DeGroote School of Business


We’ve put together a list of questions students often ask — along with the answers — on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

New Students

The PhD Program in Business Administration offers seven fields of study. Admission targets for each field are set at the beginning of each cycle. Students can only apply to one field of study and must indicate their chosen specialization on their application.

Students are required to attend the program full-time in six of the fields. Part-time applications are accepted for the Health Management field.

The program has a two-stage application process:

  • Preliminary application form
  • Formal application package

To apply, first read the application requirements. Then follow the instructions on the application procedures page. If you have any questions during the process, please email

We require all applicants to provide a valid GMAT or GRE test score at the time of application. The PhD Program in Business attracts candidates from a wide variety of academic and employment backgrounds and this is the only common thread that we have to evaluate one candidate against another.

A GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) score of at least 600 is required.

A comparable GRE (Graduate Records Exam) score is also acceptable with a minimum 80% below required in the quantitative score. Please see our preliminary application form for more information.

GMAT and GRE test scores are valid for five years.

If your native language is not English you must provide a TOEFL or IELTS score with your application.

You are exempt from this requirement if you have completed a university degree at an institution where English was the language of instruction. For universities outside of North America, a letter from your university confirming the language of instruction should be included with your transcript.

We only require unofficial test results for your preliminary application. If you were to receive an offer of admission, then your offer would be conditional upon us receiving official test scores.

TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for two years.

Two references are required at the formal application stage. Ideally, they will be two academic references that can speak to your research capabilities. However, having one professional reference and one academic reference is also acceptable.

You will add your referees’ information directly to the application portal and an automated email will be sent directly from SLATE to your referees. Our preference is that the email provided comes from an institution-based address (e.g. “”) rather than a personal address (e.g. “;”, etc.). They will be prompted to complete a confidential reference report online through the eReference tool provided in SLATE. Applicants are able to send email reminders to their referees directly through SLATE.

Your McMaster email address should be available for activation after registration. Please consult the University Technology Services (UTS) website for more information. You will be expected to use your McMaster email address for all correspondence with the PhD Program Office as well as DeGroote faculty and staff once activated.

No, there is no specific format required. However, we ask that you include:

  • A very specific topic within your chosen specialization that you wish to research
  • Any past research experience (including publication history)
  • Future career goals
  • Your reasons for choosing the DeGroote School of Business (and list up to three supervisor names who would be a good match for your work).

Please keep in mind that there is a 4,000 character limit for each question; however, you will be able to attach a PDF version of supporting documents later on in the application. We recommend that you create your statement in a separate document and copy and paste it into the space provided OR indicate “Please see attached” and ensure that the attachment has responses to each individual question.

The residences located on McMaster campus are for undergraduate students. However, we do have an Off-Campus Resource Centre that can assist you with finding a place to live.

If you have any questions regarding housing, their office is located in the McMaster University Student Centre, Lower Level B112. They can be reached via telephone at 905-525-9140 ext. 24086 or by email at

The DeGroote School of Business guarantees each student a minimum of $20,000 of funding per year in scholarships, teaching assistantship and research assistantship positions for the four years in the program. Top ranked candidates are granted additional funding through tuition bursaries and entrance scholarships. You are also encouraged to increase your income by working for faculty on leading edge research projects and future published works. Many PhD students from DeGroote have also secured generous government scholarships from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) as well as earning Ontario Graduate Scholarships (OGS).

Additional Benefits

Students in our program can also take advantage of the following:

  • $4,000 for travel expenses related to attending conferences (e.g. presenting papers, job market, etc.) provided by the Dean’s Office over the duration of the program
  • $1,000 for expenses arising from developing and writing a thesis (e.g. data collection, specialized software, survey compensation for participants, etc.) over the duration of the program
  • A dedicated study space (cubicle) in a secure room with their PhD colleagues
  • A computer paid for by the department to use for the duration of the program
  • Required software for course work paid for by the department

If you are an international student on a Visa, please visit the Government of Canada website for more information about studying in Canada.

We encourage you to get started on it as soon as possible because we’ve found there can be some lengthy wait times. (You can find more information about the processing times here: Check Processing Times.)

McMaster’s International Student Services (ISS) office has useful resources to help you get settled. You can also find some frequently asked questions on the ISS FAQ page.

There is a $110 (CAN) fee for submitting a formal application. The formal application fee is mandatory for all applicants. This enables our program office to process the applications that come in. No waiver can be applied.

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More Help

If your question isn’t answered on this page, contact us for more help using this form.