Programme Brief



The Doctorate in Business Administration from Edinburgh Business School is an integrated doctoral programme that develops applied research skills in strategic focus in various areas of Business Administration.

This proagramme aims to produce business research professionals who can directly apply their doctoral level skills at a senior executive level in a business environment.

The DBA offers a number of valuable benefits:

  •  builds on the internationally successful MBA programme, utilising established distance-learning-based delivery and support systems;
  • produces applied research professionals – people who are able to analyse complex business issues and develop original and reliable solutions; and
  • generates an understanding of synergies and insights that can only be developed by integrating different disciplines within the context of original research.

  • Champs Fleurs

You must have five years’ experience and a relevant Master’s Degree – either an MBA or an MSc in Business and Management subject (s), or a relevant PhD.

All DBA students must be fluent in the English language.

There is no fixed start date for the DBA programme; you can apply and commence your studies at any time of year.

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Programme Content


Part 1 – The Course stage

Demonstrates the knowledge and expertise in the subject and the discipline(s) required to underpin the thesis subject.

Once accepted onto the programme, the student must first complete the three courses, titled:

  • Doctoral Business Research 1
  • Doctoral Business Research 2
  • Doctoral Business Research 3

Part 2 The Mentored stage 

Defines an appropriate subject for the thesis, working in co-operation with the assigned mentor.

The duration is around six months developing the research proposal.

Part 3 The Supervised stage 

Enables one to conduct a literature search, a pilot study, carry out field research, then write and defend a 45,000 word thesis.

Working under the direction of the supervisor one will conduct a literature review that supports the research and methodology.

*It must be noted that it is mandatory that students complete Doctoral Business Research 1, 2 and 3. Additional courses may be required if gaps in their knowledge are identified once their research question is finalised.

A student will then be required to finalise their research question. At this point, all prior qualifications and experience in the proposed research area will be considered. The DBA Research Committee then decides if the student needs to complete any additional courses to fill gaps in their knowledge to enable them to carry out their research.

For further information please see below link for student handbook:



Assessment is by formal viva voce (a formal face-to-face oral defence) examination comprising the student, an internal examiner, an external examiner and a supervisor.



All examinations will be delivered as ‘Timed-Online-Coursework’ up until August 2024. This means you will not need to travel to or attend an examination centre in person until August 2024 and will be able to complete your examination at home. 

 Assessment Type Timed-Online-Coursework
 Assessment format Online
 Availability December 2022 – August 2024
 Scope of work required 3-4 hours
 Duration Submit within 24-hour window
 Permissible file type for submission Word-based file (and submit as Word-based. No conversion please)  
 Submit Handwritten based file?  Not permissible in all sections and all question types (will be rejected)
 Diagrams drawn Avoid where possible. However, if any are necessary, they should be   of very limited use, and only submitted within a Word-based file

– Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh

Further information about the December 2023 examinations will be published on the EBS Student Portal in due course.