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Top Online Doctorates In Business Management 2021

Date Updated: February 5, 2021

A doctoral degree in business and management, which typically takes 3-4 years to earn, culminates in a dissertation and awards each graduate with a terminal degree in the field. Industry professionals and students of business may pursue this high-level degree to take advantage of potential career and salary advancements.

Doctoral business degrees generally exceed requirements for management and leadership positions. This may give doctoral degree-holders a competitive edge in the job market and help them meet their career and salary goals.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), managers in advertising, promotions, and marketing earn a median annual salary of $135,900. BLS projections data indicates that employment in business management occupations will grow by 5% from 2019-2029.

Business professionals with valuable industry experience looking to pursue doctoral business degrees may feel limited by their locations or work obligations. Fortunately, many schools now offer accredited online Ph.D. business programs, which offer added flexibility.

Why an Online Doctorate in Business and Management?

A doctorate in business administration and management indicates substantial achievement in the business field.

Earning a doctoral degree prepares graduates for advanced management positions and offers increased opportunities for salary promotions. Additionally, students benefit from the practical research and business theory in their doctoral programs.

Doctoral degrees in business generally take 3-4 years to complete, which is a substantial amount of time to spend outside of the workforce. An enrollee in an online Ph.D. business program can use the flexibility of virtual classrooms to maintain their lifestyle outside of school.

  • High Salary: Doctoral degree-holders in business may enjoy higher salaries as a reward for their educational endeavors. PayScale reports an average annual salary of $102,320 for a professional who holds a Ph.D. in business.
  • Competitive Edge: While many jobs in the business industry only require a bachelor's degree, candidates with higher-level degrees meet many preferred qualifications and offer greater understanding of the business industry.
  • Preparation for Management: Students with doctoral degrees in business become better prepared for advanced managerial roles than candidates with bachelor's and master's degrees.

2021's Online Business and Management Doctoral Programs

When selecting a program, prospective students pursuing a Ph.D. in business should consider factors such as cost, location, and accessibility. Degree-seekers with work and family responsibilities can consider earning an online Ph.D. in business.

Based on schools' self-reported program availability, we compiled the following list of online doctoral programs from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. All programs in this list hold regional or national accreditation from one of the following bodies:

  • – Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)
  • – Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • – Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • – Southern Association of College and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • – WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

Some programs may also hold business-specific accreditation from one of the following programmatic accreditors:

  • – Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
  • – International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE)

Abraham Lincoln University

  • – Doctorate of Business Administration
  • Accreditation: DEAC
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

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California Baptist University

  • – Doctor of Business Administration
  • Accreditation: WSCUC
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (synchronous) or hybrid

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California Miramar University

  • – Doctor of Business Administration
  • Accreditation: DEAC
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous) or hybrid

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Capella University

  • – Ph.D. in Business Management or Doctor of Business Administration
  • Accreditation: ACBSP, HLC
  • Delivery Format: Hybrid

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Colorado Technical University

  • – Doctor of Management
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • Delivery Format: Hybrid

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Columbia Southern University

  • – Doctor of Business Administration
  • Accreditation: DEAC
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

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Felician University

  • – Doctor of Business Administration
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

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Hampton University

  • – Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration
  • Accreditation: IACBE, SACSCOC
  • Delivery Format: Hybrid

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Keiser University

  • – Business Administration, DBA
  • Accreditation: ACBSP, SACSCOC
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous) or on campus

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Liberty University

  • – Doctor of Business Administration
  • Accreditation: ACBSP, SACSCOC
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

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Northcentral University

  • – Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration
  • Accreditation: ACBSP, WSCUC
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

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Saint Leo University

  • – Doctor of Business Administration
  • Accreditation: ACBSP, SACSCOC
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

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South University

  • – Doctor of Business Administration
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous) or hybrid

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Trident University International

  • – Ph.D. in Business Administration
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

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Walden University

  • – Ph.D. in Management
  • Accreditation: ACBSP, HLC
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

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Wayland Baptist University

  • – Doctor of Management
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

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Wilmington University

  • – Doctor of Business Administration
  • Accreditation: IACBE, MSCHE
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous) or hybrid

View Program


What To Expect From DBA and Ph.D. in Business Programs

Prospective students can expect doctoral coursework to focus heavily on business theory and research. These programs often require 60-90 credits and include a doctoral dissertation, an extensive research project completed under the supervision of program faculty.

While both programs focus on different aspects of business, a doctorate in business administration (DBA) and a Ph.D. in management each take 3-4 years to complete. Enrollees typically pursue these degrees on campus. However, many schools now offer comprehensive online Ph.D. programs in business, allowing learners to fully earn their degrees from home. Some schools offer hybrid models that mix in-person and online classes.

Students earning doctorates in business can also specialize their degrees. Boasting a specific area of expertise, such as finance, entrepreneurship, or healthcare management, can offer candidates a competitive edge in the job market.

Although admission requirements vary by school, most programs request transcripts demonstrating significant undergraduate or master's-level achievement, sufficient GMAT or GRE test scores, and professional industry experience.

Business Degree Options

Each prospective doctoral student can pursue a DBA or a Ph.D. in business management. They should choose based on their personal and professional goals. The differences between degrees lie largely in their contributions to the business world.

The DBA best suits business professionals seeking to advance their position in the business industry, while the Ph.D. best meets the needs of academics hoping to research, publish, and contribute to postsecondary business education.

The prerequisites may also differ based on the degree program. DBA programs often require industry experience in addition to a bachelor's or master's degree, while a Ph.D. program may only require a master's degree in a business-related field.

Popular Doctoral Program Courses

Many of the core classes in doctoral business programs teach mastery of the subjects offered in lower-level business degrees. Doctoral classes also build on industry and internship experiences. Curricula vary by school, but most business programs cover the following classes:

  • Accounting: Doctoral-level accounting courses develop the knowledge acquired in graduate work or professional experience and include best practice related to ledgers, inventory methods, balance sheets, cost accounting, and more. These courses may also differentiate between smaller-scale or individual finance and larger-scale organizational finance.
  • Global Business: Business students can prepare for international exchanges by studying international economics and marketing, comparative politics, and strategic management for multinational enterprise. Global business courses also teach students to broaden their understanding of business to include the global economy.
  • Marketing: Doctoral courses in marketing teach mastery of advertising and promotion, consumer behavior, marketing communications, public relations, market research, and advanced marketing theory. Marketing courses may differentiate among fields like medicine, law, consumer advertising, and more.
  • Operations and Supply Chain Management: Doctoral students in business must possess a working knowledge of manufacturing and service industries. Operations and supply courses focus on distribution, logistics, demand forecasting, order fulfillment, and more.

The Doctoral Dissertation

Each doctoral program culminates in a dissertation, a large thesis or research project exploring a complex principle, theory, or idea. Students complete these projects under the supervision of faculty members and must successfully defend their dissertations to earn their doctoral degrees. While both a DBA and a Ph.D. in management require a dissertation, the focus of the project may differ by degree type.

DBA dissertations cover the business industry rather than academia. A student pursuing a DBA can create a theoretical model to solve problems and address specific needs in business. Ph.D. dissertations may focus on industry but commonly contribute to existing research on business topics.

What Jobs Can You Get as a Doctor of Business or Management?

Students earning doctoral degrees in business can look forward to managerial occupations that offer high salaries and positive job outlooks. Both degrees provide students with substantial opportunities for research and specialization, making them especially qualified for leadership roles.

In business, employers uniquely value education and work experience equally.

Candidates can increase their hiring potential by studying business theory and working or finding internships in their field.

The following careers in business require or appreciate high levels of education and work experience:


Human Resources Managers

Top managers in human resources administer and monitor employment programs to ensure that organizations comply with laws and best practices. Human resources managers also plan, organize, and lead organizations' administrative functions.

  • Requirements: While a candidate may only need to possess a bachelor's degree to attain employment in human resources, those with advanced degrees offer considerably more knowledge and experience to their employers, making them stronger candidates in the job market.
  • Job Outlook (2019-2029): +6%
  • Median Annual Salary: $116,720

Postsecondary Business Teachers

University professors in business schools instruct students on research and development of business practices and theory. They may also serve in advisory roles or even supervise graduate-level theses and dissertations.

  • Requirements: A candidate seeking employment as a tenured university professor generally holds a Ph.D. or DBA. Instructors should also demonstrate competency through business research and/or workforce experience.
  • Job Outlook (2019-2029): +9%
  • Median Annual Salary: $79,540

Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers

Managers in advertising, promotions, and marketing develop campaigns to maintain and expand their organization's share of the market. These managers may be employed in advertising agencies, corporate firms, regional management offices, and more.

  • Requirements: Although most advertising, promotions, and marketing management positions require each candidate to possess a bachelor's degree, these managers should also draw from substantial educational or industry experience to best advise and lead their teams.
  • Job Outlook (2019-2029): +6%
  • Median Annual Salary: $135,900

How To Find the Right Business Program

Students beginning their search to find the right business program should consider more than just the cost of tuition. Each aspiring doctoral student should consider the following factors:

  • Accreditation: To ensure the academic quality of their degrees, business students need to ensure that their programs have received accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
  • Location: Some students may feel restricted in their school search due to the limited number of schools in their area. Fortunately, many online Ph.D. business programs allow students to complete their education from home.
  • School Size: Prospective students should consider a school's size and how this may affect their experience. Smaller schools generally offer smaller class sizes, but larger schools tend to offer a wider scope of classes and specializations.
  • Student-to-Teacher Ratio: A low student-to-teacher ratio leads to more personal relationships between learners and their instructors.
  • Program Length: Business program requirements vary by school, so students should consider the number of mandatory credits and the length of time to complete a degree when considering possible programs.

Why Should You Get Your Ph.D. in Management Online?

Students who need to commute to campus, plan around work schedules, and balance life and family obligations may find on-campus classes difficult to manage. Earning an online Ph.D. in management offers greater flexibility in time management.

Pursuing an online Ph.D. in business may also be more affordable than in-person learning. Students typically spend less per credit in online programs than their on-campus peers and save on expenses related to commuting and room and board.

Many students remain cautious of online programs since they may seem to be less legitimate than those completed solely on campus. Fortunately, school accrediting agencies like the AACSB can clarify some of that confusion. If an online program is accredited, then it holds value in the workforce.

Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

What does it take to get a DBA?

Earning a DBA takes 3-4 years of study, advanced-level coursework, and the successful completion of a dissertation. Students often must draw from work or internship experience in their development of business theory.

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

The DBA applies best to business professionals seeking to advance their positions in the business world, while the Ph.D. applies best to academics hoping to research, publish, and contribute to higher-level business education.

Are online Ph.D. programs credible?

Online Ph.D. business programs are credible if they hold accreditation by an agency like the AACSB. If they lack accreditation, then they may offer poorer academic quality.

Is a doctoral degree in business and management worth it?

Individuals with doctoral degrees in business may enjoy higher salaries as a reward for their educational endeavors. PayScale reports an average annual salary of $102,320 for people holding a Ph.D. in business.

What can I do with a doctorate in business?

There are many career options available to doctors of business, including top managerial roles and postsecondary instructors. The specializations available in doctoral degree programs can help graduates to best prepare for specific career paths.

Professional Organizations in Business Management

DBA and Ph.D. students and professionals often rely on organizations for networking, news, and continuing education opportunities. Most professional organizations run annual conferences and provide online networking platforms. Many also feature job boards, career centers, and volunteer opportunities, along with discounts for members.

  • American Management Association
    This leading management nonprofit provides certificate and training programs for individuals and corporations. Members receive free seminars, quarterly research papers, discounted sessions and room rentals, and subscriptions to the AMA journal and newsletter.
  • International Association of Administrative Professionals
    IAAP advocates for and enriches office and administrative professionals by providing certifications, leadership development, and conferences. The association also features an online career center and offers leadership opportunities within the organization.
  • Business Professionals of America
    This career and technical organization for business students boasts around 1,800 chapters and 45,000 members. BPA provides competitions, certifications, and conferences, along with volunteer and internship opportunities.
  • American Society of Association Executives
    For over 100 years, ASAE has fostered innovation and growth in the field of association management. This organization supports professionals and students through its career center, conferences, advocacy, and online resources.
  • Sales and Marketing Executives International
    By facilitating networking and information sharing, SMEI increases the credibility and capability of sales and marketing professionals. The organization offers courses, certification programs, conferences, and career resources.

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