Organizational Behavior Requirements: Macro Track

I. Preparation

As preparation for the program course requirements, some organizational behavior (OB) students, depending on previous preparation, find it useful to complete preparatory coursework in the summer prior to the first year (or in the first year). If you think you might not be prepared for the course requirements, you should ask questions of advanced OB students or the doctoral liaison.

II. Course Requirements

All required courses must be taken for a grade (not pass/fail or credit/no credit). Exceptions are made if the required course is offered pass/fail or credit/no credit only. Each course must be passed with a grade of P or B- or better. Substitutions of required courses require approval from the faculty liaison. Waiving a course requirement based on similar doctoral level course completed elsewhere requires the approval of the course instructor, faculty liaison, and the PhD Program Office.

Topics Courses
Economics Course
(1 courses)
  • MGTECON 600 Microeconomic Analysis I
  • ECON 202N Core Economics: Modules 1 and 2 (for Non-Economics PhDs)
  • ECON 151 Economic Analysis

With faculty liaison approval:

  • GSBGEN 675 Microeconomic Theory
  • MGTECON 200 Economic Analysis and Policy (MBA Core)
  • HRMGT 302 Incentives and Productivity
  • ECON 149 Modern Firm in Theory and Practice
  • ECON 157 Imperfect Competition
Methods Courses
(1 sequence)

One-Course Sequences

  • MGTECON 603 Econometric Methods
  • MGTECON 604 Econometric Methods II
  • MGTECON 605 Econometric Methods III
  • ECON 270 Intermediate Econometrics I
  • ECON 271 Intermediate Econometrics II
  • ECON 272 Intermediate Econometrics III

With faculty liaison approval:

  • ECON 640 Quantitative Methods for Empirical Research
  • OB 640 Multivariate Data Analysis
  • GSBGEN 641 Advanced Empirical Methods

Two-Course Sequences

  • SOC 382 Sociological Methodology II: General Linear Model and SOC 383 Sociological Methodology III: Advanced Models for Discrete Outcomes
  • POLISCI 450 A Political Methodology I and POLISCI 450 B Political Methodology II
Organizational Behavior Courses
(9 courses)
  • OB 6xx Environmental Influences on Organizations (year 1)
  • OB 6xx Strategy and Organizational Change (year 1)
  • OB 670 Designing Social Research (usually year 2)
    PhD Liaison may approve the equivalent Sociology course, if this course is not offered when needed.
  • OB 6xx Pro-seminar in Theory and Argument (years 1, 2, and 3)
    One-unit course that can be taken repeatedly; students must take this course at least three times during years one through three.

Three electives during years one through three. Electives typically cover substantive areas. Examples include:

  • OB 671 Social Psychology of Organizations
  • OB 6xx Social Movements
  • OB 6xx Cultural Markets
  • OB 6xx Work and Employment in Organizations
  • OB 6xx Social Networks

II. Practicum

Students are required to sign up for either research or teaching practica each quarter of enrollment. Below is a description of the practicum requirements for OB-macro students.

Year 1: In each quarter of the first year, students will attend all of the talks presented in the OB seminar. Students will attend the weekly professionalization seminar, “Macro Lunch.” It is expected that students will work with at least one faculty member on at least one research project. Most of this training will consist of readings and discussions of relevant papers and issues in the field, as well as assisting faculty members with their research projects. By the summer quarter, students will be expected to work with one faculty member on their own research project.

Year 2: In each quarter of the second year, in addition to attending all of the talks presented in the OB seminar and Macro Lunch, students will work with a faculty member of their choice on a research project or projects. Projects may be contained in one or two quarters or can span the entire academic year and summer. Students will also assist faculty members with their research projects. We estimate students will spend at least 10 hours per week per quarter on these research projects. Students will present their second-year papers in the OB seminar during the Spring Quarter.

Years 3 - 5: In each quarter of the third, fourth, and fifth years, in addition to attending all of the talks presented in the OB seminar and Macro Lunch, students will work with at least one faculty member of their choice on a research project or projects. Projects may be contained in one or two quarters or can span the entire academic year and summer. We estimate students will spend at least 10 hours per week per quarter on these research projects. Students will also assist faculty members with their research projects. At least once in years three through five, students will complete a practicum in teaching. Students may also elect to engage in optional RA or CA work for not more than six hours per week during the academic year and 10 hours per week in the summer quarter. During year four or year five, students are expected to present their dissertation paper in the OB seminar.

IV. Field Examination

OB-macro PhD students must take and pass a field exam at the end of the first year of study, following the end of the spring quarter.

The general format of the exam shall be as follows:

  • The field exam shall be designed to test the student’s depth of knowledge in macro-organizational theory, for example by being able to summarize and critique specific bodies of organizational theory and research. The exam shall also be designed to test the student’s potential as an independent researcher in the field, for example by being able to identify potentially important research questions and outline how they might be studied.
  • The specific content of the exam shall be at the discretion of the faculty administering the exam in a particular year, but is generally based on coursework from the first year in the program.
  • The exam will be a take-home, written exam. Students will have two working days to complete the exam, e.g., from 9 a.m. one day until 5 p.m. the following day. Per the PhD Office’s rules, if more than one student is taking the exam in a given year, it shall be scheduled on the same two days.
  • The written exam is open-book, open-note. Students are expected to adhere to the Stanford Honor Code.
  • Students are encouraged to talk to other students and their faculty advisors while preparing for, but not during, the exam.

Examples of possible written exam questions, based on exams from prior years, are available from the PhD office.

V. Second-Year Research Paper

By the end of the winter quarter in year 2, each student will submit a research paper prepared with the collaboration of a faculty advisor. Students will present this research paper in the OB seminar in the spring quarter. While research is done in collaboration with their faculty advisor, this paper should be the student’s own written work. This paper is a key way that the OB faculty track the progress of students in their second year and plays a major role in the student’s second-year evaluation.

VI. Teaching Requirement

One quarter of course assistantship or teaching practicum. To be completed prior to graduation.

VII. Candidacy

Admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree is a judgment by the faculty of the student’s potential to successfully complete the requirements of the degree program. Students are required to advance to candidacy by September 1 before the start of their fourth year in the program

VIII. University Oral Exams

The oral examination is a defense of the dissertation work in progress. The student orally presents and defends the thesis work in progress at a stage when it is one-half to two-thirds complete. The oral examination committee tests the student on the theory and methodology underlying the research, the areas of application and portions of the major field to which the research is relevant, and the significance of the dissertation research. Students are required to successfully complete the oral exams by September 1 before the start of their fifth year in the program.

IX. Dissertation

The doctoral dissertation is expected to be an original contribution to scholarship or scientific knowledge, to exemplify the highest standards of the discipline, and to be of lasting value to the intellectual community. OB-macro does not have any general guidelines beyond the University requirements, and instead defer to the student’s committee (with most guidance directly provided by the major advisor).

X. Supplementary Requirements

Students are urged to attend other workshops and colloquia on campus that cover research, such as that offered by the Stanford Center for Work, Technology and Organization; the SCANCOR seminar series; and occasional colloquia sponsored by the Department of Sociology and the Graduate School of Education