The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) has been designed to increase your professional capabilities, make a positive contribution to your organisation, and produce publishable-level research.
The DBA is structured in a way that allows you to develop the necessary academic skills to complement your existing professional skills set.
The first year consists of two 30 credit modules.
This module will cover three core elements:
1: As the introductory module on the DBA, the module will introduce the conceptual basis of Evidence Based Management and explore the relationship between theory and practice in management research. The DBA is a professional doctorate, designed to generate an original contribution to professional practice, through a rigorous engagement with management theory, and a focussed programme of independent research into a specific ‘research problem’ in your professional practice. The move from practice to theory and back to practice will provide the underpinning structure of this module.
2: The module will explore how to move from a research topic, to a set of specific research problems and questions, to clarify and focus what a good research question is and how to formulate researchable questions.
3: This section of the module will focus on how to undertake a literature review, and how to use academic literature in business and management theory to clarify and narrow the research topic into a coherent set of research questions, that will deliver a doctoral level research project if answered.
The module will take you through the different approaches to reviewing the literature, with a focus on undertaking systematic literature reviews to explore the evidence base for specific practices and their efficacy in the field of management practice. This approach is located within an Evidence Based Management (EBM) paradigm that encourages you to critically analyse and evaluate the evidence underpinning your taken-for-granted practices and assumptions about what makes effective management.
The EBM paradigm is at the core of the management approach found in the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), and the structured literature review is the preferred approach in the International Journal of Management Reviews, the British Academy of Management’s main journal for literature reviews. As such, this module combines best practice in both the management profession and academic studies of management, to prepare you for formulating novel and relevant research questions.
The module is the first of two modules on the DBA. The second follows from this module to explore the kinds of research methods that will enable you to answer the focussed research questions you have formulated on this module.
The module adopts a blended approach to learning, combining a one-week, intensive, face-to-face block, delivered once a year on the Chelmsford campus, with a Canvas-based tutor lead program of studies for the duration of the remainder of the semester.
This module will cover three core elements:
1: The second and final module on the taught stage of the DBA, introduces the theoretical, contextual and conceptual requirements of undertaking independent research that will lead to a Doctoral award. The module will explore the relationship between practice-based research and the requirements needed to develop and create a doctoral thesis.
The DBA is a professional doctorate, designed to generate an original contribution to professional practice, through a rigorous engagement with management theory, and a focussed programme of independent research into a specific ‘research problem’ in your professional practice. The move from practice to theory and back to practice will provide the underpinning structure of this module.
2: The module will explore how to move from the development of a research topic and its underpinning theoretical concepts into developing a robust and justified scientific research paradigm, equipping you with a wide range of doctoral level research tools, prior to moving to the praxis research in stage 2.
3: The main section of the module will focus upon the relationship between practice-based research and the requirements to develop a research paradigm that is appropriate and justified academically, that will lead to a doctoral award. Consequently, you will be exposed to a wide range of research processes with the associated lexicon, ensuring that you will be able to determine an appropriate research paradigm for your research project.
It will be expected that you will build upon your first module and by the time this module is completed you will have gained a thorough understanding of the various research techniques that you’ll have at your disposal, to develop your research and complete your doctoral thesis.
The module will take you through the different approaches to the various research paradigms, exploring as well as practical issues wide philosophical issues such as ontological. epistemological axiological positions. Additionally, you will develop your research strategies, research approaches and research methods with a constant requirement that the research is scientifically based. As such, this module combines best practice in both the management profession and academic studies of management, to prepare you for formulating novel and relevant research paradigms.
The module adopts a blended approach to learning, combining a one-week, intensive, face-to-face block, delivered once a year on the Chelmsford campus, with a Canvas-based tutor lead program of studies for the duration of the remainder of the trimester.
The research proposal is situated at 18 months as after this time period you will have completed three of the modules and produced the equivalent of 18,000 words. As these modules will have provided you with the initial problem definition (assignment 1), a review of the extant literature (assignment 2) and an examination of the methodological approach (assignment 3), you would normally be in a position to develop a coherent proposal.
By this stage of the programme you will have clarified your research instruments, operationalised a pilot study for the main research and be in a position to proceed with the primary research project. By building in supervisory meetings it will mean that you will have benefited from a structured programme of support that will have prepared you for the upgrade.
The final DBA is assessed through the production of a 60,000 word thesis, which is defended in a viva voce examination.
Workshops are the mechanism through which the modules will be delivered and continuous support maintained. Therefore, in the first year on the programme, you will attend one four-day workshop and one three-day workshop in Chelmsford that are further supported by bi-weekly online sessions.
Canvas provides candidates with access to a range of resources to support their development. This includes academic databases, links to other websites and research software. In addition, it provides a mechanism through which candidates and staff can interact and facilitates electronic submission of work for formal assessment and allows timely feedback from academic staff.
The role of supervision and the relationship with supervisors is one of the key determinants for successfully undertaking doctoral level study. For this reason, your supervisory team will be established at the outset, and is built into your programme of study. Mentors will be assigned during stage 1 and the supervisory team at stage 2. Supervisory support is, therefore, an on-going process during and after the completion of the taught modules.
You have a highly active mind and see opportunity everywhere. Now you need theory and life-changing skills to sharpen your approach to management. At the Faculty of Business & Law, you will immerse yourself in a multicultural environment where technology blends with teaching to create a dynamic and innovative learning environment. An environment to help you gain those skills.
In some cases extra costs known as bench fees will be charged for a postgraduate research degree. These are to cover additional/exceptional costs directly related to a specific research project.
Some examples of these costs are (the list is not exhaustive): equipment hire, access costs to specialist equipment/workshops, volunteer expenses, specialist tissue/cell culture, specialist reagents or materials, specialist software, access to specialist databases, data collection costs, specialist media, recording or digital storage needs.
We charge bench fees in bands. They may apply for every year of your course. These bands are the same for full- and part-time students.
If you have to pay bench fees this will be made clear at your interview, and stated in your offer letter.
For 2021/22 the bench fee bands are:
Part time: £1,000
Full time: £1,800
Join us for a Professional Doctorate and you’ll be joining a group of passionate researchers who are experts in their fields.
Our research-active staff are dedicated to producing relevant and significant outcomes and solutions that can be applied in the real business world.
Our four research centres are at the heart of knowledge generation in our business school, working on the latest research developments that emerge from challenges and issues in the business world. We rely on our close business partnerships to keep our research focused where it matters: improving business practice across the world. Our Professional Doctorate students play a part in constantly addressing the most relevant issues.
Learn more about the work we’re doing and how it could be significant to your organisation and professional development:
Looking for something else? Our schools cover all business subjects, with many of our people having professional backgrounds. Take a look at our School of Economics, Finance and Law people and our School of Management people to see our range of expertise.
ARU's academic excellence was recognised in 2021, as part of the Research Excellence Framework (REF), an exercise which assesses the quality of academic research. Sixteen areas of our work were classed as generating world-leading research. The results showed that we're making a significant impact on the societies we live in.
This programme is based on the rationale that candidates will normally be in employment whilst they are undertaking it. In terms of employability, therefore, the aim of this course is twofold. First, to support career progression within the organisation and/or industry. Second, to support candidates who wish to embark on a portfolio career.
Research training is integral to this course and will let you develop transferable skills in research methods, report writing, academic publishing, conference presentations, personal effectiveness and more.
Read more about studying a Professional Doctorate.
If you're interested in finding out more about research study opportunities, please contact [email protected]
You'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning.
We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.
If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.
If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry.
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