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Doctorate of Business Administration (Part Time) - DBA *

  • Level: Postgraduate Research
  • Starting: September 2021
  • Study mode: Distance Learning
  • Location: City Centre

Studying with us in 2021/22

It is possible that the 2021/22 academic year may be affected by the ongoing disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Any arrangements put in place by the University for the 2021/22 academic year will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

Our online Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) course is intended to assist career professionals who wish to enhance, contribute to and transform practice. It is a professional doctorate completed on a part-time (Executive) basis. An internationally established highest level qualification, the course enables you to earn the title of Doctor without putting your career on hold.

The course will enhance your professional capabilities, credibility and standing, and you will contribute to practice through action research.

What's covered in the course?

The DBA is designed to help you apply action research-based thinking to ideas in practice and work, or practice based problems whilst deepening and broadening your understanding of application to professional practice.

You will also develop essential research skills which will enable you to play a leading role in strategic and operational development, policy formation and evaluation in practice.

Our DBA is aimed at enhancing the level of professional capabilities and credibility of practising professionals, and the research undertaken on the course is focused on contributing to, and transforming, practice.

The course combines workshops, research based activities and a substantial research enquiry thesis.

What Our Students Say

“The DBA programme at Birmingham City University was a big step, but definitely one worth taking. As a way of consolidating the learning that anyone who is successful in business has to do, it is unrivalled. Learning to think and act like a researcher whilst maintaining a business perspective adds value in so many aspects of a business career. Achieving the designation of 'Dr' is the icing on the cake that visibly sets you apart from your peers. It is hard work and it takes time, but the return on that investment is life-changing.”

Dr Deb Bannigan
Portfolio Executive - CEO, Chair, NED

Why Choose Us?

  • Our flexible online delivery means that you can study with us from anywhere in the world, at a time that suits you. See ‘course in depth’ to find out more.
  • On our course you will gain a professional focus and practice based experience of action research and its application to practice, ensuring you are equipped to make an impact in or accelerate your career or standing.
  • You will have the opportunity to work in conjunction with our thought-provoking supervisors who will guide you to gain specialist insight into your chosen field(s).
  • Candidate support is at the forefront of our approach, with everything designed to give you the skills you need to succeed.
  • You will be able to work on exciting projects for real-life clients through our Business Advice Centre, giving you exposure to the challenges and issues faced by businesses as well as the chance to develop successful solutions. Opportunities are available with local, regional, national and even global businesses such as BMW.
  • The Centre also offers expert support for your own entrepreneurial ideas, so you can start planning your own start-up or take your existing business to the next level. Following graduation, you will have the opportunity to apply for STEAMhouse Business Incubator membership.

Students outside Millennium Point

Open Days

Attending one of our Virtual Open Days is a great way to find out more about the courses we offer and get answers to any questions you might have. Our next postgraduate Virtual Open Day is taking place on Wednesday 9 June.

Book now

This course is open to International students

Teaching Excellence Excellence Framework

Birmingham City University has been awarded silver status for its quality of teaching in the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

Working Papers Series

The Working Paper Series publishes and promotes the work of MHRE and Doctoral researchers in a timely way that enables the development of research outputs for further publication in academic journals. It is a showcase for the researchers, and a valuable resource for those wishing to publish their work to a wide audience.

The Working Paper Series is an effective window on our research activity.

Working Papers

Find out more

Subject to approval

This course is in the final stages of approval to ensure it meets the very highest standards of quality, creativity and applied learning.

The DBA provides a framework for practice or work based research, where your professional environment is also the core of your research environment and network. This requires commitment to independently driven professional environment research.

Current research interests

You choose an issue of action research related to an area of practice. This could be in relation to your company, sector, industry, professional practice, professional body etc.

  • UK students
  • International students

Award: DBA

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Distance Learning
  • 4 Years
  • TBC

Award: DBA

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Distance Learning
  • 4 Years
  • TBC

If you’re unable to use our online application form for any reason, please email Research.Admissions@bcu.ac.uk.The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Entry requirements

To join the DBA programme, you must have completed an MA, MSc or MBA degree in a particular area of business-related professional practice and have at least five years related professional practice experience, as well as being employed in the professional capacity that you propose to study.

You must have the formal agreement and active co-operation of the organisation where the DBA studies are to take place.

Please note, the course is only offered as a part-time programme.

A full research proposal is not required as you will build this during the first year. We do however need to know that you have a level of clarity on what your research is and how you would access the research opportunity. Therefore you need to initially develop your outline research concept.

Research concept guidance

Your research outline should address the following areas:

Justification for Study 

Say how the DBA will help you pursue your career objectives

Work Experience

Relevant work and career experience that is relevant to your subject (highlighting the skills and experience gained).

Research Proposal

What you propose to research - the area and a key question representing the gap or opportunity that you propose to address

Research approach

How you would access and conduct the necessary research (This typically means the agreement and active co-operation of the organisation where your research activities are to take place).

Contribution

How could this contribute to practice and outline proposals for sponsorship from organisation(s).

The programme fees pay for the core of the programme, tutoring and supervision, assessment and the like. Your travel to and from the University and any necessary accommodation are not included. Ancillary costs associated with your activities are not covered. For example if you travel to undertake your research this is not normally covered.

If you have any specific queries please ask the programme team.

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Thinking about a PhD?

Our PhD section is the place to go for application tips, FAQs, funded opportunities, helpful blogs and more!

Find out more

Structured Phase (Year 1)

This module will enable you to develop knowledge of relevant concepts and issues, as well as an emerging capability to deploy theoretical concepts in pursuits of new definitions of professional purposes and approaches. You will also develop an understanding of some key different action research issues skills and abilities you must develop to succeed.

A key element of this is reflective practice which is intended to be continuous throughout the life of your research programme. You reflect upon ‘the self’ in the context of a change, development and personal growth process. You will be expected to work in action learning sets. These sets will provide a valuable forum for support between modules and throughout the life of the programme. The sets will be organised on a virtual basis. The assignments undertaken in other modules will also be supported by this activity with opportunities for reflection on personal and research skills, challenges and changes.

60 credits

Current Elements:

Extended Research Proposal (inc. Literature Review)

This will help you develop an understanding and critically analyse the background research by selecting the source of information that is necessary to develop a context for your research.

Evaluating Your Development as a Researcher

This places your work in context and sets out how it will be developed over the course of the programme.

Structured Phase (Year 2)

This helps you to move beyond the contextual and design issues examined earlier, as you identify an area of practice as an extension or sub-set of your chosen research subject. Therefore, the module’s purpose is to frame the research methods learned earlier to equip and support your selected topic in practice settings and meet the requirements of validation within a wider research community.

You should be able to research a relevant topic and write a report that can stand on its own and at the same time can demonstrate development of or support for your chosen research topic. You have an opportunity to investigate a real practice issue. This should be located within the contemporary body of knowledge. This will enable you to demonstrate the skills and knowledge acquired and developed in the previous modules before you engage to refine your final plans and write your Practice Based Thesis.

It is necessary that when you undertake research in organisations and companies that involves collecting data from living people, you have to obtain ethical approval from the University before beginning the research. Research for your DBA will require ethical approval or a formal exemption.

Researchers must comply with the legal requirements in relation to the storage and use of personal data as set down in the Data Protection Act 1998 in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and any subsequent similar acts and, where research is taking place outside those countries, the equivalent law of that jurisdiction.

The module will develop an overarching position relating to the development of knowledge and the nature of that knowledge. It will provide you with excellent opportunity to think deeply whilst developing critical analysis and persuasive writing that is essential in your study and practice. Philosophy poses some of the most challenging questions that confront us today. 

This module is strategically placed between your Pilot Inquiry and the two years you will be working on your Thesis. In the first module of the programme (Contemporary Research in Practice) you will have had an introduction to research philosophy – this will have prepared you in developing your pilot inquiry. The Research Philosophy will now have a detailed focus as described above with the purpose of embedding this immediately before your extended work on your Practice Based Thesis. Also, you have the opportunity to discuss the philosophical issues with your Thesis supervisor(s).

This will provide some final preparation for your final research and thesis.

Research Phase (Years 3 and 4)

You will make an original contribution to practice, and develop, design and implement original and ethical work that contributes to scholarly thinking as well as practice and is worthy of publication. Learning at Doctoral level may be achieved substantially by conducting independent research.

Course Structure

This course is delivered fully online, enabling you to study at a time that suits you. You don’t have to attend any face-to-face sessions, and delivery of course materials is done through our e-learning platform, Moodle.

As a guide, you should be allowing around 20 hours a week for part-time study, on average, as a combination of directed study (engaging with the online materials) and personal study.

Year 1 – Structured phase

Contemporary Research in Practice

This enables you to develop knowledge of relevant concepts and issues, as well as an emerging capability to deploy theoretical concepts. A key element of this is reflective practice which is intended to be continuous throughout the life of your research course.

Postgraduate Certificate in Research Practice Course

Current Elements:

o  Extended Research Proposal (inc. Literature Review)

This will help you develop an understanding and critically analyse the background research by selecting the source of information that is necessary to develop a context for your research.

o  Evaluating Your Development as a Researcher

This places your work in context and sets out how it will be developed over the course of the course.

Year 2 – Structured phase

Pilot Inquiry

You will frame the research methods learned earlier to equip and support your selected topic in practice settings and meet the requirements of validation within a wider research community.

Research Philosophy

You develop an overarching position relating to the progression of knowledge and the nature of that knowledge. This will provide you with the opportunity to think deeply whilst developing critical analysis and persuasive writing that is essential in your study and practice.

Years 3 and 4 - Research phase

Practice Based Thesis

You will make an original contribution to practice, and develop, design and implement original and ethical work that contributes to scholarly thinking as well as practice and is worthy of publication. Learning at Doctoral level may be achieved substantially by conducting independent research.

Assessment

You will conduct a piece of unique Doctoral level research, submit a thesis for examination and sit an oral exam (viva voce) in which you defend your thesis and contribution to practice before a panel of experts.

Assessment breakdown

How the DBA is assessed

You will conduct a piece of unique Doctoral level research, submit a thesis for examination and sit an oral exam (viva voce) in which you defend your thesis and contribution to practice before a panel of experts.

Modes of Study

Our Online DBA programme is designed to allow you to fit your DBA research around your career and life style needs from anywhere in the world. At the same time, it provides you with a community of liked minded professionals and dedicated academic staff to support you on your journey.

The DBA provides a framework for practice or work based research, where your professional environment is also the core of your research environment and network. Therefore our DBA programme for practice/work based research provides a highly suitable framework for largely independent professionally driven research.

You will be expected to complete your research and submit your work for examination within 48 months.

The DBA is designed to be completed in four years. It is, however, very demanding so there is the option to take extra time in the research phase if this is necessary for you to complete your DBA, subject to payment of the necessary continuation fees. The maximum period for the entire programme is normally seven years.

Big decision

We appreciate the prospect of studying on a DBA programme is a very big decision. If you would like an informal chat at an early stage in the process (prior to or after) going through the course text supplied) please contact Dr Susan Sisay - Susan.Sisay@bcu.ac.uk

MBA Employability 350x263 - Business men and women sat around a table Enhance your managerial career

Unlike undergraduate degrees, which are designed to get students into industry, our DBA degree is aimed at existing professionals looking to enhance their career and standing.

Upon completion, you will be able to effect positive change, both in your own professional practice, and/or within your organisation. On a personal level, you’ll be able to utilise your enhanced skills for critical engagement, and to demonstrate your expertise.

Successful improvements in your personal professional practice will then benefit your organisation. The DBA degree alone can enhance your standing, and the possibilities opened to you by utilising your enhanced expertise can be even more impressive.

Already an expert practitioner, in your company or field of professional practice? The DBA degree can still benefit you internally and externally. The standing and expertise you will achieve over the course of your degree can allow you to become an industry or practice leader.

If you want to learn more about how a DBA degree from Birmingham City Business School could help enhance your standing, contact Martin Eley

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Welcome to the Birmingham City Business School, home to students from over 70 countries all around the world!

Birmingham City Business School is one of the UK’s largest, most established and most respected business schools. Our programmes are practice based and many have an international focus, which means your course will be entirely relevant to today’s business world. Almost all of our courses, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level, are open to international students.

We also have links with universities across the world, including Europe, the USA, China, India and Malaysia.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.

BCUIC

BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Curzon facilities eatery
Curzon facilities staircase
Curzon facilities student hub

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £340 million on new learning facilities.

The Curzon Building

This course is based at our City Centre Campus – and specifically The Curzon Building, alongside other Social Sciences, Law, Business and English students.

The £63m building offers students a unique social learning space, including a dedicated student hub incorporating student support services, in the heart of Birmingham’s Eastside development.

The Business floors house an extensive number of IT facilities, breakout areas, and specialised rooms. The Marketing Link Agency is designed to replicate a modern marketing firm, allowing students to get real-life experience of working in the marketing sector. There is also the City Trading Room, which features state of the art stock market tracking equipment, keeping you up to date with all the financial comings and goings of the London Stock Exchange and Wall Street.

The Curzon building is also conveniently close to Birmingham’s business and financial centre, allowing for strong links between your studies and the real world.

The Curzon Building also features:

  • An impressive new library with access to over 65 million full text items and stunning views of Eastside City Park
  • Your Students’ Union which is located in a beautifully restored 19th century pub, The Eagle and Ball
  • A modern 300-seat food court with space to study and socialise
  • Brand new, accessible IT facilities with full Office365 for all students for free
  • Shared facilities with the wider campus including the recently opened Parkside Building and Millennium Point

Susan Sisay Profile Picture 100x150

Dr Susan Sisay

Lecturer

Prior to joining Birmingham City University, Dr Susan Sisay was a legal practitioner specialising in corporate and commercial law. In addition to practice, she consulted for a number of local and international agencies on a number of issues.

Full Profile