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DBA (Doctor of Business Administration)

Duration: 4 - 7 years
Attendance mode: Part-time
Award: Doctorate
Suitable for international students
Start date: June
Faculty of Management & Law
Apply Download DBA Brochure


The Bradford Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) is the pinnacle of management education, and was launched in 2001. This doctoral degree is as academically rigorous as a PhD, but is designed for senior experienced professional managers.

It connects academic theories and concepts with business and management practices.

In the first phase of the programme you’ll undertake advanced studies on management practice, critiquing existing theory and studying research methods under the guidance of leading academics and practitioners.

The second phase involves conducting empirical research and writing a dissertation, under the guidance of two experienced research supervisors.

The Bradford DBA offers a range of personal development and career opportunities, and some of our students do publish in leading academic and practitioner journals. DBA students at University of Bradford School of Management will become part of our international alumni network of business people. Current and recent DBA students work for companies such as Shell International, Siemens, Bayer, ING Group and Phillips International.

Professional Accreditation/Recognition

We are proud to be in an elite group of business schools to hold the triple accreditations of Equis, AMBA and AACSB, often referred to as the "Triple Crown".

"The overall structure of the DBA allows students to learn academic approaches to becoming a qualified researcher and each segment of the programme thoroughly teaches the necessary stages to getting to write the final thesis. Beyond the academic lectures however, students will find incredible inspiration from the network of other DBA students, supervisors and administrative staff."

DBA, 2008-2014

Why Bradford?

The Bradford DBA is specifically designed for MBA (or equivalent) graduates who are looking for the next challenge in their careers.

Given that the DBA programme has first been launched in 2001 at the School of Management, our DBA students will be joining our international alumni network of prominent business people. Current and recent DBA students work for leading companies such as Shell International, Siemens, Coca Cola, Volvo, Bayer, ING Group and Phillips International.

We welcome all applications for the DBA programme, particularly from applicants whose interests complement the expertise of our Research Centres (Accounting, Finance and Economics; People, Organization and Entrepreneurship; Logistics, Supply Chain and Technology; International Business, Marketing and Branding).

About the School of Management

The School of Management has been an international leader in education, research and knowledge transfer for more than 50 years.

We are proud to be in an elite group of business schools in the world to hold the triple accreditations of Equis, AMBA and AACSB, often referred to as the "Triple Crown”.

Our courses are shaped by the School of Management International Advisory Board, made up of leading figures in industry who advise our management team on the skills and competencies needed in the current and future workplace. This feeds into the design and delivery of our courses, ensuring our students gain knowledge and experience that is valued by employers. Members of our International Advisory Board include individuals from organisations such Google, the BBC, KPMG and Harvard Business School. Our visiting lecturers include directors from well-known companies who provide first-hand experience of management decision-making at a strategic level.

Entry requirements

For the DBA, you should have

  • a Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree from an accredited institution
  • a minimum of five years’ relevant managerial work experience
  • a research proposal
  • two references (one academic, if possible)
  • a high level of fluency in English

The Research proposal

This is an important part of your application. Your research proposal will be used to assess the quality and originality of your research ideas, your critical thinking skills, grasp of relevant literature and the feasibility of the proposed research. It will also be used to identify suitable supervisors, so it is certainly worth devoting time and effort to it.

The research proposal should be between 1500 words and 2500 words. While we do not insist on a definite format, we do recommend you to follow the structure outlined below.

Title: the title should be a succinct summary of your proposed research

Introduction: this section should provide a brief description of the subject area in which the research is to be located in, state your central research questions clearly and explain the reasons for proposed research convincingly. 

Literature review: this section requires a short review of existing studies (particularly those published in research and practitioner periodicals). You need to explain how your research is being driven by the gaps in the existing literature and comment on how your research could be informed by the existing literature both theoretically and practically. A piece of good literature review should demonstrate how the proposed research is linked with previous studies, establish where its specific contributions could lie and show how the intended specific contributions could be materialised through drawing ideas and strengths from the existing research. 

Research methodology: there are a variety of research methods, therefore it is essential that this section provides a clear description of your choice of research methodology (i.e. quantitative or qualitative research) and explain why the chosen one is most suited to your research. This section should also include details of methods of data collection and data analysis and comment on the feasibility of data collection.

Contribution: it is important that DBA research influences and impacts upon both academic theories and concepts, and also business and organisational practices.

Reference: any studies cited in the proposal should be listed at the end of the document using the Harvard style of referencing.

Related links:
Home Office UK Border Agency - for information on visas and immigration for international students. 

English language requirements:

The programme is taught, supervised and examined in English, so you must be able to prove your fluency in the language if it is not your first language. If we need evidence of your proficiency in English, you will be required to achieve a minimum score of at least 6.5 on the IELTS test (with no sub-test less than 6.0). TOEFL Test result min 94.

Language Support and Courses at the University of Bradford - for international students wishing to improve their English.

If you do not meet the IELTS requirement, you can take a University of Bradford pre-sessional English course. See the Language Centre for more details.


The modules for this course can be found in the latest programme specification.

This programme offers practising managers and professional staff the opportunity to combine the best of academic knowledge with the best of practitioner knowledge to push forward the boundaries of understanding of business and management.

This involves equipping you with the skills and knowledge required to work effectively in rapidly changing and challenging environments. You will develop the competences to think critically and strategically, and identify complex research programmes needed to develop new approaches or new knowledge that will drive organisational change and make a significant contribution to the development of your chosen profession.

  • Introduction to research methods at doctoral level (20 credits) core
  • Research Philosophy (20 credits) core
  • Qualitative research methods for doctoral studies (20 credits) core
  • Quantitative research methods at doctoral level (20 credits) core
  • Critique of management research studies (20 credits) core
  • Literature reviewing for doctoral studies (20 credits) core
  • Advanced studies in management and business studies (1): The practitioner as author (30 credits) core
  • Advanced studies in management and business studies (2): Translating research into practice (30 credits) core
  • DBA Thesis (360 credits) core

Reading lists

All reading lists can be found here.

Learning activities and assessment

The Bradford DBA provides a unique part-time structure of rigorous, concentrated study, ongoing research practice and continual practical assessment. The course combines distance learning with the advantages of face-to-face study.

You will attend a number of residential workshops. In year one there are four residential sessions that are spread over the year, of three to five days in duration. In year two there are a further three residential modules, each lasting three days.

The taught stage of the DBA comprises lectures, seminars and workshops. You will also conduct your own empirical research.

During the research phase, there is close supervision, support and monitoring of student progress. There are also peer review workshops where you will discuss your research with fellow participants and share ideas.

Study Abroad

Certain modules and peer review workshops are also held in Europe and the Middle East.

Career support and prospects

During your time studying at the Faculty of Management and Law you will have the opportunity to take part in our distinctive career booster programme throughout the duration of your course. The programme is designed to equip you with the necessary skills and graduate attributes to be job-ready when seeking employment with leading innovative organisations. The Career Booster Programme offers you the opportunity to gain certificates in:

  • The European Computer Driving License (EDCL) - the benchmark for digital literacy
  • Sage 50 Accounting and Sage 50 Payroll - training that will allow you to develop leading accounting and payroll software skills
  • Project Manager Professional certificates - giving you the edge when seeking to become a Certified Project Manager
  • Big Data analysis and reporting skills - using Software and Services (SAS) that will lead to certification.

In addition, the programme will also include activities to promote teamwork, confidence, communication and many other skills sought by employers.

Developing a portfolio of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Certificates will demonstrate to employers that you are not only ambitious but also take responsibility for your own professional development.

Career support

The University is committed to helping students develop and enhance employability and this is an integral part of many programmes. Specialist support is available throughout the course from Career and Employability Services including help to find part-time work while studying, placements, vacation work and graduate vacancies. Students are encouraged to access this support at an early stage and to use the extensive resources on the Careers website.

Discussing options with specialist advisers helps to clarify plans through exploring options and refining skills of job-hunting. In most of our programmes there is direct input by Career Development Advisers into the curriculum or through specially arranged workshops.

Career prospects

DBA students at the University of Bradford School of Management become part of our international alumni network of business people.

Current and recent DBA students work for companies including:

  • Shell International
  • Siemens
  • Bayer
  • ING Group
  • Phillips International

Fees, Finance and Scholarships

Tuition fees

2017/18 fees are £39,000 payable over four years as follows:

  • Year one £12,500
  • Year two £12,500
  • Year three £7,000
  • Year four £7,000

An annual continuation fee of £5,000 is applicable for each year after year four.

The DBA tuition fees cover the cost of lectures, tutorials, assessments, examinations and supervision. It does not cover travel, accommodation, books, printing or thesis binding.

Tuition fees are subject to review for students starting their course in subsequent years. See our Fees and Financial Support website for more details.

How do I find out more?

Contact the Faculty

DBA Programme Team

Steps to Postgraduate Study

Find out more about studying at a postgraduate level on the official, independent website Steps to Postgraduate Study (link opens in new window).

How to apply

Applications are considered on a rolling basis. We encourage you to get in touch with us early, so we can guide you through the application process.

Apply online now:

You should indicate your:

  • motivation for joining the programme
  • academic and professional qualifications
  • career history
  • positions of responsibility held
  • areas of professional interest

You should nominate an academic and a professional referee. These two referees should be asked to return their completed references directly to the School of Management recruitment office.

We welcome applicants who have entered academic study by non-traditional routes, but who nonetheless can demonstrate a mature attitude to study and relevant professional experience.

Download application forms

You need to download and print an Application Form plus the Confidential Reference Form (two printed copies).

Send the completed Application Form (with a covering letter and any supporting documentation) to:

Recruitment Office 
University of Bradford School of Management, 
Emm Lane 
BD9 4JL 
United Kingdom

Send the Confidential Reference forms to your two referees asking them to forward them to our address (printed on the form).

DBA Application Forms

This is the current course information. Modules and course details may change, subject to the University's programme approval, monitoring and review procedures. The University reserves the right to alter or withdraw courses, services and facilities as described on our website without notice and to amend Ordinances, Regulations, fees and charges at any time. Students should enquire as to the up-to-date position when applying for their course of study.