In accordance with the University’s mission ‘to be a global home for enterprising and confident students and graduates’, this course provides a springboard to engagement with the wider world. The Business School is committed to the belief that business education should facilitate rather than constrain, and this course presents a flexible and well-balanced curriculum that addresses the changing needs of contemporary forward-thinking businesses. You will be encouraged to reflect upon your own personal and professional, skills and engage in dialogue with global peers in order to prepare them to manage, lead and help transform their respective organisations. You will become a research-informed business leader who is able to apply best practice within your organisational and in your own managerial practices. The interaction between theory and practice provides leaders with research-informed perspectives that add value in terms of business effectiveness, efficiency and capability.
This programme gives you the opportunity to combine advanced study with professional experience. The structure allows you to gain knowledge and confidence in academic research at the beginning of the programme, followed by support from your supervisory team during the DBA Advanced Independent Work module. In the online learning environment, you will study your two taught modules through a range of interactions that offer both synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities. You will begin the first module Research Methods for Doctoral Students in the first trimester of your studies, followed by the second taught module Applying Management and Organisational Studies Research. Upon successful completion of the two taught modules, you will progress onto the DBA Advanced Independent Study module, which is a supervised module working with an allocated supervisory team on your research thesis.
Examples of previous research include studies of commitment to personal development, changes in public sector organisation, and the impact of organisational culture on efficiency. All DBA lecturers are research-active and able to supervise a wide range of academic and practical research topics. You are encouraged to develop your reflexivity, positioning yourself as a critically informed practitioner. There is a possibility to choose between two pathways (part-time or full-time) depending on personal and professional circumstances. The programme allows you to build on previous learning in an area of business and/or management and expand skills and knowledge to undertake a doctoral-level study.
The overall aims of the online DBA programme are to develop leaders to:
- be proficient in research, methodological and analytical skills
- think critically and have the ability to deal with complex, interdisciplinary facets of organisations
- foster professional development skills
- reflect upon theory and applied experiences to enhance managerial practice and/or your respective organisation.
What you study
The course offers a stimulating and well-balanced integrated curriculum that places emphasis upon developing the skills and knowledge of those individuals who aspire to achieve senior organisational positions within their business or industry setting. You will develop your personal, professional, critical thinking and reflective skills to prepare you to manage, lead and transform your organisations.
The course comprises three modules. You start by getting your bearings with research, then learn how to engage with academic literature at a doctoral level, before formally reviewing the literature relevant to your proposed study. You are required to design a study, which brings to the fore some complex philosophical issues about what insight we can gain from the data we obtain. You then analyse and present your data in a meaningful way. Finally, your write-up your study in the form of a thesis and prepare to defend it at an oral (viva voce) examination.
Applying Management and Organisational Studies Research
This module is structured around three key interrelated themes: internationalisation and globalisation, organisational practices, and theory of management. You develop a critical appreciation of contemporary issues in organisational behaviour and development and apply research skills to produce a literature review signposting a preferred theoretical underpinning. Due to the nature of this module and its focus on emerging management issues, the content may change year-on-year. However, typical content is likely to include organisational development, change theory, comparative management theory, talent management and reflective practice.
DBA Advanced Independent Study
The module requires you to draw creatively and critically upon your academic studies to develop and apply a specific piece of research to the organisational and/or professional discipline setting. In addition to incorporating the usual doctorate-level critical literature and methodological review, this module examines, evaluates and makes recommendations relating to current and possible future professional practice, demonstrating a contribution to the development of new knowledge within the appropriate professional field.
You are required to submit a 40,000-50,000 word Advanced Independent Study report for assessment and will be examined by viva voce.
Research Methods for Doctoral Students
This module provides a thorough introduction to management research and forms the basis for research training for doctoral students in business and management. You are introduced to a breadth of research philosophies and methodological approaches to give you a sufficient understanding to engage critically with the literature and make informed methodological choices in your own research projects, taking into account data analysis methods and any ethical issues and considerations. The aim is to achieve a balance between generic coverage of relevant material, and bespoke workshops which respond to your specific needs in terms of the research methods you propose to use in your study. This module also acts as a bridging module between the master and doctoral level.
How you learn
The DBA programme makes the best use of technology towards affording learners a high-quality meaningful learning experience that captures the realities of the dynamic and disruptive professional world, and to find solutions towards addressing some of the global and social challenges.
We are ambitious for you and aim to develop you to become future ready as global citizens, who use the learning from the course to develop intellectual curiosity, creativity, and research action and use the knowledge and skills gained towards addressing social and ethical grand challenges of our times in the field of business.
The DBA has been designed to be flexible in its delivery to ensure it meets the needs of the busy professional. Content is broken down and introduced over the duration of each trimester to ensure deep learning takes place. As such, methods used to facilitate learning will be both synchronous and asynchronous and will include:
- interactive video materials
- virtual classroom activity
- individual and group tutorials
- readings and accompanying interactive exercises
- online discussion forums
- virtual action learning sets
- pod/vodcasts, with accompanying tasks
- case study analysis.
Whilst you will be enrolled within a cohort of peers, you will also benefit from cross-cohort learning experiences - an approach that will ultimately enrich your student experience and enhance your ability to become a self-directed and autonomous learner. You engage with module content – such as video lectures, reading and online tasks – independent of other learners. However, you are also expected to collaborate, network and immerse yourself in group learning activities and forums through online collaboration tools designed to support peer-to-peer learning.
Using future facing learning and teaching strategies, the course will facilitate your progression towards becoming a digitally-empowered autonomous learner, connecting students on a global scale. The skills, knowledge and collaboration between students and their tutors will ensure that you will be future ready and in a position to make a high-level impact within their respective organisations.
How you are assessed
The course adopts a range of formative and summative assessment methods to suit the demands and requirements of the contemporary business workplace. These include research reports; literature reviews; case study analysis; individual presentations; self-diagnostic assessments; reflective analysis; research proposal and thesis.
Formative assessments will be administered via the VLE platform through relevant discussion forums and peer engagement; quizzes; doctoral colloquium etc. Formative feedback will be given on a regular basis and you will be given the opportunity to receive feedback ahead of each summative assessment opportunity. All summative assessment methods for online students mirror those experienced by the on-campus and blended-based students.
Typically graduates move into senior management and strategic leadership roles, internal consultant/project leadership roles or into external consultancy roles. DBA applicants are expected to be relatively senior business-based professionals at point of entry, so whilst the course will allow you to build on your existing work experience and skills, it will develop you as a research-informed business leader who is able to apply best practice within your organisational context and towards your own managerial practices.
The DBA (Online) is designed for people who have achieved or expect to achieve, senior organisational positions and/or who wish to enhance their analytical and research skills and knowledge. Applicants should have a master's degree in a subject that has aspects that relate to business and/or management, together with a minimum of three years' managerial experience. Applicants should include a short research proposal with their application.
All prospective students will be interviewed. Applicants must show they have a recent and relevant study or practice in the field of business and/or management.
Health conditions requiring adjustments
For this particular course, you may need to undertake occupational health or work-based risk assessment check. If you have a disability, specific learning difficulty, mental health condition, autism spectrum condition, sensory impairment or medical condition that may require reasonable adjustments during an external placement, in the university or in a clinical practice area, this must be declared as part of the enrolment process. If you are unsure you can contact the relevant admissions or course tutor for guidance.