The Operations Management Ph.D.

A comprehensive doctoral program applying multiple operations research methodologies to a diverse set of industries to develop distinguished academics and professionals.

Program Info

The Operations Management Ph.D. program is a research-intensive program designed to train future academics by providing rigorous training and opportunities in research, teaching, and service.

Successful applicants will develop the competency to conduct and publish doctoral-level research through a series of courses and seminars that complement and supplement each student’s background and goals.

The OM faculty supports students interested in analytical, computational, model-based, and behavioral research in a variety of areas including healthcare decision-making, sustainability, emerging technologies in production and transportation, supply chain design and risk management, humanitarian logistics, and sports analytics.

Students admitted to the program must complete 48 course-hours and 24 dissertation-hours to fulfill the graduation requirements.

In addition to curriculum hours, students must pass a two-stage qualifying exam, dissertation proposal, and defense.

The doctoral program generally admits two to four applicants each year, depending on the availability of financial support and the overall current enrollment. This policy ensures that each doctoral student will have adequate support from the faculty. Applicants are admitted in the fall semester, with occasional exceptions. Applications are accepted and evaluated year-round for program fit and financial support. Review of applications for admission begin December 1, applicants should submit all of their application materials by January 9 for full consideration for admission with funding.

Doctoral applicants typically have a master's degree and solid quantitative analytical skills. Applicants who do not possess a master's degree, but are interested in the doctoral program, may also apply to the doctoral program to be evaluated for program fit. In some cases, an applicant may first be admitted to the OM master's program as a precursor to doctoral studies.

Applicants should submit either a GMAT (minimum 600) or GRE (minimum 312) test score. In addition, an applicant should have a GPA of at least 3.00 in all previous relevant degree programs. International applicants may be required to submit the results of an English proficiency test. For regular admission this can be a TOEFL of at least 79, an IELTS of at least 6.5, or a Pearson Test of English (PTE) of at least 59.

Applicants should apply to the doctoral program through The University of Alabama Graduate School application website ( In addition to test scores, applicants should submit their academic transcripts, a statement of purpose, and three letters of recommendation. Be sure the people writing your letters includes the program for which you are applying and your full legal name.

The Written Qualifying Exam (WQE) measures the student's competency to review, analyze, and propose solutions to questions typically drawn from the coursework in the first year. WQE is typically offered in May of each year.

The Research Qualifying Exam (RQE) measures the student's ability to review, analyze, and conduct doctoral-level research and culminates with a research presentation by the student. Students typically take the RQE in the Spring semester of their second year.

The OM Ph.D. program includes a First-Year Research Experience program to immerse students in research as early as in their first year. Students may continue to work on the same topic and/or with the same advisor(s) or change based on their experience.

During their third year, students should define their dissertation. Students are expected to have identified a primary advisor by the start of their third year, if not earlier.

Writing a dissertation is the final test of research skill. It requires an understanding of relevant literature and methodology, and the ability to think independently. Ph.D. candidates must find an original topic, plan a test of hypotheses, and write and defend at a final oral examination a document acceptable to the dissertation committee and to the Graduate School.

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