Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA)


Welcome to the SSM DBA program

DBA Studies are among the most challenging and rewarding levels of Higher Education. The Swiss School of Management has developed outstanding Doctor Programs. These programs have unique features which add significant value to Graduates beyond the rewarding Doctor Degree.

Multiple academic collaborations contribute to the exceptional program quality, starting with the involvement of highly renowned and recognized academics as Directors of Studies. Our Doctor candidates are supported on an individual basis by both SSM Professors and visiting Professors from a wide variety of international Universities.

Today, academia has no more borders. Therefore, the knowledge and expertise of experienced academics influence the structure and content of our Doctor Programs, from which candidates can select the option that accommodates their necessity.

The Doctor of Business Administration will be awarded by the internationally recognized Swiss School of Management. The result is based on delivering studies of the highest quality and multiple benefits to SSM’s Doctor candidates. Swiss School of Management is committed to impress and to express: impress through the value of the studies resulting in Degrees, which express the outstanding skills of those being awarded. This allows them to develop a top career in industries, administration and academia.

The Swiss School of Management offers a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program based on blended and online learning principles. The program is highly structured and internationally accredited by IACBE. Due to the integrated learning aspects, there are no admissions deadlines. Individuals have flexibility in how they complete their courses.

Each DBA candidate receives much support from a dedicated supervisor and a mentor and access to digital libraries and live (digital) events. Joining the DBA program at SSM gets you access to our International Expert Group. The following paragraphs explain these reasons to start your DBA with SSM in detail.

Universities around the globe have extended doctoral studies to these professional doctorates for many good reasons. Industries are very interested in such graduates, and the results of their job applications demonstrate this, as DBA Degree skills and capabilities go beyond any Master’s graduate. At the same time, these doctoral graduates are practice-oriented. Consequentially, they are the first-choice candidates for top-management positions. On the other hand, and without any doubt, Ph.D. studies have not lost their reason and attractiveness.

The Doctor of Business Administration addresses business, economy, and management research. The dissertation can be oriented by the student’s personal interest and based on their personal work environment. At the end of these studies, students are awarded the title of “Doctor of Business Administration (DBA).”

Before the Degree awarding, the DBA dissertation has to be written and defended in a live defense known as the ‘viva voce.’ The dissertation argument is about applied sciences. It consists of 50,000 words, which fulfills independent research criteria on a superior level and consequentially demonstrates the internationally acknowledged standards of doctoral studies. The type and style of this research are source-oriented on applied sciences, in which a solid theoretical understanding must be evident.

The variety of topics is extensive, and candidates can make their own choice upon approval of the Academic Board. The only request is that the selected research relates to management, business, and/or economy. Theory and empirically consistent research, which the dissertation delivers, are expected on a superior level. An individual Director of Studies will support each student during the development and writing of the dissertation. Students will find personal support, but they are expected to work individually, accordingly to the individual nature of such studies on this high level. Therefore, strict limitations on the extent and length of such support are applied.

10-step overview of the DBA at SSM

The DBA at SSM is designed so that students finish in two years. Extention years are usually not granted. The program is divided into three phases: Coursework which consists of 5 modules; Data Collection and Analysis, and Submission and viva voce defense. During these phases, students are guided and allotted the Swiss School of Management Research Director, assigned after completing the modules.

Individual study plan

The first step for applicants is for students to consider their research topic. It is wise for students to begin this before the start of their programs. You may be asked to come prepared for your first day of class with a 150-word summary of what you would like to conduct your doctorate dissertation research on.

Please keep in mind that your research topic will be refined and focused through the research modules in the first semester. Each module will equip you with the tools needed to write your proposal. By the time you have reached the fourth module, you should have a focused research topic defined.

General Study Information

Duration of Program

The DBA program has a duration of 4 semesters and requires the acquisition of 120 ECTS credits.

Begin of Study

Enrollments are generally accepted throughout the year. Intakes will be announced on the website or via e-mail. Individual academic achievements, such as the portfolio of expertise, intensive courses, and tutor coaching services, can be taken at any time.

Learning Structure

The program of studies is aligned with international standards of Higher Education and fulfills the criteria of the process of Harmonisation of Higher Education in Europe. It consists of 5 taught Research Method modules, delivered in the program’s first semester. Attendance is required (a distance learning version will also be introduced as an alternative form of study.) The final Doctoral dissertation demonstrates independent empirical research evidence of the candidate’s ability and capability to undertake applied, defendable, empirical research on the highest level of academic studies.

Mode of Delivery & Study

The DBA program is based on a practice-oriented and part-time study model. All classes are online through Zoom. Please contact your nearest SSM In-Residence program  to ask about the mode of delivery and scheduling. Web-based learning, blended learning, and distance learning are all combined with work-based research, supported by methodical coaching or supervised by faculty and teaching staff.


Each module is assessed through various assignments, which may consist of essays addressing all the Intended Learning Outcomes of the module. Students are requested to write a critical review (parts of it) of the existing and actual literature taken from peer-reviewed research publications and complete assignments designed to focus their research topic. All assignments and lectures in the modules are designed to equip students with the tools necessary to continue to the program’s data analysis and dissertation portion.

Dissertation and Viva

DBA candidates are requested to submit a doctoral dissertation that fulfills independent research criteria following acknowledged empirical research standards. The dissertation consists of 50,000 words (+/- 10%). The DBA candidates will defend their dissertations through a summarizing presentation before an SSM-appointed academic panel. This defense is the ‘viva voce’ portion of the program.

Workshop OUTLINES – Modules

DBA-RES | Introduction to Academic Research

Professional and academic research are vital necessities for modern leaders to forge ahead. Research is the process of asking the correct and relevant questions and gathering and analyzing the necessary data systematically and methodologically soundly. An essential aspect of sound professional and academic research is to embed the research within the body of existing knowledge (applied research) and to add to it (generating new knowledge).


This module will guide you through the research process. From formulating the topic to critically directing and reviewing relevant literature, designing the research project and choosing appropriate methodologies, collecting and analyzing the data, and writing the actual research.


Learning Objectives


  • Identify and differentiate various types of academic research
  • Develop essential skills in finding relevant articles in (electronic) libraries and on the internet
  • Be able to use tools to structure the literature review
  • Know how to use systematic referencing, and so be able to summarise the review concisely effectively
  • Understand key methodologies used in modern research
  • Understand the challenges and rewards of qualitative and quantitative approaches
  • Have a good knowledge of various methods of data collection
  • Be familiar with statistical concepts like sampling and hypothesis testing
  • Be familiar with the ethical considerations in research, including the concept of plagiarism

DBA-QANM | Quantitative Methods & Techniques

Numbers play an important role in research. Statistical skills are critical to understanding a lot of what goes on in society. The students will be exposed to the statistical programs used in academic research. The students will be introduced to statistics to be used in more intuitive ways. Students will be familiar with statistical concepts they can easily recognize, leading to the exploration of more advanced statistical use.

Ultimately, the lectures will cover essential topics in survey design, sampling techniques, validity and reliability, and statistical data treatment.


Learning Objectives


At the end of this module, candidates should be able to:

  • Develop the ability or design a survey (sample questionnaire)
  • Apply basic descriptive statistics
  • Analyze the concepts used in inferential statistics
  • Match statistical tests and techniques that correspond to the nature of research hypotheses
  • Perform, interpret, and report statistical tests

DBA-QALM | Qualitative Methods

This program is designed to assist students in engaging in qualitative research. This module focuses on the discussion about key philosophies underpinning qualitative research design- with a focus on research in management.

The core part of this module is on different qualitative research methods such as action research, ethnographic research, case study, grounded theory, interviews (Focus), participant observation, document analysis, focus group discussion, etc. All these techniques will be examined to discuss various approaches to come up with the best method to gather data and choose the best tool to evaluate research results. All techniques will discuss the multiple approaches of that technique, along with strengths and weaknesses and examples.

The students will also be exposed to and trained to use different qualitative research tools like the principles of hermeneutics, semiotics, and narrative analysis.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this module, candidates should be able to:

  • Master the fundamentals of qualitative research
  • Identify the differences between qualitative & quantitative research
  • Compare and contrast the various methods and techniques of qualitative research
  • Apply the various methods and techniques of qualitative research
  • Develop the skills needed for conducting qualitative research, formulating questions, listening, summarising, analyzing qualitative data, and effectively writing academic work.

DBA- RET | Guide to Doctoral Dissertation Writing

The challenge of transforming professional experience into academic writing has always been a
concern for doctoral students. The academic community faces how to make academic
writing more appealing to the general public. This module will be delivered as a
seminar/workshop, where students will be trained to write academically utilizing storytelling

While still strictly adhering to the universally accepted dissertation writing and following the
standards of the Swiss School of Management, students will upgrade their writing skills.

DBA- DGSN | Advanced Experimental Research Design

One of the significant advances in academic research is the emergence of different research techniques
and tools. To academically determine the cause-and-effect relationship and investigate the
interaction between dependent and independent variables, students need to understand how fully
to choose their research area, assess their respondents/population, prepare research
questions, and most importantly, decide on what tools to use to ensure the validity of their research
This module aims to expose the students to experimental research, quasi-experimental, correlation, and other advanced research approaches. On top of this,
students will be introduced to STATA, R, SPSS, and other tools to measure research results in the
social sciences.
Learning Objectives
At the end of this module, candidates should be able to:
* Master the principles of experimental research design
* Apply the fundamentals of experimentation
* Conduct statistical and econometric tests using the different tools for academic research
* Run the process of collecting and analyzing data gathered using experimental research

The assessment will be based on TWO (2) assignments and one primary paper submission at the end
of the term. In assignment Number 1, the student will be asked to review one academic work that
uses experimental data gathering and analysis methods. In assignment number 2, the students must submit an experimental research design applied to their research interests. For
the Final Paper submission, the student will submit a complete analysis of the academic work
reviewed on Assignment 1 regarding theoretical grounding, practical application, and best

DBASMN1 - Seminar – The Fundamentals of APA Citation

As students of higher education, plagiarism must be avoided at all costs. This can only happen if the students have all the faculty to do proper citations and acknowledge the work of others.

Through this seminar, the students will master the science of academic citation as this seminar further complements the course that they have already taken in Module 4 (Guide to Dissertation Writing). As APA citation is widely used in academic writing, it is also a reliable tool that ensures the student’s writing is following the highest academic standard. It not only shows the utmost respect for the work of others but also prepares the students’ work for scholarly publication.

DBASMN2 - Seminar – How to publish scholarly work

This seminar guides the student on how to publish their academic work. They will be exposed to different types of academic journals that encourage submission from researchers. They will be guided on what are the requirements and processes of academic reviews etc. Most importantly, the students will fully understand that their excellent work will add to their knowledge which in the end, will have a significant impact on society.

As doctorate students, they are expected to publish their work as part of helping them build their academic reputation, develop linkages with people and institutions from the same industry, develop connections with other researchers, and contribute to the advancement of the industry and society in general and to further their career as academic and researcher.

DBASMN3 - Seminar – Collaboration: The Future of Research

This seminar aims to highlight that the future of research is geared toward collaboration. Synergies, linkages, and multi-disciplinary approaches are the true pillars of research.

This seminar will teach the student how to do collaborative research that would provide them with diverse perspectives, share resources, increase productivity, widen their network, and encourage learning opportunities. Learnings from this seminar are expected to develop new interdisciplinary research areas which students can explore and have better outcomes than working independently.

DBA-PROP - Research Proposal: Part I: Submission of Chapters 1-3

The students are required to submit their Final Research Proposal to their Research Director (RD). The RD will then decide to either take the student based on her/his expertise on the subject matter or propose another RD that is better suited to the dissertation topic.

DBASMN4 - Doctorate Degree Holders: A closer look at their academic journey

This seminar is designed to encourage and inspire current doctorate students to continue their academic journey. As students face constant challenges and pressure, they are often demotivated. By speaking to doctorate degree holders, they will know that although the challenges are real, it is worth the journey.

Doctorate holders will be sharing their academic journey with current students from start to finish. The aim of this sharing is to assure the students that the obstacles that they are facing are part of the process and that they must continue to persevere until the end. At the same time, the rewards of having a doctorate degree will be the highlight of this seminar.

DBA-THE2 - Dissertation Writing Part II: Submission of Chapters 4-6

The student is required to submit the second and last part of his/her dissertation to the Research Director. The RD is expected to make the final comments and provide the go signal for the Viva Voce defense.


Candidates are requested to submit and defend a doctoral dissertation.

The topic of the thesis has to be one of the following broad fields of research:

  • Strategic Management
  • Functional Areas of Business
    • Finance
    • Human Resource Management
    • Marketing
    • Production and Operations Management
    • Logistics Management
  • Business Environment
  • Public Policies
  • Specific Sectors of the Economy

General Entry Requirements

Candidates with Master’s Degree

Candidates need to have completed a significant research project, dissertation or thesis, at university level. Candidates must own a comparable Master’s Degree; i.e., it has to be awarded by an officially acknowledged Higher Education Institution.

Graduates without a Master’s Degree are equally admitted, but they must have acquired another similar Degree, which can be directly compared to a Postgraduate Degree, i.e. equivalent to level 7 of studies. This regulation acknowledges differences, which may internationally exist on national levels.

Applicants for the Doctorate program DBA, are exempted from an English exam provided they completed their schooling years and/or bachelor’s program at a recognized school where the medium of teaching is English.


In case this condition is unmet, then, the applicant needs to sit for one of the listed English exams:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL PBT) – minimum score: 57
  •  Internet Based Test (iBT) – minimum score: 61
  • International English Language Test (IELTS) – minimum score: 6.0
  • Pearson Test of English Academic Score Report – minimum score: 44
  •  Duolingo English Test – minimum score: 95
  •  4-skill Michigan English Test (MET) – minimum score: 53
  •  Michigan Examination for the Certificate of Competency in English (ECCE) – minimum score: 650/LP
  • Michigan Examination for the Certificate of Proficiency in English (ECPE) – minimum score: 650/LP

Acceptance by the Department

Meeting our academic requirements does not guarantee entry. You must demonstrate an ability to research independently and possess a high level of theoretical understanding.

Acceptance is subject to staff availability for supervision. A committee decides whether your qualifications fulfil the admission requirements as a doctoral candidate. The department’s committee usually meets periodically.

Policies and Procedures for Exceptions to Admissions Criteria

SSM allows candidates who hold recognized secondary school certificates and a BBA or BS degree but not a Master’s Level degree to enrol at the DBA program Level and take courses and thesis toward a degree from SSM.

Such applicants should have gained at least 10 years of leadership experience and passed any of the designated internationally approved English Exams stated within the admission criteria section of the DBA program.

Transfer Credit Policy


Applicants aiming to join the DBA program and who have already started a doctorate level program in an authorized institution other than SSM are subject to the below transfer policy:

  • An official transcript of record showing courses and grades earned must be scanned. All certificates and transcripts should be translated into English unless they are issued in German, Italian, or French.
  • The admissions department validates the authenticity/legality of the transcript and its issuing institution.
  • Once authenticity is proven, a copy the transcript is sent to the transfer committee comprised of the Academic Dean and Head of Admissions.
  • The Academic Dean matches and maps the transcript courses with a passing grade against SSM’s list of modules for transfer equivalence decisions. The five modules offered by SSM might be completely or (partially) waived in case the applicant had successfully accomplished similar comprehensive or (partial) research studies.
  • The number of credits to be transferred are modified so that they fit a common practice or norm used for conversion into the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS).
  • SSM grants up to 15% credits to transferring students of the DBA program requirements at SSM; thus, students need to accomplish at least 85% of their course requirements at SSM so that they earn SSM’s doctoral degree.).

Application and Enrollment

How to apply: step by step from Application to Enrolment

1. Application and Biographical Information (Portfolio)

To apply for a DBA program, please submit the application form and provide us your biographical data. For this purpose, use the student portfolio form, which is used to assess whether an applicant is eligible for a Doctorate. In case of admission, the candidate receives a letter of acceptance. You can download the forms from our website or use the application form, which you will get at the Office of Admissions.

The Application form will ask you to provide biographical and academic information and to give details about your educational and extracurricular activities. Information must be completed with accurate dates on each entry. Please fill in the form carefully as far as you can, so that your application can be processed as soon as possible. All documents have to be submitted in an electronic version (PDF or jpg-Format) to the Office of Admissions.

2. Letter of Acceptance

SSM will notify you of the results of your application. Wait for it! In the case of admission, the student receives a letter of acceptance.

3. Educational Agreement and Tuition Fees

After receiving the letter of acceptance, please fill in the educational agreement. The student receives a confirmation of enrolment and can start the educational path, as soon as the study contract is signed and submitted (an electronic version/pdf-file can be submitted via email) and the application and tuition fee are paid at least for the first semester.

4. Begin of Study

An individual study plan can be prepared or discussed with a student counsellor, during a personal meeting or a preliminary seminar at the beginning of the course.

Enrollment Documentation

Students must submit the following documents in either one of the following languages, English or German, in order to be enrolled into the DBA program at the University:

  • Passport or ID-Card (photocopy or scan as pdf file)
  • Certification from an accredited secondary school, High School diploma, VWO, Baccalauréat, Maturité Fédérale, German Abitur or equivalent University degree certifications (Bachelor, Master, etc.)
  • Official Transcript of Records (educational records) / university Curriculum (a certification issued by the University / Faculty which contains all the marks that the student received for each discipline, in each semester, and the ECTS numbers for each discipline)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Evidence of English or German language proficiency (Toefl, Goethe Institute, Cambridge, or equivalent)

Please note: The original documents or original translations shall be submit on request or have to be given to your student counsellor.

Documents in other languages must be translated into one of the aforementioned languages and legalized by a public notary in the country of origin.

If necessary, school and university certifications and documents are required in certified form (Apostille), plus the following:

  • Passport photography (jpg or other file format)
  • A non-refundable application fee
  • Application form Portfolio – dated and signed in original (available on our website or at the Office of Admissions)

Short Facts Overview

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

Five taught Research Methods modules are delivered in two blocks and students’ attendance is required; three semesters of data collection and analysis, and the final thesis (a long-distance learning version will be introduced as alternative form of study as well.)

120 ECTS Credits

Begin of Study:
Enrolments are generally accepted throughout the year. Intakes will be announces on the website or by email.

Duration of Programme:
2 Years / 4 Semester. Extension of study will be granted on request.

Completed Master’s degree (or equivalent) or long-term professional experience (work-based entry route) and evidences of particular competences on an individual case; evidence of English and/or German language proficiency.

DBA Program

The DBA program will expand your professional skills as well as practical experience in your company.
A higher level of education makes you essential as an employee and opens doors for new challenges and tasks. In addition, you consolidate your, so-called, market value, which usually entails better financial benefits.

Embedded in the realities of global business, the DBA provides you knowledge, real-world skills, and business and management practice. It is also about your potential – it will develop your skills, enhance your career opportunities and expand your professional networks. Whether you are seeking promotion or looking for a new career direction, a DBA demonstrates that you are an aspiring employee who is prepared to invest in your career.

Getting a higher salary after graduation, holding a top management position or even becoming your own boss are just a few of the extra advantages of the DBA.

The total cost of the program is of Euro 30,000.

Broadly speaking, candidates are expected to pay in three main instalments as shown below:

Cost of the programs

Application fee € 400 – due immediately, non refundable
Enrollment fee € 10,000 – before starting the program
First Installment € 10,000 – at the beginning of the second academic year
Second Installment € 9,600 – on the second-half of the second year
Total Tuition Fees: € 30,000

IMPORTANT: The above tuition and fees do not include the access to our Digital Library, which has an additional cost of 100€ per academic year.

The above tuition and fees are for the SSM in Residence Programs in Rome, Barcelona and Brescia. At Swiss School of Management we firmly believe in equity by giving people around the globe the same opportunities to earn an SSM degree. For students applying from areas of the planet with unequal social or economic conditions, we offer different rates. Please contact our in residence Programs Directors in UAE, GCC, & Cairo as tuition fees vary.

Learn more about our Refund Policy.

Application fee
€ 400 – due immediately, non refundable

Enrollment fee
€ 10,000 – before starting the program

First Installment
€ 10,000 – at the beginning of the second academic year

Second Installment
€ 9,600 – on the second-half of the second year

Total Tuition Fees:
€ 30,000

Application Procedures

The application process to all Swiss School of Mangement programs is fully electronic. Click here to go to the form.

Swiss School of Management

Phone: +41 041 520 68 26

Student Identity Verification Policy


Upon applying to join SSM for any program level students, need to submit the following documents:
  • Copy of personal identification (ID or passport)
  • Scanned Educational Transcripts
  • 1 recent photo: passport size
  •  Prior to any exam or oral presentation, students show the passport page including their personal information and photo close to the cameras for verification.
  •  Students are supposed to enable and open their cameras during class live lectures, project presentations and exams until the activity ends.

Apply for the Full Time DBA Program


DBA Application
Fill out the application form for the SSM program and send it back to us at to begin the process of applying.

Note: Application will not be reviewed until all documents have been received electronically and the application fee has been received.