DBA Doctor of Business Administration


  • Balanced Combination - The Stirling DBA equips graduates with both professional and research skills
  • Highly personalised on-campus training – Allows developing broader capabilities within a business and management context
  • Industry connections - senior executives and scholars engage with our students, providing a practical perspective on contemporary business topics through guest lectures, workshops and access to consultancy projects
  • Expert teaching team - you'll learn from academic staff who are known worldwide, respected in their fields and have extensive research, business and consultancy experience
  • Stirling's global research rating – We have a 5-star ranking in the QS World University Rankings 2014 and are among the top 25 in the UK according to REF 2014


The Stirling DBA develops both researcher and practitioner skills for senior roles in management and related fields. Graduates will be able to work within both universities as research-active academics and industry as research-informed senior managers, consultants and business leaders. You will gain the level of research competency of a PhD combined with the in-depth and reflective knowledge of management theory and practice gained on a traditional DBA programme.

A guided, stepped transition is provided to support individuals from a variety of educational and practitioner backgrounds to successfully become doctoral level researchers and practitioners. This DBA programme will guide your development towards a reflective, self-critical professional and give you the confidence and resilience to respond to continually developing business environment and to practise in the context of new problems and circumstances.

Successful DBA students will have developed principal professional skills, techniques and practices to conduct cutting edge research and have accumulated theoretical and practical knowledge at the forefront of business and management research. After successfully completing the programme, you will be prepared to successfully manage the pressures and challenges of an increasingly dynamic business environment and to offer original and creative solutions to emerging issues.

Whilst most DBA programmes focus on only conducting applied research in a corporate setting, through our unique focus on teaching fundamental business and research skills and allowing adequate time for academic research, our graduates will generate new knowledge for the whole field. This is aided by developing a thorough understanding of management theory across core disciplines. With this higher level of understanding, you will be able to conduct pure applied research in your organisation with a greater ability, or work within academia, leaving two career paths open.

Key information

EU Applicants
EU students enrolling for a postgraduate taught degree in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 academic year will be admitted as Scottish/EU fee status students and will be eligible for the same tuition support as Scottish domiciled students.

  • Study methods: Campus based, Full-time, Part-time
  • Duration: 3 years - full-time
  • Start date:


  • Course Director: Professor George Burt
  • Location: Stirling Campus
Download postgraduate prospectus

Course Director

Professor George Burt

Centre for Advanced Management Education
University of Stirling Management School
University of Stirling

What makes us different?

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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

The DBA is intended for experienced professionals; you will normally need the equivalent of a minimum of three years' appropriate professional experience. For entry onto our programme you will also normally need an Honours or Masters degree from a UK university or equivalent. Credit may be awarded for previous study, according to SCQF guidelines, including exemption from some modules for holders of existing MBAs (AMBA accredited or equivalent standing) or Masters degrees with high levels of research training (eg Masters degrees satisfying the ESRC 2015 training requirements).  As we expect our doctoral students to show high degrees of identification with our university, we might also ask you for a reflective statement on your motivation to study with us during the application process.  We recognise that everyone’s path is different and want to be inclusive in our acceptance, so we encourage candidates who think they may not meet these requirements to discuss their suitability with the Course Director prior to applying.

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 skill
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade B
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 60 with 51 in each component
  • IBT TOEFL: 90 with no subtest less than 17

For more information go to English language requirements.

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard. View our range of pre-sessional courses.

Flexible Learning

If you are interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email graduate.admissions@stir.ac.uk to discuss your course of study.

Fees and costs

2018 entry year 1 £18,500 £14,800
Year 2 £18,500 £14,800
Year 3 £13,200 £4,260
Total programme fee £50,200 £33,860
From 2016/7 onwards, the fees for all Professional Doctorates are to be held at level upon entry

Fees for all new applicants to postgraduate taught courses are held at the level set upon entry.

Please note there is an additional charge should you choose to attend a graduation ceremony. View more information

Cost of Living

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

Find information on paying fees by instalments

Scholarships & funding

Scholarship finder

Structure and teaching

Structure and content

In Years 1 and 2, the full-time course has taught modules during two full semesters per year (September to December, and January to May), involving lectures, workshops, seminars and computer labs. In addition, two research projects which are suggested and supervised by a leading research academic on an apprenticeship model will run throughout the years and are concluded over the summer periods of Year 1 and Year 2 (May to August).

In Year 3, students will develop their Year 2 project into a major original contribution to knowledge presented in a thesis. Support will be given to publish the research projects in academic journals throughout the programme. This will support career development, particularly in academia, as well as allowing the researcher practitioner to make a wide and lasting contribution to the field during their DBA.

Full time attendance is required during the semesters in Year 1 and 2, with greater flexibility of where to be based out of semester and during the whole of Year 3 (and if applicable 4). Such flexibility for instance extends 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 leave with the DBA. However, we realise that life changes, and we have options 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 a MRes in Business and Management Research Methods. Various certificates, diplomas and degrees are available if less credits are completed.


Year 1: Enhancing Business Skills and Understanding

Autumn Semester: You will study five functional business modules during this semester, plus a Personal and Professional Development module, which will provide a robust foundation for the remainder of the programme and will be built upon in the Spring Semester.

  • Strategy & the International Environment
  • Accounting & Finance
  • Managing the Human Resource
  • Marketing Management
  • Economics for Sustainable Business
  • Personal and Professional Development (Part 1)

Spring Semester: This semester builds on the understanding developed in the Autumn Semester providing insights into cutting edge management research and application. You will undertake three core modules and complete the second part of Personal and Professional Development module.

  • Strategy for Sustainable Success
  • Research Methods
  • Operations Management
  • Personal & Professional Development

In addition, you will select four elective modules from a range of modules (popular choices are Managing Change, Project Management, Leadership & Responsible Business, Business Analytics, Innovation Management; the offer of electives is continuously updated based on student demand).

Summer: The Summer period in Year 1 will be used to conclude the first doctoral research project. During the semester period, you will already have shaped your focus for this project and met and discussed research plans with expert advisors or members of the relevant supervisory teams. Over the summer period you will prepare the project for submission (which is usually in August).

Year 2: Research methodology training

Autumn Semester: Based on the understanding and skills to critically analyse management challenges and to apply new knowledge which allows the development and provision of adequate, original solutions, Year 2 will deepen you understanding of doctoral research. Critically reflecting on your research conducted over the summer period your will study to expand your skills to conduct high quality research into business, management, organisations and related areas, focussing on the following areas:

  • Fundamentals and Philosophy of Management Research.
  • Qualitative Methods for Management Research Part 1
  • Psychology of Work (Enhancing Research Careers)

Spring Semester: This semester builds on the foundations set for different logics of discovery and the introduction to research designs, data collection and analysis and the application of various research methods in the autumn semester. You will study advanced qualitative methods for management research but also get familiarized with key aspects of statistical analyses and experimental designs that can provide novel insights and aid managerial decision making.

  • Qualitative Methods for Management Research 2
  • Survey Measurement and Analysis
  • Experiments for Decision Making in Business and Policy

Summer: The Summer period in Year 2 will be used to conclude the second doctoral research project. During the semester period, you will have developed research skills under the guidance of experts publishing in leading journals at the forefront of business and management related research. During the summer period you will prepare a method-focused project for submission (which is usually in August).

Year 3: Completing the Doctoral Thesis

To start Year 3 you will have successfully built on your prior professional experience and refined your academic interests. For the award of the DBA you will successfully complete a research project in form of a doctoral thesis with academic rigour and demonstrable practical relevance. To merit the award and meet the requirements for doctoral-level research output, the submission in Year 3 will make a contribution to the enhancement of professional practice in management as well as a contribution to knowledge via the application and development of theoretical frameworks, methods, and techniques.


Year 1 – Autumn

BUAP001 - Personal and Professional Development

BUAPD02 - Strategy and the International Environment

BUAP003 - Accounting and Finance

BUAPD04 - Managing the Human Resource

BUAP005 - Marketing Management

BUAP006 - Economics for Sustainable Business

Year 1 - Spring

BUAPD08 - Operations Management

BUAPD12 - Strategy for Sustainable Success

BUAP014 - Personal and Professional Development

1 elective from:

BUAP007 - Managing Change

BUAP010 - Leadership and Responsible Business

plus 1 elective from:

BUAP007 - Managing Change

BUAP017 - Organisational mis(Behaviour)

BUAP018 - Business Analytics

FINP015 - Corporate Finance

BUAP013 - Managing Emerging Economies

BUAP015 - New Venture Creation

BUAP016 - Innovation Management

BUAP019 - Business Improvement

BUAP020 - Business Consulting

plus 1 elective from:

BUAP009 - Project Management

BUAP021 - Mastering STEPs of Strategy

Year 1 – Summer

DBAP001 - First Doctoral Research Project

Year 2 – Autumn

MRMPD01 - Fundamentals of Philosophy of Management Research

MRMPD02 - Qualitative Methods for Management Research 1

BSMPD02 - Psychology of Work

Year 2 – Spring

MRMPD04 - Qualitative Methods for Management Research 2

BSMPD04 - Experiments for Decision Making in Business and Policy

BSMPD05 - Survey Measurement and Analysis

Year 2 – Summer

DBAP002 - Second Doctoral Research Project

Year 3 – Autumn, Spring & Summer

DBAP003 - Third Doctoral Research Project


Modes of study

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

Why Stirling?


In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.

The reputation of our research at Stirling Management School was recognized in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), an examination conducted by the UK government, which confirmed our place in the UK’s top 25 institutions for Business and Management (out of over 100 schools).

In Scotland, the School was ranked within the top five. 64% of our research outputs were classified as world-leading and internationally excellent in terms of their originality, significance and rigor and 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 organizations.

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

International Students

The University of Stirling welcomes students from around the world. Find out what studying here could be like for you .


When studying for the DBA you’ll join one of the best 100 UK business schools, recognised in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), where the School was placed in the UK’s top 25 institutions for Business and Management. The School has a strong research culture and 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. 

We have a high calibre of academics available to supervise DBA students.  Our academics are publishing in the top-rated international academic journals.

Our staff

Our lecturers are known worldwide, are respected in their fields and have extensive business and consultancy experience. They are publishing cutting-edge research — new knowledge is integral to our teaching.

Careers and employability

Career opportunities

As a practitioner focused doctoral degree for professionals, the DBA offers students more than one career pathway: Career advancement in business, either in management consultancy or within a wide range of private/public sector organisations. The course also provides an opportunity to develop an academic career in a wide range of institutional settings, both in the UK and internationally. Our graduates should be equally as able to be a research lead academic within a university or to lead in the boardroom.

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98% of our postgraduate leavers are in employment or further study withing six months of graduating - Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey 2015/16

Industry connections

Our links with industry help with opportunities to gather research data, and 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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