Top 25 Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) Programs in 2021

Top 25 Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) Programs in 2021

Graduates of business doctoral programs often pursue careers as advertising, promotions, and marketing managers. These professionals make a significant impact on their company’s success, and they earn a median annual salary of $135,900, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Other potential careers for individuals with a doctorate in business administration include consultant and entrepreneur.

Unlike Ph.D. in business programs, which prepare degree-seekers for careers in academia, DBA programs emphasize practical knowledge and skills necessary to excel in the business field. Many schools offer online DBA programs, which allow learners to continue working while earning their degree. Doctoral students who maintain employment in the field can apply new skills immediately, and working full time can help learners avoid debt.

Although admission requirements vary by university, they often include a minimum GPA, GRE scores, and recommendation letters. Students typically earn the degree in 2.5-3 years, depending on the program. This guide covers the benefits of earning a doctorate in business administration, along with common course requirements and career paths for graduates.

Accredited Online College Programs

Top 25 Doctorates in Business Administration Programs of 2021

  • DePaul University

    Chicago, IL

    School Type

    Private

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Avg. GPA

    3.7

    The largest Catholic university in the nation, DePaul offers a doctorate in business administration. Learners complete the DBA program in cohorts and prepare for positions in higher education and the corporate world. DePaul delivers the program in a part-time format, allowing students to continue working while earning the degree.

    The curriculum emphasizes interdisciplinary business knowledge and research methodology.

    Coursework explores topics including data science and visualization, empirical research methods, and behavioral decision theory. Learners also hone organizational leadership techniques. Degree-seekers develop advanced research skills while developing their dissertation.

    Degree-seekers typically graduate in three years, and students attend regular residencies at DePaul's Loop campus, located in Chicago's financial district. DBA students supplement in-person events with virtual sessions. Like many business doctoral programs, DePaul's program requires applicants to hold a master's degree. The university does not require GMAT or GRE scores.

    • Program length: 3 years 
    • Credit requirements: 72 credits 
    • Admissions requirements: Master’s degree in a related field
    • Program Website 
  • Duke University

    Durham, NC

    School Type

    Private

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Avg. GPA

    4.13

    Based in North Carolina, Duke offers a Ph.D. in business administration program through the Fuqua School of Business. Learners pursuing the doctoral degree develop advanced research expertise and prepare for positions at leading colleges and universities.

    The Ph.D. program requires two to three years of coursework, and most full-time students complete the program in about five years. Concentration options include accounting, finance, marketing, or decision sciences. Learners must participate in a teaching and research assistantship, complete a comprehensive exam, and write and defend a dissertation.

    Duke provides generous financial assistance. Doctoral students receive a full tuition waiver, a competitive stipend, and health insurance. Graduates can benefit from Duke's alumni network, and the university's partnerships with top firms in various industries. While applicants to the Ph.D. in business administration program often hold an MBA, the business school does not require a master's degree for admission. Applicants must have competitive GMAT or GRE scores.

    • Program length: 5 years
    • Credit requirements: N/A
    • Admissions requirements: GMAT or GRE scores 
    • Program Website 
  • George Washington University

    Washington, DC

    School Type

    Private

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Avg. GPA

    3.5

    Located blocks from the White House, GW operates three campuses in the District of Columbia. The university offers a Ph.D. in business administration program on its main campus. The 45-credit program offers concentrations in areas including accountancy, international business, and decision sciences.

    Degree-seekers participate in seminars and receive constructive feedback on dissertation research. While coursework varies by specialization, all Ph.D. students must pass a comprehensive exam and complete a research dissertation.

    GW students can access leading organizations and institutions, including the World Bank. The business school provides five years of financial support through a full-tuition fellowship, a stipend, and travel funding to help learners attend conferences. Admission requirements depend on the applicant's concentration, but all applicants must submit GMAT or GRE scores.

    • Program length: 5 years
    • Credit requirements: 45 credits 
    • Admissions requirements: GMAT or GRE scores 
    • Program Website 
  • Ohio State University-Main Campus

    Columbus, OH

    School Type

    Public

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Avg. GPA

    3.83

    Based in Columbus, Ohio State delivers a Ph.D. in business administration program that trains learners to become scholars and experts in the business world. The full-time program consists of coursework, research, and teaching responsibilities. Students complete 80 credits and can specialize in a field such as finance, organizational behavior, international business, or operations management.

    During the first and second years, doctoral students undertake assistantships that include research responsibilities. Learners develop research by writing research papers and submitting them to conferences and academic journals. During their third year of studies, Ph.D. students begin work on a dissertation, which they must defend during their fourth year.

    Ohio State operates one of the nation's most extensive library systems, and learners can access state-of-the-art living and dining facilities. Doctoral students can receive a fellowship that covers tuition and includes a monthly stipend. Applicants must have competitive GMAT or GRE scores.

    • Program length: 5 years
    • Credit requirements: 80 credits
    • Admissions requirements: GMAT or GRE scores 
    • Program Website
  • Rollins College

    Winter Park, FL

    School Type

    Private

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Avg. GPA

    3.3

    Rollins is a private liberal arts college located in Florida. Executives with an MBA or an equivalent degree can earn the executive doctorate in business administration. Learners in the program develop proficiencies as thought leaders and develop skills necessary to effectively guide organizations. The program is ideal for executives with at least 10 years of experience.

    Degree-seekers prepare to apply theoretical knowledge and research methods to address contemporary business problems. Students in the cohort-based program meet once each month at the Winter Park campus, and seminar-style sessions facilitate interaction between faculty and students. Before each class, students read in-depth articles on topics relevant to the class discussion.

    Degree-seekers work with a faculty advisor to develop research projects and a final dissertation. Students must self-fund their education, and all learners pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency status. Applicants must submit a resume, but Rollins does not require standardized test scores.

    • Program length: 3 years
    • Credit requirements: N/A
    • Admissions requirements: No standardized tests required
    • Program Website
  • Sacred Heart University

    Fairfield, CT

    School Type

    Private

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Avg. GPA

    3.51

    Located in Fairfield, Connecticut, SHU delivers a doctor of business administration that helps students prepare for careers as business leaders. Learners develop decision-making and management skills, along with expertise in quantitative methods and mathematical modeling. The low-residency program uses a cohort model that blends in-person sessions, learning labs, and online components.

    The curriculum includes coursework in econometric methods, price theory, advanced asset pricing, and global financial markets and institutions. Group research projects help foster teamwork. Learners complete two courses focused on formulating and executing a finance dissertation project, which ultimately lead to the development of a dissertation.

    Learners complete a final course on career transitions, which covers topics including effective networking strategies. Graduates often secure positions in industry and academia. Like many DBA programs, the program's admission requirements include a master's degree. However, applicants do not need to submit GMAT or GRE scores.

    • Program length: 3 years
    • Credit requirements: N/A
    • Admissions requirements: master’s degree 
    • Program Website 
  • Stevens Institute of Technology

    Hoboken, NJ

    School Type

    Private

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Avg. GPA

    N/A

    Stevens Institute of Technology, one of the nation's oldest technological colleges, offers a Ph.D. in business administration program that prepares learners for research positions in industry. The program comprises 84 credits, and Stevens awards 30 credits for a master's degree. Applicants must demonstrate proficiency in subjects including calculus, statistics, and linear algebra.

    Doctoral students complete coursework in topics including statistical inferences, econometrics, and multivariate data analytics. Learners choose a concentration in finance, innovation and entrepreneurship, or information systems and analytics. After completing all coursework and exams, learners write and defend a dissertation. The school is located minutes from Wall Street, which can lead to professional opportunities for business students.

    Students earning the Ph.D. in business administration complete a teaching assistantship, and Stevens offers tuition assistance, competitive stipends, and health benefits. Applicants must have a bachelor's in a business or a related discipline and must submit GMAT or GRE scores.

    • Program length: N/A
    • Credit requirements: 84 credits
    • Admissions requirements: bachelor’s degree in a business or related field, and GMAT or GRE scores 
    • Program Website 
  • Temple University

    Philadelphia, PA

    School Type

    Public

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Avg. GPA

    3.51

    Based in Philadelphia, Temple offers a 54-credit doctor of business administration program that prepares students for executive-level positions. The curriculum prepares learners to apply research theories to solve complex business challenges. Temple delivers the three-year program in a part-time format, allowing students to continue working while earning the degree.

    Learners attend six weekend residences on campus each year and complete the remainder of program requirements online. The DBA curriculum explores topics including the global marketplace, scientific inquiry through applied research, and innovation and entrepreneurship in the modern economy. Students master advanced quantitative and qualitative research methods. Like many business doctoral programs, Temple's program culminates with a dissertation.

    DBA students participate in a mentorship program and can access additional support and resources through the business school's research centers and institutes. Applicants must have an MBA or a related master's degree and at least 10 years of professional experience.

    • Program length: 3 years
    • Credit requirements: 54 credits
    • Admissions requirements: MBA or related master’s degree and at least 10 years of professional experience
    • Program Website 
  • Texas A & M University-College Station

    College Station, TX

    School Type

    Public

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Avg. GPA

    3.69

    The flagship institution of an 11-college system, Texas A&M offers a Ph.D. in business administration program that trains students to become researchers. Graduates often secure positions in private and public organizations. The program requires 64-96 credits, depending on the student's academic background.

    Learners specialize in a field such as accounting, management, or supply chain management. Degree-seekers conduct original research under faculty guidance. Students build a portfolio by completing research papers. While earning their Ph.D. in business administration, learners attend workshops hosted by visiting scholars. Doctoral students must pass a preliminary exam and a comprehensive final exam.

    Students must complete at least nine credits during each term of their required residence, which comprises one academic year for master's degree-holders and one academic year plus one semester for bachelor's degree-holders. Students demonstrate their ability to perform independent research by completing a dissertation. Research assistantships provide tuition assistance and a stipend. Applicants must submit GMAT or GRE scores.

    • Program length: N/A
    • Credit requirements: 64-96 credits 
    • Admissions requirements: GMAT or GRE scores 
    • Program Website 
  • Tulane University of Louisiana

    New Orleans, LA

    School Type

    Private

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Avg. GPA

    3.56

    Tulane is a private research college located in New Orleans. The full-time Ph.D. in business administration program helps learners develop research and teaching expertise to prepare for careers in academia. Students choose a concentration in finance or financial accounting.

    The curriculum explores topics including mathematics, economics, econometrics, and price theory. Doctoral students hone their skills as educators by teaching classes independently, and learners conduct research that culminates in a dissertation. Tulane offers personalized faculty support, and students participate in workshops and seminars. Learners can access resources and mentorships through Tulane's centers and institutes.

    Ph.D. students pay no tuition and receive an assistantship. Learners receive a technology support budget, which funds a laptop and other approved technology. A research and teaching budget pays for conferences and related expenses. The program admits students every other year. Applicants to the Ph.D. in business administration program must have a bachelor's degree and submit GMAT or GRE scores.

    • Program length: 3 years
    • Credit requirements: N/A
    • Admissions requirements: GMAT or GRE scores 
    • Program Website


  • Our Methodology, Explained


    Grad School Hub compiles rankings based on public data released from educational, commercial, and government databases. Sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics play a significant role in how we source our educational data. After collecting insight for each institution, we organize information into five weighted categories.

    Metric Data Used Percentage
    Academic Quality Full-time faculty percentage, student-to-faculty ratio, student retention and graduation rates 30%
    Affordability Tuition rates, median student debt, and financial aid 10%
    Reputation Admission and enrollment rates 30%
    Program Offerings Number of program options 20%
    Online Enrollment Score Portion of learners taking at least one online course 10%

    A more comprehensive evaluation of how each category is determined and scored is accessible on our Ranking Methodology page.


Answering your questions about doctorate in business administration program

  • How long does it take to get a doctorate in business administration?

    DBA programs typically require three years to complete. Learners can graduate more quickly by transferring previous credits or choosing an accelerated program.


  • What is the difference between a Ph.D. and a DBA?

    Although both are terminal business degrees, Ph.D. programs emphasize skills necessary for careers in academia. DBA programs prepare students for senior-level management positions.


  • Does a DBA make you a doctor?

    Like a Ph.D., a DBA qualifies graduates to use the title of doctor. They can use this title because a doctorate in business administration is a terminal degree.


  • What can I do with a DBA degree?

    DBA graduates can pursue numerous career paths, such as corporate executive, economist, and logistician. Career services counselors help students explore relevant positions.


What Are the Goals of a Doctorate in Business Administration?



Although available courses and graduation requirements vary among DBA programs. However, typical learning outcomes include applying research methods to decision-making, embracing lifelong learning, and modeling appropriate behavior to subordinates. Students in business doctoral programs also develop transferable skills in areas such as collaboration and professional competence.

Completing a business doctoral program can help individuals advance professionally. Doctoral students collaborate with like-minded peers, developing networks that can lead to long-term business relationships and job opportunities. Additionally, a doctorate in business administration can qualify graduates for top positions at their company or organization.

Doctorate in Business Administration Overview

A doctoral degree in business administration is designed for advanced business professionals to continue their education, develop research, and become industry leaders. In fact, some programs will require at least 10 years of relevant professional experience to be admitted. Most DBA programs take three to five years to complete and involve a dissertation or presentation capstone. You’ll learn about organization management, corporate leadership, and market strategy.

Admissions Requirements 


To be admitted to a business administration doctoral program there are several universal requirements. You’ll need some previous higher education, while some programs require an MBA others may only ask for a bachelor’s degree. Every program on our list will also require GRE or GMAT scores from the last five years. 

Letters of recommendation and a professional resume are also commonly a part of the application. There are also some doctorate in business administration programs that require a minimum number of years for work experience. Programs designed for advanced professionals may ask for 10 years of work experience in a related field.

Why does accreditation matter for DBA degrees? 

While researching prospective DBA programs, you should only consider institutions with regional accreditation. The U.S. Department of Education charters six agencies to evaluate the nation’s postsecondary institutions and grant accreditation to those that meet rigorous educational standards. If you attend a school without regional accreditation, you may have difficulty finding a job or attaining professional advancement after graduation.

Universities that offer online degrees may also hold national accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). Accreditation from DEAC demonstrates that the school’s online programs offer the same educational experience and learning outcomes as its on-campus programs.

Lastly, if you’re considering a business doctoral program, you can look for programmatic accreditation. Reputable U.S. business programs hold accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, which grants accreditation to undergraduate and graduate business programs that prepare learners to succeed in business careers.

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Concentrations in Business Administration



Many DBA programs offer concentrations that allow you to specialize in an area of business management. A concentration can help you develop expertise for specific job roles and better prepare you for a career after graduation. 

Finance

A concentration in finance will offer the knowledge needed to lead finance-based businesses, or finance departments of businesses. You’ll learn about making investment and finance decisions, managing capital assets, exploring venture financing, and market microstructure. Courses may include microeconomics, quantitative methods, accounting courses, corporate finance, and capital market theory. 

Operations management

An operations management concentration will teach you to manage organizations that produce goods and services. You’ll learn to operate supply chains, manufacturing activities, and access global markets. Courses may include operations management, stochastic models, networks and combinatorial optimization, and dynamic programming. 

Organizational behavior

This concentration is focused on individual behavior, team dynamics, and how employees and organizations work together. You’ll learn more about the psychology behind managing a business and large teams of people. You may take courses like psychology of organizational behavior, sociological foundation of strategy, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Courses in a Doctorate in Business Administration Program



The coursework in DBA programs helps learners master in-demand leadership skills, which graduates often use to lead teams and organizations. Online learners typically hone these skills by participating in discussion boards, writing essays, and performing original research. Other activities may include analyzing case studies and collaborating with peers during group projects.

Students earning a doctorate in business administration generally complete coursework in leadership theory, leading organizations, and organizational design. This section describes a few courses common to many DBA programs. However, course titles and requirements vary by institution. Learners should contact their prospective school for information regarding its DBA program.

Career and Salary Outlook for Business Administration Students


Professionals with a doctorate in business administration often work as top executives, postsecondary teachers, personal financial advisors, and management analysts. The BLS projects strong growth for these occupations between 2019 and 2029. Additionally, these careers feature higher-than-average median annual salaries.

CareerMedian Annual SalaryProjected Growth Rate (2019-2029)
Top Executive$104,6904%
Postsecondary Teacher$79,5409%
Personal Financial Advisor$87,8504%
Management Analysis$85,26011%

Source: BLS

Top Executive
Top executives use their doctorate in business administration to oversee business operations. These professionals coordinate and consult with other executives and use performance indicators to make long-term plans. Typical job titles include chief executive officer, operations manager, and county administrator. Some top executive positions require professional experience in addition to an advanced degree.

Postsecondary Teacher
Postsecondary teachers educate undergraduate and graduate students. Job responsibilities also include creating curricula, serving on committees, and publishing research. Teachers who possess a doctorate can qualify for tenure, which provides job security and greater freedom when performing research.

Personal Financial Advisor
Personal financial advisors use their business expertise to advise clients on financial goals and investments. These professionals need strong research skills to explore the latest and best investment opportunities. Other responsibilities include staying up to date with tax law and producing annual investment reports.

Management Analyst
Management analysts, also known as management consultants, analyze the practices of a business or organization to improve efficiency. Some projects require a team of analysts to conduct research and interview employees. Management analysts present their findings and make suggestions to senior management professionals. Analysts can specialize in an area such as inventory control or corporate structures.

Marketing managers need a bachelor’s in marketing, journalism, or a related field. Earning a bachelor’s degree takes approximately four years, and degree-seekers gain practical marketing knowledge along with transferable skills that apply to numerous career paths. Undergraduate students can enhance their resume by taking courses in sales and communications and by completing an internship.

After earning a bachelor’s degree and gaining work experience, professionals can return to school to earn an MBA or DBA. Both degrees can lead to career and salary advancement. Graduate programs take 2-4 years to complete, depending on the degree and program.

What is the ROI for a Doctorate in Business Administration? 

Tuition for a DBA can range from $11,000 to $60,000 depending on the school you choose and whether you’ll have to pay in state or out of state tuition. Once you’ve graduated, the average annual salary for careers in business administration fields ranges from $80,000 to $105,000. Jobs in this field also have a projected growth between 4% and 11% in the next decade. Pursuing a doctoral degree in business administration can lead to a lucrative career and a quick return on investment.

Certifications and Licensure for Business Administration Students

Business professionals with a doctorate can enhance their career prospects and salary potential by earning one or more professional certifications. Private organizations award certifications to candidates who pass an exam and meet other requirements, which may include a specific degree and professional experience. Finance professionals also need a license to engage in specific activities, such as selling stocks.

Certified Management Consultant

The Institute of Management Consultants (IMC) awards CMC certification to consultants with at least three years of experience. Candidates for certification must pass a written and oral exam. Candidates with 10 or more years of experience can complete an abridged certification process. IMC offers the CMC credential to members and nonmembers.

Certified Public Accountant

The American Institute of CPAs awards the CPA certification to candidates who pass a rigorous examination. Additionally, each state sets specific certification requirements, which typically include a bachelor’s or master’s degree and an application to the state’s board of accountancy. CPAs often qualify for additional job opportunities and command higher salaries than their peers.

Series 7 License

The Series 7 credential qualifies professionals to sell stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other investments to clients. Candidates for licensure must pass the Securities Industry Essential exam and the Series 7 exam. The latter comprises 125 multiple-choice questions covering topics including accounts, record keeping, and investment objectives.

How Can a Ph.D. Student Pay for School?

Although universities often provide funding for doctoral students, learners can apply for additional financial aid from private organizations. Below are a few of the scholarships available to learners pursuing a doctorate in business administration. Students should research each award’s requirements and stipulations before applying.

American Public Transportation Foundation Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Undergraduate upperclassmen and graduate students can apply for this scholarship. Requirements include a minimum 2.0 GPA and coursework relevant to the public transportation industry. Applicants must submit a 1,000-word personal essay and two recommendation letters. Candidates must be sponsored by American Public Transportation Association.
Amount: $5,000-$10,000

Frank L. Greathouse Government Accounting Scholarship
Who Can Apply: The Government Finance Officers Association awards this scholarship to learners pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in accounting. Applicants must plan to work for a government agency. The scholarship committee evaluates each applicant’s GPA, work experience, and recommendation letters. Students can apply for additional scholarship opportunities from the association.
Amount: $10,000

Richard “Dick” Wiegers Scholarship
Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports Illinois residents pursuing a degree in finance, law, or business. The Illinois Real Estate Educational Foundation considers each applicant’s GPA and recommendations.
Amount: $1,000

SILA Postsecondary College Scholarship
Who Can Apply: The Securities and Insurance Licensing Association awards five scholarships each year to graduate students majoring in one of seven fields, including marketing, business administration, and finance. Applicants should have a minimum 3.0 GPA and may be studying full time or part time. However, part-time students must also work.
Amount: $2,500

Why Should I Get a Doctorate in Business Administration Degree?

Completing a doctorate in business administration program can lead to numerous benefits. These benefits aren’t guaranteed with a degree and can depend on the university and your performance in your career.

Increased Salary Potential
Business professionals with a DBA earn the field’s highest median salaries. You can maximize your earning potential by pursuing this doctoral degree. Additional financial incentives can include a more substantial benefits package and leverage for negotiating higher wages.
Specialized Expertise
DBA programs help learners gain in-demand, transferable skills in areas such as leadership, communication, organization, and analysis. You can also choose a concentration to specialize your education and prepare you for a specific career path.
Career Advancement
Professionals with a doctorate in business administration often qualify for senior management positions, such as chief executive officer, chief operating officer, and company president. Returning to school to earn a DBA can help you earn a promotion or come into a new company at a higher level.

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Danika Miller

HIGHER EDUCATION REPORTER

Danika Miller is an education reporter at Grad School Hub who covers higher education news and trends, as well as paying for college. Her writing has also appeared in Best Value Schools, Affordable Colleges Online, and Her Campus, and her financial expertise has been featured in The Simple Dollar and CreditCards.com.

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Andrea Perez

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Andrea Perez is the schools editor at Grad School Hub who oversees our college rankings, school profiles, and other higher education coverage. A graduate school alumna of the University of South Florida, she previously served as an editor at The Simple Dollar, as well as a staff writer at Connect, USF's digital magazine.

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