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.
Choosing a Program
DO I NEED PREVIOUS WORK EXPERIENCE TO GET IN?
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.
HOW DO I FIND THE RIGHT ONLINE PROGRAM FOR ME?
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.
CAN I WORK WHILE I COMPLETE MY ONLINE DOCTORATE IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION?
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.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES TO EARNING MY DOCTORATE ONLINE?
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.
Accredited Online Doctorate in Business Administration Programs
|Baker College Flint, MI||Cost: $$$$$||
Baker College is Michigan's largest independent nonprofit institution. The school enrolls 23,000 students on campuses across the state and online. Baker Online offers nontraditional learners a doctor of business administration that they can complete online with limited residencies. The 60-credit DBA online requires a 27-credit core that introduces learners to the domain of the scholar-practitioner, doctoral writing and review, and research methods and designs.
The core also examines some of the topical issues that challenge today's business professional, such as managing in an interconnected world and sustaining organizational excellence through quality improvement and organizational change. Students examine leadership research to identify best practices that practitioners use to successfully lead 21st-century organizations; in particular, they focus on how to foster teamwork and collaboration and work with diverse workforces across cultural and spatial boundaries.
A notable course preps learners for the dissertation process, an integral part of the doctor of business administration. Students examine various quantitative and qualitative research methodologies and how to apply them in empirical research. Students are also required to complete on-campus residencies during years one and two.
Students can complete the DBA online in 3.5 years. Graduates qualify for careers in academe or in the business world in positions such as analysts, C-level executives, or consultants. Online learners pay one tuition regardless of residency. Active duty military personnel and National Guard and Reserve members receive steep tuition discounts. Admission requires school transcripts, a resume, and GRE or GMAT scores.
|California Baptist University Riverside, CA||Cost: $$$$$||
California Baptist University is one of the top Christian colleges in the nation. The school enrolls about 10,500 students who study on a 160-acre campus in Riverside. CBU Online offers dozens of degrees, including a doctor of business administration, one of the top online DBA programs in the nation. Students typically complete the 50-unit DBA in three years, including time for the dissertation. The program equips managers with the training necessary to advance to leadership and executive positions.
Students begin the program with a four-day residency that acquaints them with expectations and program design and introduces them to peers and faculty. Once students complete this course they begin the DBA core to examine principles such as effective management of organizations, financial analysis for decision-making, the use of economic theory in business, and doing business in a global environment.
The second part of the degree focuses on the dissertation process. Students develop a proposal and work with advisers as they conduct research for the dissertation. Once students complete their dissertation, they collaborate with peers and work with a committee chair in preparation to defend their dissertation.
Students participate in residencies at key points in the degree. They can maintain work obligations by completing one eight-week course at a time. Graduates are equipped with theoretical knowledge, fine-tuned problem-solving skills, and applied research competencies. Students pay one tuition regardless of residency. Admission requires an MBA or its equivalent with a minimum 3.0 GPA.
|City University of Seattle Seattle, WA||Cost: $$$$$||
Headquartered in Seattle, City University operates 20 campuses in the northwest U.S., around the world, and online. The online doctor of business administration cultivates business leaders skilled in agile business practices and organization interventional thinking. Students typically complete the 91-credit program in 3-4 years.
Students begin the program with a course that familiarizes them with the DBA and gives access to online learning tips and academic writing resources. The business administration core covers topics such as organizational development theories, financial decision-making, organizational identity and culture, and industry analysis and market innovation. Students use the knowledge acquired in the first four courses to complete an organizational development analysis and prescribe interventions as part of a capstone.
The second part of the doctor of business administration online focuses on the research competencies students need to complete their dissertation. They study qualitative and quantitative research methods, research design, and literature relevant to their research area. After students submit a research proposal, they begin the final stage of the dissertation process by conducting research and drawing conclusions incorporated into the dissertation.
Students participate in three residencies to build skills and receive guidance to compose literature reviews and prepare findings for the dissertation. All students pay the same affordable tuition per course regardless of residency. Admission requires a master's degree and school transcripts.
|Concordia University-Chicago River Forest, IL||Cost: $$$$$||
Concordia University-Chicago develops programs with a strong liberal arts foundation in the Lutheran tradition. The school offers online degrees designed for nontraditional learners, including a 60-credit doctorate in business administration that learners complete mostly online with three residencies. Students begin the program with a course that outlines the CUC DBA experience and provides the tools necessary to complete literature reviews, assignments, and the dissertation.
From the start of the three-year program, CUC allows DBA participants to begin the dissertation process by choosing a preliminary topic for research. The core of the DBA examines topics such as strategic marketing, business analytics and financial decision-making, global business operations, and social responsibility and ethical decision-making. Faculty offer four nine-credit specializations that students can use to customize the doctor of business administration online: marketing innovations, innovation in healthcare, leadership and innovation, and innovations in human resources.
A series of courses focus on how to design doctoral-level research using qualitative and quantitative methods. CUC matches students with mentors who give learners the support they need throughout the DBA dissertation experience. The school selects mentors based on their business and research knowledge and pairs them with DBA students in the second term of the program. This experience supports learners as they begin to collect data and write chapters. Two more residencies provide learners with face-to-face support during the dissertation process.
CUC offers competitive tuition and uses e-books and e-resources to contain costs. Admission requires a master's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA.
|Franklin University Columbus, OH||Cost: $$$$$||
Franklin University accommodates the needs of working professionals with flexible learning schedules, convenient campus locations, and structured support for academic success. The Ohio-based institution operates campuses throughout the Midwest and online. The online school's doctorate in business administration offers a curriculum that students complete in three years, including a year for the dissertation.
The 58-credit degree begins with a research core that covers statistics, research methodologies, and advanced quantitative and qualitative design. The business major equips learners with proficiencies in areas such as organizational leadership, management theory and practice, and organizational performance analysis. During a course on change management, students conduct research to explore and evaluate various practices and their viability to affect change and organizational development.
Faculty use 12 credits of electives to develop leaders with specializations in healthcare administration or instructional design leadership. Students complete and defend a dissertation or a capstone project to exit the DBA. Throughout the dissertation process, learners work under the guidance of faculty mentors.
Students choose between a fully online or hybrid delivery format. Franklin University allows learners to transfer up to 24 relevant credits into the DBA online. The school prides itself on providing a quality education at a competitive price, and students pay the same tuition regardless of residency. Admission requires a master's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA.
|George Fox University Newberg, OR||Cost: $$$$$||
A Christian college located in Oregon, George Fox University enrolls about 4,000 students in residential and online programs. Faculty designed the 56-credit online DBA for college faculty and business professionals planning to work as professors or consultants. The four-year program requires three years of coursework and one year for the dissertation. Students complete the program in a hybrid format with two in-person sessions required on campus in Newberg each year.
The curriculum covers core topics that include faith and spirituality in business, management and leadership foundations, international business, and ethics and moral decision-making in business. The program offers three-course concentrations in accounting, management, and marketing so that learners can tailor the DBA to career objectives. Learners prepare for the dissertation process by completing courses that hone their research skills in areas such as qualitative and quantitative research.
Two courses prime learners in the intricacies of doctoral research and writing by examining how to select a research topic, design research, and write using APA style. A series of additional courses focuses on dissertation development in the student's chosen concentration. Learners receive academic coaching and mentorship from faculty and enjoy supportive relationships with cohort members
All students in the DBA online pay the same tuition regardless of residency. The program enrolls full-time faculty with five years of professional experience and business professionals with a bachelor's and master's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants must submit Peregrine, GMAT, or GRE scores. The DBA online is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs.
|Johnson & Wales University-Online Providence, RI||Cost: $$$$$||
Founded in 1914, Johnson & Wales University integrates the arts and sciences into industry-focused programs on four campuses and online. About 13,000 students benefit from JWU's emphasis on experiential learning. U.S. News & World Report ranks the school as one of the nation's best regional colleges. The virtual college offers a comprehensive suite of business degrees, including the 54-credit doctorate in business administration. Students complete the online degree in three years as part of a cohort.
The curriculum focuses on organizational development across sectors, such as healthcare, the military, and nonprofit organizations. An online orientation acquaints students with JWU, faculty expectations, and the DBA model. Eight core courses examine business functions and cultivate learners' expertise in areas such as finance and accounting, information technology, organizational strategy and design, and executive decision-making.
Three courses in the DBA online prepare learners for the research process by acquainting them with research methodologies, techniques, and tools. Faculty begin dissertation advisement at the end of the student's first year. In year three, four courses walk learners through the dissertation process, beginning with the proposal development and a review of the problem statement and literature, and ending with an examination of dissertation methodology and analysis.
Students take one course at a time. The DBA online allows learners to transfer in up to nine doctoral-level credits. Students pay the same tuition regardless of residency. Admission requires a master's degree in a business-related field and at least five years of management or leadership experience.
|Liberty University Lynchburg, VA||Cost: $$$$$||
One of the nation's top Christian colleges, Liberty University offers 600 programs on a 7,000-acre campus in Virginia and online. The school's postgraduate degrees include a 60-credit doctor of business administration that learners can complete online in three years. The program trains business leaders in management, marketing, human resources, and other key operational areas.
All students complete a common core and a specialization. The 48-credit core includes a seminar that orients learners with the DBA process. The core also covers topics such as organizational and executive coaching, strategic decision-making, research methodology, and the dissertation process.
Learners choose one of 13 specializations to customize the degree. The four-course specializations give learners expertise in areas such as accounting, project management, healthcare management, and nonprofit leadership and management. A unique specialization in strategic media and digital content strengthens business professionals' communication and leadership skills and equips them with proficiency in direct marketing. LU requires that learners complete an applied dissertation that addresses a business problem in their specialization.
The online DBA program allows learners to transfer up to 15 credits toward the degree. LU maintains a tuition freeze for all programs. Students pay the same tuition regardless of residency. Admission requires an accredited master's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. The master's degree must hold ACBSP or AACSB accreditation.
|Lincoln Memorial University Harrogate, TN||Cost: $$$$$||
Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains, Lincoln Memorial University enrolls about 4,700 students on a 1,000-acre wooded campus in Harrogate, Tennessee and online. The school's 57-credit doctorate in business administration offers nontraditional learners an online program with limited residencies. Students learn to apply advanced knowledge of policy, strategy, and behavioral principles to improve organizations.
Students take foundational courses in marketing management, accounting for managers, economics for decision-making, and contemporary management and leadership. Learners then move on to the core of the degree, completing courses on four topics, such as assessing organizational behavior and leadership in organizations: theory and practice. Students customize the DBA with a four-course concentration in one of three areas: management, accounting, or sports management. Students who choose the sports management concentration receive hands-on training during an internship at a relevant organization.
Students prepare for the dissertation process with courses on research methodology and doctoral statistics. Students use 12 credits to develop the dissertation for the doctorate in business administration. Graduates possess advanced analytical and problem-solving skills rooted in academic theory and practical research.
The program requires two weekend residencies in Cedar Bluff, Knoxville. The online DBA program allows learners to transfer up to 12 credits from an MBA or its equivalent. Students pay one competitive tuition regardless of residency. Admission requires a master's degree with a minimum 3.5 GPA, school transcripts, and at least four years of managerial experience.
|Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL||Cost: $$$$$||
Saint Leo University is a Catholic liberal arts college with 15,000 students. U.S. News and World Report ranks the college as one of the best southern schools. The school offers an online doctorate in business administration for learners pursuing careers in teaching, consulting, business, or academic leadership.
The 57-credit curriculum begins with a DBA orientation that outlines what students can expect in the program. A doctoral success lab provides students with information about how to conduct research, an overview of academic writing, and access to online resources. The core of the doctor of business administration online examines topics such as global leadership and ethics, analytics for decision-making, and organizational behavior and social responsibility.
Learners customize the doctorate in business administration with a two-course track in teaching or consulting. Both tracks require a practicum. Students on the teaching track teach an eight-week management course, while students on the consulting track complete a consulting project. Students prepare for the dissertation process with courses in applied research, qualitative and quantitative research methods, and a dissertation seminar. In addition to the dissertation, students must pass a comprehensive exam to graduate.
All students pay the same tuition regardless of residency. The school lauds a proud military heritage with one-third of Saint Leo's student body affiliated with the armed forces. Admission to the online DBA requires a master's degree and GMAT scores.
|University of Dallas Irving, TX||Cost: $$$$$||
Established in 1956, the University of Dallas is a Catholic institution with 2,500 learners, almost half of whom are graduate students. The college, located in Irving, offers a hybrid doctorate in business administration. Students complete the 61-credit program as a cohort in three years, blending online classes with classroom instruction during monthly on-campus residences.
Faculty introduce learners to the DBA online with a course that outlines the role of the researcher, examining the scholar-practitioner model and necessary competencies, such as academic reading and writing. Core classes cover business topics such as strategic perspectives, leadership and followership, agile organizations, and the sustainable enterprise. A notable course focuses on the use of current and emerging technologies to add value to the business enterprise, empower employees, and engage customers.
Faculty use 18 credits to focus on research methods, examining topics such as applied statistical analysis, qualitative methods for diagnosis and assessment, and how to design applied research. Students begin the dissertation process by choosing an applied research topic and developing a proposal that includes research questions and methodology. Six credits of colloquia cement the professional relationship between the doctoral candidate and the professor advising on the dissertation. Outside of the dissertation process, faculty offer a teaching practicum to students planning to teach college-level courses
All DBA online students pay the same tuition regardless of residency. Admission requires an MBA or related master's-level business degree. Students also need at least 12 years of professional experience, most of which should reflect senior management or executive-level experience.
|Wilmington University New Castle, DE||Cost: $$$$$||
Wilmington University designs career-focused programs that emphasize hands-on skills. WilmU enrolls about 20,000 students on campuses in Delaware and New Jersey, and online. A leader in distance education, the school offers about 125 online programs. Students interested in a terminal business degree enroll in the doctor of business administration. Faculty created the fully online or hybrid program for managers, educators, business leaders, and consultants to advance their careers. Learners enhance their existing competencies with a 54-credit curriculum accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.
Students proceed in the DBA as a cohort who collaborate and provide each other with support. Participants acquire expertise in subjects such as business intelligence, global management models, organizational strategy and policy, and executive decision-making. Foundational courses prep learners in research design, research management, and statistics for research.
Students partner with an organization as they develop a research project or dissertation, applying learning in a real-world context. Learners receive mentorship from faculty to ensure the DBA capstone's relevance to the needs of industry. Students typically complete a dissertation or research project in 1-2 years. They can complete one of the nation's online DBA programs accredited by IACBE in three years.
The military-friendly school offers active duty military personnel tuition discounts. All DBA students pay the same tuition regardless of residency. Admission requires official transcripts for bachelor's and master's degrees and a resume. The program enrolls learners in summer, fall, and spring cohorts.
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Doctorate in Business Administration Program?
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|
CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE DOCTORATE IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
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.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE DOCTORATE IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION?
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.
Accreditation for Online Doctorate in Business Administration Programs
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.
Employment Outlook for Doctorate in Business Administration Graduates
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|
|Computer and Information Systems Managers||94,800|
|Human Resources Managers||46,600|
DOCTORATE IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION SALARY
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|
DOCTORATE IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION CAREERS
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.
Financing Your Online Doctorate in Business Administration Program
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.
Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.
Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.
Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.
Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.
Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.
- Best Online Doctorate in Business Administration of 2018
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
- 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