Business Administration DBA

male and female in discussion
Location Stoke-on-Trent Campus
Duration 4 Years
Course start April, September
LocationModeStart dateApply
Stoke-on-Trent CampusPart-time2017/18 Academic YearApply Direct
Stoke-on-Trent CampusPart-time2018/19 Academic YearApply Direct

We are not taking any more students on this course until January 2019 due to high demand.

Course outline

The world of business and commerce demands highly competent professionals – individuals who are equipped with the ability to make key decisions and face strategic challenges head on. If you want to be able to support your judgements with evidence-based data and bring measurable change to your organisation, the Doctor of Business Administration course is ideal.

This course (equivalent to the PhD) is the highest qualification that you can achieve in higher education. It’s a natural choice if you’re a practising manager or senior professional practitioner who wants to pursue your academic, personal and career development beyond Masters Level through a rigorous and challenging programme of study and research.

The DBA is a broad and flexible research based programme incorporating six modules, a reflective practice portfolio and a substantial research thesis. The research training element of the DBA focuses on both philosophy and methods of advanced research. It places a particular emphasis on the participative and action-oriented processes relevant to applied doctoral study of this nature.

It’s a doctoral research degree that investigates real businesses and managerial issues via the critical review and systematic application of appropriate theories and research to professional practice. The DBA course differs from a more traditional PhD - it will give you an applied research perspective and you will be expected to contribute not only to the body of knowledge but also to management practice through your research.

Course content

In years one and two you will study:

  • Contemporary issues and challenges in management practice and theory
  • Research methods and analysis
  • Research design in management
  • Organisational settings

You will develop a literature review that reflects your emerging line-of-inquiry, and complete a research proposal. You’ll also develop the first stage reflective practice-into-theory portfolio.

In years three and four you will go on to study the continued development of a reflective practice-into-theory portfolio, and carry out the research for and development of an extended academic project (thesis).

Entry requirements

To be considered for study for the Doctorate in Business Administration you must meet the following entry requirements:

Educational qualifications

You must have a first degree in any subject and have (or expect to acquire prior to starting) a Masters degree in Management (MBA, MA or MSc) from a UK University or the equivalent qualification from a recognised overseas institution.

Practitioner experience

You must have senior management experience of at least 5 years pre- or post-Masters qualification. In exceptional circumstances, applicants without a Masters qualification will be considered where they have substantial compensating business and/or professional experience (a minimum of 10 years' senior management experience), and, a high score first degree (Upper Second Class minimum) in an appropriate field (e.g. Business, Management, Organisation Studies), plus other relevant experience (e.g. research training) would be considered.

English language competency

The DBA is conducted in English, with the final thesis written and examined in English. Participants whose first language is not English or who have not already studied successfully in an English-speaking environment will be required to provide evidence of advanced proficiency in English. Recent minimum lELTS 7 will be required.

Initial research interest proposal

In conjunction with the initial inquiry form obtained from the course administrator a research proposal of approximately 1500-2000 words, indicating the academic and practitioner fields of proposed inquiry is to be submitted prior to any consideration of candidate’s suitability for the programme. This submission is important to determine the university’s adequacy to future supervise the prospective participant at the thesis research stage.

Candidates must be prepared to be called for discussion to explore their interest further.

Find out more

If you’d like to know more about the Doctorate in Business Administration, including fees and the application process, please contact:

Dr. Bharati Singh, DBA Programme Director
Call: +44 (0) 1782 294999

Julia Holbrook, Student and Course Administrator
Call: +44 (0)1782 294147 

Teaching and learning

The programme is designed to give you the freedom to develop your own ideas and interests, whilst benefiting from the shared experiences of your peers through small study groups. The philosophy of the programme is based on the belief that this level of management education is based on three inter-related objectives: 

  • The provision of an academically challenging and stimulating curriculum.
  • The application of the curriculum to an appropriate managerial and professional context.
  • The development of your personal and professional effectiveness, and your continuing ability to be a successful reflective management practitioner.

The programme aims to:

  • Enhance your ability to question, analyse, critique and theorise through the undertaking of a programme of research, and so develop your professional management practice.
  • Provide sound training in the design, execution and analysis of research to enable you to complete a thesis and potentially other academic publications that represent original contributions to the practice of management and thereby business and management knowledge.
  • Recognise the relationship between management research and the professional practice of management within business organisation.
  • Facilitate and foster your ability to question and challenge received wisdom in business and management arena, and consider how learning is translated into management practice, and practice into business and management theory.
  • Build a rich community of reflective business and management practitioners.

The professional development and management research training offered by the DBA are designed to provide you with a mutual enhancement of theory and practice within the organisational learning experience

Graduate destinations

The DBA is aimed at the so-called ‘reflective professional’ who is career-minded and looking for a systematic research programme that gives particular priority to developing management expertise. The ‘reflective’ perspective emphasises that you, as an established manager more than a technical solver of problems, are obliged to draw knowledgeably, deeply and extensively on your past in order to develop innovative and explicit interventions to new situations as they occur. For the reflective-practicing manager this is an unceasing learning approach.

The DBA will enable you to further your career as a:

  • Company Executive
  • Government Manager
  • Experienced Educator or Training professional
  • Senior Manager in a Not-for-profit Organisation
  • Senior Consultant
  • Experienced Entrepreneur or Business Owner
  • Local Authority Senior Manager
  • Senior Manager in the Emergency and Armed Services


Enquiries Team
Cadman Information Point
College Road
United Kingdom
t: +44(0)1782 294400
Enquire about this course