Program structure and curriculum

Individual endeavor in a supportive learning community

The DBA program is a tutorial program that revolves around guidance in writing the DBA dissertation. Hitotsubashi 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 dissertation 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 dissertation is essentially different from a general management book, which typically expresses ideas based on unsupported conjecture. Writing a DBA dissertation 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 dissertation will identify a research question and assess a range of theories and frameworks for resolving it. Over three years, with the support of a dissertation advisor and dissertation committee members, you’ll develop a set of hypotheses and explore/examine those using social scientifically rigorous approaches and methods. Once your dissertation project is approved, you will qualify for a grant from the DBA committee to cover related expenses (maximum per DBA candidate and project: JPY 100,000).

See list of past Hitotsubashi ICS DBA dissertations

Throughout the three (to six) years of the program, 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 (see DBA Admissions page for more on scholarship opportunities). Full-time students are expected to fully commit to the program and to create and maintain an effective learning community as an assistant to the faculty. In addition, full-time students are strongly encouraged to work as a paid researcher of a well-funded faculty research project.

  • Required courses
    Research Method
    Research Positioning
    Advanced Research Positioning
  • Elective courses
    Advanced Research Method – Quantitative Approach,Advanced Research Method – Qualitative Approach, Advanced Research Method – Experimental Approach,Advanced Research Method – Data Analysis, Advanced Research Method – Modeling Approach
  • Begin Dissertation development
  • Formalize dissertation ideas into Dissertation Proposal
  • Gain approval of Dissertation Proposal by Supervisor and Review Committee
    (Supervisor + two other faculty)
  • Dissertation Defense
    with Review Committee, open to public
  • Disseminate his/her dissertation, by publishing research articles to peer-reviewed academic journals and/or a book


Hitotusbashi ICS DBA program stractrue