The course

Course type
Entry date
Open enrolment



The DBA and PhD are both doctoral research degrees, but are designed for different purposes.

The PhD is suitable for those who wish to move into academia and become professional researchers.

A DBA on the other hand is a professional degree, designed to support you and give you the skills you need to deliver unique solutions in your sector or organisation, based on accurate and unbiased analysis of situations therein.

The DBA is an executive qualification

This DBA is an exectutive postgraduate qualification led by academics at the Edinburgh Business School. This programme of study is suitable for those with a number of years of work experience who wish to explore advanced principles of business administration.

The Edinburgh Business School has designed the DBA to fit around your working life. You can study full-time or part-time and either on-campus in Edinburgh or remotely online.  

Programme duration

The average time needed to complete the DBA and PhD programme is five years. There is no fixed start date, so you can begin at any time.


The programme consists of two stages: the course stage and the research stage, and builds on the learning gathered on completion of an MBA or MSc programme. 

The course stage will equip you with the knowledge and expertise needed to develop the topic of your thesis and your understanding of the research process. The stage comprises of three courses, Introduction to Business Research 1, 2 and 3.

On completion of these courses, you will move on to the research stage which consists of two phases: the mentored phase and the supervised phase. Pass these, and then submit your final thesis for examination.

Edinburgh Business School’s doctoral programme unites first-class academics, rigorous training in research methods with a global practitioner community

Professor Abigail Marks, Director of Research & Doctoral programmes

This diagram illustrates the course structure of the DBA and PhD programmes.

Entry requirements


  • You must have five years’ experience, a Masters degree and be fluent in English.


  • A relevant first degree with first or upper second class honours, and preferably a Masters degree, of similar standard to those awarded by Heriot-Watt University. All PhD students must provide evidence of their English language proficiency


Additional fees information

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Additional scholarship information

Find out more about Edinburgh Business School's scholarships and funding opportunities.