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PhD in Business Administration

Admission requirements

The John Molson PhD Admissions Committee takes a holistic approach, assessing candidates on their strong academic credentials, research experience, intellectual and leadership potential, superior communication skills and career aspirations.

For more information on the application process, please consult the step-by-step application guide.

As it is a highly competitive program with a very limited number of available seats each year, we recommend exceeding the minimum requirements for better chances of admission.

Academic credentials

  • Master’s degree in any discipline with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 out of 4.3.
    • Applicants must have maintained the equivalent of at least a 3.5/4.3 average (roughly equivalent to a B+/A grade) for their final two years of studies
    • International applicants must have obtained their degree from an accredited university; see a listing of international equivalencies.
  • If you are currently enrolled in a Master’s degree:
    • Submit the results of previous terms and a list of your current courses
    • Include mid-year grades if they're available

We accept English or French transcripts. If your transcript is in another language, you must provide the original sealed transcripts, as well as a certified translation.

You may upload unofficial scanned copies of your transcripts for the application. Official sealed transcripts (and certified translation, if applicable) will be requested if you are admitted.   

English language proficiency

Applicants who did not complete their undergraduate and/or graduate degree in a country on our exempt countries list must write a pre-admissions English proficiency test. We accept the following language tests and minimum scores

  • TOEFL iBT: 95 overall with no band under 20;
  • IELTS Academic: 7.0 overall with no band under 6.5;
  • We prefer the TOEFL and IELTS tests, but since the pandemic we have accepted the Duolingo English Test with a 120 overall and no band below 120.

Although John Molson prefers the above tests, you may also take another language test as listed on our Graduate Admissions page, if not exempted as indicated below.

  • Exemptions:
    • A minimum of five full years of study at the undergraduate or graduate level at an accredited university in one of the following countries;
    • Quebec applicants who have completed a Diploma of Collegial Studies (DEC) and a university degree in Quebec, regardless of whether it was in English or French.

We do not accept English proficiency test scores more than 2 years old.

Note: Please upload your unofficial scores to your application. If you are accepted into the program, you will then be asked to have the official scores sent to us.

Other requirements


Although work experience is not required, applicants must provide a copy of their CV / resume showing education, professional experience and achievements, including internships and volunteering, if applicable.

Your CV / resume should: 

  • be complete (e.g. providing year AND month timeframes);
  • be legible and concise (ideally 1 page, 2 pages MAX);
  • include a summary of your academic, professional and personal achievements;
  • be tailored for a university application with academic experience first, followed by professional experience, etc.

Applicants must provide a Statement of purpose (also known as a Letter of intent) addressed to the Admissions Committee indicating their reasons for choosing the program, their background and career goals and how the program will help them to achieving those goals. Applicants should also present their research interests and refer to any professor(s) specializing within their area of interest.*

Overall, applicants will want to convey not only that the program is right for them, but that they are right for the program. The Statement of purpose should be approximately 500 words.

*Please note that applicants to John Molson’s research-based programs do not need to have a thesis supervisor in order to apply.


Below is a sample of questions that may help you to draft your personalized Statement of purpose:

  • Briefly describe any research experience you have, if applicable, including applied research. If you do not have prior research experience, what do you think are the most important elements of undertaking advanced research projects?
  • What initial research idea(s) or topic(s) might you want to pursue in the program? Are there any of our faculty members specializing in this area?
  • Briefly highlight your strengths that you would bring to the program, your weakness(es) that you would want to improve upon in the program and your career objectives, as well as how would this specific program help you to achieve them?



Applicants must include the names, affiliated institutions and email addresses (college / university or company mail) of at least two academic referees (i.e., from former professors). The third may be from a professional reference. A suitable referee is an individual who knows you well, academically and/or in a professional context, but who does not report to you.

Your referees will receive an email from inviting them to complete an electronic assessment form and attach their letter of reference.

You are strongly encouraged to submit your application before your program’s application deadline in order to give your referees sufficient time to provide their assessment and letter of reference.

Where applicable, applicants must include a certified copy of their birth certificate, Permanent Resident card, Canadian Citizen Card, or Refugee Status papers. International students must include a copy of their valid passport.

non-refundable application fee paid online by credit card.

Non-commerce backgrounds — prerequisite courses

Applicants must select their area of specialization from: Accountancy, Finance, Management, Marketing or Supply Chain and Business Technology Management, at the time of application. Depending on background, non-commerce applicants may be required to take qualifying courses at the MBA or MSc level.

The minimum number of credits a student must take will be determined upon acceptance to the program. Students without a formal academic background in business administration may be required to take up to five 3-credit courses, usually at the MBA or MSc level, from among the following disciplines: business economics, organizational behaviour, supply chain and business technology management, marketing, finance, business policy and strategy, accountancy and control. Up to two of these courses may be in the student’s intended area of PhD specialization. Students may also be required to take Applied Linear Statistical Models and Multivariate Data Analysis depending on previous studies.

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