ERIM provides a five year graduate school – a doctoral programme – focused on nurturing academic talent. Its main goal is to enable promising students to become top researchers at world best business schools and develop into "thought leaders".

The doctoral programme offers a challenge of intellect and persistence, consisting of 2 years of advanced course work plus 3 years of dissertation work. This includes systematic coaching and academic personality development by leading academics. A balanced amount of time is also devoted to developing and strengthening teaching skills, which are indispensable for a successful academic career. After completing the two years of course work each student receives a Master title; the PhD degree is awarded after defending the dissertation.

Candidates can enter the doctoral programme at three different stages; in the first year on the basis of a bachelor degree, in the second year on the basis on an MSc degree, and in the third year on the basis of a relevant MPhil degree. Selection criteria are challenging and only top students are able to enter the programme.