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School of Business & Management

Major & Minor Fields

The Major

A student must complete six courses (18 credits) in his or her major. These courses usually define the broad area in which the student writes a dissertation and eventually works as a scholar and teacher. The courses taken to satisfy this requirement must be approved by the department doctoral faculty, who may require additional courses to correct academic deficiencies.

Requirements for a major are formulated by the department responsible for the major, with the approval of the Program Director and the Ph.D. Committee. Information on these requirements and on the faculty for each major is provided on the program's web page.

The Minor / Early Research Requirement

The purpose of the minor field is to prepare students to be effective researchers and teachers at the university level. It is also designed to give them skills in empirical and case research, writing and presentation. Recognizing the importance of teaching skills in career development, the courses are designed to guide students in understanding relevant issues associated with teaching college students. Emphasis is therefore placed on developing pedagogical skills and knowledge of psychological and other bases of learning. Three courses (9 credits) must be completed in a minor designed to support the work in the major.

The first part of the Minor Field Exam will be a case study with teaching notes completed under the guidance of a faculty member. The designated faculty member assigns a grade at the completion of the case study. The student must submit the case study, as approved by the designated faculty member, to the program office in order for the grade to be recorded. This case study also serves to satisfy the requirements for the student's first summer paper.

The second part of the Minor field exam is an original research paper prepared under the guidance of a faculty member that has been determined to be of publishable quality. This second summer paper should demonstrate the student's ability to initiate and complete an original research project. It may evolve into as the student's dissertation proposal.

Both sections of the Minor Field exam must be completed before a student will be permitted to sit for his/her Major Comprehensive exam.

Major Field Examination

The purpose of the major field examination is to determine whether the student has acquired sufficient mastery of his or her major area of study to warrant admission to candidacy. The examination is conducted by a committee of at least four members of the student's area faculty. The student should obtain a copy of the Advancement to Candidacy form from the Program Office, complete the first page of the form, and submit it to the chairperson of the examination committee at the time of the examination. The Advancement to Candidacy form is an official program document. The entire examination committee must sign the form on the second page, indicating whether the student has passed or failed. The chairperson should then return the form to the Program Office for the Program Director's signature. If the student fails the examination, the form is retained in the Program Office (and should be retrieved by the student when the examination is repeated). If the student passes, the Graduate School is informed and the student is then officially advanced to candidacy, or ABD ("all but dissertation") status.

Full-time students are required to take their qualifying examination in the second semester of their third year of course work. Part-time students may delay this timetable by only one year. A student who fails the examination must take it a second time and pass within one semester. Students who fail the second time must leave the program; no third attempt is allowed.

In order to appeal a decision by the qualifying examination committee, a student must submit a written statement to the Program Director within two weeks of receiving notification of the decision. Any such appeal is reviewed by the Doctoral Program Committee after feedback from the qualifying examination committee. Final decisions will be communicated to the student by the Program Director. The Graduate School will also be advised of the decision and the recommendation.

Transfer of Credits

Doctoral level Foundation courses taken at other universities may be credited towards the Morgan State University program if they are judged to be equivalent by the Doctoral Program Committee. A maximum of 12 credits may be transferred in this manner.

Residency Requirements and Time Limits

Anyone who enters the program as a full-time student must complete the program within 7 years after entering. Anyone who enters the program as a part-time student must complete the program within 8 years of entering. An official leave of absence does not extend this time limit. When a student exceeds the time limit, he or she is no longer in the program and will not be permitted to register.

The Program Committee may consider requests for extensions from students who have exceeded the time limit. Its policy is to grant extensions only for a few months (one semester at the most) and only if the request includes a date for the final defense of the dissertation within the period of the extension.

In addition, students need to note that:

  • Acquiring a doctoral degree requires a strong commitment. Students who stretch out their studies are usually unable to complete them. Thus, full-time students must enroll in a minimum of 9-credit hours per semester. With the exception of credits transferred at the beginning of a student's program, all courses must typically be taken at Morgan State University. The Doctoral Program Committee in very rare cases will grant transfers of credits from other institutions.
  • Students must pass written and oral comprehensive examinations. Written and oral comprehensive examinations covering the major area of study are scheduled by the fall of the third year of enrollment in the program.
  • A written comprehensive examination covering the minor field is also scheduled in the summer of the first year of enrollment.
  • A dissertation proposal must be successfully defended within 12 months of passing the comprehensive examination in the area of specialization.

All requirements for the program must be completed by the end of the stipulated period of study. An extension of not more than one academic year may be granted under extenuating circumstances. Only the Doctoral Program Committee may grant such an extension.

Dismissal from the Program

A student is dismissed from the program if he or she fails the qualifying examination and either does not take it again within one semester or else does so and fails the second time as well. A student may also be dismissed from the program for egregious violations of the student code of conduct.

Students can also be dismissed from the program by action of the Program's Director if, as advised by the Department Coordinator, they fail to make satisfactory progress towards completing their degree. The following are examples of conditions that usually indicate lack of satisfactory progress:

  • A grade point average below 3.0 for one academic year.
  • Failure to participate in required professional development activities.
  • Failure to complete assistantships in a satisfactory manner.
  • Failure to make progress commensurate with the student's Individual Study Plan.
  • Failure to take the qualifying examination when required (by the end of the second year for a full-time student; by the end of the third year for a part-time student).
  • Failure to submit a dissertation proposal within one year after completing the qualifying examination.
  • Exceeding the time limit for completing the program (seven years from the date of first enrollment for a student who begins as a full-time student; eight years for a student who begins part-time). Adjustments to these timetables will not be made for students who change their enrollment status during their course of study.

When a student is considered eligible for dismissal because of lack of progress, the student is warned in writing of the faculty's concerns and given a probationary period of one semester to correct his or her deficiencies. The warning may specify particular problems that must be corrected to avoid dismissal. If the student fails to remedy the lack of progress by the end of the probationary period, the student will be dismissed from the program.


Students who have withdrawn from the program or failed to submit a timely update to their study plan may apply for readmission. Such an application is normally considered only during the semester prior to the semester for which one seeks readmission. Decisions on readmission are made by the Program Director in consultation with the faculty of the student's major and will be communicated to the graduate school. Students who have been dismissed from the program cannot be considered for readmission. Students who have left the program by exceeding the time limit for completing their degree will not be readmitted to the program.


Each student is assigned an academic advisor upon enrollment in the program and must complete an individual program of study form. The advisor provides guidance to the student on matters relating to the program. At the dissertation stage, the student selects a dissertation committee and a chairperson who act as advisors during the process.

Graduation Requirements

  • A grade point average of at least 3.3, on a 4 point scale, in all courses taken at Morgan State University
  • A minimum grade of B in each course taken in the area of specialization
  • No more than two grades of C or less may be earned in the program
  • Pass written and oral comprehensive examinations covering major and minor areas of an approved course of study
  • Successful oral defense of a proposed and completed dissertation
  • Submit a final draft of the dissertation to the Director of the Doctoral Program

Withdrawing from a Course

Students may withdraw from the program by completing a form that can be obtained from the Program Office. A student may withdraw from a course through the third week of classes. Courses dropped during the first two weeks of class are deleted from the student's record; courses dropped after this period will receive an F grade. A student who fails to submit a complete update to their individual study plan within one month of the due date is considered to have withdrawn from the program.

Withdrawal forms may be obtained from the Program Office. The form requires the department chair's signature. If the course is required for the qualifying examination for the major, the doctoral coordinator must also approve the withdrawal. If dropping the course implies a delay in the student's qualifying examination beyond the date required by program rules, the permission of the Program Director is required.

A student considering withdrawing from a course should also remember that full-time status, required for financial aid and student visas, requires that the student take 3 degree courses each semester, not including any English classes that are being taken for remedial purposes. A student who withdraws from a course and falls below the full-time requirement will (1) forfeit any award they currently receive from the university, and (2) become ineligible for an award in the next semester.

Leaves of Absence

Students who are obliged to interrupt their studies may apply to the Program Director for a leave of absence from the program. The director will consider an application for a leave of absence only when the student has a definite date for returning to the program and a clear study plan approved by the department coordinator, for his or her work after returning. Please note that a leave of absence is not retroactive. If the leave is granted, the student is allowed to register for "matriculation continued." This category of registration is available only to students who are not active in the program. A student working on his or her dissertation and in contact with his or her adviser or committee must register for one or more credits of dissertation research.

A student is not required to update his or her Individual Study Plan if he or she is on leave and will continue to be on leave the following semester. Students must do so, however, during the advising period preceding their return.

A full-time student who leaves the program to take a job will not be considered for a leave of absence unless they plan to leave the job at the end of the leave period. A part-time student will not be considered for a leave of absence because of changes in her or her employment situation.

A student who cannot meet the program's conditions for a leave of absence but wants to leave the program and return should withdraw and apply for readmission when the opportunity arises. We are generally inclined to readmit a student in whom our faculty has already invested time and energy, provided the student is in a situation where he or she can progress in the program. We are unwilling, however, to use leaves of absence to encourage delusions about the possibility of progressing in the program while engaged in other employment.