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Henley Business School

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

The Henley Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) is one of only nine programmes globally to have gained the prestigious AMBA accreditation. Since its launch in 1992, the Henley DBA is thought to be the most established in Europe with the highest number of graduates to its name from over 30 countries around the world.

The MSc/DBA programme contributes to the research excellence of Henley Business School. The theses produced receive commendations from accrediting bodies and examiners alike. Candidates include prestigious competition winners and the quality of theses is regularly praised as being the highest quality by scholars with global reputations in their field. Research associates are members of our School structure and are encouraged to take part in activities of our research centres. By conducting original research in their specialist area, candidates are able to further their careers and build expertise to contribute to grow competitive advantage and differentiate themselves in the marketplace.

What is a DBA?

The Henley Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) is a part-time professional doctoral degree with an international scope and reputation, designed to enhance executive and professional practice through the application of sound theory and rigorous research into real and complex issues in business and management.

It enhances the capability to develop knowledge and theory, and their application. Key to this is a programme to develop personal, consultancy and research skills in the context of rigorous and relevant research.


The Henley DBA will enable you to:

  • Develop a sound understanding of the relevant conceptual and theoretical underpinnings of your chosen area of research into business and management
  • Have a detailed understanding of applicable techniques for research and advanced academic and management enquiry
  • Create and interpret knowledge through original research. Enhance both your performance as a reflective practitioner and your professional practice
  • Develop personal, consultancy and research competences to undertake rigorous research at an advanced level that contributes to theory and practice in business and management

Who should consider a DBA?

The programme will be of particular benefit to experienced senior executives, consultants, management educators and business school academics. A DBA from Henley will enhance professional capability and credibility, develop networks, and provide a firm foundation for further career development or a major career move. Employers benefit from supporting candidates for the DBA by attracting, developing and retaining key talent and building knowledge for competitive advantage.

DBA and PhDs – Equal but Different

The DBA has both rigour and relevance as it contributes to theory and practice in business and management. The DBA typically focuses on research ‘in’ organisations rather than research ‘on’ organisations. It is more likely to involve cross-disciplinary work and mixed methods and contribute to developing students' own practice and development.

Entry requirements

Applicants seeking to enter the MSc and DBA programme will normally be expected to hold a masters degree in the area of business or management together with at least five years' relevant experience. Candidates wishing to transfer from the MSc to the DBA programme will require an average of 60% in the MSc (and 60% on the Research Proposal element). Where an applicant has an existing Masters qualification in research, such as an MPhil or MRes, typically with a 'merit' pass or equivalent, it may be possible to join the DBA stage directly.

To apply for the Henley DBA please complete the online application form and provide the required documents, including one business reference and one academic reference. You will also need to provide a Research Outline detailing your proposed DBA dissertation topic (4-6 pages - 1200-1800 words). You should consult the Research Outline Notes document (below) before writing the Research Outline and must select a topic from one available on the Research Topics page, as these are the areas of expertise within the Business School. Please indicate on your Research Outline under which topic/faculty member (where applicable) your research falls. Topics not listed on the Research Topics will not be considered.

Course modules

The DBA programme consists of two distinct, but linked stages.

In line with all doctoral programmes, you will begin your journey by developing your research skills. At Henley, you work towards an additional qualification whilst you undertake this part of your development. Therefore, unless you already have an equivalent research qualification such as MRes or MPhil, you will complete the MSc in Business and Management Research.

The MSc in Business and Management Research provides a thorough grounding in research methodology and techniques. You will be preparing and developing your ideas and proposals for your own research – through teaching inputs and structured assessment - and also developing your competence to undertake research. This stage is scheduled over 18 months, with four one-week compulsory workshops covering,

  • Research and Personal Development
  • Introduction to Research methodology
  • Qualitative research methods
  • Quantitative research methods

This stage also includes research colloquia and other optional seminars.

Your MSc will culminate in the development of a research proposal, providing the platform for developing research in the DBA stage.

Stage 1 - MSc in Business and Management Research

Your MSc will promote the development of a deep knowledge of the research process and a broad understanding of the available range of research methodologies. As you progress though the MSc, you will also be developing your research questions, broadening your knowledge of the literature in the area you intend to research, and selecting the appropriate methodology and methods. You’ll finally arrive at a detailed research proposal.

The assessed components of the MSc are:

  • Research outline interview: further develops your research ideas
  • Working paper: a scoping literature review of a selected area
  • Research skills: a critique of a selected research methodology and one other research target linked to your particular needs
  • Thesis critique: an evaluation of an existing doctoral thesis
  • Qualitative data analysis assignment
  • Quantitative data analysis assignment
  • Report on a pilot study: a report on a study involving a pilot collection of data
  • Research proposal: a detailed proposal for research – including literature review, methodology and methods – relating to a specific research area.

Stage 2 - DBA

Your DBA stage has two assessed components relating to the completion of a research thesis and the development of competences relevant to the application of this research:

  • Report on two targets for development in the areas of personal, teaching and consultancy skills competences
  • Doctoral thesis.

Throughout the research process you will have the support of and guidance of at least one supervisor. Supervisors assess the Research Proposal and Pilot Study in the MSc and then guide the Programme Member through the research process to submission of the thesis for examination at the viva in the DBA stage.

There are a number of DBA research topics across the various academic disciplines at the Henley Business School. These have been organised by research area. Only proposals that fall under one of the categories below will be considered. When writing your research outline, please indicate at the top of the proposal to which topic/faculty member (where applicable) your research outline corresponds.

Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour (topics organised by Research Centres)

Centre for Social and Organisational Studies

  • Virtue and integrity theories applied to problems of governance and agency in business, business and society and critical approaches to management
  • Cultural change (in particular industries, or in relation to the business and society relationship at large e.g. globalisation) and the nature of ethical issues arising for individuals and groups in organisations and in the organisation and society relationship
  • Challenges of ethical pluralism and relativism in relation to context and stakeholder problems
  • Morals and the limits of Markets; Challenges for the common good
  • The role of ethics of dialogue in organisations and society, the nature of dialogic ethics and agency
  • The role of businesses and international organisations in the development of universal humanistic and eco-centric ethics
  • Philosophical topics in organisation studies (especially questions about the ontology of organisations)
  • Proposals that use convention theory (sometimes called pragmatic sociology) and apply it to organisations
  • Proposals on alternative ways of valuing and prioritisation in general, or with a specific focus on healthcare
  • Any topics related to the philosophical foundations of economic thought
  • Gender, race, class in the workplace
  • Intersectional perspectives on employment and organisations
  • Elites and Professions
  • Professional status and inequality regimes
  • Critical perspectives on stress and well-being at work
  • Critical perspectives on power in organisations
  • Lacanian studies of organisational issues
  • Management in cultural and creative organisations, particularly legitimisation strategies and relations within creative clusters

Henley Centre for Engaging Leadership

  • Distributed Leadership in complex professionalized settings and strategies to facilitate its emergence
  • Project leadership change management
  • Leadership development processes to enable women to access senior positions and break the glass ceiling
  • Leadership dysfunction and its effect on organizational culture/wellbeing
  • Team leadership, team dynamics and team effectiveness)
  • Leadership and innovation-creativity on teams
  • Exploring organisational leadership capability
  • Energizing senior management teams
  • Developing leadership capacity on the job
  • Digital strategic leadership

Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship

  • The economics of entrepreneurship - Clusters and their evolution; Government Policies for the development of Small Business concerns and Clusters; The sources of Finance of Small and Medium-sized firms; Regional and National Systems of Innovation and their Evolution (all in relation to developed countries only)
  • Leadership and Management in Entrepreneurial and /or Family firms - The impact of Gender on Management in SMEs, Women in Entrepreneurship
  • Intermediation and market making
  • Cross-Cultural Entrepreneurship - Ethnic entrepreneurship
  • Henley Forum for Organisational Learning and Knowledge Strategies
  • The relationship between organisational learning, continuity and change
  • Pathways to organisational UNlearning
  • How knowledge strategies contribute to organisational development and change
  • The qualities of ambidextrous leadership that facilitate organisational development
  • The role of paradoxical experience in facilitating learning
  • How conceptualisations of time affect intellectual capital and knowledge work
  • The contribution of knowledge management and organisational learning to organisational agility or dynamic capability development
  • The role of organisational learning andknowledge management to organisational resilience
  • Complexity and simplification, their role and implications in management decision making

ICMA Centre (limited capacity)

  • Corporate Finance and Governance
  • Islamic Finance
  • Financial Regulation
  • Financial Econometrics
  • Volatility and Correlation Modelling
  • Historical Finance
  • Sports Finance
  • Pension Schemes
  • Asset-Liability Management
  • Futures Markets
  • Portfolio Management
  • Real Estate Finance

Assessment methods

The first MSc stage, scheduled over over 18 months, will involve structured assessment.

The second DBA stage has two assessed components, a wirtten report on two targets for development and a doctoral thesis.


DBA Part-time

MSC IN BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT RESEARCH (which may lead on to a DBA) - 2017/18

  • Year 1 - 01/Oct/2017-30/Sep/2018  £10,750
  • Year 2(a) - 01/Oct/2018-30/Apr/2019 £ 6,300
  • Year 2(b) – 01/May/2019-30/Sep/2019 £2,000
  • Year 3(a) – 01/Oct/2019-30/Apr/2020 £2,000
  • Year 3(b) – 01/May/2020-30/Sep/2020 £2,000                                                           

Scheduled completion time is 18 months.  Exceptionally, those taking longer than 3 years may be granted an extension and will be charged a re-registration fee for 9 months, currently £1200

University of Reading Postgraduate Alumni receive a 10% reduction in fees for the MSc in BMR stage


Yr 1/Yr 2/Yr 3 
(* Further years’ fees will be charged at the current intake’s rate) £10,750 per annum*
Reduced fee following submission of an appropriate draft thesis (up to a normal maximum of 12 months) £3,580

Fees payments are due as follows:

  • A non-refundable deposit of 10% of the first year’s annual fee is required on acceptance, to reserve a place, which would be deducted from the first year’s fee.
  • Full first year fees should be paid at least six weeks before the start date of the programme.
  • Subsequent years' fees should be paid at least one month before the start of that year of study.

Registration Periods:

  • The normal registration period for the part-time MSc is: 1½-3 years
  • The normal registration period for the part-time DBA is: 4-6 years (The minimum registration period for the part-time DBA is: 3 years)


Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Fee locale Course duration
MSc Part-time £ 10,750 (Year 1) 18 36 Months
DBA Part-time £ 10,750 (Year 1) 3 6 Years

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