Business Administration

Study options



Key facts

Stoke-on-Trent campus
Study option:
Part-time, blended learning, September start
5 Years
Start date:
23 September 2024

Research Excellence Framework 2021

100% of our business and management research impact is recognised as “very considerable” or “outstanding”


Choose subjects that relate directly to your career/organisation

17th in the country for research impact

In business and management (Research Excellence Framework 2021)

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 judgement with evidence-based data and bring measurable change to your organisation, the Doctor of Business Administration course is ideal.

Similar to the PhD, the DBA is the highest qualification achievable in Higher Education (Level 8). It is a common choice for practicing managers and senior professional practitioners who wish to pursue their academic, personal and career development beyond a Masters degree (Level 7) through a rigorous and challenging programme of study and research. The DBA is aimed at those who want to make a difference to the way that management and professional practice in the fields of organisation and management will be developed in the future.

The DBA has been designed for senior executives and other professionals in strategic management positions from diverse industries and sectors of the economy. DBA candidates advance their respective fields by conducting original practice-based research and thus contributing to professional practice by developing existing theories and knowledge in the field.

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. Having an applied research perspective, the DBA differs from a traditional PhD in that it includes a substantial knowledge element, as well as the development of a research thesis. The informed element of the DBA focuses on both philosophy and methods of advanced qualitative and quantitative research. It places emphasis on the participative and action-oriented processes relevant to applied doctoral study of this nature.

On successful completion of study, we will issue the following award: DBA Business Administration

Course content

The DBA is a research-based programme consisting of two stages incorporating four structured modules along with the research development stage (Stage 1) and a research project stage (Stage 2).

Stage 1 of the programme will consist of the course stage (delivery of four structured modules) which will focus on delivering systematic approach towards literature review and research methods training to equip doctoral candidates with tools to pursue original practice-based research at a doctoral level.

The four modules delivered during the first two years are as follows:

  • Critique of Literature
  • Synthesis of Literature
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Quantitative Research Methods

Those students who succeed through the course stage will have the opportunity to proceed further to develop and present their research proposal (research development stage which also forms part of Stage 1). Once approved, the DBA candidates will pursue independent and original research under the supervision of Staffordshire University approved academics (research project stage or Stage 2).

Professor Jon Fairburn talks about the impact of his research

Professor Jon Fairburn talks about the impact of his research


Professor Jon Fairburn, Professor of Sustainable Development, talks about the real-world impact and benefits of his research.

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The tables provide an indicative list of the modules that make up the course for the current academic year. Each module is worth a specified number of credits. Our teaching is informed by research, and modules change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline. We aim to ensure that all modules run as scheduled. If for any reason a module cannot be run we will advise you as soon as possible and will provide guidance on selecting an appropriate alternative module.

Year 1 compulsory modules
Year 1 compulsory modules
Critique Of Literature 40 credits
Systematic Review Of Literature 40 credits
Year 2 compulsory modules
Year 2 compulsory modules
Qualitative Research Methods 40 credits
Quantitative Research Methods 40 credits
Year 3 compulsory modules
Year 3 compulsory modules
Research Proposal (Research Development Stage) 20 credits
Year 4 compulsory modules
Year 4 compulsory modules
Dba Thesis (Research Project Stage) 360 credits
Year 5 compulsory modules
Year 5 compulsory modules
Dba Thesis (Research Project Stage) 360 credits

Entry requirements

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

All candidates

Candidates should be professionals with significant managerial experience at a senior level. Individual applicants with prior professional experience and a strong industry background may be considered for the programme (however this is subject to the individual having access to data which will inform the practice-based research project). Individual entrepreneurs may also be considered and will be provided advice and guidance by the Award Leader of the appropriateness of the course and how students may approach the modules and the research project.

Applicants will be expected to have attained at least one qualification at a L7 level with a 50% pass or equivalent (Masters/MBA/MRes/MPhil).

In exceptional circumstances, applicants who do not meet the above criteria but have an outstanding under-graduate degree along with significant professional experience will also be considered. 

Additional requirement for international candidates

An English language qualification of IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each band or equivalent is required from international candidates.

Current (not more than 2 years old at the time of application) TOEFL/GMAT/GRE scores will also be considered.

All candidates will be interviewed to assess their suitability which will include the understanding of their broad research theme. The candidates will be provided with appropriate information, advice and guidance.

Business and Management REF 2021 Results


Business and Management research has been highly rated by peers and stakeholders in the HE sector.

For equivalent entry requirements in your home country, please see the information on our country pages.

Choose your country

Check our entry and English language requirements for your country.



Think Tank

Business is not all about rushing around, mindfulness and thinking time is important to innovation.  Use our Think Tank to come up with the next big thing – designed for entrepreneurs of the future.


A cleverly designed room to allow you to work together in teams, communication is key in business and this space allows you to practice team dynamics in a safe space.


We have Libraries and service desks at both sites in Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford. Our experienced and friendly staff can answer your IT queries, help you to access resources, show you how to research for your assignments and help with referencing.


Students studying a DBA are usually already at a senior level in their organisation/companies. Studying a DBA can help identify problems and inspire change in any business situation. Typically graduates will be working in (or looking to progress into) the following roles:

  • Chief Executive
  • Divisional Head
  • Departmental Head
  • Senior Consultant



Teaching and assessment


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 overarching objectives are thus 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 parallel strands of professional development and management research training offered by the DBA are designed to provide mutual enhancement of theory and praxis within the learning experience.


The DBA is planned to develop your professional and research skills and encourage the application of original thought to management practice.  It is concerned with professional development through knowledge creation and will benefit both the individual career of the successful graduate, as well as the profession and organisation in which you are, or may in the future be, employed.  You will be able to employ your new knowledge and skills across a wide range of professional occupations, especially those where critical thinking and knowledge creation in relation to professional tasks is necessary and highly valued.

Learning support

Your course tutors will provide lots of support. But you can also take advantage of our Academic Skills team, who can help you with:

  • Study skills (including reading, note-taking and presentation skills)
  • Written English (including punctuation, grammar)
  • Academic writing (including how to reference)
  • Research skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Revision, assessment and exam skills (including time management)

Additional support

If you have additional needs like dyslexia or a sensory impairment, then our Student Inclusion Services are here to help make sure nothing stands in your way.


For the course starting on 23 September 2024 the tuition fees are:

Tuition fees for DBA-Part-time, blended learning, September start
Study option UK / Channel Islands International
Part-time £6,500 per year of study £9,000 per year of study

The expected pattern of study is to complete the DBA within 4-5 years, with the first 2 modules accumulating 60 credits in the first year (and the award of ‘PG Certificate in Practice Based Research’) and latter 2 modules accumulating a further 60 credits in the second year (and the award of ‘PG Diploma in Practice Based Research’). The remaining 420 credits are spread over years 3 (research proposal), years 4 & 5 (DBA thesis) resulting in the final award of the Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA). If you follow this pattern of study, you will pay the same fee (£6500 per year) for each year of study for the first 4 years, with a reduced fee for writing up (£2000) in year 5 and thereafter (up to a maximum of 8 years). You will be invoiced for the modules that you register for each year, so if your study pattern is different from the expected pattern, you will pay more or less each year accordingly.

Not included in tuition fees
Not included in the fees:

Any optional study trips

Accommodation and living costs
Accommodation and living costs

Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees. 

For more information on accommodation and living costs, please see: Accommodation

Sources of financial support

Providing you are studying towards a full Masters qualification you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £11,570 to help with tuition fees, maintenance and other associated costs. Student loans are available for many of our postgraduate degrees and are provided by the Student Loans Company (SLC). The loan can cover a wide range of postgraduate study options; part-time, full-time and distance learning. 

For more information and how to apply visit masters loan.

Our students

My experience during my doctorate studies in Staffordshire University was very positive. The support I have received from all levels (including the University, faculty and peer students) throughout my journey at Staffs are the major strengths of the program. My experiences in the DBA program included engaging in research, learning new analytical methods, and developing critical thinking. These activities equipped me with a combination of skills that are essential in my business and academic career.

Mohamad Bacho

Business Administration DBA Graduate


Location Award Study option Start date Apply Link
Stoke-on-Trent campus DBA Part-time, blended learning, September start 23 September 2024 Apply now

Rules and regulations

If you are offered a place at Staffordshire University, your offer will be subject to our rules, regulations and enrolment conditions, which may vary from time to time.

Students of Staffordshire University enter into a contract with us and are bound by these rules and regulations, which are subject to change. For more information, please see: University Policies and Regulations

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in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021