Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

The Doctor of Business Administration is a professional doctorate programme designed to develop applied research for managers in business, public services and non-profit organisations. The programme is aimed at senior managers and leaders currently employed in an organisation that is committed to the continuing development of its employees.

The DBA blends theoretical learning with practical experience based on a business context to create a reflective practitioner. Rather than working towards a single output, the DBA is assessed by combining continuous evaluation with a major research project focusing on the participant’s workplace. The learning outcomes of the DBA Programme are set out below.

Delegates will be expected to demonstrate their ability to:

  • Complete Edinburgh Napier University’s Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods, thereby demonstrating their ability to undertake research, critical investigation and evaluation, of an approved topic in their professional area;
  • integrate rigorous academic/critical analysis with practical relevance and application;
  • write a doctoral thesis which makes a significant original contribution to business and professional practice and clearly communicates their research work, conclusions and recommendations

The DBA programme is equivalent to the PhD in terms of application, originality of work and contribution to business knowledge.

Entry requirements

Academic: For admission to the DBA programme, applicants should be currently employed in a senior management role and have an MBA or a Masters qualification in a relevant area, coupled with relevant work experience in a senior management role (usually 5 years).

Exceptionally, applicants who do not have a recognised formal qualification may be considered on the basis of extensive senior management experience and evidence of appropriate academic ability.

English language: You will also need excellent English written and oral communication skills to undertake a professional doctorate. We may ask you to provide evidence of your ability to read, speak, write and listen in English. Your English ability can be demonstrated in a number of ways, but as a guideline, we expect an IELTS score of at least 7.0. Further details are available in our English Language Policy.

References: All applicants for DBA must include two references. One should be an academic reference and one should be a professional reference.

Intakes and deadlines

The next DBA intake will commence in October 2021. Normal deadline for applications for October is 31st May.

If you would like to discuss the programme with a member of the team, or to register your interest please contact Jackie Frame (Programme Administrator) at


You can find information about our fees here.

Formal applications

Applications should be made online using the link below:
Doctor of Business Administration

What's next?

After you've submitted your application, the postgraduate admissions team will send it to the Business School for consideration. Once the school has made a decision, the admissions team will email you to let you know whether you have been selected for interview.

Contact us

Email the postgraduate admissions team:

The postgraduate admissions team will be able to give you general advice on the application process.