SA Estonian Business School
A. Lauteri 3, 10114
Vastuvõtuinfo: +372 665 1340 Rektoraat: +372 665 1300
Estonian Business School in Helsinki
Technopolis Ruoholahti, Hiilikatu 3, 00180
+358 40 844 2840

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 from tuition and 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:

  1. *Motivation letter for the research fellow position should include a short research proposal (name of the project outlined in the call, outlined research problem, previous knowledge in the field, skills and expertise concerning research topic, research methods and data student is intended to work with).


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 10, 2019.
Application deadline for EU students is July 31, 2019 (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 27, 2019.

Please contact Maarja Laos  for any questions you may have.


Call for PhD Positions for study year 2019/2020

Ownership Strategies for Digital Age Organisations.png

Labour Market Challenges and Education Institutions.png


Governance of Complex Semi-Public Goods.png

Entrepreneurial Networks in Business Development and Competence Formation.png


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. 

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 2018/2019 courses:

Philosophy and Methodology of Science 3 ECTS

Faculty: Amirouche Moktefi
Monday, March 4 at 9:00-12:15
Tuesday, March 5 at 9:00-12:15
Wednesday, March 6 at 9:00-12:15
Thursday, March 7 at 9:00-12:15


The course opens on a general introduction to the philosophy of science. Students are then invited to identify and construct the structure of their own research work. A visual tool will be offered to assess the extent to which their results are well supported by the evidence they provided.
The second part of the course is devoted to scientific reasoning and method. It addresses what science is and, hence, what stands as a scientific claim, what makes it so robust and what use can be made of it. Key concepts such knowledge, truth, paradigms are first surveyed before the basics of the scientific method are introduced, notably the practices of confirmation and disconfirmation.
The last part of the course addresses the social dimensions of science, notably in relation to technological progress. This topic is mainly addressed from the perspective of ethical decision-making. The course overviews the main theories in ethics, then discusses applications to science and technology.


Multicriteria Decision Making Methods 3 ECTS
Faculty: Priit Võhandu
Monday, March 4 at 9:00-12:15
Tuesday, March 5 at 9:00-12:15
Thursday, March 7 at 9:00-12:15
Friday, March 8 at 9:00-12:15


The course covers the following topics:
• Basic concepts of decision making
• Problem structuring
• MCDM categories
• Decision components and their modeling
• Different methods to make the decisions


Foundations of Teaching 3 ECTS
Faculty: Marge Täks
Monday, March 4 at 13:00-16:15
Wednesday, March 6 at 13:00-16:15
Monday, April 22 at 9:00-16:15

The course introduces several teaching philosophies, constructive alignment of the study process and how they are related to conceptualising the learning and choice of teaching methodology. On the basis of theory one of the courses you teach or are planning to do during your pedagogical internship, will be restructured.


Contemporary Paradigms of Social Science 3 ECTS
Faculty: Emrah Aydinonat
Tuesday, March 5 at 13:00-16:15
Saturday, March 9 at 13:00-16:15
Tuesday, April 23 at 13:00-16:15
Saturday, April 27 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 will start with Kuhn’s notion of paradigms. Then, 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 explanatory practices and the role of values and human interests in social sciences. During the course, each student will have the opportunity to focus on a research area of her/his own choosing as a case study.


Values in Theory and Practice 3 ECTS
Faculty: Associate Professor Mike Franz Wahl
Monday, April 22 at 9:00-12:15
Thursday, April 25 at 9:00-12:15
Friday, April 26 at 9:00-12:15
Saturday, April 27 at 9:00-12:15


The course consists of overview lectures, consultations and workshops. The focus is on personal-, social-, political-, and economic values in theory and practice. What are values? Values are principles or standards of behaviour, one’s judgment of what is important in life. Or in other words, the inner ground rules that will drive behaviour and the glue that keeps everyone together.


Institutional Economics 6 ECTS
Faculty: Professor Meelis Kitsing & Professor Kaire Põder
Friday, March 8 at 13:00-16:15
Saturday, March 9 at 9:00-16:15
Tuesday, April 23 at 9:00-16:15
Wednesday, April 24 at 13:00-16:15
Friday, April 26 at 13:00-16:15
Saturday, April 27 at 9:00-16:15


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 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).


Qualitative Research Methods  3 ECTS
Faculty: Eriikka Paavilainen-Mäntymäki, PhD
Wednesday, April 24 at 9:00-12:15
Thursday, April 25 at 9:00-16:15
Friday, April 26 at 9:00-12:15

This course provides an overview of and experience with qualitative research methods. You will be introduced to a wide variety of qualitative methods, but due to time constraints in the course, we will focus primarily on two: grounded theory and discourse analysis. Our purpose in choosing these two methods/perspectives is to gain a good understanding of at least two methods so that you can actually begin to develop qualitative research using them. However, the skills you learn will also serve as a foundation to enable you to learn to conduct other types of qualitative research, as well. A relevant and substantial reading list will be provided to introduce you to these methods.

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