Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is a professional doctorate designed for senior managers and professionals who want to develop higher-level research skills that can be used to make informed strategic decisions within their organisations. The DBA supports senior leaders to become critical thinkers who have the ability to apply theoretical knowledge in an applied setting to make real change.

The DBA is designed for management professionals who want to build on their extensive knowledge and experience through the application of organisational theory and research practice. The student determines the focus of the DBA and through the development of the thesis each doctoral candidate will be encouraged to explore the contribution to practical and theoretical knowledge within his or her discipline.

Offered on a full or part-time basis, USW's Doctor of Business Administration is an excellent choice for individuals wishing to undertake Doctoral study while in full time managerial positions. 

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2022/23 update: Blended learning approach for USW courses.

[Update excludes online-only courses].

The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount to us. We are committed to delivering all of our courses and services as safely as possible. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for delivering our courses in the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to change during the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. Whether you’re on-campus full time, part-time with online study, or full-time online, USW is committed to providing you with a fantastic student experience and a wealth of support, and you can hear how students have benefitted from this approach here: Learn more about blended learning.

Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Full-time 3 Years February Treforest A
Full-time 3 Years February Online 8
Full-time 3 Years September Treforest A
Full-time 3 Years September Online 8
Part-time 6 Years September Online 8
Part-time 6 Years September Treforest A
Part-time 6 Years February Treforest A
Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Full-time 3 Years February Treforest A
Full-time 3 Years September Treforest A
Full-time 3 Years September Online 8
Part-time 6 Years February Treforest A
Part-time 6 Years September Treforest A
Part-time 6 Years September Online 8

The DBA has two distinct levels, Level 7 and Level 8. Level 7 consists of 120 taught credits and a 60-credit independent research report. The independent research report represents the development of the student's research thus far and must include: their refined research question, an appreciation of the (phenomenological) theoretical ground in which their research sits, an overview of the existing research, research methodology and proposed research methods.

Successful completion of Level 7 allows students to progress to Level 8 which comprises of the doctoral thesis.

DBA Modules (all core)

The nature of research
This module aims to introduce the student to the practice of doctoral research. Starting from asking the right research question, this module equips the students with the knowledge to approach doctoral research in a mature and measured manner.

Professional Skills
This module will provide students with the required tools and knowledge to complete doctoral writing and research in their subject area.

Quantitative research
The module aims to equip doctoral students with an understanding of the rationale for and appropriate use of quantitative methods in social research, and the skills to conduct quantitative research.

Qualitative Research
The module aims to equip doctoral students with an understanding of the rationale for and appropriate use of qualitative methods in social research, and the skills to conduct qualitative research.

Organisation theory
The module aims to equip students with an advanced understanding of the issues, approaches and conceptual basis for researchers studying management, organisations and the context of enterprise management

Research practicum
This module is designed to demonstrate through a practical research how either (or both) qualitative and quantitative methods can be applied to the development and empirical examination of phenomena, problems, propositions and/or hypothesis across a range of management fields.

Independent research report
To demonstrate the progression of a doctoral research project so that it is sufficient for development into a doctoral thesis.



The Doctor of Business Administration is offered on a part time and full time basis. Part time students study three modules each academic year for two years. Full time students study all six taught modules in one academic year.

All taught modules are delivered in weeklong blocks from Monday to Friday. All modules are delivered via a blended mixture of classroom and online lecture and tutorial workshops where students are actively encouraged to interact and contribute to the learning experience.

Your studies will be underpinned by the latest research undertaken by the South Wales Business School Research Group. This means you will be taught by academics who are at the forefront of their specialist field.


Please see our Graduate School pages for more information on support for research students, as well as details of PhD and Master by Research options.


Each module on the DBA results in the production of an assessed piece of work which is the equivalent of 6,000 words. Following the six taught modules each student must produce an individual research report which is assessed through an 18,000 word written transfer document and a viva voce examination. The successful completion of the six taught modules and the individual research report will enable the student to move to the thesis stage of the DBA programme.

The thesis stage of the DBA is a substantial research based document resulting in an independent doctoral submission of circa 100,000 words. The thesis is examined by a viva voce following submission.

Featured Lecturer:
Dr Simon Thomas

Dr Simon Thomas

Dr Simon Thomas is a Senior Lecturer at the South Wales Business School. Prior to commencing a career in academia Dr Thomas worked in Visitor Services Support for Cadw, the Welsh Government body responsible for the historic environment in Wales. His research centres around the two areas of Pilgrimage Touristic Studies and Memorials as Pilgrimage Shrines. Dr Thomas has recently published two important articles relating to pilgrimage and memorial studies: the ‘potential for pilgrimage-touristic growth in Wales’ published by Palgrave Macmillan in the textbook 'Heritage and Tourism in Britain and Ireland: Nation, Conservation, Identity’; the ‘post-postmodern act of pilgrimage at Lourdes in France’ published in the ABS four star Tourism Management Journal.

Dr Thomas is an experienced journal reviewer and external examiner who has significant experience in quality and franchise arrangements. Dr. Thomas has examined, chaired and supervised Doctoral candidates in a variety of business-related subjects.



  • Dr Simon Thomas, DBA course leader
  • Stuart Milligan
  • Victoria Stephens
  • Dr Gabor Horvath
  • Dr Elizabeth Lloyd Parkes


We regularly revalidate courses for quality assurance and enhancement

At USW, we regularly review our courses in response to changing patterns of employment and skills demand to ensure we offer learning designed to reflect today’s student needs and tomorrow’s employer demands.

If during a review process course content is significantly changed, we’ll write to inform you and talk you through the changes for the coming year. But whatever the outcome, we aim to equip our students with the skillset and the mindset to succeed whatever tomorrow may bring. Your future, future-proofed.

Admission to the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) normally requires a Masters degree from a recognised academic institution. In addition, all applicants are required to provide evidence of significant professional or managerial experience.

All applicants must be able to access organisations to conduct their research. This will normally be your employing organisation but may include others. Access to support for the research study is essential in terms of initial selection and for the duration of the programme.

Applications must include two references on headed paper from your referees which should be uploaded as a supporting document. Please note, we can not accept applications without these two references. At least one referee should be able to comment on your academic/professional ability. References provided by relatives are not acceptable.

You are required to provide a detailed doctoral research proposal prior to the acceptance stage. All applications will be considered by the University’s Research Applications Panel. Once your research proposal has been submitted and approved, you will be subject to a formal interview; this may be a panel interview.

International candidates whose first language is not English should have been taught and assessed in English and be able to evidence English fluency to TOEFL 570 or IELTS 6.5 or higher.



August 2021 - July 2022 Fees

  • Full-time UK: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

  • Part-time UK: TBC

August 2022 - July 2023 Fees

    International Full-time: Yr1 £14,100, Yr 2 £7,050, Yr 3 £7,050, Yr 4+ £1,500. Part-time: £4,350 per year. Home Part-time: £3,300 per year.

August 2023 - July 2024 Fees

  • Full-time UK: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

  • Part-time UK: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
Other : Text books
No mandatory textbooks to purchase.

Please apply directly to the University for this doctorate.

The Doctor of Business Administration has a two-part application process: a full application including a research proposal; and an interview with the DBA course leader and one of the course team

Apply now 

Admissions statement 

Career enhancement to strategic levels in organisations is often sought by successful DBA candidates. DBA graduates have the ability to create and interpret new knowledge through original research. They produce first-class original research of publishable quality that sets them apart from other managers. This encompasses robust design, implementation, execution, and dissemination. This research also makes significant contributions to practice on many levels, within organisations, on an industry level, and on a policy level. Many of our DBA graduates have progressed to senior positions in public sector, private sector, and academia.