Doctoral Studies at SBS-EM

The Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), via SBS-EM, offers a Ph.D. degree in Economics and Management (in French: doctorat en sciences économiques et de gestion). The Ph.D. title rewards original and independent research in Economics or Management that significantly advances the state of knowledge in these disciplines.

In practice, the Ph.D. studies involve advanced training (in French: “formation doctorale”) that helps Ph.D. candidates acquire the necessary tools and knowledge to carry out independent research. At SBS-EM, this training is organised in “tracks”, which correspond to different areas of specialisation: Management Science, Economics and Economics & Statistics. Each track has its own requirements. Tracks are hosted in research centers, which also provide administrative and logistical support for their doctoral students. As of today, about 100 doctoral students are enrolled at SBS-EM.

SBS-EM is part of the Graduate School in Economics (all universities in French-speaking Belgium + KU Leuven) and the Ecole Doctorale Thématique en Sciences de Gestion (ULB - U. Mons – HEC Liège) which pool the offer of advanced courses across the member universities. All registered Ph.D. students at SBS-EM have access to these courses. In addition, each track has its own privileged academic partners for the organisation of scientific visits of doctoral students and other events (see the information on the respective tracks for details).


Track Research Center Director of PhD Administrative Support
Economics and
Economics & Statistics

Prof. Mattia NARDOTTO
Management Science CEB Prof. François RYCX Ms. Anne-Lise REMY

Scientific mobility during the thesis

Successful research often involves tapping expertise where it is. For this reason, many doctoral students at SBS-EM spend anything from a week to one semester visiting another university during their doctoral studies. In addition to visits organised through the individual contacts of the advisor, several structural programmes exist to facilitate such scientific visits.


  • The CEB track in management science has a privileged relationship with Université de Paris I, which culminates with a yearly faculty-students conference and also course exchanges. Through its partnership with University of Mons and HEC Liège, students in the management track also access to (and get credit for) courses in Maastricht, Lille and Strasbourg.
  • The ECARES tracks in economics and in economics and statistics are part of ECORES and the ENTER network for training in Economics, consisting of 8 European universities: Universidad Autonomà de Barcelona, University College London, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Universität Mannheim, Stockholm University, Stockholm School of Economics, Tilburg University and Université Toulouse 1 Sciences Sociales . ENTER organises a yearly Jamboree where doctoral students present and an exchange programme for doctoral students (automatic admissions and access to courses).

An increasing fraction of our students pursue their Ph.D. in collaboration with another university, according to a format called joint supervision (cotutelle in French). During a joint supervision, the student is registered as a doctoral student in both universities. S/he shares his/her time between both universities and receives supervision at both universities. Upon graduation, s/he receives a joint degree or two degrees mentioning the joint supervision Candidates interested in joint supervision should discuss this matter with the academic coordinator of their Ph.D. track. Your coordinator at the research department of ULB can provide advice in writing a joint supervision agreement. 


About 15 Ph.D. students graduate every year at SBS-EM. Upon graduation, about half of them find employment in academia and the other half in policy institutions such as the European Central Bank, the Belgian National Bank, the Belgian Planning Bureau or the OECD to name just a few of the recent placements. Recent academic placements include Boston University, Waseda University, Manchester University, KU Leuven, the London Business School and the University of Copenhagen. Finally, every year, some graduates find employment in the private sector or start their own business.

Applications and Fees

All prospective doctoral students must submit an application for admission into the doctoral programme at SBS-EM. ECARES application form can be found here and sent to Anne-Marie Notarianni while CEB application can be completed here and sent to Anne-Lise Remy.

All applicants must hold a master’s degree in Economics or Management, or equivalent.  The deadline for application is September 30 for EU citizens and April 30 for non-EU citizens.  Admission may be granted into the doctoral training (formation doctorale), directly to the Ph.D. (doctorat), or both. Candidates are usually first admitted into the doctoral training, and they get admitted into the Ph.D. once they successfully complete their doctoral training. Candidates without advanced training in Economics enter the “Economics and Statistics” and “Economics” tracks by first taking an advanced research master in Economics or Economics & Statistics.

  1. CEB forms are in French and in English. If you need assistance filling them, please contact the administrative support person from the intended track.
  2. ECARES (Economics and Economics and Statistics tracks) organises as faster pre-admission process. The form in English can be downloaded from the ECARES website. An academic decision is taken within a couple of weeks. Note, however, that this decision is not an official decision, but simply an indication that your application will be favourably looked at. You will still need to complete the official forms, before the deadline, on the ULB website to be formally admitted.



Funding for incoming students is limited and interested applicants are urged to contact as soon as possible the director of the Ph.D. track they are interested in to inquire about such funding opportunities.

Possibilities include seed-financing by ULB, seed-financing sponsored by faculty grants or by the Marie Christine Adam Foundation, and research assistantships. Some incoming students combine a teaching assistant position with their first year course-work although this is not advised because of the heavy workload this involves.

Starting from the second year, doctoral students who successfully complete the first year requirements are funded through a combination of teaching assistantships (maximum 6 years), doctoral fellowships (e.g. from the Belgian National Science Foundation), faculty grants or other sources. Doctoral fellowships are for four years only. Doctoral students who do not complete their Ph.D. after their fellowships have expired usually combine work outside and the completion of their Ph.D.

Updated on January 31, 2024