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Looking at Faculty Qualifications: Full-Time Faculty with Doctoral Degrees

May 2014

By Jessica Brown, Senior Manager, Knowledge Services, AACSB International

How common is it for a full-time faculty member at a business school to not have a doctoral degree? Which disciplines have the highest proportion of faculty without doctoral degrees? Are there disciplines where a doctoral degree isn't really relevant? How can I find enough qualified candidates to support the programs at my school?

These are all questions that come up as school administrators are trying to allocate their faculty in the best way for their school—and questions that AACSB International considers when working with data, surveys, research, Bridge Programs, and publications. In the annual Salary Survey, AACSB gathers data about faculty at member schools. Within the Salary Survey, the primary data is focused on full-time faculty and is broken down by faculty rank, discipline, tenure track status, gender, new hire status, and qualification. In addition, data is collected regarding doctoral faculty demand and overall full-time faculty by discipline separated into positions filled, filled with doctorates, unfilled, and those anticipating retirements within the next 5 years.

In the 2013-14 Salary Survey, 523 AACSB member schools reported more than 30,000 full-time faculty members, 85.0 percent of which held doctoral degrees. Without separating the data further, it is clear that the doctoral degree is very well-respected and highly valued within business schools. Taking a closer look at the Salary Survey data for Doctoral Faculty Demand, the chart below shows 10 disciplines that reported the highest number of faculty and how many of those full-time faculty were reported as holding a doctoral degree.


Even when looking at disciplines with far fewer reported faculty, very similar percentages are visible.

Considering only the percentages, the highest percentage of full-time faculty reported with doctoral degrees were in Operations Research (95.8 percent of 206), while the lowest percentage was in Business Communication (51.2 percent of 443). Of the 29 disciplines reported (28 specific disciplines plus the 'other' category), 23 reported over 80.0 percent of their full-time faculty had doctoral degrees.

As AACSB member schools continue to focus on providing high quality education within their institutions and bringing in the most qualified faculty to help meet their mission, the questions of faculty composition will likely continue to evolve to meet the needs of a changing education landscape, but, there is no doubt of the continuing importance of doctoral faculty as a vital part of that landscape.