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Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA -3 Years)

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What is Doctorate in Business Administration DBA?


You’ll develop skills in business through an in-depth research project on a topic of your choice and the development of advanced academic skills. You’ll cover a wide range of research topics, from consumer behaviour to management accounting, or leadership to production control. The key is that you are able to develop doctoral work that has relevance to theory and practice.

Based in our new, purpose-built Business School at our Oxstalls Campus, Gloucester, you’ll develop professionally, build connections and enhance your knowledge and skills on our range of flexible courses, many of which are accredited by industry bodies. Our lecturers are current and active business professionals, experts and researchers who apply real-world industry experience to their teaching.

Study style

The DBA is a structured route to doctoral-level achievement. The initial pre-thesis modular element lasts 18 months, after which you present your formal research plan. You then enter the thesis phase, which lasts a minimum of a further 18 months. At its conclusion, you present and defend a thesis in a viva voce exam. DBA classes are limited to a maximum of 20 people who benefit from a collaborative learning environment.

Modules include: Reflective professional development, Systematic literature review, Methodological fundamentals and Research methods and analysis.

A master’s degree or equivalent in a subject area relevant to the proposed research topic

A minimum of two years’ post-qualification professional practice and ability to demonstrate professional competence of a high standard in the relevant research area

EU and international students need IELTS 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 6.0 in writing and 5.5 in any other component) or equivalent

Here’s an example of the types of modules you’ll study (it’s unlikely but the contents and structure of the course could change).

Level 7 (Postgraduate)
All students must complete these modules:

This module develops practices of deep ongoing reflection on the student’s business experience, research topic, and broader contexts. The reflective practice developed in this module will be a continuous stream throughout the life of the participant’s research programme.

Initially participants will be given guidance on personal skills development in a research context. Guidance will also be given on the role of a learning and research skills journal in reflecting upon the self in the context of a change process. This will enhance students’ ability to analyse and synthesise the results of reflection during the modules. Participants will work in action learning sets to complement independent learning. These sets will provide the main platform for support between modules and throughout the life of the research.

As the assignment for this module is completed at the end of the taught programme, assignments undertaken in the other modules will also provide opportunities for reflection on personal and research skill changes. Further set meetings may be arranged at the discretion of set members during the research phase.

Learning and Teaching Activities
001: 100% Portfolio: Individual: Portfolio: 7500 words (or equivalent)

This module introduces participants to the theoretical frameworks and the many approaches to literature review. It also seeks to develop an understanding of doctoral authoring and addresses techniques to support this.

Through encouraging a systematic engagement with a substantive body of relevant literature, this module aims to critically analyse and evaluate the previous research work contributing to the research area. This often informs and develops further research question(s) with reference to relevant ideas in the discipline. It also enables participants to synthesise ideas at a high level of understanding and begin to create new knowledge through the development of a conceptual framework relevant to the problem under consideration.

The module will require the development of a systematic understanding of substantial bodies of relevant literature, which are at the forefront of an academic discipline or area of professional practice. It also necessitates the analysis, synthesis and interpretation of complex information and the development of novel approaches, models and/or applications. These latter elements are supported by consideration of ‘authorship’ and the role of the researcher in the creation of ‘text’.

This module therefore seeks to increase critical review and will continue to develop academic writing skills.

Learning and Teaching Activities
001: 100% Assignment: Individual: Portfolio: 7500 words (or equivalent)

The methodological fundamentals presented in this module will enable participants to develop their ability as researchers grounded in the fundamental principles of research. This module is based on the principle that an understanding of philosophical positions will enable participants to reveal the philosophical underpinnings of their research which is essential to doctoral level research. Making participants’ conscious of competing and complementary paradigms will enhance their ability to critically judge the appropriateness of their decisions about their own research and to effectively conduct their research. Whilst the focus of this module will be primarily conceptual, there will be opportunities to discuss and apply the theories in practice, through critical reading and discussion of practical examples. The course will be the precursor to the subsequent module Research Methods and Analysis which focuses on interpreting and presenting data.

This module replaces elements of DBA501 and elements of DBA502 and as such is treated as equivalent.

Learning and Teaching Activities
001: 100% Assignment: Individual: Portfolio: 7500 words (or equivalent)

This module builds on the philosophical foundations discussed in the module Methodological Fundamentals. Initially it explores principal styles of research such as case study, survey, ethnography. The module subsequently considers a variety of methods for obtaining data such as questionnaires, interviews, and observation. It will also examine the implications of interventionist versus non-interventionist approaches. Finally it considers ways of analysing and synthesising the findings.

In addition the role of research practice in a professional doctorate will be examined along with techniques by which researchers can generate and apply knowledge. There will be opportunities for students to familiarise themselves with various methods of analysing and presenting data. Students will be required to demonstrate a mastery of the elements of research method germane to their intended study.

Students will also be encouraged to consider the possible barriers to a successful research project using any particular method. Students begin the process of designing and implementing a substantial research project with scholarly integrity.

This module will introduce students to the formal requirements of writing a cogent research proposal (RD1) based on a synthesis of all the learning from the taught modules.

This module replaces elements of DBA501 and elements of DBA502 and as such is treated as equivalent.

Learning and Teaching Activities
001: 50% Assignment: Individual: 4,500 words or equivalent
002: 50% Portfolio: Individual: 15 minutes