Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

Doctoral Degree
Start Date
3 September 2018
4 years


MSM has been offering the DBA degree since 1995. It is a high-quality program that boasts of international accreditation. We have more than 200 DBA participants registered, coming from 38 countries in the world. Our graduates enjoy senior positions in their organizations and many are recognized in their business community.

SFPh09052012311“We believe our graduates learn more about themselves as they learn about the world at MSM. Ultimately, this is what will give them and their organizations the edge in life and business”.
Prof. Terry Kakeeto-Aelen – Assistant Professor in Marketing

The strength of MSM’s DBA program lies in our ambition to have an impact on your professional knowledge base and skills to conduct not only rigorous research, but also to conduct research that is directly relevant for your organization, industry, region or country. Thus, the DBA program is the best choice for those who have been grappling with questions like Does my business really contribute to the prosperity of my region or country? How can I improve my organization’s performance? Will my business survive the onslaught from competitors, regulators, changes in consumer tastes, and disruptive new technologies? How can we manage the growing scarcities in basic resources like energy, water and land? Should we start exporting or not? How will climate change impact my business? Is big data the answer? and many more.

The Maastricht DBA is popular, but hard to get into. We receive more than 200 applications every year, of which less than 15 per cent are selected. As one of the top business schools in the world, we prepare our students to tackle ever more complex business challenges and opportunities worldwide, and to reach the pinnacle of management education. We take pride in guiding our doctoral participants through the research process in a structured fashion, commencing with an intensive Research Methods and Skills (RMS) training program. After the successful completion of the RMS course work and positive assessment of your academic competencies, you are assigned a supervisory team to draft your research proposal. We aim to find the perfect match between you and the supervisors in terms of theoretical framework, methodological approach and professional experience. MSM furthermore offers an excellent and stimulating research environment for its doctoral participants with its yearly research conference and many research workshops and lectures. Finally, MSM is well-known for its strong and vibrant alumni network, providing ample of opportunities to get connected across the globe.

For more information about the DBA program, please contact us at


Picture Stefaan Schatteman“A few years after completing my MBA, I needed a new intellectual challenge which I found in the DBA program. The DBA helped me in getting a more profound understanding of one specific chosen topic of interest. The DBA has a significant impact on the way I think, and analyze problems. It helps me a lot in my day-to-day work and therefore I would recommend it to people who are looking for a nice challenge”.

Dr. Stefaan Schatteman, MSM DBA alumnus and General Manager Mundipharma France

Program overview

The part-time DBA program comprises two stages: the MPhil stage in which you develop your research proposal (1 – 2 years) and the DBA stage in which you execute this proposal and draft your doctoral dissertation (2 years). In total, the DBA study takes 4 years, with the possibility of extending the program with maximally 3 years.

MPhil Stage. Enrollment in our DBA program starts with the conditional admission into the Master of Philosophy (MPhil) phase that centers on course work and drafting an individual research proposal. Only those participants who pass our Research Methods and Skills (RMS) training (offered both on campus and blended) within the period of one year and whose academic competencies are positively evaluated by the MSM Doctoral Admissions Committee will be finally admitted into the MPhil phase. This rigorous admission procedure is aimed at ensuring that participants in our program are likely to succeed in drafting a defendable DBA dissertation within the given period of four years.

Upon final admission, you will be assigned a supervisory team that will guide you towards drafting an individual Research Proposal. This proposal needs to be presented and defended before a committee of scholars. If successful, you will be awarded the MPhil degree.

The MPhil stage starts after successfully completing the Research Methods and Skills (RMS) training program and upon receiving a positive assessment of your academic competencies. The annual RMS program starts in September. When you follow the on campus RMS training program, this can be expected after 3 months of commencement of the course work (i.e. December in the first year of enrollment). When you opt for the blended mode of delivery of the RMS program, this can be expected after 9 months of commencement of the course work (i.e. June in the first year of enrollment).

DBA Stage. When you have been awarded the MPhil degree, the DBA phase commences. Supported by your supervisory team, you will start collecting and analyzing data as outlined in your research proposal. The results of this empirical study are to be reported and discussed in a written manuscript. The Doctoral program is completed with the successful defense of this doctoral dissertation and the subsequent award of the DBA degree.



  • Applicants must hold at least a Masters degree or its academic equivalent from a recognized university in a relevant discipline
  • 5 years of working experience
  • Proficiency in English is essential to complete the doctoral program. Participants whose education has been in a language other than English must submit evidence of proficiency in the English language. A score of at least 600 on the paper based TOEFL or an equivalent score on an approved alternative test is adequate.

More importantly, however, is your personality since pursuing a doctoral degree is not only intellectually stimulating, but also challenging at times. Thus, you should have a passion to make a difference in your business community by solving pressing problems and seizing opportunities. You should be curious about the challenges and opportunities your organization or industry is facing. You must have a drive to learn more and broaden your horizon. You should enjoy critical reading and thinking. You must be self-motivated to work on your doctoral studies. And you must be able to work in a structured and disciplined fashion.

How to apply
Your first research ideas, outlined in the form “Expression of Interest” must be submitted via the MSM online application system  together with the following application documents:

  • Certified translated copy of Master degree
  • Certified translated copy of Master transcript
  • CV
  • Copy passport
  • Proof of English proficiency
  • Motivation letter

The non-refundable application fee of €75,- must be paid in order to start the admission procedure.

September intake – 1 July of each year

Selection takes place on an individual basis, based on the participant’s prior academic performance, the quality of the initial research proposal, the suitability of the preliminary research ideas for the School’s research programs, and the overall achievements and goals of the applicant. Although any high-quality research proposal is welcome, we encourage prospective doctoral participants to align their studies with MSM’s research agenda to be found on



September 2018 intake 1 July 2018



Full tuition fee DBA program* €39,600
Application fee (non-refundable) €       75

*Including the first installment for the RMS course work

MSM Registered alumni receive a 10% discount on the tuition fee.


Please know that there are no NUFFIC scholarships available for the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program.

For the 12 weeks Research Methods and Skills program, we offer the option to apply for the NUFFIC NFP scholarships.
For more information on how to apply for the NUFFIC scholarship programs, click here.

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