Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

Make a positive difference to organisations and society. 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 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.

Why choose Edinburgh Napier University for your DBA? 

  • We have subject expertise in Human Resource Management, Marketing, Accounting, Tourism and many more disciplines, meaning we can support you in achieving excellence in your employment and chosen area of expertise.
  • The Business School is actively involved in a diverse range of research covering most areas of business, management and marketing. Students will be able to undertake rigorous research in the field of business and management and develop their ability to appraise critically their own insight and impact as a managers
  • The Napier DBA is designed to allow you to work within a flexible structure to be completed within three years while working, with part-time study.
  • Edinburgh Napier is one of the leading universities in student support and development. You will be working with dedicated supervisors and administrative staff who will support you through your study.
  • Through sponsoring a DBA student, your employer will have access to the latest business developments from both a theoretical and practical perspective. The employer will also have the opportunity to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their organisation through research carried out by one of their own professional employees. 

Napier DBA Information Videos

How developed does my research idea need to be?

What is the application process?

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 2022.

If you would like to discuss the programme with a member of the team, or to register your interest please contact Jacqui 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.