Postgraduate online open day, 13 March 2023

DBA Doctor of Business Administration

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Research opportunities

Why study a DBA?

Within business, we're often faced with issues that test our problem-solving abilities. Academia can assist by providing methods, models and theories that can be used to unpack and analyse problems, and unlock solutions.

However, as organisations evolve and their activity becomes more complex, existing thinking may not be enough. Research into organisational phenomena is therefore ongoing and it's recognised that the contribution of practitioners to research is of vital importance. Too often though, the engagement of practice with academia is difficult to facilitate. One mechanism for achieving this engagement is the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA).

Those holding a DBA are expert organisational practitioners and form a useful and necessary bridge between academia and practice, and between universities and organisations. Consequently, this mode of study can be seen as a long-term investment for both communities.

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Triple-accredited business school

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THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

What is a DBA?

The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is a research degree designed to develop business professionals skilled in solving business problems. Your focus will be on applying academic theories, methods and models to solve problems of practice. Research projects undertaken during the DBA programme aim to understand and explore how organisations work and how management is practised. You'll have the opportunity to:

  • learn how to analyse complex situations and problems
  • acquire skills in conceptual and reflexive thinking
  • develop knowledge of the design, implementation and monitoring of research interventions

The DBA provides two main opportunities. Firstly, you develop knowledge in a specialist area. On completion, you can legitimately be considered an expert in your field, having studied it in-depth and conducted academically rigorous and practically relevant research which contributes to thinking in your chosen area.

Secondly, it supports you in carrying out an intervention within your organisation that will be hugely beneficial. At its core, a DBA is a knowledge exchange mechanism where you, supported by your supervisors and the wider research community within the University, act as a change agent utilising proven models and methods to enact change. Therefore, there are multiple benefits for you as a student, your organisation and the wider academic community.

PhD vs DBA

PhD and DBA programmes appeal to different student groups. Often students embarking on a PhD programme aspire to an academic career. These students often come directly from other studies and start their PhD soon after graduating. In contrast, DBA programmes are designed for practitioners of management who are looking for new intellectual challenges. These students often have a management degree, such as an MBA, already and may want to distinguish themselves further with a doctoral degree.

Potential DBA students are interested in management research and may have a practical research question in mind. This may be a specific problem encountered in their work environment or a more general issue of practice that they are keen to resolve.

Both PhD and DBA programmes aim to generate new knowledge, but the emphasis of each is different.

PhD students begin by identifying a gap in existing knowledge and they do so mainly by carrying out an extensive review of literature in their chosen knowledge area. On identifying the gap, they then design research programmes, often within organisations, that provide the data required to address that gap.

DBA students, on the other hand, begin by identifying a problem in practice. They then consult academic models and theories that may help to inform their understanding of that problem. They then design interventions within their organisations which allow them to investigate and resolve the problem. In doing this DBA students may contribute to theory or practice, or both. As with a PhD, the outcomes of the DBA research must be generalisable, allowing abstraction and application to other contexts.    

The Queen's Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education 2019 and 2021.
The Queen's Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education 2019 and 2021.
The Times / The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. University of the Year shortlisted.
The Times / The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. University of the Year shortlisted.
The Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020 - Scottish University of the Year.
The Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020 - Scottish University of the Year.
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Fees & funding

Fees may be subject to updates to maintain accuracy. Tuition fees will be notified in your offer letter.

All fees are in £ sterling, unless otherwise stated, and may be subject to revision.

Annual revision of fees

Students on programmes of study of more than one year should be aware that tuition fees are revised annually and may increase in subsequent years of study. Annual increases will generally reflect UK inflation rates and increases to programme delivery costs.

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Year 1: £15,750
Year 2: £15,750
Year 3: £6,750
Year 4: £6,750

Total fee: £45,000

Note: A DBA is four years study part-time. Students who require an additional (5th) year of supervised study will be liable for an additional fee of £5,000.

What your fee includes

The fee includes:

  • registration
  • tuition
  • supervision
  • lunches during induction week and workshops
  • access to hot-desking facilities when you're based on campus
  • printing allowance
  • use of Strathclyde campus student facilities
  • graduation ceremony costs

It excludes:

  • accommodation
  • travel
  • hire of graduation robes
  • graduation photographs
Tuition fee discount for Strathclyde Alumni

We're pleased to be able to offer a discount of 10% to Strathclyde alumni.

Additional costs

International students may have associated visa and immigration costs. Please see student visa guidance for more information.

Please note: the fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year.

Payment options are available, please contact us to find out more.


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Support & development

What you'll study

Year 1 & Year 2

Years 1 and 2 are similar to those of a part-time taught Masters programme although the modules you'll study are research-focused. Additionally, you'll be allocated a supervisor so that you are supported individually. The research modules can be delivered either online or at our Glasgow campus.

The following is an indication of what you will study:

Stage What you'll study 
Stage 1 
Directed study on research methods (60 credits)

Compulsory Classes: Research Methods (20 credits); Reviewing Literature in Business Subjects (10 credits); Research Colloquium (10 credits)

Optional Classes: Introduction to Quantitative Methods & Advanced Quantitative Methods (20 credits) or Advanced Qualitative Methods (20 credits)

Stage 2
Directed study on areas of specialist knowledge (60 credits)

You will gain credits with a programme of study customised to your own needs.

Stage 3
Research project (60 credits)

You'll work on and write up, a pilot study focused on your DBA research problem.

Year 3 & Year 4

There are no taught modules, instead you'll devote your time to empirical research. Your programme of work will be co-constructed between you and your supervisory team.

With a DBA the key is flexibility as you're researching issues of practice and your ‘laboratory’ is your workplace. Depending on your role you may find that the academic work is integrated into your work activity. If you're studying in a cohort you'll also attend additional workshops spread evenly throughout Years 3 and 4. 

Stage What you'll study 
Stage 4 
Doctoral thesis (360 credits)

You'll will carry out your research and write this up to create your final thesis.

John Mulgrew, postgraduate research student, Management Science
Simply put, Strathclyde Business School is the best business school in Scotland!
John Mulgrew
DBA Management Science

Postgraduate research at the Strathclyde Doctoral School

The Strathclyde Doctoral School provides a vibrant and comprehensive student-centred research and training environment in order to grow and support current and future research talent.

The School encompasses our four faculties and is committed to enriching the student experience, intensifying research outputs and opportunities, and ensuring training is at the highest level. As a postgraduate researcher, you'll automatically become a member of the Strathclyde Doctoral School.

Find out more about the Doctoral School

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International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 100 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.

Visit our international students' section

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The DBA is a research degree and therefore a much more involved and personal journey than previous programmes of study that you may have undertaken. The preparation carried out prior to beginning your DBA will significantly enhance your DBA experience. We see the application’s process as the beginning of the relationship between the student and the University, and an important part of this preparation, so we promote an interactive approach.

Therefore before applying it is worth considering the following:

  • the DBA is an intensive programme and as a practising manager, you'll have to balance this with your job and family commitments – are you certain that you'll be able to maintain an acceptable work-life balance?
  • the DBA requires a certain amount of pre-existing subject-specific and domain knowledge – are you certain that you have this knowledge?
  • research in a DBA is usually based within a company or industry – are you certain that you will be working with you company or within your industry for the duration of your research

Therefore, before submitting your application it may be useful to contact the Director of DBA programmes, Dr Steve Paton. This initial contact will allow us to explore your research interests and motivations and help you construct the best application possible. Our aim is to ensure that you're suited to this programme, you're fully prepared to embark on this programme and that the process of application is as straightforward as possible. A successful application requires a good fit between your research interests and those of Strathclyde Business School.


You must hold a UK Honours degree, or overseas equivalent, at minimum 2:1 level or a Masters degree in a relevant discipline from a recognised academic institution. In addition you would be expected to have a minimum of five years management experience.

DBA Research Brief

Your DBA application must contain a document that describes in broad terms what you are interested in researching. This brief will form the starting point for our discussion and will help us to select a supervisor for you.

Due to the variety and diversity of research projects that can be undertaken there is no ideal form of brief. The key thing is that it communicates clearly what you are interested in. Below is a list of the information that you should aim to include in your brief. Your entire brief should be no more than 500 words.

Research topic area

This is a description of what you are interested in and should be written in broad terms. For example topic areas may include strategic management, change management, leadership, etc. You might visit our departmental website pages for more detail on the broad areas that each department is active within. 

Research imperative

This is a statement explaining why this research is important and why you are interested in it.

Research Aim

This explains what you trying to achieve with your research.

Research context

This is a description of where your research will be carried out. This may include an overview of the industry and some information on the company (or companies) that your research might take place in.

Research Foundation

This details the current state of knowledge in your research area.

Start date: Oct 2023

Strathclyde Business School

Start date: Oct 2023

Start date: Oct 2024

Strathclyde Business School

Start date: Oct 2024

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Contact us

Coral Yuan

DBA Programme Administrator


Strathclyde Business School
Cathedral Wing 201, 199 Cathedral Street
G4 0QU