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Postgraduate study
Business Transformation

Business Transformation Doctor of Professional Practice

Tailored for established business professionals, the Doctor of Professional Practice in Business Transformation is meticulously crafted for individuals in both the private and public sectors, often in senior or executive positions. It caters to those who wish to elevate their careers through a doctoral degree while maintaining their professional commitments.


Course overview

During the course, business professionals are empowered to introduce novel concepts and address contemporary business challenges through innovation and transformation, using action-research approaches for organisational change. Students make an original contribution to business practices to move them forward and draw on theories from different academic disciplines to synthesise diverse ideas. There are opportunities to connect theory with real-world application using an action-research framework, allowing students to create and apply innovative solutions to current business challenges.

The course enables business professionals to:

  • strategically review organisations to identify new, evidence-based, value-creating, business transformation opportunities
  • create new forms of actionable knowledge through collaborative research
  • introduce new ideas to solve contemporary business problems in an innovative and transformational way
  • make an original contribution to business practices by creating solutions and introducing changes in the workplace.

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Course details

Course structure

Core modules

Action Research Advanced Independent Study

You carry out the business transformation initiative proposed in the previous two modules within the host organisation(s), implementing the initiative through an action research framework, supported by your academic supervisory team.

Action Research for Professional Doctorate Students

You develop a detailed action research proposal, describing how the proposed business transformation initiative can be implemented.

Business Transformation for Doctorate Students

You identify a new, value-creating and evidence-based business transformation proposal for an organisation. The proposal must meet the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME, 2022), so you should provide evidence that it satisfies a social or ethical need. For example, developing business practices that are economically viable, socially responsible, environmentally friendly, or initiatives that increase employment opportunities, or the health and wellbeing of employees. Feedback from peers, the module team and an organisational representative helps you prepare for your summative end course assessment, which is to write a business transformation proposal.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

The course follows a three-year structure. The taught phase involves two modules during the first year, and the subsequent two years entail an independent study phase guided by a supervisor, where students work on their thesis.

The taught modules address the conceptual and methodological principles of identifying, proposing and conducting sustainable, transformational organisational change through action research. Interactive workshops involving discussions, and individual and group reflection provide opportunities for feedback to refine and enhance work before presenting business transformation and action research proposals.

Students are also provided with a framework to engage in action research that promotes transformational change in an organisational setting during the Action Research Advanced Independent Study module. This module can be studied at a distance, with supervisions conducted virtually. This provides an opportunity for international students who wish to do their research in their home countries to move back home after the taught component of the course. Likewise, home students who wish to do their research component at a distance are also given the opportunity to do so.

How you are assessed

Taught phase
The taught phase of the course comprises two 60-credit level 8 modules. Formative assessment is used in both modules to support students' learning, such as individual and group presentations, case study analysis, poster presentations, reflective exercises and tutor-led question-and-answer sessions. Students receive feedback on their academic skills and writing, referencing skills, and their business transformation research proposals. The summative assessment for the first taught module is an 8,000-word business transformation proposal that provides a detailed, evidence-based rationale for a business transformation initiative. The summative assessment for the second taught module is an 8,000-word action research proposal, where students are assessed on intellectual, ethical and methodological soundness.

Action research phase
As with all doctoral courses, the key summative assessment method is a written thesis and an oral viva-voce examination. Progress during the research phase is also assessed through the University’s annual monitoring review process. Students are required to complete a review document, presenting this to a panel and answering questions on their work. Formative assessment opportunities are provided by the student's supervisory team on draft chapters of their thesis. When students submit their thesis, they can take part in a mock viva-voce to prepare for their oral examination.

Research conference
One of the key opportunities for formative feedback is through an annual research conference. Regardless of which stage of the course they are at, students can present their research proposal and/or findings to a diverse audience including academic staff, peers, researchers and business professionals.


Entry requirements

The normal entry requirements are:

  • a business or management related qualification comprising at least 120 credits at level 7 (such as from a master’s degree) *
  • for applicants whose first language is not English, an IELTS score of at least 6.5 IELTS, and 5.5 in each band
  • a minimum of three years’ managerial experience
  • written permission from an organisation or organisations to undertake a business transformation initiative.

You are interviewed to ensure you have recent and relevant study and practice in business and/or management. The interview also confirms that you have identified a viable business transformation research project that can be carried out in a host organisation.

*According to the University’s Credit Accumulation Modular Scheme (CAMS), students must have a minimum of 540 credits for a doctoral level award, of which no more than 120 may be at level 7 and the remainder at level 8. For this award, a maximum of 120 credits are achieved through the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process through previous postgraduate study. The remaining 420 credits are achieved by successful completion of the modules on this course.

For general information please see our overview of entry requirements

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country



Career opportunities

This course contributes to students’ existing knowledge, elevating their managerial career and professional development. Business professionals gain a comprehensive understanding of the inherent nature of business problems, challenges and solutions, using an action-research approach to enhance organisational performance.


Information for international applicants


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2024/25 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£6,710 a year

£20,130 in total

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Fee for international applicants
£17,000 a year

£51,000 in total

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2024/25 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£3,785 a year

£15,140 in total

More details about our fees

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