Law Photoshoot;19th November 2018

Professional Doctorate in Business Administration DBA

Advance your career in private or public sector management by combining University study with an independent work-based research project.

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Are you a private or public sector management professional looking to advance your career as you work? This Professional Doctorate in Business Administration uses scheduled teaching and independent research to help you do just that. 

In your first year you'll attend the University and study specific topics, before conducting an applied, work-based research project that focuses on topics directly relevant to your organisation in the following years.

You'll develop your professional knowledge and skills as you learn, benefiting both your own career as well as your current employer.

The research on this course addresses real business issues — so you'll help solve organisational problems in your current workplace by providing research outcomes that are directly relevant to your organisation.

When you apply for this course you'll typically be working at a senior or executive level in your organisation, already hold a postgraduate qualification, and be keen to take your management and professional development to new levels.

Course highlights

  • Provide business solutions in your workplace as a result of your research

  • Contribute to applied management research and understanding
  • Develop your business and research knowledge
  • Showcase your expertise with a prestigious doctoral degree
  • Advance your management career

  • Connect with peers studying and conducting research across different sectors

The Professional Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) is a wonderful opportunity to research a business problem in a way that not only enables you to develop potential solutions to that problem, but also to influence your practice and profession. 

Dr Alan Tait, Professional Doctorate in Business Administration Course Leader



Contact Information

Student Recruitment Centre

+44 (0) 23 9284 2991

Contact Student Recruitment Centre

Entry requirements

DBA Professional Doctorate in Business Administration entry requirements (indicative)

  • A postgraduate level qualification or equivalent in an appropriate management related subject.
  • All applicants require a minimum of three years relevant business and management experience.
  • Evidence of recent Continuing Professional Development or leadership experience in a relevant area of business and management/management science will also be considered.

All shortlisted applicants are subject to interview.

English language requirements

English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Course costs and funding

Tuition fees

These fees are based on courses starting in 2024. We'll confirm 2025 fees here soon.

  • Home/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students: £7,600 a year

  • International students: £9,400 a year

All fees are subject to annual increase.  

University of Portsmouth graduates may receive a 20% alumni tuition fee discount

Fees are subject to annual increase. Read our tuition fees terms and conditions.

You'll be able to pay your fees in instalments. Find out how to pay your tuition fees.

Funding your studies

Explore how to fund your studies, including available scholarships and bursaries.

Loans, scholarships and bursaries

Browse funding such as the Government Postgraduate Loan, our scholarships for new and returning students, and subject specific loans.

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Funding for international students

Learn more about sponsorships, scholarships and loans for students applying from outside of the UK.

international business students
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Fees and funding for Master's courses

Explore Master's funding options, including loans, scholarships, bursaries and more.

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Modules (indicative)

This stage of the course prepares you to conduct your research. 

You'll study four modules:

  • Professional Review and Development: This modules will enable you to conduct a critical self-evaluation and identify your own learning requirements in relation to your doctoral programme of study and your own continuous professional development (CPD).
  • Advanced Research Techniques: This module is key to your research practice and will allow you to successfully employ appropriate research theory and methodology in your own doctoral study and professional practice.
  • Publication and Dissemination: This module focuses on output – analysing and critiquing publication and dissemination routes/methods within the field of business and management. It will cover both academic and professional dissemination in journals, books and conferences, as well as examine the need to communicate effectively with a range of professional groups.
  • Proposal for Professional Research and Development: This module will enable you to reflect upon and consolidate prior learning and will underpin the preparation of a costed, coherent, realistic, achievable and well-argued proposal for a programme of professional research and development. This proposal must have been successfully completed in order to be approved by the formal Progression Board.

In this stage of the course you'll study: 

  • Professional Research and Development: This research module spans years two, three and four. This will primarily involve supervision by your assigned DBA Supervisor. This work is overseen by the DBA Director.

The DBA thesis is comparable to a PhD in terms of effort, rigour, and contribution to knowledge, supervision and assessment.

Changes to course content

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

The doctoral journey has opened up a number of doors along the way that would not otherwise have been available — I got chapters published in a couple of books, got to edit a book, and I got to connect and build relationships with some of the key writers and researchers in my field. 

Colm Murphy, Professional Doctorate in Business Administration 2023 graduate

How you'll spend your time

We recognise that you'll probably be juggling multiple demands and commitments when you do this degree, as you may be working or have family responsibilities.

We'll give you as much indication here as we can of how much time you'll need to be on campus and how many hours you can expect to spend in self-directed study, but please note that these indications are always subject to change. You should receive your full timetable several weeks before you start with us.

Course structure

On this course you'll study taught modules, explore research methodology, and conduct research.

This part-time programme involves one year of taught study, followed by a research phase of between four and six years depending on how you progress through the course.

The course has two key stages:

Stage 1 — Taught modules

In your first year you'll attend scheduled teaching activities on campus and complete assessments. 

You can expect: 

  • to study in three one-week blocks on campus
  • to attend in person study weeks in October, February and April
  • to attend workshops and discussion forums

Stage 2 — Research phase

In the following years you'll conduct research and undertake a final assessment. Your research is likely to involve independent study within your own organisation,

In this stage you are not required to attend scheduled teaching on campus, but you will meet regularly with your supervisor.

Typically you'll study for four years in the research phase of the course, but there is no minimum registration in the research phase. This means you could submit your completed thesis at any time during this period of study. You could also request up to an additional two years to complete this phase. 


Teaching staff

Alan William Tait Portrait

Media ready expert

Dr Alan Tait

Senior Lecturer

School of Strategy, Marketing, and Innovation

Faculty of Business and Law

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How you're assessed

In your first year you'll be assessed through:

  • coursework assignments

In further years, you'll be assessed through:

  • research-based report, submitted in your final year

The DBA program acted as a catalyst for my professional career.

Thanks to the program I not only learned many new skills methodologically, but was able to become an expert in my research topic: the field of Risk Management of Leasing Companies.

I still benefit from this today and am now active as the managing director of a medium-sized leasing company.

Christian Glasser, Professional Doctorate in Business Administration 2018 graduate

Supporting you

During your first year you'll have a mentor to help you develop your research topic and prepare you for the research phase of the course. After the first year you'll be guided by a team of two academic supervisors.

You'll also connect with a small group of 3 or 4 peers who are at the same stage of DBA research as you, where you'll benefit from sharing ideas and learning experiences.

13th December 2018
CCI Facilities and Students

Graduate School Development Programme

The Graduate School Development Programme (GSDP) offers free online and in-person training, workshops and special interest groups to support students at all stages of their research degrees.

Topics include:

  • research design
  • doctoral process
  • career development

Training is delivered by expert tutors.

Explore the programme

Term dates

The taught stage of this course September to the following summer, with breaks at Christmas and Easter. 

See key dates


Before you start your application you'll need the following documentation:

  • A research proposal and a personal statement
  • Proof of your first degree and grades (officially certified and translated copies if not in English)
  • Proof of a relevant postgraduate degree with at least 60 credits having been completed
  • Details of 2 referees or 2 references on official headed paper, one of which should ideally be an academic reference
  • Proof of your English language proficiency (if English is not your first language)
  • An up-to-date copy of your CV

Before applying you should email Dr Alan Tait on to discuss your project ideas. 

Standard applications

You can apply for this course in September 2025. In the meantime, you can sign up to an Open Evening

Prefer to study online?

Looking for more flexibility with your studies? You can study a Global Doctorate in Business Administration online.

Find out more.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.