Ph.D. Program-Social and Decision Sciences - Carnegie Mellon University

Ph.D. Program Overview

The Social and Decision Sciences Ph.D. program emphasizes multi-disciplinary approaches to complex problems. One hallmark of the program is that it is research-centered. The small size of the program makes it possible for students to work closely with its internationally distinguished faculty on diverse projects and to engage in research at the outset. A second hallmark of the program is its flexibility.

Although there are core requirements for all students, the program is designed to make it easy to combine interests in several academic areas.

SDS offers three areas of focus for its Ph.D. program:

  • Behavioral Decision Research
  • Social and Decision Sciences
  • Strategy, Entrepreneurship, and Technological Change (SETchange), an interdisciplinary program focused on technological change

Students may also create an individually tailored program.

Each of the doctoral fields of study have the same general requirements and milestones. The first stage of requirements is known as precandidacy for the Ph.D. To reach precandidacy, students must:

  • Complete a minimum of twelve Ph.D. level courses, including four courses in methodology;
  • Attend the first two semesters of the Social and Decision Sciences Ph.D. seminar, which is not counted as part of the above twelve courses;
  • Complete a research paper by January of the second year;
  • Pass the Doctoral Qualifying Examinations by December of the third year;
  • Have the Dissertation Proposal accepted by June of the third year.

Students achieve candidacy for the Ph.D. upon completion of the above requirements. The remaining Ph.D. requirements include writing and defending a doctoral dissertation within a recommended four years after entry into the program.

If you have general questions about the SDS Ph.D. programs, our application page includes several "frequently asked questions." You may also send your questions via email, to the appropriate contact found on the right.

Ph.D. Program Contacts

  • George Lowenstein, Chair of the Ph.D. Admissions Committee
  • John Miller, SDS Department Head
  • Connie Angermeier, Coordinator of Student Programs: Ph.D. students' academic audits, SDS course scheduling, and all registration questions
  • Mary Anne Hunter, Administrative Coordinator: for all other Ph.D. questions