Ph.D. courses and requirements


A combination of required core and elective courses are offered, to balance the needs for requisite knowledge and program flexibility. In total, eight theory/research courses, four methods courses, two additional electives (theory or methods), and two qualifying-related courses constitute the curriculum for all Technology Management Ph.D. students. A sample schedule follows the list of courses.

  • Completion of 8 theory courses, two of which may be electives.
  • Completion of 4 research methods courses;
  • Completion of two additional elective courses (theory or research methods) that offer an opportunity for an integrated course of study proposed by the student, with the advice and consent of the advisor, and approved by the Graduate Advisor;
  • Satisfactory completion of a qualifying examination and qualifying paper;
  • Satisfactory completion of a Ph.D. Dissertation that demonstrates the candidate’s ability to contribute significantly and independently to the field of technology management.

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Students will typically complete all core and elective courses in years 1 and 2 of the program, culminating in a qualifying examination and qualifying paper. After coursework and examinations are complete, students will begin working on their Dissertation Proposal (typically in year 3) and start executing the dissertation research. Students will typically defend their final Dissertation in year 4 or 5 of the program.


Core & Elective Theory Courses (32 units)

TMP 271 Organizational Behavior (4 units)

This course is designed to provide foundational knowledge in Organizational Behavior, including classic and contemporary theories, ongoing controversies, and ground-breaking empirical studies. In a single quarter it is impossible to complete an exhaustive tour of the field, so we will explore select research domains that will give you a sufficient lay of the land. Topics related to individual, team, and organizational processes will be covered, including perception and personality, motivation, stress, power and influence, conflict, negotiation, decision-making, organization culture, organization structure and design, and organizational change. Students will leave this course with a broad familiarity with theory and research concerned with micro-organizational processes, the analytical skills necessary to critically evaluate and integrate work in this area, and the insights that contribute to the current dialogue in the field.

TMP 272 Organizational Theory (4 units)

This course is designed to give students exposure to various theories of organizing. The course begins by exploring the foundations of organization theory, including Taylorism, Industrial Relations, the Chicago School, and the Carnegie School. Next, the course explores important elaborations of organizational theory including Transaction Cost Economics, Resource Dependence (and structural contingency theory), Institutional Theory, and Population Ecology. Finally, the course explores recent directions in organization theory including Network Forms of Organizing, Process-Based Theories of Organizing, and Work-Based Theories of Organizing. Students will leave this course understanding the antecedents and consequences of organizational form.

TMP 273 Technology Strategy (4 units)

This course is designed to expose students to a broad foundation in technology management strategy research. The course will offer an introduction to the range of research on strategic management, from the theoretical to the empirical, and from the classic to the current. At the heart of the course will be our ability to understand and explain technology strategies, and how and why these differ across organizations and across industries. The course begins with an introduction to the core concepts of strategy and the various factors that may influence firm performance. Then we will cover a number of topics that are central to research in technology management strategy. Each session is meant to introduce you to some classic and current theory on the topic, to link theory to the process of innovation and to point out some additional research that would be valuable to students with a greater interest in the topic. Finally, we will end each session with a discussion of the opportunities for further research in current and evolving domains. These topics include: strategy and the locus of performance, the industrial-organizational economics origins of strategy, transaction cost economics, the resource-based view (RBV), the knowledge-based view, competence and capabilities based theory and how these theories help us understand innovation, technology evolution, industry evolution and technical change.

TMP 274 Networks and Innovation (4 units)

This course explores how organizing processes enable and constrain the development and use of technological innovations. The course focuses on the role of networks in developing ideas for new technologies and the use of networks to diffuse technologies within organizations. The course covers such theoretical perspectives as structuration theory, practice theory, network emergence theory, and diffusion theory. Students will leave this course understanding how networks within organizations affect the paths of technology development and use.

TMP 275 Technology and Organizational Change (4 units)

This course is designed to introduce students to fundamental questions and approaches to the study of technology and organizations.  Specifically, we will explore how organizational structures enable and constrain the development of new technologies, and how new technologies enable changes in the process of organizing. The purpose of the course is to provide students with a thorough grounding in various theoretical perspectives on technology development and use.  Students will leave this course understanding how social and political dynamics underlie all technological development and shape the innovation process.

TMP 276 Team Processes and Performance (4 units)

This course focuses on contemporary theories and empirical research on groups and teams in organizational contexts. The course examines a representative set of theoretical and empirical papers on group “inputs” (composition, diversity, structure), processes (coordination, decision-making, influence, intragroup conflict), emergent properties (e.g., shared mental models, transactive memory systems, cross-understanding), outcomes (performance, learning, creativity), and the contextual factors that hamper or encourage group adaptation and effectiveness. Students will explore and critique frameworks, theories, methodologies, and conclusions from prior research, and develop their own perspectives on the topics. Students will leave this course with an understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of team-based organizing and management.

TMP 292 Managerial and Organizational Cognition (4 units) – SAMPLE ELECTIVE

This course is designed to introduce students to the processes by which organizations make decisions. The course focuses on how different micro-level processes (e.g., human biases, motivations) affect macro-level outcomes that are relevant to the strategy and organizations literatures (e.g., performance, innovation, adaptability). The course builds on the seminal ideas of the Carnegie tradition, with an emphasis on bounded rationality, exploration/exploitation, organization design, organizational learning, absorptive capacity, and routines. Recent developments in behavioral economics and mathematical approaches to studying organizational decision-making will also be examined. Students will leave this course with foundational knowledge about the factors that influence the quality of decisions and decision-making in organizations.

TMP 293 Discourse and Institutions (4 units) – SAMPLE ELECTIVE

This course is designed to give students an understanding of how systems of meaning such as — cultural frames, discourse systems, categorical logics, rhetorical forms, conventions of understanding, subjective field mappings, collective ontologies or institutional logics operate so as to define the nature of markets, technologies, organizations, and organizational environments.  The course will review the history of how these kinds of meaning structures have been theorized and studied by organizational scientists over the last century.  The course will review contemporary research traditions in the field and also examine how new programs grounded in modern text mining technologies are emerging in research areas such as information science, computational hermeneutics and the digital humanities. 

*** Additional theory elective courses may be offered as needed.

Method Courses (16 units)

Basic Statistics (4 Units)

Taken in another department

TMP 283 Organizational Ethnography (4 Units) – SAMPLE ELECTIVE

This course is designed as an intense practicum in participant observation in an ethnographic tradition.  Although reading methods texts and research reports written by fieldworkers is crucial for learning to do ethnography, it is not sufficient.  Just as one cannot understand the intricacies of survey, archival, or experimental research without doing a study, so one cannot fully understand ethnography unless one actually works in the field.  Accordingly, the course has six substantive objectives: (1) To provide experience in doing participant observation and ethnographic interviewing, (2) To develop skills at recording, coding, and analyzing observational data, (3) To develop skills at eliciting, recording, coding and analyzing data through ethnographic interviews, (4) To learn to build grounded theory using the constant comparative method, (5) To learn how to evaluate and write ethnography. (6) To provide an opportunity to do a potentially significant piece of social research. In addition to these substantive objectives, the course is designed to achieve a seventh objective:  To provide a supportive climate for learning ethnography.

TMP 282 Network Analysis (4 Units) – SAMPLE ELECTIVE

This course is designed to review theoretical, conceptual, and analytic issues associated with network perspectives on communicating and organizing. The course will review scholarship on the science of networks across a wide array of disciplines for an in-depth look at theories, methods, and tools that can be used to examine the structure and dynamics of networks. The majority of class time will be spent discussing the assigned readings. A series of laboratory exercises will provide experience with computer-based network analysis, modeling and visualization.


Additional Elective Courses (8 units)

Elective Courses

Two additional elective courses are required for the Ph.D. degree. These can be either Theory or Methods courses. These may be offered by TMP faculty or by faculty in other departments.

Sample Program

Sample Program of Study for Ph.D. Students in Technology Management

Year One

Fall Quarter

Course 1: Organizational Behavior

Course 2: Technology Management Strategy

Course 3: Basic Statistics

Winter Quarter

Course 1: Networks and Innovation

Course 2: Team Processes and Performance

Course 3: ELECTIVE (Sample) Computational Methods and Modeling

Spring Quarter

Course 1: Organizational Theory

Course 2: ELECTIVE (Sample) Discourse and Institutions 

Course 3: ELECTIVE (Sample) Advanced Statistics

Year Two

Fall Quarter

Course 1: Technology and Organizational Change

Course 2: ELECTIVE (Sample) Managerial and Organizational Cognition

Research and Preparation related to Qualifying Paper and Exam

Winter Quarter

Course 1: ELECTIVE (Sample) Organizational Ethnography

Course 2: ELECTIVE (Sample) Social Movements

Research and Preparation related to Qualifying Paper and Exam

Spring Quarter

Course 1: ELECTIVE (Sample) Network Methods.

Qualifying Paper

Qualifying Exam

Year Three

Fall Quarter

Ph.D. Dissertation Research and Preparation

Winter Quarter

Ph.D. Dissertation Research and Preparation

Ph.D. Proposal Defense

Spring Quarter

Ph.D. Dissertation Research and Preparation

Year Four

Fall Quarter

Ph.D. Dissertation Research and Preparation

Winter Quarter

Ph.D. Dissertation Research and Preparation

Spring Quarter

Dissertation Completion and Defense

If you have any questions about the program, contact an admissions advisor at Click here to show mail address

Assemble all documents and other materials prior to beginning your application. Be sure to carefully read the instructions listed on the main Ph.D. program page to ensure that you correctly complete each section of the application properly. We recommend that you keep personal copies of all application materials. A full explanation of the graduate application can be found on the Graduate Division website. Information about cost and financial support can be found here

Apply through UCSB Graduate Division.

Frequently asked Application Questions

To be considered for admission, you must have received a bachelor's degree or its equivalent from an accredited university prior to the quarter for which you seek admission, and have at least a B average (3.0 GPA) in your undergraduate coursework. Satisfaction of minimal standards does not, however, guarantee admission.

In order to be considered for admission, all applicants must have a valid GRE or GMAT score.

An excellent command of written and spoken English is required prior to enrollment at UCSB.

Applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the TOEFL or the IELTS. The following exams are accepted for meeting TOEFL/IELTS admissions requirements: TOEFL iBT, TOEFL PBT, TOEFL iBT Home Edition, TOEFL iBT Paper Edition; IELTS (Academic), and IELTS Indicator. The following exams are not accepted: TOEFL ITP Plus, TOEFL Essentials, Duolingo, and other exams not specifically noted above.

The university minimum TOEFL score requirement is 550 when taking the paper-based test (PBT) and 80 when taking the internet-based test (IBT). The university minimum IELTS score for consideration is an Overall Band Score of 7. Official test score dates must be within two years from the day the applicant submits the online graduate application.

Exemptions will be considered for students who have completed an undergraduate or graduate degree at an institution whose verified sole official language of instruction is English. Applicants must upload unofficial transcripts indicating (1) completion of the degree program and (2) English as the official language of instruction.

Three letters of recommendation are required as part of your application. At least one letter must be from an academic reference. Employer letters of recommendation are accepted.

Please make sure that your recommenders upload their recommendation letter prior to the deadline for which you are applying. If possible, recommenders should submit their letters on official letterhead and sign them with contact information listed.

The Statement of Purpose and the Personal History & Diversity Statement are separate documents and cannot contain the same content. They provide an opportunity for you to let us know why you are interested in the Ph.D. program, what your goals are, and what drives you in your personal and professional life.

Your Statement of Purpose is a brief statement outlining your reasons for undertaking a graduate program, your particular area of specialization in which you majored as an undergraduate or master's student, your past academic work, and your plans for future occupation or profession. Also, include any additional information that may assist the selection committee in evaluating your preparation and aptitude for graduate study at UC Santa Barbara. In your Statement of Purpose, please clearly emphasize your research interests, experience, and goals.

In your Personal History & Diversity Statement, please describe any aspects of your personal background, accomplishments, or achievements that you believe are important in evaluating your admission to the program. Explain how your life, academics, and work experiences have led you to want to join the Ph.D. in Technology Management graduate program, as well as the UCSB community at large. 

The statements are very important to the Admissions Committee for their holistic review. It is also an opportunity for you to stand out from the other applicants or clarify weaknesses in your application (e.g., low GPA, limited work experience).

Statement of Purpose: 2-3 pages but preferably 2, double-spaced, 12-pt. Font 

Personal History and Diversity Statement: 2-3 pages but preferably 2, double-spaced, 12-pt. Font

The UCSB Graduate Division’s “How to Apply” webpage includes directions, FAQs, and the online graduate application link. You can also find the Technology Management/Ph.D. graduate program link on the Graduate Division website.

I can’t find the answer to my question; who can I contact?

You may email questions to the Ph.D. program staff, or if you would like to meet with one of the Student Affairs Managers via Zoom or in person, please email Click here to show mail address and request an appointment. 

You may email questions to the Ph.D. program staff, or if you would like to meet with one of the Student Affairs Managers via Zoom or in person, please email Click here to show mail address and request an appointment.

Technology Management is committed to fully funding our Ph.D. students. Funding is provided as a blend of fellowships and employment.  

For information about fellowships at the University of California, Santa Barbara, please see the website Central Campus Fellowships or Other Campus Fellowships. Additionally, you can find financial resources on the website of our Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.