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Pathway to Ph.D. Program

The structured and part-time program for your doctorate / PH.D. studies with our partners

Your path to a part-time Ph.D. program includes the opportunity to apply and enroll at one of our partner universities. Our program offers you the unique chance to complete a postgraduate course alongside your professional activity and further apply for a Ph.D./ doctoral study place at one of renowned partner universities. Particularly outstanding is the cooperation with the state-run University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland/ Australia (UniSC), where you can apply after successfully completing our Pathway to Ph.D. porgam. Our program is perfectly coordinated with UniSC in terms of content and structure.


Christina Katsikadeli_SMBS Studienberatung

Dr. Christina Katsikadeli, Mag., M.A. 
Program Management Ph.D. 

Tel: +43 676 88 2222 34

Let’s arrange an individual appointment with me – in our office, by telephone or via an online meeting. I am looking forward to hearing from you. 


Dr. Christina Katsikadeli, Mag., M.A. 
Program Management Ph.D. 

Tel: +43 676 88 2222 34

Let’s arrange an individual appointment with me – in our office, by telephone or via an online meeting. I am looking forward to hearing from you.  

Key Facts

Duration/ Mode

  • Program start: Autumn 2024
  • The program offers the flexibility of a full-time or part-time mode.
  • Year 1 and 2 consist of the pathway program @SMBS Austria
  • After elgibility check by partner universities: The third year (+) of the program is conducted in a blended learning format at our partner universities.

Program Feed

Year 1 + 2: €22.400,- (€ 5.600,- per semester)

After successful application at partner university e.g. UniSC AU$ 14.700,- p.a. excl. travel costs *

**subject to adjustments and modifications

Program Language

English (Proof of English Proficiency pre-condition) 

Academic Degree

  • After successful completion of pathway: SMBS Certificate
  • After succesful promotion at partner universities e.g. at UniSC: Ph.D. – Doctor of Philosophy in International Business Management.

Entry requirements

Master’s degree, preferably MBA or equivalent master/ diploma (pre-Bologna structure) from officially recognised and accredited higher education institutions (university or university of applied sciences) 

Admission and enrollment in the doctoral program is decided by the academic management at SMBS


Program responsibility at SMBS

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Simon Oertel

Strategic Management & Organisation

Paris Lodron University of Salzburg


Program start: Autumn 2024

Modules & Content

The Pathway Program at SMBS focuses on the first stages of your postgraduate research work. The research progress and the correct methodological approach within your work are monitored by regualár evaluations.

Students also get feedback from professors at our partner universities during the Pathway Program in the form of annual attestations. 

In addition to scientific research work, participation in seminars, conferences and workshops and also publications, you receive (at least) annual evaluations by professors from our partner universities. Various teaching activities are mandatory. 

*Adjustments and appropriate modifications reserved

Sample Pathway Procedure

Module 1: Philosophy of Science and Scientific Theory

Module 2: Research Methods and Research Design for Business Management

Module 3: Advanced Statistics for Business and Economic Research

Course 1: Independent Research Study “Philosophy of Science / Scientific Theory”

Course 2: Independent Research Study “Research Methods and Research Design for Business Management” 

Module 4: Advanced Studies and Methods in HR & Marketing

Course 4.1.: Socio-Economic and Socio-Psychological Implications of Business

Course 4.2.: Contemporary Approaches of Business Management and Marketing Research

Course 3: Independent Research Study Module 4.1.

Course 4: Independent Research Study Module 4.2.

  • Workshop: study management
  • 2 x Active participation in conference
  • 2 x Annual Attestation
  • Teaching (25 Units)

Application at partner universities for PhD studies.

  • Doctoral Seminars at SMBS: 1-3 days each
  • Participation in conferences/ doctoral candidate workshops with paper presentations
  • Classroom activities at higher education institutions
  • Supervision and instruction by SMBS supervisor 
  • Intermediate evaluation and assessment of pathway students by professors of SMBS
  • Completion of the initial stage of postgradual studies and research


Christina Katsikadeli_SMBS Studienberatung

Dr. Christina Katsikadeli, Mag., M.A.
Program Management Ph.D. 

Tel: +43 676 88 2222 34

Let’s arrange an individual appointment with me – in our office, by telephone or via an online meeting. I am looking forward to hearing from you. 


Dr. Christina Katsikadeli, Mag., M.A. 
Program Management Ph.D. 

Tel: +43 676 88 2222 34

Let’s arrange an individual appointment with me  – in our office, by telephone or via an online meeting. I am looking forward to hearing from you. 

Examples of successfully completed dissertations at the UniSC

Leonard Martin Vance PhD.



Dr. Ben Hahnewald



Cooperation partners in the Pathway to Ph.D. program

University of the Sunshine Coast_Logo
University of the Sunshine Coast (UniSC), Brisbane
Paris Lodron University Salzburg

We have summarized some Frequently Asked Questions for you. For individual questions, please contact Dr. Christina Katsikadeli Mag. MA.

The degrees are determined by the respective partner universities and are anchored in their curricula. At UniSC, for example, students complete their studies with the academic degree “Ph.D. (philosophiae doctor) in International Business Management” awarded by the University of the Sunshine Coast (UniSC). 

The minimum duration of study at SMBS is 4 Semesters up to a maximum of 8 semesters. After a successful application at our partner university, the duration of studies is 2 to 4 semesters. 

The amount of work for the Pathway to Ph.D. is assessed with 6o credit points. 

The total workload (SMBS and partner university) contains 180 – 240 credit points. 

Like all courses at SMBS, the Pathway to Ph.D. can be completed part-time due to its modular structure. The research project, which is scientifically researched as part of the program, can – if it meets the quality criteria of the program – be anchored in a professional context. 

The new cycle will start in autumn 2024. Another start date is possible by arrangement. Please contact Dr. Christina Katsikadeli at

The first two years of studies – the pathway program – take place in Salzburg. The postgraduate program is completed with a partner university of your choice. Example UniSC: The academic year is completed in a “blended learning” format. At on-site seminar at UniSC of at least four weeks presence is mondatory. 

Your contact person at SMBS – University of Salzburg Business School is: 

Dr. Christina Katsikadeli Program Management Ph.D. at SMBS

During the Pathway to Ph.D., students are mentored by SMBS professors. If the student is successfully accepted by a partner university, the local professors will take over. 

The working and exam language of the Pathway to Ph.D. is English. 

The costs amount to € 22.400,- (excl. travel expenses).

In addition to writing the first sections of your postgraduate research thesis, students are required to attend research seminars, participate in scientific conferences with poster and paper presentations, take part in academic teaching, attend workshops and complete examinations. Fore more detailed information on the requirements, please contact  Dr. Christina Katsikadeli. 

Applicants with a completed, state-recognized Master’s degree or a comparable, state-organized Master’s/ Diploma degrees are accepted to the Pathway to Ph.D. program. An assessment interview will take place after the application documents have been reviewed. There is a limited number of study places. 

Please submit the following application documents as a PDF file to

  • English-language CV with photo
  • University degree certificates (transcripts and certificates) as certified copies
  • English-language draft of your research project
  • Proof of competence in research methodology
  • English language skills declaration

Applications can only be submitted in written form, online or by post, together with the complete application documents. After submitting all required application documents, all formally qualified applicants will be invited to an assessment interview in Salzburg. After successfully completing the assessment, the Academic Director will decide on the admission. Early application is recommended, as the number of study places is limited.