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What makes the Doctor of Business Administration at Worcester special?

The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is a professional doctoral degree designed to enhance business leadership and professional practice. It is run in collaboration with FHM Bielefeld in Germany.

The programme is designed to provide an opportunity for business professionals to work creatively by analysing and synthesising research literature, and their own research evidence, to understand their own professional contexts more critically and to find solutions to key challenges in their working environment. In doing so it is envisaged that our students will become (and ultimately lead) communities of practice for their profession. The degree is delivered as part of a University professional doctorate programme.

The Professional Doctorate award is distinct from the PhD award in the following respects:

  • There is a considerable weighting given to a taught component which comprises an integral and key part of the programme, and the assessment of the taught component contributes directly towards the final award.
  • The thesis produced by Professional Doctorate students will make an original contribution to knowledge within the relevant area or areas of professional practice. 
  • The benefits of the DBA are both organisational and personal. Research-led insights are likely to impact greatly on practice; the professionals undertaking the DBA developing as a result. 

The benefits to your organisation:

  • Access to vital ‘cutting edge’ thinking.
  • The ability to significantly enhance your organisation’s innovative capacity.
  • The opportunity to offer senior business professionals the chance for further career development. 


Our DBA programme offers you:

  • Academic rigor: Gain a deeper understanding of your chosen subject area with a challenging combination of research training and supervised research.
  • A wide variety of research interests: We have a strong mix of academics with a high degree of professional and personal experience enabling you to get the most out of both the taught and research element of your programme.
  • Excellent supervision: Benefit from a professional and challenging relationship with your supervisory team, drawn from experienced professionals working at the forefront of their disciplines.
  • Resources: Access to the University of Worcester’s virtual resources and to the state of the art library facilities at The Hive.
  • Networking opportunities: Because of the way that the taught element is structured and organised, the programme offers the enrichment opportunity of working alongside health and education professionals forming a ‘community of practice’.
Dr Christian Engelke

Dr. Christian Engelke - DBA graduate

"The DBA study program appealed to me from the start. It was especially helpful for me to learn a basic theoretical structure in the modules, so that the actual doctoral thesis was wonderfully grounded from the beginning. Actually, it could not have gone better! Thus, I was able to submit my thesis after exactly 3 years. I'd recommended this course any time!"

Dr. Elizabeth Davies-Ward, DBA graduate

"The first couple of modules enabled me to grow as an individual and really cement my position within work"

Christian Klein

Dr. Christian Klein, DBA graduate

"Internationality has played an important role since the beginning of my professional and academic career. Doing a PhD at an English university was therefore the logical step for me. The modules at the beginning of this program were very helpful in structuring my work and provided a lot of flexibility in the further process. The on-site supervision and support was also important to me. A doctorate is certainly a challenge that I would take on again and again in such a well-designed framework."

Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

Entry requirements

Applicants are expected to be active experienced professionals who have recently (within the last 6 years) been awarded a relevant Masters qualification. Applicants must also be able to demonstrate that they have a minimum of three years senior management / business experience. 

Other information

A full-time/International version of the DBA is not currently available.

Course content

What will you study?

The Researching Professional

The purpose of this module - stretching across the length of the taught component of the professional doctorate - is to consider, in a holistic sense, the nature of ‘knowledge’, its generation and management in various contexts, and the relationship of this to the participant’s professional culture, identity and role. The multiple factors – at a macro, meso and micro level - shaping knowledge and organisational cultures will be critically explored. The ways in which knowledge is constructed and used, and the place of forms of evidence and research in informing, shaping and reshaping practices – and professional self-identity within this – will be critically evaluated.

Project Development, Planning and Management

This module seeks to equip students with the knowledge, skills and capabilities to plan, initiate, manage and “write up” their doctoral research project.

Research Methods and Design

The purpose of this module is to enable the student to reflect on the variety of methods available to complete doctoral level research. Students will discuss relevant and appropriate knowledge and skills required, including literature searching at doctorate level, critical reading, identifying and defining the research question, methodological and analytical processes involved in completing the research process, and research ethics associated with particular methods. Students will be introduced to a variety of research methods dependent on the interests, circumstances and expertise of the participant cohort. Students will compare and contrast research paradigms and approaches, consider the implications for their own research question and develop a design, including the formation of a research question.

Teaching and assessment

How will you be taught?

Course Duration

DBA normally requires 4 years part time study. As a guide, the taught programme is generally completed within 18 months and we expect that for most students the thesis stage will be completed within a further 2.5 years.  

Where will I be taught?

Teaching is mainly undertaken at FHM Bielefeld in Germany by staff from the University of Worcester.

Course delivery

The taught programme commences with a 3-day-long teaching block. This is followed by 10 weekend blocks that are spread across the following 18 months, so as to cause minimum disruption to your workload. The weekend blocks are either in the form of virtual tutorials or face-to-face teaching that will mainly take place at FHM Bielefeld or occasionally at the University of Worcester.

The taught programme is shared across our three Professional Doctorate Programmes therefore offering you the opportunity to work alongside professionals in the health and education disciplines.

Although the delivery is described as ‘taught’, at DBA level the delivery is about a process of professional critical engagement between academic staff and participants. The learning process includes lectures, facilitated discussions and participant presentations, as well as online interaction and workshops focusing on aspects of professional culture and the research process. These activities are informed not only by knowledge and skills relevant to the modules, but are importantly based around the research questions and issues brought to the programme by those involved.

The research stage of your programme usually takes 2-3 years to complete and will culminate in the production of a 50,000 word thesis that will be examined by viva. It is expected that you will commence the thesis stage of the programme following notification that you have passed the taught element of the programme. Your research may be suitable for publication, as journal articles or a book.

Programme specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, teaching locations, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification document.


Where could it take you?

Allan Revill, MBA

Having recently completed an MBA at the University of Worcester, I have been inspired to continue my learning journey by enrolling for the DBA programme at Worcester.

The MBA experience meant that I continually challenged myself and also met some great like-minded individuals who share common goals. All the lectures have been enthusiastic and supportive in their approach and this, I believe, has improved my self-development going forward. Professionally, I have more confidence and empathy with all stakeholders in our family business - including better relationships with customers through my research work for the dissertation and the relevant modules studied leading up to the final year.

Having worked in the fresh produce sector over the last 27 years, I now run in partnership a family crop-growing business which has found success via its products and innovative growing techniques, such as using soil sterilants and plastic mulches to improve weed control and achieve earlier crops. This has enabled us to be one of the first to market with a number of UK fresh produce crops.

I now aim to focus on closer working relationships with our customers as a route to grow the business further. The DBA will enable me to continue my research into buyer-supplier relationships in the fresh produce industry from the specialist suppliers’ perspective.

I am looking forward to meeting my fellow DBA students and lecturers, to undertaking more research and meeting other specialist suppliers and buyers from my sector in the process. I am excited about the prospect of being able to make a recognisable contribution to knowledge and practice in the fresh produce industry and (who knows) even beyond.


How much will it cost?


The current fees can be found within the tuition fees document on our figure out finances page.

Note that there is a charge for retaking modules.

How to apply