The Independent / External PHD Study Mode is designed for candidates who wish to complete fully independent, non-supervised studies as an external student. Independent / External study mode students enjoy many of the same benefits and resources of the standard mode students except that they complete the research and writing of the manuscript in a self-managed fashion. The study mode offers a high level of flexibility ideal for the busy schedules of working professionals.


Candidates choosing this study mode are self-motivated, research minded and extremely well disciplined with a strong sense of academics. The study mode offers the candidate the ability to coordinate with an academic adviser but otherwise provides the candidate with full independence to complete their manuscript under their own schedule while availing themselves of the research resources of the university. Candidates should hold a research based degree as a prerequisite along with appropriate history of accomplishment within academic, personal and professional life.

Program Flow

The standard duration for the External / Independent Study Mode is 36 months. Students must complete the quantitative and qualitative research methods course and prepare the research plan. The full program flow is shown below

  • Acceptance Into The program (Month 0)
  • Quantitative Research Methods Online Course Module(Months 1 to 3)
  • Qualitative Research Methods Online Course Module (Months 4 to 6)
  • Research Plan Perfecting Online Course Module (Months 7 to 8)
  • Dissertation Research Independent Phase (Months 9 to Month 26)
  • Submission of Dissertation For Review (Month 28)
  • Defense Preparation (Month 33)
  • Defense (Month 36)

Research Plan

Once in the program external students will be required to provide a research plan to the Adminstration before starting their research phase. An example of a research plan in acceptable form is found below:

Comparison Of Study Modes

The External/Independent mode includes many of the benefits of the Standard mode. The matrix below illustrates the principle differences between the two modes of study. External/Independent students may also attend Doctoral workshops and symposiums presented several times per year. There is an additional cost of attendance per event. External students also benefit from a full review of their dissertation once completed and obtain feedback for modification or suggestions of changes by the faculty before being scheduled for their defense. This helps to maximize the quality of the dissertation work presented to the defense committee.


The PhD  program is available to be completed through the Independent / External study mode. The independent / external study mode has a rolling admission and be started at any time. Applicants should indicate the Independent / External mode when submitting the online application form.



All Independent / External study mode students must defend their thesis at the school in Switzerland. Defenses take place at the Rapperswil Castle on Lake Zurich.


Candidates wishing to enter the program as an External Study Mode student must apply to the necessary program indicating the independent / external study option. Upon being accepted into the program the candidate is provisioned onto the Student Learning Management System (LMS) and Email system and given access to the library resources of the university and thus may begin their research. Independent / External candidates must also complete the fundamental research modules within their first year, being: quantitative research methods, qualitative research methods and the research plan perfecting module.


The minimum duration for the external study mode is the same as for the standard study mode being 36 months. Students have up to 60 months to complete the program.


The cost of the Independent / External Study Mode is 6,000 Euros per annum. Fees are paid on an annual basis in advance. Fees are applicable for a full year and are not pro-rata by month for partial year.