Plymouth Business School

DBA Business Administration

Are you a senior manager, consultant or entrepreneur who wants to draw together both the theoretical and practical aspects of leadership and managerial experience? Designed to enable you to develop professional practice, theoretical understanding and reflexive capability, the Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) is a high level, innovative qualification and an alternative route if you wish to research your professional practice at doctorate level.

International University of Geneva (IUG)

The first four modules will be taught over four weekends at the International University of Geneva (IUG).

Find out more about IUG

Key features

  • Flexible course length, it can be completed in 4 to 5 years.
  • The programme is studied part-time through a blended learning approach (via the university’s DLE, online media and traditional face-to-face teaching) and offers the support of working in a structured manner and with a cohort of peers from a range of professional practices. It is therefore ideal for those who are juggling study with a busy professional life.
  • Enjoy being central to the progress of the course - the DBA assumes that your organisation and society are continually changing, and will relate these issues to wider theoretical questions. Providing candidates with an opportunity to reflect on the nature of their professional practice, the consideration of data collection approaches and the analysis of data that can influence policy, practice and business decision making processes.
  • Further your understanding of leadership and change and, through the study of specific situations, make general conclusions about practical problems. 
  • Develop a creative mind in relation to individual perspectives and organisational contexts.
  • We assess your work through a carefully constructed set of assignments which gradually and supportively induct you into a research community. You will be given the opportunity to conduct a conference presentation, write a paper for submission to a journal and undertake a pilot study in preparation for the larger thesis. 
  • There is an opportunity for you to “step-off” the programme at a number of points with a recognised UK postgraduate level qualification.

  • Gain new perspectives and learn precise methodological approaches that add value in terms of effectiveness, capability and efficiency.​

Course details

  • Year 1
  • You will undertake an individual research project drawing on your practical experience and theoretical frameworks. Initially there is an emphasis on close direction through workshops, presentations and written papers. On the basis of the written papers and a research proposal, the second phase involves the completion of a thesis. You will be expected to concentrate on an issue directly related to your workplace, such as solving a problem or identifying new operational procedures. Before you start your thesis, you’ll agree your area of research with the University, individual student and any other participating organisations. Individual tuition and supervision will be available to you for the duration of the programme. The programme is carefully structured so that in early taught stages there is considerable support, but with the opportunity to develop this thinking in a range of directions from the research proposal stage through to the thesis/research phase.

    You will undertake 3 modules:
    • Advanced Qualitative Research Methods for Doctoral Study
    • Advanced Quantitative Research Methods for Doctoral Study
    • Applying Theory to Professional Practice

    In the Advanced Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods modules, the process used to collect information and data for the purpose of making business decisions are put under the lens. In these modules you look at approaches to research methodologies bringing ideas together initially through considerations of ontology, epistemology and ethics, and leading to an examination of individual research methods as appropriate tools for different studies. 

    The third module that makes up the first year of study, ‘Applying Theory to Professional Practice’ provides an understanding of the relationship between self and practice and considers the relationships between theory and practice through self-mediation. It explores the correlation between perspectives of theory, paradigms of inquiry and methodological approaches, where consideration is given to future actions and applications within the professional context. It is therefore very important that you view writing not just as a way to publicly communicate ‘finished’ ideas, but as a personal tool for on-going development of these ideas.
  • Year 2
  • Upon the successful completion of the three taught modules in Year 1, you will embark on the fourth module, the Research Proposal. Further workshops and seminars will be conducted to help you to design, develop and implement a doctoral research project. A Research Adviser will also be allocated to help you develop effective and feasible aims, hypotheses and analytical strategies.

    The successful completion of this module will enable you to embark on Phase 2 (Year 3) of the research element where you will develop and complete a substantive doctoral research project in your choice of business domain to create and contribute to knowledge.

  • Year 3-5
  • Years three to five form the thesis stage of the programme. Under the supervision of your Director of Studies, you will build on the work from the first two years, and develop your research proposal into the final thesis. The thesis comprises a substantial piece of original research into an area of practice of your own choosing, through which you make an original contribution to knowledge.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

Doctorate in Business Administration Programme Specification 3817

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

Five years relevant work experience and a master’s degree - a UK degree or equivalent overseas/professional qualification.  For overseas students, an IELTS score of at least 6.5 is required.

You will be interviewed and your capability to undertake the taught part of the programme will be established.

Progression onto the research element will depend on successful completion of six modules and a research proposal.

Fees, costs and funding

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated Brexit webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

Please visit International University Geneva for further information on the IUG DBA fees.

Please visit our postgraduate research money matters page to find out more about issues related to fees, funding, loans and paying for your programme of study.

How to apply

Applications should be made directly with the  International University in Geneva.

Research Advisers

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Postgraduate study can help you realise your ambitions and develop your potential as a manager and leader of the future. Whether you come to us as a newly qualified graduate or after a successful track record in industry we provide high quality, professionally accredited postgraduate programmes, and PhD and professional doctorate supervision.  

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