University of Bath Featured Professional Doctorate Programmes
University of Bath Featured Professional Doctorate Programmes

Professional Doctorate in Doctor of Business Administration - DBA


Course Description

The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is a professional doctorate with the same status as a PhD. It is the highest qualification available in business and management, designed for senior professionals who wish to advance their careers by developing their academic research and critical thinking skills.

The Northampton DBA is a part-time programme that typically runs over four years. The first two years are structured around facilitated modules that provide the foundations for the research project, the main element of the DBA. This research project needs to make a significant contribution to professional practice by developing existing theories and knowledge.

Course Details

The DBA provides the opportunity for you to cultivate the skills needed to find better solutions for intractable problems and develop new paradigms for the increasingly complex, turbulent and interconnected business environment. It does this by:

  • honing your critical thinking and analytical skills to identify the core or ‘real’ issues
  • refining your capability to evaluate evidence on which to base decisions
  • developing your ability to produce robust and reliable research
  • improving the clarity with which you present and support arguments
  • providing the understanding for you to question ideas and options appropriately

Through undertaking rigorous research into a meaningful and complex issue within your own organisation, you will make a direct contribution to your executive or professional practice.

In this way, the Northampton DBA will enable you to differentiate yourself, not just in terms of having the qualification, but also in the way you work and think.

Please visit the application support page for further information.

Course Content

Please see the DBA Module Progression Download for further information about module content.

Principles of Research

This module provides you with an opportunity to explore the principles of research which underpin investigations in a variety of applied settings. You will critically examine the various ontological and epistemological approaches to knowledge within your discipline and develop a critical awareness of the ethical dilemmas.

Advanced Quantitative Data Analysis

This module will develop your skills in quantitative data analysis to an advanced level. You will have the opportunity to develop operational familiarity with a wide range of data management and analytic techniques which are commonly in use in professional

research. You will explore how these techniques may be applied in practice by interrogating established research data sets. By the end of the module, you will be conversant with a broad range of tools which may be considered for use in your doctoral thesis.

Advanced Qualitative Data Analysis

In recent years, the application of qualitative approaches to both research and evaluation within the professional arena has been steadily gathering momentum. Some would argue that such techniques can help bridge the gap between scientific evidence and professional work-based practice by enabling researchers to gather ‘richer’ descriptive data which provides valuable insights into the attitudes, beliefs, perceptions, and experiences of a range of stakeholders. By the end of the module, you will be conversant with a broad range of tools and techniques associated with qualitative methodological approaches, and their philosophical underpinnings, which will then be considered for use in the doctoral thesis.

Developing Leadership in Business Research

This module focuses on the translation of research into practice through the review of research culture, research opportunities, and investigation of issues associated with the leadership and management of research. You will examine potential barriers to the development of a research-based work environment in business including those at organizational, strategic, inter- and intrapersonal levels. You will explore mechanisms for overcoming such hurdles and develop innovative research leadership strategies appropriate for your own working environments across blended interests of public, private, third or community sectors within a corporate citizenship paradigm.

Reflecting on Business Practice

This module provides you with the opportunity to acquire appropriate evidence and to critically reflect upon existing practice and your own experiences within a professional context. You are required to identify an appropriate topic aligned to your professional area and explore the appropriateness of current practice by designing, carrying out and analysing an appropriate audit or evaluation with a clear reference to the contextual research literature. This may include examination of an issue related to business management or organisational related training or education. You should reflect on your findings and make evidence-based recommendations for the improvement of practice environments across blended areas of public, private, third and community sectors within a corporate citizenship paradigm.

The Research Proposal

This module draws together the knowledge and skills provided in the preceding modules so that you can define an original work-based research project with clear aims and research philosophical underpinning. You will be expected to develop this into a robust research proposal that covers methodology, data collection methods and ethical considerations as well as clear aims and objectives.

Professional Research Project

The thesis element of a professional doctorate programme provides you with the opportunity to demonstrate high-level research skills in a written thesis and defend it at an oral examination.


Visit the Doctor of Business Administration - DBA page on the University of Northampton website for more details!

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Entry Requirements

Applicants will need to meet all of the following criteria:

- Hold a Masters degree in a business-related subject, normally completed within the last ten years.

- Have a minimum of five years’ relevant work experience, at an appropriate level.

- Be employed in a senior leadership/management role capable of supporting the achievement of the programme learning outcomes, including the professional research project.

Course Fees

For Academic Year 19/20 only:

Part Time: £8000 in Year One and Year Two, £4000 Year Three and Year Four



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