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College » BA » Programs » PhD » Areas » Organizational Behavior

Organizational Behavior

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The goal of the Illinois Ph.D. concentration in Organizational Behavior/Theory is to prepare students for successful academic careers. The program’s key priority is enabling doctoral candidates to generate rigorous, creative, and insightful research.

The wide-ranging interests of the faculty, coupled with flexible core requirements, provide graduate students with a stimulating environment in which to grow and develop intellectually. We particularly emphasize close faculty-student interaction, and most of our graduates have gained valuable research experience through working and publishing with the faculty. Intellectual freedom and research excellence are hallmarks of the program.

The Illinois Advantage

Illinois' diverse and distinguished faculty has been internationally recognized for their research. In a recent survey, the Illinois Organizational Behavior/Theory group has been ranked among the top 10 in terms of the research of its faculty. Historically, the faculty has played a major role in shaping this field with their contribution to the major theories and perspectives.  Many faculty have held leadership positions in the academic associations and served as editors or editorial board members of the leading academic journals. This tradition continues today.

Course work

The curriculum has been designed to provide students with enough flexibility to discover an intellectual niche while insuring that all students acquire:

Four "core" seminars on micro- and macro-organizational studies provide a foundation for research in these areas. Students can also take advanced topic seminars and independent studies to focus on more specific topics. Students also take courses in a "minor" area. The choice of minor courses is made from a wide selection of classes offered within the department, the college, and the university, and is worked out through discussions with the student's main advisor. Typical minors of our students include anthropology, strategic management, industrial relations, philosophy of science, psychology, and sociology. Finally, students gain competence in research design and analysis through courses in statistics and research methodology.

Placement and career paths

Our graduates have gone on to establish themselves in distinguished careers at universities around the world. In the past several years our graduates have accepted jobs at many outstanding universities including, Wharton, University of Wisconsin, Michigan State University, University of Notre Dame, Rice University, McGill University, and Washington University in St. Louis.

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of organizational science, the Illinois faculty recognizes that many different career paths prepare a student for advanced study in organizational research. Past students have entered the program with degrees in psychology, sociology, business, economics, political science, and anthropology. Some have had extensive work experience in formal organizations, while others have entered immediately upon receiving their undergraduate degree. Student interaction in a diverse student population adds to the intellectual sophistication that has been the hallmark of the Illinois Ph.D.


For a complete list of OB & OT faculty members please visit our faculty directory.

Current Students

For a complete list of current candidates in OB & OT please visit our PhD student directory.

Student Perspectives

"My reasons for choosing U of I was the amazing responsiveness of faculty."
- Emily Block, University of Notre Dame

"I have found the University of Illinois to be a great learning environment. The faculty are accessible and supportive, and they take an interest in student development. Students are encouraged to begin a research program early, which is a plus. Additionally, our group of OB doctoral students is very cohesive - we socialize and work on research together.
- Teresa Cardador, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

"I chose this doctoral program because of its excellent research reputation and its strong commitment to Ph.D. education. Over the past few years in the program, I've learned a tremendous amount through my classes and research projects. I'm grateful that I've had the chance to gain insights from and work with some of the most highly motivated and bright faculty members in the field of organizational behavior - particularly my advisor and mentor, Dr. Michael Pratt. I believe that upon graduation from the program I will be very well prepared to work as a professor at a major research university."
- Erik Dane, Rice University

"Choosing University of Illinois was not difficult for me taking into account the quality of life one could have in Champaign-Urbana. …The quality of the school and health system, the cultural activities and safety offered by the communities surrounding the University are remarkable. Finally, since my wife also was interested in graduate school, the reputation of the graduate programs across campus was hard to match." "My experience within the Ph.D. program has been excellent so far. I would emphasize specifically the fluid relationship that students have with all the faculty within the department, which generally facilitates a strong foundation for developing career-long partnership opportunities. In a career that rely heavily on a mentor-ship model of knowledge acquisition this characteristic of our program is definitely a key competitive advantage for the students."
- Ricardo Flores

"I think one of the most valuable quality of the program is the early involvement of students with ongoing research. For example, I was involved in a project right from my first semester."
- Naina Gupta, Nanyang University, Singapore

"Throughout my education in the Organizational Behavior program, I learned to critically analyze organizational phenomena and explore new ways of thinking, which are the treasures of a successful scholar".
- Ece Tuncel, Washington University in St. Louis

"I believe that the most valuable quality of the Illinois program is the support received not only from the faculty members but also from the other PhD students enrolled in the program. This support facilitates a strong research environment that is open to debates and collaborations on research projects, which I find very rewarding. The eminent faculty members in both, the OT and the OB groups are a constant source of inspiration for me."
- Abhijeet Vadera

"I think that one thing that distinguishes Illinois' from other similar Business Administration programs is the openness and receptivity of the faculty. There is an open door policy allowing for easy interaction between students and faculty. Furthermore, students' own ideas are encouraged and expected." "I have felt lucky to be at Illinois because there is a sense of camaraderie among the graduate students that allows for seamless integration into the program as well as support throughout the time in the program."
- Heather Vough, McGill University

"I chose Illinois mainly because of the quality of its research program in OB. One of the qualities that I enjoy the most about the program is its emphasis on research and training students to become researchers."
Lu Wang, Australian School of Management in Sydney


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