PhD Degree Program

Doctor of Philosophy

The SMC PhD degree program is a truly leading European Doctorate level education with a unique research methodology. It is a rigorous and advanced course of study that prepares students for careers in academia, research, or industry. The PhD Program usually takes four to six years to complete in a part-time mode, depending on the discipline and the progress. This online PhD program is a rewarding and challenging opportunity for those who want to pursue the highest level of academic excellence and make an impact in their chosen field.

PhD Degree Program Overview

Doctor of Philosophy Introduction

The SMC Doctor of Philosophy program aims to develop participant’s abilities to undertake independent research at an advanced level and make an original and significant contribution to knowledge and professional practice. PhD program students can be mid-career individuals who have already established themselves as business leaders or are on track to being appointed to executive positions and are supported in their academic ambition by their employing organization. PhD candidates can also be students in their late 20s who excelled in their bachelor’s and master’s degrees and are ready for the next step in academic research. The degree is intended for both senior practitioners in their field, who are used to identifying and dealing with various “real life” issues, as well as researchers whose main strength lies in theoretical knowledge.

PhD Degree Subjects

Doctor of Philosophy Research Fields

Academic doctorates are awarded for original research and scholarship in a given research area. They prepare research candidates for various careers through their main focus of broadening theoretical understanding of a subject.

PhD in Business Administration

This doctoral research field prepares students for advanced research and teaching careers in business and management.

PhD in Political Economy

The PhD in Political Economy prepares students for careers in academia, policy-making, consulting, journalism, and civil society organizations.

PhD in Political Sciences

Students typically choose a subfield of political science, such as comparative politics, int. relations, political theory, and public policy.

PhD in Public Administration

Advanced research in the field of public management and policy to improve the performance of public organizations and programs.

PhD in Economics

Research focus on micro- and macroeconomics, econometrics, int. economics, development economics, labor economics, industrial organization, public economics, and behavioral economics.

PhD in Finance

This field focuses on the study of financial markets, institutions, and decision-making. It prepares students for careers in academia, research, or policy-making in the fields of finance, economics, or business.

PhD in IT & Cybertech

Students focus on the research of IT and protection of information and their systems in various domains and treats. Researchers develop expertise to solve complex problems, create innovative solutions in IT and Cybersecurity. 

PhD in Law

Students focus on research in business & corporate law, international law, and IP law. The PhD is the highest academic qualification in the legal profession. It requires significant originality and rigorous scholarship.

PhD in Austrian Economics

The Doctorate in Austrian Economics is a unique and specialized distance research program, focusing on the principles and applications of the Austrian School of Economics. This program provides an opportunity to obtain your Ph.D. under the guidance of renowned scholars in the field. 

Learn more: PhD in Austrian Economics

PhD Degree Target Group

PhD Program Participants

PhD students can be mid-career individuals who have already established themselves as business leaders or are on track to being appointed to executive positions and are supported in their academic ambition by their employing organisation. PhD candidates can also be students in their late 20s who excelled in their bachelor’s and master’s degrees and are ready for the next step in academic research. The degree is intended for both senior practitioners in their field, who are used to identifying and dealing with various “real life” issues, as well as researchers whose main strength lies in theoretical knowledge. 

PhD Professional Opportunities

The Doctor of Philosophy degree can open a wide range of professional opportunities in a variety of settings from lecturing at Universities or Higher Education Institutions, to top management positions, to consulting or even further entrepreneurship.

PhD Program Curriculum

Doctoral Research Phases

This Doctor of Philosophy degree program has a clear milestone system made up of eight successive phases. Students are initially registered as MPhil. Students. The enrollment status is upgraded to Ph.D. status after at least 24 months of part-time study once the candidate passes the Transfer Interview. Transfer is allowed on clear evidence of progress in their work (Phase Five). The applied milestone system provides a rigorous quality assurance system making sure that only those who reach the expected level of scholarship are allowed to move on.

Developing a Letter of Intent
Phase One consists of the writing of a 1000-word Letter of Intent aimed at communicating one’s intentions regarding the area of study
Phase 1
Developing a Research Proposal
An affirmative reply to the Letter of Intent from the SMC Doctoral Committee constitutes the approval for the candidate to move on to the formal Research Proposal. The length of the proposal should be around 3,000 words
Phase 2
Research Proposal Interview
The proposal is reviewed by the SMC Doctoral Committee, followed by a presentation, interview and Q&A session.
Phase 3
Commencement of Studies
The research phase commences once the candidate receives a formal letter of acceptance, which includes the approved title of the thesis, the supervisor and co-supervisor, and the timeframe in which the thesis has to be conducted.
Phase 4
Transfer from MPhil to PhD Interview
Transfer occurs on condition that the work submitted is approved by the appointed Board of Examiners. The transfer can take place after a minimum of 24 months and a maximum of 48 months of part-time study
Phase 5
Writing of the Thesis
Ph.D. candidates need to attend the quarterly SMC Doctoral Seminars and present chapters from their thesis. Candidates are also be expected to attend international conferences related to their studies as well as online webinars. Candidates are also expected to meet with their tutors on a regular basis and engage in discussion about their research.
Phase 6
Submission of Thesis, Evaluation & Oral Defence
The candidate submits a thesis of around 100,000 words. An appointed Board of Examiners is set up to examine the thesis.
Phase 7
Doctor of Philosophy degree is Conferred
Following the verification of the Board of Examiner’s declaration that the student has passed the dissertation component of their course, and the verification of any required changes, the Doctor of Philosophy degree is conferred.
Phase 8

PhD Dissertation

Doctoral Thesis

Students work closely with the assigned supervisors to go through the Eight Phases of the program. Research Candidates are to write a thesis that clearly demonstrates competence in the subject area at an advanced level and contribute towards new knowledge. The length of a thesis is of around 100,000 words. At the end of each term, the researcher and their supervisors must each submit a progress report to the SMC Doctorate Committee. When the supervisors are satisfied that the work is ready for examination, the thesis is submitted to an appointed Board of Examiners. After examination, the Chairperson may give approval for the oral defense or ask for resubmission with corrections.

PhD Program Duration

This PhD is a part-time program of 4-6 years. The SMC Doctoral Committee may grant candidates an extension of up to two years in order to enable them to complete their studies within 8 years. In exceptional cases and pending approval, the thesis may be submitted in 4 years.

Dissertation

PhD Degree Learning Outcomes

Doctor of Philosophy

Upon completion of the program, learners will have acquired the following competences, knowledge, and skills (click on each heading to see the details):

Competences
  • Lead the development of new ideas or new processes in the respective field.
  • Make judicious judgements involving a multitude of interlinked factors.
  • Promote social, scientific and ethical advancement in the respective field.
  • Advise on theory/practice that is complex and possibly even unpredictable, and which may require new strategic approaches.
  • Command of high-specialized know-how relevant in the particular context of the field of study.
  • Demonstrate intellectual capacities in the ability to deal with very complex problems, including problem formulation, problem solving and innovation capacity.
  • Be responsible for academic rigor, creativity and adaptability in addressing specific issues within one’s fields of specialization.
  • Manage the necessary resilience and dynamism in the face of very complex phenomena.
Knowledge
  • Outline the theoretical foundation of the respective research area which is at the forefront of the concerned field of study
  • Design original research with consideration for contemporary societal perspectives that advances empirical/theoretical knowledge in the respective research area
  • Create new knowledge at a most advanced frontier of a field of study through original and advanced research of a quality to satisfy peer review and merit publication
  • Engage with a diverse specialized audience as a scholar regarding the relevance of theories, applications and practical solutions
  • Design solutions to challenges in the local and/or global domain based on original and scholarly research that substantially advance theory/practice
  • Undertake rigorous research at the highest level
  • Identify ethical issues in the respective research area and assume an academic leading role to promote progress ethically
  • Critique the range of knowledge, theory, specifics and philosophical paradigms that underpin research in the respective field of specialisation
  • Illustrate empirical qualitative, quantitative, mixed-method approaches or of philosophical inquiry to research
  • Implement research methodologies used by researchers in the respective field of studies
Skills
  • Analyse complex, incomplete or contradictory areas of knowledge communicating the outcome effectively with critical awareness
  • Synthesize information in a manner that may be innovative, utilising knowledge or processes from the forefront of the respective area of study with critical awareness
  • Address dilemmas and choices that allow researchers to critically evaluate research-based scholarship and practice and to argue alternative approaches
  • Demonstrate substantial initiative and originality in problem solving
  • Solve issues by establishing criteria, using appropriate decision techniques including identifying, formulating and addressing problems
  • Analyse, synthesize and assess new and complex phenomena, issues and situations autonomously and critically in an organisational and/or global business context
  • Identify and formulate issues with scholarly precision, plan and use appropriate methods to undertake research within predetermined time frames
  • Critique major challenges in the respective research area
  • Recognize ethical situations, applying personal and organisational ethical values to situations, managing the implications of dilemmas and working proactively with others to formulate solutions
  • Promote social, cultural, commercial, scientific, and ethical advancement through theory and practice
  • Communicate expertise to a peers through different media

PhD Degree Program Tuition Fees

Payment options

PhD Program Application

Doctoral Admission Requirments

Undergraduate Degree
min. 180 ECTS Credits or equivalent) from an internationally recognized academic institution in a subject relevant to the proposed topic of study.
Graduate Degree
min. 90 ECTS Credits or equivalent) from an internationally recognized academic institution in a subject relevant to the proposed topic of study.
English Language Proficiency
SMC requires all applicants who are not native speakers of English to meet one of the following requirements. IELTS overall 7.0, or TOEFL iBT overall 100.
Interview
All students need to sit for an online interview (via Teams) to ascertain their suitability for the course.

Free PhD Program Application

Doctoral Admission Process

Students are initially registered as MPhil. Students. The course of studies is upgraded to PhD status after at least 24 months of part-time study once the candidate passes the Transfer Interview (see Program Structure above). Transfer is allowed on clear evidence of progress in the student’s work (Phase Five). To apply for Admission, please follow the steps below.

Step 1
Prepare your documents
Applicants must upload the following documents during the application process: CV, Academic Transcripts & Diplomas, copy of ID.
Step 2
Submit your application
The PhD online Application Form can be accessed by clicking the "Apply for Admission" button below or on top of this webpage.
Step 3
Initial review
The SMC Doctoral Admissions Committee will assess your application upon receipt. Reviews are conducted on a monthly basis.
Step 4
Interview & final decision
If your application is considered for acceptance, you will be invited for an online interview. This marks the final step in the decision process.