Our mission is to educate students to become high-quality research scholars in business disciplines. Students from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds can do so. The completion of a master's degree is not a requirement for entrance to the program nor for granting of the PhD. What is critical is a full-time commitment to becoming a high-quality research scholar in one of our specializations: Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Operations and Information Systems, and Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Management. We receive 200-300 applications per year and offer admission to 10-15 applicants.

The University of Alberta is committed to the principle of equity in selection. The university encourages applications from all people including aboriginal persons, disabled persons, members of visible minorities and women.

The Admissions Timetable

The Business PhD Program admits students to enter on September 1, the beginning of the academic year. Applications received by the specialization deadline, that meet the eligibility criteria, are given full consideration. 

The deadline to apply to Accounting, Operations and Information Systems and Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Management is December 15. 

The deadline to apply to Finance and Marketing is January 15. 

Applications open on September 1. New students should plan to be in Edmonton by the end of August.

Admissions Criteria

Admissions to the Business PhD program are based on the following criteria while also adhering to the  Application Evaluation  requirements set forth in FGPS's Graduate Program Manual.

Previous academic record:

Applicants must have an undergraduate degree from a recognized university and sufficiently high grades. They should also have a grade point average (GPA) for the last two years of full-time study of at least 3.0 out of 4.0 on the University of Alberta grade scale and from Canadian or American schools with a comparable scale. Applicants from other countries should consult the Minimum Academic Requirements from Other Countries on the FGPS International Admission Protocol page.

GMAT or GRE score:

All applicants are required to submit their scores from the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE) ; scores above the 90th percentile are valued. Your scores, from a test taken within the past five years, should be in the 80th percentile to be competitive.

English language proficiency:

All applicants must demonstrate English Language proficiency prior to admission. This demonstration may be the possession of a baccalaureate degree from an academic institution that is recognized by the University of Alberta and where the instruction of language is English. However, we reserve the right to require further demonstration of proficiency. Where this demonstration is required, an overall minimum score of 61 on the Pearson Test of English Academic , a total score of at least 90 (with a score of at least 21 in each of the individual skill areas) on the internet-based test for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), or a minimum of 6.5 (subject to change) with a band of 6.0 in each of the four areas is required for the Academic IELTS (International English Language Testing System). Test reports must be less than two years old. See FGPS's English Language Proficiency page for additional information.

For official score reports to be sent from ETS (GRE or TOEFL) or GMAC (GMAT) directly to our office, the Alberta School of Business PhD Program institution code is 0817 and program code is 87G-MT-92. Unofficial/test taker score reports are acceptable in applications.

Letters of reference:

The applicant must have three letters of reference evaluating an applicant's capability for original research.

Statement of purpose:

In two to three pages, applicants should identify what specific topics within the specialization they are currently interested in and why. They should also describe their relevant skills and past experiences, tentative plans upon completion of the program, and any additional information that is felt would be useful. The statement of purpose helps us identify a suitable supervisor, but is non-binding in that it need not eventually form the basis of the applicant's research.

CV or Resume:

The applicant should include education and work history, as well as publications and conference presentations in this document.

Availability of a suitable supervisor:

Doctoral students are mentored by many, but their supervisors play the most central role. Applicants should consult faculty websites to see if there are complementary interests and identify these faculty members in their statement of purpose. Even if there are complementary interests, an applicant may not receive an offer of admission because the faculty member(s) have other commitments. Because faculty members' interests change over time, applicants with high potential may find that a faculty member is interested in being their supervisor even if they have done little work on a topic. It is not necessary to contact a potential supervisor prior to making an application. Faculty are not in a position to pre-assess applicants or directly accept students.


Given these multiple criteria, the large number of applicants and the limited number of positions available in the program, admission is not guaranteed for any applicant.  Contact the Business PhD Program Office at  if you have questions about your eligibility, or the program, before submitting an application.

updated January 16, 2024

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