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University of Otago


University of Otago

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Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

Key information

Level of study:
Doctoral Degree
Tuition fees:
3 years
Start date: January-2021
Dunedin Campus
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Course details


The degree of Doctor of Business Administration is awarded on the basis of submission of a thesis and the completion of coursework consisting of six papers. The coursework is an integral and constitutive part of the thesis research of the degree.

The thesis should give evidence of the candidate’s ability to carry out research, that the candidate has shown originality and independence and that the candidate has made a significant contribution to applied knowledge in the particular field. It is expected that some of the work in the thesis will be worthy of publication.

The programme is offered through a combination of Distance Learning and on-campus workshops in English from the University of Otago, Dunedin, and in Chinese or in English with Chinese translation from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China. Candidates studying through Shanghai Jiao Tong University must attend a one-week orientation workshop in Dunedin at the beginning of each year. All candidates must attend a four-day residential school in Dunedin or Shanghai, as appropriate, at the end of each paper in the coursework component.

Programme Requirements

Coursework – 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


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.

Entry criteria

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

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.

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

If your first language is not English you need to meet our English language requirements as follows: IELTS score of 6.5 in the academic module (with no individual band below 6.0); Internet-based TOEFL Score of 95 with a minimum writing score of 22; Paper-based TOEFL score of 587 (TWE 4.5); Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) – Minimum score of 176; Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) – Minimum score of 176; Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic - Overall score of 64 with no communicative skills score below 57; University of Otago Language Centre ‘English for Otago’, English for Postgraduate Academic Purposes (EPAP) - Grade C or higher; University of Auckland English Language Academy (ELA) pathway programmes - Successful completion of the English Pathway for Postgraduate Studies (EPPS) with a B Grade; University of Auckland Foundation Certificate in English for Academic Purposes (FCertEAP) - Successful completion of the certificate with a B Grade.


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