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PhD in International Business

The field of international business focuses on trade between different countries and includes various areas of global business such as marketing, business, investments, financial analysis, strategic planning and resource management. Today’s world is rapidly transforming into a global village, and economic boundaries are being replaced with trade agreements such as NAFTA and GATT in order to boost the influence and outreach of businesses across the world, however, they may adversely affect the sovereignty of countries and the stability of their local markets and industries. The convenience of transportation and communication has also led companies to create branches and supply chains based in many different countries. International business has truly transformed the global economy and is responsible for creating thousands of jobs in the United States and strengthening the national economy.

PhD in International Business

PhD in International Business is an interdisciplinary program, which draws upon the scholarly works of economics, organization theory, management, political science, and science and technology studies. The program starts off with courses in accounting, management information systems, global economics, financial management and international marketing. This is followed by an independent research project, the findings of which are presented to senior faculty members in the form of a thesis. The final step is a defense dissertation held on a public forum where PhD students are required to justify their research methods and findings.

International business students also study topics such as competitive advantage of countries, the role of governments and supranational organizations, and strategies of international firms. Students learn the concepts of production management, international business laws, and strategic planning. They also have the opportunity to select elective courses from areas of finance, marketing, and management.

A doctoral degree in international business is designed in order to facilitate working professionals by enabling the candidates to have classes in a manageable manner, such as on weekends and evenings. Students also have the option of online study.

Admission Requirements

For a PhD in International Business, background in business, finance, accounting, and economics is preferable. Students without a master’s degree or a business background may need to take some additional courses. Although, admission requirements can vary from one institute to another, there are a few major requirements for PhD in International Business.
  • A bachelor's degree from an accredited university
  • GMAT or GRE scores
  • GPA above 3.0, preferably 3.5
  • TOEFL for international students
  • Resume indluding relevant experience


There can be variations in the coursework offered by institutes. However, the following are some of the core courses offered in Internal Business PhD programs.

Foreign Direct Investment

This course builds on the basic courses of financial management and international finance. It enables students to have a clear understanding of international capital markets, strategic and financial evolution with international investment, and international financial market participation.


This course focuses on privatization and explores various methods, costs and benefits, and long term implications. It also requires students to conduct research on different privatization projects that make use of private financing.

Multinational Finance

This course covers advanced topics and current research being done in the field of multinational finance. Students also get the opportunity to explore and work on their particular area of interest in the field of multinational finance.

Theories of Globalization

This course explores a variety of competing and complementary theories of globalization. It helps students to develop a sound understanding of globalization as a conceptual and empirical phenomenon, so they can effectively work on their dissertation in international business.

Multinational Marketing

This course involves extensive reading of international marketing and business literature. Key topics covered in the course include tariff and non-tariff barriers, countertrade, cultural differences among market segments, and global versus multinational marketing strategies. It may also include individual or group projects and presentations.

Global Business Strategy

This course is designed for students to understand the complexities involved in international business strategy. Analysis of strategies will be conducted by making use of both historical and contemporary material. It will include literature review, area studies, and specialized case analysis to show distinct characteristics of international business.

Advanced Quantitative Methods in International Business

This is an advanced course of applied statistics that can be utilized for both economics and business environments.  Major highlights of the course include matrix approach linear models, binary and continuous response functions, model building and diagnostics, and remedial measures.

What is the future like for international business?

A PhD in International Business will prepare graduates for a variety of careers overseas, at home, in multinational corporations, or in academic research. Following are some of the key careers in the field.


Median Salary: $91,860 in May 2012 (BLS)

Employment Growth 2012 -2022: 14 percent (BLS)

Economists research on topics such as production and distribution of resources, goods, and services. They collect and analyze data, research trends, and assess different economic issues. Employment growth for economists is as fast as the average of all occupations.

Top Executives

Median Salary: $168,140 in May 2012 (BLS)

Employment Growth 2012 -2022 :11 percent(BLS)

The responsibility of top executives is to form strategies and policies that can help an organization meet its goals. They are involved in activities such as planning, directing, and coordinating operational activities of organizations. Employment growth for top executives is about as fast as average of all occupations; however, it differs significantly within industries and is mainly dependent on an industry’s growth.

University Professors

Median Salary: $68,970 in May 2012 (BLS)

Employment Growth 2012-2022 : 19 percent (BLS)

Postsecondary teachers provide instruction in a variety of academic and vocational subjects beyond high school level. They research and also publish scholarly papers and books. The employment opportunities for postsecondary teachers are likely to grow faster than average of all occupations.

Management Consultants

Median Salary: $78,600 in May 2012 (BLS)

Employment Growth 2012-2022: 19 percent (BLS)

Management analysts or management consultants recommend ways to increase an organization’s efficiency. They advise managers on how to increase the profitability and revenues and reduce costs of an organization. The employment growth of management analysts is likely to increase at a faster rate than the average of all occupations. Since markets are becoming more competitive, there is a greater need for firms to utilize their resources efficiently.

Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:How long is the International Business PhD degree?

A:The International Business PhD degree is for 3 to 5 years. The duration of the program varies from one institute to another.

Q:I wish to apply for a PhD in international business. Does this just involve writing my thesis?

A:In countries like the UK, or in Europe, to complete a PhD, it is often only necessary to write a thesis, under the supervision of a member of faculty. You will then be examined on the content before the thesis is passed. However in the US, a PhD, it is often a condition that a thesis is combined with taught subjects.

Q:What kind of things can I expect to learn if I undertake a doctorate in international business?

A:The central theme of any doctorate program will be a thesis that you will be expected to undertake. This will vary in length between colleges but you can expect it to be a substantial piece of work, in excess of 50,000. There are also subjects that are taught courses and you will be expected to actively participate in the same.

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