Ways to your doctorate

Doctoral students at SBE typically work as research assistants at one of the chairs or institutes in the fields of business administration, economics or information systems. Open positions at the chairs or institutes, and in the department service offices (e.g. in the Dean’s office) can be found in our job listings. It is also possible to pursue a doctorate if you have financing through a scholarship from a foundation or if you are employed in the private sector – the latter happens usually in partnership with one of the chairs or institutes at SBE.

Once you have decided that the pursuit of a doctoral degree is right for you, the first step is to find a supervisor. This is not coordinated through a central office, but based on individual preferences and agreement. If you are working as a research assistant at a chair or institute, the supervisor for your dissertation will the head of the chair or institute. If you are working in a service office or if you hold a scholarship, you need to actively approach heads of chairs or institutes, who are suitable for you and your envisioned field of research.

Start of the doctoral work

Once you have found your supervisor, the period of your doctoral studies begins. For the entire time that you are a doctoral student at SBE, you will have to remain enrolled as a doctoral student with the university. After enrollment, you have “student” status and you can profit from the benefits this status entails, such as participation in the university sports program at a reduced price and use the NRW public transportation ticket.

During your doctoral work

To successfully complete your doctoral studies, you will have to write a dissertation. Your work must be a significant contribution to your respective field of research. The dissertation can be written in German or in English. At SBE there are two different dissertation options:

  • Cumulative dissertation: In order to comply with international academic standard, the chairs and institutes at SBE invite doctoral candidates to write a cumulative dissertation. In this case, your dissertation will consist of several research papers, which may be written with co-authors. These papers should be suitable for publication in renowned scientific journals with peer-review system. Ideally, your papers will be submitted to or published in such journals at some point during the doctoral work process. Precise requirements for your cumulative dissertation should be agreed upon with your supervisor. Once you plan to complete your doctoral studies, your individual papers must be put in an overall context, e.g. in form an introductory chapter, while the rest of your dissertation then consists of your research papers.
  • Monograph: Following this "classic" process, the dissertation is written as a single author. The dissertation is typically published as a book upon completion, although important research results may also be published in advance in scientific journals.

Doctoral Studies
Apart from writing your dissertation, you will take courses as part of the mandatory doctoral studies program. The minimum requirement is to complete five courses. This program consists of the following modules: "Research Methods", "Theory Courses", "Qualification Courses" as well as the "Advanced Seminar" (see diagram), and in each of the modules, various courses are offered, that vary over time. You can also transfer credits for equivalent course work completed at other universities or institutions. In addition to the minimally required courses, you can take further courses ("certificate program"). If you achieve at least another 30 ECTS points (leading to total of at least 60 ECTS in your doctoral studies), you will receive an additional certificate upon completion of your doctoral studies.

* "Advanced seminar" can be substituted with another module or a peer-reviewed conference presentation with the consent of the supervisor.

In the course of their doctoral studies, doctoral students at SBE can choose from a versatile course program. The following table shows an exemplary selection of courses offered in the past semesters as part of the doctoral program at SBE. Doctoral students can find a complete overview of the current course program on Learnweb.

Completion of the doctorate

After finishing the writing on your dissertation and after successfully completing the doctoral studies, you will submit your dissertation to the Dean’s office and the doctoral examination process will begin. It includes the review of the written thesis and the oral defense of your work. At SBE, the defense takes place approximately two months after submission of the dissertation. The successful completion of your doctoral project is then celebrated at SBE’s doctoral graduation ceremony.