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PhD Programs

Executive PhD in Business Curriculum Information

The Business PhD for Working Professionals

The Executive PhD in Business is a part-time, accelerated and flexible three-year program that will allow you to earn a doctorate while continuing to grow your career. 

For the first two years, you will take two online synchronous classes per week during each semester. You will also attend eight residency weekends each year (two weekends per semester). This Friday and Saturday residency, with travel days on Thursday and Sunday, will be an immersive, intensive learning session that allows you to deeply engage with faculty and the members of your cohort on the Bentley University campus in Waltham, Mass.

Curriculum Overview

Year 1

Focuses on learning how to apply quantitative and qualitative academic research techniques.

Year 2

Transitions to developing a research agenda.

Year 3

Dedicated to your dissertation.

Your Dissertation

Your faculty adviser will help you apply the techniques learned in the first two years of classes toward researching and writing your dissertation. Instead of cohort residency weekends, you will have dedicated in-person time to meet, collaborate and work with your faculty advisor.

Focus Areas

You will choose from three different areas — Leadership, Business Analytics, or Experience Design — to help further focus your research interest with Bentley faculty.

person gives presentation in office

The challenges facing business executives today are interdisciplinary in nature and require a broad range of skills and human understanding to manage change. This program emphasizes an understanding of organizational behavior to help you become a transformational leader equipped to handle complex business situations. Whether it's sustainability, climate change, ethics, social auditing or diversity equity and inclusion, you will engage in research to help solve problems around contemporary leadership issues.

tablet with analytical data

The increased use of advanced analytical tools and the volume of available data require business executives to embrace new ways to improve decision making. In this program, PhD students will explore the human side of big data and learn the technical, analytical and modeling skills required to solve some of them most complex problems facing society today. The program will make strategic use of Bentley's Center for Analytics and Data Science.

drawings of phone application design flow

This fast-growing discipline explores and researches the ethics, aesthetics and design of products or services from a human perspective. Experience design practitioners with doctoral degrees are in high demand and the credential has become mandatory for certain leadership roles in design and research. Students focusing in this area will benefit from Bentley's national reputation in this field and our state-of-the-art User Experience Center, Haptics Lab and Virtual and Augmented Reality Lab.

The entire Executive PhD in Business course sequence is 69 credits, mapped below by semester.

fall vert uc

Year One: Fall

Synchronous classes:

  • Quantitative Analysis (3 credits)
  • Organizational Theory (3 credits)
  • Applied Research Seminar I (1 credit)

In-person experiences:

  • Orientation Weekend
  • Immersion Weekend 1
  • Immersion Weekend 2
  • Immersion Weekend 3
Library Tower Spring Hero

Year One: Spring

Synchronous classes:

  • Quantitative Research Methods (3 credits)
  • Focus Area Course I  (3 credits)
  • Applied Research Seminar II (1 credit)

In-person experiences:

  • Immersion Weekend 4
  • Immersion Weekend 5
  • Immersion Weekend 6
summer 2022 uc

Year One: Summer

Synchronous classes:

  • Qualitative Research Methods (3 credits)
  • Focus Area Course II (3 credits)
  • Applied Research Seminar III (1 credit)

In-person experiences:

  • Immersion Weekend 7 
  • Immersion Weekend 8



Year Two: Fall

Synchronous classes:

  • Quantitative Analysis II (3 credits)
  • Focus Area Course III (3 credits)
  • Applied Research Seminar IV (1 credit)

In-person experiences:

  • Immersion Weekend 9
  • Immersion Weekend 10
  • Immersion Weekend 11
Spring 2022 uc reg

Year Two: Spring

Synchronous classes:

  • Research Methods Course (3 credits)
  • Focus Area Course IV (3 credits)
  • Applied Research Seminar V (1 credit)

In-person experiences:

  • Immersion Weekend 12
  • Immersion Weekend 13
  • Immersion Weekend 14
Bentley Sign - Summer

Year Two: Summer

Synchronous classes:

  • Research Methods Course (3 credits)
  • Strategic Management (3 credits)
  • Applied Research Seminar VI (1 credit)

In-person experiences

  • Immersion Weekend 15
  • Immersion Weekend 16
Bentley University Campus in the fall

Year Three: Fall

Independent work with adviser:

  • Dissertation Course I (9 credits)


spring flowers

Year Three: Spring

Independent work with adviser:

  • Dissertation Course II (9 credits)


Bentley Summer Campus with Red Flower

Year Three: Summer

Independent work with adviser:

  • Dissertation Course III (9 credits)


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