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Early and Sustained Emphasis on Scholarly Research

The emphasis on the creation and publication of high-quality scholarly research in the Virginia Tech Ph.D. concentration in Executive Business Research mirrors the heavy emphasis on research in our fulltime Ph.D. programs. The program also stresses participation in research conferences as part of the student mentoring and career development process.  Even as the disciplinary and methods seminars focus on the research literature, the following activities create an early and sustained emphasis on first-hand student involvement in the scholarly research process:

Each student must write a research proposal/ paper by the end of the first summer. Along with the disciplinary content seminar assignments, this paper aims to stimulate and test students’ ability to blend their formal academic training and business experience to develop a research proposal that addresses an important business problem. This proposal serves as the student’s qualifying examination and is evaluated by a three-member reading committee who provide feedback similar to a journal review.

In addition to the stipulated coursework, students work with their faculty advisory committee to develop the above proposal (or one or more other promising ideas) into a paper(s) for presentation at a research conference and/or submission for publication review to a quality journal.  Often, this proposal is developed further as a basis for the student’s dissertation research. By the end of the summer term of their second year, students are expected to progress to the point where they can identify likely future mentors and form a Ph.D. Advisory Committee.

Students work closely with their Ph.D. Advisory Committee to develop the dissertation proposal. Students are expected to defend their respective dissertation proposals by the end of the summer of their third year in the program. The proposal defense meets the Graduate School’s requirement for student’s preliminary examination. Students who successfully defend their dissertation proposal move to complete their dissertation research under the guidance of their Ph.D. Dissertation Committee.

Students work closely with their Ph.D. Dissertation Committee to complete the dissertation research.  The dissertation is defended orally in a final examination and the written dissertation document is filed with the Graduate School once the student has met the expectations of the Ph.D. Dissertation Committee. Regular and substantive communications with the committee (particularly the chair/co-chairs) is critical to timely completion of the dissertation. The dissertation defense meets the student’s final examination requirement for the VT Graduate School.