PhD AND DOCTORAL PROGRAMMESDBA in Project and Programme Management






The SKEMA Global DBA is made up of seven elements with a total of 180 ECTS credits.

  1. Three residential weeks (5 credits each)

  2. Four research methods courses (5 credits each)

  3. A written research proposal (10)

  4. Research proposal defence (5)

  5. Continuous scholastic development (10)

  6. Final DBA written thesis (100)

  7. Final thesis defence (20)

The residential weeks 

There are three international residential weeks based in Europe, North America and Asia - consisting of selected courses, a networking opportunity, mentoring support, meeting distinguished academic or professional guests and the opportunity to participate in a local cultural immersion experience. Also, in keeping with our digital business and innovation management focus, we will be providing a viable online solution for any student whose life circumstances prevent them from travelling to attend a residential week, designed to achieve similar learning outcomes.

  • Residential Week 1: This week will take place in China and consists of an introduction to the Global DBA, developing your research topic, selecting and getting to know your supervisor, learning how to plan and manage your DBA, and benefitting from the SKEMA way of learning pedagogy.

  • Residential Week 2: This week will take place in the United States and is an elective week in which you will choose to do either “Digital Transformation and Automation” or “Agile Project Management and Open Innovation”. Both electives provide modern perspectives on doing business in a rapidly changing environment and offer the opportunity to crystallise your research direction in keeping with evolving business applications of new technologies and social entrepreneurship.

  • Residential Week 3: This week will take place in France and is the EDEN Doctoral Seminar hosted in association with the European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management (EIASM). Distinguished researchers, scholars and international journal editors from around the world join our students to explore new methodologies, present their research case studies, and provide advice on how to get your own research published and noticed to make a difference to managerial practices and the development of new theoretical explanations to difficult challenges.

The research methods courses 

There are four research methods courses delivered using a hybrid mode of study, including a residential weekend. The precise structure of these courses will vary locally to suit the professor’s preferred approach and the venue, however, the usual pedagogy applied is: (1) students receive selected guided reading in advance, (2) attend an intensive two- or three-day face-to-face workshop with the professor, (4) work on assignments designed to apply the knowledge learned in the workshops, (3) watch several high-quality webinars in their own time on key aspects of the course and important concepts that will reinforce the face-to-face workshops, (4) participate in a one-hour, one-on-one feedback session with the professor to troubleshoot any issues and pinpoint learning bottlenecks. Any student that is unable to attend a residential workshop will receive customised individual online support to achieve similar learning outcomes. The four courses and their locations are:

  1. Case study research (China)
  2. Qualitative and mixed methods (France)
  3. Quantitative methods (USA)
  4. Data analysis, interpretation and theory building (France) 

The research proposal 

Part 1 of the Global DBA, ‘Development of research strategy’, culminates in the completion of a detailed research proposal which brings together the preparatory work of the first 18 to 24 months. The research proposal is a clear statement of the research aims and objectives, the rationale for conducting the research which can be to solve an industry or societal problem or to fill a gap in current knowledge on an important business-related domain. 

The research proposal includes a condensed literature review and presents the detailed research approach to be used in the research project, the industry partnerships to be established, the type of data to be collected and the proposed methods of analysis and interpretation to be applied. 

The research proposal also highlights the probable managerial practices and contribution to industry that may result from the research as well as any known limitations. Successful completion of the written research proposal and its defence by oral examination mark the transition from Part I of the programme to Part II ‘Research execution and benefit delivery’. The research proposal is the only assessed piece of coursework other than the final thesis or other research artifact itself.


Continuous scholastic development 

The SKEMA Global DBA provides students with a learning framework in which they develop doctoral-level competences in management research and practice. Applying these newly learned competencies as they are acquired is the best way to consolidate these new skills and prepare students to benefit from them after graduation.  

Under the guidance of their supervisors, each student establishes a customised roadmap of intellectual and professional contributions to demonstrate doctoral level competences. These contributions can take many different forms, including presentations to SKEMA Research Centre meetings or to senior managers in their organisation, presentations at professional or academic conferences, masterclasses to students, contributions to scholarly magazines, journals, blogs etc. 


Final DBA thesis

The final thesis marks the culmination of the DBA student’s journey and is usually assessed by written thesis and oral defence. 

The final thesis may be structured as a traditional dissertation with distinct chapters based on a template provided or alternatively, the student may structure the thesis as a collection of three published papers with a reflexive text to explain the learning journey at each stage and the intellectual contribution of each of the papers included in the final thesis. In this case a typical set of papers would be, a systematic literature review, a qualitative-based research paper, and a quantitative-based research paper. 

The Global DBA also recognises other forms of intellectual contribution and academic merit that make a significant contribution to scientific knowledge or the performance of an organisation.

Scholarly apprentice workshops

Scholarly apprentice workshops with expert trainers, top professors and successful SKEMA alumni - these are offered during residential weeks and at other times during the semester, with about three workshops per semester being the norm. They cover topics such as data analysis software training, academic writing, specialised methodological approaches, and how to publish your research.


Supervision is tailored to the students needs towards successful completion of the DBA and seeks to ensure year-on-year evidence of management research competence development. High quality supervision is the backbone of the SKEMA Global DBA. There is a normative schedule of supervision sessions averaging about one to two meetings per month. 

Normally, supervision is by internal permanent SKEMA professors. Supervision is proactive and students must demonstrate active learning and keep a record of their scholastic journey with intellectual development and contributions along the way.

Annual interview

Every year each student has a one-to-one interview with the programme director to review progress, supervision and to listen to any concerns the student may have of an academic or personal nature.

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