Students with online doctorates in business administration have achieved the highest level of academic success a business learner can achieve. According to Payscale, DBA graduates can make up to $100,000 more than MBA graduates. Doctor of business administration degrees are becoming a popular option for professionals who want to distinguish themselves and rise to leadership positions in various fields.


Many online DBA programs require significant work experience. Applicants often have to prove years of management and executive level experience before beginning the program. An MBA is typically also a requirement.


The right online program depends on the individual; each degree is different. Some programs will require students to complete on-campus work. So it's important to evaluate your situation and figure out what you need out of a program. Look at factors like completion time, cost, class-time required, and format.


Many students earn their online DBA while working. Since the degree requires years of experience in the field, applicants are usually working professionals, and programs design coursework with this in mind.


Pursuing an online DBA makes it easier to maintain current responsibilities. Remote learning is more flexible and functional for working business leaders. Online doctoral programs in business administration allow students to take classes at schools that are in other states.

School Cost Enrolled Online Description Toggle
City University of Seattle Seattle, WA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 55%

CityU offers an online doctor of business administration (DBA) program for distance learners seeking to hone their skills in leadership, critical analysis, and business practice. Courses address a range of topics including organizational identity and culture, industry analysis and market innovation, and business process analysis. To graduate from the program, degree candidates must complete a dissertation including a 15-20 page prospectus, an expanded proposal, and up to three terms of dissertation research.

Distance learners typically complete the required 91 credits to earn their degree within 3-4 years. CityU permits learners to transfer up to 12 credits of previous graduate or doctoral courses toward their online doctorate in business administration. Graduates of the program have found professional success as CEOs, CFOs, business consultants, and executive directors.

George Fox University Newberg, OR Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 3%

A Christian institution with Quaker roots, George Fox delivers an online doctor of business administration in a cohort format. As students progress through the 56-credit curriculum, they gain skills in business, research, and education. Distance learners can access the majority of their coursework online, but must attend on-campus seminars twice each year. The school typically hosts these seminars as four-day programs in May, July, and August.

Students can earn their online DBA from George Fox in four years: three years of coursework and a final year of dissertation composition. Prospective students must have five years of professional experience (or a full-time faculty appointment), bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and prior education in accounting, economics, and finance. Unlike other online DBA programs, George Fox's degree features one start date in April each year.

Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 58%

Keiser's online doctor of business administration program provides distance learners with an international perspective on the field. The 60-credit curriculum primarily addresses training in the global economy and independent research methods, culminating in three research courses and a final dissertation. Unusual among online DBA programs, Kaiser requires students to pursue a specialization and allows them to choose marketing, global management, or global business. Available exclusively online, the school's DBA program allows degree candidates to complete courses in an asynchronous format.

Distance learners can earn their online DBA from Keiser in just three years. Prerequisites include a master’s in business or management (or another relevant field) in addition to 2-5 years of professional experience. Students may transfer up to six credit hours from another accredited institution.

Liberty University Lynchburg, VA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 85%

The largest Christian university in the world, Liberty delivers an online doctorate in business administration that features a variety of specializations. These include healthcare management, nonprofit leadership and management, information systems, and supply chain management and logistics. To graduate from any of Liberty's online DBA programs after completing the required coursework, degree candidates must pass a comprehensive, written exam and finish an applied doctoral research project. Distance learners can complete the majority of the program online, but must participate in an on-campus intensive.

Prerequisites include a master’s degree in Business Administration, Accounting, or Information Systems. Applicants should also have a graduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. Liberty allows students to transfer up to 15 credits toward the 60 required for the degree. These transfer credits may include up to 12 credits from an MBA specialization.

Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 85%

A Roman Catholic institution, Saint Leo instills Benedictine values into the ethical practices of its students. The university's business school offers a doctor of business administration degree that caters to students seeking careers in academia or business consulting. Saint Leo provides flexibility to online DBA students, allowing them up to seven years to complete the program. However, degree candidates typically complete the doctorate in 3-4 years.

Students can access all of their courses online, with the exception of three one-week, on-campus seminars during term breaks. To earn their doctorate in business administration, distance learners must complete 57 credits. The curriculum includes four courses in statistics and management designed for students without an MBA or master’s degree in business. The final 12 credits of the program address dissertation research and culminate in a final oral defense.

Wilmington University New Castle, DE Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 52%

Wilmington's business college offers a doctorate in business administration in both a hybrid format and entirely online. With seven-week courses, the program typically takes students 3 ½ - 4 ½ years to complete. This includes a final comprehensive exam and two years of dissertation composition. All students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or above in order to graduate.

Online DBA students at Wilmington use the Blackboard Learning Management System to access and submit the majority of the program's content. However, distance learners must complete a two-day residency workshop wherein faculty provide consultation on dissertation topics. Application requirements include a current resume and three letters of recommendation. Additionally, prospective students seeking online doctoral programs in business administration must submit a two- or three-page goals statement and official transcripts evidencing bachelor's and master's degrees.

Every online DBA program is different. The time frame for completion, the number of credits required, the types of concentrations offered, the faculty's expertise, and the delivery format can all vary between programs. Although many programs cover similar material and feature the same core classes, each program includes a number of unique qualities.

CONCENTRATIONS OFFERED FOR AN ONLINE Doctorate in Business Administration

Concentration Description Careers This Concentration Prepares For
Finance Assets, liabilities, investments, and long-term planning are the cornerstones of finance. This concentration will prepare students for many advanced positions in the field. High level executive roles in investment firms, banks, hedge funds, and private equity firms.
Marketing Marketing students can use a DBA to rise to leadership positions. They learn the best practices to sell goods, including advertising strategies. Many programs will also cover international marketing. High-level outside marketing consultant and executive of a marketing division at a large consumer goods business
Management/Operations Management/Management Information Systems The management concentration has different names which will focus on different areas. DBAs in management and organization leadership help students to eliminate waste and streamline business functions. High level manager, leader or executive in nearly any business


The exact coursework requirements and offerings vary by program. Some programs may require more research classes, while others may have a large elective requirement. Despite the curriculum differences, many class subjects are shared. An example curriculum is listed below.

Research Methods: Research methods prepare DBA students to research and analyze their own business structures for better outcomes. Students learn how to find problems and how to decide which method is best for solving them.

Organization Theory/Behavior: An online DBA can help students learn about new or better organization theories and ideas, which graduates will learn how to apply in the field.

Methods/Theories of Decision Making: From small businesses to multinational conglomerates, the success of every business is determined by decision-making. Most online DBA programs feature at least one class on rational decision making methods and how to disseminate these ideas throughout the company culture.


The completion time for an online doctor of business administration program can be impacted by a number of factors. The number of credits required, the type of dissertation or project needed for graduation, and how often classes are offered are some of the biggest factors that determine course length. The method of instruction and term-length are also critical. Some programs feature accelerated pacing options or allow some transfer credits to count toward the DBA.

Individually paced classes allows students to take as many credits as they can handle, which usually results in them earning their degree quicker. A cohort-based instruction model has students move through a program synchronously, requiring them to learn on the same timeline. This format usually takes more time to complete. Most DBA programs can be completed in three to four years.

Doctorate in business administration programs are usually nationally or regionally accredited. The program itself may also be individually accredited by an organization.

For a college or university to be accredited, it means that the institution has met a set of criteria for academics that has been set by peer institutions and approved by authorities to grant valid and valuable degrees. Most online schools are regionally accredited. It's most commonly nonprofit and academically focused schools that are accredited by one of the six regional U.S. accrediting bodies. Some vocational, religious, and for-profit colleges and universities are nationally accredited. Typically, regional accreditation is more prestigious and important than national accreditation.

Doctoral programs of business administration can also be individually accredited by the AACSB. The AACSB is a professional organization that ensures a program has met certain international standards. Nearly 800 business schools around the world have been accredited by the AACSB. The organization accredits accounting and business programs. This is an important accreditation for your DBA program to have.

Although the accrediting bodies are independent agencies, they are officially recognized by the Department of Education (DOE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) for legitimacy. The DOE, a government agency, sets policy standards for higher education and empowers agencies, such as the six regional accrediting bodies, to set academic standards. The CHEA is an organization of colleges and universities that oversees and legitimizes the accrediting process in tandem with the DOE. You can find a list of all accredited schools on the DOE and CHEA website.


There are many ways that a DBA program can help aspiring executives and business veterans. Learn more about how the DBA helps students gain an edge on the competition and stick out in a crowded pack.

MBAs are commonplace – Once the key to becoming a leader and c-level executive, master of business administration degrees have become a basic necessity in the business world. DBAs have replaced MBAs as the credential that makes a job or promotion candidate unique.

DBAs open more doors – A DBA gives graduates the option to teach business as well. Whether full- or part-time, it's a good option for experienced men and women to impart their wisdom.

It's a credential in decision-making – Although DBA programs vary, most are designed to create excellent decision makers. Businesses see a DBA and immediately know that they have a candidate with several years of decision-making education.

Marketing and Sales Managers
Occupation Expected Job Openings Through 2024
Chief Executives 58,400
Computer and Information Systems Managers 94,800
Financial Managers 169,300
Human Resources Managers 46,600

Source: BLS


Doctor business administration online programs are designed for people seeking high-level management positions in a number of sectors. This table, featuring data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, showcases how salary can vary depending on what state you are employed in.

State Annual mean wage
1. South Dakota $242,220
2. North Carolina $226,540
3. Rhode Island $222,790
4. New York $219,410
5. Texas $218,880

Source: BLS


An online doctorate in business administration is a credential that shows a company that you are a top-level executive and have completed the highest academic level. A DBA has a wide range of career options, including executive leadership and teaching at a business school. A DBA provides all of the career opportunities of a PhD in business and more because of its focus on theory rather than research.

Computer Information Systems Managers

Information technology managers are in charge of everything technology related for a business, from software to servers. IT managers are up to date on the modern business tools and applications.

Median Annual Salary - $135,800
Projected Growth Rate - 15%

Financial Managers

Creating financial reports, monitoring growth, and creating long-term strategies are just a few of the responsibilities that financial managers have. In most businesses, a financial manager is in charge of the “financial health” of the company.

Median Annual Salary - $121,750
Projected Growth Rate - 7%

Operations Managers/Top Executive

Managers and executives guide the company by organizing and directing the goals of the business. Duties vary significantly based on the role and industry.

Median Annual Salary - $103,950
Projected Growth Rate - 6%

Human Resources Manager

Human resources managers are critical to a healthy business. They are in charge of the administrative capacities of a business, including the employees. Hiring, recruiting, and strategic long-term planning all fall under the HR manager's purview.

Median Annual Salary - $106,910
Projected Growth Rate - 9%

Marketing Manager

Marketing managers are in control of selling the products to consumers. They oversee the advertising and promotions of a company. Sales officers are often subordinate to marketing managers.

Median Annual Salary - $127,560
Projected Growth Rate - 9%


Professional organizations are helpful in any career field. In business, there are many organizations that cater to industry needs. They often host conferences and seminars for continuing education and allow for networking and mentoring.

American Society of Association Executives

Leaders can join the ASAE to network with fellow executives, attend conferences, and take continuing education courses.

National Association for Female Executives

NAFE is one of the largest professional business organizations for women in high-level leadership positions. The organization provides female DBA grads the opportunity to network with peers and experienced women in executive roles.

American Management Association

The AMA is a great resource for managers who want to learn about all of the newest techniques. The AMA, offering seminars and conferences, provides graduates with the tools they need to stay up to date in the field.

Many students work while earning a DBA degree online to help cover the cost, but there are other ways to do this. By filling out a FAFSA, you can see what types of federal grants, scholarships, aid, and work-studies you may be entitled to. Schools may also offer individual scholarships or grants to students to help with tuition costs. Additionally, many businesses have incentive programs that help cover some or all of the cost of continuing education.


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Rankings Archive

Best Online Doctorate in Business Administration of 2017
School Location
City University of Seattle Seattle, WA
George Fox University Newberg, OR
Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL
Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL
Wilmington University New Castle, DE