Program structure and curriculum policy

The DBA program is a tutorial program that revolves around guidance in writing the DBA thesis. ICS offers a supportive learning environment with formal coursework and interaction with other DBA students and faculty, while the student engages in his or her own individual research initiatives.

A DBA thesis considers a set of theoretically consistent hypotheses using data that has been gathered and analyzed through social scientific approaches and methods. By presenting objective evidence and comparing the presented hypotheses with alternative hypotheses, the DBA thesis is essentially different from a general management book, which typically expresses ideas based on unsupported conjecture. Writing the DBA thesis puts the theoretical consistency behind the hypotheses, the feasibility of practical application, and the thoroughness behind the investigation, to the test.

The DBA program values independence in learning. As a DBA candidate, you’ll determine the course and nature of your own personal specialization, while learning to produce unique research at the leading edge of a management field. Your thesis will identify a research question and assess a range of theories and frameworks for resolving it. You’ll develop a set of hypotheses and explore/examine those using social scientifically rigorous approaches and methods. Once your thesis project is approved, you will qualify for a grant from the DBA committee to cover related expenses (maximum per DBA candidate: JPY 100,000).

Some DBA students serve as a research assistant (RA) or teaching assistant (TA) for their supervisor or other ICS faculty member, and/or conduct joint research with ICS faculty. ICS offers scholarship opportunity for full-time students if the student is not fully supported by an external agency such as MEXT. Full-time students are expected to commit to the program and to create and maintain an effective learning community. In addition, full-time students are strongly encouraged to work as a paid researcher of a well-funded faculty research project.

Program structure

Hitotusbashi ICS DBA Program structure

Curriculum policy

The DBA program aims to recognize the individual needs and strengths of students. Each student is expected to design, implement, and complete a research project under advisor supervision, with their work culminating in a thesis. DBA students are also encouraged to use their thesis as the basis for papers that appear in academic journals or for book publication.

Each DBA student is assigned a thesis advisor when enrolled. The thesis advisor will work closely with the student to determine DBA course offerings that are appropriate for his/her areas of interest, and provide guidance to direct the student toward research that can potentially become a topic appropriate for the DBA thesis.

When the student has a better grasp and focus of a particular area of research that may evolve into thesis research, the student is expected to assemble a three-member DBA thesis committee. The committee is committed to providing students support and guidance throughout the thesis writing process while respecting the individual student’s interests and goals. The committee will support the students in preparing for the DBA thesis proposal, and eventually the successful completion of the DBA thesis itself.

DBA students are required to take the designated courses as follows:
Year 1: Four courses and seminar
Three required courses (Research Positioning, Advanced Research Positioning, Research Method) and one elective course (any of the available courses from Advanced Research Method)
Year 2: Two courses and seminar
Two required courses (Research Positioning, Advanced Research Positioning)
Year 3 and beyond: One course and seminar
One required course (Research Positioning)