Management: Designing Sustainable Systems

Happy diverse male business partners shaking hands
Doctor of Philosophy

About the Program

Expand your knowledge and become the type of expert employers are looking for with a PhD in Management: Designing Sustainable Systems from Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. Our program is designed for Doctor of Business Administration students who want to build on their research and reorient their careers to formally pursue positions as academic researchers and scholars.

Our program represents a new model of doctoral education in management, taking a broader, evidence-based approach to management issues. You’ll gain a deeper insight into corporate development, management behavior and entrepreneurship.

What to Expect

The first residency-based PhD of its kind, our program is intended to create an arena for promoting evidence-based management and preparing experienced executives for careers at research universities.

When you’re admitted to our transdisciplinary program, you’ll devote an additional year to research and seminar-format study to expand your research portfolio. Our program—which allows for focused, rigorous and independent study—will advance your research skills, with the expectation that you will publish in relevant academic and practitioner-focused journals.

As a part of your PhD, you’ll complete 18 credit hours of independent academic research, as defined by your doctoral committee (which consists of a chair and three faculty members). In general, your research will incorporate perspectives from thinking about design, sustainability, and complex systems as they relate to management in a global environment. You’ll also be expected to establish yourself in a specific domain of management. In your second year, you’ll participate in five research workshops, where you’ll discuss and present thesis work with your peers.


Only candidates in the Doctor of Business Administration program are eligible to apply to our PhD in Management Designing Sustainable Systems. You must have successfully completed all first- and second-year courses in the program, including the capstone quantitative project, or be an alumnus or alumna of the program.

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A Place for Success

Cleveland is known for its culture, food, and low cost of living, in addition to its wide array of job opportunities in business research and academia. In 2021, nine Northeast Ohio companies made the Fortune 500 list—and our region is home to more than 20 public universities, community colleges and private universities.

And Case Western Reserve is situated in the heart of University Circle, one of the city’s most energetic and culturally robust communities. From our campus, you’re just a short walk to some of Cleveland and University Circle’s most outstanding destinations—the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Botanical Garden, Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, and Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

By the Numbers


Weatherhead alumni globally


 university in the country, U.S. News & World Report


corporate partners in the Weatherhead network

Admission Requirements

Our program thrives when we have students with diverse perspectives and a range of educational, professional and life experiences. We look forward to learning more about you!
The application process requires:

  • Current candidate or alumni of CWRU’s Doctor of Business Administration program with at least two years of program completed. 
  • Online application, including an essay
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution (either already complete, or will be complete before you enroll)
  • $50 application fee
  • Current resume/CV
  • Unofficial transcripts
  • Test scores for GMAT or GRE (waiver available)
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • International applicants: Results of TOEFL or IELTS exam


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