Graduate Catalog
Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs
Business, Executive Business Research
Pamplin College of Business
The seven-floor, 144,000-square-foot Virginia Tech Research Center - Arlington is U.S. Green Council LEED-certified. The interior, designed by Gensler, includes computational laboratories, offices, and an Executive Briefing Center (EBC) to accommodate meetings, forums, symposia, and other events.
Virginia Tech Executive Briefing Center (EBC), 900 N. Glebe Road, Arlington, VA Falls Church Virginia 22203
Research Center Arlington
Degree(s) Offered:
• PhD
PhD Degree in Business, Executive Business Research
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Offered In:
National Capital Region
Email Contact(s):
Web Resource(s):
Phone Number(s):
Application Deadlines:
Fall: Mar 01
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Research Center Arlington

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Program Director : Viswanath Venkatesh
Graduate Program Director(s) : Viswanath Venkatesh (Director), Alan Abrahams (Associate Director)
Professors: Rajesh Bagchi; Reza Barkhi; Sudip Bhattacharjee (National Capital Region); David Brinberg; Kevin Carlson; Dipankar Chakravarti (National Capital Region); John Easterwood; Roger Edelen; Devi Gnyawali; Paul Herr; Jingjing Huang; Tabitha James; Juncai Jiang; Gregory Kadlec; Raman Kumar; Ling Lisic; Paul Lowry; Roop Mahajan (National Capital Region); John Maher; Frank May; Nancy McGehee; Juan Nicolau Gonzalbez; Mario Pandelaere; Richard Perdue; Cliff Ragsdale; Roberta Russell; Vijay Singal; Manisha Singal; Viswanath Venkatesh (National Capital Region); Alan Wang; Richard Wokutch; Zheng Xiang; Christopher Zobel
Associate Professors: Alan Abrahams; Idris Adjerid; Daniel Beal; William Becker (National Capital Region); Robert Davidson; Jason Deane; Donald Hatfield (National Capital Region); Richard Hunt; Eojina Kim; Onur Seref; Sarah Stein; David Townsend; Anna Ward Bartlett; Jin Xu; Ryan Zimmerman
Assistant Professors: Kiran Awate; Shreyans Goenka; Sean Hillison; Pankaj Kumar; Shilpa Madan; Bradley Paye; Phillip Thompson; Broderick Turner; Marshall Vance; Pengfei Ye
Adjunct Faculty: Mohammad Jahan-Parvar (National Capital Region); Wei Liu (National Capital Region); Adam Yonce (National Capital Region)
Collegiate Professors: Michelle Seref
Associate Professor of Practice: Kimberly Carlson
Collegiate Assistant Professors: Joseph Simpson

Executive Ph.D. in Business

Launched in 2016, the Executive Ph.D. in Business serves experienced executives who seek the advanced knowledge and skills needed to conduct high quality research on critical issues facing the business community. This part-time program challenges students to dive deeply into the scholarly literature and master advanced research methods in their chosen business discipline. Students blend this scholarly knowledge with their business experience to create novel insights embodied in a dissertation that addresses a complex business problem. Importantly, students develop the skills needed to publish their research in leading-edge research journals. Students who graduate from this program can pursue careers either in research-oriented business schools or in government or businesses.

Prospective students should plan a four to five-year commitment to build the credentials needed to earn this unique and rigorous Ph.D. degree. The academic demands in this unique part-time program are on par with that of Pamplin’s full-time Ph.D. program in Business.

Offered In (National Capital Region)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.0
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:

Credit Requirements:

The Virginia Tech Ph.D. in Business requires a minimum of 90 credit hours. The pro­gram for the Executive Ph.D. in Business assumes prior graduate study in business or a related field from which a maximum of 30 relevant credits can be transferred to meet core credit require­ments. Candidates without this preparation must complete an additional 30 credits of prepara­tory work.

The remainder (a minimum of 60 credits) will include at least 30 credits of graded coursework (disciplinary/interdisciplinary and methodology seminars) and a minimum of thirty research/dissertation credits.

Graded Coursework:

The graded coursework is tailored to the student’s primary disciplinary interest (corresponding to the six traditional concentrations offered at the Pamplin School: Accounting and Information Systems, Business Information Technology, Finance, Hospitality & Tourism, Management and Market­ing). The first two disciplinary content seminars parallel those taken by traditional full-time Ph.D. students. The remaining (two or more) content seminars provide additional disciplinary depth or interdisciplinary content tuned to the student’s research interests.

These disciplinary seminars typically meet on weekday evenings or Friday afternoons. The meth­odology seminars typically meet on weekday evenings or Saturday morn­ings or afternoons. These meeting times (outside of normal work hours) allow Executive Ph.D. students to participate synchronously with traditional Ph.D. students in live discussion (either face-to-face or via Zoom technology). Students will have access to faculty/tutors in all methodology courses to support their academic work.

The microeconomics review and the business pedagogy course meet during the winter terms of the first and second year, respectively. The module on scholarly ethics, diversity and inclusion is completed during the Spring term of the first year.

The fall and spring terms during years 1 and 2 use a hybrid delivery format. Classes meet each week, with every other week being a residential session usually held at Virginia Tech’s extended campus in Northern Virginia. Typically, three of these residential sessions meet in Blacksburg.  These mandatory residential sessions help the Executive Ph.D. student assimilate into the Pamplin community and facilitate face-to-face interactions with faculty, potential research mentors, student peers, and academic tutors who support coursework.

During Year 1, students should plan on attending approximately 23 residential sessions (Fall: 8; Winter: 2, Spring: 8, Summer: 5). In Year 2, there are 18 residencies (no summer residencies). In Year 3, when students are working on their dissertation proposals there are only four residencies (Fall: 2 and Spring: 2). No formal residencies are planned thereafter. However, students are always welcome and encouraged to attend in-person activities. During this period, students are strongly encouraged to communicate regularly and substantively with their Ph.D. Dissertation Committees.

The study plan for the program lays out the registration schedule for the research and dissertation (R&D) credits. In Year 1, students register for 3 R&D credits (the summer proposal). In Year 2, students register for 7 R&D credits to initiate work on research papers as well as their dissertation proposal. Students in Year 3 register for 20 R&D credits during which they work on their dissertation proposal (and defense). Thereafter, as they work on their dissertations, students register for only 3 R&D credits in each of the Fall and Spring semesters. A minimum of 30 R&D credits must be accumulated during the program.       

Note that in Year 3, each student has an opportunity to obtain teaching experience.  This may involve teaching an online or face-to-face graduate or undergraduate class in Pamplin. This experience is essential for gaining the pedagogical skills integral to a Ph.D. degree.


The emphasis on the creation and publication of high-quality scholarly research in the Executive Ph.D. in Business mirrors the heavy emphasis on research in our full-time 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. 

Northern Virginia Center

7054 Haycock Road
Falls Church, VA 22043

Northern Virginia Center

The Executive Ph.D. in Business is offered at Virginia Tech’s Northern Virginia Center. The center, which opened in 1997, is the university’s primary teaching location for graduate programs in the National Capital Region. The 232,000-square-foot facility is located in the heart of Northern Virginia - just off Route 7 and I-66, adjacent to the West Falls Church Metro and next to George Mason High School.

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Course Listing for Business, Executive Business Research