Professional Doctorate in Doctorate in Business Administration - DBA

    About This Professional Doctorate

    Course Description

    Aimed at high-achieving professionals, our part-time Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) provides an exciting practice-based route to a research degree. It enables you to create and apply original business and management knowledge in ways which will benefit your organisation, industry and profession as well as your career.

    Course description

    • Our DBA programme leads to a highly recognised doctoral level qualification, enabling you to build your research credentials while advancing your professional practice in management
    • Your doctoral studies will be specific to you and your working role: you will undertake independent research in the area relevant to your professional and academic development and advance your knowledge which can be harnessed to improve your own organisation’s performance
    • You do not have to put your career on hold: the DBA is structured to offer maximum flexibility, with teaching in short study blocks and a substantial research project which can be fitted around your work schedule
    • We equip you with high-level research and analysis skills so that you can integrate evidence into practice and become a more critical and reflective practitioner
    • You will receive extensive support from academic supervisors with specialist knowledge in your subject area – all within a truly international research community where you benefit from peer learning and networking
    • Adding the title of Doctor to your CV will make an instant impression, helping you to raise your professional profile and give added momentum to your career

    Is a DBA the right choice for me?

    As an executive doctoral research degree designed specifically for business professionals, managers and practitioners, the Derby DBA will challenge you to take your skills and knowledge to the highest level. It combines academic rigour with an applied approach based on your own professional practice.

    The DBA attracts experienced professionals in senior and managerial roles who are keen to take the next step in their career development, to undertake impactful business research, and to add to the body of knowledge in their sector and profession. Many of our students have already achieved masters qualifications and choose the DBA as an alternative to more traditional PhD programmes.

    Flexibility is central to the DBA. In the first two years, you will attend the University for scheduled taught sessions which are delivered in five short study blocks – three blocks in Year 1 and two blocks in Year 2 of your study- so that you can fit your learning around your work and home commitments. Throughout your DBA programme, you will undertake your independent research project with the support and guidance of expert supervisors.

    Advance your professional practice

    The DBA allows you to investigate an important business issue of your choosing in great depth and apply your knowledge directly to the workplace.

    The taught stages of the course help you to engage with advanced critical analysis and finesse your research skills, including how to design research projects and how to communicate your findings. You will learn how to synthesise ideas and concepts, drawing on the latest theoretical frameworks.

    The independent research stage enables you to focus on a key challenge within your organisation or wider professional domain. You will explore how to solve problems innovatively, drive change and deliver a significant impact.

    Our current DBA students are researching issues which are directly relevant to their experience in the workplace, covering themes such as project management, risk management, business strategy, services marketing, public sector management, cross-cultural management, talent management, environmental sustainability and sustainable development, corporate social responsibility, big data and artificial intelligence.

    Our expertise

    You will be inspired and motivated by an academic team made up of influential researchers, respected authors and experienced consultants. They are engaged in significant research projects and publish regularly to deliver fresh perspectives on the latest business trends.

    Our Business and Management research is internationally recognised through the Research Excellence Framework (2014), and our expertise spans subjects as wide-ranging as behavioural economics, employee engagement, social media marketing, the green economy, industrial policy, supply chain management and corporate social responsibility. As a DBA student, you can also draw on specialist knowledge from across the University, paving the way for you to pursue interdisciplinary research.

    Unlike many other DBA programmes, you will be allocated a supervisor who is a subject specialist at a very early stage in your studies, while you are still completing the taught modules and well before you embark on your independent research project. It means you will receive expert support in shaping your research proposal. In addition, a leadership coach works with each DBA cohort to assist students with their continuing professional development.

    What you will study

    The DBA programme begins with two taught ‘Theory for Practice’ stages comprising five core modules including a negotiated module requiring you to undertake an applied research project agreed with your DBA supervisor and the module leader. These modules build your skills in argument construction, critical evaluation, analysis and reflection, preparing you for greater learning autonomy as you progress. They also enhance your research skills and familiarity with various research methodologies and methods. The taught stage forms a core part of your doctoral training.

    We also offer an optional module at the end of the taught stage of the programme if you wish to exit the programme with the MSc Business and Management Research qualification.

    The ‘Independent research stage’ follows from the taught stage. This stage of your DBA programme aligns closely with the doctoral progression milestones culminating in the final examination of your doctoral thesis via viva voice by the internal and external examiners.

    See website for module information.


    Students choose to complete doctoral research for many reasons: you could be keen to take your professional development to the next level; to pursue applied research which has a meaningful impact in your workplace; or to add to the body of specialist knowledge about a particular professional area. Whatever your ambition, the DBA adds prestige to your CV.

    Visit the Doctorate in Business Administration - DBA page on the University of Derby website for more details!

    Entry Requirements

    The programme seeks to admit highly capable individuals able to demonstrate motivation, interest and aptitude for doctoral level study with interests in business and management research. Both home and international applications are encouraged.

    Applicants should have a masters degree in a relevant field. A good first degree may be considered instead of a masters
    Applicants should have at least three years professional experience
    Where English is not the first language, applicants may need to provide the minimum English qualification IELTS 6.5 (with no less than 5.5 in each component).

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