The doctoral program in Management Science is designed for people who plan to pursue an academic or research-based career in Management Science or Operations Research. The objective of the PhD program is to train our students to become research-teaching based Management Science scholars. To that extent the primary focus of the program is to prepare the student to conduct rigorous and relevant research. 

Management Science is concerned with the development and application of mathematical models and scientific methods to all fields of management and business decision making. The emphasis of the Management Science PhD program is on the development and application of such models to problems faced by managers or policy makers. Students develop an understanding of the basic theoretical models and their application in the modern competitive corporation, and an awareness of those corporations and industries where competence in Management Science is essential for corporate survival and growth.

In order to prepare the student for a research-based career, the first year of the program is predominantly centred on course requirements covering the fundamentals of Management Science, including decision theory, optimization, game theory, statistics, probability, stochastic processes, and simulation. Traditionally students gain exposure to these subjects by taking graduate level courses from the Management Science area group as well as from the Economics Department, the Department of Statistical and Actuarial Sciences, Department of Applied Mathematics, and the Engineering Departments. In addition, the student needs to fulfill the Ivey PhD Program required courses and complete a first year research practicum. The special field seminar courses in Management Science explore the theoretical foundations of the subject, its current practice, and the leading edge of research.

Areas of Research Focus

  • Development and application of mathematical models and scientific methods to all fields of management and business decision making
  • Theoretical models and their application in the modern competitive corporation, and an awareness of those corporations and industries where competence in Management Science is essential for corporate survival and growth

Post-graduate Opportunities

The doctoral program in Management Science is designed for those interested in pursuing academic careers in management science at top business schools. Typical courses in the first two years are listed below.

Program Requirements

Students have program requirements, put into place by the PhD office, and discipline requirements, which are governed by the student’s respective area group. On a case by case basis, some students may be able to waive out of particular required courses or substitute others. Such a course of action must be approved by the PhD director

All PhD students must complete the following requirements.

  • Attend “stats boot camp” (end of August at start of Year 1).
  • Pass 9702 Multivariate Analysis in Year 1.
  • Pass 9712 Special Topics in Statistics before end of Year 2.
    *The content of this course varies by year. Students are encouraged to take the course twice.
  • Pass 9704 Research Methods in Year 1.
  • Earn 80% or more on 9723 Summer Research Paper before start of Year 2 - Direct Entry Admissions only (i.e. admitted with only an undergraduate degree)
  • Pass at least two PhD-level courses outside of Ivey before the end of Year 2 or before taking comprehensive exams, whichever is first. It is strongly recommended that at least one of these courses is an econometrics course.
  • Shadow an Ivey professor for an entire undergraduate or MBA course. The associated professor must agree to make this a learning experience for the student (e.g. have conversations about pedagogy, be available for questions about curriculum etc.) and to provide written confirmation to the PhD office of attendance; OR
  • Complete at least 20 hours of courses, workshops etc. at Western’s Teaching Centre.

*In consultation with the student, the respective PhD coordinator shall determine which option better suits the student's needs.

Discipline Requirements

All to be completed before the comprehensive exam:

  • Bus 9802 Management Science Special Field I
  • Bus 9812 Management Science Special Field II
  • Bus 9872 Management Science Special Field III
  • Bus 9882 Management Science Special Field IV
  • Econ 9601 Microeconomics I
  • Econ 9602 Microeconomics II
  • Econ 9607 Economic Mathematics I (recommended)

*If further development is identified in any area, students may be required to take additional courses as requested by the student’s supervisor or the PhD coordinator. PhD students do not formally name their supervisor until they have passed their comprehensive exams. A doctoral student becomes a doctoral candidate only upon passing comps.


This exam will be completed within 22 months of entering the program (normally written between June 1 and July 15 of Year 2). If the student fails this exam, he or she has up to one year to retake the exam. A second failure will result in being withdrawn from the program.

A student will chose a supervisor within one month of passing the comprehensive exam and will communicate the choice in writing to both the PhD coordinator and the PhD office, copying the supervisor.

Between passing comps and sitting the “Thesis Proposal Exam” (below), the student must form a Thesis Supervisory Committee (commonly referred to as the Proposal Committee). This committee consists of a supervisor and at least one (but usually two or three) additional faculty member. Each must be a member of SGPS and a majority of this committee must be composed of faculty who have doctoral-level membership with SGPS. At least one member of this committee must be confirmed by Dec. 31 of Year 3. The names of this committee are to be forwarded to the PhD office. This committee “assists in the development of the candidate's research plan and thesis proposal, provides advice and criticism on the planning and writing of the thesis…” (more)

This exam is sometimes referred to as the proposal defence. Students must pass this exam within 12 months of passing the comprehensive exam. There may be no less than three months between passing the Thesis Proposal Exam and sitting for the Thesis Exam (below).

This is effectively the last hurdle for PhD students that is commonly referred to as the thesis defence. Students have six years to finish their degree.

Discipline Coordinator

Hubert Pun

Hubert Pun is an assistant professor and the PhD program coordinator of the Management Science area group at the Ivey Business School (Western University). He graduated from the Kelley School of Business (Indiana University) in 2010, where he completed his PhD in Operations Management and Decision Sciences. His research interests include, marketing/operations interface, co-opetitive supply chain management, and healthcare operations management. He has published in Manufacturing & Service Operations Management (M&SOM), Production and Operations Management (POM), European Journal of Operational Research (EJOR), Naval Research Logistics (NRL), Decision Sciences (DS), etc. Currently, he is serving as an associate editor at International Journal of Production Research (IJPR).

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Each area group has a coordinator who has multiple roles: provide mentorship and guidance to students, liaise with PhD office, carry out students’ annual review, administer comprehensive exams, and to provide other assistance the student might require (e.g. CV-polishing, recommending coursework, mock interviews etc.).

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