DBA Health

Distance learning programme

This DBA Health is designed to produce practitioners and innovators who can interrupt, design, develop and evaluate what is needed for improving healthcare management and health systems through an evidence-based approach.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
5 academic years
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
All applicants: 16 Oct 2023 – 05 Apr 2024

Applications closed

Entry requirements

Master’s or MBA degree (a minimum final grade equivalent to a UK 60%) or other overseas equivalent or graduates without the relevant degree but with extensive relevant work experience are welcome to apply and will be considered on an individual basis.

IELTS at level 7.0 or above, with no area less than 6.5 in the sub-tests (UCL ‘Good level/Level 2’).

CV demonstrating at least five years of professional experience in an area related to health or healthcare.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level.

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

For this programme, please contact our UCL Graduate Admissions team.

About this degree

This DBA Health provides a professional doctorate degree for individuals in health-related fields who want applied research skills to address health sector challenges. The programme develops applied research skills for evaluating, assessing, and overseeing health projects and research. Students will be able to take forward healthcare management interventions as well as disseminate their findings for informing the practice and application of healthcare. 

Who this course is for

The DBA Health is designed for practitioners and innovators who aspire to interrupt, design, develop and evaluate what is needed for improving healthcare management and health systems through an evidence-based approach. You will already have at least five years of professional experience in an area related to health or healthcare.

What this course will give you

This professional doctorate provides a rigorous programme of advanced study and research. The taught modules, which consist of the first two years of the programme, provide opportunities to develop your skills and knowledge in key areas of business and health research methods to facilitate career development.

The advanced professional portfolio allows you to reflect critically on practice within your organisation and sector. The research component allows for development of skills in critical appraisal as well as the ability to develop the rationale, methodology and methods for research.

The modules also allow development of other transferable skills. The DBA Health utilises the expertise of the academic team across the whole of the Global Business School for Health as well as experts from the Faculty of Population Health Sciences to support your development, research and scholarship. The programme design is intended to provide flexibility for professionals who are studying whilst working full-time as senior health leaders and managers.

The foundation of your career

The DBA programme is a scientifically rigorous professional research degree that trains international thought leaders in the healthcare field. Accordingly, the programme helps students to elevate their professional standing and visibility, opening up new career opportunities and/or taking on roles more geared towards shaping industry-level developments.   


On completion of this programme you will have: 

  • an enhanced understanding of the intersection between health and business
  • substantial research and analytical skills and methodologies to use when designing a research project
  • research skills as a competent researcher capable of undertaking doctoral research relevant to applied research in healthcare management
  • ability to conceptualise, design and implement projects for the generation and dissemination of research insights
  • ability to use an evidence base to make informed decisions on complex issues
  • skills to critically evaluate advanced academic work
  • self-discipline for self-directed learning and reflective practice for life-long learning 
  • effective written and verbal communication skills, which support information and data management
  • knowledge of the ethical, legal and regulatory issues associated with healthcare research


As a Doctoral student you will be an integral part of the department research force and you will be invited to staff events and staff lead activities and socials, including regular research seminar series.

You will be encouraged to participate in faculty and UCL wide events as collaboration between departments is strongly encouraged and PGR events are regularly organised at the faculty level.

Financial support is offered for the organisation of academic related student lead initiatives.

Teaching and learning

Module Teaching is primarily in the form of online synchronised and asynchronized learning material and interaction. Face-to-face attended sessions will be delivered each term as a one-week blocks to enhance peer learning and engagement. There is considerable independent reading and recorded lecture study expected through each module delivery period.

During the in-person block, module consolidation seminars involving problem or case-based presentations allow for knowledge and understanding to be tested, and for formative feedback to be given in advance of summative assessments.

The summative assessments will be varied according to the module specifications to ensure a varied assessment diet to ensure students are developing the necessary skills to undertake advanced research.

The final three years will be supervised research once the advanced professional portfolio is completed.

The first two years of the programme students will focus on coursework. Students will be on campus for one-week residencies that are organised each term during these first two years. During the residencies, students will participate in around 6 hours of lectures per day. The weeks preceding the residencies are focused on asynchronous learning and consist of a mix of online lectures, exercises, and assignments. Students are expected to engage with the asynchronous learning platform around 6 hours per week. During the weeks following the residencies, students will work on the final project of the term. The final three years are focused on completing the DBA thesis. Most of the time will be self-study and students can expect to see their supervisor at least once per month to discuss progress.

Research areas and structure

Our evolving UCL GBSH research themes:

  • Financial, operational and systems improvements in healthcare
  • Consumerisation of health and healthcare through digitalisation
  • Future of health work and the healthcare workforce

Find out more on the UCL GBSH website.

Research environment

GBSH is a cross-disciplinary School that collaborates across UCL spanning several faculties and departments (Laws, Life Sciences, Brain Sciences, Medical Sciences, Engineering).

Located in Population Health Sciences, the School benefits from the Faculty’s focus on health and related areas of education and research. These institutional collaborations are reflected in the interdisciplinary manner of the research themes we have been identified. The three themes we are currently focusing on are:

1. Financial, operational, and systems improvements in healthcare
2. Consumerisation of health and healthcare through digitalisation
3. Future of health work and workforce

Given the fact that this School has been designed to have a professional postgraduate focus, it is in an excellent position to cultivate the intersection between academia and practice in health and healthcare business management, aligning the teaching, research, and community engagement to the needs of business with a focus on health. 

FPHS is a very successful research faculty and will act as a mentor and collaborator to the School's research agenda through joint projects.  The collaborations with other UCL faculties and departments distinguish GBSH both in its education and research domains.

Most of the projects within GBSH are interdisciplinary and run collaboratively with other departments. Supervision of DBA Health candidates will include those within the department as well as FPHS.

Similarly, to GBSH, the Faculty of Population Health Sciences strongly encourages collaboration between the departments and integrating GBSH students into the wider Faculty.


There are three parts to this professional doctorate:

Part 1 is the taught element of the programme where you will achieve the key learning outcomes/competencies required for the professional doctorate programme. You will undertake 120 credits of taught modules, delivered using a variety of learning tools: online as well as in person blocks of learning for each module. Part 1 will conclude with a thesis proposal that will inform your doctoral research.

Part 2 (Year 3) of the programme involves producing an advanced professional portfolio which ensures that you critically reflects on your organisation and sector to understand how innovation is achieved.

Part 3 (Year 3 - 5) involves the research journey of producing the DBA thesis (45,000-55,000 words). Students will have a supervisor who will have been assigned at the start of Part 2 who will be their main point of contact to take their research project forward to completion. In addition to the support you will receive from your supervisor, there will be occasional workshops and conferences for students to attend in part 3.

You can also receive an exit award of a PGDip in Research Methods for Business Administration if you are unable to complete the DBA Health, but have completed the taught modules.

Compulsory modules

Research and Co-Production with Patients

Communicating Healthcare Management Research

Optional modules

Health Systems Thinking

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Part-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £12,100
Tuition fees (2024/25) £12,100

Additional costs

Students will be expected to cover travel and accommodations for the in-person week that takes place each term.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

Please visit the scholarships section of the UCL GBSH website for more information on available funding.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Next steps

Your personal statement should address the following areas:

  • Why you want to study at graduate level and what your objectives are
  • What particularly attracts you to this programme of study (content and opportunities)
  • How your personal, academic and professional background has prepared and qualified you for the demands of this challenging academic environment
  • Where you would like to go professionally through and after this programme of study
All applicants will be interviewed.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

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