Our programmes

Doctoral research programmes

Take your career to the next level with a research-based DBA or PhD.

Pre-doctoral programme

Develop an understanding of how to conduct doctoral-level research.

More about our Pre-doctoral programmes


Which Doctorate is right for you?

The DBA and PhD are both doctoral level research degrees and both entitle the holder to use the title ‘Dr’; however, they are designed for different purposes.  So which one is for you?

A PhD is an academic research degree where the focus is a contribution to scholastic knowledge. A PhD has traditionally been the de facto qualification for those wishing to move into academia and become a professional researcher. 

A DBA is a professional research degree where the focus is a contribution to the profession or practice overall. The DBA is designed to support professionals who wish to develop the skills needed to deliver unique solutions, based on an accurate, un-biased analysis of the situation.


Our Doctoral programmes

Designed to help students use research methods to define, implement and evaluate potential solutions for very real business issues.

Attracting high-calibre students from across the globe, the DBA and PhD build on the learning gathered in our MBA and MSc courses to create a research-based programme of original thought and novel ideas. Studied by online learning, students will have the full support of a dedicated Edinburgh Business School supervisor.

Heriot-Watt University is a UK, research-led university, and was assessed top in Scotland and 9th
in the UK for research impact, with 82% of our research assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent (REF 2014).

Our DBA and PhD students

Current students working towards their Doctoral programmes.
356

Active students

Current students working towards their Doctoral programmes.

Our Doctoral graduates from around the world.
55

Graduates

Our Doctoral graduates from around the world.

Average time taken to complete a Doctoral programme.
5

How long will it take?

Average time taken to complete a Doctoral programme.

The doctoral programmes at Edinburgh Business School offer a unique opportunity to study a part-time, flexible DBA or PhD. It couples first-class research methods training with senior academics to produce world-leading practitioners of research-based business solutions.

Dr Jesus Canduela, Head of Doctoral Programmes

DBA and PhD programme structure

The programme consists of two stages, the course stage and the research stage.

The course stage has been designed to equip you with the knowledge and expertise needed to develop the topic of your thesis and your understanding of the research process.

The research stage consists of two phases, the mentored phase and the supervised phase; on completion of these, you will submit your final thesis for examination which takes place in the form of an oral defence.

Course stage

Demonstrate the knowledge and expertise required to underpin the subject of your thesis.

You first complete the three courses titled Doctoral Business Research 1, 2 and 3. These courses make up our pre-doctoral programme and will help you understand the research process.

On successful completion, not only will you have you have the theory, knowledge, tools and techniques required to embark on a doctoral research programme but you are also awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Doctoral Business Research Methods, a significant University award in its own right. You will then go on to discuss your research interests with our senior mentor and develop an outline of your proposed area of research.

The senior mentor will then consider all your prior qualifications and experience in the proposed research area to decide which, if any, additional courses are required. The majority of students are not required to take additional courses as they tend to research an area they have qualifications and/or experience in.

Doctoral Business Research 1, 2 & 3

On completion of the three Doctoral Business Research courses, you will receive the award PGCert Doctoral Business Research Methods

Doctoral Business Research 1

An introduction to research methods

This course presents the first step in a basic review of the nature of research and methods for business and management doctoral students. It will provide students with the practical research tools and the theoretical background for critiquing and designing research on a variety of topics. It also serves as a useful guide as to the content required in a thesis, the nature of examination for a doctoral degree, and how to generate research questions and write in an appropriate ‘academic’ style..

Download Course taster

Doctoral Business Research 1

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Doctoral Business Research 2

The qualitative researcher

This course introduces qualitative research methods for business and management doctoral students. It will help students to assess the advantages and disadvantages of different qualitative methods and look at how they can combine with each other. Moreover, it provides a holistic understanding of the qualitative research process starting from outline of philosophical underpinnings to qualitative data collection, analysis and reporting.

Doctoral Business Research 3

The quantitative researcher

This course introduces quantitative research methods for business and management doctoral students. It will provide an understanding of the different techniques available from data collection through to analysis. The course is designed as an introduction to quantitative techniques, bridging into more advance ones with a comprehensive coverage of the most commonly used methods. The course will also train students on the use of SPSS to carry out analysis and apply the techniques covered within the course.

Research stage

The mentored phase: define an appropriate subject for your thesis.

Working in co-operation with your mentor, you will spend around six months developing your research proposal. Your mentor will be a senior academic with experience facilitating the progression of DBA students through the mentored stage but not necessarily an expert in the subject of the proposed final thesis. 

The research proposal must be submitted to the Doctoral Review Committee for approval. Once accepted, you will be allocated a supervisor whose expertise lies within your proposed area of research.
 

Supervised phase

Conduct a literature search, then write and defend your thesis.

Working under the direction of your supervisor, you will conduct a literature review that supports your research and methodology. You will then carry out your research and write your thesis. 

Your supervisor will be a senior academic with specific knowledge of your chosen area of research. You will have approximately six hours of contact time with the supervisor every month; electronic communication takes place on a secure web board within your student portal and is supplemented by telephone/Skype conversations.

Each stage of your research must be developed to a level acceptable to the Doctoral review committee.

On completion, your thesis is submitted for examination, which takes the form of an oral 'defence'.

Admissions

How do you apply and when can you start?

Finding a research topic - briefing notes

Here's a guide to use when thinking of a possible topic for your research.

Finding a research topic (pdf)

DBA application form and criteria

To join the DBA programme, you must have:

Five years relevant work experience
A Masters degree from a recognised institution
Minimum overall IELTS score of 6.5 with no score lower than 6.0 in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening or confirmation from employer that English is the main language in your workplace
Two references
Possession of the minimum entry requirements does not guarantee entry on to the programme.

DBA Application form

PhD application form and criteria

You must have:

The equivalent of a 1st class honours undergraduate degree in a relevant business or management area from a recognised institution. Or an MSc degree in a relevant business or management area with an average mark of 65% or higher and a dissertation mark of 65% or higher from a recognised institution
Submit a research outline
A minimum overall IELTS score of 6.5, with no score lower than 6.0 in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening
Two references
Possession of the minimum entry requirements does not guarantee entry on to the programme.

PhD Application form

Your DBA and PhD Faculty

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