Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

Swiss School of Management (SSM)

  • Location Rome, Italy
  • Degree Type BA
  • Start Date Request info
  • Duration 2 years
  • Application Deadline Request info
  • Language English
  • Attendance Blended
  • Dedication Part-time
  • Pace Instructor-paced
  • Tuition fees 30000 ā‚¬

Program description


Welcome to the SSM DBA program

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.

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 base by both SSM Professors and visiting Professors from a wide variety of international Universities.

The Swiss School of Management is ranked among the best management schools in world.

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 SSMā€™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.

Two major pathways are offered to Doctoral Candidates. The first pathway is known as Professional Doctorate. The notion ā€˜professionalā€™ should not be misunderstood. They are by no means only professional qualifications. Professional doctoral studies have been globally developed and are accepted as fully-fledged doctoral degrees. In contrast to PhD studies, their purpose is applied sciences: research in what is called the real world, for application in it. Likewise, the most famous degree pathway here is the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA).

Universities around the globe have extended doctoral studies to these professional doctorates for many good reasons. The industries are very interested in such graduates and this is demonstrated by the results of their job applications, as DBA Degree skills and capabilities go beyond any Masterā€™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, PhD studies have not lost their reason and attractiveness.

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

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.

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 thesis delivers, are expected on a superior level. An individual Director of Studies will support each student during the development and writing of the thesis. 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 extent and length of such support are applied.

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 candidateā€™s ability and capability to undertake applied defendable, empirical research on the highest level of academic studies.

Mode of Study

The DBA program is based on a practice-oriented and part-time study model. On site study, web- based learning, blended learning, distance learning are all 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, 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 Doctoralā€™s thesis

The modules are delivered interactively and are based on actual knowledge and research in this pathway. The ā€œResearch Methodsā€ 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 candidateā€™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.

Workshop Outlines ā€“ Modules

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

General Entry Requirements

Candidates with Masterā€™s Degree

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

Graduates without a Masterā€™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 departmentā€™s committee usually meets periodically.

Application and Enrolment

How to apply: step by step from Application to Enrolment

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.

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.

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.

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.

Enrolment 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, BaccalaureĢat, MaturiteĢ FeĢdeĢrale, 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 ā€“ dated and signed in original (available on our website or at the Office of Admissions)

Short Facts Overview

  • Qualification:
  • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

  • Structure:
  • Five taught Research Methods modules are delivered in two blocks and studentsā€™ 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. )

  • ECTS-Credits:
  • 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.

  • Requirements:
  • Completed Masterā€™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 ā€“ 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.

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