Costs

Ph.D. students typically take 27-33 credit hours each year. Here are the estimated program costs for the 2018-2019 academic year:

  • Florida residents: $479.32 (tuition plus fees) per credit hour. Total estimated program cost is $12,941.64 - $15,817.56 per year.
  • Non-Florida residents: $1,110.72 (tuition plus fees) per credit hour. Total estimated program cost is $29,989.44 - $36,653.76 per year.

Note: These costs do not include required books, supplies for courses, or required health insurance. Costs are subject to change. Fees above do not include some per-term flat fees for FSUCard and facilities use. For a breakdown of on-campus student fees and their explanations, visit the university’s Tuition Rates page.

Financial Assistance

The College of Business awards financial assistance to applicants based on academic criteria and performance. The goal of the college is to provide assistantships and/or fellowships to all of our admitted doctoral students, subject to overall enrollment and fiscal limitations. Currently, all of the doctoral students who request funding, are in good academic standing, and who are in residence receive some level of financial assistance from the college. Annual stipends and supplementary assistance such as travel expenses for conference attendance will vary among cohorts and programs. Students who are not Florida residents should note that tuition waivers associated with assistantships only cover the out-of-state portion of their tuition for year one of the program. Out-of-state tuition waivers are generally not available for years two through five.

Doctoral students receive financial assistance for up to five years provided they maintain a satisfactory level of academic and work performance.


The College of Business awards financial assistance to applicants based on academic criteria and performance. There are various scholarships available for graduate students. Please click here to visit our graduate scholarships page.

(Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit all completed application materials before January 15 to be eligible for additional funding opportunities at the university level).

  • For a full list of Florida State University funding and awards, visit gradschool.fsu.edu external link icon
  • For more information on Florida State University's research and research funding, visit research.fsu.edu external link icon
  • For more information on Florida State University's graduate fellowships and awards, visit ogfa.fsu.edu external link icon

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