Go to main navigation Navigation menu Skip navigation Home page Search

Program structure

The PhD program in Business Administration is a five-year, full-time, residential program taught in English. SSE does not offer distance learning, or allow for part-time studies.

The 240 ECTS credits of the PhD program in Business Administration are divided into a course component (90 ECTS) and a dissertation component (150 ECTS). A specially designed course program, Stockholm-Uppsala Business Studies (SUBS), is run jointly with Uppsala University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and offers four mandatory courses (30 ECTS) in the first semester of the program.

Starting from the first year, you will be working on your thesis which is equivalent to 150 ECTS. In this process, you will be supervised by one SSE faculty member (primary supervisor) from the very beginning. After you have submitted a dissertation proposal in the second year, you will work with a supervision committee of 3-4 professors to complete your PhD dissertation. The program ends with a thesis defense.

PhD in BA.png


SUBS mandatory courses (30 ECTS):

  • The Research Process (Stockholm)
  • Perspectives on Science and Research (Uppsala)
  • Intro to Multivariate Statistics (Uppsala)
  • Fundamentals of Qualitative Research (Stockholm)

Elective courses (60 ECTS):
Elective courses are given at various departments and institutes at SSE, or other universities, and in many different forms. The subject matters and forms of these courses vary from year to year in response to demands from doctoral students as well as to the changes in research interests. Which courses to take is jointly decided by the doctoral student and his/her primary supervisor.

A sample of elective courses available at SSE:


Seminars constitute an important part of the PhD programs. These provide students with insights into current research and give students and faculty opportunities to present and discuss ongoing research. Doctoral students are expected to regularly attend seminar series. In addition, reading groups and informal workshops are organized in some subjects.


Teaching experience is an integral part of the PhD program in Business Administration, and you are strongly encouraged to do some teaching from the second year. Successful completion of teaching entitles you to a fifth year in the program, which is otherwise fours years long.


Doctoral students should find a subject field for their thesis together with their main supervisor, who is also responsible for arranging for external funding for year 3-4 (all PhD students are expected to be on external funding year 4-5, which is guaranteed by the department). While most of the work on the thesis is expected to be carried out in year 2-4, it is important to start working on the thesis as soon as possible.

A thesis typically consists of several essays in one or several fields of business administration. Essays may be single-authored or co-authored with fellow students or faculty. A benchmark is that the number of essays should be equivalent to three single-authored essays. The essays are expected to be well suited for publication in international scientific journals - the main channel for communication of research results. Thesis work in progress is usually presented and discussed at the seminars.

The completed PhD thesis is made available to the interested public and is discussed in a public dissertation seminar. At this seminar, an invited outside discussant first presents the thesis work to the audience. The discussant then poses a few questions to the PhD candidate about the thesis and the audience is invited to pose questions as well. This is an old tradition in Swedish academic life. After the seminar, a committee consisting of several professors decides whether the thesis will pass.


You are provided with an office from start of the PhD program. With a location in central Stockholm many find SSE a great place to work and study!