Many business professionals who want to accelerate their business career choose to earn a Master of Business Administration or MBA. But for some, choosing a Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) may actually be a better fit. Online DBA programs generally allow you to become highly specialized in a certain area of business, such as accounting, IT or finance. Most online DBAs have a dissertation component where you are required to complete an extensive research project in your specialty area.
Note the DBA differs from a Ph.D. in business in that graduates from the latter program are generally on an academic and research track, while DBAs generally use their degree in the corporate world. Most DBA programs require you to already hold a master’s degree in business or a related field.
Most people who earn their DBA degree usually are upper level business managers, consultants, and entrepreneurs, while those who earn Ph.D.s in business are educators and administrators. Another major difference is the Ph.D. program is usually a full time program where the student does not work. Most DBA students are full time working professionals who take their doctoral program on a part time basis. An advantage of this is you can apply what you are learning in your DBA program to your job or company immediately. This is one of the under realized benefits of many top DBA programs.
If earning a DBA is on your to-do list, there is good news: There are a limited number of online DBA programs available. This accessibility and flexibility is often vital for experienced and busy professionals who need a doctoral program they can take on their own time.
Our research shows the following online DBA degree programs are your best options:
#1 Liberty University
The Doctor of Business Administration online from Liberty University can be completed entirely from your own home without visiting campus in Lynchburg, Virginia. This DBA program provides you with advanced skills in professional management, HR, marketing, finance, accounting, and other essential business fields.
Many online DBA programs have some type of disconnect between coursework knowledge you obtain and how to apply it in the world. The DBA program at Liberty University emphasizes the real world and practical applications in its coursework as well as its research project requirements.
Benefits of the Liberty University DBA program include:
- Liberty University is a highly ranked, non-profit university with online programs that are ranked within the top five of more than 2,000 online universities for affordability, quality and accessibility.
- Tuition for the DBA program has not been increased for three years. Many online universities continue to hike costs each year, but Liberty has not as a non-profit university. Many DBA programs hike tuition on a yearly basis, making it more difficult for students to plan financially.
- Students have access to a vast array of online educational resources through the university’s library portal. This is immensely useful when it comes time to focus on your dissertation.
- The online DBA can be completed in four years full time. Some students complete it in six years on a part time basis.
- Many specializations available, including accounting, finance, HR, IT, healthcare management, leadership, marketing, project management, strategic management, supply chain management.
- Students can apply up to 12 hours from a previous MBA specialization. This is a major advantage because it can shave as much as a year off of your completion time so you can get back to focusing only on your career.
All business programs at Liberty University are accredited by the ACBSP. This demonstrates the program has met high standards of business education that promote only the highest teaching excellence. So, you can have confidence that your DBA program will be highly regarded and respected by employers.
#2 California Southern University
The DBA degree at California Southern University will provide you with a rich, dynamic business education to excel in senior business leadership roles. It is an excellent educational opportunity for business professionals with MBAs to obtain highest level business expertise and to stand out from other MBAs. This DBA has been designed to develop your practical and specialized business expertise to be applied to complex business challenges in the highly competitive global marketplace. The four year program requires you to complete a doctoral research project and to analyze a complex business problem in your area of specialty.
This online DBA program provides you with the practical skills and business knowledge that you will need to rise to an executive level position or even to start a successful business of your own. This is an applied doctorate that will help you to develop specialized and practical knowledge, including the ability to analyze, survey and synthesize the latest business developments.
Your required courses include the following:
- Financial Statement Analysis
- Management Finance and Control
- Advanced Measurement and Statistics for Business
- Managerial Economics
- Global Business Strategic Management
- Information, Organization and Strategy
- Business Research Methods
- Quantitative Research Methods
The DBA program also allows you to enroll in any course at the doctoral level online without actually committing to the program. This is an effective way for students to learn about the CalSouthern program before deciding to sign up for the full program. Those credits can be used towards the DBA or a degree at another university.
#3 Northcentral University
The Doctor of Business Administration at Northcentral University offers you a high level training program for senior business leadership roles. This four year, online DBA program stresses the application of research as a way to develop strategies and tactics to solve complex organizational problems. Students learn to create and execute business solutions that are both effective and ethical. You also have the opportunity to refine your business knowledge and explore new business technologies, while gaining real world experience from your professors.
Another advantage of this ACBSP accredited program is that you have many specialties from which to choose, so you can really focus your studies on your specific career interests:
- Financial Management
- Computer and Information Security
- Advanced Accounting
- Healthcare Administration
- General Business
- HR Management
- Organizational Leadership
- Public Administration
- Applied Computer Science
- International Business
- Project Management
The general business concentration is one of the most popular programs. This program provides you the opportunity to study advanced corporate finance, supervisory techniques and business knowledge in the global environment, with the overall goal of strengthening your knowledge in advanced business practices.
All students at Northcentral University can start their DBA program at any time online; there is no need to wait for the start of the semester. You also do not have any residency requirements, so this program is a good fit for busy working professionals, including those in the military.
#4 William Howard Taft University
The online DBA at William Howard Taft University is a practical, fully online study program that stresses courses in business leadership and management. This program is especially popular with senior level managers who want the highest level education in the practical and theoretical aspects of operating a large or small business.
The four year program is focused on business in the US, but it also is valuable to students in Asia, Europe and the Middle East who want to run a business in the US, or do business with US companies and will benefit from better understanding how US businesses work.
Objectives of the program include:
- Offer courses and exercises of value in business administration, management, leadership and strong operational practices that will improve the careers of students.
- Prepare business professionals to serve in high level business management roles and also to become successful owners of their own companies.
- Employ the highest quality faculty who are very accomplished in their business related fields.
Required courses in this DBA program include:
- Organizational Design
- Leadership Theory and Practice
- Designing Economic Business Strategies
- Corporate Social Responsibility and Ethics
- Marketing Research for Managerial Decision Making
- Business Law
Students who graduate from this DBA program will be able to demonstrate a strong knowledge in the legal, theoretical and practical aspects of running a business. They also will have the ability to evaluate challenging business problems and the related legal issues and make proper recommendations and decisions based upon analysis and good reasoning. Last, they will be able to show effective management of individuals and teams in a business environment through applying modern leadership concepts and theories.
#5 Walden University
This online DBA degree from Walden University is made for the experienced business professional who wants to obtain a deeper knowledge of business and become a global change agent in the corporate world. The program has been developed with insights and feedback from highly knowledgeable faculty and top business practitioners in the country. This 39 month program stresses strong business decision making and leadership, as well as a deep knowledge of applied research and theory.
Graduates of this DBA program will enjoy the following learning outcomes:
- Evaluate current and emerging business practice and theory from interdisciplinary perspectives.
- Formulate strong business solutions to complex problems in the real world that are common to many industries.
- Apply modern business research literature to common business problems
- Design strong research that will contribute to the body of knowledge in management and business
- Effectively evaluate scholarly research in management and business
Available concentrations at Walden University are:
- Healthcare management
- IS management
- International business
- Project management
- Global supply chain management
Required courses in the popular finance concentration are:
- Organizational Leadership
- Information Systems: Global Management Strategies and Technologies
- Business Strategy and Innovation for Competitive Advantage
- Qualitative and Quantitative Methodology for Applied Business Research
- Seminar in International Finance
- Marketing: Strategic Innovation in Globally Diverse Markets
- Finance: Fiscal Leadership in a Global Environment
- Business Operations: Systems Perspectives in Global Organizations
Walden’s business master’s and doctoral programs are accredited by the ACBSP, so you can be confident that your business program is of the highest quality. This is especially important when you are completing an online degree program so your employers know you have earned a solid doctoral degree.
#6 Capella University
Capella University offers an accredited DBA program with two in person residencies in these concentrations: business intelligence, accounting, leadership, IT management, project management, strategy and innovation, global operations and supply chain management, HR management.
Advantages of the DBA program at Capella University are:
- Leverage your experience by completing a doctoral applied business research project, which will result in a high quality portfolio to show to potential employers.
- Flat quarterly tuition rate of $4800 means there are no extra fees to surprise you
- Develop business expertise at residencies that will give you insights and knowledge that will be immensely valuable to your future career
- Experienced faculty will provide you with the research and industry knowledge you need to succeed in your career
- Transfer as many as 12 credits so you can save time and money
- Complete support at all times from advisors, faculty and mentors to ease you time in the program
- Keep on track with milestones – the program is split into five segments all the way to the completion of your doctoral research project, so you can keep on track with your educational goals
The accounting track is one of the most popular concentrations, with these courses required:
- Applied Business Research Projects
- Becoming a Business Researcher
- Global Operations
- Financial Decision Making
- Research Design and Implementation Planning
- Financial Reporting
- Accounting in the Global Era
- Forensic Accounting
- Advanced Research in Accounting
Most students take one or two courses at a time, with one course requiring 10 to 12 hours of study per week. Each class is divided into 10 weekly units, with each having readings, discussions and related activities that you must complete each week. Assignments must be turned in each Sunday, but not every class requires an assignment to be turned in every week.
The DBA program, as with all business programs at Capella, has been accredited by the ACBSP. This means your DBA degree is of high quality and will be valued and respected by your future employers.