Doctor of

Business Administration

DBA students
  • Level(s) of study: Postgraduate research
  • Study mode(s): Part-time (day)
  • Location: City Campus
  • Course duration: 4 year(s)
  • Entry requirements: More information

FIND US ON

Nottingham Business School is proud to have one of the oldest Doctorates in Business Administration (DBA) in the UK which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2018 with over 100 completions. Throughout our programme we offer senior managers, independent consultants and senior academics the chance to gain new, relevant insights that will inform and develop your own career profile and make a contribution towards the enhancement of business and/or professional practice.

We have worked with participants from many prestigious private and publication organisations including CapGemini Iberia, the United Nations, Nova Business School, the Oman Embassy in the US and KPMG, amongst others.

The NBS DBA is designed to improve your business and managerial practice through the development of your personal, intellectual and academic abilities, via a major academic research project. Your research will make academically recognised contributions to your chosen fields, thus providing private and public sector organisations with doctoral-level research outputs that make an impact in terms of policy and practice.

Our DBA has an innovative course structure allowing students to have the option of submitting their work in the form of conventional documents (route A) or in the style of academic papers (route B). The course team and supervisory team will work with you to ensure that you understand the different routes and options available to you based on your career aspirations and interests.

The DBA is designed to help you:

  • explore the relationship between theory and practice, between understanding the world and changing it.
  • develop your judgement, foresight, and problem analysis by applying theoretical and forensic skills to the research material derived from their investigations.
  • develop you as a reflective practitioner who has the intellectual and personal adaptability to be able to deal with organisational change and ambiguity.
  • develop communication skills which will enable you to communicate effectively with both academic and managerial and business communities, and to act as interpreters between the two.
  • help you design and implement a research project at the boundaries of knowledge in your professional and managerial fields and thus make a contribution to academic knowledge and professional practice.

Nottingham Business School have both EQUIS and AACSB accreditation. We're also ranked in the top 95 European Business Schools in the Financial Times (FT).

What you'll study

Our DBA demands commitment, energy and hard work. In return you will be provided with a stimulating and life-enhancing development experience with the award of an increasingly valued qualification.

We are currently reviewing the content of our courses to ensure that they remain relevant and current to out students’ future ambitions and society. Please continue to check this course web-page for the latest developments.

  • Phase 1 (24 months)

    Document 1: Introduction to the DBA & Project Scoping (20 credits)

    The purpose of this module is to prepare you for working towards your doctorate degree, either the traditional document based (route A) or the academic paper based (route B). This includes scoping the overall shape of your DBA research project. The word scoping has been deliberately chosen because it suggests an indicative design rather than detailed specification of research methods and literature review; tasks that will be done later in the DBA. You will learn the importance of conducting research in an ethical way and obtaining approval for your project. You are encouraged to consider how your research might impact upon your organisation and key stakeholders, profession, wider policy and your own personal development. You will be required to start completing a learning log to support this element of the DBA and revisit this throughout your studies.

    This module is a 3 day workshop containing 21 hours of class contact. The workshop material will be delivered through a combination of lectures, syndicate discussions and individual tasks. Study will also be supported by tutorials with supervisors and feedback from supervisor(s) on draft written work.

    Document 2: Introduction to the Literature Review & Conceptual Development (40 credits)

    During this module you will build an understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of your chosen field of research, develop an understanding of the principles of doing a literature review and acquire the skills required for the production of critical literature review. At a later more advanced stage, you will build on this literature review and further refine both your research questions and your conceptual framework. It emphasises the shifts in the modes of thinking that are necessary to integrate academic and professional perspectives.

    This module is a 4-day workshop containing 28 hours of class contact. The workshop material will be delivered through a combination of lectures, syndicate discussions and individual tasks. Study will also be supported by tutorials with supervisors and feedback from supervisor(s) on draft written work.

    Students on the conventional document based route will be expected to produce a 6-8000 word critical literature review. Students on the academic papers route will also be expect to produce a 6-8000 word, critical literature review, but presented in the form of an academic paper that meets the requirement of a selection academic journal.

    Document 3: Introduction to Research Methodology (including pilot study) (60 credits)

    In this module you will set out your design for a piece of research that is original, ethical and significant i.e. likely to impact positively on identified practitioner and scholarly communities, and test it through a pilot study. In the document, you will propose a research design that flows from the earlier two pieces of assessed work. You are required to make an informed choice about the epistemological and methodological position that you intend to pursue in the empirical part of your studies. This will lead to detailed discussion in the document about:

    • how you envisage carrying out data collection for the body of the study (what research design will you employ?)
    • who you plan to engage with in order to maximise impact?
    • when the data will be collected? i.e. over what timespan and what methodologies and analytical techniques are envisaged in order to achieve this?

    You will be required to collect and analyse some data (similar to a pilot study) in order to assess the effectiveness of your proposed research strategy and to begin to address your overall research questions. The document will also include reflection on the initial data collection, and any adaptations that were made to the approach taken for the main body of the project. The module will cover methodological & philosophical understanding, impact planning and the technical aspects of quantitative / qualitative fieldwork, including methods, access, research ethics (ethical approval prior to collecting data will be required), research philosophy and data analysis. An impact plan, as part of the document, which draws upon the learning log will be included. This will reflect on the process of designing the fieldwork and the anticipated impact the fieldwork might have on personal development, academic and non-academic audiences.

    This module is a 5 day workshop containing 35 hours of class contact. The workshop material will be delivered through a combination of lectures, syndicate discussions and individual tasks. Study will also be supported by tutorials with supervisors and feedback from supervisor(s) on draft written work.

    The module will be assessed via a self-contained write up of the pilot study, covering a summary of literature, detailed information on research methodology and data collection and conclude with initial analysis of the pilot study in relation to answering the research questions. For the students on the conventional document route, this will be in the form of a 8-10000 word document. For students on the academic paper based route, assessment will be in the form of a conference paper.

    Below is the structure for the new DBA:

  • Phase 2 (24 months)

    Document 4: The Thesis (300 credits)

    Phase 2 is supported by 3 further workshops that are designed to help you bring together and build upon the work you have undertaken in Documents 1-3.

    This module is designed to help you bring together and build upon the work you have undertaken in Documents 1-3. You will learn how to further refine the scope of your research project and how to design and implement a rigorous research strategy that enables you to address your identified research questions. You will further develop and update your literature review and your conceptual framework and collect and analyse primary data in an appropriate and ethical manner. You will be guided in how to develop an original thesis that makes a contribution to academic knowledge and a fully developed discussion on the impact your doctoral journey has had on you both personally and professionally. This will include a detailed consideration of the impact on professional practice your study has enabled you to make. You will also be guided on how to write and present your thesis and how to participate in a viva voce examination.

    You are required to attend all 3 workshops but can opt to attend the one most relevant to the stage you are at and join workshops run for later cohorts:

    • The thesis stage and advanced literature review – 4 days
    • Advanced methodology (qualitative or quantitative) – 3.5 days
    • Reflection, impact, academic writing, submission & the viva – 5 days

    The workshop material will be delivered through a combination of lectures, syndicate discussions, individual tasks. Study will also be supported by tutorials with supervisors and feedback from supervisor(s) on draft written work.

  • Assessments

    The award of the DBA will be on the basis of successful completion of the four pieces of assessed work:

    DocumentRoute A - TraditionalRoute B - Academic
    Introduction to the DBA and Project Scoping  5,000 - 7,000 word research proposal & scoping document5,000 - 7,000 word research proposal & scoping document.
    Introduction to the Literature Review & Conceptual Development6,000 - 8,000 word critical literature review6,000 – 8,000 word ‘review paper’ structured, critical literature review.
    Introduction to Research Methodology (including pilot study)8,000 – 10,000 word research methodology including initial data collection and analysis8,000 - 10,000 word research methodology, development, conference paper, including initial data collection and analysis.
    The thesis50,000 - 60,000 word standard thesis which is externally examined and accompanied by a viva voce examination50,000 - 60,000 word thesis consisting of two papers, introduction, methodology, conclusion, and data/evidence in Appendix, which is externally examined and accompanied by a viva voce examination.

    The assessment criteria for Routes A and B are the same and are explicitly linked to the module learning outcomes, which are mapped directly onto the programme learning outcomes. The difference between the assessments on Routes A and B relates to style in which the assessments are written to be appropriate for the chosen audience. Examination of your written thesis will involve a viva voce by an internal and external examiner with expertise relating to methodological aspects and/or the subject area of the thesis.

  • Timeframes

    DBA students complete the programme over a four-year time-frame; the first 18 months are the introductory phase, while the following two and a half years represent the thesis itself. However, as part-time students, you have up to 8 years to complete your studies. As you are working on a professional doctorate, you are required to research issues relevant to your job or industry. It is expected that some of your academic work can be legitimately done as part of your employed work.

Course specification

View the full course specification
Please note that course specifications may be subject to change

We are 7th for the number of Research Doctorates studying Business & Administrative studies (HESA data 2016/17)

How you’re taught

Why study the DBA at Nottingham Business School?

The Doctorate of Business Administration is a research-based qualification and has the same academic standing as a PhD. As a student you can therefore expect a challenging, stretching, and demanding experience conducted in a stimulating atmosphere of intellectual and academic debate.

Our DBA aims to have a wider impact and real-world influence, enabling you to make an important contribution to society, culture and business. Project topics tend to focus on strategic issues that are present within the applicant’s organisation and are sufficiently complex to warrant a large-scale research study.

The NBS DBA is aligned to the level 8 of the QAA Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FHEQ) and AACSB Standard 9. NBS is an active member of a number of international doctoral councils including the Arts & Humanities and the Health, Energy and Social Policy Research Council Doctoral Training Partnerships, Vitae, the ESRC Midlands Graduate School, the Executive DBA Council (EDBAC), the European Institute for Advanced Management Studies (EIASM) and the Association of Business Schools DBA Steering Group. Participation in these fora enable the programme leaders to network and influence initiatives pertaining to doctoral studies, such as the development of doctoral standards.

Type of study

Our DBA provides a distinctive approach to continuing personal and professional development. You will be expected to have regular contact with your supervisory team and produce work based on your own research in order to assess progress.

With a strong focus on managerial and professional practice; the DBA links rigorous study of work-based problems and issues to personal and professional development. This aids the transfer of learning into organisational and managerial practice.

As a DBA student, you will take modules in research methodology, critical review and conceptual development. You will be expected to produce regular work based on your own research.

Supervision and Support

All students are encouraged to discuss any issues with their supervisor or DBA Programme Directors or their DBA Course Representative.

This usually consists of a Director of Studies (the person with the greatest expertise of the project) and a second supervisor. If you are collaborating with a company or institution you may also have a third supervisor.

Projects can be inter-disciplinary and draw on knowledge from two or more Schools. All students are encouraged to discuss any issues with their Professional Doctorate Course Leader and their Professional Doctorate Course Representative.

Our Doctoral School Administration Team will be your first point of contact for research degrees and will help you throughout the application process. If you are successful in your application, they will then be there to assist you throughout your period of study.

As a research student you will have access to a wealth of our services, including:

Results from the Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES 2017) have shown that we have received a 95% overall satisfaction rate for our DBA

Careers and employability

The primary goal of the DBA programme is to enable you, the student, to earn a DBA degree that will help you to leverage your careers and/ or make a transition into the highest levels of academia. Through our programme, we offer senior managers, independent consultants and senior academics the chance to gain new, relevant insights that will inform and develop your own career profile and make a contribution towards the enhancement of business and/or professional practice.

We have worked with participants from many prestigious private and publication organisations including CapGemini Iberia, the United Nations, Nova Business School, the Oman Embassy in the US and KPMG, amongst others.

DBA tailored to corporate organisations

Our DBA is a prime example of how we enable individuals to achieve respected qualifications while undertaking research that's focused on, and beneficial to, their organisations and sectors. The course has been established since 1998, but in 2007 we launched the first cohort purely recruited from China. Students are taught in Nottingham while carrying out research in their organisations in China, which include major brands like Nike, Intel and Motorola.

Notable alumni

We like to keep in touch with all our past students to see what they have been up to over the years. Notable alumni for our DBA course include:

  • Emmanuel Probst, Director, Media and  Digital Instructor, Consumer Market Research at Kantar Millward Brown and UCLA
  • Sue Shepherd, Director of East Midlands Major Trauma Network and East Midlands Spinal Network

Student Testimonial

"I have thoroughly enjoyed thinking about methodologies and the different angles to re-investigate current issues. This helps to pull me out of the current firefighting approach that we tried every day, re-look at the issues that we are facing, and approach them more holistically, with a broader view and deeper thought."

Anna L. Q. Zheng, China DBA programme

Entry requirements

  • an MPhil, MBA or Masters-level degree in Business, Management or Organisation studies.
  • a minimum of five years experience in a senior management post.
  • the ability to conduct research and write a thesis at doctoral level.

Those without a Masters qualification but with significant work experience and evidence can undergo a process of Accreditation of Prior Experience and Learning.

Applicants with non-standard entry requirements and / or relevant experience will be considered on an individual basis.

  • an MPhil, MBA or Masters-level degree in Business, Management or Organisation studies.
  • a minimum of five years experience in a senior management post.
  • the ability to conduct research and write a thesis at doctoral level.
  • International students must have an IELTS score of at least 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in all components.
  • For a list of our language requirements please visit our English language page.
  • If you’re not sure how your international qualification matches our course requirements please visit our international entry requirements page.

Those without a Masters qualification but with significant work experience and evidence can undergo a process of Accreditation of Prior Experience and Learning.

Applicants with non-standard entry requirements and / or relevant experience will be considered on an individual basis.

How to apply

All applicants are required to complete a application form, submit two copies of their qualifications and provide two confidential references.

Email doctoralschool@ntu.ac.uk for explanatory notes and an application form.

Before completing the application form, please ensure that you read the Notes for Guidance carefully. Alternatively, applicants can contact the Doctoral School for an application form.

Please return your application form, associated documents and references to dbaadmin@ntu.ac.uk in order to ensure that it is dealt with as efficiently as possible.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

All applicants are required to complete a application form, submit two copies of their qualifications and provide two confidential references.

Email gradschool@ntu.ac.uk for explanatory notes and an application form.

Before completing the application form, please ensure that you read the Notes for Guidance carefully. Alternatively, applicants can contact the Doctoral School for an application form.

Please return your application form, associated documents and references to dbaadmin@ntu.ac.uk in order to ensure that it is dealt with as efficiently as possible.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Further information on how to apply

Need help with your application?
For admissions related enquiries please contact us:
Telephone: +44 (0)115 848 4200

Fees and funding

The course fees for 2019 have not yet been set, here are 2018 fees for a guidance:

  • Years 1, 2, 3 and 4 = £11,300 per year
  • Years 5+ = £5,500 per year
  • (there is no separate completion year fee)

Funding

As part of the DBA course you will be have opportunity to apply for one a bursary. There are up to four bursaries available up to the value of £11,000 each year. The bursaries will initially cover your fees for stages one to three of the DBA programme, which should be completed by July 2021.

Please note that the application process is very competitive and your research will need to cover one of our research groups. This will be discussed with your academic mentor during your studies to ensure your research matches the group.

For further information on tuition fees, please contact the Doctoral School by telephone +44 (0)115 848 8123 or via email.

Postgraduate Doctoral Loans

The UK Government provides doctoral loans of up to £25,000 for students from England and Wales. The loans are not means-tested, this means that all eligible applicants may borrow up to the full amount.

Further information, including eligibility and repayment information, is available from GOV.UK or from Student Finance Wales.

The course fees for 2018 entry are:

  • Years 1, 2, 3 and 4 = £11,300 per year
  • Years 5+ = £5,500 per year
  • (there is no separate completion year fee)

Funding

As part of the DBA course you will be have opportunity to apply for one a bursary. There are up to four bursaries available up to the value of £11,000 each year. The bursaries will initially cover your fees for stages one to three of the DBA programme, which should be completed by July 2021.

Please note that the application process is very competitive and your research will need to cover one of our research groups. This will be discussed with your academic mentor during your studies to ensure your research matches the group.

For further information on tuition fees, please contact the Doctoral School by telephone +44 (0)115 848 8123 or via email.

Still need help?

Doctoral School
+44 (0)115 848 8088