Admissions

General Information

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 strategic management and organization. We receive between 150-200 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.

Admissions Criteria

Admissions to the Business PhD program are based on the following criteria.

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 at the FGSR 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 meet our requirements.

English language proficiency: All applicants must demonstrate English Language proficiency prior to admission. This demonstration may be 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 59 on the Pearson Test of English Academic, a score of at least 550 on the paper-based test or a total score of at least 88 (with a score of at least 20 in each of the individual skill areas) on the internet-based test is required for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), or a minimum of 6.5 (subject to change) with a band of 5 in each of the four areas is required for the IELTS (International English Language Testing System). Test reports must be less than two years old. See FGSR's English Language Proficiency page for additional information.

To facilitate delivery of your score reports from ETS (GRE or TOEFL) or GMAC (GMAT) directly to our office, the Alberta School of Business PhD Program institution code is 0817.

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

Statement of purpose: In 2-3 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.

Summary: 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.

The Admissions Process

Apply to Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (FGSR): If you are interested in our program, you should submit an application, which is available at the FGSR Apply for Admission page from September 1 through February 1. The application will ask you to upload pdf copies of the requirements listed above, to provide email addresses of your referees, and to pay an application fee. Original documents are not required at this time.

Review by Business PhD Office: FGSR will send the application to the Business PhD office where it will be merged with the recommendation letters. Your application will be checked to ensure compliance with FGSR and Alberta School of Business PhD Program standards. You will receive an automated message when all of your references have been received. 

Applicants are recommended to rewrite the GMAT or GRE in cases where the score is below the 80th percentile.

Review by Admissions Committee of Specialization: Each specialization has an admissions committee which reviews applications. After the FGSR application is complete and the PhD office has received the pdf files and references described above, your application will be sent to the admissions committee for review. The committee makes decisions to reject, defer, or accept an application. Most applicants with high potential are deferred and then evaluated as a group in February.

Review by Associate Dean, Business PhD Program: The Associate Dean reviews the decisions made by the admissions committees and sends letters informing applicants of the outcome.

Review by FGSR: If the Business PhD Program decides to make an offer, the application is forwarded to FGSR for final review and verification. FGSR will issue an official admission approval letter to successful applicants through the application portal.

The Admissions Timetable

The Business PhD Program typically admits students to enter on September 1, the beginning of the academic year. Applications received by February 1 that meet the eligibility criteria will be given full consideration for Fall admission. Admissions Committees typically meet in February.

Entrance in January is possible, but it is rare and done only in exceptional cases. New students should plan to be in Edmonton by the end of August.

updated April 12, 2018