Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)



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 Introduction

Duration of Program

The standard period of the PhD program is three years.

Begin of Study

Enrolments 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.

Learning Structure

The program of studies is aligned to international standards of Higher Education and fulfils 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 fulfils 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, fulfils 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

  • Research Methods
  • Quantitative Methods & Survey Design
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Essential Tools
  • Thesis