Doctor of Business Administration

Course content

The skills and knowledge you develop during your DBA will help to take your career to the next level. The course will build on your managerial experience to become a visionary leader, enabling you to interpret the latest theories in business to directly benefit your workforce.

The DBA programme takes a minimum of four years to complete, and gives you access to cutting-edge academic knowledge and design science tools.

Your research training will include a series of workshops delivered by leading WBS faculty at The Shard and at our University of Warwick campus. Workshops integrate content, theory, design and research methods, through a review of relevant literature.

  • Year 1: four 3-day workshops and supervision, including a programme induction

  • Year 2: three 3-day workshops and supervision

  • Year 3: one 3-day workshop and supervision

  • Year 4: one 3-day workshop and supervision

In addition to the workshops, there will be a 2-day DBA Conference each year. This conference usually takes place in January/February each year, immediately following a planned workshop (3 days of teaching, plus a 2-day conference). This event will allow you the opportunity to network across DBA cohorts and will provide executive-level perspectives on how to address complex business problems by becoming a scholar-practitioner.

Workshops will be supplemented by readings, and online tools and resources such as short video lectures.


There are a number of non-assessed milestones across your study period. These help to develop softer skills and application of theory to your writing. At each of these milestones, you will receive tailored feedback from a panel of senior academics to help finesse your project and ensure your research is on-track. 

In addition, there are formal milestones in the form of progress review panels where you share and discuss your work with an expert panel, who provide you with important feedback and direction. In order to progress, you are required to pass these milestones. 

Supervision and support is a major component of your DBA and will be provided through a mix of face-to-face meetings, email and online interaction.

You will be assigned a supervisor with the relevant expertise to support you in shaping your research. Typically, they will be a research active academic who will provide expert advice and guidance on content and research methods.

In addition you will have access to a board of practitioners, individually known as WBS Professors of Practice (experienced executives who are also scholar practitioners) who can provide support and guidance on process and development of the portfolio.

Finding a supervisor 

Our faculty is made up of world leading experts from every field of business and management. With more than a third of our staff from countries outside the UK, our faculty is truly international. All of our faculty are research-active and the majority supervise doctoral research. 

In order to be awarded your Doctor of Business Administration degree, you will have to demonstrate innovation in the application of knowledge through a thesis. The thesis can be delivered in two different formats:

Option 1: A single integrated thesis or monograph
Option 2: Portfolio

For both formats’ students will need to examine a real-world problem relating to their business through situation analysis, systematic literature review, synthesis of extant knowledge, problem description, solution design, and implementation evaluation. The key differences between the two options relate to the form in which the results and tangible outputs arising from the project are presented. An indicative word count for the thesis would be 80,000 words.

The DBA will give you access to cutting-edge academic knowledge and design science tools to develop solutions to challenges you face in your organisation and industry. Workshop themes throughout the programme include:

  • Applied Research Design
  • Strategic Management
  • Leadership and Change Management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Innovation and Technology
  • Digital Transformation
  • Systematic Literature Review
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Quantitative Research Methods
  • Academic Writing
  • Becoming a Professor of Practice

Learning facilities

Workshops take place at our inspirational teaching space at The Shard, with views of the River Thames and the city of London. Featuring lecture theatres, individual syndicate rooms and communal networking and study spaces, WBS London has been designed with executive learners in mind.