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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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
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 2023 - July 2024 Fees


August 2024 - July 2025 Fees


August 2025 - July 2026 Fees

  • Full-time UK: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

  • Part-time UK: TBC

Student Perks

At the University of South Wales, you’re investing in so much more than a degree. We strive to provide our students with the best possible experience, no matter what you chose to study. Whether it’s access to top of the range mac books and PCs, state-of-the-art facilities packed with industry-leading equipment and software, masterclasses and events led by industry experts, or a wide range of clubs and societies to meet likeminded people, better tomorrows start with extra perks.

Each course also has their own unique student benefits to prepare you for the real word, and details of these can be found on our course pages. From global field trips, integrated work experience and free course-related resources, to funded initiatives, projects working with real employers, and opportunities for extra qualifications and accreditations - at USW your future, is future-proofed.

Click here to learn more about student perks at USW.

Additional Costs

As a student of USW, you’ll have access to lots of free resources to support your study and learning, such as textbooks, publications, online journals, laptops, and plenty of remote-access resources. Whilst in most cases these resources are more than sufficient in supporting you with completing your course, additional costs, both obligatory and optional, may be required or requested for the likes of travel, memberships, experience days, stationery, printing, or equipment.

* Obligatory

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


Funding to help pay for (or cover) course tuition fees and living costs

Whilst you’re studying, you’ll have two main financial obligations – tuition fees and living costs. There’s lots of financial help available from the University of South Wales and external funding sources, that may provide loans (which have to be paid back) and grants, scholarships and bursaries (that don't).

To learn about course fees, funding options, and to see if you are eligible for financial support, visit our Fees and Funding pages.

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.