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Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA)

Course Description

The DBA is a broad and flexible research based programme incorporating six structured facilitated modules, a reflective-practice portfolio and a substantial research thesis. The DBA is 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. As well as 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 research. It places a particular emphasis on the participative and action-oriented processes relevant to applied doctoral study of this nature.

-A part-time professional doctorate with a broad and flexible research-based programme
-Explore management and organizational research interests in context with your professional role
-Investigate practice, policies and theories relating to management and organizational studies to an advanced depth
-Delivery and supervision by a highly supportive academic team
-Work to achieve the DBA over 4 years of part-time study (maximum 6)
-Attractive to professionals from private, public and third-stream organizations
-Has attracted participants globally
-Offers usually two entry opportunities each year
-Associated with the University’s Centre for Applied Business Research (CABR)

The world of business and commerce demands highly competent professionals – individuals who are equipped with the abilities to make key decisions and face strategic challenges head on. Such people need to be able to support their judgments with evidence-based data, resulting from being able to focus deeply and critically on the work they do, and bring measurable change to their organization. This is the role of the Doctorate in Business Administration.

The Doctorate in Business Administration (equivalent to the PhD) is the highest qualification achievable in Higher Education (Level 8). It is a natural choice for practising managers and senior professional practitioners who wish to pursue their academic, personal and career development beyond Masters Level (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.

Course content

What is the programme about?
The programme is designed to give you the freedom to develop your own ideas and interests, whilst benefiting from the shared experiences of other participants 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 an individual’s personal and professional effectiveness, and their continuing ability to be a successful reflective management practitioner.

The overarching aims are thus to:
-Enhance through the undertaking of a programme of research, the participant’s ability to question, analyse, critique and theorise and so develop their professional management practice.
-Provide sound training in the design, execution and analysis of research to enable the completion of 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 the 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 dual strands of professional development and management research training offered by the DBA are designed to provide mutual enhancement of theory and praxis within the organizational learning experience.

How is the programme facilitated?
The course is organised as a 2 (years) plus 2 (years) award structure:

Years 1 & 2: Developing critical knowledge and contextualised understanding of; contemporary issues and challenges to management, and principles of research design. Advancing contemporary issues and challenges to management, and research methods and analyses. Research design, consisting of a ‘literature review’ that ‘reflects’ the participant’s developing line-of-inquiry, and the completion of the ‘research proposal’. There is also the development of the first stage ‘Reflective Practice-into-Theory’ Portfolio.

Years 3 & 4: The continued development of a ‘Reflective Practice-into-Theory’ Portfolio, and the research and development of an extended academic project (Thesis).

Other admission requirements

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 award 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 (years 3 & 4).

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

Visit the Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) page on the Staffordshire University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

To be considered for study for the Doctorate in Business Administration 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. See course description for further admission requirements.

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