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Doctor of Business Administration DBA

Learn about the course below

Doctor of Business Administration DBA

September 2024
4 years part-time
£6,300 per year (UK)*
£8,900 (INT)*
Course leader
Nico Pizzolato

The DBA is designed to raise the level of professional capabilities of practising senior managers and executives. It does this by developing critical reflective practice skills, by developing advanced research skills applicable in leading-edge areas of business, and by providing the opportunity to develop a rigorous doctoral research project focussed on your role as industry leader and change-maker.

Why study the DBA Doctor of Business Administration at Middlesex University?

Our DBA is designed for active senior managers and executives in any organisation - public, private, third sector or consultancies who want to gain new insights and perspectives into organisational and industry leadership and management based on critical exploration of their own evolving professional practice. A key role is played by the capstone research project, which enables you to bring about evidence-based changes and to introduce new perspectives to your professional practice, or to your organisation or sector.

Course Highlights

  • It is the professional equivalent of the academic PhD (Doctor of Philosophy), but designed specifically to support participants in undertaking practice-based research into their organisation and industry. While the knowledge gained from this research is equally rigorous to the PhD, it is distinctive in that the participant is placed at the centre of their research investigation, and their findings tend to be highly applicable within their organisation, sector and within their community of professional practice.
  • The DBA focuses on developing participants' individual capabilities as reflective practitioners, and through this enhancing their capability for undertaking high-level, practice-based research within their own workplace.
  • Participants' study projects are tailored to meet their individual needs and interests, and those of their organisations and sectors.
  • The final output of the DBA can be a thesis, which reports on the research undertaken, or an artefact (for instance, a product or a service, a training course, or an app), accompanied by a critical commentary that explains the doctoral-level research behind it.

Register your Interest for the MDX DBA

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What will you study on the DBA Doctor of Business Administration?

The course is divided into three main stages: the first and second last for a minimum of 9 month each, and the third continues for a minimum of 30 months.

In the first stage you will be engaging in dialogue with supervisors, in a process of critical reflection of your professional practice and of your context, both of your organisation and of your industry. In a parallel way, you will be introduced to research design, methodologies and theories, which you will continue to hone in stage two.

For the Stage One Review (9 months) you will discuss with a panel a 5000-word critical reflection of your practice and your context that engages with relevant literature and theories.

In the second stage, you will gain a more advanced understanding of the methodologies that you can bring to study your professional practice and context and you will design a research proposal, solidly grounded in the academic, professional and methodological literature.

For the Stage Two Review (18 months) you will discuss with a panel your 10,000 words research proposal, which will include a process of collection of empirical data or a cycle of product development.

(Note: you can exit the programme with an MProf,  a research award at Master’s level, by undertaking review stage 1 at 9 months and review stage 2 at 12 months)

In the third stage of the programme of study, you undertake a major research project that is current to your organisation or your sector and that has identifiable practical applications and impact. Your final thesis will be 65-80,000 words long. If you present an artefact, the critical commentary for it will be 35-40,000 words long.

This stage with the submission of your doctoral project and with a viva examination with a panel that will include examiners external to the University. This panel will decide on the awarding of the doctorate.

Throughout the course, which is studied part-time, your focus will be on your professional activity in an organisational or industry context. The DBA provides a structured framework for critically understanding your professional activity, and equips you to operate as a reflective professional practitioner. The research project provides an opportunity for you to critically evaluate the learning you achieve while leading significant change in the workplace, and to express this in writing in a systematic way that is both informed by and informs relevant theory.

The Middlesex DBA recognises that professional practice is grounded in real organisations, in which the context is often interdisciplinary, and that practitioners taking the course will often belong to specific professional bodies. In order to recognise and harness the subject- and profession-specific nature of practitioners' individual practice, those taking the DBA will be encouraged to build learning relationships with other candidates working in similar spheres of activity.

Specialist subject and professional advice will be available from expert and highly experienced staff within the Business School, especially in the following areas:

  • Organisational Development & Culture
  • Change Management
  • Sustainable Business
  • Leadership Development
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance
  • Human resource management and development
  • Management and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
  • Marketing
  • Tourism
  • Executive coaching

How is the DBA Doctor of Business Administration taught?

The course requires attendance in person once a term, three times per year, for residential sessions or tutorials (depending on whether you are part of a cohort or undertaking it individually). Aside from the on-campus sessions, access to the supervisory team can be online. You will have access to the University Researcher Development Programme and the full stack of library digital and physical resources. The final viva would usually take place in person. Overall, the mode of delivery of the programme can be described as hybrid. This means that there is no need for overseas students to acquire a student visa, because a full-time residence in the UK is not required for study on the programme, but ability to travel to campus for the quarterly sessions (three per academic year) is essential.

In addition to being able to draw on the expertise of tutors, a possible specialist consultant, and other participants in your cohort, you will also have the support of a dedicated academic advisor throughout your period of study with us.

  1. Standard entry requirements
  2. International
  3. How to apply
  1. UK
  2. International
  3. Additional costs

Dr Nico Pizzolato
Programme Leader for the DBA / Associate Professor in Global Labour Studies

Dr Pizzolato is the Director of Doctoral Programmes in the Business School and Senior Lecturer in Global Labour Studies. He is an interdisciplinary scholar with a track record of publications in history and social sciences. His research focuses on modern slavery and corporations in historical perspective, industrial relations, social protest and critical pedagogy.

Professor Ifan Shepherd

Ifan Shepherd is Professor of GeoBusiness at Middlesex University Business School, where he is Director of the Business School's professional doctorate programmes (the DBA and DProf Professional Practice). He is the Deputy Coordinator of a major EC-funded R&D project (VALCRI), involving 17 European partners, which is developing a state-of-the-art visual analytics software system for crime analysts working in European law-enforcement agencies. His other research interests include personal branding, the transfer of training, and historical mapmaking.

Professor Anne-Wil Harzing
Professor in International Management

Professor Harzing's area of expertise is in international HRM, cross-cultural management and international business. She is one of the world's top 1% most cited academics in Economics and Business worldwide.

Professor Tim Freeman
Professor of Leadership

Dr Freeman is Professor of Leadership. His research explores public service delivery and governance, specifically leadership, quality and safety of health care, and participatory policy-making. He publishes in leading academic journals

including Social Science & Medicine, Sociology of Health & Illness, Public Administration and Economic and Industrial Democracy.

Dr Andrea Werner
Associate Professor of Business Ethics

Dr Werner is Associate Professor of Business Ethics. Prior to joining the University, she worked as a Researcher for the Institute of Business Ethics in London. Andrea co-leads the cross-disciplinary Business Ethics, CSR and Governance research cluster and coordinates the PhD programme in the Management, Leadership and Organisations Department. Her PhD Supervision interests are in business ethics and corporate social responsibility.

Professor Charles Dennis
Professor of Consumer Behaviour

Prof Dennis is Professor of Consumer Behaviour and Associate Editor in the Marketing section of Journal of Business Research. He has published in journals such as Journal of International Marketing, Journal of Business Research; Computers in Human Behavior; Psychology & Marketing; Information Technology & People; International Journal of Electronic Commerce; and European Journal of Marketing. Current research focuses on (e-)consumer behaviour, especially in relation to consumer wellbeing and responses to technological advances.

Professor Paul Gooderham

Dr Paul Gooderham is Professor in Human Resources Management. He is a graduate of the University of Bergen with a doctoral degree in sociology from NTNU, University of Trondheim, Norway. He has published three editions of a co-authored textbook on international management including Global Strategy and Management (Edward Elgar) published in 2019.

We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.

Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.

Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.

At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.

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