Westcliff University

The Westcliff University campuses are located in Irvine, California, Los Angeles, California, and in Miami, Florida. It is regionally and globally accredited. It was founded with the aim of providing high-quality education for students in the expanding fields of Business and Education.

Since 1993, the University has enjoyed accreditation by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Westcliff places special emphasis on preparing students for the practical and theoretical demands of the labour market.

Westcliff University offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in 21 areas of study, including business, education, STEM and law.


ISM and Westcliff University have developed a cooperation which allows ISM graduates and other graduates to apply for a DBA program.

The entire application process is supervised by ISM. In a two-stage application process, ISM first pre-selects suitable applicants, while Westcliff University then makes the final decision on the acceptance of the doctoral topic. The supervision of the work is carried out jointly by both partners, each of which also provides at least one supervisor. The maximum number of candidates is five to eight per year. The start date of the individual doctoral programs is flexible.

More information about this PhD & DBA Program (PDF)

DBA Doctor of Business Administration

The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) takes two years full-time and three years part-time. The doctoral thesis deals with a research project with a strong practical focus. All students on the doctoral program are required to complete a 30 ECTS research training course. Three years of professional experience are required for admission.

Admission Requirements

  • Excellence in academic qualifications, e.g. minimum GPA: 2.0 (according to German grading system).
  • An official undergraduate degree or the equivalent and an official Master’s degree, that is, a total of 300 ECTS, 60 ECTS at Master’s level at least.
  • For whom English is not the first language, a minimum level of C1 has to be demonstrated, proof of English language proficiency: IELTS 7.0 or TOEFL 600 (pbt) / 90-95 (ibt) or above.
  • Completed application form, which will be handed out by ISM after a first preliminary interview with the candidate. It includes a research proposal at an appropriate level for doctoral studies.


Applications are to be submitted to Prof. Kai Rommel, Vice President for Research at ISM (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Please include the following documents (in English language):

  • Research Proposal: Proposed area of research (department), types of research methods to be used, relation to any previous research done in this field (4-6 pages)
  • Academic transcripts/Degree certificates (Master degree in a relevant discipline with a final grade of 2.0 or better (according to German grading system).
  • Proof of English language proficiency
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Two reference letters
  • Evidence of financial sponsoring
  • Application Form (issued by ISM after consulting session)

Once this process has been successfully completed, an interview will take place with a member of the academic staff at Westcliff University. A full application for Westcliff University will then be submitted. All students on the DBA program are required to complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methodology (30 ECTS).

The Research Methods and Research Philosophy specialization courses are offered at Westcliff University in the winter semester.

In addition, an ISM seminar week is offered at ISM Dortmund in the summer semester. Both the two specializations and the ISM seminar week are compulsory and each last one week.


Fees DBA

Application costs: €2,500
Year 1: €11,385
Year 2: €11,385
Year 3: €11,385
Total costs: €36,655*

*Fees subject to change.

The duration for the DBA full-time is 3 years.

Fees due: €500 due on conclusion of the contract; €1,000 due after acceptance by the ISM; €1,000 due after acceptance by Westcliff University.

More information about this PhD Program (PDF)

Counseling PhD & DBA Programs

Prof. Dr. Kai Rommel

Vice President for Research
Prof. Dr. Kai Rommel
+49 231.97 51 39-76
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Anette Herbst

Research Assistant
Anette Herbst
+49 69.66 05 93 67-57
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