Academic Curriculum

Haskayne Doctor of Business Administration

The Haskayne Doctor of Business Administration aims to advance Canadian business practice by preparing our executive leaders to contribute to the development and application of new business knowledge for establishing long-term organizational growth.

The DBA curriculum is tailored to senior-level professionals with significant experience in their fields and academics who are looking to delve into the application of management theories and frameworks.

The program is comprised of eight courses in total, six required and two electives as well as a candidacy exam, a thesis and an oral thesis defense.

During the initial stages of the program, DBA students will undergo a thorough grounding in research methodologies, enabling them to conduct their own research projects. DBA students will then be equipped with the tools to develop their research proposals, conduct research projects and prepare their theses, parts of which may also be suitable for publication as articles or in books. Graduates of the program will have developed the ability to break complex issues down and discover new knowledge through analytic reasoning and inquiry.

Required Curriculum

1. Candidacy

Course work: (8 courses: 6 core, 2 elective)

Period: Year 1: January – Year 2: August
Time* to completion from program start: 20 months

2. Candidacy

  • Written Field of Study examination (integrative paper)
  • Period: Year 2: Fall – Year 3: Winter
  • Time* to completion from program start: 21 to 28 months (September – April)

3. Candidacy

  • Thesis proposal (based on empirical study) with oral examination
  • Period: Year 2: Fall – Year 3: Winter
  • Time* to completion from program start: 21 to 28 months (September – April)

4. Thesis work

  • refine case study into thesis manuscript

  • refine integrative paper into thesis manuscript

  • conduct research, write empirical paper as thesis manuscript

  • write thesis "book ends": introduction and reflection

Period: Year 2: Fall – Year 4: Winter
Time* to completion from program start: 22 to 38 months (October – April)

5. Thesis defense with oral examination

Period: Year 3: Fall – Year 4: Spring/Summer/Fall
Time* to completion from program start: 33 to 48 months (September to December)

Critical Research Assessment
Development of skills associated with the evaluation and use of extant research. Emphasis is on the critical reading of methods and results sections of experimental and non-experimental research papers. Discussions regarding the appropriateness and limitations of the methodologies utilized, and statistical treatment of the data, will facilitate an understanding of research contributions. Studies using experimental and non-experimental design are included.

Philosophy of Science for Business Administration
Examines processes of development and discussion of theories, with a focus on business management research. Exploration of three main questions: (i) what is the role of theory in science; (ii) what makes good management theories; and (iii) how can theories in management or related disciplines be developed and tested. Classical philosophy of science, management research papers focused on scientific theory and explanation, and prescriptive studies with strategies or methods for theory development in management and related disciplines, are reviewed.

Qualitative Research Methods
Development of skills to conduct qualitative research in the context of business. Focus on research design and the processes of collecting and analyzing qualitative data as well as drawing conclusions and reporting research findings. Specific emphasis is given to case study research, ethnographic, and focus group research. Grounded theory, action research, narrative, and discursive research is also introduced.

Directed Graduate Study in Management – Case Study Research Project
The purpose of this Directed Study course is to support the development of students’ case study research projects. The support consists of instructor guidance (which may include some suggested readings) and feedback, webinar discussions, and peer reviews. The course will run exclusively online (with class and individual meetings with the instructor) and will entail the development of a case study research proposal, progress reports, the development of a draft case study report, and a final case study report. After the course, students may refine their case study reports into thesis papers.

This Directed Study is developmental with an emphasis on constructive feedback.

Engaged Scholarship and the Use of Evidence
Introduces advanced topics in business management research. Consisting of a series of 3-hour lectures on different topics, given by different senior faculty members, students will gain insights into the broad perspectives of issues being studied. Course material will be based on instructors' selection of top research in the fields of human resources, organizational dynamics, global strategy, international business, entrepreneurship, operations management, marketing, finance and governance.

Advanced Strategic Management Tools
Re-examination of the main tools used in strategy analysis with a unique triple focus on 1) inclusion only of tools that are actionable and lead to outcomes with clear management implications; 2) critical assessment of the ‘limits’ associated with applying each tool (boundary conditions; weaknesses; danger of wrong interpretation of results; unexpected negative spill-over effects; etc.); and 3) discussion of the most recent insights from the scholarly and practitioner oriented literatures, emphasizing dynamics.

Quantitative Design and Analysis

This course provides a basic introduction to statistics, probability, and data analysis. Topics include data acquisition/management,
classification, and summarization; basic probability; exploration of common distribution used in statistics; along with confidence intervals and hypothesis testing. The only prerequisite for this course is familiarity with basic algebra.

Integrative paper
The integrative paper will be a component of your DBA thesis. You will first write it in the fall of the second year in the program, after completing all the course work, in response to questions in the written Field of Study examination. The purpose of the integrative paper is to pull together your knowledge from the DBA courses and your business experience, into a coherent framework for studying and explaining management and business issues. You will then refine the paper into a component of the thesis, based on feedback from supervising faculty.


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