doctoral program


The doctoral program at SBM NMIMS started in 2004 – 05, shortly after the institute received the Deemed to be University status. The eminently successful program continues to commit itself towards ever higher standards in research outputs.

The program primarily caters to working professionals in management domains. To accommodate such working professionals, the lectures are held during weekends (and preferably on the second and fourth weekends of a month).

As of now, the program offers specializations in the areas of Strategy/General Business Environment, Marketing, Human Resources/Organization Behaviour, Finance, Economics, Information Systems, Operations Research, and Communications, depending on expertise and guides available. The program is fully in compliance with the latest UGC norms (May 2016), and in most cases follows standards that are much more stringent than UGC’s specified norms. A few salient features of the program are listed below:


The program accepts students by an admissions test that evaluates students on general aptitude through a GMAT-style examination, followed by a subject-specific essay-type written test. Candidates have to score at least 50% in this examination to proceed to the next stage, where an interview is conducted to further assess the research aptitude of candidates. At least one of the interviewers is from a different institute (external) for each subject. Candidates that are selected after this second round are offered admission subject to availability of seats.

Course Work

Two-year course work is undertaken by the students. The first year comprises 150 hours of lecture time that focuses on various research methods relevant for research in the field of management. In particular, students take courses in Research Methods (Quantitative) (60 hours of classroom interaction), Research Methods (Qualitative) (30 hours of classroom interaction), and two sequences of Statistical Methods (30 hours of classroom interaction each) in the first year. In the second year, students are, required to take at least 120 hours (four each of 30 hours) of classes: two in their specialization sequence (major), one in an allied sequence (minor), and one in further skill-building (econometrics, qualitative methods, experimental design etc.).

Comprehensive Examination

At the completion of the two-year coursework, the students, starting in 2019 – 20, will need to write a comprehensive examination before proceeding further. The goal is to ensure that students are prepared to undertake research with some help from the guide. This is one of the global best practices adopted by top research universities. The students are assessed on a rubric-based system and are given two opportunities to pass the examination. Upon passing the of the examination, the students move on to the next stage.

Guided Research

After the comprehensive examination, students move on to guided research. Each student forms a Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) with at least 3 members, but the number of members can go up to 5. The primary guide is from NMIMS, and from SBM. In addition, a secondary TAC member is also from SBM. For the third member, we strongly encourage students to have a member from the outside. The students work with the TAC to come to the first milestone in this phase.

Thesis Proposal

The students need to prepare and defend a thesis proposal usually by the end of the third year of their Ph. D. journey. The proposal covers the theoretical framework relied upon in research and a thorough literature review leading to a research gap, and also the statements of hypothesis or the theoretical framework. The proposal also touches upon data to be relied on, and measurements of different constructs and variables, the proposed sampling strategy and the proposed statistical estimation methods, or any other data analysis methods as per study design. Prior to a proposal being presented, an internal presentation is done to ensure that the proposal is of acceptable quality. The proposal is presented in front of a Research and Recognition Committee (RRC), which consists of Dean (SBM), TAC members and two external subject matter experts (SME). After successfully defending the proposal, the student commences fieldwork and/or other research work towards completion of the thesis.

Synopsis Defence

Prior to submission of the thesis, the students need to once again make a public presentation. Prior to a synopsis being presented, an internal presentation is done to ensure that the thesis is of an acceptable quality. The synopsis is presented in front of a Research and Recognition Committee (RRC), which consists of Dean (SBM), TAC members and two external subject matter experts. After successfully defending synopsis, the student is ready to submit the thesis for final evaluation. In the meantime, the student is also expected to publish at least two papers in reputed peer-reviewed journals (typically ABDC-listed journals, or Scopus-indexed journals).

Thesis Evaluation

After submitting the thesis to the examination office, the thesis is sent to two external reviewers for their evaluation. If the reviewers believe that the thesis meets acceptable standards, a final viva-voce is scheduled in the University. The student is awarded the degree after the successful final defence.

The SBM-NMIMS is partnering with international institutions of repute for student guidance, guest lectures and other workshops to provide value additions to students. The program has resulted in scholars publishing in high-quality journals at the start of their academic careers, and also otherwise provide a demonstration of good scholarship.

Associate Dean’s Message

Thank you for your interest in our doctoral program. A doctoral degree represents the highest academic degree achievable, and at SBM NMIMS, we are committed to providing you with a training that will not only help you receive this degree but will enable you to be an expert, scholar, and a skilled researcher.

We offer Ph. D. both in full-time and part-time mode, which is more suited for senior practitioners and professionals. While currently most of our students are doing the program in a part-time mode, we are recently building up our full-time student body as well: in the incoming class of 2020, full-time students outnumber part-time ones.

The program started in 2004-05 and has come a long way since. Recently, we have made a series of changes completely revamping the program. Because management is a discipline that informs and shapes managerial and organizational practices, the rigour of study - demonstrated through reliance on strong theoretical foundations and usage of state-of-the-art data analysis methods - as well as relevance to practitioners are emphasized in developing dissertation projects.

Among the salient features of this program are:

  1. Rigorous two-year coursework that trains students in both quantitative and qualitative research methods, and in applying them in their research
  2. A focus on theoretical development and critical analysis of academic papers during coursework in the majors of choice
  3. A comprehensive examination at the end of two-year coursework that evaluates students’ ability to conduct research independently with supervision by a Thesis Advisory Committee
  4. Potential to work with reputed scholars globally who possibly become part of the Thesis Advisory Committee
  5. Publications in high-quality peer-reviewed journals that enhance the reputation of the scholars as well as that of SBM NMIMS

To encourage young scholars, we provide stipends to full-time students of the program. We hope that you will find the above information helpful while deciding on your doctoral journey and consider applying to the program. Please contact us if you need more information.

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