The PhD in Business programme is a unique programme within the Catalan university system aimed at any students seeking to embark on an international career in research in the area of business.
The aim of the PhD in Business at the University of Barcelona is to train researchers in the various areas of business management. Students in the programme undertake activities in fields such as accounting, finance, insurance, business strategy, operations, quality, marketing, entrepreneurship, human resources, innovation, the history of companies, game theory and uncertainty in decision-making.
The PhD in Business has been accredited with Excellence after an exhaustive and rigorous external evaluation by the Catalan University Quality Assurance Agency (AQU), which acknowledges the quality and impact of the research carried out within the PhD framework.
The programme is three years in length if you study full-time or five years if you study part-time. Every student will have at least one thesis supervisor, who is assigned based on the student’s field of research.
Throughout the programme, doctoral students will take part in various additional activities, which include research seminars, workshops and courses. Students will also be encouraged to publish their research in specialist journals and pursue short stays at other universities or research centres.
The doctoral programme in Business provides high-level training to researchers in the various aspects of business sciences. Preparation of a doctoral thesis is the main activity of students. The thesis must be a piece of original research carried out by the candidate in a specific area of specialization. Each student will have at least one thesis supervisor, who will provide guidance and support to the student. The university encourages students to publish their research work in specialist scientific journals. Students are also encouraged to pursue short stays at other universities or research centres.
The programme is structured administratively as a single line of research in Business, which is subdivided into ten major subject areas:
1. Strategy and Entrepreneurship
Innovation management; Knowledge management; Open innovation; Creative industries; International business; Multinational corporations; Alliances and networks; Entrepreneurial behaviour; New Venture and success;
PhD advisors: Achcaoucaou Iallouchen, Fariza ; Cruz Cazares, Claudio ; Hormiga, Esther ; Miravitlles Matamoros, Paloma ; Pareja-Eastaway, Montserrat ; Shijaku, Elio
2. Technology and Operations Management
Operations strategy; Global Supply chain management; Green supply chain management; Quality management; Logistics outsourcing and 3PL; Logistics Integration; Reverse logistics; Integration of management Systems; Social responsibility management
PhD advisors: Bernardo, Mercè ; Guitart Tarrés, Laura ; Núñez Carballosa, Ana María
solvency analysis; consolidation of accounting statements; audit; cost behavior; failure prediction; management accounting and control; performance measurement; tax avoidance; earnings management; public procurement and accounting; social and environmental accounting; agricultural accounting
PhD advisors: Argilés Bosch, Josep Maria ; Garcia Castellví, Antoni ; Kasperskaya, Yuliya ; Martí Pidelaserra, Jordi
6. Business History
Family Businesses; Districts and Clusters; International Business History; History of Business Ownership and Governance Typologies; Gender in Business History; History of Entrepreneurship; Business Biographies; Business History in Developed and Emerging Markets; Preindustrial Businesses, Chandlerian corporations, SMEs and Multinationals
PhD advisors: Fernàndez Pérez, Paloma ; Sánchez Suárez, Alejandro
7. Mathematical Methods for Business, Finance and Insurance
Tariffication (“a priori” and “a posteriori”) and Provisions in non-life insurance; Solvency of insurers and risk theory models; Public and private social life and welfare insurance; Stochastic finances; Modelization of uncertainty
PhD advisors: Adillon Boladeres, Roman Jordi ; Boj del Val, Eva ; Claramunt, Mercè ; Gonzalez-Vila Puchades, Laura Maria ; Marín Solano, Jesús ; Ribas Marí, Carmen
8. Decision-Making and Game Theory
Cooperative games: the Core, the Shapley value, the nucleolus; Rationing problems; Bankruptcy games; Assignment markets (games); Cost sharing problems
PhD advisors: Calleja, Pedro ; Izquierdo Aznar, Josep Maria ; Mártinez-de-Albéniz Salas, Francisco Javier ; Navas, Jorge ; Núñez Oliva, Marina ; Rafels Pallarola, Carlos
9. Risk in Finance and Insurance
Risk Quantification; Insurance rates; Generalized linear models; Multivariate distributions; Copulas; Non-parametric estimation; Analysis of data; Data mining
PhD advisors: Ayuso Gutiérrez, M.Mercedes ; Bolancé i Losilla, Catalina ; Guillén Estany, Montserrat ; Santolino Prieto, Miguel Angel
10. Models for Dealing with Uncertainty in Decision-Making
Decision making; economy of uncertainty; modeling; growth strategies; fuzzy logic; entrepreneurship; Innovation management; agreggation operators
PhD advisor: Gil Lafuente, Ana Maria
The programme is three years in length if you study full-time or five years if you study part-time. Below is an indicative timetable covering the research period:
|First academic year||Second and subsequent years||Final year|
|Presentation of a detailed thesis proposal, which must include a draft work plan. The proposal will be presented publicly and evaluated by a panel of examiners. Approval of the research plan is an essential requirement to remain in the doctoral programme.||The programme’s monitoring committee evaluates the development of the thesis proposal and the student’s progress in carrying out the research plan.||A reading and defence of the doctoral thesis is the final step to obtain the doctoral degree. In their final academic year, students read their thesis before an appointed panel of examiners.|
Throughout the programme, PhD students are required to participate in a number of complementary activities such as research seminars and the PhD in Business Workshop. They can also participate in the training activities offered by the University of Barcelona’s PhD School, the Faculty of Economics and Business and the PhD programme.
The PhD in Business Academic Committee actively supports PhD in Business candidates who wish to conduct research as a visiting PhD student at a university or research centre outside Spain. Research periods of more than three months may entitle the student to the international doctorate certification, which is added to the doctoral degree qualification following successful presentation and defence of the thesis. Recent host institutions are HEC Montréal, Durham University, University of Chile, Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, University of Minho, Arizona State University…
The programme is aimed at any students seeking to embark on an international career in research in the area of business. As a result, it is essential for candidates to have sufficient training to undertake a doctoral thesis. The university will also place particular value on previously acquired knowledge in the subject areas covered in the doctoral programme.
To be admitted to any doctoral studies at the University of Barcelona, students must have completed at least 300 ECTS credits (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System), of which at least 60 credits must correspond to an official research oriented master’s programme.
Admission to the PhD in Business programme is limited to students who have completed one of the following qualifications:
1. A university master’s degree in Business Research from the UB or a university master’s degree in Actuarial and Financial Sciences. In this latter case, the student must have taken the specialization in Advanced Actuarial and Financial Models.
2. A master’s degree issued by a higher education institution in the European Higher Education Area, of the same academic level and offering equivalent research training to the master’s degrees indicated above, at the discretion of the Academic Committee. Candidates who obtained the advanced studies diploma (Diploma de Estudios Avanzados, DEA) as part of the UB’s doctoral programme in Business Studies and the university master’s degree in Research in Business, Finance and Insurance, taught at the Faculty of Economics and Business from 2007-2008 to 2011-2012, will receive the same consideration.
3. A qualification issued by an education system outside the European Higher Education Area, which shows that the holder has a level of education equivalent to the university master’s degree in Business Research or the university master’s degree in Actuarial and Financial Sciences (specialization in Advanced Actuarial and Financial Models).
1. Proof of proficiency in English. Unless you are a native English speaker or have undertaken a university study programme in English, you need to provide evidence of your English proficiency. Preferred certificates are the Cambridge, TOEFL (Code C086 for all UB Business School programmes) or IELTS. Please upload a copy of it in the application form. Additionally, you can also report the score to us directly via your test center.
2. References. Once your application is reviewed by the admissions team, you will receive an email to provide the name and contact email of two scholars that support your application. They will receive an automated email with general questions about your profile. Only references received before the 7th day after the corresponding period application deadline will be considered.
The PhD in Business attracts young researchers from all over the world. Around two thirds of our students come from abroad. Although they constitute a diverse group in terms of academic background and research focus, there is a clear predominance of candidates with a university degree in Business Management. After the thesis defence, most PhD graduates pursue research careers, either in the academia, public or private sector.
The doctoral programme is the obvious step that young researchers would take after completing the Master in Business Research or the Advanced Actuarial and Financial Models specialisation of the Master in Actuarial and Financial Sciences. Currently, both programmes are taught at the University of Barcelona. Students enrolled on any of these master’s degrees acquire the knowledge and research skills needed to begin a doctoral thesis. That is why a significant share of our PhD candidates have gone through of one of these programmes. However, these are not the only way to gain admission to the PhD in Business. Many students also enter the doctoral programme after completing other research-oriented master’s degrees at other universities.
The doctoral programme in Business at the University of Barcelona is specifically intended for students seeking to embark on an international career in research. After successful completion of the programme, new PhD holders will be able to work as academics in universities, business schools or research centres. However, the academic arena is not only the career opportunity for students. The doctoral programme in Business also prepares them to work in fields like consulting.
At present, alumni of the doctoral programme in Business are working as lecturers and researchers in places like the EADA Business School, the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, the Autonomous University of Barcelona, the EAE Business School, the University of Chile, the University of Veracruz and the Technological University of Panama. Other alumni hold executive positions in companies like Bunge, Grupo Catalana Occidente and CaixaBank or hold analyst positions at international institutions such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
The statistics show that doctoral studies today increase the employability of students. PhD holders can aspire to higher levels of pay. According to the data prepared by the Catalan University Quality Assurance Agency (AQU), 95.4% of all PhD holders in the social sciences have entered the labour market within three years of completing their thesis, while their rate of unemployment is only 3.3%.
Student’s fees for university doctoral degrees are decreed on an annual basis by the Catalan government. The tuition fees for the academic year 2023-2024 are €540,92. Additionally, there is a fee for the thesis defence (€156.87) and a fee for the diploma certificate (€218.15). Based on this year’s fees, the total amount that students should pay during their doctoral studies is:
- Full-time PhD (3 years): €1,997.78
- Part-time PhD (5 years): €3,079.62
More information (in Catalan and Spanish): http://www.ub.edu/acad/es/matricula/precios.html
Information on funding and grants is available at the following link to the webpage of the University of Barcelona. In addition, the University of Barcelona provides students with information on new opportunities as and when calls are announced.
Full scholarships are awarded competitively and require the submission of a separate application. They are offered by public or private institutions and have different starting dates and deadlines. Scholarships characteristics may vary in terms of duration (three or four years), total amount of the grant, extra funding for mobility stays and training activities, and specific requirements (i.e. graduation dates). In most cases, tuition fees are covered.
Your chances of being awarded one of the scholarships depend greatly on your track record, thus having high grades in your bachelor’s and master’s degrees is crucial. You are also encouraged to apply for external support for which you may be eligible.
Our admissions team works closely with all admitted students who need financial assistance, supporting them to evaluate their options and eligibility, and helping them with the scholarship applications.
- FI – Catalan Goverment
- PREDOC – Universitat de Barcelona
- FPU – Spanish Goverment
- La Caixa
- Fundación Universitaria José Luis de Oriol‐Catalina de Urquijo
- Banco Santander (loans for postgraduate studies)
- AGAUR – Generalitat de Catalunya (loans for postgraduate studies)
- AGAUR – Generalitat de Catalunya (loans for tuition fees)
- Research Grants Fundación Banco Sabadell
- SEBAP Mobility Scholarships
- The BritishSpanish Society Scholarship
- EDUFI Fellowship
- Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships for Foreign Scholars and Artists
- Japanese Government Scholarships (Monbukagakusho)
- European Institutes for Advanced Study (EURIAS) Fellowship Programme
- Fundació Montcelimar – Universitat de Barcelona Mobility Grants
- Mobility grants between institutions related to AUIP (Postgraduate Iberoamerican University Association)
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ACADEMIC YEAR 2024-2025
Applications for the 2023-2024 academic year are already closed.
- First period: From November 15, 2023, to March 15, 2024. Resolutions on May 9, 2024.
- Second period: From March 15 to April 30, 2024. Resolutions on June 12, 2024.
To apply for the doctoral programme in Business at the University of Barcelona, a candidate must follow these steps:
Confirm that you meet the admission requirements (Who should apply?)
Fill in the online application form and upload supporting documents:
- Bachelor’s degree transcript of grades and diploma certificate
- Master’s degree transcript of grades (provisional or final version) and diploma certificate (if you have it)
- Letter of motivation (description of your background; your motivation to pursue the PhD in Business programme at the UB; your academic interests; your research and teaching experience; your professional and academic goals. You can also indicate the name of potential advisor/s at the UB that fit with your interests). Please note that you should not contact potential advisor/s. You could instead check their profiles published on our website and write the name of a potential advisor/s in your motivation letter.
- Research proposal (maximum 3 pages)
- Master thesis (if you are currently working on your Master thesis, please send an extended abstract in English — typically around 3 pages)
- Proof of English level (not compulsory if you are a native speaker or you hold a university degree taught in English)
In order to provide us with your references, you must fill in this form, where you will be required to state the name and contact email of two scholars who support your application. They will receive an automated email with general questions about your profile. Only references received before the 7th day after the corresponding period application deadline will be considered.
Once you complete steps 1 to 3, your application will be reviewed by the admissions team and you will receive an email to let you know if everything is in order or if any additional documents or information are required.
Please, take into account that only complete applications will be assessed by the Academic Committee.
Academic resolutions will be notified by email. If you are admitted, you will be required to submit your documents to get the final administrative approval and formalize the enrolment. Students in possession of academic documents issued outside Spain will be required to pay a fee of €218.15 for the administrative review. More information will be provided to admitted students.
Admission deferment policy
Students admitted to the programme that are unable to attend may request a deferment of the admission to the following academic year (only once).
Requests must be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org before October 31st. Each request is reviewed by the Admissions Committee. Please note that deferments are not guaranteed.