Programme Overview

Doctor of Philosophy are research programmes offered throughout of the year. These programmes are 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 respective field of expertise. As the field of accounting, finance and management are 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.

Students can choose between:

PhD (Accounting)
PhD (Finance)
PhD (Management)

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•    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

•    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


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

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

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

I.     Master degree (Coursework or Mixed Mode)

A) CGPA of at least 3.00 / 4.00
B) CGPA of 2.50 - 2.99 with

•    Research experience – 2 years; OR,
•    Professional experience in related field – 2 years; OR,
•    Two (2) academic publications (journals, not proceedings) in the field applied; OR,
•    Grade B+ for major/elective courses; OR,
•    Grade B+ for Coursework Mode or P for Mixed Mode dissertation/project;

 II.    Master degree (Research Mode)


 III.   Bachelor degree (First class honours) or CGPA of at least 3.67/4.00

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  • A minimum score of 35 in Internet-based TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language); OR
  • A minimum score of 5.0 in IELTS (International English Language Testing System); or
  • A minimum score of 154 in Cambridge English Advance (CAE); or
  • A minimum score of 154 in Cambridge Proficiency Advance (CPE); or
  • A minimum score of 36 in Pearson Test of English (PTE); or
  • English is the candidate's mother tongue or National Language; or
  • The candidate graduated from an Institution of Higher Learning in which the medium of instruction at Bachelor and Master level is English; or
  • English courses offered by British Council (The level of qualification and the relevant courses are to be identified by the University Postgraduate Studies Council); or
  • English courses from selected Malaysian public/private University or institution (The level of qualification and the relevant courses are to be identified by the University Postgraduate Studies Council).

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A PhD degree can be completed in two modes i.e. either Full-time or Part-time.  

Full-time candidates need to complete their dissertation in minimum of 4 semesters and maximum of 10 semesters.

** A foreign candidate outside of the Malay Archipelago is required to register as a full-time student.

Part-time candidates are allowed to complete their dissertations in minimum of 6 semesters and maximum of 15 semesters.

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A new candidate would be able to register at any time throughout the year.

A candidate 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 residential requirement is throughout his/her minimum candidature period.

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

Proposal Defense
A candidate in the PhD programme in the School of Management is required to submit and present his/her proposal of study before an Examining Committee appointed by the School. A PhD candidate is expected to attend proposal defense in third semester. Only upon satisfactory performance in defense can the candidate submit the final thesis to the Institute of Postgraduate Studies for the final viva-voce.

A candidate for the PhD programme is required to produce a thesis. As a general guideline, a PhD thesis should not exceed 80,000 words. The thesis can be written in either English or Bahasa Malaysia.

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  1. Students submits the Proposal defense (PD) submission form and proposal write-up in pdf file to
  2. The PD date is depending on the slot and examiner availability. Presentation will be held virtually using the Cisco webex (invitation link to webex PD will be sent via email)
  3. Student should prepare power-point slides for this 30-minutes presentation, that follows with a question-and-answer session.
  4. Presentation will not be conducted if the supervisor is not available.
  5. SOM PG staff will email the PD report to student within 3 days.


  1. The proposal normally consists of the first three chapters of an MA/PhD thesis. These are;
    • Chp. 1: Introduction
      This chapter should include the background of the topic, the problem statement, research questions and research objectives. The significance and potential contributions of the study should also be highlighted.

    • Chp. 2: Literature Review
      The literature review chapter normally start with the discussion of the underlying theories of the study, followed by a thorough and critical review of past studies done in the topic. Following the review, theoretical framework should be shown. The development of hypotheses is then discussed.

    • Chp. 3: Methodology
      This chapter will explain the research design. Details on the data and its sources and collection methods, including research/survey instruments, should be elaborated. Variables and their measures also need to be described. Methods and techniques for data analyses should also be explained.

  2. Please include an Abstract (of about 300 words) and the table of content of the proposal.
  3. Complete list of References must be included.
  4. Please ensure that the write-up contains minimal English errors.

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fee** Fees are subject to change


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School of Management
Universiti Sains Malaysia,11800 USM, Penang, Malaysia.
Tel : +604-653 3984/3985/2520/3370
Fax :+04-657 7448 | Email: