Doctor of Business Administration

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Doctor of Business Administration
TypePostgraduate education
Duration3 to 6 years
Prerequisites / eligibility criteriaMaster's degree
5 to 20 years Work Experience
(varied by country and institution)

The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) or (DrBA) is a terminal degree in business administration. The DBA is classified as a research doctorate or professional doctorate depending on the granting university and country where the degree was awarded. Academically, the DBA is awarded based on advanced study, examinations, project work, and advanced research in the field of business administration.

DBA candidates are required to submit a significant project, commonly referred to as a thesis, capstone project, or dissertation. This project consists of an extensive body of original academic research that possesses the potential for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.[1] Candidates must defend their work before a panel of expert examiners, known as a thesis, dissertation, or doctoral committee.[2] In addition, most DBA programs have coursework requirements.[3]

In conjunction with the PhD or DPhil, the DBA represents the highest academic qualification in the field of business administration. It is typically a prerequisite for securing employment as a full-time, tenure-track university professor or postdoctoral researcher in this domain. Both the United States Department of Education and the National Science Foundation recognize the DBA as equivalent to the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree.[4]

Structure and Format[edit]

Doctor of Business Administration programs have a dual purpose: contribute to business theory and further develop the professional practice (e.g. contribute to professional knowledge in business). Universities generally require candidates to have significant experience in business, particularly in roles with leadership or other strategic responsibilities.[5] DBA candidates specialize in areas such as management science, information technology management, organizational behavior, economics, finance, and the like. As with other doctorate programs, curricula may be offered on a full-time or part-time basis. According to the European higher education standards set by the Bologna Process, the normal duration of research doctorate programs like the DBA and PhD is usually 3–4 years of full-time study.[6]

The responsibility for the structure of doctoral programs resides within the graduate research committees or their equivalent within the university. As such, DBA programs have a specific set of university regulations and are subject to quality approval processes. Regulations include references to protocols for treating ethical issues in research. These regulations are widely used in Australian universities. For instance, a DBA student cannot embark on the research phase before passing the coursework phase. Furthermore, upon passing the proposal stage, he or she must clear ethics-related issues with an ethics committee. DBA candidates then go through numerous internal moderations of the dissertation before submitting to external examinations (usually at least two). Finally, candidates usually revise their dissertations numerous times before final approval is granted from the doctoral committee.

History and Development[edit]

The origins of the Doctor of Business Administration can be traced back to the early 20th century when business education began to gain recognition as a distinct discipline. The increasing demand for advanced business education, coupled with the growing importance of research in the field, led to the establishment of doctoral programs focused on business administration. One of the earliest instances of a doctorate in business can be found at the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration (now known as Harvard Business School), which introduced the Doctor of Commercial Science (DCS) degree in 1920, and then the DBA thereafter. The DCS program aimed to produce scholars who could contribute to both business theory and practice through original research.[7]

Following the establishment of the DCS program at Harvard, other leading business schools in the United States started developing their doctoral programs in business administration. The University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business introduced its Doctor of Business degree in 1920, focusing on the application of economic principles to business problems. The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business also launched its doctoral program in 1952, offering a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree. During the mid-20th century, the DBA degree gained recognition as a professional doctorate that emphasized the practical application of knowledge in the business context. Many universities and business schools around the world began offering DBA programs to cater to the needs of senior executives and experienced professionals seeking to enhance their skills and contribute to the advancement of business knowledge.[8]

In recent years, the DBA has experienced significant growth and evolution. Business schools worldwide have recognized the demand for doctoral programs that combine rigorous academic research with practical relevance to address complex business challenges. Contemporary DBA programs often integrate coursework, research, and professional development components. The coursework provides a strong theoretical foundation, while the research component requires students to undertake original research that contributes to the advancement of knowledge in a specific area of business administration. DBA programs typically attract professionals from a wide range of industries, including business, government, and nonprofit sectors. The diversity of backgrounds and experiences among DBA candidates enhances the learning environment and promotes interdisciplinary collaboration.[9]

The DBA has gained recognition and accreditation from reputable academic and professional bodies. Accreditation ensures that DBA programs meet specific standards of quality and rigor, and graduates of accredited programs are conferred with a reputable academic qualification. Accrediting bodies such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) provide accreditation to business schools and their programs, including the DBA. These accreditations assure prospective students and employers of the quality and relevance of the DBA degree.[10]

Institutions Offering the DBA[edit]

In the United States, there are several AACSB accredited business schools offering the DBA and many are at educational institutions holding Carnegie "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity” status. As of June 2023, 17 R1 institutions in the United States offer a research-based accredited DBA program. Internationally, there are several educational institutions offering the DBA and many are members in The Executive DBA Council.[11]

DBA Granting Institution AACSB[12] R1[13] AAU[14] 2023-24 USNWR Business Program Ranking[15] CEO Magazine Premier Program[16]
Athabasca University No No No NR No
Baruch College (CUNY) Yes Yes No 49 Yes
Case Western Reserve University Yes Yes Yes 68 Yes
Drexel University (LeBow) Yes Yes No 102 Yes
Edgewood College No No No NR No
Florida International University Yes Yes No NR Yes
Georgia State University Yes Yes No NR Yes
Golden Gate University No Yes Yes NR No
Harvard University
(Transitioned to PhD in 2019)[17]
Yes Yes Yes 5 Yes
Old Dominion University
(Transitioned to PhD in 1995)[18]
Yes Yes No NR No
Pennsylvania State University Yes Yes Yes 37 No
Royal Roads University No No No NR No
Rutgers University Yes Yes Yes 45 No
St. Ambrose University Yes No No NR Yes
Temple University Yes Yes No 84 No
University of Calgary Yes Yes No NR No
University of Florida Yes Yes Yes 40 Yes
University of Maryland Yes Yes Yes 42 Yes
University of Michigan - Flint Yes Yes No NR No
University of North Texas Yes Yes No 95 No
University of Pittsburgh Yes Yes Yes 86 Yes
University of South Florida Yes Yes Yes 73 Yes
University of Texas - Dallas Yes Yes No 27 No
Washington University in St. Louis Yes Yes Yes 37 Yes
West Virginia University Yes Yes No 112 No

Recognition in Canada[edit]

In Canada, the DBA is recognized as a terminal degree in business administration or management.[19][20][21] While DBA programs in Canada incorporate aspects of professional practice in addition to a full dissertation, they still qualify as full academic doctorates.[22] Similar to the United Kingdom, the DBA in Canada can only be granted by Universities Canada - accredited institutions and holds equal standing with a PhD (management).[23] The dissertation required for a DBA program differs primarily in focus but maintains the same breadth of study and academic rigor.[24] DBA programs in Canadian institutions necessitate an original contribution to knowledge, overseen by an accomplished researcher as the chair, and defended orally (viva) before internal and external examiners.[25]

Relationship between DBA and PhD[edit]

In the United States, the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in business administration are equivalent degrees.[26] Also, both doctorates are viewed as research doctorates representing the highest academic qualification in business.[27] As such, both DBA and PhD programs require students to develop original research leading to a dissertation defense.[2] Furthermore, both doctorates enable holders to become faculty members at academic institutions. The DBA and PhD in business administration are terminal degrees, allowing the recipient to obtain a tenure-track position in the United States; other countries' requirements may differ.

In some cases, the distinction is solely administrative (Harvard Business School was not authorized to issue a PhD until 2018)[28] In other cases, the distinction is one of orientation and intended outcomes. The PhD is highly focused on developing original academic knowledge, while the DBA emphasizes applied research.[2][29] Upon completion, graduates of PhD programs generally migrate to full-time faculty positions in academia, while those of DBA programs re-emerge in industry as applied researchers or executives. If working full-time in industry, graduates of DBA and PhD programs often become adjunct professors in top undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Notable persons with a DBA degree[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dinham, S.; Scott, C. (2001). "The Experience of Disseminating the Results of Doctoral Research". Journal of Further and Higher Education. 25: 45–55. doi:10.1080/03098770020030498. S2CID 146687739.
  2. ^ a b c FAQs AACSB "Primary Difference between a Doctorate in Business Administration & a Business PhD". Archived from the original on 2015-11-17. Retrieved 2015-11-16.
  3. ^ "Doctoral Business Programs". Retrieved 2023-07-19.
  4. ^ "Structure of the U.S. Education System: Research Doctorate Degrees". U.S. Department of Education. Archived from the original on January 27, 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
  5. ^ "DBA in Management and Technology". Retrieved 2020-12-26.
  6. ^ "Third cycle - doctoral education - 2009 - European Higher Education Area and Bologna Process". Retrieved 2019-08-29.
  7. ^ "History - About - Harvard Business School". Retrieved 2023-07-08.
  8. ^ Weick, Karl E.; Putnam, Ted (September 2006). "Organizing for Mindfulness". Journal of Management Inquiry. 15 (3): 275–287. doi:10.1177/1056492606291202. ISSN 1056-4926.
  9. ^ Cassell, Catherine (May 2011). "Book review: Reflexive methodology: new vistas for qualitative research, 2nd edn, by Mats Alvesson and Kaj Sköldberg. London: Sage, 2009. 432 pp. £26.99. ISBN 9780803977075 (pbk)". Organization. 18 (3): 409–410. doi:10.1177/1350508410379458. ISSN 1350-5084.
  10. ^ "Accreditation | AACSB". Retrieved 2023-07-08.
  11. ^ "The Executive DBA Council". The Executive DBA Council. Retrieved 2023-07-19.
  12. ^ "Member Listing | AACSB". Retrieved 2023-05-16.
  13. ^ "Institutions Search". CARNEGIE CLASSIFICATION OF INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION. Retrieved 2023-05-16.
  14. ^ Association of American Universities. "AAU Member Institutions". Retrieved May 16, 2023.
  15. ^ US News & World Reports. "2023-2024 Best Business Schools". Retrieved May 16, 2023.
  16. ^ CEO Magazine. "CEO Magazine 2023 GLOBAL DBA LISTING" (PDF). Retrieved July 8, 2023.
  17. ^ "History of Excellence - Doctoral - Harvard Business School". Retrieved 2023-07-10.
  18. ^ "Ph.D. Business Administration". Old Dominion University. Retrieved 2023-07-10.
  19. ^ "Management - DBA". Faculty of Graduate Studies. Retrieved 2022-09-30.
  20. ^ "Doctor of Business Administration | Royal Roads University". Retrieved 2022-09-30.
  21. ^ "Athabasca University". Athabasca University. Retrieved 2022-09-30.
  22. ^ "Canadian Degree Qualifications Framework" (PDF). Ministerial Statement on Quality Assurance of Degree Education in Canada. Council of Ministers of Education, Canada. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 March 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  23. ^ Lewington, Jennifer (2018-05-10). "Dr. CEO: New doctorate degree aimed at veteran executives". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2022-09-30.
  24. ^ "DBA or PhD? - DBA". Haskayne School of Business. Retrieved 2022-09-30.
  25. ^ "Doctor of Business Administration in Business Administration. - University of Calgary: Post-Secondary Programs in Alberta - alis". Retrieved 2022-09-30.
  26. ^ "Structure of the U.S. Education System: Research Doctorate Degrees". Archived from the original on 2012-01-27. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
  27. ^ "Types of research doctoral degrees recognized by the Survey of Earned Doctorates" (PDF). 2018. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2022-05-12.
  28. ^ "Faculty to Vote on New Ph.D. Program, Next Years' Courses | News | The Harvard Crimson".
  29. ^ " - DBA vs PhD". Archived from the original on 2012-04-02. Retrieved 2011-09-17.
  30. ^ a b "Advisors To Help Terrorist Attack Victims And Their Families". November 1, 2001. Retrieved 2020-12-27.l
  31. ^ "David Yeske".