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Course Overview

Introducing your Degree

Advance your career by studying for a Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) at Northampton Business School. This DBA, which is among the research-focused courses offered in the USA, will give you access to the latest ideas in your sector and enable you to apply them to a real-world problem within your organisation. As well as sharpening your critical and analytical skills, you will develop your managerial capabilities and apply your learning in the workplace. You’ll be supervised by leading academics with expertise in your area of research, who will share their knowledge and support you throughout your DBA journey. This part-time degree is designed for senior managers and consultants who want to study at an advanced level while working full time. It can be completed over a maximum of seven years although you can choose to complete within four. We offer the flexibility to pause your studies or extend the course duration to fit around your professional commitments.


Make a step change in your career by studying for a Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) at Northampton Business School. The DBA is equivalent to a PhD, but focuses on high-level strategic business problems rather than purely academic questions. Supervised by expert academics, you’ll apply the latest concepts and methodologies to a real-world issue within your organisation or business sector. You’ll also devise and follow a professional development plan, through which you will demonstrate the impact of your studies on your own practice and development. 

To ensure we maintain our reputation for academic excellence, this course has a small, select intake. Our students are senior managers or consultants who are looking to challenge themselves and who have approached us with a robust research idea.

We welcome applications from candidates with either an MBA or MSc (preferably in a management-related subject), or a professional business qualification. In addition, candidates must have at least seven years’ work experience, with a substantial part of this spent in a managerial or equivalent role. Applications from international students are welcome, but please note that this degree is not available on a full-time basis.

LEARNING MODE On Campus Learning, Distance learning
FEE USD 12,000
Course Structure

Typical course content

The DBA is a part-time degree designed for professionals in full-time employment. It can be completed within four years, based on around 16 to 20 hours per week of study. However, we recognise that some people may take longer to qualify due to changing professional demands. The maximum time for completion of the course is 5 years (60 months).

The degree has a two-part structure:

Part one covers the first two years of study. During this time you’ll attend a one-week induction module during the first semester, which will introduce you to the nature of doctoral research, critical evaluation skills and the principles of academic writing. You’ll meet the supervisors who will guide you through the research process and agree how you can best work together. You’ll also be required to complete a five-day residential research module during the second semester and submit a number of assignments, including a literature review, thesis critique and your research proposal.

Part two (years three and four of the programme) is spent conducting independent research, analysing the results and writing them up for your thesis. 

In every year of study you’ll take part in at least one two-day doctoral workshop, known as a colloquium. This offers a chance to present your research proposals, discuss the development of your ideas and gain feedback from your fellow students and the academic team.


Expert supervision

You’ll be supported by two leading published academic supervisors who are active researchers and therefore well placed to guide you through the degree. Our supervisors include experts in a range of areas including human resources management, business strategy, risk management, organisation behaviour, leadership, change management, accounting and marketing.

Through quarterly meetings, either online or face to face, they will support you throughout your DBA studies. Many of our supervisors are experienced management practitioners, so will be able to provide mentoring in relation to your professional development goals.

Learning and Assessment

Most of your DBA studies will involve independent research and study, with one taught module on research methods.

Before you start the course, you’ll be asked to assess yourself against a set of professional and research competence criteria, and to prepare an outline proposal for your research project. These will be discussed during your induction.

You’ll be assessed through a range of assignments and on your thesis.

During part one of the course you will be required to:

  • complete a five-day residential research module and submit a 5,000-word essay for assessment
  • present a 5,000-word literature review and your research proposal
  • present a 3,000-word reflective document outlining how your studies have contributed to your professional development
  • present a 5,000-word critique of a PhD thesis related to your area of research

Your final assessment will be in the form of:

  • a 70,000-word thesis based on your original research
  • a formal interview, known as a viva, at which you’ll defend your thesis
  • a 5,000-word reflective report showing how the learning experience has contributed to your professional development and how you have been able apply your learning to your professional practice


Supporting your studies

This is a challenging degree so we ensure you have plenty of support to help you succeed. Your supervisors will offer support, guidance and constructive criticism throughout the course, and may be able to offer mentoring as part of your professional development plan. You’ll also have access to professional development courses and the University’s world-class library resources, both on campus and online.

Regular research colloquia provide an opportunity for peer review and support. If you are interested in developing your academic skills and networks further, you’ll be encouraged to prepare academic papers and present at conferences.

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Whatever your sector or your motivation for studying, the research-based approach of the Northampton Business School DBA will help you to advance your career. Achieving a DBA qualification will:

  • develop your analytic and critical skills, enabling you to approach business challenges in new ways
  • build your credentials and differentiate you from other consultants or professionals in your field
  • enable you to develop an evidence-based consulting model or management tool that will give you a competitive advantage
  • help you to move towards a career in academia, or a portfolio career that includes academic aspects

Entry requirements


Typical entry requirements

Your application will be carefully considered by a specialist member of the academic staff who will weigh up many factors. These include your academic achievements, interests and aptitudes, as well as your motivation and your referee’s confidential report.


Selection process

We make our decisions in most cases on the application form and supporting documents alone. Candidates who require special consideration, eg on grounds of age, disability or non-standard entry qualifications, may be interviewed.

How to apply


This programm by online learning has start dates in September and January of each academic year. 

We recommend that you apply as early as possible; this is particularly important for applicants who may need to allow sufficient time to take an English language test

Documentation required

Applications are made online via the University Application Service, EUCLID.

Please follow the instructions carefully and make sure that you have included the following documentation with your application:

  • Degree certificates showing award of degree.
  • Previous academic transcripts for all past degree programmes.
  • A reference in support or your application. The reference should be academic and dated no earlier than one year from the start of study on the LLM programme.
  • Evidence of English language proficiency, if required.

If you are currently studying for your degree or you are not in a possession of an English test result you may still apply to the programme. Please note that it is your responsibility to submit the necessary documents.

After you apply

After your application has been submitted you will be able to track its progress through the University’s applicant hub.

Application processing times will vary however the admissions team will endeavour to process your application within four to six weeks of submission. Please note that missing documentation will delay the application process.

You will be informed as soon as possible of the decision taken. Three outcomes are possible:

  • You may be offered a place unconditionally
  • You may be offered a conditional place, which means that you must fulfil certain conditions that will be specified in the offer letter. Where a conditional offer is made, it is your responsibility to inform the College Postgraduate Office when you have fulfilled the requirements set out.
  • Your application may be unsuccessful. If your application has not been successful, you can request feedback from us or refer to our guidance for unsuccessful applicants, which explains some of the common reasons we why we reach this decision.
    View the University’s guidance for unsuccessful applicants
Terms and conditions of admissions
  • The University’s terms and conditions form part of your contract with the University, and you should read them, and our data protection policy, carefully before applying.

    Northampton University admissions terms and conditions