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The DBA Programme, or Professional Doctorate, is part of a portfolio of doctoral programmes within Northumbria University. The three-year part-time programme (the full-time programme takes two years) is designed to build on previous Masters level study and/or significant experience of business and management practice.

The programme will enhance managers’ theoretical understanding, critical ability and research skills, enabling you to carry out a substantial piece of practice-based research that makes an independent and original contribution to your field of practice.

Over the course of your studies, you will:

  • Acquire and develop advanced research skills through a programme of in-depth study, and personal and research development.
  • Develop your skills in understanding, evaluating and creating new knowledge within your profession.
  • Produce a thesis or portfolio based on high quality original research of publishable standard of approximately 60,000 words (suitable for dissemination to your profession), demonstrating critical evaluation and synthesis in relation to current literature and professional practice.

You will be expected to pass through milestone targets in each year of study, giving clear structure to the DBA programme. For both full and part-time programmes, these milestones include Project Approval and Annual Progression.

You will study in a block release mode, supported by daily use of our eLearning Portal.

"[My DBA supervisor] was always accessible to me and I enjoyed regular contact and access to her – by phone, email, Skype and in person. Her relentless encouragement for my research studies, personal well-being and development, have been invaluable." Dr Helen Shiels

Learning and assessment

You will learn through a blended-learning approach, i.e. a combination of structured lectures, workshops, directed learning activities, group work and seminar presentations, with emphasis on creative student-centred learning and self-reflection throughout.

The lectures are themed around topics such as*:

  • Keeping up to Date with Information Sources
  • Philosophy
  • Reflexivity
  • Deductive/Inductive Strategies
  • Research Ethics
  • Visual Methods
  • Focus Groups
  • Post-Structuralism and Research
  • Document Analysis
  • Questionnaire Design
  • Scaling and Reliability
  • Qualitative Strategies: Content and discourse analysis
  • ANOVA/Regression
  • Action Research
  • Grounded Theory
  • Multiple Regression
  • Logistic Regression
  • Analysis with NVivo
  • Autoethnography
  • Systems Thinking for Research
  • Engaging with Users

The mandatory block study mode will allow you to continue in employment throughout your studies, giving you direct access to the professional context within which your doctoral programme rests. Personal study during the inter-block periods is vital for reflecting on the content of the taught modules, relating theory to your current (or past) professional practice, undertaking your research and preparing for your doctoral thesis/portfolio. This study time is self-managed, but supported by fellow participants, academic mentors and tutors.

You will be assessed in the taught stage of the programme by a critically argued research proposal of approximately 4000 words. On successful completion of the assessment, you will progress on to the research stage of the programme, which is assessed through the Annual Progression process, and ultimately your doctoral thesis/portfolio.

A feature of the Professional Doctorate is the flexibility of the form of submission at the research phase. Whilst a thesis of approximately 60,000 words is permissible, the University’s Professional Doctorate Framework also allows you to submit a portfolio commensurate with your professional circumstances and reflecting the research focus of your work.

*Lecture themes are subject to change


The tutors involved in this programme are highly experienced, research-active staff. Supervisors are normally allocated, where possible, to reflect both your research interests and the expertise of the university’s staff. Discover more by reading staff profiles for the academics in Newcastle Business School.


We've invested £200 million to make sure that our campuses are places where you enjoy spending time. Our modern city campus is designed with you in mind; you'll find everything to give you an outstanding student experience, including our award-winning university library and excellent catering facilities.

The Graduate School is at the heart of the university's support network for research students, working closely with the research community across the university to promote high-quality academic and professional standards. From enrolment to viva, you'll benefit from focused training and development programmes solely reserved for research students.

You’ll have full access to our eLearning Portal, ‘Blackboard Learn’, which includes video lectures, web conferencing, study notes, discussion boards, virtual classrooms and communities. Blackboard Learn brings together all aspects of course management as well as assessment and feedback.

Research at Northumbria

Northumbria University is a research-rich, business focused, professional university with a global reputation for academic excellence. The University is in the Times Higher Education UK top 50 for research power, based on the results of the Research Excellence Framework.

Click here to find out more about research at Northumbria, and here to explore research areas specifically within Newcastle Business School.

Application Details

Please note that the DBA is an October intake only.

The application deadline is 1 June.

The application will consist of your Curriculum Vitae, your research proposal and your completed application form.



Course Information

Level of Study

Mode of Study
3 year part-time

Newcastle Business School

City Campus, Northumbria University


Fee Information

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Visit an Open Day to find out about life in Newcastle, tour our facilities, discover your funding options and chat to staff and students.

Entry Requirements 2020/21

Standard Entry

Applicants should normally have

A minimum of a 2.1 honours degree; or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.

A 1000 word research proposal, outlining your area of research; please note that even if you are applying for a specific research vacancy with a pre-defined research proposal, you are still required to write a proposal expanding on the provided description of the project. For guidance on writing your research proposal, please see here. Applied Sciences and Psychology studentships do not require submission of a proposal, please refer to the studentship advert for further information. 

If you are applying for a course within Newcastle Business School or Northumbria Law School you will need to use the PGR Research Proposal Template

International qualifications:

If you have studied a non UK qualification, you can see how your qualifications compare to the standard entry criteria, by selecting the country that you received the qualification in, from our country pages. Visit

English Language requirements:

International applicants are required to have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 with component 6.0 in each component (or approved equivalent*). Applications to the Faculty of Business and Law also require a writing component score of 6.5.

*The university accepts a large number of UK and International Qualifications in place of IELTS.  You can find details of acceptable tests and the required grades you will need in our English Language section. Visit

Fees and Funding 2020/21 Entry

Full UK Fee: £22,500

Full EU Fee: £22,500

Full International Fee: £28,750


There are no Additional Costs

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To start your application, simply select the month you would like to start your course.

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) Part-time


Any Questions?

Our admissions team will be happy to help. They can be contacted on 0191 406 0901.

Contact Details for Applicants:

All information on this course page is accurate at the time of viewing.

Courses starting in 2021 are offered as a mix of online and face to face teaching due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Students will be required to attend campus as far as restrictions allow. Contact time will increase as restrictions ease, or decrease, potentially to a full online offer, should restrictions increase.

Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


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We continuously review and improve course content in consultation with our students and employers. To make sure we can inform you of any changes to your course register for updates on the course page.

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* By submitting your information you are consenting to your data being processed by Northumbria University (as Data Controller) and Campus Management Corp. (acting as Data Processor). To see the University's privacy policy please click here

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