The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is offered throughout of the year and offered as full-time and part-time modes to qualified Malaysian and International Students to do independent research supervised by their respective lecturers in the specific field. As each field is dynamic, new areas/field of studies are always emerging as newer technological tools and developments become available. Upon graduation, students may seek employment in both public and private sectors.

Management Research Thrust Areas:

Organisational Behaviour
•    Strategic Management and Organisational Issues
•    Workplace Attitudes and Behaviour
•    Human Resource Management/Human Capital Development
•    Learning Organisations
•    Women in Management and Business
•    Entrepreneurship and Enterprising Culture
•    Ethics and Social Responsibility
•    Sustainable Leadership

•    Internationalisation of Enterprises
•    International Entrepreneurship
•    Global Strategies and Competitiveness
•    Cross Cultural Management
•    Export Markets
•    Global Strategic Management
•    Strategies and Practices in MNCs
•    Expatriation and Repatriation

•    International Marketing
•    Strategic Marketing
•    Consumer Behaviour
•    Advertising and Marketing Communications
•    Retailing
•    Brand Management
•    Service Marketing
•    Environmental Marketing
•    Wellness Marketing
•    Technology Marketing
•    Experiential Marketing

Operations and Production
•    Productivity and Quality
•    Technology Management
•    Management Sciences
•    Managing Information Resources
•    Operations Strategies
•    Supply Chain Management
•    Operations Management
•    Logistics Management

Finance Research Thrust Areas:

•    Asset Pricing
•    Behavioural Finance
•    Corporate Finance
•    Derivative Market
•    Financial Market and Institutions
•    International Finance
•    Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management
•    Islamic Finance
•    Merger and Acquisition
•    Applied Mathematic in Finance

Accounting Research Thrust Areas:

•    Goods and Services Tax and Taxation Issues
•    Auditing
•    Management Accounting and Control
•    Financial Reporting
•    Accounting Information System
•    Management Accounting Practices
•    Behavioural Accounting Finance
•    Legal Environment of Business & Accounting
•    Market Based Accounting Research
•    Corporate Governance
•    Islamic Accounting
•    Public Sector Accounting
•    Accounting Education
•    Social and Environmental Accounting/Corporate Social Responsibility


An applicant for a PhD degree should posses the following qualifications:

  1. A Master's degree in a related area, or
  2. An outstanding Bachelor's degree (first class/CGPA >3.67/4 or equivalent) in a related area.
  3. Language Requirement (Applicable for International Applicants Only)
  • A minimum score of 550 in Paper-based TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language); or
  • A minimum score of 213 in Computer-based TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) ; or
  • A minimum score of 80 in Internet-based TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) ; or
  • A minimum score of 6.0 in IELTS (International English Language Testing System); or Passed USMs Intensive English Course Level 4.
  • Results must be attached with the application form.

    A brief research proposal (approximately 250 words) indicating the background and objectives of the proposed topic of research.

    Applications for postgraduate studies in USM can be made online through the Intitute of Postgraduate Studies website.



Full-time: min 4 semesters / max 10 semesters
Part-time: min 6 semesters / max 15 semesters



A new candidate would be able to register at any time throughout the year. A foreign candidate outside of the Malay Archipelago is required to register as a full-time student.


A candidate in both programmes will be supervised normally by one or two supervisors from the School throughout his/her candidature. The candidate is expected to discuss with the supervisors his/her plan of study and schedule regular meetings with the supervisors to discuss his/her progress.


All research mode students must participate in the School's Postgraduate Colloquium. The colloquium is held twice a year, normally in June and December. During the colloquium, students will participate in workshops on Research Methodology, listen to research related talks and present their progress.

Residency requirement

For a full-time candidate, the residency requirement is throughout his/her minimum candidature period.

For a part-time candidate, a residency requirement of 15 days a year is required.

Bahasa Malaysia requirement

A foreign candidate is required to register and pass the USM's LKM100 Bahasa Malaysia I within his/her candidature period.

Proposal Defense

A candidate in the PhD program in the School of Management is required to submit and present his/her proposal of study before an Examining Committee appointed by the School. The proposal defense normally takes place after six months from the date students enroll in the program for a full time student.  Only upon satisfactory performance in the proposal defense can the candidate proceed to collect data and submit the final thesis to the Institute of Post-graduate Studies for the final viva-voce.


The PhD program at the School of Management is a structured program and candidates are able to complete their PhD candidacies on time compared to longer periods at other universities. Furthermore, the biyearly colloquium on research issues gives candidates a chance to assess their own progress. In addition to that, as the PhD candidate’s research is conducted within the specific research clusters, PhD candidates can be assured of the best supervision and resources possible to ensure a quality dissertation is produced.