The Executive DBA Programme at Aston University is a part-time four year programme.
Milestones and Structure
Part-time: four years study (up to six years maximum)
Year 1 (up to two maximum): Research Methods Course and Qualifying Report
Years 2-4 (up to six years maximum): Individual research project and submission of thesis/portfolio
The Research Methods Course
All doctoral students undertake the taught Research Methods Course (RMC) as the foundation of their development as a professional researcher and this is undertaken in the first year of study (or the first two years in some circumstances).
The RMC is intended to provide you with all the skills that you require both to successfully complete your Executive Doctorate and to develop you as a "researching professional". The RMC is taught by expert staff in management research and is designed to lead to the development of your final research proposal and qualifying report, which is the conclusion of the RMC.
The four modules are:
RMC I – Basic Skills within the Management Research Process
RMC II- The Philosophy of Management Research
RMC III – Qualitative and Quantitative Research Design and Analysis
RMC IV - Communication and Advanced Research Skills
Each of the Research Methods Course modules is assessed through assignments that require students to link the concepts from that module to their own research project.
RMC Modules I and IV are residential week long modules taught together with full-time research students and on campus attendance is compulsory. For Executive Doctorate students RMC II and RMC III are delivered online via Aston University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), Blackboard. Distance-learners are welcome to attend some of the workshops on campus should the days and times these are arranged be convenient to them.
The RMC is designed to lead to the development of a Qualifying Report, a written document approximately 6,000 words in length which forms the basis for the final thesis. The Qualifying Report is examined by viva voce and has to be successfully completed before the student proceeds onto the next stage of the research project.
The research project culminates in the submission of a final thesis approximately 80,000 words in length.
The final submission for this route consists of 4 papers of publishable quality, complete with a Critical Commentary. The four papers that make up the body of the thesis must meet the following requirements:
All four papers must be linked by a common spine
A minimum of two of the papers will be published in peer-reviewed practitioner oriented journals (minimum 2 star)
The remaining two papers must be judged to be of publication quality by the supervisory panel but not yet accepted for publication.
This route allows the student flexibility with regard to their final thesis submission, allowing for changes in role or company whilst still maintaining the academic rigour required for a Doctoral thesis. Below is a proposed timeline for the work required during the Doctoral programme as a whole.
The thesis must be successfully defended by viva voce before the degree can be awarded.
Postgraduate Certificate in Business Research and Consultancy
All Executive Doctorate students will begin their studies by being registered for the Postgraduate Certificate in Business Research and Consultancy. The syllabus for this Postgraduate Certificate comprises of the RMC modules. This means that should students leave the Executive Doctorate programme before the award of a doctorate, they can be awarded the Postgraduate Certificate if they have successfully passed the RMC.