1. About the Doctor of Business Leadership

The Doctor of Business Leadership (DBL) is designed to prepare senior executives to more effectively assume overall leadership responsibility within a substantial multi-business unit organisation operating in intensely competitive national and global markets. The DBL involves a learning journey that has been identified by corporate leaders, their boards and past DBL participants as vital preparation to deal with increasingly complex and dynamic contexts.

Many corporate leaders have gained their formal organisational positions as a consequence of their performance and meritorious achievements, complemented by general management education in courses such as the MBA, but frequently have not had opportunities to undertake higher education CEO level leadership courses suited to senior corporate executives where the outcomes of Master level courses in management have been surpassed. The DBL equips candidates to accelerate their leadership development by assisting them to make explicit their implicit personal contingent leadership paradigm, drawing on their personal leadership journey.

The DBL provides personal challenges and capability enhancement opportunities for experienced executives who have demonstrated the ability to contribute to the success of their enterprises over at least a ten-year period and who have completed a Master Degree in a relevant business or leadership discipline.

The DBL reflects the proposition “when theory is deduced through practice research, it is more likely to successfully guide future practice.” In essence, good theory is good practice.

Upon completion, candidates will have:

  • A comprehensive understanding of leadership theory and its implications for leadership practice;
  • Greater personal confidence and an ability to innovate and lead adaptation to increasingly complex and uncertain multi-stakeholder contexts;
  • Sensitivity to cultural, social, demographic and economic change and diversity reflected in their decision-making and communication;
  • The ability to critically analyse from a holistic perspective leadership issues likely to emerge and impact the future performance of their organisations;
  • An appreciation of the role corporate leadership has in securing socially responsible outcomes; and
  • Demonstrated and justified an original and significant contribution to the practice of leadership.

Course Overview

Course Title Doctor of Business Leadership
Study Options – Domestic Australian students The course is delivered using blended distance learning methodologies and Torrens University Australia Student Support Services. Study Options – International students International students on a student visa must not enrol into any more than a third or 33% of online subjects over their course and must study at least one subject that is face to face in each trimester.

International students on a student visa are required to study full time, i.e. the student must complete a minimum of 1.0 EFTSL of study per year.

Start Dates February, June, September

For specific dates visit the website.

Course Length Minimum Duration – 2 years (FT)

Maximum Duration – 3 years (FT)

Part-time options are available.

Payment Options – Domestic Australian students Upfront payment

Tuition fees will

This means tuition fees will be invoiced each trimester and payment is required on or before the due date.


Australian candidates may be eligible to apply for FEE-HELP. For more information about fee assistance, please see: /apply/fee-assistance.

Payment Options – International students Upfront payment

This means tuition fees will be invoiced each trimester and payment is required on or before the due date.

Course study requirements Stage 1 will involve approximately 20 hours of work per week.

Stage 2 is approximately twice the total workload of stage 1.

Our experience is that CEOs and senior executives are able to cope with one double subject per trimester in addition to their full time employment.

Assessment  Subjects have a range of assessment options to suit the students’ requirements and circumstances.

Methods of assessment may include time constrained, written examinations, individual assignments based on live briefs, group assignments, project reports, presentations, research reports, work integrated learning, scenarios and case studies, and reflexive logs.

Locations Blended/Distance Learning Delivered by Australian Graduate School of Leadership
Provider Torrens University Australia Ltd is registered as a self-accrediting Australian university by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA). CRICOS Course Code N/A
Provider obligations Torrens University is responsible for all aspects of the student experience, including the quality of course delivery, in compliance with the Higher Education Standards 2015 Accrediting body Torrens University Australia Limited ABN 99 154 937 005,
CRICOS Provider Code: 03389E.
RTO No. 41343
Course Fees For details, refer to the website. Any other fees For details, refer to the website.
  1. Essential requirements for admission

The general admission criteria that apply to Torrens University Australia courses can be located by visiting the Torrens University Australia website – /general-admission-information-for-torrens-university-australia-ltd.

  1. Admission Criteria
Title of course of study Doctor of Business Leadership
Applicants with higher education study Academic Entry

Successful completion of a Master Degree (AQF Level 9) or above from an Australian University or an equivalent overseas higher education qualification.


Successful completion of a Master’s degree (AQF Level 9) by thesis or dissertation appropriate to the professional field of the applicant.


Successful completion of a Master’s degree (AQF Level 9) by coursework appropriate to the professional field of the applicant completed at a superior standard;


Possession of a Bachelor’s degree (AQF Level 7) with Honours (typically 1st Class or Class 2A Honours level or equivalent)


In exceptional circumstances, an equivalent academic background that is considered by the Dean of the School to be an appropriate preparation for independent study and research work at doctoral level.

Applicants with vocational education and training (VET) study

Applicants with work and life experience In addition to the academic entry criteria listed above, applicants are expected to have a minimum of 10 years of relevant professional leadership practice experience to be admitted to the course.
English Language Proficiency

(applicable to international students, and in addition to academic or special entry requirements noted above)

An applicant may be required to satisfy the Dean of the University, the ability to understand and communicate in both written and spoken English at a level adequate for the purpose of pursuing doctoral level research. To proceed to stage 2 the candidate will need to present a Critique proposal that satisfies their Review Panel.
Applicants with recent secondary education (within the past two years) with ATAR or equivalent*

(for applicants who will be selected wholly or partly on the basis of ATAR)



  1. How to apply

To apply for enrolment, please complete and submit the online Application for Admission form available at:

  1. Advanced standing/academic credit/recognition of prior learning (RPL)

You may be entitled to credit for prior learning, whether formal or informal. Formal learning can include previous study in higher education, vocational education, or adult and community education. Informal learning can include on the job learning or various kinds of work and life experience. Credit can reduce the amount of study needed to complete a degree.

Applicants admitted based on prior higher education study may be eligible for Advanced Standing in the form of credit and/or recognition of prior learning (RPL) under the Torrens University Australia Credit Policy – (/policies-and-forms).

  • Students with completed subjects may be eligible for specified credit and/or elective exemptions
  • Students who have completed a qualification at AQF level 5 (diploma) or above may be eligible for block credit (where a block credit agreement exists)
  • Students with a mix of formal study and informal and/or non-formal learning may be eligible for recognition of prior learning in addition to any credit approved.

Credit will not be applied automatically. Applicants must apply for credit and/or RPL as early as possible prior to each study period, with applications not accepted after week 2.

For further information about credit and recognition of prior learning please see /apply-online/course-credits.

  1. Where to get further information
  1. Additional Information

Course Structure

To embark on this personal development journey, relevant knowledge, research skills and basic leadership insights derived from personal experiences need to be acquired, which is the function of stage 1, which involves successfully completing the coursework double subjects:

  • DBL701: Business Leadership – Theory and Practice
  • DBL702: Business Leadership – Case Analyses
  • DBL703: Critical Reasoning and Ethics for Business Leaders
  • DBL704: Business Leadership Issues.

Candidates may proceed to stage 2 (DBL710) if they successfully present to a Review Panel a potentially feasible proposal for delivering significant and innovative insights regarding how the practice of leadership can be advanced in their specified context, based on their work during stage 1. Candidates who do not proceed to stage 2 and who have successfully completed the four double subjects will be awarded a Graduate Diploma of Business Leadership.

Course Rules

To gain the Doctoral qualification, successful completion of a supervised and externally examined Leadership Critique and Supporting Portfolio is required. To satisfy this examination, the candidate must evolve and critique (and, if necessary, re-think) the personal contingent leadership paradigm developed during Stage 1 through an analysis of the candidate’s personal leadership experiences. Guidance is provided in developing this analysis and regarding the type of evidence that may be included in the supporting portfolio. External examiners determine whether the candidate has made a significant and original contribution to leadership practice.


DBL701: Business Leadership – Theory and Practice

This subject provides a theory-rich basis for the candidate to draw on in the initial specification of the their intended personal contingent leadership paradigm and the action they perceive as being necessary to realise their intention. Candidates will need to understand and make explicit their current leadership approach in assessing the ongoing relevance and value of their emerging intended personal contingent leadership paradigm and the action they will need to take to align their current approach and their emerging intended paradigm.

DBL702: Business Leadership – Case Analyses

This subject develops a basic appreciation of logical inference and its limitations and explores the paradigms of qualitative research. A rigorous approach to case study research and supporting research methods follows, including archival and historical research, storytelling analysis, critical reflection, in-depth interviewing, sample surveying and small group research.

A case study of one of the world’s oldest global corporations is outlined, spanning two radically different leadership approaches within two different contexts. Candidates are required to critically review and draw conclusions regarding the relationship between multi-dimensional change and appropriate leadership approach based on this comparative case study spanning several decades, then draw conclusions regarding any potential changes to their intended personal contingent leadership paradigm and its realisation implications.

DBL703: Critical Reasoning and Ethics for Business Leaders

The increasing complexity of organisational decisions coupled with the increasing extent to which the community expects organisational leaders to adopt logical and “morally correct” positions necessitates an approach to strategic decision-making that incorporates such considerations. This subject is designed to enhance the critical reasoning and moral basis for candidates’ decisions by utilising insights drawn from the work of logicians and ethicists.

DBL704: Business Leadership Issues

The processes for scoping, mapping and analysing strategic arenas to identify key emerging leadership issues and to explore the future consequences of such issues will be reviewed and applied. Given a strategic arena map, candidates are required to identify the key emerging leadership issues they will be faced with and then determine the relative priority of these issues by applying an issue management process. Finally, given the development of three future strategic arena scenarios, candidates determine how their intended personal contingent leadership paradigm might deal with the top three priority issues and, if necessary, suggest adjustments to their personal contingent leadership paradigm.

DBL710: Leadership Critique and Supporting Portfolio

The Leadership Critique is a significant and original scholarly contribution to leadership practice based on an analysis of a purposefully selected set of personal longitudinal cases supported by evidence drawn from relevant published and unpublished materials. The candidate’s critique is essentially a critical assessment of their intended leadership paradigm. The process is designed to significantly enhance the candidate’s leadership ability.

The outcome is a critique of approximately 50,000 words with a portfolio of evidence that supports and justifies an original and significant contribution to the practice of leadership.

The work required to complete the leadership critique successfully is twice the total work on the previous four double subjects.


The Doctor of Business Leadership can be studied through blended/distance learning.

A positive student experience

Torrens University Australia values the importance of a positive student experience, and therefore has robust processes to resolve student complaints.  The Student Complaints Policy, and associated procedures, can be accessed from the website (/policies-and-forms).

Paying for your qualification

We offer two payment options for this course:

  • Upfront payment

If you want to complete your qualification debt-free you can choose to pay as you go. This means tuition fees will be invoiced each semester and payment is required on or before the due date using EFTPOS, credit card or direct transfer.

  • FEE-HELP (Domestic students only)

FEE-HELP is Australian Government’s loan scheme for higher education degree courses. It can assist you in paying for all, or part of, your course fees. Repayments commence via the tax system once your income rises above a minimum threshold ($45, 881 in 2019-20). Just like with any other debt,
a FEE-HELP debt is a real debt that impacts your credit rating.

Further information about FEE-HELP, including eligibility, is available at:

Austudy and Abstudy

Students enrolled in this course may be eligible for government assistance, such as Austudy or Abstudy.