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umuc dba

A Doctor of Business Administration degree, or DBA, is the terminal degree in business. These degrees prepare graduates to work in academia, supervisory positions in a number of businesses, do scholarly research and publish it, and overall become a thought leader in the field of business.

Students can also opt for Ph.D.’s in Business which focus more on adding theoretical knowledge in the field, where the DBA is more directed towards innovation and leadership. Generally these degrees require 4 years of full-time study, however, they can be completed in less, as you’ll see from some of the schools on our ranking.

What Are Areas Of Specialization For DBA Degrees?

In DBA and Ph.D. in business programs, students will often specialize in areas like:

  • Management science
  • Information technology management
  • Accounting
  • Business intelligence
  • Global operations
  • Human resource management
  • Organizational behavior
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Among other disciplines

Can I Get My DBA Online?

We focused on online degrees in our ranking, because they give students the opportunity to earn their DBA or Ph.D. without having to move, and generally allow them to maintain their ongoing work and life obligations. The programs on this list can be primarily online, but often do require some in-person residencies.

DBA, Business Degree, Doctor of Business Administration, Online DBA, Online DoctorateOnline DBA, Doctor of Business Administration Degree OnlineWhenever you find a school or program that seems like a good fit, you can request more information from advisors and support staff through the provided links. Schools are generally eager to help you get more information about the programs and in your application process.

DBA students take classes that build towards a thesis or dissertation. These consist of original academic research that may be published in peer-reviewed journals. Students also generally defend these dissertations or theses to a panel of experts to get them approved.

In order to receive a DBA or Ph.D. in business, you’ll likely need to meet a number of requirements, including working in the field for five or more years, having a Master’s degree, taking the GMAT or GRE, and maintaining strong grades throughout your educational career. Not all of these are hard requirements, and they are, of course, different from program to program.

DBA, Online DBA, Doctor of Business Administration, Business AdminDBA and Ph.D. programs in business are an excellent way to seriously boost your career in a number of areas within the field. You’ll separate yourself from other candidates for executive positions in many organizations, and be qualified for tenure-track positions as a professor or post-doctoral researcher.

So, how did we choose the programs on this ranking? You can find a detailed methodology for this ranking below.


To rank the best online doctoral programs in Business, three key factors were identified: Affordable Tuition, Student Population, and Student Reviews via Niche. Schools were awarded points based on the quality of their representation in each category, to reflect the quality of the program and hosting school. The maximum point total a school could earn is 50 points.

Affordable degree, cheap online degreeAffordable Tuition is a crucial element in ranking online doctoral programs in Business. Affordability was determined to compare the lowest average cost of tuition, with a maximum score in this category being 20 points, with awarded points decreasing as tuition rises. The cost of tuition and fees used is the most recent numbers as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Schools with a larger Student Population were ranked higher than institutions with fewer attending students. While school size may be up to individual preference in person, for online programs larger volume programs often have more streamlined systems and award the most degrees. The school with the most students earned the maximum points in this category with 20 being awarded.

Lastly, the opinion of attending students rounds out the criteria. On account of the relatively fewer number of reviews for the schools which offer online Doctor of Business Administration or similar doctoral programs, this factor has a lesser impact on the overall score. The maximum points awarded is 10 in this category.

The following percentages reflect the influence each statistic has upon the ranking:

  • Affordable Tuition – 40%
  • Size of the Student Body – 40%
  • Quality based on Student Reviews via Niche – 20%

In the event of a tie ranking score, the alphabetical order of the institutions was used to determine the ranking order. All ranking scores are disclosed as Merit. No institution featured in this ranking were given preferential treatment, nor was any requested.

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  1. MERIT: 46
    View Profile Average Cost: $14,913

    University of Phoenix’s Online Doctor of Business Administration

    University of Phoenix DBA
    The University of Phoenix is a private, for-profit university based in Phoenix, Arizona. It was established in 1976 and became a major player in online education in the past two decades. Phoenix offers an open-enrollment admission policy, so students need only a high-school diploma, GED, or equivalent to attend.

    Phoenix offers an Online Doctor of Business Administration aimed at training thriving scholars, experts on specific aspects of business, or innovators of the field students work in. Phoenix’s Doctoral Education EcosystemTM lets students access a support system made up of “experienced researchers, online dissertation research and writing tools, and grants, fellowships and scholarships.”

    You’ll create and run research studies, learn how to build work environments that lead to growth and harmony, solve organizational problems, and much more. Students will learn how to bring their research goals to fruition, how to publish their work, and understand how research is funded and what award opportunities exist, making this Phoenix online DBA program unique.

    • This program takes 4 years to complete.
    • It requires 62 credits.
    • The cost per credit is $820
    More Information
  2. MERIT: 34
    View Profile Average Cost: $15,667

    Capella University’s Online Ph.D. in Business Management and Online Doctor of Business Administration

    Capella University DBA
    Capella is a private university headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota and founded in 1993. It’s known for its online programming. Capella offers students access to 142 graduate and undergraduate specializations, 25 certificate programs, and over 1600 online courses.

    Capella offers both an Online Ph.D. in Business Management and an Online Doctor of Business Administration, giving students more utility on what online doctoral business degree they can take. The Ph.D. is intended for students who want to take on leadership roles in education, consulting, researching for business systems, economics, management and much more. This Ph.D. program comes in specializations that include General Business Management, Accounting, Human Resource Management, Information Technology Management, Leadership, Project Management, and Strategy and Innovation.

    The DBA degree focuses on comprehensive business theory and its application to solving real-world business problems. Students will use in-person residencies and an applied doctoral research project to accomplish these goals. This degree comes in specializations like Accounting, Business Intelligence, Global Operations, and Supply Chain Management, Human Resource Management, Information Technology Management, Leadership, Project Management, and Strategy and Innovation.

    This wide range of specializations makes Capella’s online doctoral business degrees especially versatile and appealing.

    • These programs come with flexible scheduling so students can graduate at a pace that works for them.
    • Up to 12 credits can be transferred in to these programs.
    • These programs feature a flat $4,800 quarterly tuition rate which includes courses and required residencies.
    More Information
  3. MERIT: 34
    View Profile Average Cost: $15,256

    University of Maryland University College’s Online Doctor of Business Administration

    UMUC Online DBAUMUC is a public university and expansion of the University of Maryland, focused on online education. It gives students worldwide access to 120 academic programs in online classes and confers bachelor, masters, and doctoral degrees. The school serves nearly 60,000 students.

    UMUC offers an Online Doctor of Business Administration
    that promotes a strong cohort structure between students, faculty, and staff to help students achieve their learning goals. This program was created for executive-level professionals.

    The program delves deep into management theory, strategic thinking, organizational leadership, research, innovation, and sustainability. Students will approach these topics from a global business perspective.

    In the program, you’ll do qualitative management research, communicate findings and analyze organizations to make recommendations, present ideas and submit them for publication, and much more. You’ll take courses in Data Analytics in Practice, Evidence-Based Research Methods, and take classes on how to prepare and execute your dissertation.

    • This program requires 48 total credits.
    • It can be completed in three years.
    • It costs $1,087 per credit.
    More Information
  4. MERIT: 30
    View Profile Average Cost: $15,888

    Colorado Technical University’s Online Doctor of Business Administration

    Colorado Technical University DBACTU is a for-profit, private, mostly online university in Colorado Springs. It was founded in 1965. It offers all levels of degrees through schools of colleges of Business & Management, Engineering & Computer Science, Health Sciences, Information Systems & Technology, Security Studies and Project Management.

    CTU offers an Online Doctor of Business Administration
    that aims to help students use their experience and develop business expertise. Graduates will marry practical and theoretical skills to become useful thought-leaders in the business world.

    This program comes with multiple start dates each year. The development and execution of your dissertation is part of the programming schedule. Students will take classes online but also have a residency component to their degree, in addition to in-person symposium experiences.

    CTU prizes flexible scheduling to help working professionals earn their online DBA according to their ongoing responsibilities. The program features a number of electives, including Leadership Theory and Development, Futuring and Innovation, Information Assurance, and System Thinking and Decision Making, among many others.

    • This program requires 100 total credits.
    • This program can be completed in three years.
    • Costs are determined after calculating grants and scholarships qualified students can apply for.
    More Information
  5. MERIT: 30
    View Profile Average Cost: $11,359

    Bellevue University’s Online Ph.D. in Human Capital Management

    Bellevue University Ph.D. Human Capital ManagementBellevue University is a private, non-profit university based out of Bellevue, Nebraska. It was founded in 1966. Bellevue’s programs often offer accelerated, cohort-based, and/or online delivery to students.

    Instead of a DBA, Bellevue offers an
    Online Ph.D. in Human Capital Management that will make graduates effective developers of human capital programs, analysts of human capital investment, and extraordinary communicators and collaborators with organizational leaders. The program relies on business literature, original research and the breadth of experience from Bellevue’s faculty and practicing scholars.

    In the program coursework is offered through four modules:

    • Strategic Human Capital Management and Productivity
    • Linking Human Capital to Organizational Outcomes
    • Human Capital Leadership and Introduction to Measurement
    • Measuring, Analyzing, and Assessing Human Capital Effectiveness.

    Graduates of this Ph.D. in Human Capital Management will be able to demonstrate their knowledge of social theories, team processes and outcomes, quantitative and qualitative research, leadership theories, human capital theories, show serious communication, writing and presentation proficiency, among many other outcomes.

    • This program requires 58 credit hours.
    • This program costs $750 per credit hour for 18/19.
    • This program allows students to take some modules and not others if they so choose.
    More Information
  6. MERIT: 30
    View Profile Average Cost: $20,912

    Grand Canyon University’s Online Doctorate of Business

    Grand Canyon University Online DBAThe private, non-profit school was founded by the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention in 1949. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, it is the largest Christian university in the world and serves a student population of over 83,000.

    There are three different specializations in
    Grand Canyon University’s Online Doctorate of Business, with emphases in Data Analytics, Management, and Marketing, adding to student choice in the program.

    Joining that cohort online is a viable way for the ambitious businessperson to achieve their harbored C-suite ambitions. The coursework focuses on research tools and methods. It stresses applying innovative theoretical research to management, creating financial advantage and fostering competitive decision-making.

    These programs require two four-day residencies, conducted on-site with faculty and fellow learners.

    The curriculum focuses on evidence-based research. The school also highly values ethics and how they play an integral role in the branding, communication, and optimization literature — additionally, methods of designing global sustainability pair with applications of leveraging global capital so candidates can make the most competitive contributors to their organizations.

    • This program can be completed in 3.5 years
    • It requires 60 credits.
    More Information
  7. Baker College
    MERIT: 28
    Average Cost: $12,983

    Baker College’s Online Doctor of Business Administration

    Baker College DBABaker College is a private school in Flint, Michigan, that has developed a thriving online business program. The urban campus was founded in 1911 but has capably adapted to the digital era, stretching beyond the typical MBA offerings.

    Baker offers an
    Online Doctor of Business Administration
    designed to take graduates beyond standard managerial positions to rare, coveted positions in consulting, analytics, and executive roles.

    In this online DBA program, students choose from five areas of specialization including leadership, finance, human resources, management information systems, and marketing, or design their own specialized field of study.

    The curriculum graduates the online doctoral candidate from the prescribed courses of the first year to guided scholarly activities in year two, followed by a focus on independent research in an area of personal interest in the final year.

    • Coursework is designed to be finished in 7 semesters.
    • It requires 60 credits.
    • The cost per credit is $820
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  8. MERIT: 27
    View Profile Average Cost: $14,955

    Wilmington University’s Online Doctorate of Business Administration

    Wilmington University DBAWilmington is a private, non-profit school in New Castle, Delaware. It was founded in 1968. Its online programs through its College of Business has robust offerings, including, nine specialized MBAs in addition to its Doctor in Business Administration program. The online doctoral program matches its doctoral candidates with leading corporations to gain significant experience.

    Wilmington’s Online Doctorate of Business Administration
    opens the door to C-level positions as successful business executives and provides the credentials necessary to teach at the college level.

    The program builds on the competencies of its matriculated professionals, empowering them to contribute on a significant level to their institutions and enhance their performance. The skills and abilities acquired enable students to become vital leaders within their spheres.

    • The WilmU DBA can be completed in 3 years
    • Total number of credits: 54
    • $1,896 typical cost per credit
    More Information
  9. Wayland Baptist University
    MERIT: 14
    Average Cost: $18,693

    Wayland Baptist University’s Online Ph.D. in Management

    Wayland Baptist University online DBAThis private Texas university was founded in 1908, located in Plainview. Up in the panhandle, Wayland Baptist integrates faith and learning within a liberal arts degree to provide a moral and ethical compass for modern education.

    Wayland Baptist University’s Online Ph.D. in Management is intricately designed for the students to follow course by course and build on itself in a digestible, logical sequence. The cohort model ensures that all classmates have the same background and can lean on each other to facilitate the learning process.

    The terms are grouped in 11-week blocks throughout the calendar year, allowing more flexibility than the standard semester structure.

    Coursework focuses on Management Theory, Organizational Behavior, and Human Resource Management, with an emphasis on project design and management. The Ph.D. in Management is the flagship doctoral program at Wayland Baptist and is a beacon for the school’s academic mentorship.

    • Also Offers an MBA
    • Degree requires 60 credit hours
    More Information
  10. MERIT: 12
    View Profile Average Cost: $19,212

    University of the Cumberland’s Doctorate of Business Administration and Online Ph.D. in Business

    University of the Cumberlands DBA and Ph.D. in BusinessKentucky’s own University of the Cumberlands was founded in 1889. The private, religious academic institution in Williamsburg, Kentucky rests on the west bank of the Cumberland River.

    Cumberlands offers all levels of degrees through its Cumberland College (the university’s undergraduate school), the Hutton Center for Leadership Studies, Graduate/Professional Education program, and the Hutton School of Business/Management. The latter offers the
    University of the Cumberlands Doctorate of Business Administration
    and its Doctor of Philosophy in Business, which are intended for students looking to lead and innovate in business.

    In these programs, with the planned course structure and rotation, a full-time student earning 24 credits per academic year may complete the program easily in three years, while a half-time student completing 12 credits per academic year may complete the program in five years.

    The program was designed for working professionals who cannot attend classes in a traditional setting. It was designed to build research skills and practice researching. Students will also make use of theoretical literature through many practical exercises.

    • This program takes 3-5 years to complete.
    • It requires 60 credits.
    More Information

DBA vs PHD in Business, business degree, online DBA, Online business degree, online phd

What is the Difference Between a DBA and a Ph.D.?

For starters, the main difference between the two degrees is what the acronyms stand for. DBA’s are Doctorates of Business in Administration, whereas Ph.D.’s are Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in business administration. Both are terminal degrees in business that can set you apart from the competition for coveted roles in academia, corporations, consulting, and more.

A Ph.D. in business administration is the path for candidates who want to work in academia or research. These Ph.D. graduates are far more likely to add to the theoretical knowledge in the field of business than DBA graduates. DBA graduates often use the advanced theoretical knowledge they’ve learned to make applied decisions in business settings.

DBA Student, doctoral student, online business degreeStudents in Ph.D. in business administration programs are more likely to be younger, have less work experience, and a desire to work in academia. DBA students are generally older, hold an MBA, have significant work experience, and want to boost their career and apply new skills to it. They are relentlessly motivated, and often have a management problem that’s driving their study and thesis. This issue could be a problem their current organization is facing that they’re hoping to solve as part of their research and dissertation.

To sum it up: in the Ph.D. vs doctorate comparison, a Ph.D. in business administration is for those who want to do research, teach, and contribute to business knowledge, whereas a DBA is for people who have had success in business who want to learn new techniques to continue to succeed in the business world.

How Long Does it Take to Become a DBA?

online doctoral degree in business, online DBAAlas, there aren’t 1-year online doctoral programs in business. Online doctoral programs can be completed alongside your work, so even if they take years, they won’t stop you from accomplishing with what you need to.

The time it takes to earn a DBA depends on the program you choose. In general, these degrees take between three and six years to complete. However, with an online DBA or online Ph.D. in business administration, you can save time and money and build a coursework schedule that lets you decide how concentrated your courseload is semester to semester. In some cases, you can opt for a more accelerated program if you’re looking to get a degree as quickly as possible.

online DBA degree, online business degree, online doctoral programsBecoming a DBA or Ph.D. in business isn’t just completing coursework. You also need to imagine, research, create, build and defend a thesis or dissertation, and potentially publish your work. Fortunately, programs often make time and space in their curriculum to work on the thesis. However, with each thesis being different and what goes into it varying significantly, various projects will take longer than others.

When you find a program you’re interested in, you can reach out to it directly and request more information about how they schedule their doctorate degree. Through advisors and support staff you’ll likely be able to create a plan that gets you your online DBA degree at a pace that works for you. The best business degrees and best online business schools have a record of helping students create their path to their terminal business degrees.

How Much Do You Make in Business Administration?

money, salary, how much can I makeThe amount you earn in business administration is dependent on many factors. One factor is the degree you receive in the field. MBA’s correlate with significantly higher earnings than a Bachelor’s in business administration, and obviously, a doctorate business degree can qualify you for higher wages and more prestigious positions.

Another factor is what field you work in. Business administration professionals work in finance, accounting, operations, management, sales, human resources, marketing and so much more. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has charted the median income in some of the areas of the economy the best business degrees prepare you for:

  • Sales Management – $117,960
  • Financial Management – $121,750
  • Human Resources Management – $106,910
  • Food Service Management – $50,820
  • Health Care Administration – $83,810
  • Marketing Management – $131,180

DBA, online business degree, online DBA, doctorate onlineHow much you make in business administration has a lot to do with your career desires as well. If you take a Ph.D. in business administration, you’re far more apt to end up in academia, either teaching university-level business classes or doing post-doctoral research, or both. These roles pay significantly less than going back into the corporate world, which is more often the domain of graduates of a DBA program who had significant business experience before beginning their doctoral degree in business.

You can take control of your business administration earnings by getting an online DBA or Ph.D. in business administration from the schools we’ve ranked above. Do your research, work hard, and a top-paying business position can be yours before you know it.

Which Degree is Better, Business Administration or Management?

It’s rare for one degree to be objectively better than another, rather, certain degrees are more useful depending on what you want to do. Both a business administration degree and management degree have their advantages.

A degree in business administration will open you to a broader array of fields you could work in, whereas a degree in management will prepare you to supervise employees and processes across different areas of the economy.

online dba, dba, business degree, online doctorate degree in business

Many degrees in business administration, including some of the online DBA degree programs on this list, are offering specializations in management, so you can have the best of both worlds if you so choose.

Some degrees in business administration are more aimed towards building theoretical knowledge and using it to contribute to conceptual business practices. Others, like the DBA, and degrees in management, focus on the applied usage of these theories, and their studies focus on translating the classroom into advantages in the business world for themselves and their organizations.

Think about what you want from your business degree. Do you want to gain skills that can be used to manage employees and operations in many areas? Do you want to build advanced research, writing and communication skills? Would you rather have a combination of the two?

There are degree programs that will meet your needs no matter what your career goals are. We hope you’ve found this resource helpful, and remember to reach out to request more information from any school you’re interested in through their homepages.

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