Our mission is to provide opportunities for you to become a practitioner, to develop your research and application skills, and to prepare you to serve as a leader and scholar in your organization. We also offer options if you wish to enhance your career through teaching or training.

Our program draws on the strengths of dedicated, talented faculty members who guide and mentor students through coursework and research projects. In fact, numerous students have partnered with faculty to research and co-author scholarly articles and to deliver conference presentations. In addition, we encourage a cohort model, and our current students and graduates espouse the value of developing and maintaining the relationships with both faculty and their fellow students.

The curriculum is designed to teach you how to conduct research and develop research proposals. No doubt you will work hard and make sacrifices to earn this degree. However, through perseverance and dedication, you are able to succeed and realize your dreams.

What qualities should a Doctor of Philosophy in Management student have?

  • Significant background in management
  • Strong research skills
  • Ability to conceptualize problems

What specific skills or knowledge are taught in the Doctor of Philosophy in Management program?

  • Apply principles and theories of organizational management into a variety of organizational settings
  • Manage and facilitate change in organizations
  • Analyze and review research critically
  • Create and promote healthy organizations
  • Identify research topics in one of three concentration areas
  • Conduct searches of scholarly and practice literature
  • Select appropriate research designs and statistics
  • Design quantitative and qualitative based research studies
  • Develop expertise in a topic by conducting a major research project

What is the most important or unique thing about Sullivan’s Doctor of Philosophy in Management program?

  • Students conduct a qualitative research pilot study
  • Students conduct a quantitative research pilot study
  • Students are encouraged to engage in research and practice through research projects with faculty, becoming teaching assistants, and presenting at conferences
  • Cohort model

Doctor of Philosophy in Management Course Requirements

90 Credit Hours (Minimum)
Length: 36 months (Minimum)
Time length for program completion will vary depending upon the number of courses taken per term, developmental courses when required, transfer credit accepted, lack of continuous enrollment, etc.

CourseTitlesCredit Hours
Total Credit Hours90
Ph.D. Research Core
GRAD 710Research Design and Analysis4
GRAD 712Quantitative Research and Analysis4
GRAD 716Qualitative Research and Analysis4
GRAD 717Advanced Qualitative Research and Analysis4
GRAD 718Advanced Quantitative Research and Analysis4
GRAD 719Mixed Methods Research and Design4
Management Core
MGT 711Organizations and External Environments4
MGT 712Seminar in Strategic Management4
MGT 713Individual and Group Behavior in Organizations4
MGT 714Seminar in Human Capital Management4
MGT 715Managing Innovation and Change in Organizations4
Ph.D. Program Residency
MGT 798Comprehensive Doctoral Exam2
MGT 799Dissertation Research Minimum 12
Credit Hours58
Conflict Management:
CMM 721Philosophical and Social Issues in4
Conflict Management
CMM 724Organizational Conflict Management4
Analysis and Intervention
CMM 730Specialized Topics and Readings4
CMM 795Proposal Development4
Credit Hours16
Human Resource Leadership:
HRL 721High-Performance Human Resource Leadership4
HRL 724Workforce Analytics and Technology4
HRL 730Specialized Topics and Readings4
HRL 795Proposal Development4
Credit Hours16
Information Technology Management:
CSC 722Data Mining and Business Intelligence4
CSC 724Knowledge Management4
CSC 730Specialized Topics and Readings4
CSC 795Proposal Development4
Credit Hours16
Strategic Management:
MGT 721Industry Structure and Competitive Strategy4
MGT 726Seminar in Strategy and Public Policy4
MGT 730Specialized Topics and Readings4
MGT 795Proposal Development4
Credit Hours16
Core, Exam and Dissertation58
Concentration Area16
Cornerstone Courses16

Q+A with a Ph.D.

Conversations with graduates of Sullivan’s Doctor of Philosophy in Management program.

Patrick F. Hafford, Ph.D.

Hometown: Camarillo, CA
Ph.D. Concentration: Strategic Management
Sullivan Graduation Year: 2014 (Hafford was Sullivan’s first Ph.D. graduate!)
Current Position: Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, MA

Q: Tell us a little bit about your background and why you made the decision to earn your Ph.D. in management.

A: I’ve had the opportunity to work in management positions in civil service, not-for-profit and corporate settings before coming to academia 11 years ago. At that time I had earned my MBA from Babson College and intended to be a professor of management and continue my consulting practice on the side. I became department head and then Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Wentworth. Once I was promoted to dean, I realized that I was the least academically qualified person in that position. I began looking for a quality, distance education program so that I could earn a doctorate while still working. Another very important consideration was that without a doctorate, I really couldn’t go anywhere else at the dean or provost level.

Q: Why did you choose Sullivan’s Ph.D. program?

A: There were two key features that made Sullivan a clear choice. I followed online doctorate program offerings for a couple of years. What I wanted was a Ph.D. and not a DBA or DM or some other degree that required explanation. Everyone knows what a Ph.D. is and what it means. The second factor was that I wanted a program that had secondary accreditation. Management programs at Wentworth are accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE), so I was looking for an IACBE school that offered a distance Ph.D. There may be others who do that today, but when I started I wasn’t aware of any but Sullivan that met these two criteria. I should add that I was impressed by Tony Piña, dean of Sullivan’s online division. I spoke with him and decided to enroll.

Q: Tell us what it meant to you to be Sullivan’s first Ph.D. graduate.

A: It meant I beat Gary Boettcher, my classmate, colleague and friend to the finish line! Just kidding. For me, it wasn’t really about being first. It was about finishing the work and earning the degree.

Q: Tell us a little about your dissertation. In what ways did Sullivan support you throughout the entire process?

A: The title is “Learning to Survive: A Mixed Methods Study of the Intersection of Organizational Decline and Learning Organization Practices.” This study examined how some organizations leverage learning at the individual and organizational levels as perhaps their greatest resource when confronted with challenges to their continued viability.
I was inspired by what I learned at Sullivan. I hadn’t really looked at learning organizations or organizational decline until I was exposed to these fields of study through my coursework.

The quality of support for your dissertation, no matter what university you attend and what field you research, is almost totally dependent on your dissertation committee and your committee chair in particular. I was very fortunate to have an exceptional committee—Teri Daniel, chair of my committee, LaVena Wilkin, director of Sullivan’s Ph.D. program, and Tony Piña. They provided the rigor and encouragement required to be successful.

Q: How did your education from Sullivan help you reach your goals and get you to where you are today?

A: I did this somewhat backwards. I was a dean when I started the program. What it did do for me is give me options for career mobility that were not available before. It also allows me to engage in scholarship, which wasn’t the focus of my MBA.

Q: What advice would you give to prospective students who are considering Sullivan’s Ph.D. program?

A: First, realize that this is not a part-time program; it is a distance education program. You will experience the rigor of a full-time, on-site program. The difference is that instead of being a teaching assistant or research assistant, you will have a full-time job and presumably family and other commitments.

Second, the program will be the most time-consuming and difficult thing you are likely to do. It will become a second full-time job. That said, you can be proud at the end that you earned a legitimate doctorate. Make sure you and your family recognize the cost in terms of your time.

Third, get to know your professors and the other students in your cohort. The only people who will understand your challenges are others who are going through it with you. When in doubt, reach out to them.

Q: If you had to choose one word to sum up your overall experience at Sullivan what would it be?

A: Rigorous (but rewarding).

Q+A with an (Almost) Ph.D.

Conversations with (almost) graduates of Sullivan’s Doctor of Philosophy in Management program.

Nicole Modafari, Doctoral Candidate

Hometown: Cincinnati, OH
Ph.D. Concentration: Strategic Management
Current Position: Budget & Program Management Analyst at the United States Environmental Protection Agency

Q: Tell us a little bit about your background and why you made the decision to earn your Ph.D. in management.

A: Over the last eleven years, I’ve worked in management, acquisition, human resources and budgetary capacities with the EPA, Coca-Cola Enterprises and Comair. Simply put, a management Ph.D. seemed to best fit my background as well as my career aspirations at my current place of employment.

Q: Why did you choose Sullivan’s Ph.D. program?

A: Working closely in study groups while earning both my BBA and MBA at Thomas More College, I made some lasting friendships. When one of my friends later became a faculty member at Sullivan, he introduced me to the different program options. Needless to say, coupled with the pace and content of the Strategic Management regimen, it didn’t take too much coaxing for me to ultimately enroll right alongside him! It looks like Sullivan has some strong internal “cheerleaders” among the SU community!

Q: What has been your experience with online education at Sullivan?

A: I feel like the ANGEL platform provided a great online working environment for students. Though I worked primarily online, there were still numerous opportunities for visiting campus and interacting with faculty members and other students involved with the programs of study. It helped things seem less “virtual” 100% of the time. Students could put “faces with names” and further benefit from the value of their shared experiences.

Q: What are some other opportunities Sullivan provides to its Ph.D. students?

A: Sullivan offers teaching assistant opportunities that definitely provide some exposure for anyone interested in the field of teaching. Serving in this role for online courses specifically offered new insights into working within the ANGEL platform as well. From a networking perspective, the TA role helped facilitate introductions with other professors at Sullivan who, for example, may not necessarily teach any Ph.D. courses.

Q: Tell us a little about the dissertation you’re working on. In what ways has Sullivan supported you throughout the process?

A: The title is “Diversity in Private-Sector Education: The Effects of Ownership/Governance Structure and Accreditation Status on Institutional Outcomes.”

Since there is a tremendous gap in further exploring the assumption that the entire private sector of higher education operates in exactly the same way, this study will help bring specific attention to the differences within this group by looking at ownership/governance structure and accreditation status and the unique impact that these diverse differences might make on certain dependent measures.

All of my dissertation committee members continually make themselves available for questions, concerns, etc. They display patience, knowledge and a level of commitment that makes me tremendously proud to have them on my side.

Q: How do you believe your education from Sullivan will help you reach your goals?

A: Most recently I am fortunate that my progress led to a new part-time teaching role at my local alma mater. The courses included in the Strategic Management concentration were a perfect fit for their needs!

Q: What advice would you give to prospective students who are considering Sullivan’s Ph.D. program?

A: I would say that trust in the process is imperative. There are certainly times when one might experience a myriad of emotions (sometimes several at once, in fact); however, when nearing completion, the most overwhelming emotion is pride—pride in everything accomplished!

Q: If you had to choose one word to sum up your overall experience at Sullivan what would it be?

A: Transformative.

Locations Where One Can Enroll:


Apply Now!