University of Bath School of Management University of Bath School of Management

Programme structure

Structure and Content
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The DBA in Higher Education Management programme is structured around two phases. The first phase consists of a two-year taught programme which is delivered through a series of residentials. The second phase of the programme is the thesis phase during which participants work on their DBA thesis.

Taught phase

In the first phase students undertake units over two years delivered through a series of four seven day residentials.

The teaching programme has two main components:

Research methods

The first teaching programme component is research methods which is designed to equip participants with the necessary research skills, knowledge and tools to undertake a DBA thesis from topic definition, design and conduct of an empirical investigation through to its analysis and writing up.

Issues in higher education management

The second teaching programme component focuses on substantive areas related to higher education and management. It seeks to develop a critical awareness of the key issues and challenges facing leaders in higher education during times of rapid transformation. Participants examine the changing national, regional and global socio-political and economic contexts and the implications for managing higher education institutions. Cutting edge theory and empirical research encompassing issues related to governance, policy development, international policy transfer, leadership and management of higher education institutions are examined. More specifically:

Methods of assessment and progression

In the taught phase, participants have to complete four assignments in order to be eligible to progress to the thesis phase. Each assignment is designed to develop a set of content-specific as well as transferable skills that all together constitute key building blocks of the skills set required to undertake a DBA thesis.

This structured training programme gives participants the opportunity to explore topics of interest in the field of higher education management with a view to identifying the focus of their thesis and begin to shape its design. This process culminates in the fourth assignment which takes the form of an initial research proposal for their thesis.

Thesis phase

Participants who have passed four assignments and have had their DBA thesis topic approved progress to the thesis phase. DBA thesis topics relate to the field of higher education management. Participants are assigned two supervisors and their progress is reviewed formally on a six-monthly basis.

Calendar of residential modules

Residential modules are held at the University of Bath School of Management:
Residential 1 comprising seven days: 5 - 12 November 2018
Residential 2 comprising seven days: 10 June - 17 June 2019 (to be confirmed)
Residential 3 comprising seven days: 17 - 24 February 2020 (to be confirmed)
Residential 4 comprising seven days: 28 September - 5 October 2020 (to be confirmed)

Provisional dates to be confirmed at least six months prior to Residential.


Between residential modules, communication between academic staff and participants takes place by email, phone and online. Participants have access to all of the University of Bath library resources including electronic resources. They also benefit from being part of a small, highly international cohort of higher education professionals who face similar challenges and can share their insights and knowledge. A team of supervisors who may be drawn from the School of Management and the field of Education ensures that participants have access to multi-disciplinary research expertise. Furthermore, participants benefit from links with the International Centre for Higher Education Management (ICHEM), led by Professor Rajani Naidoo, which ensures that they can interact with members of faculty who conduct leading-edge research in the field of higher education.

The programme is designed to be flexible and supportive in order to accommodate the demands of participants many of whom are in demanding full-time positions. However you will need to commit on average at least 15 hours per week to your studies.