Pre-Doctoral Research Fellows Program

The WashU Olin Pre-Doctoral Research Fellows Program prepares you to apply to PhD programs in business.

If you want to apply to a PhD program in business, the nondegree Pre-Doctoral Research Fellows program is the perfect opportunity to:

  • Take doctoral-level courses in business, economics, statistics, math or related fields
  • Work closely with faculty on mentored research experiences
  • Attend research seminars

You gain necessary training and experience in academic research before applying to a PhD program in business and related fields. As a fellow, you receive exposure to the various fields including accounting; business economics; finance; marketing; supply chain, operations and technology; organizational behavior; and strategy and entrepreneurship.

The program is quantitatively focused and includes groundwork in calculus, matrix algebra, basic and intermediate statistics, and basic and intermediate economics.

Fellows have the opportunity to assist faculty in research to become familiar with what research involves. Pre-Doctoral Fellows enroll in up to 9 credits of coursework per semester in the first year, and the second year focuses on mentored research experience.

  • Location
    St. Louis
  • Duration
    2 years
  • Format
    In Person
  • Start
  • Cost

About the Program

WashU Olin’s Pre-Doctoral Research Fellows program is a two-year full-time program that begins in July. The fellowship offers tuition and a living stipend ($30,000 in 2023–24). As nonmatriculated, nondegree students, fellows have access to WashU’s rich resources and are provided with a workspace that’s co-located with our PhD students.

Research Assistantship

Olin faculty conduct research on a wide variety of topics. As a fellow, you have the opportunity to participate in research projects and assist with research papers initiated by our faculty members. Projects are assigned based on interest and faculty/project availability. You can expect to work closely with faculty members and receive individual instruction on the techniques required.


Fellows may take up to 9 credits of doctoral-level courses in business, economics, statistics, math or a related field each semester in the first year. Course selection is made in consultation with faculty. Possible courses include:

  • L24 Math 131 Calculus I
  • L24 Math 132 Calculus II
  • L24 Math 1011 Introduction to Statistics
  • L24 Math 309 Matrix Algebra
  • B62 Finance 539 Mathematical Finance
  • L24 Math 3200 Elementary to Intermediate Statistics
  • L11 1011 Introduction to Microeconomics
  • L11 413 Introduction to Econometrics
  • L11 Econ 493 Mathematical Economics


Fellows are expected to attend department seminars that are an interchange of ideas and led by faculty members, doctoral students and visiting speakers.


This is a full-time, in-residence, nondegree program. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree (or will complete one by the time the program starts) and be a US citizen or permanent resident to be eligible to apply.

Washington University encourages and gives full consideration to all applicants for admission, financial aid and employment. The university does not discriminate regarding access to, or treatment or employment in, its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, veteran status, disability or genetic information.

High GMAT/GRE Test Score: Although there is no minimum score requirement, a good performance is weighted by the Admissions Committee. Successful applicants tend to have overall scores in the 90th percentile or higher. The GMAT institution code for Olin’s PhD in business is R4T-WG-45. The GRE institution code is 6929.

Letters of Recommendation: We require two letters of recommendation. Recommenders may be either academic or professional; however, considerable weight is given to letters of recommendation from faculty members that highlight a candidate’s research potential, past academic achievements and a commitment to scholarly endeavor. Letters of recommendation are submitted online. We do not accept paper letters of recommendation. If this presents a problem, please contact us.

Statement of Purpose: Your statement of purpose should include details on why you want to pursue an academic career, any experience you have in conducting or assisting in research or teaching activities, and your own evaluations of your strengths and weaknesses in pursuing the Pre-Doctoral Research Fellows program.

Curriculum Vitae: All applicants are required to upload a copy of their CV or resume as part of the application process.

Transcripts: Please upload unofficial transcripts—one from each college-level institution attended. Scanned copies of transcripts may be too dark and difficult to read, so please adjust scanner settings accordingly. Photographs of transcripts are not acceptable. If the transcript is in a language other than English, applicants must provide an official translation issued from the university or by certified members of the American Translators Association. Applicants who have already graduated must show a transcript with the degree conferred and date unless a copy of their diploma/degree certificate is required. Official transcripts of all college-level work must be submitted to the program office upon admission to Olin Business School. Updates to transcripts after applications are submitted are not necessary and will not be uploaded by Olin.

Pre-Doctoral Research Fellows Application Checklist

A complete application should include the following:

  • Scanned copies of transcripts from all colleges and universities attended (uploaded in the application)
  • Scanned copies of GMAT score report (PDF uploaded in the application)
  • Scanned copies of GRE score report (PDF uploaded in the application)
  • Two (2) letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose
  • Resume/CV
  • Application fee paid online