Program Outline

Program Outline

DBA Program outline is as follows:

The Doctoral program comprises of three (3) different phases, variable in duration and subject module load:

Phase 1: Research Methods and Skills Phase ( RMS )

The Research Methods and Skills phase consists of a training program with different subject modules covering the complete empirical research cycle and which are all geared toward the final product of this program; an individual 10-page Research Proposal that needs to be defended for a committee of MSM lecturers. Passing all Research Methods and Skills subject modules is compulsory. The Research Methods and Skills training program (hereinafter referred to as RMS training program) is completed if all subject modules are successfully passed and the individual 10-page Research Proposal is evaluated positively.


Participants will follow the RMS training blended program, which is identical to the on-campus training program, be it that the class lectures have been replaced by instructive videos. Participants will receive individual feedback on their assignments during three (3) previously scheduled feedback weeks. The online format of the training program enables participants to follow the respective modules in an individual speed that fits their professional and personal duties and activities. Online participants must pass the RMS training program within twelve (12) months after the first day they started the program, and are required to participate in the on-campus program in Maastricht for a period of at least two weeks, either during Subject Module 1 (Introduction to Research Methodology) or Subject Module 5 (10-page Proposal Development).

Participation during the first Subject Module is preferred. The curriculum of the online and on-campus RMS training programs is identical. The program outline can be found in Appendices IA and IB.

The RMS training program may have three outcomes:

a)    Participants who have passed the RMS training program will be
awarded a Post-Graduate diploma.

b)   Participants who have failed to pass the RMS training program will
receive a Certificate of Attendance.

c)   Participants who have passed the RMS training program can be finally admitted to the Doctoral program if they have convincingly shown to be motivated and capable of working effectively at doctoral-level in preparing both individual and group assignments as well as the 10-page research proposal within the RMS training program. More specifically, their RMS course work provides a strong indication of their academic competency to succeed, with supervisory support, in preparing a defendable DBA dissertation. The decision on the final admission to the Doctoral program is with the Doctoral Admissions Committee. The Doctoral Admissions Committee may require individual coursework and assignments in addition to the common RMS coursework and assignments. Such individual coursework, for example, may be necessary where the participant lacks the general business knowledge such as provided in MBA programs. The Doctoral Admissions Committee shall decide on the nature of the required coursework in consultation with the supervisor. The RMS training program is governed by the Head RMS training. The Research Board will advise on the curriculum of the RMS training program within the Doctoral program and  subsequent research activities.


Phase 2:  MPhil phase

Participants who have passed the RMS training program and who are finally admitted to the Doctoral program by the Doctoral Admissions Committee can continue their study in the MPhil phase. They will be assigned a ‘supervisory team’ consisting of a supervisor and a co-supervisor within three months after they have passed the RMS training program. During the MPhil phase, participants develop their 10-page proposal (developed during the RMS training program) into a complete, feasible Doctoral Research Proposal for their DBA research project. Participants conduct a full literature review in their field of research, and develop a complete research design for collecting and analyzing data. They work individually but under the guidance of the supervisor and with advice of the co-supervisor. Upon the approval of the supervisory team, the participant must formally submit his/her research proposal to MSM. After a final assessment by the Associate Dean Research, the Research department organizes the Research Proposal Seminar in which the participant can present and defend the (revised) Research Proposal to the Research Proposal Seminar Committee. The MPhil phase is completed with the successful defense of the Research Proposal and the subsequent award of the MPhil degree.

 Phase 3: DBA phase

With the award of the MPhil degree, the participant can start carrying out the Research Proposal by collecting and analyzing data as planned under guidance of the supervisory team. The results of the research are reported in a dissertation, which is a book length manuscript that meets international academic standards and represents an original contribution to one of the relevant fields of management. Originality is demonstrated through the discovery of new facets, the discovery of a new conceptual framework, or the creative application of existing analytical concepts and tools to address contemporary issues in industry. Such a contribution should ensure that the dissertation can withstand the independent critical scrutiny of experts in that field.

After the final approval of the supervisor, the co-supervisor, two external examiners, and a final assessment by the Associate Dean Research, the Research department organizes the DBA Dissertation Defense in which the participant can present and defend the (revised) DBA Dissertation to the DBA Dissertation Defense Committee. The Doctoral program is completed with the successful defense of the DBA dissertation and the subsequent award of the DBA degree.

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