Business Administration, PhD

The Ph.D. Business Administration Program includes three specializations:

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Management

The program is designed to be completed in 48 months. Coursework and comprehensive exams must be undertaken within 28 months of enrolment.  The length of time spent on the dissertation phase will vary according to the nature of the research involved, but should not exceed 48 months following completion of the comprehensive exams.


The Ph.D. program follows the general admission requirements and procedures of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research as outlined in Section 2 of the Graduate Studies Academic Calendar with the following additional requirements and procedures.

Decisions regarding admission to the doctoral program will be made on the basis of the applicant’s academic qualifications and achievements, fit with the program’s areas of specialization, demonstrated interests and capacity in a scholarly and/or applied research within the chosen specialization, and the availability of an appropriate supervisor.  To that end, all of the following will be taken into account:


Students entering the doctoral program must have a Master’s degree from a recognized university in the field intended for specialization or related field (e.g., accounting, finance, economics, management, or industrial organizational psychology), or an [E]MBA.  For Accounting specialization, a corresponding professional accounting designation (e.g., CPA) and 3(+) years of professional experience can be used in lieu of a graduate degree.  Normal minimum requirements for admission are a grade point average of 3.6 on a 4.0 scale (high B+ to A-) and GMAT score of 620, or an equivalent GRE score.

Business Studies

At least a minimum breadth in business studies (or other cognate discipline) is expected.  Ideally, applicants should have an undergraduate and/or Master’s degree, which includes a substantial business studies element (e.g., a Bachelor of Commerce, Masters of Business Administration).  Students without previous degrees in business studies may be admitted as “qualifying” students but could be required to undertake selected specialization courses in Accounting, Finance, or Management, in addition to the normal requirements of the Ph.D. program.

Personal Statement

At the time of application, prospective students should submit a personal statement (Maximum4 pages), including:

  • Potential research interests
  • Relevant research, volunteer, and work experience
  • Career objectives and long-range goals
  • Academic honours, awards, and/or scholarships
  • A list of publications, conference papers, and/or technical reports
  • University committee work, and any other information that is relevant to the application.

Any other information that is relevant to your application.

Recommendation Forms

All applicants are required to solicit three recommendations forms from persons capable of assessing the candidate’s academic ability and research potential.

English Language Proficiency

Applicants to this program whose first language is not English, must demonstrate their English language proficiency as outlined in Graduate Academic Calendar Regulation 1e with the following additional requirement:

  • a TOEFL (iBT) score of at least 100, with at least
    • 22 in Writing
    • 21 in Reading
    • 27 in Speaking
    • 20 in Listening

The minimum score on the paper-based TOEFL is 600. 


In admitting students to the program, the Ph.D. Program Council will take into account the availability of potential dissertation supervisors.  During the first two years in the program, students in consultation with the Ph.D. Program Coordinator will be designated a supervisor who will assist in the development of the student’s dissertation topic.  The assignment of a supervisor will occur no later than two months following the successful completion of the student’s comprehensive examination. The supervisor will be appointed on the basis of his or her expertise in relation to the student’s dissertation.  Where a student in the program has identified an appropriate supervisor, every effort will be made to ensure that he or she is appointed as the supervisor.

Note:  The Ph.D. Advisor/Supervisor should normally be a tenured faculty member at Saint Mary’s University. If no such faculty member is available, a tenured faculty member at another post-secondary institution in Canada may be appointed.  Such faculty must be recommended by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research as Adjunct Professors at Saint Mary’s University.

These are the normal minimum requirements, but each case will be evaluated on its own merits.  However, applicants will not be evaluated for admittance where any of the required elements have not been submitted at the time when the application is being considered.

The deadline for applications is February 15th for admission on September 1st of the following calendar year.  Successful applicants will normally be notified on or before May 1st.

Financial Support

Full-time students admitted to the program may be eligible for funding administered by Saint Mary’s University. Funding recommendations are made by the program. All successful applicants are automatically considered for graduate funding. Students are encouraged to apply for external scholarships. A limited number of fellowships are available to students who are not in full-time paid employment. Request for a fellowship should be made at the time of application.