Ph.D. in Business

Frequently Asked Questions

I have an MBA degree which I feel is insufficient to achieve success in business. How can a PhD degree address this problem?

The PhD program's main objective is to train students to conduct original research similar to what is done in universities here and abroad and in international policy institutions like the IMF and the World Bank. The program equips the student with skills in research and pedagogy needed to thrive in an academic environment where the two major activities are teaching and research. Its objective is not to train students how to run a business successfully or help climb a management ladder. A PhD degree in business administration from the VSB is not an "advanced MBA" degree but is rather, a research degree. 

If accepted, can I enroll in the PhD program on a part-time basis?

The program requires full-time participation by the student. We strongly discourage part-time enrollment in this program and is granted only under very unusual circumstances. No night classes are offered in the PhD program and courses are scheduled between 9 am and 5 pm Monday through Friday.

Are the PhD program courses case-study intensive?

All courses are lecture-based courses. There are no courses that rely solely or heavily on case studies. However, case studies are used whenever appropriate.

Can I begin the program in the second semester of the first year of PhD courses?

Admission to the PhD proper is only for the first semester of each academic year.This is because courses are offered in sequence where core courses are prerequisites of the field courses.

Which of the admissions criteria are given most weight?

Applications are considered based on all the information submitted by the student. We however closely look at applicants with a strong academic background and above-average quantitative aptitude.

I only have a vague idea of what the personal statement should contain. Is this important?

Yes, it is very important and we take this statement seriously.
There is no minimum or maximum word limit. The average length of a personal statement is between 2-3 pages. It should demonstrate your ability to communicate in a concise manner. We do not expect you to exactly define your dissertation topic but you are expected to describe your interests beyond the general classifications of management strategy, marketing, finance, economics etc. Your application will not be considered if you fail to submit this on (or before) the stated deadline.

What is the coverage of the DPAT?

The DPAT is a two-hour multiple choice examination that tests the applicant's quantitative and verbal abilities. It is administered by the PhD program office once a year during the second week of April. Local applicants who cannot take the DPAT should take the GRE which is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) five times a year.

I am an International Applicant; I will not be able to go there to take the DPAT. What should I do?

Local (Filipino) applicants must take either the DPAT or the GRE.
International applicants from other countries must take the GRE.Visit the International applicants page for more information.

Do you accept GMAT scores instead of the DPAT or GRE scores?

We do not accept GMAT scores. All applicants are required to take either the DPAT or GRE as stated above. The GRE scores should reach us before the middle of April. This means that applicants should take the GRE before February. Submitted GRE scores should not be more than 5 year old.

What is the minimum score required for the GRE?

A total score of 300 or better in the GRE is desirable. Note however, that this is not a formal minimum requirement to be considered for admission since other factors can have balancing effects in the admission decision.

How must the GRE scores be submitted?

Please ask the ETS ( to have your scores sent to the University of the Philippines Cesar E. A. Virata School of Business. Our designated institution code is 1607.

Is the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) required?

International applicants except those with bachelor's degrees from the US, UK, New Zealand and Australian Universities must demonstrate fluency in English by taking the TOEFL. This test is also administered by ETS. Our institution code is B151. We require a minimum score of 550 on the paper-based exam and 90 on the Internet-based exam for admission. Applicants do not need to take IELTS.

What kind of financial aid is available?

We do not offer financial aid to incoming first year students. Teaching fellowships are however made available to promising second year Filipino students depending on their needs.

How much is the application fee?

The application fee is ₱750.00 (US$16.00.) This fee cannot be waived.

From whom should we request letters of recommendation and what should it contain?

Letters from those who are familiar with your academic background are preferred, although letters from other referees will be accepted as well. Academics will give us the information we need to know more than other types because they will address your scholastic abilities. If your company boss/employer writes the letter (or someone who is not from an academic institution where you graduated for that matter), he/she will not be able tell us about your academic performance in detail. The purpose of the letters of recommendation is to build the best case for your admission to the PhD program.

How does the referee submit the recommendation letter?

The recommendation letter must be submitted online by the referee.
The referee must send an email to with "Recommendation Form Request" in the subject box. A link to an online form will be sent to the recommender. In the form, there is a set of rating questions about applicant characteristics and a space to paste a letter.

Can graduate classes similar to the courses in the PhD program but taken elsewhere (in another University) be credited towards the PhD degree?

No. We do not transfer credit for courses from other universities. You must complete all requirements of the program in UP Diliman.

How important is a quantitative background?

It is vital to have taken formal courses in mathematics. Most of the courses rely heavily on quantitative methods at a fairly advanced level. Students must have acquired knowledge at more than the level of college algebra and trigonometry.

What kind of quantitative courses should I have taken?

It is desirable to have formally attended courses in single-variable and multivariate calculus. Some exposure to linear algebra and knowledge of probability and statistics would be a big help to the student. Many applicants with engineering degrees and who have been exposed to advanced mathematics have performed well in the program. It should be emphasized however that we are not after quants or math professionals but individuals who have a fair amount of mathematical maturity to be able to tackle interesting business/economics research questions in a systematic and logical manner.

Where can I find information for International Applicants?

Please click here.