University of Southern California

Requirements

Year 1

Sample Course Schedule

Fall:
  • IOM 671: Inventory Models and Supply Chain Management
  • GSBA 602: Selected Issues in Economic Theory
  • Elective (1)
Spring:
  • ISE 538: Elements of Stochastic Processes (or MATH 505B: Applied Probability)
  • IOM 677: Dynamic Programming and Markov Decision Processes
  • Electives (2)
Summer:
  • BUCO 634: Communication for Doctoral Students: Conference Papers and Presentations
  • Summer Research Paper

Research Development
Beginning in the first semester, students will apprentice with a faculty mentor to learn research fundamentals. Typically students are assigned to a new mentor each semester in the first year. During the summer following the first year in the program, students are expected to research and complete a Summer Research Paper.

Screening Examination
In addition to the papers and examinations assigned in their first-year courses, a screening process will occur in May at the end of the first year. This process will include a review of each student's grades, an analysis of competence in written communications and a written exam based on the material covered during the first year. The results of the examination help the faculty determine students’ developmental needs and fitness to continue in the program.

Year 2

Sample Course Schedule

Fall:
  • IOM 673: Mathematical Programming
  • 3 electives
Spring:
  • IOM 674: Queuing and Stochastic Networks
  • 3 electives
Summer:
  • BUCO 633: Communication for Doctoral Students: Foundations of Academic Writing
  • BUCO 637: Communication for Doctoral Students: Succeeding as a Teacher

Year 3

Sample Course Schedule

  • Independent Dissertation Preparation (2)

Research Development
At this stage in the program, the relationships Ph.D. candidates have developed through the research apprentices often lead to collaborative research projects. Ph.D. candidates continue to apprentice faculty with increasing responsibility. They also begin work on their dissertations and are expected to have an approved dissertation proposal before the start of the fourth year.

Teaching Development
Ph.D. candidates begin developing teaching skills by serving as a teaching assistant for one or two classes and engaging in teaching skills workshops.

Qualifying Exam
The examination qualifying a student for candidacy for the Ph.D. degree is partly written and partly oral, designed, at least in part, to test the student’s fitness to undertake independent research. After successful completion of the qualifying exams, the student is admitted to candidacy.

Year 4

Sample Course Schedule

  • Independent Dissertation Preparation (2)

Research Development
Research is the primary activity in the fourth year and beyond. Faculty view Ph.D. candidates as “junior colleagues” and partner to write and present papers.

Teaching Development
Ph.D. candidates co-teach one course with a faculty member.

Dissertation Defense & Submission
The dissertation is the culminating work of a student’s independent research. In the fourth or fifth year of the program, students complete, defend and submit the dissertation. This is the last step to earn the Ph.D. degree.