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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. 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.

We welcome all applications for the DBA programme, but particularly those students with interests which complement the research centres at University of Bradford School of Management:

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 (less than 1% in the world) 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 School of Management is the oldest university-based business school in the UK, with a reputation for excellence. You'll study at our historic Emm Lane campus, and benefit from outstanding facilities and support.

Our postgraduate students enjoy a supportive learning environment where cutting edge knowledge, and its application to the business and decision making context, are well integrated and delivered by a highly trained, professional faculty.


Ranked 16th in Europe in the Global DBA Rankings Euro 2016.

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.


In years one and two you will study eight modules specifically designed to develop doctoral-level expertise in research methods. The modules are taught by leading academics and cover:

  • Introduction to Research Methods
  • Research philosophy
  • Quantitative methods
  • Qualitative methods
  • Literature reviewing and critiquing literature for DBA students
  • Advanced studies in management e.g. translating research into practice.

This builds the foundation from which you develop your empirical research. In years 3-7 you are assigned a supervisory team to guide and support you through the research stage of the programme. You will use the knowledge and skills gained from the research training to fully develop and refine your DBA research proposal , and have to pass the ‘mini viva’.

In the research stage, you complete a supervised research project leading to a thesis of 50,000 words.

You will select your own research topic, which may be based on your academic and practitioner interests or organisational needs. Recent DBA projects have focused on ‘Environmental and Socially Responsible Management’, ‘Human Resource Development’, ‘Improvements of Global Access to Medicines’, ‘Customer Service’ and ‘Small Business Growth Rates’.

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

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.

Financial support

For June 2017 entry:

Alumni Discount

All alumni of the University of Bradford, regardless of when they have graduated, will receive a 15% discount on their tuition fees if they achieved a 2:2 or above in their undergraduate degree, or a Pass in their postgraduate degree.

Please note that the 15% Alumni discount will be deducted after any scholarship or discount has been applied to your fees.

DBA Merit Scholarships

The School is also offering DBA students:

  • 2 part scholarships, amounting to 50% of DBA fees for years 1 and 2 (a total of £12,500), to be awarded on merit to self-funded DBA applicants from World Bank low-income or low to middle income economy countries
  • 1 part scholarship, amounting to 50% of DBA fees for years 1 and 2 (a total of £12,500), to be awarded on merit to self-funded female DBA applicants
  • 1 part scholarship, amounting to 50% of DBA fees for years 1 and 2 (a total of £12,500), to be awarded on merit to DBA applicants from the UK or EU

You may only apply for one of these scholarships after you have received a formal offer of acceptance for the DBA course. Applications for the scholarship have now closed.

Funding awards are made on the merit of each case. The School of Management retains absolute discretion regarding the amount and number of funding awards. Applicants are eligible for a maximum of one scholarship, and will be notified before the end of April of the decision.

Awards for company-sponsored study

A Business Relationship Bursary of up to 35% on any company-sponsored or part-sponsored DBA programme is available for companies with whom the School has a relationship or demonstrated business engagement. The amount would depend on the strength of the relationship, which might include companies who have previously funded a student on a Bradford programme, employed an undergraduate placement, MSc or MBA student to undertake a project, employed a member of faculty to produce a KTP or research project, commissioned a customised Executive Education programme, or supported the School in other ways, but this list is not exhaustive and other business engagement activities could be considered eligible.

How do I find out more?

Contact the Faculty

DBA Programme Team

Hear from our DBA students and graduates.

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 or download the application form below.

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.