"All CDSB programs have one major strength: the excellent methodological education and broad preparation for becoming a contributing part of the scientific community." Emilio Zamorano, CDSB

CDSB PhD Programs

The Center for Doctoral Studies in Business offers seven fields of specialization: Accounting, Finance, Information Systems, Management, Marketing, Operations Management, and Taxation.


Program Structure

The PhD program in business consists of a two-year course phase and a three-year research phase during which students work on their dissertation.

Course Phase
During the first year students must take all scheduled courses of their respective program (listed in the CDSB Program Regulations). In these courses, students learn the basic tools in empirical and quantitative research necessary for academic work. The regular participation in the respective area seminar is also compulsory from the first semester on. At the end of the first year students hand in their dissertation proposal.

In the second year students attend a number of courses in their field of specialization. Courses from other study programs of the CDSB can be chosen as well. Students also take the program’s English Academic Writing course and a bridge course in the Center for Doctoral Studies in Economics or the Center for Doctoral Studies in Behavioral and Social Sciences.
Research Phase
The third, the fourth, and the fifth year are mainly devoted to the writing of the doctoral thesis. Students are expected to write independent research papers, presenting them in seminar form, and submitting them to international conferences and journals. 


Program Overview

Program Requirements

The requirements for the successful completion of the CDSB programs are as follows:

Year 1:

  • Exams in all scheduled courses 
  • Attend Area Seminar 
  • Hand in Dissertation Proposal at the end of the first year (August 31.)

Year 2:

  • Exams in scheduled courses including
  • Bridge Course from the CDSE or CDSS course catalogue
  • Attend Area Seminar
  • Pass English Academic Writing Course (3 ECTS)

Year 3 (onwards):

  • Regular participation in Area Seminars

The following grading scheme is used at the CDSB: 1.0 (excellent) to 4.0 (pass) and 5.0 (fail). A differentiation in 0.3 steps is possible (1.3, 1.7 etc.)


Degree Requirements

The requirements for earning a doctoral degree are as follows:

  1. Completion of the CDSB course program
  2. Completion, submission and acceptance of the thesis
  3. Thesis defense
  4. Degree awarded: Dr. rer. pol.

PhD theses at the CDSB usually consist of three original essays in one area which all will be published in esteemed scholarly journals. However, the classical form of a dissertation (a longer text analyzing one topic in depth) is also possible with the clear perspective that the contents of the dissertation will be used towards articles published in scholarly journals. The decision about the form of the dissertation is made by the student and his/her supervisor.

For more information on how to submit the thesis please refer to the Degree Process.