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Doctor of Business Administration

DBAThe Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is a doctoral level degree designed for business professionals who are looking for a challenge

Key information about the DBA:

  • Three years full-time or six years part-time
  • Six taught papers + applied thesis
  • Applicants normally need to have successfully completed a bachelor’s honours degree or a master’s degree in a business discipline and have at least ten years of experience as a business professional
  • Distance taught on-line with on-campus workshops in English from Dunedin and with Chinese translation from China (in conjunction with Shanghai Jiao Tong University Overseas Education College).
  • Applications close for annual intake on 1st November each year
  • Study commences second week of January and runs until second week December

Doctor of Business Administration programme aims

The aim of the programme is to support students to resolve critical problems for businesses and industries through the application of research and theory in a business environment. Students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which they are encouraged to use in combination with their own experiences and skills.

The degree is structured to allow candidates to continue working and to focus on specific business problems within their own workplace as part of their degree.

Additional information for New Zealand based DBA students

Additional information for Shanghai based DBA students

Why Otago?

Choosing the right university is a very important decision. Your choice of university may have a significant impact in your life. The University of Otago is New Zealand’s first university, and prides itself on its long tradition of excellence. The University of Otago graduates are highly regarded by employers.

The Otago Business School ranks in the top 1% of Business Schools worldwide with both AACSB and EQUIS accreditation. It has an international reputation for excellence and teaching, and is acknowledged as a centre of excellence in business and economics. Otago Business School is the leading Business School in New Zealand for research.

Key features

  • Includes a core curriculum which explores the integration of theory and practice in contemporary business issues
  • Strong focus on solving problems which have direct relevance for students
  • Small class sizes
  • Interactive online teaching delivery
  • Personalised support from admission to submission of thesis
  • Strong supervision

Entry requirements

A) Every applicant must either
i) be a graduate with a bachelor’s honours degree and a postgraduate diploma, or a master’s degree in a business discipline, or
ii) in exceptional cases, have alternative equivalent qualifications acceptable to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Commerce)

B) Candidates will be selected on the basis of their previous academic record (normally with a grade average of at least B+), their graduate experience and academic achievements, their commitment to the field of business, evidence that they are committed to ongoing education, and reports from three referees.

C) Every applicant will normally have at least ten years of experience as a professional in business and demonstrate evidence of leadership in their field.

Career opportunities

The DBA has been developed to address the needs of industry and employers for graduates with industry experience, problem solving and data analysis skills, and the ability to undertake applied research. Graduates will have a wide range of career opportunities in industries within New Zealand, China or elsewhere internationally. These may include roles in middle and upper management, and as management consultants.

Degree structure

The programme of study shall consist of six 20 point taught papers over the first year of enrolment, followed by a two year thesis. Papers are block taught one at a time with each block consisting of eight weeks of teaching plus a four day on-campus block of workshops.

To be awarded the DBA you must complete and pass the following papers plus the thesis:

Course Work Paper Information

For candidates studying through the University of Otago, Dunedin

Three compulsory 20-point papers
BDBA 905 Research Methodology I
BDBA 906 Research Methodology II
BDBA 907 Socially Responsible Business

and three elective 20-point papers selected from

BDBA 901 Organisational Leadership and Change
BDBA 902 Organisational Psychology
BDBA 903 Globalisation and International Trade
BDBA 904 Contemporary Issues in Finance
BDBA 908 Sustainable Business
BDBA 909 New Thinking in Marketing Theory
BDBA 910 Global Environmental Impacts on Tourism
(not all elective papers will necessarily be offered each year)

For candidates studying through Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China

Six compulsory 20-point papers
BDBC 901 Organisational Leadership and Change
BDBC 902 Organisational Psychology
BDBC 903 Globalisation and International Trade
BDBC 904 Contemporary Issues in Finance
BDBC 905 Research Methodology I
BDBC 906 Research Methodology II

Note: Every paper must be passed with a grade of at least B+, and a confirmation presentation must be satisfactorily completed as part of the residential component of BDBA 906 or BDBC 906 Research Methodology II, before a candidate may proceed to the thesis component.

Thesis Information for all candidates

Preparation and submission of a scholarly work, based on research investigation, which demonstrates academic prowess and the integration of an industry report with business theory. It may include a professional business case, reporting improvement or development of a specific business area.

Student profiles


For further information about the DBA please contact the Academic Director or Programme Manager:

DBA Programme Manager: Dr Sarah Carr

Otago Business School
University of Otago
PO Box 56
Dunedin 9054
New Zealand
Tel: +64 3 479 8573

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