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Government funds help kickstart management doctoral program

Photo: Rémi Yuan

With the help of provincial funding, the Telfer School of Management has announced the creation of a new PhD management program to be launched in 2016.

The idea had been floated for the past 30 years, said Silvia Bonaccio, an associate professor at the University of Ottawa and director of the new program, but serious planning only began two years ago.

“The PhD is a very good avenue for students who enjoy asking interesting questions, complex questions,” she said, “and for those who like finding creative, innovative, and cross-disciplinary answers to those questions.”

The program will focus on five main areas: accounting and control, entrepreneurship, finance, health systems, and organizational behaviour and human resources. The full-time, four-year program purports to allow students to develop their analytical and critical thinking skills through methodological and statistical courses and thesis work.

Telfer’s program is unique because of its focus on less saturated fields of study such as entrepreneurship and health systems, said Bonaccio.

Douglas Angus is a professor at the U of O specializing in health policy, who will be supervising students in the health systems program.

He said the new program will benefit both public and private sector organizations. “In spending public and private money, they need to be aware of the best kind of research that could help them in their decision-making process.”

Angus, who served as the director of the U of O’s population health PhD program from 2003 to 2010, and vice dean and associate dean of the school from 1999 to 2002, sat on the committee that advocated for the creation of the new program.

“We have a variety of different disciplines in the school of management, something probably a lot of people are not aware of,” said Angus. “All of these elements could be drawn together to actually do some really, really important research.”

Bonaccio said the new program isn’t just for those who want to teach.

“We are taking a holistic approach to the student. We recognize that a lot of students who are taking a PhD may not go into academia and in fact, it’s the norm for somebody to do a PhD and not go and be a university professor,” said Bonaccio.

The program is expected to have small classes of 10–15 students, which is in line with other universities.

Applications are currently being accepted for the 2016 program.