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 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 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 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 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 a 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 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 from the scholarships section.


Prerequisite for applying to the doctoral programme in Management is a master’s degree in social sciences or business administration (or 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, 2021.
Application deadline for EU students is June 1, 2021 (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 in August 2021.

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


Upcoming Doctoral Courses 

Autumn semester 2020/2021 courses:

Research Design and Writing 3 ECTS

Faculty: Riina Koris
              Kätlin Pulk
Monday, October 5 at 13:00-16:15
Tuesday, October 6 at 9:00-12:15
Monday, November 16 at 9:00-12:15
Tuesday, November 17 at 9:00-12:15

The course will be based primarily on a series of reading and presentation assignments in which students will critically reflect on material they are exposed to and apply their insights to their own research agenda. There will also be in-class activities to offer students opportunities to apply and practice their skills. The bulk of the work outside of class will be devoted to a writing project of the student’s own choosing. The student is expected to work towards a research outline for either an on-going research project or a planned dissertation proposal.


Management Theories  3 ECTS
Faculty: Dr. Shiko Ben-Menahem
Tuesday, October 6 at 13:00-16:15
Wednesday, October 7 at 9:00-16:15
Thursday, October 8 at 9:00-12:15

The course covers the main directions of management theories and basic concepts and the main contradictions of these concepts are analyzed in order to explain to the doctoral student development opportunities in this field of theoretical thinking. Doctoral students discuss what is the nature of research objectives and hypotheses that can be developed on the basis of different theoretical foundations and which methodological assumptions are essential for research work in the framework of analysed theories. Compiling bibliographies and literature reviews, analyses of comparative specifications and conceptual schemes of theories, exercises for applying in case studies approaches that are based on different theories are used as learning methods.


Philosophy and Methodology of Science 3 ECTS
Faculty: prof Jukka Veikko Mäkinen

Saturday, October 10 at 13:00-16:15
Monday, November 16 at 13:00-16:15
Wednesday, November 18 at 9:00-12:15
Thursday, November 19 at 9:00-12:15


The aim of the course is to support research process and develop analytical skills in reading and writing research texts. The course offers the opportunity to rehearse basic philosophical tools for identifying the main features of different research approaches.
Ontology, epistemology, methodology, ethics, and rhetorics as the components of philosophy of social science. Insights of positivism, hermeneutics, realism, and social constructivism. Ethical and rhetorical issues in social sciences.


Foundations of Learning 3 ECTS
Faculty: Anneli Veispak
Wednesday, October 14 at 9:00-12:15
Wednesday, October 28 at 9:00-12:15
Wedesday, November 4 at 9:00-12:15
Tuesday, November 17 at13:00-16:15


The objective of the course is to provide an evidence-based insight on:
a) the foundations of learning- how the underlying cognitive mechanisms make learning possible,
b) and how these cognitive mechanisms can be facilitated and guided to offer captivating and optimal learning experiences to ourselves as well as to others.


Organization Theories: Meta-theoretical Perspectives of Traditional Theories and Alternative Views to Organizational Reality 6 ECTS
Faculty: Kätlin Pulk
Monday, October 5 at 13:00-16:15
Tuesday, October 6 at 9:00-12:15
Thursday, October 8 at 9:00-12:15
Monday, November 16 at 13:00-16:15
Wednesday, November 18 at 9:00-12:15
Thursday, November 19 at 9:00-12:15
Friday, November 20 at 13:00-16:15
Saturday, November 21 at 13:00-16:15


The aim of this course is twofold. First, this course aims to introduce thoughts of the leading scholars in OT from the meta-theoretical perspective. Second, the course aims to challenge the assumptions of the basis of traditional OT by introducing a process theory of organization.
The course addresses following questions:
What is the status of OT as science?
How do different paradigms view OT?
How has the structure/agency dilemma, the micro/macro controversy, and the different explanations produced by organizational economists and sociologists, been dealt with?

Fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) 3 ECTS
Faculty: Triin Lauri
Monday, October 5 at 9:00-12:15
Tuesday, October 6 at 13:00-16:15
Monday, November 16 at 9:00-12:15
Friday, November 20 at 9:00-12:15


The objective of the course is to introduce participants set-theoretic methods and their application in the social sciences with a focus on fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA).
Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) is an analytic technique that uses Boolean algebra to implement principles of comparison used by scholars mainly engaged in the qualitative study of macro social phenomena. The field of QCA - also framed as set-theoretic methods or configurational comparative analysis, has expanded quite dramatically over the last decades and has become one of the prominent approaches in political science and management/organizational studies. QCA is especially valuable in case of middle-N research as by formalizing the logic of qualitative analysis, QCA makes it possible to bring the logic and empirical intensity of qualitative approaches to studies that embrace more than a handful of cases, i.e. preserves its case oriented approach. Boolean methods of logical comparison represent each case as a combination of explanatory and outcome conditions. These combinations can be compared with each other and then logically simplified through a bottom-up process of paired comparison.


Research in Strategy and Innovation 3 ECTS
Faculty: Dr. Shiko Ben-Menahem

Tuesday, November 17 at 9:00-12:15
Wednesday, November 18 at 13:00-16:15
Thursday, November 19 at 13:00-16:15
Friday, November 20 at 13:00-16:15


The goal of this PhD seminar is to develop a broad overview of some of the core areas of research in strategic management and innovation, as well as to develop competencies in constructing research papers that contribute to current knowledge in these domains. The seminar will be highly interactive, with group discussions of published research papers on various topics in strategy and innovation, as well as students’ own research.


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