Ph.D. in Management

Go the Limit with Sullivan's Online Ph.D. in Management Program

Welcome from the Director of Sullivan University’s Ph.D. in Management Program

We believe in developing the leader and scholar in you

Thank you for your interest in Sullivan University’s online Ph.D. in Management program. Our mission is to provide opportunities for students to become practitioners, to develop research and application skills, and to prepare individuals to serve as leaders and scholars in their organizations. We also offer options for you if you wish to enhance your career through teaching or training. Since our program can be completed entirely online, you have the flexibility to further your education while also balancing your career and personal life.

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, our program’s cohort model fosters a tight-knit community among our students, graduates and faculty, espousing the value of developing and maintaining a close network of support.

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 will be able to succeed and realize your dreams.

LaVena Wilkin, Ph.D.
Director and Professor, Ph.D. in Management Program
Sullivan University

Go the Limit with a Ph.D. in Management from Sullivan University

Sullivan’s Doctor of Philosophy in Management builds on your background in management and challenges you to think critically and creatively about today’s management issues so you can:

  • Maximize your potential as a leader and a scholar within your organization
  • Contribute relevant, original research with real-life applications
  • Further your professional development by providing opportunities in teaching or management training

Plus, since Sullivan’s Ph.D. program is offered entirely online, you don’t have to give up your career in order to take your education to the next level.

Choose a concentration depending on your research interests and professional goals:

Strategic Management
Conflict Management
Human Resource Leadership
Information Technology Management

Why earn your Ph.D. in Management?

  • A Ph.D. in Management opens many doors. Earning your doctoral degree means becoming a practitioner-scholar with the skills and expertise required for a variety of career opportunities including:
    • Teaching at the college or university level
    • Management consulting
    • Upper-level public or corporate policymaking
    • Managing organizations at the senior or executive level
  • Make a name for yourself in both the academic and business realms by conducting and publishing original research and contributing new ideas to the field.
  • Take advantage of the recognizable credibility that comes with earning a Ph.D.

Why Our Students Choose Sullivan

Strategic Management
Sullivan University’s PhD in Management embraces the scholar-practitioner model.
Sullivan University prepares practitioners to develop research and application skills that enable them to serve as leaders and scholars in their organizations.
Students have opportunities to conduct quantitative and qualitative pilot studies that prepare them for dissertation research.



Engaged faculty with practical work experience.
No GRE/GMAT testing required. We don’t need another test score to see how hard you’ve worked. We’re a teaching University, not a research University.
Practical based curriculum.

Online format with both flexibility and credibility.

This is the accredited online doctorate program you’ve been searching for. Unlike other schools, we do not require residence or full-time participation, so you can complete your coursework and dissertation entirely online from anywhere in the world. And since Sullivan University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award doctoral degrees, you can count on your degree to take you far.

Research-intensive. Student-focused.

Presenting new, compelling ideas that move the field forward is crucial to the pursuit of any doctoral degree. Our mission is to help you master quantitative and qualitative research methods and analysis so that you can then become an expert in what you’re passionate about through your dissertation research.

Network of support built right in.

Students who begin the program at the same time will take as many classes together as possible, creating a “cohort” of likeminded individuals who can lean on each other as together you experience the rigor and rewards of earning a doctorate.

Culture of collaboration.

At Sullivan, distance education never means compromising on opportunities for student-faculty collaboration. In fact, you’ll work closely with your instructors from start to finish—beginning with your individual faculty mentor who is your constant resource throughout your first quarter of study, all the way through to your dissertation committee that will guide you through the process of becoming a doctor of management. In addition, it is very common for our doctoral students and faculty to engage in research together, and often co-authoring scholarly articles and presenting at professional conferences.

Emphasis on advancement.

A Ph.D. in management is all about reaching new heights—intellectually, personally and professionally. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in management education, training or research, our paid teaching assistant and research assistant positions provide invaluable experience to fit your specific professional aspirations.

For more information on Sullivan’s accreditation, contact Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA, 404.679.4501,  

2015 Ph.D. Retreat



To prepare students to conduct scholarly research relevant to the management of organizations in the public and private sectors;
To prepare students for responsible positions in private and public sectors;

To prepare management practitioners to develop research and application skills that will enable them to serve as leaders and scholars in their organizations;

To help public and private sector organizations solve critical problems, make better decisions and foster environments built on performance excellence.

Student Learning Outcomes

Strategic Management
Apply principles and theories of organizational management into a variety of work settings.
Analyze and review research critically.
Identify research topics in one of four concentration areas.
Conduct searches of scholarly and practitioner 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 areas of concentration are available?

Students pursuing a Ph.D. in Management at Sullivan University may choose from four different concentrations:

  • Strategic Management
  • Conflict Management
  • Human Resource Leadership
  • Information Technology
What are the main requirements of the Ph.D. program?

The student’s program includes coursework, projects and other educational activities to prepare the student for the successful completion of the doctoral comprehensive examination and for the development, implementation and defense of the doctoral dissertation. Although the program of study for the Ph.D. in Management is determined largely by the concentration area selected by the student, all students take 24 units of research core, 20 units of management core, 16 units from their selected concentration, 2 units of comprehensive exam and a minimum of 16 units of dissertation. In addition, all students must attend a minimum of two Ph.D. student retreats to fulfill their residency requirement.

How many courses do Ph.D. students take? Who offers them?

Sullivan University’s Ph.D. in Management students take 16 courses total. Then, once all coursework is completed and they pass their comprehensive exams, they are scheduled for dissertation courses. They continue to enroll in the dissertation course until they successfully defend their dissertation research.

How long does it take to complete the formal coursework?

The length of the program depends on whether a student is enrolled full-time or part-time. Full-time students take two courses per quarter, and they may complete their formal coursework in two years. Part-time students taking one course per quarter may complete the coursework in four years. Of course, withdrawing from a course or taking a quarter off from school will extend the length of time it takes to complete the coursework.

Who will be my advisor?

New students are assigned a mentor who will mentor and advise them during their first year in the program. At the beginning of their second year of coursework, students will select their advisory committee. The advisory committee is typically comprised of three members and is headed by the Advisory Committee Chair. All committee members must have earned doctorates from a regionally accredited university. The Advisory Chair and one committee member must be full-time faculty members at Sullivan University or doctorally qualified administrators. The third committee member may be from outside the department or outside Sullivan University.

Then, at the end of formal coursework and after successfully passing the comprehensive exam, students will select their dissertation committee. The dissertation committee is comprised of three members: the dissertation committee chairperson (Dissertation Chair), the methodologist and one other person. Although students are encouraged to retain members of their Ph.D. advisory committees as dissertation committee members, they are not required to do so.

How much flexibility exists in the program?

All students are required to take the research core, management core, comprehensive exam and dissertation units. There is flexibility in the concentration courses students take. For example, if a student selects the Strategic Management concentration, but the research strand lends itself to Conflict Management or Human Resource Leadership, those concentration courses may be substituted for the Strategic Management ones.

What is the nature of the research requirements of the program?

Students in the Ph.D. in Management program are encouraged to engage in research and practice through research projects with faculty, becoming teaching assistants and presenting at conferences. Faculty grant applications are solicited once a year and faculty members receiving grants engage students in their research projects.

Are Ph.D. students required to teach?

Students are not required to teach. However, students who wish to gain teaching experience may apply to become a teaching assistant. Teaching assistants are paired with an experienced faculty member who mentors and guides the student in the online classroom setting.

Is it possible to earn the Ph.D. degree on a part-time basis?

Yes, students who elect to take one course per quarter are considered part-time students.
What are the specific learning outcomes of Sullivan’s program?
Upon completion of the Ph.D. in Management program, Sullivan University graduates should be able to:

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

Admission Requirements

Admission into the Ph.D. program in Management is selective and contingent upon an applicant’s satisfying a number of conditions. Primary factors considered include the applicant’s graduate grade point averages, significant experience in a professional managerial capacity, career interests and goals discussed in an essay, professional recommendations, and the applicant’s appropriateness for Ph.D. study and ability to handle advanced-level research. Applicants who seek admission into the Ph.D. program must submit the following materials for consideration by the Ph.D. Admissions Committee within fifteen days prior to the start of Ph.D. studies:

  • Completed Graduate School application form.
  • Nonrefundable enrollment fee.
  • Official transcripts indicating a completed, related master’s degree and bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university, or from a non-U.S. institution with comparable accreditation. A minimum of a 3.40 on a 4.0 scale for master’s course work is required.
  • Current résumé that demonstrates proven progressive experience in a managerial capacity in business, government or not-for-profit management.
  • Contact information for three references from past or current employers, university professors or professional associations. Personal references from family, friends and others are not acceptable.
  • A minimum 750 word essay describing how your goals and experiences make you a superior candidate to pursue research and studies in management.

The Ph.D. admissions process has two stages. First, an applicant must submit all required documentation to the Ph.D. Admissions Committee within fifteen days
prior to the start of Ph.D. courses. Second, all members of the Ph.D. Admissions Committee review the application package, which includes all required documents, and decide whether to admit or not to admit the applicant into the Ph.D. program. All decisions rendered by the committee and approved by the Dean of The Graduate School are considered final.

Credit Hours for Completion
When students complete their doctoral course work and pass their comprehensive exams, they are enrolled in MGT/CMM/CSC/HRL 799 Dissertation, a four-quarter-hour course that constitutes full-time enrollment. For the first academic year, three subsequent sections must 
be successfully completed for a total of 12 credit hours. Students who do not complete their dissertation research after the first academic year are enrolled in MGT/CMM/ CSC/HRL 799 Dissertation, a four-quarter-hour course that constitutes full-time enrollment, each quarter until they successfully defend their dissertations or until they reach the seven-year maximum time limit, whichever comes first. Students who continue to register for the 799 course beyond the 12 hours normally required will only be charged the contracted tuition rate for a 1 credit hour.

Given this, students may be required to register for and accumulate hours in excess of the stated minimum number of hours (90) for completion.

Transfer Credits
A student may transfer up to eight credit hours of Ph.D. coursework from a regionally accredited doctoral program in areas closely related to the management core, concentration area and research core. Comprehensive exam hours and dissertation hours are ineligible for transfer and are not included in the transfer policy. Transfer of credits will be considered by the Ph.D. Admissions Committee, and all decisions rendered by the committee and approved by the Dean of the Graduate School are considered final.


Click here to view tuition information.


Curriculum Requirements

Cornerstone Requirements
Sixteen credit hours may be transferred into the Ph.D. program from a master’s-level program into the Ph.D. in Management. Cornerstone courses must be from:

  1. Two courses closely aligned with the macro-and-micro level courses required in the management core.
  2. A research course equivalent to Sullivan University’s QNT 550 or CSC 550.
  3. A course in the student’s concentration
area or a root discipline of the concentration area.
    Cornerstone courses or their equivalents are determined at the discretion of the Ph.D. Admissions Committee and the Dean of The Graduate School.

Management Core
Twenty credits hours are required to provide a common core of theory-based courses and content for all students in the Ph.D. programs. Generally, these courses provide students with a common body of knowledge expected from all Ph.D. students in Management. The management core courses cover organizational theory, organizational behavior, human capital management, strategic management, and a course that integrates both organizational theory and organizational behavior in the study of innovation and change in organizations.

Research Core
Twenty-four credits are required as a research core. A Ph.D. is a research certification and the research core courses are designed to provide students with knowledge and experience to function as high-level researchers in academia, business and government organizations. All Ph.D. students
take requisite coursework in research methods and research design; quantitative research and analysis; qualitative research and analysis; proposal development; and mixed methods.

Concentration Area
Sixteen hours are required for a primary concentration or area of study. Students may choose one of four concentrations areas

  1. Strategic Management (Strategy)
  2. Conflict Management
  3. Human Resource Leadership
  4. Information Technology Management (IT Management)

The student’s primary concentration area includes four courses common to all students who choose a particular concentration area.

Comprehensive Exam
Two credit hours are awarded for successful completion of the comprehensive exam. The comprehensive exam is offered in the
term immediately following the student’s successful completion of Ph.D. courses. Credits are awarded on a pass-fail basis, and no letter grade or quality points will be assigned for completion of the comprehensive exam.

A minimum of twelve credit hours are awarded for dissertation research. Credits are awarded after a student successfully defends a Ph.D. dissertation and the dissertation is accepted by the Dean of the Graduate School as successful completion of requirements for the Ph.D. degree.


No credit hours are awarded for required residencies, although residencies are required for each of the first two years of their enrollments in Ph.D. studies.

Course Titles Credit Hours
Total Credit Hours 90
Ph.D. Research Core
GRAD 710 Research Design and Analysis 4
GRAD 712 Quantitative Research and Analysis 4
GRAD 716 Qualitative Research and Analysis 4
GRAD 717 Advanced Qualitative Research and Analysis 4
GRAD 718 Advanced Quantitative Research and Analysis 4
GRAD 719 Mixed Methods Research and Design 4
Management Core
MGT 711 Organizations and External Environments 4
MGT 712 Seminar in Strategic Management 4
MGT 713 Individual and Group Behavior in Organizations 4
MGT 714 Seminar in Human Capital Management 4
MGT 715 Managing Innovation and Change in Organizations 4
Ph.D. Program Residency
MGT 798 Comprehensive Doctoral Exam 2
MGT 799 Dissertation Research Minimum 12
Credit Hours 58
Conflict Management:
CMM 721 Philosophical and Social Issues in 4
Conflict Management
CMM 724 Organizational Conflict Management 4
Analysis and Intervention
CMM 730 Specialized Topics and Readings 4
CMM 795 Proposal Development 4
Credit Hours 16
Human Resource Leadership:
HRL 721 High-Performance Human Resource Leadership 4
HRL 724 Workforce Analytics and Technology 4
HRL 730 Specialized Topics and Readings 4
HRL 795 Proposal Development 4
Credit Hours 16
Information Technology Management:
CSC 722 Data Mining and Business Intelligence 4
CSC 724 Knowledge Management 4
CSC 730 Specialized Topics and Readings 4
CSC 795 Proposal Development 4
Credit Hours 16
Strategic Management:
MGT 721 Industry Structure and Competitive Strategy 4
MGT 726 Seminar in Strategy and Public Policy 4
MGT 730 Specialized Topics and Readings 4
MGT 795 Proposal Development 4
Credit Hours 16
Core, Exam and Dissertation 58
Concentration Area 16
Cornerstone Courses 16
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