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Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA)

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

120 ECTS


Course Duration:

2 years

Welcome to the SSM DBA program

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 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 gives them the possibility 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 blended learning aspects, there are no admissions deadlines. Individuals can start, pause, and finish whenever they want.

Each DBA candidate receives a lot of 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. In the following paragraphs, these reasons to start your DBA with SSM are explained in detail. To see the differences between a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), please read this article: PhD and DBA at Swiss School of Management.

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

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

10-step overview of the DBA at SSM

The DBA at SSM is designed in such a way, that students finish in two years. Extention years are usually not granted.


The program is chopped into three phases: Coursework, Research lab, and Doctoral thesis. During those phases, students are guided and coached by their mentor and supervisor.

Individual study plan

The first step for applicants is drafting their initial research proposal. This is a 10-page document answering the most important aspect of the intended research. SSM supplies a template for candidates to use to speed up the process.

Candidates do not have to think about structure, we have provided it already. It is wise to start with the initial research proposal as soon as possible and complete this step within two weeks after enrollment.

The candidate’s supervisor will review and give feedback on it. During the application process, applicants write an essay of 1,000-2,000 words with the core of the initial research proposal. The template of the initial research proposal that the student must use can be found here.


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

Enrolments 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 to international standards of Higher Education and fulfils the criteria of the process of Harmonisation of Higher Education in Europe. It consists of 5 taught Research Method modules, which are delivered in two blocks. Attendance is required (a distance learning version will be introduced as alternative form of study as well.) The Doctoral Thesis demonstrating independent empirical research are an evidence of the candidate’s ability and capability to undertake applied defendable, empirical research on the highest level of academic studies.


Each module is assessed through one assignment, which consists of an essay 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.

Dissertation and Viva

DBA 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 50,000 words (+/- 10%). The DBA candidates will defend their thesis through a summarizing presentation.

Structure and Schedule

The DBA Program structure is aligned with international standards of Postgraduate Education and, accordingly, fulfils the criteria of the process of Harmonisation of Higher Education in Europe (Bologna Process).

The doctoral program will require the accomplishment of five taught Research Methods modules as first stage. Only the successful fulfillment of all five modules entitles students to progress to the second stage, the thesis level.

The successful students will acquire 120 ECTS credits throughout the course:

  • 30 ECTS credits through the fulfillment of 5 Research Methods modules (6 ECTS credits per module)

  • 90 ECTS credits through the Doctoral’s thesis

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.

The data collection, the analysis of data and the Doctoral Thesis demonstrating independent empirical research are an evidence of the candidate’s ability and capability to undertake applied defendable and empirical research on the highest level of academic studies.

This program of studies is considered relevant, rich and academically valid thanks to the adoption of the highest standards of Higher Education. Additionally, superior professional standards have been embedded. Learning objectives and module contents are further closely related to the Six Principles of the PRME Framework of the United Nations.


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.

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 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.

Application Procedures

Application Procedures

The application process to all Swiss School of Mangement programs is fully electronic. 




MBA Application

Fill out the online application form for the SSM program 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.

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.

Cost Breakdown

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


The above tuition and fees are for the SSM Learning Centers in Rome 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 Learning Centers in UAE, GCC, & Cairo as prices vary.

The total tuition fees of the program include all study material (except for the books), examination fees, wi-fi access, access to the library, company visits, excursions and Personal Success Profile Analysis and Adventure Day. All fees except the Application Fee are fully refundable in case of rejection of the study visa. Once the enrolment is confirmed, some paid-in fees might be not refundable.

Application Procedures

The application process to all Swiss School of Mangement programs is fully electronic. 




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.

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