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By Tami Robinson

Published on September 9, 2020

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Earning a doctoral degree in business administration can be a time-consuming and expensive process. Students who pursue this degree often aspire to careers as college professors, researchers, or top executives. Before pursuing a doctorate, you should determine if it can help you achieve your career goals.

This page explores program length, cost, and admission requirements for doctoral programs in business administration. It also covers common courses and career paths.

Featured Online Business Administration Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Is Business Administration?

Business administration involves supervising business operations for an entire organization or department. Business administration professionals can work in fields like accounting, project management, finance, and marketing.

Business administration careers typically require strong leadership skills. Job duties include managing budgets, developing effective teams, and making strategic business decisions to drive productivity and profitability.

Should I Get a Doctoral Degree in Business Administration?

Most doctoral programs cater to professionals with several years of work experience and a master's degree in business or a closely related field. The constantly evolving world of business requires strong leaders with an eye for innovation and corporate strategy. Earning a doctoral degree in business administration can help you develop these necessary skills.

Most programs focus on advancing your knowledge of essential business strategy, organizational theory and behavior, financial decision-making, and market analysis. Most programs also focus on building strong leadership skills.

A doctorate in business administration allows you to build on your previous education and professional experience to become a more effective organizational leader.

A doctorate is ideal for students looking to become a university professor, researcher, or executive-level manager. This degree can also increase your earning potential and give you a competitive advantage when interviewing for managerial positions.

What Will I Learn in a Business Administration Doctoral Program?

Doctoral degrees in business administration train students to analyze business data, trends, and policies to make strategic decisions and drive corporate profitability. The curriculum typically emphasizes research methods and incorporates a dissertation, which requires students to present and defend potential solutions to a business problem.

The exact curriculum varies by program. Below are several common courses and concentrations in doctoral programs in business administration.

Phd in Business Administration Courses

Strategic Marketing

This course explores current literature and marketing theories. Additional topics include segmentation, influential marketing trends, and social media. Students also learn how to use common methods and theories to develop marketing strategies.

Research Design

This course emphasizes how to collect, analyze, interpret, and report research findings using qualitative, quantitative, and mixed mode methods. This course may also cover the principles of writing research papers, dissertations, and grant proposals.

Business Analytics and FInancial Decision-Making

During this course, learners gain experience applying predictive analysis and advanced data analytics techniques to identify new business trends. Students learn to use big data to make financial decisions and create effective new business strategies.

Ethics and Social Responsibility

This course evaluates ethical decision-making theories from the perspective of modern organizational practices. Students also explore the meaning of social responsibility and the role leaders may play in improving the quality of life for individuals and the community.

International Business

During this course, students examine the challenges and major issues in international business management. Additional topics include international trade, foreign direct investment, foreign exchange markets, and monetary systems.

Doctorate in Business Concentrations


This concentration focuses on relevant topics like assets, liabilities, investments, and long-term financial planning. It caters to students who aspire to management positions like chief financial officer or accounting manager.


This concentration is a good fit for students hoping to gain leadership positions in marketing, promotions, or advertising. Students develop a greater knowledge of best practices for selling goods and developing advertising strategies.


This concentration develops strong leadership skills and covers essential topics like organizational theory and behavior, strategy, and human resources development. Some programs focus on managing specific sectors like operations or information systems.


This concentration provides an in-depth look at advanced applications, ethical reasoning, and compliance in accounting. The curriculum may also include an overview of accounting theory, tools, agency theory, and behavioral topics such as conservatism and skepticism.

Human Resources Innovations

This concentration teaches students how to analyze, create, and implement human resources policies. The curriculum covers challenges in human resources; organizational behavior; and current theories, practices, and models in the field.

What Can I Do With a Doctorate in Business Administration?

Earning a doctoral degree in business administration may not be necessary to launch a long and successful career in business. However, a doctorate may open up unique opportunities or increase your earning potential.

Below are five career paths you may consider. Consult our guide for more in-depth information about business administration careers.

Business Administration Careers

Postsecondary Teacher

Postsecondary teachers teach courses in their area of expertise at universities, professional schools, and community colleges. Job duties include teaching, grading assignments, advising students, and working with colleagues to develop curriculum.


Economists collect and analyze data, research market trends, and evaluate economic issues. They typically work with businesses, government agencies, and individuals to recommend solutions for economic problems.

Top Executives

Top executives are chief executive officers, chief financial officers, and chief operating officers. They lead organizations by developing budgets, creating strategies, and establishing corporate mission statements.

Management Consultant

Management consultants work with organizations to analyze current business policies and strategies and recommend improvements to increase productivity and profitability. This career requires strong mathematical and data analysis skills.

Market Research Analyst

Market research analysts study market conditions to determine potential sales for a product or service. Market research analysts with doctoral degrees typically earn higher salaries than their peers.

How to Choose a Business Administration Doctoral Program

Factors to consider as you research doctorate programs include length, format, curriculum, and cost. It is important to select a program that works with your schedule and budget, and provides the education you need to advance your career.

Read on for a broad overview of common program elements. For more information, please consult our guide.

How to Get Into a Business Administration Doctoral Program

Most doctoral programs in business administration require a master's degree and several years of work experience. This requirement varies by program, and some schools may allow you to bypass these requirements if you pass an entrance exam.

Most programs also require official transcripts, a resume, several letters of recommendation, and a personal statement or essay.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Doctorate in Business Administration?

The average doctoral degree in business management takes three years to complete, but completion times vary by program. Dissertation or internship requirements and whether you enroll full or part time can impact how long it takes to earn your doctorate.

Some schools may offer accelerated tracks, which allow you to move through coursework at a quicker pace. Most courses in accelerated programs last 7-8 weeks each.

A license or certification is not necessarily a requirement for a career in business administration. However, earning one may allow you to specialize in a certain area, command a higher salary, and gain a competitive advantage.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Doctorate in Business Administration?

Tuition rates vary by program. School location, your residency status (in-state or out-of-state), and whether you enroll in a public or private school can all affect tuition rates.

Online programs are often more affordable than their on-campus counterparts because they eliminate housing and transportation costs.

Read More About Business Administration on BestColleges

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