International Business

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The field of International Business comprises the study of firms operating at the global level.  International business scholars require a type of training that goes beyond the mere understanding of the internal operations of the firm.  The existence of a wide variety of political, economic, and legal regimes in different nation-states, the economic interdependence between countries, the differences between cultures, and the role of multilateral institutions make the environment in which these firms operate extremely complex.  This is why our doctoral program at Illinois trains students to develop interdisciplinary research that includes the integration of different approaches including economics, political science, sociology, history, and psychology.  Our aim is to create scholars able to develop their own theoretical contributions to the discipline with solid interdisciplinary foundations and with clear applications for practitioners.  During the doctoral program our students write an original dissertation in collaboration with our multi-disciplinary faculty group on cutting edge research aimed for top leading journals.  Graduates have published in influential journals of the field and have received job offers from Brandeis University, City University of New York, Cornell University, INSEAD, Northeastern University, State University of New York at Buffalo, St. Louis University, University of Kansas, and Yonsei University (Korea), among others.

In addition to its world-class faculty, our program is distinguished by its small size and high prestige among peer institutions. We stress one-to-one student-faculty interaction. Foreign language expertise and experience living and working abroad, especially in business settings, are highly valued.

Coursework and Research

During the first two years, students take coursework that provides them with the theoretical foundation and mastering of the literature that allows them to develop their doctoral dissertation topic in the third and fourth years.  Coursework includes core seminars covering the economic, political, and organizational dimensions of international business, supporting courses in a related field, and advanced seminars in a selected area of specialization. Additionally, they take courses in research methodology and statistical analysis as well as courses covering particular geographic regions. Students are expected to participate in the research seminars given by invited speakers from other American or international universities.

Students are required to choose a minor area of study for which they have the freedom to take courses in other departments according to their interests. Examples of minors include strategic management, marketing, finance, organizational theory and behavior, industrial organization economics, political science, international studies, and sociology.

Core doctoral courses: Economics of International Business, Politics of International Business, Organizations and International Business

Recent dissertation titles:

  • Corporate Resistance to Activist Demands: The Case of Foreign Divestment
  • Entrepreneurship in the Informal Economy: Evidence from Informal Institutional Environments
  • Cross-Border Mergers and Acquisitions from Emerging-Market Nations: Evidence from Chinese Acquirers.


For a complete list of International Business faculty members please visit our faculty directory.

Current Students

For a complete list of current students in International Business please visit our PhD student directory.