Program Overview

The BSL DBA in Sustainable Business is an equally challenging and fulfilling experience that will enable you to dive deep in rigorous exploration of topics that matter to you, while also reflecting on your personal journey as an individual and professional who wants to make a difference.

Program Objectives

  • You will build expertise in sustainability action research through your participation in a collaborative research project with an international group of participants. Through the project, you will develop insights in three key domains: moving from business-as-usual to business sustainability (based on existing research); adapting to the new paradigm (based on emerging best practices); and becoming a truly sustainable organization (based on input from pioneers).
  • You will acquire new research methodologies for tackling complex business and societal issues and will develop skills in leading change, consulting transforming organizations, and integrating sustainability and responsibility in business. You will advance your knowledge in sustainability and will combine it a deeper understanding of responsible leadership practices.
  • You will build a global network of applied sustainability scholars and will become part of a community of experienced business professionals or teaching scholars who are at the forefront of developing practical applications for integrating sustainability to business.

The program in a nutshell

The program is part-time, distance learning, and takes about 3 years to complete. Designed for working professionals, it allows candidates to research independently and in their own time. The program requires a visit at BSL once per year for the Annual Research Symposium which gathers all teaching instructors and research candidates for one week.

Throughout the program, doctoral candidates will be supported at each stage of research and writing and will be encouraged to share their learning and experience with cohort participants. In close collaboration with the Global Doctoral Alliance (GDA) of 50+20, a number of training workshops will be offered as webinars and symposia.

Program format


3-4 months evaluation phase  (includes the completion of the literature review and first paper)

3-4 years of research phase and thesis submission (includes up to 4 visits to BSL in Switzerland)

6 months publishing and defense phase -  up to 6 months to finalize publishing and thesis defense arrangements.

Evaluation phase
  • Application and admission process
  • Literature review and essay on state of the art (3-4 months)
 Research phase

Year 1

  • Training in research methodology and skills development (6 months)
  • Conceptual work: analysis of sustainability models (3 months)
  • Selection of companies for the case studies (1-3 months)
  • Historical analysis of the selected companies (4-6 months)

 Year 2-3

  • Submission of an article based on the findings (3-5 months)
  • Applying the chosen sustainability model to the selected companies (3-4 months)
  • Collaborative in-company field experiments (6-12 months)
  • Conclusions and outlook (3-4 months)
  • Submission of DBA thesis