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Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

Combine doctoral level research competency, with in-depth and reflective knowledge of management theory and practice.

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

Key facts

  • Award DBA
  • Start date September
  • Duration Full-time: 36 months
  • Mode of study Part-time, Full-time, Campus based, Stand-alone modules

Aimed at experienced professionals, our innovative Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) develops both your research and practitioner skills, allowing you to progress to senior roles in management and related business fields.

DBA graduates are able to work in universities as research-led academics or in industry as research-informed senior managers, consultants and business leaders. On this course you’ll develop research competency at PhD level combined with the in-depth and reflective knowledge of management theory and practice gained on a traditional DBA programme.

We provide a guided, stepped transition, allowing you to successfully become a doctoral-level researcher and practitioner, no matter what previous training you’ve had. Our DBA course will help you become a reflective, self-critical professional. You’ll learn skills, techniques and practices to conduct cutting-edge research, while building theoretical and practical knowledge at the forefront of business and management research. After successfully completing the course, you’ll be prepared to successfully manage the pressures and challenges of an increasingly dynamic business environment and to offer original and creative solutions to deal with emerging issues.

Our unique focus on teaching fundamental business and research skills also allows you time for academic research. You’ll develop a thorough understanding of management theory across core disciplines. With this higher level of understanding, you’ll be able to conduct pure applied research in your organisation with a greater ability, or work within academia, leaving two career paths open to you.

Course flexibility

This course is offered on a full-time and part-time basis. Full-time attendance is required during the semesters in Years 1 and 2. There’s greater flexibility of where to be based out of semester and during the whole of Year 3, with the possibility to stay overseas. Non-EU students on Tier 4 visas should seek advice on how this can be accommodated.

Learn from the experts

You'll learn from, and be supervised by, academic staff who are known worldwide, respected in their fields and have extensive research, business and consultancy experience.

The University of Stirling Management School

At the University of Stirling Management School, the principle of responsible business, policy and practice is central to everything we do. This vision helps us to equip our students effectively with the skills to act as global citizens, capable of addressing the needs of society.

As a member of the Chartered Association for Business Schools, we have strong links with industry and were recently awarded the Small Business Charter for engagement with local and regional enterprise.

  • Top reasons to study with us
  • Course objectives

    The University of Stirling Management School has a strong research culture and an identity of “management in the public interest”; management not just for short term profit, but for sustainable, ethical business that supports employees and the wider society.

    Developing Business Leaders of the Future

    Postgraduate education at the University of Stirling Management School goes beyond textbooks and lecture rooms. We also focus on your personal and professional development.

    Our unique Flying Start Leadership programme equips you with the awareness, knowledge and techniques essential for building a successful career. These range from practical skills, like effective public speaking, to developing ways to work under pressure in difficult situations and manage conflict. Find out more about Flying Start.

  • Flexible learning

    If you’re interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email Graduate Admissions to discuss your course of study.

  • Research

    The University of Stirling Management School is rated among the top 25 in the UK for research impact, according to REF 2014. In Scotland, the School was ranked in the top five.

    64% of our research outputs were classified as world-leading and internationally excellent in terms of their originality, significance and rigour. We were ranked 14th in the UK in terms of research impact with over 60% of our research impact judged to have outstanding reach and wide-ranging impact on the policies of public, private and governmental organisations.

    Teaching provision in Business and Management has been assessed by the Scottish Funding Council and rated as ‘highly satisfactory’.

  • Academic requirements

    The DBA is aimed at experienced professionals. For entry onto our DBA you’ll normally need the equivalent of a minimum of three years' appropriate professional experience. You’ll also need an Honours or Masters degree from a UK university or equivalent. Credit may be awarded for previous study, in accordance with SCQF guidelines. This could include exemption from some modules for holders of:

    • existing MBAs (AMBA accredited or equivalent standing)
    • masters degrees with high levels of research training e.g. Masters degrees satisfying the ESRC 2015 training requirements

    We expect our doctoral students to show high levels of affinity with the University of Stirling, so we might also ask you for a reflective statement on your motivation to study with us.  If you are not sure if you meet these requirements, please get in touch with our Course Director before you apply.

  • English language requirements

    If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

    • IELTS 6.5 with 5.5 minimum in each sub-skill
    • Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE) 176 overall with a minimum of 162 in each sub-skill
    • Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE) 180 overall with a minimum of 162 in each sub-skill
    • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 60 overall with a minimum of 51 in each sub-skill
    • IBT TOEFL 80 overall with a minimum of 17 in listening, 18 in reading, 20 in speaking and 17 in writing
    • Trinity ISE II Pass overall and Merit in all sub-skills, ISE III Pass overall and in all sub-skills, ISE IV Pass overall and in all sub-skills

    Last updated: 5 December 2019

    For more information on ways that you can meet our English language requirements, including options to waive the requirement, please read our information on English language requirements.

  • Pre-sessional English language courses

    If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

    Find out more about our pre-sessional English language courses.

In Years 1 and 2, on the full-time course, you’ll have taught modules during two semesters per year (September to December, and January to May). You’ll also work on two research projects which are suggested and supervised by a leading research academic. The projects will run throughout the years and are concluded over the summer periods of Years 1 and 2 (May to August).

In Year 3, you’ll develop your Year 2 project into a major original contribution to knowledge presented in a doctoral thesis. For the award of the DBA you must successfully complete the project with academic rigour and demonstrate practical relevance. To merit the award and meet the requirements for doctoral-level research output, your submission in Year 3 will make a contribution to the enhancement of professional practice in management, as well as contributing to knowledge via the application and development of theoretical frameworks, methods, and techniques.

You’ll receive support throughout the course to publish your research projects in academic journals. This will support your career development, particularly in academia, as well as allowing you to make a wide and lasting contribution to the field during your DBA.

You must attend full-time during the semesters in Years 1 and 2, but there’s greater flexibility of where to be based out of semester and during the whole of Year 3 (and, if applicable, Year 4). Such flexibility can extend to being supervised whilst abroad for fieldwork, although non-EU students on Tier 4 visas will need to seek advice on the extent of flexibility and how this can be accommodated.

Students completing all credits in all years will graduate with the DBA. However, we realise that things can change so we have options for you to leave the course each year and still graduate with a prestigious qualification. Students successfully completing a minimum of 180 credits in Year 1 may leave the programme with an MBA. Students successfully completing all 180 credits in Year 2 may leave the programme with an MRes in Business and Management Research Methods. Various certificates, diplomas and degrees are available if fewer credits are completed.



The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery in the next academic intake of this course. These may be subject to change as the University regularly revises and refreshes the curriculum of our taught programmes.

Course Details

  • Teaching

    Teaching is carried out through lectures, workshops, seminars and computer labs, along with project work.

  • Assessment

    You’ll be assessed by a combination of exams and coursework, including written assignments and presentations.

  • Course director
  • Key staff

    We have high calibre academics available to supervise DBA students. They’re known worldwide, are respected in their fields and have extensive business and consultancy experience. They publish cutting-edge research — new knowledge is integral to our teaching.

  • Fees and costs
    2020/21 fees
     Home/EU studentsOverseas students
    Full programme fee £16,850 £39,950

    If you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for an additional fee.

    If you are not studying full-time, the fee for each year will be calculated based on the number of credits you enrol on each year. Your fees will be held at the same level throughout your course.

    For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

    Doctoral loans

    If you're domiciled in England or Wales you may be eligible to apply for a doctoral loan of up to £25,700 from your regional body:

  • Scholarships and funding
    Stirling Management School postgraduate scholarships

    Stirling Management School is committed to investing in academically talented students, helping them to further their education with one of our degree courses. There are various categories of funding available to support the cost of your studies.

    If you have the talent, ability and drive to study with us, we want to make sure you make the most of the opportunity – regardless of your financial circumstances.

    Learn more about available funding opportunities or use our scholarship finder to explore our range of scholarships.

  • Additional costs

    There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

  • Cost of living

    If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.

    EU and overseas students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.

    Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

  • Payment options

    We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay

Our DBA offers you more than one career pathway:

  • career advancement in business, either in management consultancy or within a wide range of private/public sector organisations
  • an opportunity to forge an academic career in a wide range of institutional settings, both in the UK and internationally

Our graduates are equally qualified to be research-led academics within a university as they are to be leaders in the boardroom.

  • 96% of our postgraduate leavers are in employment or further study within six months of graduating (Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey 2016/17)

  • Our unique Flying Start Leadership programme equips you with the awareness, knowledge and techniques essential for building a successful career
HigherEd Global Talent Portal

As a Management School student you'll have access to the HigherEd Global Talent Portal, where you’ll find internship, trainee positions, apprenticeships and graduate positions from companies around the world.  It’s targeted towards both international students looking for placements back at home and local students who want to explore an international experience.

In addition to the Global Talent Portal you’ll have access to a number of existing initiatives and resources at Stirling through the Careers and Employability Service, as well as the Target Connect vacancy and events system.

  • Employability skills

    Our links with industry will help you create opportunities to gather research data. Our personal development modules will help you to build resilience and become a reflective researcher practitioner in management and related fields.

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