Doctor of Business Administration

2021-22 (also available for 2020-21, 2022-23)

This course is eligible for Doctoral loan funding. Find out more.

Start date

20 September 2021

17 January 2022


6 years part-time

About the research degree

The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is one of the highest and most prestigious management qualifications in the UK. Here at Huddersfield we understand that the professional leaders of the future need the highest level of leadership and personal development. The course encourages the application of sound theory and rigorous research to complex issues in business and management; the foundation for which is the development and application of knowledge and theory.

A taught programme of study is carried out in the first two years and provides preparatory training for the doctoral research phase, culminating in the submission of a research thesis. It contains four taught modules which address major aspects of research methods knowledge in a classroom-based setting. You may only progress to the research phase once you have successfully completed the taught element.

The doctoral research phase constitutes the substantive component of the DBA programme. You are required to conduct an individual supervised research project which is written up in the form of a doctoral thesis. You’ll have critically investigated and evaluated an approved topic, resulting in an independent and original contribution to knowledge in a relevant professional discipline, usually with a practical application. Applying the skills learnt in the taught element of the programme, you will be able to demonstrate an understanding of research methods appropriate to the chosen field. In addition, you are required to submit a personal reflection and impact statement to demonstrate learning over the period of study. This should capture professional and personal reflections on your experience, and how these relate to the professional and research curiosity, critical thinking, creativity and innovation in your working environments.

The Thesis The thesis should be a substantial submission of 50,000 words and should demonstrate publishing potential in the field of managerial/public administration/ leadership in business or other organisations. It is an individual document that synthesizes the professional experience, the original applied research undertaken, the academic insights achieved and the potential for contributing to practice and to the professional development of the author. The thesis should normally include: a review of the literature; research questions; conceptual framework; methodology; results; discussion on key findings and their contribution to academic and managerial/public administration/leadership practice; conclusion. The thesis will not be assessed unless it is accompanied by the PRIS.

The Personal Reflection and Impact Statement (PRIS) Successful DBA candidates will be able to demonstrate their self-awareness regarding the impact your DBA experience has had on your personal, professional and academic development. The statement should therefore include a future orientated strategic leadership personal development plan. The PRIS should showcase your ability to critically reflect on your own actions, experiences and learning during your DBA studies. You must demonstrate critical attention to the influences that have shaped development by examining practice reflectively and reflexively, and to consider the impact of these on professional effectiveness and ability to lead and implement strategic change in your organisation into the future.

Supervision All students are required to submit a research proposal on application to the Doctor of Business Administration. This will ensure that you have some idea of the focus of the research you wish to undertake and will allow the School to identify supervisors with appropriate subject specialisms. On admission to the course all will be allocated a supervisor who will be required to hold bi-monthly 1:1 sessions with their students. The research proposals from International students whose first language is not English will be diagnostically tested by colleagues in the Learning Innovation and Development Centre who will then identify bespoke academic writing support, and will be supported by online resources and 1:1 sessions when on campus.

The Doctor of Business Administration is equivalent to the PhD but is centred around bridging the gap between your academic knowledge and professional practice. The programme retains emphasis on your own contribution to your organisation while enhancing your analytical and research skills.

The professional doctorate offers students the opportunity to develop their management, research and personal skills to a very high level, culminating in a prestigious award. The programme puts in the foundations for success during the first two years and once the student has completed these elements they are deemed ready to become semi-independent researchers having the skills to negotiate an original and practice orientated in-depth study. Candidates will apply sound theory and rigorous research to complex, often ‘live’ problems, and will be required to develop their strategic leadership and reflective capabilities as they do so. The course therefore opens up a range of career progression opportunities potentially leading to senior management positions.


Dr Julia Meaton, Course Director for DBA/DPA

Course detail

Managing Literature

his module explains the role of the literature review in research in business and management in both private and public organisations. The module will outline the process of undertaking a review of the literature. It will address the systematic approaches to conducting a review (e.g. explicit criteria for selection of publications). It will provide an overview of thematic approaches, critical analyses and synthesis procedures.

Research Methods

This module provides the opportunity to acquire and apply the techniques of research design regarding both qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. It provides for the exploration of a range of possibilities in data collection and analysis with relevance to particular research questions. It will include general issues about research methods (e.g. research formulation and design, inductive versus deductive approaches), and will then cover a range of both qualitative and quantitative research designs. Elements of mixed methods design will also be introduced here. The module will address theoretical and practical aspects of data collection and analysis along with practical support of the application of relevant computer techniques/programmes to support data analysis.

Research Proposal

The module aims to develop your abilities to prepare and formulate a proposal for a significant piece of research work. You will be required to select a topic for investigation relevant to the broader DBA/DPA thesis, formalise a coherent set of objectives for the study, review and synthesise the relevant academic literature and develop a conceptual framework as well as identify and discuss the philosophical base most appropriate for the research undertaken for the professional doctorate in the broader context of research in the social sciences. The module will consider general issues relating to developing a research proposal (e.g. philosophy of research and ethics) and will address the procedures and difficulties around specific sections of the research proposal (e.g. methodology and analysis sections).

Applied Research: Responsibility, Reflection and Impact

The module focuses on applied research and provides the opportunity to develop links between other modules on the DBA/DPA. In the broader DBA/DPA journey, it provides the underpinning to the development journey that you will demonstrate in the final Personal Reflective Impact Statement. The heart of the module is centred on allowing you to develop your own position and identity in relation to the practice and purpose of research in a real-world context. You will be encouraged to reflect on the concept of impact and make sense of it in the context of your own research. More broadly, you will aim to reflect on the relationship between your role as researchers alongside other roles that you play. You will also consider your impact as leaders and managers, to organisations and wider society.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for this course are normally:

  • A Masters level, or equivalent qualification and have held/or hold a Senior Management position for three or more years.
  • Applicants must submit a 3,000 word (maximum) research proposal that indicates the area of Business/Management/Administration/Leadership that is likely to be researched.
  • A reliable internet connection is required.

If your first language is not English, you will need to meet the minimum requirements of an English Language qualification. The minimum for IELTS is 6.0 overall with no element lower than 5.5, or equivalent will be considered acceptable. Read more about the University’s entry requirements for students outside of the UK on our Where are you from information pages.

Student support

Library services and online study support: Students at the University of Huddersfield have access to a wide range of study resources through the library and additional online study support resources. Our modern, professionally organised library provides a wide range of books, and additional online resources such as company reports, market research reports and academic and professional journal archives. At key times in the academic year the library is open 24-7 and our students also borrow laptops, reserve study rooms for group working and access computer software programs.

Our students have access to an extensive online virtual learning portal called Brightspace. This links our students with all the modules they are studying as well as academic support materials, reading lists, electronic documents, social media tools and assignment submission tools to support their studies.

Researcher Environment

We provide a supportive and vibrant research environment for postgraduate researchers (PGRs). Researchers at all levels are encouraged to contribute and collaborate. The Graduate School ensures that postgraduate research is of the highest quality and equips you with the resources that you need to become a successful researcher.

We have an exciting and comprehensive Researcher Skills Development Programme available to all postgraduate researchers. This enables you to broaden your knowledge and access tools and skills which can significantly improve employability. The programme is also mapped onto Vitae’s Researcher Development Framework (RDF), allowing you to benefit from Vitae support as well as our own Programme.

We offer skills training through a programme designed to take advantage of technology platforms as well as face-to-face workshops and courses. The University has subscribed to Epigeum, a programme of on-line research training support designed and managed by staff at Imperial College London which will be accessed via Brightspace, the University’s Virtual Learning Environment. We also subscribe to the University of East Anglia webinar series and The Good Doctorate video training series. We are part of the North West and Yorkshire PGR Training Group that allows PGRs to attend relevant training opportunities at other nearby universities.

Important information

We will always try to deliver your course as described on this web page. However, sometimes we may have to make changes to aspects of a course or how it is delivered. We only make these changes if they are for reasons outside of our control, or where they are for our students' benefit. We will let you know about any such changes as soon as possible. Our regulations set out our procedure which we will follow when we need to make any such changes.

When you enrol as a student of the University, your study and time with us will be governed by a framework of regulations, policies and procedures, which form the basis of your agreement with us. These include regulations regarding the assessment of your course, academic integrity, your conduct (including attendance) and disciplinary procedure, fees and finance and compliance with visa requirements (where relevant). It is important that you familiarise yourself with these as you will be asked to agree to abide by them when you join us as a student. You will find a guide to the key terms here, along with the Student Protection Plan, where you will also find links to the full text of each of the regulations, policies and procedures referred to.

The Office for Students (OfS) is the principal regulator for the University.

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