Business Administration (Executive Doctorate) / DBA

Our Executive Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) is an action-research based postgraduate programme, designed for senior professionals who want to drive transformational impact within their organisations, and become thought leaders in their professional area.

Why study with us?

  • 91%

    of our School's research classified as 'world leading' (4*) or 'internationally excellent' (3*) in the latest Research Excellence Framework (2021)

  • 160

    International experts shape world-class academic thought

  • 100%

    of our research environment classified 'world leading' (4*) or 'internationally excellent' (3*) in the latest Research Excellence Framework (2021)


Format: part-time
Delivery: hybrid
Starting in: September 2024
Duration: 4.5-7.5 years

Visit the Executive DBA programme pages.

Executive EDBA Director of Studies, Dr Paul Ellwood talks about the programme.

At an individual level, the Executive DBA is a professional doctorate for business leaders, which means it provides access to the highest level of academic qualification. At a company level, the programme equips senior managers with high-level analytical and problem-solving skills to drive transformational change within their organisations.

This is a hybrid part-time learning programme, combining online modules with on-campus residencies during the first two years, to allow working professionals to study while fulfilling their job obligations.

The Executive DBA expands the traditional support from an expert supervisor, with Doctoral Development Plan modules aimed at strengthening the students' research capabilities, so they are able to deploy these skills during their thesis workplan and after graduation.

Programme structure

The Executive DBA is structured in two stages:

Stage 1 - Pre-thesis stage

During the pre-thesis stage students will complete four modules aimed at developing their research skills.This is an intensive 2-year period which combines four on-campus residencies with online learning sessions.After completing the Stage 1 of the programme, students will gain 180 credits at Level 7.

Stage 2 - Thesis development

During the thesis development stage, students receive regular one-to-one online support from their individual supervisor. In addition, students are provided with continuous research skills development through two new Doctoral Development Plan modules. During these sessions, students have access to group seminars and refresher workshops on different methodologies and aspects of the research process. The goal is to build capability and capacity, for students to be able to deploy these skills, not only in their thesis workplan, but also to continue doing this after graduation. The doctorate is awarded once students have completed Stage 2 of the programme, which accounts for 360 credits. 


The whole process can be completed in 4.5 years, however, we understand unexpected personal or professional situations can affect our students' progress. If needed, students are allowed up to 7.5 years to finish the programme.

Find out more about the Executive DBA programme structure.

Study options and fees

Fees and Scholarships

The fees for the Executive Doctorate in Business Administration programme are £46,000

  • £13,000 per year for the 2-year pre-thesis stage
  • £8,000 per year for the 2.5-year thesis development stage.

For those who continue in the thesis development stage beyond 2.5 years, an additional fee of £4,000 per year will be payable.

There are two scholarships available for this programme:

ULMS Executive DBA Award

ULMS Progress to Executive DBA Award

Entry requirements

Executive DBA applications are welcomed and will be considered from well qualified graduates, who would typically hold a UK first or 2:1 class first degree or equivalent, in a relevant subject. 

In addition, applicants must have:

  • MBA/Masters in business and/or management (or a related discipline)
  • At least 5 years of significant experience working at senior level within an organisation or as a consultant.

English language requirements

IELTS Academic requirement - SELT and non-SELT Overall 7.0 no band below 6.5
TOEFL iBT requirement Minimum 100 overall with L 21 R 21 W 21 and S 23
C1 Advanced CAE requirement Overall 185 with no less than 176 in any paper
PTE Academic requirement69 with minimum scores of 61 in each component
Trinity College London, Integrated Skills in English (ISE II)ISE II with an overall pass with merit in components
Cambridge IGCSE as a First LanguageGrade C
Cambridge IGCSE as a Second LanguageGrade B
Cambridge English Level 3 Certificate in ESOL International (Proficiency)Overall 185 with 176 in components
Cambridge English Level 3 Certificate in ESOL International (Advanced)Overall 185 with 176 in components
Cambridge English Level 2 Certificate in ESOL International (Advanced)Overall 185 with 176 in components

How to apply

Research degree applications can be made online.  You'll also need to ensure that you have funding to cover all fees.

Applications are open all year round.

More about applying for research degrees

Apply online

Applying online is fast and easy, and applications are open all year round.

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

Find out more about the Executive DBA application process and how to write your research proposal before you apply.

You will need to ensure you have funding to cover all fees. Find out the different funding options and scholarships for the Executive DBA.

Related studentships: self-funded and funded PhD projects

Find a scholarship

We offer a range of scholarships to help you meet the costs of studying a research degree.

See scholarships