Doctoral Studies

EBS doctoral programme in Management aims to broaden our understanding of the world by giving deep knowledge of organisational theories and society while developing critical and analytical thinking and research skills. Upon the successful competition of the programme, one has developed the ability to make continuous and logical arguments and synthesise new ideas. PhD degree in Management offers challenges and career opportunities in the academia as well as raises one’s value on the labour market. 

Programme Organisation

EBS PhD programme focuses on the research of business, public and civil society organisations. It is the only doctoral programme in Management in Estonia and offers a comprehensive perspective on management and organisation studies. The programme is taught in English and has an international student body. On-going development activities and quality assurance of the programme is managed by the EBS Research and Development Council. 


The total volume of the programme is 240 ECTS, of which the core studies give 60 ECTS and research activity 180 ECTS. Studies consist of compulsory and elective courses, doctoral seminars and teaching internship. The curriculum serves as a guideline for doctoral students, but each student has the right and the obligation to put together an individual study plan. Research of the doctoral student is carried out according to an individual study plan under the guidance of a supervisor. The progress of a doctoral student is evaluated yearly by the evaluation committee formed by the EBS R&D Council.


All doctoral students have an opportunity to go on an exchange with the goal to pass part of their studies or conduct research in a foreign university. This opportunity is highly encouraged.


The doctoral dissertation presented to apply for the Doctoral degree may be in the form of an independent thesis, a series of publications provided with the summarising review article, or a published monograph.


Compulsory courses Research Design and Writing - Management Theories - Institutional Economics - Philosophy and Methodology of Science - Qualitative Research Methods - Quantitative Research Methods - Organization Theories: Meta-theoretical Perspectives of Traditional Theories and Alternative Views to Organizational Reality - Contemporary Paradigms of Social Science Foundations of Teaching - Developing Teaching Skills
Elective courses Fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis - Research in Strategy and Innovation - Logic - Knowledge Management and Intellectual Capital - Theories of Management of Organisational Changes - Ethics and Responsibility in Management - Cultural Psychology - Cost-Benefit Analysis - Systems Science - Multicriteria Decision Making Methods - Structural Equation Modeling - Values in Theory and Practice   
Teaching internship Passing the teaching internship under the supervision of a professor is compulsory for all doctoral students and it takes place at EBS. Aim of this internship is to give the doctoral students the necessary skills and experience of teaching at the university level. The volume and period of internship are set in the individual study plan.
Exchange studies Every doctoral student at EBS has the opportunity to visit a foreign university or research institution with a goal to take courses and carry out research. Hosting institution is chosen by the doctoral student himself or with the guidance of the supervisor, and then coordinated with the home university. The goal of the exchange is to increase the circulation of knowledge and establish academic contacts. Length of the exchange can vary from one to five months.
Doctoral thesis

There are three different options for building up your doctoral thesis: 

  • Series of publications (minimum 3) with a conclusive article that is published by EBS as a dissertation.  
  • Monograph published by EBS as a dissertation. Monograph must be peer-reviewed by at least two internationally recognised and independent scholars. 
  • High-level peer-reviewed monograph published by a well-known international publisher

Routes to a PhD 


There are two different “routes” to obtaining a PhD in EBS. You can either apply for a research fellow position or be admitted as an individual doctoral student. EBS also accepts visiting PhD students from similar focus areas.

Research fellow

When applying to EBS to become a PhD student with a topic from the „Call for PhD Positions“ section EBS Research and Development Council may offer you an opportunity of becoming a research fellow. The research fellow will work in a research group with a specific research topic. These positions are financed either by EBS or external funding (or in a combination of both). The research fellow is thus employed by EBS but is also a student at EBS being enrolled in the PhD programme. As an employee, research fellow is provided with a workplace, and as a student, teaching and supervision. This scholarship and position include an obligation to contribute to teaching at EBS. The duration of the employment is four years according to the nominal PhD study period. Research fellow positions are limited and offered to exceptional PhD candidates with a similar vision to fit the EBS academic faculty.

Individual PhD student

PhD students concentrating only on their studies and research are called individual or independent PhD students. Individual PhD students do not get a scholarship and will pay for their PhD studies. Independent students have no additional teaching obligation, but they must pass the teaching internship which is a mandatory part in the curriculum. Information about tuition fee can be found from tuition and scholarships section. The tuition fee can be funded personally or by an employer or another external funding provider. The requirements for enrolment as an individual student are the same as for research fellows, but as an independent student, you do not have to apply for a vacant PhD position. You can, therefore, choose any research topic within the EBS research field.


Visiting PhD student

PhD students from other institutions, who wish to spend a period of study at EBS, should contact the department they wish to visit. Individual agreements may be made on supervision, participation in courses and a workplace between the student and the department.  Information about visiting PhD student scholarships can be found below the scholarships section.


Requirement for applying to the doctoral programme in Management is a master’s degree or respective qualification. Documents can be submitted all year round, but new doctoral students are admitted once a year – in August.

Following documents must be submitted to apply:

  • Application form in the DreamApply platform
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • University diplomas and diploma supplements (bachelor and master's studies)
  • Research proposal -> Template for the research proposal
  • Letter of motivation
  • Copy of a passport or ID card 
  • Certified translations of graduation documents -> only when the official documents are not in English

The decision of admission is made by the EBS R&D Council based on the research focus of EBS, the motivation of the doctoral student and argumentation presented in the proposal.


Application deadline for non-EU applicants is May 1, 2022. 
Application deadline for Estonian and EU students is August 1, 2022 (inc. USA, Canada, Japan, Turkey, Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and countries who do not need a visa to enter Estonia).


At the final stage of admission, you have to make a 5-minute presentation of your research proposal and answer the questions of the admission committee. The presentation can be done via MS Teams (for the foreign candidates) or at EBS. Next presentations take place on June 9th, 2022 (Non-EU candidates) and August 25th, 2022 (Estonia, EU, Schengen area). Admission decisions will be announced in a week. 

Please contact Kaisa Lindenburg for any questions you may have.


Call for PhD Positions for study year 2022/2023

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Tuition & Scholarships


Doctoral students who wish to enrol as individual PhD students have to pay tuition fee. The tuition fee for students is credit point-based: the fee for one credit point is 120 €, the fee for the supervising, co-supervising and consulting of the Doctoral thesis is 1350 € in 1st - 4th semester and 2250 € in 5th - 8th semester, and fee to cover the expenses of the defense of the Doctoral thesis is 2800 €.

All doctoral students independent from their status can equally apply for several additional one-time scholarships aimed to enhance research activity. More information on financing your studies and research scholarships can be found below. 

Translation of the resolution of the Board of SA Estonian Business School of the 2021/2022 academic year tuition fees.

Financing of research fellows

Research fellows are exempt from tuition and employed by EBS. 

EBS internal scholarships

Doctoral students who have shown notable results in research or development activities can apply for EBS scholarships that either partially or fully cover their tuition. Scholarship decisions are made by the EBS R&D Council based on the application by doctoral students, supervisor’s recommendation and the results of last scheduled evaluation by the end of September. 


Doctoral studies regulations

Principles of doctoral studies and the defence of doctoral theses

Formatting of Doctoral Theses in EBS
Evaluation Procedure of Doctoral students

Defended Doctoral Theses


ERF Scholarships 

ERF Dora Plus programme



Dora Plus programme offers several research-oriented scholarships with the aim to enhance the circulation and creation of knowledge. Dora Plus programme is financed by the European Regional Development Fund. The programme offers the following scholarships for master and doctoral students, and young researchers.

The Dora Plus programme is ending
Dora scholarship eligibility period ends on 31.12.2022. It means that the study and research visits must end no later than 31.12.2022.

Upcoming Doctoral Courses 

Spring semester 2021/2022 courses:

Quantitative Research Methods  3 ECTS

Faculty: Prof Kaire Põder
Thursday, March 10 at 10:00-11:30
Friday, March 11 at 11:45-13:15
Saturday, March 12 at 11:45-13:15
Wednesday, April 27 at 14:00-15:30
Thursday, April 28 at 10:00-11:30
Friday, April 29 at 14:00-15:30
Besides contact hours on these dates, online seminars start from the beginning of the semester (February). The exact dates will be available after registering for the course.


The course covers the following topics: (a) data visualization and descriptive data analysis; (b) linear regression, (b) the problem of causality, (c) binary regression models, (d) non-linear regression techniques, and (f) panel data. Course is introducing applied research methods, problems and techniques that have been discussed and introduces in last decades in all social sciences in modelling micro data (individual based observations). We use free software R studio . There is no any prerequisites for participating in the course, however knowledge of basic statistics and/or research methodology can help.


Qualitative Research Methods 3 ECTS
Faculty: Dr Eriikka Paavilainen-Mäntymäki
Wednesday, May 4 at 9:00-14:30
Thursday, May 5 at 9:00-14:30
Friday, May 6 at 9:00-12:15

Online course


This course provides an overview of and experience with qualitative research methods. You will be introduced to a wide variety of qualitative methods and philosophies of science usually applied in qualitative business studies. The course covers the structure of a qualitative research process, including the assessment of a study’s knowledge needs, the formulation and selection of a research topic, question, design and strategy, the analysis and interpretation of qualitative data, the development of the critical and analytical thinking, reading and writing skills and the ethical and quality evaluation of qualitative research.


Research Design with Idea Puzzle  3 ECTS
Faculty: Dr Ricardo Morais

Monday, April 25 at 10:00-17:15
Tuesday, April 26 at 10:00-13:15
Wednesday, April 27 at 10:00-13:15

Online course


This seminar helps early stage PhD candidates design their research project.
The Idea Puzzle® software is a decision-making tool that helps PhD students coherently align the theory, method, data, rhetoric, and authorship of a research proposal, article or thesis in the light of Philosophy of Science (Morais & Brailsford, 2019).
In particular, participants will during the course:
- acknowledge process, philosophical, and methodological ambiguities in their research;
- understand the interplay between theory, method, data, rhetoric, and authorship in their research;
- apply a framework of 21 questions to focus and design their research;
- diagnose the current strengths and weaknesses of their research;
- learn strategies for literature review, theory development, and theory testing;
- formulate alternative research ideas and research questions;
- design a literature review;
- discuss alternative qualitative research designs;
- discuss alternative quantitative research designs;
- develop a conceptual model;
- discuss alternative measurements;
- design data collection and analysis;
- design their thesis project.


Contemporary Paradigms of Social Science 3 ECTS

Faculty: Dr Nuri Emrah Aydinonat

Tuesday, March 8 at 14:00-17:15

Thursday, March 10 at 14:00-17:15
Tuesday, April 26 at 14:00-17:15
Thursday, April 28 at 14:00-17:15

Online course


This course provides students with a set of conceptual and methodological tools to navigate these difficult theoretical and practical problems. We will learn concepts and tools from philosophy of social sciences that will help us understand and assess intra and interdisciplinary differences, debates and disagreements. We will particularly focus on different models and explanatory practices, and the role of values and human interests in social sciences. During the course, students will have the opportunity to focus on their own research area and rethink their research projects using the tools of philosophy of social sciences that will be introduced in this course.


Institutional Economics 6 ECTS

Faculty: Prof Meelis Kitsing, Prof Kaire Põder

Thursday, March 10 at 11:45-13:15
Friday, March 11 at 10:00-11:30
Saturday, March 12 at 10:00-11:30

Saturday, April 30 at 10:00-17:00

Besides contact hours on these dates, online seminars start from the beginning of the semester (February). The exact dates will be available after registering for the course.


The course covers the following topics: (a) the scope and history of (new) institutional economics; (b) methodological approaches used by institutional economists; (c) game theoretic tools for enabling to study institutions from rational choice perspectives; (d) introduction of the fundamental concepts and topics of the NIE, such as transaction costs, property rights, and the theory of the firm. In addition it covers the determinants of institutions, i.e. how institutions are shaped and/or defined by social and political processes (and history) and why the resulting institutions are not necessarily efficient (and not benefit whole society).


Foundations of Teaching 3 ECTS

Faculty: Dr Anneli Veispak

Monday, March 7 at 14:00-17:15

Monday, March 21 at 17:00-20:15 online

Monday, April 11 at 17:00-20:15 online

Thursday, April 28 at 10:00-13:15


While in the Foundations of learning (1/2) we concentrated on the individual’s perspective (how does learning happen on an individual’s level), in the Foundations of teaching (2/2) we will concentrate on how to consider the individual’s perspective when designing and conducting courses, when supervising and guiding someone else’s learning. Learning and teaching are different sides of the same coin. We have all been taught by someone, formally and informally, explicitly as well as implicitly. In addition to the level of understanding or skill, our teachers have had an impact – among other things – on our values, self-worth, doubt, and on how we teach others. Current course is designed to bring together one’s experiences as a learner as well as a teacher, evidence-based approaches to designing coursework and teaching, as well as cognitive learning mechanisms. The composition of the included perspectives is intended to provoke fruitful reflections in building, updating, and solidifying teaching competences.


Register through MyEBS.

Doctoral students of other universities should contact Triin Sillaots (