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DBA in Higher Education Management content and structure

An outline of the DBA in Higher Education Management's modules and how the programme is taught.


The DBA in Higher Education Management programme includes:

  • a two-year taught programme phase delivered through a series of residentials
  • a thesis phase

Most students complete the programme within six years (taught and thesis phases).

Taught phase

Over two years, you'll study units delivered over four eight-day residentials at our Bath campus.

Calendar of residential modules

  • Residential 1 comprising eight days: 4 to 11 November 2024 inclusive
  • Residential 2 comprising eight days: 16 to 23 June 2025 inclusive
  • Residential 3 comprising eight days: 9 to 16 February 2026 inclusive
  • Residential 4 comprising eight days: 5 to 12 October 2026 inclusive

We'll confirm dates at least six months before each residential.

The taught phase consists of four units:

1. Globalisation and higher education strategy

This unit focuses on global trends in higher education and the driving forces behind them. Topics include:

  • the internationalisation of institutions
  • global and national competition and ranking
  • international organisations and their influence on higher education
  • international higher education
  • international partnerships

Find out more about Globalisation and higher education strategy.

2. Higher education policy and management

This unit explores higher education policy and the impact it has for the management of higher education institutions. Topics include:

  • public policy and policy analyses
  • risk and regulation in higher education policy
  • the changing policy landscape
  • organisational responses to higher education policy
  • case studies of higher education policy changes

This unit is delivered during the second residential.

Find out more about Higher education policy and management.

3. Higher education and organisational change

This unit looks at how higher education institutions function as professional organisations. Topics include:

  • how change occurs in higher education institutions
  • the interests of internal and external stakeholders
  • the university as a specific organisation
  • leadership and people management in universities
  • branding and marketing in higher education

Find out more about Higher education and organisational change.

4. Methods and methodology for higher education research

The aim of this unit is to provide students with an understanding of methods and methodologies for higher education research. Topics include:

  • academic skills, like literature review and referencing
  • the types of data used in social research and the methods for collecting that data
  • data analysis methods and how to apply these to data sources
  • research questions
  • research ethics and ethical approval

Find out more about Methods and methodology for higher education research.

Assignments and progression

The taught phase is like a structured training programme. You'll be able to explore topics that interest you, and start to get ideas for your thesis.

You'll complete four assignments. The final assignment is a research proposal for your thesis.

We've designed each assignment to give you content-specific skills and other transferable skills. Completing all four assignments will give you the key building blocks you'll need to start your thesis.

To be eligible for the thesis phase you will need to complete and pass all four assignments.

Thesis phase

Your DBA thesis must relate to higher education management. You will work with two academic supervisors, who will review your progress every six months.

Typically students complete their thesis in four years. This flexibility allows you to do your thesis alongside work and other commitments.

Find out more about the University's doctoral study academic milestones.


If you have any questions, please contact us.

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