Business Administration (Smeal)

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

Applicants to the M.B.A. and doctoral programs are required to take the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record of Examination (GRE). The program does not admit applicants for the terminal Master of Science (M.S.) degree.

Criteria for evaluating applicants include professional and academic accomplishments, GMAT/GRE scores, recommendations, and personal data from application forms that provide indications of future academic and professional accomplishment.

Work on the M.B.A. degree may be started fall semester only. Ph.D. candidates may begin either the fall or spring semester. However, only rarely are admissions for the Ph.D. programs granted for spring semester. Individuals from all undergraduate disciplines are encouraged to apply.

Degree Requirements

Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies.

The M.B.A. program consists of two distinct portions:

  1. preprogram competency expectations, including accounting, economics, mathematics, and statistics; and
  2. a minimum of 54 credits at the 400, 500, or 800 levels, with a minimum of 18 at the 500 or 800 level and at least 6 credits at the 500 level.
Required Courses
BA 512Quantitative Analysis for Managerial Decision Making2
BA 533Economics for Managers2
BA 800Marketing Management2
BA 801Management2
BA 802Team Process and Performance1
BA 804Ethical Leadership2
BA 805Negotiation Theory and Skills1
BA 810Supply Chain and Operations Management2
BA 811Financial Accounting2
BA 815Business Statistics for Contemporary Decision Making2
BA 817Communication Skills for Management4
BA 821Foundation in Managerial Accounting2
BA 831Foundations in Finance2
BA 832Global Business Environment1
BA 835Global Perspectives2
BA 836Global Immersion1
Electives
The remaining 22 elective credits must be chosen from a list of approved elective courses maintained by the graduate program office.22
Culminating Experience
BA 571Strategic Management 1 2
Total Credits54

Master of Science (M.S.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies.

Admission to the M.S. program is only available to students previously admitted to the Ph.D. program, with the approval of the Director of the Ph.D. program. The M.S. degree requires a minimum of 30 credits at the 400, 500, 600, or 800 level in business administration or related areas, including a thesis or scholarly paper. Students who complete a thesis must take at least 18 credits at the 500 or 600 level, with a minimum of 6 credits in thesis research (BA 600 or BA 610). The thesis must be accepted by the committee members, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School. Students who choose the non-thesis option must take at least 18 credits at the 500 level, and complete a satisfactory scholarly paper while enrolled in BA 596.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies.

Competency Expectations

Entrance into the doctoral program in business administration does not require the completion of an undergraduate degree specifically in business. While almost any major at the undergraduate level may be acceptable, graduate study in business administration does presume a minimum level of competency in mathematics, statistics, and computing. No transcript credit is required for entering doctoral students in these areas, except where specified by particular fields of specialization. However, it must be emphasized that lack of minimum competency in mathematics, statistics and computing could be a significant disadvantage to the student.

Breadth Requirement

All students are expected to develop a broad understanding of the functions of the business organization. To achieve breadth, all Ph.D. students must show competency by completing 12 credits at the 400, 500, or 800 level in a minimum of two of the approved fields of study within the Smeal College of Business and/or in Economics in the College of the Liberal Arts. The 12 credits in the breadth requirement must be taken in fields outside or separate from a student's primary, supporting, and research competency fields.

Primary Field Requirements

All students are required to achieve competency in a primary field of business administration. The primary field is the sphere of scholarship that commands the most extensive and intensive portion of a program and is the area in which the student's dissertation research is conducted and the Ph.D. committee chair is selected. Primary fields may be selected from the following:

  • accounting;
  • finance;
  • insurance and real estate;
  • management and organization;
  • marketing;
  • supply chain and information systems.

Graduate work in a selected primary field may require competency in prerequisite areas, including undergraduate work in the field itself as well as prior work in mathematics, statistics, computer science, economics,and social and behavioral sciences. The prerequisite work will be specified by each primary field.

Supporting Field Requirements

All students must select a supporting field of study from business administration or related outside areas. Those spheres of scholarship complement the student's primary field. Supporting fields from business administration include all the primary fields. Outside supporting fields include, but are not limited to,

  • anthropology,
  • civil engineering,
  • computer science,
  • economics,
  • industrial engineering,
  • mathematics,
  • political science,
  • psychology,
  • sociology,
  • statistics.

Research Methods Field

All students must develop a broad understanding of the scientific research process and in-depth competency in the research methods used in the primary field. Each student's Ph.D. committee shall specify a minimum of 4 courses/12 credits at the 400, 500, or 800 level (beyond the M.B.A. core courses) to constitute a supporting field in research methods. These courses should cover specific methods and tools relevant for research in the primary fields. A member of the Ph.D. committee shall be designated to represent the research methods field and shall be responsible for evaluating the student's competence in the field.

Research Paper and Presentation Requirement

To introduce students early to the research process, each Ph.D. student must complete a written research paper within two years after admission to the Ph.D. program. The student must then present the paper at an open departmental workshop or seminar within one semester after the paper is approved by the department committee and chair. The student must work under the guidance of a Research Paper Supervisor (who may or may not later be the dissertation adviser). The research paper supervisor mentors the student, possibly suggesting the research topic, monitoring progress, providing ideas and feedback, and helping the student develop appropriate research, writing, and presentation skills. The paper must substantially represent the student's work, and must be written by the student. The paper must clearly define and motivate the problem being addressed, contain a comprehensive literature review, and present the research contributions and conclusions. Approval of written paper and presentation can be used as a means to satisfy the Graduate Council English competence and communication requirement (to be completed before the comprehensive examination).

Dissertation

To earn the Ph.D. degree, doctoral candidates must write a dissertation that is accepted by the Ph.D. committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School, and the student must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense).

Dual-Titles

Dual-Title M.S. and Ph.D. in Business Administration and Operations Research

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-208 Dual-Title Graduate Degree Programs.

M.S. and Ph.D. students in Smeal College of Business can elect to participate in the Operations Research dual-title graduate program. Operations Research is the use of scientific methodology in the formulation, analysis, and solution of problems of decision making.

Admissions Requirements

Students must apply and be admitted to the graduate program in Business Administration and The Graduate School before they can apply for admission to the dual-title degree program. After admission to their primary program, students must apply for admission to and meet the admissions requirements of the Operations Research dual-title program. Refer to the Admission Requirements section of the Operations Research Bulletin page. Doctoral students must be admitted into the dual-title degree program in Operations Research prior to taking the qualifying exam in their home department.

Degree Requirements

To qualify for the dual-title degree, students must satisfy the degree requirements for the degree they are enrolled in Business Administration, listed on the Degree Requirements tab. In addition, students must complete the degree requirements for the dual-title in Operations Research, listed on the Operations Research Bulletin page.

For the dual-title M.S. degree in Business Administration and Operations Management, the thesis or scholarly paper must reflect the student’s education and interest in both Business Administration and Operations Research. The master’s committee must include at least one Graduate Faculty member from Operations Research. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role.

The qualifying examination committee for the dual-title Ph.D. degree will be composed of Graduate Faculty from Business Administration and must include at least one Graduate Faculty member from the Operations Research program. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. There will be a single qualifying examination, containing elements of both Business Administration and Operations Management. Dual-title graduate degree students may require an additional semester to fulfill requirements for both areas of study and, therefore, the qualifying examination may be delayed one semester beyond the normal period allowable.

In addition to the general Graduate Council requirements for Ph.D. committees, the Ph.D. committee of a Business Administration and Operations Research dual-title Ph.D. student must include at least one member of the Operations Research Graduate Faculty. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. If the chair of the Ph.D. committee is not also a member of the Graduate Faculty in Operations Research, the member of the committee representing Operations Research must be appointed as co-chair. The Operations Research representative on the student’s Ph.D. committee will develop questions for and participate in the evaluation of the comprehensive examination.

Students in the dual-title program are required to write and orally defend a dissertation on a topic that is approved in advance by their Ph.D. committee and reflects their original research and education in Business Administration and Operations Research. Upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, the candidate must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense) to earn the Ph.D. degree. The dissertation must be accepted by the Ph.D. committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Integrated Undergrad-Grad Programs

Integrated B.S. in Science and M.B.A. in Business Administration

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-210 Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate (IUG) Degree Programs.

This program is the result of collaboration between the Eberly College of Science and Smeal College of Business. With the accelerated nature of the program, students can earn a B.S. degree in science and an M.B.A. degree in five calendar years after graduation from high school. For the first three and one-half years, including the first semester of the M.B.A. curriculum, students are enrolled as undergraduates in the Eberly College of Science. For the remaining three semesters, participants are graduate students formally enrolled in the Smeal College of Business M.B.A. program. Successful completion of this program results in a B.S. degree in Science awarded by the Eberly College of Science during year four and an M.B.A. from the Smeal College of Business at the end of year five.

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

Students must apply to the program via the Graduate School application for admission, and must meet all the admission requirements of the Graduate School and the Business Administration graduate program for the Master of Business Administration degree. Before applying to the Graduate School, students must have completed entrance to their undergraduate major and have completed no less than 60 credits. Students must be admitted no later than the end of the second week of the semester preceding the semester of expected conferral of the undergraduate degree. Transfer students must have completed at least 15 credits at Penn State to enroll in an IUG.

In consultation with an adviser, students must prepare a plan of study appropriate to this integrated program, and must present their plan of study to the head of the graduate program or the appropriate committee overseeing the integrated program prior to being admitted to the program. The plan should cover the entire time period of the integrated program, and it should be reviewed periodically with an adviser as the student advances through the program.

Students must fulfill all requirements for each degree in order to be awarded that degree. Degree requirements for the B.S. degrees can be found in the Undergraduate Degree Program Bulletin. Degree requirements for the M.B.A. degree are listed on the Degree Requirements tab.

Up to 12 credits may be double-counted towards the degree requirements for both the graduate and undergraduate degrees; a minimum of 50% of the double-counted courses must be at the 500 or 800 level. Independent study courses and credits associated with the culminating experience for the graduate degree cannot be double-counted.

Courses Eligible to Double Count for Both Degrees
BA 512Quantitative Analysis for Managerial Decision Making2
BA 800Marketing Management2
BA 801Management2
BA 811Financial Accounting2
BA 815Business Statistics for Contemporary Decision Making2
BA 831Foundations in Finance2

Students must sequence their courses so all undergraduate degree requirements are fulfilled before taking courses to count solely towards the graduate degree. Students must complete the undergraduate degree requirements within the typical time to degree for the undergraduate major. In the semester in which the undergraduate degree requirements will be completed, IUG students must apply to graduate, and the undergraduate degree should be conferred at the next appropriate Commencement. If students accepted into the IUG program are unable to complete the M.B.A. degree, they are still eligible to receive their undergraduate degree if all the undergraduate degree requirements have been satisfied.

Joint Degrees

Joint J.D./M.B.A. with Penn State Law

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-211 Joint Degree Programs.

Smeal College of Business and the Penn State Law offer a joint degree program leading to the degrees of Juris Doctor (J.D.) and Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.). We live in a global society where complex legal structures interact with dynamic and powerful market forces. Individuals with backgrounds in both business and law have a distinct advantage in understanding this interaction and are uniquely positioned for success in our modern society. The Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration (J.D./M.B.A.) joint degree program provides outstanding, highly motivated students the opportunity to combine a Juris Doctor degree from Penn State Law with an M.B.A. degree from Penn State's internationally ranked Smeal MBA Program (Smeal). Participants in this program earn both a Juris Doctor degree and a Master of Business Administration in four years compared to the five years required to earn the two degrees separately.

In order to be admitted to the program, students must first be admitted and enrolled in Penn State Law and subsequently admitted to the Smeal College of Business.

Admission Requirements

Candidates must apply to Penn State Law and Smeal separately and must meet each school's requirements. The admission requirements for the Master of Business Administration degree are listed on the Admission Requirements tab. Admissions requirements and applications for admission for Penn State Law are available at the J.D. Admissions section of the Penn State Law website. JD/M.B.A. applicants are required to submit GMAT or GRE scores.

Degree Requirements

Credit Requirements: Students must fulfill all requirements for each degree in order to be awarded that degree, subject to the double-counting of credits as outlined below. Degree requirements for the J.D. program are listed on the Penn State Law website. Degree requirements for the M.B.A. degree are listed on the Degree Requirements tab.

Double Counting of CreditsM.B.A. A maximum of 16 credits from Penn State Law course work may be double counted toward the M.B.A. degree at Smeal. Courses for which such credit may be applied shall be subject to approval by Smeal based on relevance to the M.B.A. program. Students must obtain a grade satisfactory to Smeal for any J.D. course work to be credited toward the M.B.A. degree.

Double Counting of CreditsJ.D. A maximum of 12 credits for M.B.A. course work may be double counted for credit toward the J.D. degree at Penn State Law. Courses for which such credit may be applied shall be subject to approval by the Penn State Law faculty. Students must obtain a grade satisfactory to Penn State Law for any M.B.A. course work to be credited toward the J.D. degree.

Advising of Students: All students in the program shall have two advisers, one from Smeal and one from Penn State Law. Periodic interaction between the two advisers is encouraged.

Graduation: If students accepted into the joint degree program are unable to complete the J.D. degree, they are still eligible to receive the M.B.A. degree if all the M.B.A. degree requirements have been satisfied.

Joint M.D./M.B.A. with the College of Medicine

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-211 Joint Degree Programs.

Smeal College of Business and the Penn State Hershey College of Medicine offer a joint degree program leading to the degrees of Medical Doctor (M.D.) and Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.). The objective of the program is to produce highly qualified clinicians who also understand the challenges of running a business. The Medical Doctor/Master of Business Administration (M.D./M.B.A.) joint degree program provides outstanding students the opportunity to combine a Medical Doctor degree from the College of Medicine, a highly respected medical college and medical center, with an M.B.A. degree from Penn State's internationally ranked Smeal MBA Program (Smeal). Participants in this program earn both a Medical Doctor degree and a Master of Business Administration in five years compared to the six years required to earn the two degrees separately.

In order to be admitted to the program, students must first be admitted and enrolled in the COM as a medical student and subsequently admitted to Smeal. Each program will make a separate admission decision. Students admitted to both programs will be admitted as joint degree candidates.

Students currently enrolled at the College of Medicine in the M.D. program may apply to the M.D./M.B.A. program during their first three years at the College of Medicine by applying to the M.B.A. program, as described on the Admission Requirements tab.

Admission Requirements

The admission requirements for the Master of Business Administration degree are listed on the Admission Requirements tab. Admissions requirements and applications for admission for Penn State College of Medicine are available at the M.D. Program section of the Penn State College of Medicine website. M.D./M.B.A. applicants are required to submit GMAT or GRE scores.

Degree Requirements

Credit Requirements: Students must fulfill all requirements for each degree in order to be awarded that degree, subject to the double-counting of credits as outlined below. Degree requirements for the M.D. program are listed on the College of Medicine website. Degree requirements for the M.B.A. degree are listed on the Degree Requirements tab.

Sequence: Students may choose to conduct their study in either of the two sequences shown below. Each "Year" refers to the traditional academic year beginning in late August and concluding in May. The College of Medicine students can expect to take courses during the summer. The Smeal College of Business does not offer any classes over the summer term.

Years 1-3: M.D. foundation and advanced course work at the College of Medicine.

Year 4: M.B.A. foundation course work at the University Park location.

Year 5: Combination of M.D. and M.B.A. course work at the University Park location.

Double Counting of Credits: M.B.A.: 15 credits from the College of Medicine course work may be double counted toward the M.B.A. degree at Smeal. Courses for which such credit may be applied shall be subject to approval by Smeal based on relevance to the M.B.A. program. Students must obtain a grade satisfactory to Smeal (High Pass or Low Pass) for any M.D. course work to be credited toward the M.B.A. degree.

Double Counting of Credits: M.D.: A maximum of 45 credits for M.B.A. course work may be double counted for credit toward the M.D. degree at the COM. Courses for which such credit may be applied shall be subject to approval by the College of Medicine faculty. Students must obtain a grade satisfactory to the College of Medicine (a grade of "C" or higher) for any M.B.A. course work to be credited toward the M.D. degree.

Advising of Students: All students in the program shall have two advisers, one from the Smeal College of Business and one from the College of Medicine. Periodic interaction between the two advisers is encouraged.

Graduation: If students accepted into the joint degree program are unable to complete the M.D. degree, they are still eligible to receive the M.B.A. degree if all the M.B.A. degree requirements have been satisfied.

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships available to students in this program and other forms of student aid are described in the Tuition & Funding section of The Graduate School’s website. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load limits set by The Graduate School.

Students applying to the M.B.A. program are eligible for Fellowships and Scholarships which are awarded by the Smeal College of Business at the time of admission. Graduate assistantships are not available to students in this program due to course load limits set by The Graduate School.

In addition to the fellowships, traineeships, graduate assistantships, and other forms of financial aid described on the Graduate School's website, other awards are available to graduate students in Smeal College of Business.

Courses

Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

Business Administration (BA) Course List

Contact

Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Campus University Park
Graduate Program Head Brent William Ambrose
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Brent William Ambrose
Program Contact

Dana Rae Campolongo
351 Business Building
University Park PA 16802
drc21@psu.edu
(814) 865-7669

Program Website View

 

Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.)

Campus University Park
Graduate Program Head Brian Harold Cameron
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Louis Gattis
Program Contact

Carol Denise Rill
220 Business Building
University Park PA 16802
cdr189@psu.edu
(814) 865-2990

Program Website View