The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

College of Business Adminstration at the University of Tennessee Dreamweaver Templates. College of Business Administration at the University of Tennessee

Ph.D. program: Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What assistantship and scholarship opportunities are available?
  2. Do I have to take the GMAT if I have taken the GRE?
  3. What courses do students take?
  4. When do students begin researching?
  5. How do students begin researching?
  6. Is an interview necessary?
  7. What English Language Requirements apply?
  8. What other Information should International Applicants know?

1) What assistantship and scholarship opportunities are available?

Assistantships pay approximately $18,000 per academic year, paid over 12 months, and include a tuition waiver and health insurance for a potential total value of around $41,000 per year. College and University scholarships are also available on a competitive basis for additional financial support. Seven College of Business/ESPN scholarships are awarded each year to students entering a PhD program in the College of Business Administration, which are worth an additional $10,000 per year for up to four years. The University of Tennessee also awards several scholarships each year to students entering a PhD program at the University. The financial support from these scholarships ranges from $5,000 for one year to $12,000 per year for up to four years. In addition, some of our students receive grants for summer research.

Usually, the first-year assistantship is a research assistantship, and subsequent years involve both teaching and research.

2) Do I have to take the GMAT if I have taken the GRE?

Applicants who have taken the GRE are not required to take the GMAT, but are encouraged to do so. GMAT scores are more directly comparable to other student applications.

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3) What courses do students take?

See the Finance Department Ph.D. Program Graduate Student Handbook for a listing of and timetable of courses.

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4) When do students begin researching?

In addition to participating in research as a Research Assistant throughout the program, students will be required to complete a working paper by the end of the spring semester of their second year and present it to the faculty. The intention is for students to have a completed working paper ready to submit to a conference by the end of the spring semester of the second year.

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5) How do students begin researching?

After participating in Seminars and Brown Bag lectures throughout the first year, students will write a paper proposal during the summer following their first year. This paper proposal will be conceived and written under the direction of a faculty mentor to be chosen by the student in consultation with the Ph.D. Advisor during the spring. The paper shall consist of an extensive literature review and problem formulation for a research topic, plus preliminary data exploration. In most cases the empirical tests will be laid out in the proposal, and initial summary statistics will be calculated.

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6) Is an interview necessary?

Campus interviews are not mandatory, but we prefer to have one, if possible. A PhD program is a major undertaking for both the student and the university, and we want to be sure that we are a good match. If you are planning to be in the area, we suggest that you make plans to visit. If this is not possible, we require a telephone interview. However, a personal visit is much better for both of us.

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7) What English Language Requirements apply?

Applicants whose native language is not English are required to take and pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Passing marks are 550, 213, 80, and 6.5 for paper-based, computer-based, internet-based (iBT) TOEFL, and IELTS respectively. Official scores must be received directly from the appropriate testing service.

The University of Tennessee’s score reporting code for TOEFL is 1843. The score must not be older than two years. Applicants who have received a degree from an accredited US institution in the past two years are exempt from the TOEFL or IELTS requirement.

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8) What other Information should International Applicants know?

Test of Spoken English (TSE)
A TSE score is not required for admission to the Graduate School or to our program. However, our assistantships involve teaching undergraduates after the first year, therefore every student on assistantship must have excellent spoken-English skills. In order for a foreign student to be certified to teach by the university, he or she must score at least a 50 on the SPEAK test, a locally-administered version of the Test of Spoken English. (The TSE is administered by the same organization that administers the TOEFL. The SPEAK test is administered at the university, and is free.) This is important: Because all of our assistantships involve teaching after the first year, every foreign student in our Ph.D. program MUST score at least a 50 on the SPEAK test or on the TSE by the end of their first year in order to be eligible for continued support. Graduating from another U.S. institution does not satisfy this requirement.

A Further Note About Deadlines
The Graduate School deadline for international applications is February 1. However, even if you apply by this deadline, your application still might not be processed in time for you to obtain the proper visa to allow you to enroll. If transcripts are delayed or if you take a long time to provide any required financial information, your admission will be delayed. It takes much more time to have transcripts translated and verified, to verify financial information, and to process an international application than it does for a domestic application. We recommend that international students apply before January 1 if possible, to provide the best chance of enrolling.

Delay in Receiving Assistantship Funds
Our experience in recent years is that Federal regulations will likely prevent new international students on assistantship from receiving a paycheck within the first few weeks of the program. Thus, incoming international students on assistantship should bring enough money to purchase books and pay living expenses for the first couple of months.

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Department of Finance ~ 427 Stokely Management Center ~ 916 Volunteer Blvd ~ Knoxville, TN 37996-0540
Phone: 865-974-3216 ~ Fax: 865-974-1716 ~ E-Mail:


The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Big Orange. Big Ideas.

Knoxville, Tennessee 37996 | 865-974-1000
The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System