How to apply for our Executive DBA

Find out more details about the application process for our Executive DBA programme and how to write your research proposal


Research proposal

Interview and offer


Executive DBA Application and Research Proposal


Applying for our Executive DBA is fast and easy, and applications are open all year round.

To apply for our Executive DBA programme, you need to create an account and submit an online application with all the following supporting documentation:


Academic transcripts and certificates

As part of your application, you must submit evidence of your academic background:

  • School or college transcripts/certificates
  • University transcripts
  • Degree certificates
Evidence of English proficiency

All international students must demonstrate a sufficient level of English proficiency in order to be accepted in the programme.

By the time of your application, you must have reached a minimum standard of English and be able to provide evidence of this.

Visit the entry requirements page for more information on language entry requirements.

Personal statement

This should be an approximately 500 words documents setting out your motivations to study our Executive DBA programme.

Good personal statements normally incorporate information on how your background, experience and training make you the ideal candidate for this highly demanding programme.

Two references

All applicants must provide two signed references signed and in letterheaded paper.

For working professionals:

  • Ideally, working professional should submit one academic reference (ie master’s) and a professional reference.
  • However, if not possible, students can submit two professional references.

For full-time students:

  • Students who have been in full-time education for the past three years, must submit two academic references.

Strong references are tailored to the Executive DBA programme, and provide information on your intellectual capabilities, work ethic, business/management experience, research and analysis experience, and ability to work on long-term projects.

Research proposal

The research proposal is one of the most important parts of your application.

It should be an approximately 2,000 words document where you explain the organisational problem you are planning on finding solutions for and how.

Your research proposal may be tested for plagiarism, collusion and other irregularities.

Keep reading to find out more detail on how to write your research proposal.


As part of your application, you must also include information on how you intend to fund your degree. You can find more information on how to cover your fees here.

You do not need to find a supervisor prior to starting your Executive DBA application.

This is something which is arranged during pre-thesis stage of the programme, once you have demonstrated a sufficient level of progress in your research proposal.

How to write your research proposal

All Executive DBA applicants are required to submit a proposal of around 2,000 words, which sets out the research problem they are planning to address during the thesis development stage of the programme. 

Below is a suggested structure for your Executive DBA research proposal:


Suggested length: maximum 15 words

Your title should capture your proposed area of study and inform the reader of its key focus.

Good titles are not only descriptive, they are concise, interesting and catch the reader's attention. 

Your title should clearly reflect your proposed area of study and, if relevant, the methodological approach you aim to take.

Organisational issue

Suggested length: approximately 500 words

In this section you need to describe as clearly as possible an organisational problem which you are experiencing within your organisation, and that seems to defy known solutions. 

Think about what outputs will the proposed research project need to deliver in order to support the development of effective solutions. 

Literature review

Suggested length: 700 approximately words

In this section, you should identify subjects within the academic literature that could offer a new perspective on the organisational problem you are intending to address, and explain the reasons for your choices.

Think about what ideas from the available academic literature you anticipate could offer you a new perspective on the issue.

You should reference the most important texts related to your research, demonstrate your understanding of the research issues and identify existing gaps in th existing body of academic literature.

Research methodology and evidence

Suggested length: 300 approximately words

In this section, you need to outline the evidence you anticipate will help you make progress on your organisational issue, and the research methods you expect to use to collect that evidence.

For any empirical work, it is important to consider any data requirements, fieldwork, access issues, etc. 


Suggested length: 200 approximately words

In this section, you should explain how you envisage your research making a difference to the management/organisational context you have identified, as well as more broadly.

List of references

Suggested length: 300 approximately words

All work cited in your research proposal should be referenced throughout the text using Harvard Referencing Style, and appear in the list of references at the end of the document.

Interview and academic offer

Once you have submitted your application, our admissions team will review all the documentation and invite suitable applicants for a 30-minute Zoom interview.

All applicants, including unsuccessful candidates, are informed of the outcome of the evaluation by email.


Contact the Executive DBA Team for any questions on your application

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