Top 25 Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) Programs 2021

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

Top Doctoral Programs in Business Badge

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.

Advertisement is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Accredited Online College Programs

Top 25 Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) Programs

Rank School Location
1 DePaul University Chicago, IL
2 Duke University Durham, NC
3 George Washington University Washington, DC
4 Ohio State University-Main Campus Columbus, OH
5 Rollins College Winter Park, FL
6 Sacred Heart University Fairfield, CT
7 Stevens Institute of Technology Hoboken, NJ
8 Temple University Philadelphia, PA
9 Texas A & M University-College Station College Station, TX
10 Tulane University of Louisiana New Orleans, LA

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.

What Are the Benefits of a Doctorate in Business Administration?

Completing a doctorate in business administration program can lead to numerous benefits. Outcomes depend on the university and the student’s dedication to their education and career.

Higher Salary
Business professionals with a DBA earn the field’s highest median salaries. Additional financial incentives can include a more substantial benefits package.
New Job Opportunities
Professionals with a doctorate in business administration often qualify for senior management positions, such as chief executive officer, chief operating officer, and company president.
Personal Satisfaction
A terminal degree can be a source of pride, inspiration, and confidence. These traits help professionals secure a new job or start a business.
Leadership Skills
DBA programs help learners gain in-demand, transferable skills in areas such as leadership, communication, organization, and analysis. Graduates use these skills to inspire subordinates.
Online Learning
Online learning allows students to earn a doctorate in business administration without interrupting their career. Students in asynchronous courses can view lectures and complete coursework at convenient times.

Accreditation for a Doctorate in Business Administration

While researching prospective DBA programs, students 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. Learners who attend a school without regional accreditation 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, students considering business doctoral programs 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.


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.

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.

  • Leadership Theory

    Students in this class explore the latest leadership best practices by reviewing case studies, business journals, and leadership theories. Learning outcomes include the ability to compare leadership theories, write logical business documentation, and lead team projects. Students also become proficient in APA format, a professional writing style used in advanced business courses and careers in the field. This course does not have prerequisites, and learners usually take it during the first year of their business doctoral program.

  • Leading Organizational Change

    Business leaders must know how to identify challenges facing their company, create a plan of action, and apply best practices to facilitate organizational change. Degree-seekers in this course develop these skills by exploring the latest research. Learners prepare to delegate responsibility, articulate change process theory, and analyze organizational change tasks. Skills in leading organizational change and similar topics can also help business executives turn around failing companies and save jobs.

  • Organizational Design and Structure

    Organizational design and structure relates to the interactions among people, capital, and materials in a company or organization. The organization of these factors can lead to a company’s success or failure. Learners in this class analyze various organization methods and strategies that managers use to maximize efficiency. Graduates can use knowledge from this course to assess open-system organization design elements, manage teams and materials, and analyze how information technology can improve a company’s organizational design and structure.

  • Contemporary Issues in Leadership

    This class examines the challenges and opportunities of 21st-century business leaders. Students prepare to communicate effectively with employees and stakeholders, analyze company and market performance, and set short-term and long-term goals. Graduates can apply these skills when persuading colleagues, assessing potential consequences, and applying leadership theories in the workplace. Degree-seekers also learn how to discuss sensitive topics and implement controversial business plans.

  • Marketing and Managing the Customer Relationship

    Marketing managers and other senior business leaders routinely interact with clients to secure and maintain contracts. Course topics often include target marketing, ethics, and marketing strategy. Learners develop in-demand skills and prepare to analyze business theories and market research strategies, create strategic marketing plans, and influence clients. Graduates can apply these skills to keep their company or organization healthy.

How to Become a Marketing Manager

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.

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.

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.

Career Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029)
Top Executive $104,690 4%
Postsecondary Teacher $79,540 9%
Personal Financial Advisor $87,850 4%
Management Analysis $85,260 11%

Source: BLS

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

Top 25 Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) Programs

  • DePaul University

    Chicago, IL



    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.

  • Duke University

    Durham, NC



    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.

  • George Washington University

    Washington, DC



    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.

  • Ohio State University-Main Campus

    Columbus, OH



    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.

  • Rollins College

    Winter Park, FL



    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.

  • Sacred Heart University

    Fairfield, CT



    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.

  • Stevens Institute of Technology

    Hoboken, NJ



    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.

  • Temple University

    Philadelphia, PA



    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.

  • Texas A & M University-College Station

    College Station, TX



    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.

  • Tulane University of Louisiana

    New Orleans, LA



    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.

  • 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.

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