What’s it like to study for a DBA?
The DBA degree offers a fairly unique experience, combining advanced teaching, discussion and training with significant practical work and independent doctoral research.
The method of study for a DBA is also highly innovative. Because they are designed for practising professionals, most programmes are delivered through part-time distance learning, or online learning. This allows candidates to complete their course whilst still pursuing their careers.
How long is a DBA?
A DBA normally takes between four and six years to complete (on a part-time basis, through distance learning).
How will my programme be organised?
Most DBA programmes are split into two distinct sections:
- The first phase will follow a sequence of taught modules on specific topics. These will explore management theory and business practice as well as research methodologies and practical training designed to prepare you for your project.
- The second phase will focus on your independent research. During this period you will implement your research proposal and carry out a project leading to the production of a doctoral thesis.
What will I study?
Course content for the taught part of your DBA will be decided by your university, but you can normally expect to cover topics such as:
- Business and management theory - Advanced teaching and discussion exploring key theoretical issues and practical topics related to modern management, business practice and leadership.
- Research principles and philosophies - Grounding in effective Business and Management research principles, including key objectives, deliverables and organisational challenges.
- Research methods and design – Training in the expertise necessary to conceive, construct and carry out effective research projects in Business and Management, covering issues such as project management, data collection and research ethics.
- Contemporary issues and concerns – Analysis of the modern Business landscape, together with the challenges and opportunities currently being experienced by organisations.
Exact content will vary between courses, as will the balance between Business and Management theory and research training. The best way to get a more accurate sense of what a DBA might involve is view some programme details.
How will I study?
Most DBA programmes are part-time and take place primarily through distance learning, using online systems and resources. This is designed to allow you to complete your programme flexibly, whilst carrying on with your career.
Individual module delivery will occur through a combination of intensive workshops (usually lasting between one and three days) followed by a course of virtual seminars and tutorials.
The research phase of your degree will be more like a conventional PhD. You will work independently, but will have scheduled meetings (online, or face-to-face) with one or more designated supervisors.
How will my DBA be assessed?
The first part of your DBA will be assessed through coursework. You will complete assignments appropriate to each modules and these will be examined by your tutors, much like the work you would do for an academic Bachelors or Masters degree.
Assuming your work is satisfactory, you will then proceed to the independent research project that is required for a doctorate. As with a PhD, this will normally be assessed through a viva voce (a formal oral examination) during which you will defend your thesis in front of internal and external examiners.