Welcome to the SSM PhD Program
Welcome to our PhD program!
The aim of this program of studies is to fulfil the challenging demands, which constitute the doctoral level in the form of best Higher Education practice and superior quality standards. The academic purpose is to contribute to the existing knowledge and/or extending it through new discoveries, the extension of existing theories, the frameworks and scientific concepts, but it also includes research on new theory.
It is the special approach of our program that enables our students not only to be awarded the Doctor of Philosophy , but also the Master of Research (MRes). The Master of Research can be awarded, while processing the PhD program, through the fulfilment of additional coursework and the successful defence of a research proposal.
The overall outcome of this doctoral program of studies supports graduates in their academic and/or professional career development. This program is considered relevant, rich and academically valid. It is in line and comparable with national and international standards of Higher Education on this level of studies.
The Program provides high-quality doctoral training that enables our students and graduates to produce high quality research in their specialized fields. We ensure that you do not walk this journey alone. We provide you with academic and professional training in order to get you ready for your career.
The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is a research-based doctoral program of study, which involves taught elements. It is the highest level of degree that a student can achieve.
You will have the ability to cross the academic world with a PhD. It is an internationally recognized qualification, which allows you to pursue such job roles as researcher and academic, professorships and lecturing, consultant and subject matter expert.
The opportunity to take up independent research through the Swiss School of Management’s Doctoral Program is one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences we can offer you. Candidates will undertake independent and original research supervised by academic experts and research leaders.
A PhD degree is useful to develop advanced knowledge and experience in your chosen field of specialization. Researching and writing a thesis refines and cultivates your expertise and theoretical understanding within your chosen subject matter. Studying for a PhD provides you with a unique and exciting opportunity to explore a research topic in real depth.
Traditionally, a PhD involves between three to four years of study in which the student completes a significant piece of original research presented as a thesis or dissertation. On a doctoral level, it is essential that students understand the superior challenges of academic work, and they are expected to demonstrate and defend in their viva.
This program is suitable for applicants who have prior research experience, are interested in pursuing a career in research, wish to gain an internationally recognized qualification and want to enhance their employment opportunities.
Upon successful accomplishment of the program, PhD graduates will be able to produce original research or advanced program at a doctoral level. They are able to conceptualize, design and implement projects for the production of significant new knowledge and/or understanding.
As a PhD graduate, you gain the skills to create, interpret and expand knowledge which extends the importance of the chosen discipline. You will be able to spread the research findings by publishing, conducting and participating in academic journals, forum and seminars, etc.
General Study Information
Duration of Program
The standard period of the PhD program is three years.
Begin of Study
Enrollments are generally accepted throughout the year. Intakes will be announced on the website or by e-mail. Individual academic achievements, such as the portfolio of expertise, intensive courses and tutor coaching services, can be taken at any time.
The program of studies is aligned to international standards of Higher Education and fulfills the criteria of the process of Harmonization of Higher Education in Europe. The full PhD program consists of three main consecutive stages: Coursework, Research Lab (Data Collection and Analysis) and the Doctoral Thesis (Write-up and Defense). Coursework consists of five taught Research Method modules, delivered in three workshops that require students’ attendance. The successful accomplishment of the first stage of the PhD program allows the candidate to enter in the Research Lab stage to collect, edit and analyse data. The third and final stage of the process of the PhD program is the write-up of your Doctoral Thesis.
Mode of Study
The PhD program is based on a research-oriented and part-time study model. On site study, web-based-learning, blended learning, distance learning are combined with work-based study, which is supported by methodical coaching or supervised by faculty and teaching staff.
Each module is assessed through one assignment. It forms a paperwork addressing all the intended learning outcomes of the module.
Dissertation and Viva
PhD candidates are requested to submit a doctoral thesis, which fulfills the criteria of independent research following acknowledged standards of empirical research. The thesis consists of 100,000 words (+/- 10%). The PhD candidates will defend their thesis through a Viva voce.
Structure and Schedule
The PhD Program structure is aligned with international standards of Postgraduate Education and, accordingly, fulfills the criteria of the process of Harmonization of Higher Education in Europe (Bologna Process).
The first stage of the PhD program consists of coursework that gives the candidate an overview of the entire research process. The aim is to acquire fundamental research skills.
The coursework consists of five mandatory modules, which will be delivered as taught modules in three general workshops. Each workshop typically covers one or more modules. The successful students will acquire 60 ECTS credits through the coursework.
The modules are delivered interactively and are based on actual knowledge and research in this pathway. The “Research Methods” modules are taught via lectures and/or seminars and require students’ attendance. A long-distance learning version will be introduced as alternative form of study as well.
Students who have decided to attend also the Master of Research (MRes) pathway have to continue with three additional optional modules (10 ECTS credits each). If the candidate passes the additional coursework successfully, a Research Proposal is required. The Research Proposal is the final work in order to achieve the Degree of the Master of Research (MRes).
The students can move forward in the second stage, the Research Lab, after the fulfillment of all five modules. In this stage, they will collect, edit and analyse data.
The third and final stage of the process of the PhD program is the write-up. This normally requires additional analyses and the time-consuming task of presenting findings clearly and without mistakes. After six months, a draft version should be ready for submission to internal and external readers. Processing readers’ comments may take up to three months, after which a date will be set for the oral defense, the so called viva voce (VIVA).
Workshop OUTLINES – Modules
Professional and academic research are vital necessities for modern management to forge ahead. Research is the process in which you ask the right and relevant questions, and you gather and analyze the necessary data in a systematic and methodologically sound manner. An important 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 the formulation of the topic, to critically detecting and reviewing relevant literature, designing the research project and choosing appropriate methodologies, collecting and analyzing the data, and writing the report. This workshop will offer a helicopter view of the approaches that researchers use to answer research questions especially for those who are new to research. The other workshops will zoom in on specific parts of the research process, and on specific methodologies that can be employed.
- Formulate research topic in clear terms.
- Formulate research objectives and questions, and hypotheses and propositions.
- Carry out a critical review of literature relevant to the topic at hand.
- Essential skills in reviewing literature: search for recent and relevant articles in (electronic) libraries and on the Internet; using tools to structure the review; know how to use systematic referencing; summarize the review concisely.
- Understand the key methodologies used in modern research. Understand the advantages and disadvantages of quantitative and qualitative approaches. Creatively combine various approaches to generate relevant data.
- Have a good knowledge of the various methods of data collection.
- Be familiar with statistical concepts like sampling, and hypothesis testing. Have an understanding of the main statistical (descriptive and inferential) techniques used to analyze data.
- Know how to structure the report, and the main requirements of a high quality professional or academic report.
- Be familiar with ethical considerations in research, including the concept of plagiarism.
The assessment will be based on one assignment. The assignment consists of two parts. In part one you will be asked to evaluate parts of a sample research proposal written by somebody else. In the second part you are invited to draft a rough plan for your own research project.
In the assignment you are asked to:
- Clearly describe the topic;
- Formulate research objectives and questions;
- Identify and summarize at least five articles relevant to the study;
- Design your research (in terms of approaches; methodologies; and strategies), and to motivate why the chosen design is effective in meeting the research objectives.
Numbers play an important role in research. Statistical skills are critical to understanding a lot of what goes on in society. Many of us find statistics hard.
One reason is that understanding statistics requires mathematical skills. The mathematical skills needed rarely go beyond operations that all students are familiar with – adding, subtracting, multiplication and division. This module will introduce basic and advanced statistics in an intuitive way. Concepts are introduced using examples that students will easily recognize from daily life. Although we refrain from discussing advanced topics in statistics, the workshop paves the way to exploring more advanced statistics.
A second reason for which some students have a fear of statistics is the gap that exists between understanding the statistical concepts on the one hand and applying the concepts to reality. This workshop introduces the student to descriptive and inferential statistics. All techniques will be illustrated with easy-to-understand examples.
In the process, this workshop will zoom in on important topics in survey design: sampling techniques; validity and reliability; and data cleaning.
- Ability to design a survey (sample; questionnaire)
- Understand basic descriptive statistics
- Understand the concepts used in inferential statistics
- Understand which statistical tests and techniques can be used in a variety of settings
- Be able to perform, interpret and report statistical tests.
Students will be assessed in one assignment.
The assignment will challenge the candidate to draft a plan of analysis, for his or her research, based on a draft of the data collection instrument to be used in the research.
This workshop is designed to help qualitative researchers with all aspects of their qualitative research project from start to finish. It discusses the key philosophies underpinning qualitative research and design – with a focus on research in management – and assesses the key advantages and disadvantages of the different approaches.
We will zoom in on aspects of research design for qualitative studies. The core part of the workshop elaborates qualitative research methods that have been touched upon in the workshop on research methods: action research; case study research; ethnographic research; grounded theory; interviews; participant observation; and document analysis. All techniques will be discussed, analyzing the various approaches of that technique, along with strengths and weaknesses, and examples.
In a separate block, the workshop will discuss the analysis of qualitative data, which is fundamentally different from analyzing quantitative data. After an overview of the various methods and techniques that can be used when analyzing qualitative data – including the use of dedicated software – the principles of hermeneutics, semiotics and narrative analysis will be taught and trained.
In a concluding block the workshop will address issues of write-up and publication, with a focus on the differences from writing up non-qualitative studies.
- Familiarize the participants with the fundamentals of qualitative research
- Understand the pros and cons of qualitative research as compared to quantitative research
- Have a sound understanding of the various methods and techniques in qualitative research
- Ability to use the various methods and techniques of qualitative research
- Obtain the various skills needed for carrying out qualitative research: formulating and asking questions; listening; summarizing; analyze qualitative data; write-up.
This course will not make use of software dedicated to analysis of qualitative research. The use of Nvivo is the topic of an elective course.
The assignment will be based on the application of various methods and techniques of qualitative research to one’s own research (even if the study will be mainly quantitative).
The module will introduce you to essential tools for doing research at doctoral level. The toolbox offers a rich set of tools. The focus will be on STATA. The STATA package is one of the main packages used by researchers doing serious research. A fully operational permanent license for the latest version of STATA is included in the study fees.
Candidates are requested to submit and defend a doctoral thesis.
The topic of the thesis has to be one of the following broad field of research:
- Strategic Management
- Functional Areas of Business
- Human Resource Management
- Production and Operations Management
- Logistics Management
- Business Environment
- Public Policies
- International Economics
- 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 own 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.
All applicants from countries in which the official language is not English or German are required to submit official evidence of English or German language proficiency.
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.
Application and Enrolment
How to apply: step by step from Application to Enrolment
1. Application and Biographical Information (Portfolio)
To apply for a PhD 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 result of your application. Wait for it! In 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.
Students must submit the following documents in either one of the following languages, English or German, in order to be enrolled into the PhD 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 submitted 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 Philosophy (PhD)
The program consists of three main consecutive stages: Coursework, Research Lab (Data Collection and Analysis) and the Doctoral Thesis (Write-up and Defense). Coursework consists of five taught Research Method modules, delivered in three workshops requiring students’ attendance. The successful accomplishment of the first stage allows the candidate to enter in the Research Lab stage to collect, edit and analyse data. The third and final stage of the process of the PhD program is the write-up of your Doctoral Thesis.
60 ECTS Credits by coursework
Begin of Study:
Enrolments are generally accepted throughout the year. Intakes will be announces on the website or by email.
Duration of Programme:
3 Years / 6 Semester.
Completed Master’s degree (or equivalent); evidence of English and/or German language proficiency.
The PhD 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 PhD 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 PhD 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 PhD.
The total cost of the program is of Euro 31,000.
Broadly speaking, candidates are expected to pay in three main installments as shown below:
Cost of the programs
|Application fee||€ 400 – due immediately, non refundable|
|Enrollment fee||€ 10,400 – before starting the program|
|First Installment||€ 10,300 – at the beginning of the second academic year|
|Second Installment||€ 10,300 – on the second-holf of the second year|
|Total Tuition Fees:||€ 31,400|
€ 400 – due immediately, non refundable
€ 10,400 – before starting the program
€ 10,300 – at the beginning of the second academic year
€ 10,300 – on the second-half of the second year
Total Tuition Fees:
Fill out the entire application form electronically
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NOTE: Do not fill in by hand and scan. Hand written forms will not be accepted.
Application have to be sent to the following address:
Swiss School of Management
University of Washington Rome Center
Piazza del Biscione 95
00186 Rome, Italy
Phone: +39 06 4004 93 20
Apply for the PhD Program
Fill out the application form for the SSM program and send it back to us at email@example.com 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.