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 that focuses on the research of business, public and civil society organisations 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 studies give 60 ECTS and research activity 180 ECTS. Studies consist of compulsory and elective courses, doctoral/research seminars and teaching internship. The programme curriculum serves as a guideline for doctoral students, but each student has the right and obligation to put together an individual study plan. Research of the doctoral student is carried out according to individual study plan under the guidance of a supervisor. The progress of 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 exchange with the goal to pass part of their studies or conduct research in a foreign university. To exploit this opportunity is highly encouraged.


The doctoral thesis presented to apply for the doctor’s 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 Compulsory courses Theories - Social Systems and Organisational Theories - Contemporary Paradigms of Social Science Institutional Economics - Systems Science
Elective courses Fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis ½ Structural Equation Modelling ½  Research in Strategy and Innovation ½ Knowledge Management and Intellectual Capital ½  Theories of Management of Organisational Changes ½  Ethics and Responsibility in Management ½ Cultural Psychology ½ Cost-Benefit Analysis ½  Logic
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 necessary skills and experience of teaching at university level. The volume and period of internship is 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 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 upon possibility accepts visiting PhD students.

Research fellow

To become a research fellow, you must apply for a vacant PhD position advertised on this webpage in the Call for PhDs section. Research fellow works 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, you are provided with a workplace, and as a student, you are offered teaching and supervision. This scholarship and position include an obligation to contribute to teaching at EBS. Duration of the employment is four years according to the nominal PhD study period.

Individual PhD student

As there is a limited number of scholarships and research fellow positions EBS also offers the possibility of becoming a PhD student as an individual or independent student. In this position, the student is affiliated with EBS as a student only and must pay tuition fee. 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. Independent students have no additional teaching obligation, but they must pass teaching internship. 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 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 from scholarships section.


Prerequisite for applying to the doctoral programme in Management is a master’s degree in social sciences or business administration (or an equivalent 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:


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 April 1, 2020.
Application deadline for EU students is June 1, 2020 (inc. Turkey, Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus 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 Skype (for the foreign candidates) or in EBS. Next presentations take place on August 25, 2020.

Please contact Maarja Laos  for any questions you may have.


Call for PhD Positions for study year 2020/2021


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Tuition & Scholarships

Doctoral students who are not applying for a research fellow position but wish to enroll as individual/independent PhD students have to pay tuition fee. The tuition fee for students is credit point-based: the fee for one credit point is 110 € (core and special subjects), the fee for the supervising, co-supervising and consulting of the Doctoral thesis is 1000 € per semester and fee to cover the expenses of the defence of the Doctoral thesis is 1800 €.

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 and asked the study consultant. 

Translation of the resolution of the Board of SA Estonian Business School of the 2018/2019 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


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 following scholarships for master and doctoral students, and young researchers.


Upcoming Doctoral Courses 

Spring semester 2019/2020 courses:

Institutional Economics 6 ECTS

Faculty: prof Meelis Kitsing
               prof Kaire Põder
Monday, March 2 at 9:00-12:15
Tuesday, March 3 at 9:00-12:15
Wednesday, March 4 at 9:00-12:15
Friday, March 6 at 9:00-12:15
Saturday, March 7 at 9:00-12:15

Monday, April 20 at 9:00-12:15
Tuesday, April 21 at 9:00-12:15
Wednesday, April 22 at 9:00-12:15
Saturday, April 25 at 9:00-12:15


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 (new) institutional economics (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).


Quantitative Research Methods  3 ECTS
Faculty: prof Kaire Põder
Tuesday, March 3 at 13:00-16:15
Friday, March 6 at 13:00-16:15
Thursday, April 23 at 9:00-12:15
Saturday, April 25 at 13:00-16:15


This course will give you insights how to build a research project based on the research method(s) that relate to the quantitative tradition. We specialize mainly on descriptive data analysis, including explorative regression techniques and discussion about causal methods.
Classes will concentrate on quantitative methods and seminars on data analysis using RStudio.


Foundations of Teaching 3 ECTS
Faculty: Marge Täks
Monday, April 20 at 16:30-19:45
Wednesday, April 22 at 13:00-16:15

Course continues in Autumn semester 2020/2021


The objective of the course is to establish necessary competences for teaching, supervising and reflecting one´s teaching practice.


Qualitative Research Methods 3 ECTS
Faculty: Eriikka Paavilainen-Mäntymäki

Thursday, April 23 at 13:00-20:00

Friday, April 24 at 9:00-16:15


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.


Contemporary Paradigms of Social Science 3 ECTS
Faculty: Nuri Emrah Aydinonat
Tuesday, March 3 at 13:00-16:15
Friday, March 6 at 13:00-16:15
Thursday, April 23 at 13:00-16:15
Friday, April 24 at 13:00-16:15


This course provides students with a set of conceptual and methodological toolkits to navigate these difficult theoretical and practical problems. We first revisit Kuhn’s notion of paradigms, and how it has been handled in the philosophy of science. Then we will discuss its practical implications, drawing on the contemporary literature on interdisciplinarity in science studies. Finally, as a case study, we will look at Consumer Behavior Research, and show how the things we have learned in the course can help us position ourselves in principle, and effectively communicate and collaborate across paradigms in practice.


Ethics and Responsibility in Management 3 ECTS
Faculty: prof Jukka Veiko Mäkinen
Wednesday, March 4 at 13:00-16:15
Saturday, March 7 at 13:00-16:15
Monday, April 20 at 13:00-16:15
Tuesday, April 21 at 13:00-16:15



The course creates an understanding about the main directions of business ethics and corporate social responsibility (CSR) studies and introduces the significant approaches in the area. The basic aim is to develop conceptual thinking and research capabilities in this field. The course is organized as a research seminar focusing in the important studies in the area of business ethics and CSR.


Students of EBS can register through ÕIS. Doctoral students of other universities should contact
Maarja Laos (