Mode of StudyPart time
Start dateSeptember 2023
Our Professional Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) is our flagship programme in business and management. It’s designed for private and public sector management professionals – typically at a senior or executive level – who want to advance their careers through a doctoral degree, while continuing their career.
When you join our DBA course, you'll experience an intensive taught phase before conducting applied, work-based research that deals with topics that are directly relevant to your organisation.
So as you learn, you'll develop your professional knowledge and skills to help solve concrete organisational problems in your current workplace – benefiting both your employers and your own career.
Looking for more flexibility with your studies? You can study a Global Doctorate in Business Administration online.
DBA students can:
Experience a unique approach to intellectual inquiry emphasising the integration of theory and practice
- Conduct practice-oriented research
- Contribute to applied management knowledge
- Develop intellectually and personally as an individual, as an executive and as a contributor to the professional community
- Gain a prestigious doctoral degree achieved through a rigorous, structured and comprehensive educational experience
The benefits of a DBA
The DBA is aimed at senior professionals with postgraduate qualifications who wish to take their management and professional development to new levels, add to their professional body of knowledge and further develop their own management careers.
The research focus of the DBA addresses real business issues, with the results providing professional outcomes that are of direct relevance to your organisation. Research is both theoretical and practical. The DBA thesis is comparable to a PhD in terms of effort, rigour, and contribution to knowledge, supervision and assessment.
Structure and teaching
Our part-time programme involves between three and seven years study (depending on each student's progress) which includes taught modules, research methodology and action research. It's assessed by assignments primarily during year one (taught year), culminating in the assessment of a doctoral level, research-based report in your final year.
Supervision and support is also a major component of the course. An allocated supervisor will guide and support you throughout your research programme and you will benefit from the ideas and learning experiences of your peers in what we call a ‘learning set’ (a small group of 3 or 4 peers who are at the same stage of DBA research as you).
The course comprises 2 key stages:
Part one – year 1:
The taught component and assignment assessments. There will be workshops and discussion forums and must be available to attend these. There's no attendance requirement in subsequent years, as your research is likely to comprise independent study in your own organisation, although regular meetings with your supervisor will be necessary.
Part two – from year 2 onwards:
The research component and final assessment. A formal ‘Progression Board’, by which students should have successfully completed all first year assignments, denotes progression from stage one to stage two.
A formal ‘Progression Board’, by which students should have successfully completed all first year assignments, denotes progression from stage one to stage two.
Key stages of the DBA
This is the 'taught' component of the programme, which will equip students with the skills that they will need in preparation for Part two. Part one consists of 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.
You will study a research module (Professional Research and Development) spanning years two, three and four. This will primarily involve supervision by your assigned DBA Supervisor and is overseen by the DBA Director, who will seek to ensure that timely progress is being made in the research, resulting in appropriate completion.
In part two, our DBA students can benefit from many training opportunities that are provided by the Graduate School. The Graduate School Development Programme (GSDP) offers free online and in-person training, workshops and special interest groups covering topics such as research design, doctoral process and career development. They're delivered by our expert tutors, and support students at all stages of their research degrees. For more information on our training and development, visit our Graduate School Development page.
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.
How you're assessed
Assessment is by coursework assignments at the end of the first year and students progress to the individual research phase after having passed the year one assessment. During the first taught year, students are allocated a mentor to help them develop their research topic in more depth and to prepare them for the research phase where they will be guided by a team of two academic supervisors over the following years.
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.
Home/CI students: £6,800 a year
- International students: £8,500 a year
All fees are subject to annual increase.
If you graduated from the university with an undergraduate degree, you could be entitled to our Alumni Discount for further study. This entitles you to a 20% fee reduction on selected postgraduate courses.
Before you start your application, you'll need to have the following documentation ready:
- 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