Admission requirements for the Executive DBA

You should:

  • Have a clear understanding of the basic business principles in your area together with extensive practical experience. The programme is practice-driven requiring you to apply your existing knowledge as you undertake your own research.
  • Hold an MBA or equivalent business-related degree with a minimum of four years managerial experience. This would allow a four year registration period. If you have alternative qualifications and extensive managerial experience you may be considered for a six year registration period. The degree can, however be completed within the normal four year period if you keep pace with the formal structure of the programme.

Overseas students who require a visa to study (all students from outside the UK and EU) must have a visa in place prior to registering for the course. The University needs to ensure that international students meet all conditions of entry before making a formal offer. For assistance with visa applications please contact our International Office

English Language requirements

Fluency in English is a requirement for entry to the programme. Evidence of English language ability is required from candidates for whom English is a second language. You should ensure you meet the English language requirements before you submit your proposal online, and will be asked to provide evidence of the tests prior to completion of the formal online application form (stage 2 of the application process). Failure to provide evidence at this stage will delay processing of your application and may result in missing the designated test and interview dates.

We accept any of the following tests as evidence of your English language ability. Please note the minimum scores required may be higher than those stipulated by the University:

  • IELTS (International English Language Testing Service) SELT (Secure English Language Testing) Consortia: minimum overall score of 7.0 and minimum writing score of 6.5.
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): Internet-based Test - minimum score of 100. Our TOEFL Institution Code is 0822. NB This Test is not currently accepted by the UK Home Office for Tier 4 (General) visa applications.
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): an overall score of 68 NB This Test is not currently accepted by the UK Home Office for Tier 4 (General) visa applications.
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English with a minimum of Grade C. NB This Test is not currently accepted by the UK Home Office for Tier 4 (General) visa applications.

In addition to these minimum overall test scores, you are expected to achieve a balanced score across all elements of the test. The University reserves the right to reject any test score if any one element of the test score is too low.

We can only accept tests taken within two years of your registration date (with the exception of Cambridge English tests which have no expiry date).

Students requiring a Tier 4 (General) visa will also need to meet the UK Home Office Tier 4 (General) student visa English language requirements. The UK Home Office are not currently accepting TOEFL or TOEIC tests for Tier 4 (General) visa applications. Other restrictions from the UK Home Office may apply from time to time and we will advise applicants of these restrictions where appropriate.

How to apply

The AMBA Accredited Executive DBA is a leading international doctorate and therefore competition for places is high. Cranfield School of Management operates a rigorous application and selection process. The aim is to ensure that your cohort is comprised of outstanding, like-minded doctoral researchers. There is a two-stage Application process:

Stage 1 - Research Proposal Submission

You are required to submit a research proposal online. This will initially be assessed by the Programme Director and/or Cohort Leader against specific criteria. You will then be provided with feedback to help you improve your proposal as required.

Your proposal must provide a good fit with the School’s core research interests and you are advised to seek a potential supervisor (faculty) who's area of expertise fits with your proposed research. The content should:

  • Justify why the topic is important
  • Identify a clear research question, that is of a scope suitable for doctoral research
  • Position your research within a body of existing literature, identify deficiencies and use the literature to justify the need for future research
  • Suggest a methodology, including methods for data collection and analysis
  • Explain the potential impacts of your research.

Research Proposal Submission Form

After a preliminary assessment, your proposal will be circulated to appropriate members of faculty for consideration. You will be notified at this stage should we be unable to provide supervision or your proposal is not of an appropriate quality.

Early submissions are encouraged. Please note it can take several weeks for your proposal to be considered.

Stage 2 - Application

When a member of faculty expresses interest in your proposal you can expect to receive feedback from him/her and be invited to develop your research topic further. Ideally you will also meet your potential lead supervisor in person. We attach great importance to the researcher/supervisor relationship and this is an essential part of the recruitment process. A decision by your potential supervisor to shortlist you at this stage will require you to:

  • Complete the University’s online Application Form (please note this is available only to candidates whose proposals have received prior approval) and, provided you meet the admission/English language requirements
  • Take three Admission Tests, (see below) and, provided these are satisfactory
  • Attend a formal interview.

The Admission Tests are Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking (60 minutes), RANRA Numerical Reasoning (60 minutes) and analysis of an Academic Journal Article (90 minutes).

Please note that approval of your proposal by a potential supervisor does not guarantee a place on the programme. Candidates are shortlisted for interview following completion of stage 2 of the application process, and the offer of a place is decided by the Director of the Programme and interview panel.

The timeline for the admissions process will be advised at point of application, although as outlined this can take 8 weeks. For further guidance on this please contact the Research Office.

Fees and Funding

Find out more about fees and funding.