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Top Online Doctorates in Business and Management

Date Updated: November 3, 2020

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.

Programs Offering Online Doctoral Degrees in Business

School Location
Keiser University Fort Lauderdale, FL
Gardner-Webb University Boiling Springs, NC
Felician University Rutherford, NJ
Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL
California Baptist University Riverside, CA
Hampton University Hampton, VA
Franklin University Columbus, OH
Wayland Baptist University Plainview, TX
Wilmington University Georgetown, DE
Liberty University Lynchburg, VA

See Detailed Listings

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.

Business and Management Doctoral Programs

When selecting a program, prospective students should consider cost, location, and accessibility. Additionally, a learner who relies on their income to support themselves or their family can consider earning an online Ph.D. in business. The following list features online doctoral programs for students to begin their search.

Keiser University – Fort Lauderdale, FL

Keiser is a private university in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The nonprofit institution is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and serves approximately 19,600 students. The school offers dozens of online degrees, including three graduate programs. Distance students enjoy remote access to the school's online business doctoral program.

Students complete eight-week online classes entirely remotely. Learners in the online doctoral program in business can choose from specializations In marketing, global business, or global management.

Degree-seekers need 60 graduate-level credit hours for graduation. Additionally, doctoral students need to complete two residencies, including one during the first year and one in the second year before taking comprehensive exams.

Prospective students must demonstrate competency in business areas such as finance, accounting, economics, and statistics before they begin coursework for the DBA. Kaiser expects applicants to have completed six undergraduate credits or three graduate credits in accounting, finance, and economics, with a "B" or higher grade in each area. Accepted students can take these courses at Keiser if needed.

Interested DBA students must possess a master's degree in management, business administration, public or nonprofit management, or a related field. Additionally, Keiser applicants need two years of full-time professional or managerial experience before entering the program.

Applicants without a graduate degree in business or a related field must hold a master's degree from an accredited institution. They should also possess 3-5 years of professional work experience.

Average Net Price: $27,649

Gardner-Webb University – Boiling Springs, NC

Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, Gardner-Webb is a private institution with nearly 3,600 students. Established in 1905, the school offers a dozen online programs, including an online DBA program in business. Gardner-Webb is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and holds a religious affiliation with the Baptist church. The school prides itself on representing at least 24 Christian denominations within its student body.

This hybrid doctor of business administration prepares students with key skills in global strategic management, academic research, leadership, and critical thinking. Learners choose from concentrations in finance, international business, accounting, marketing, or management. Full-time students typically complete the program in nine consecutive semesters. These students typically take six hours or more per semester.

Degree-seekers need to complete 60 credit hours for graduation. The diverse curriculum covers essential topics in advanced marketing strategies, advanced corporate finances, academic research methods, applied business statistics, and global business strategies. Doctoral students must also write a traditional dissertation for graduation.

Prospective students need a master's degree in business or a related area with a 3.0 or higher GPA from a regionally accredited university or college. Applications must also include a personal resume, statement of interest, and two letters of recommendation. Applicants may also need to partake in an interview with the DBA director and committee. Upon completion of this degree, graduates from Gardner-Webb typically move on to careers in business, government, and education.

Average Net Price: $19,197

Felician University – Rutherford, NJ

Felician offers an online doctoral program in business for remote students. Located in Rutherford, New Jersey, the school is based only 12 miles from New York City. The private institution holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Founded in 1942, Felician maintains a religious affiliation with the Catholic church and serves around 2,400 students.

This fully online doctor of business administration program focuses on developing students' academic research abilities to contribute to scholarship in the business field. Degree-seekers study foundational and recent theories in marketing, management, and decision-making by taking 15-week classes over the course of several semesters.

Students engage with a four-phase curriculum consisting of foundational courses, core business knowledge and management skills, demonstrations of competency, and a dissertation. Required courses include statistical and quantitative analysis, historical perspectives in marketing, contemporary decision theory, and online communication of business knowledge. Doctoral students must also complete a teaching assistantship, an online teaching practicum, and a traditional dissertation for graduation.

Prospective DBA students need to submit an application fee, a personal statement, a resume, official transcripts, and a letter of recommendation. Applicants can also submit their GRE or GMAT scores as optional supplemental documents.

Online learners receive remote training and assistance in the Brightspace app. Additionally, Felician offers online tutoring for all enrolled students. Felician is also part of an online alliance with Madonna University and Villa Maria College. Remote students may be able to take classes offered at other institutions to diversify their online learning experience.

Average Net Price: $17,917

Saint Leo University – Saint Leo, FL

Established in 1889, Saint Leo is a private university with an online DBA program. This nonprofit institution, located just 30 miles north of Tampa in Saint Leo, Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Saint Leo is one of the oldest Catholic institutions of higher education in the state and serves approximately 2,300 students on its main campus. The student body includes approximately 13,000 students including the school's 35 regional campuses and online learners.

This graduate program prides itself on preparing DBA students for careers in teaching, academic leadership roles, and consulting positions. Degree-seekers in this doctor of business administration program develop advanced research, critical analysis, and intellectual skills through 57 credit hours of classes. Required courses include analytics for decision-making, best practices in consulting, global leadership and ethics, and qualitative research methods.

Doctoral students must also complete a management teaching practicum and a consulting practicum. The department requires learners to pass doctoral comprehensive exams and an oral dissertation defense. Depending on the duration of the dissertation process, many full-time students complete this program in four years.

Prospective students must possess a master's degree with a 3.5 or higher GPA from a regionally accredited institution. Applications must include two letters of recommendation, an application fee, a resume, official graduate transcripts, and a $500 deposit. Interested DBA online students must also submit a professional goal statement that explains why they wish to pursue a doctoral degree, outlines a specific area of interest, and describes their intended career plans upon completing the degree.

Average Net Price: $20,036

California Baptist University – Riverside, CA

CBU is a private school in Riverside, California, founded in 1950 by the California Southern Baptist Convention. With regional accreditation from the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), the school educates approximately 11,100 students. CBU offers more than 30 graduate programs, including an online business doctoral program.

Doctoral degree-seekers need to complete 50 major units for graduation. Faculty deliver accelerated, eight-week courses entirely online or in a hybrid format. Full-time learners usually take one class per eight weeks and typically finish the cohort learning program in approximately 36 months.

The doctor of business administration offers CBU students training in sustainable solutions and business-focused creativity, both of which help learners perform in today's global business environment. Learners in this program study leadership roles in public, private, and nonprofit organizations. Additionally, DBA students receive advanced training in areas such as human resources, marketing, and professional management.

Distance learners enjoy remote access to the academic success center, including 24/7 online tutoring support. Online DBA students at CBU can also meet with faculty members in online office hours or on campus. Distance career support services include career assessment, interview preparation, job search coaching, and resume writing.

Incoming students who are veterans or active service members in a branch of the military are eligible for tuition assistance. Incoming graduate students with financial need, a strong academic record, and a CBU undergraduate degree can apply for the Lancer Loyalty Graduate School Grant to fund their DBA schooling. Grant recipients can receive up to $3,000.

Average Net Price: $24,170

Hampton University – Hampton, VA

Located in Hampton, Virginia, HU is a private school with an online Ph.D. program in business. Founded in 1868 as Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, today HU serves approximately 4,300 students. The nonprofit institution is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Colleges (SACSCOC).The main campus is near the Chesapeake Bay and shares the landscape with historical sites, beaches, and attractions, including the NASA Langley Research Center, the Virginia Air and Space Center, and Fort Monroe.

This Ph.D. in business administration best serves students interested in pursuing careers as consultants or professors. The program can also help established working professionals to advance in their current careers and obtain leadership roles or administrative positions.

HU students complete between 61-81 credits for graduation. Required courses include organizational behavior, strategy and business policy, teaching methodology, empirical research methods, and advanced leadership concepts. HU also accepts up to six credits of minor coursework for students with relevant professional experience.

Doctoral students pursuing a degree in business administration online must participate in two summer residencies on HU's main campus. These four-week residencies take place in mid-July and mid-August during the students' first and second years in the program.

Prospective online business administration students need a master's degree in a business field or an approved area. Students who do not meet this requirement need to complete nine master's-level courses in accounting, economics, and quantitative business analysis. Additionally, competitive applicants should possess a 400 or higher score on the GMAT.

Average Net Price: $28,347

Franklin University – Columbus, OH

Located in Columbus, Ohio, Franklin is a private school with regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Founded in 1902, the school serves approximately 5,000 students and boasts more than 25 satellite campuses throughout the Midwest. The nonprofit university offers distance students an online DBA program.

Franklin DBA students learn how to apply relevant research to solve present-day business issues, excel in leadership roles, and enact organizational transformation. Online pupils also explore key aspects of business such as economic and political influence in global markets, government intervention and regulation, and diversity in the workforce.

Students need to complete at least 58 semester hours for graduation. Required major courses include organizational leadership, strategic thinking and decision-making, organizational performance analysis, and ethics and social responsibility.

Franklin offers a unique dissertation structure that helps students complete this significant task in a step-by-step format while taking classes. Students also receive faculty mentoring and peer-to-peer support throughout the dissertation process.

Prospective students need a master's degree with a 3.0 or higher GPA from a regionally accredited institution. Franklin also expects applicants to possess 30 hours of graduate coursework in a business-related field. Many online DBA students complete this program in three years. Incoming learners can transfer up to 24 hours of previously earned credit.

Enrolled students can take advantage of a variety of online resources, including resume services, interview preparation, and career coaching. Distance pupils also enjoy remote access to tutoring services and writing assistance.

Average Net Price: $18,684

Wayland Baptist University – Plainview, TX

WBU is a private school in Plainview, Texas. Founded in 1908, the nonprofit Baptist-affiliated school boasts more than 4,500 students across 14 campus locations. External campus locations include American Samoa, Kenya, New Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska, and Arizona. WBU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and offers an online doctor of management program.

This D.Mgt program best serves graduate students interested in learning high-level academic research techniques and theories. Online pupils learn to understand global business practices that positively affect nonprofit, governmental, and commercial endeavors. As such, WBU graduates often pursue careers as consultants, practitioners, or college faculty members.

The doctor of management degree requires at least 60 semester hours of coursework for graduation. Faculty deliver 11-week courses in areas such as organizational behavior and theory, human resource management, management theory, and project design. WBU follows a synchronous, cohort-based learning model.

Online doctoral online students need to pass a comprehensive exam with an 80% or higher for graduation. Additionally, the department requires degree-seekers to complete an applied research project during their 10th term.

Applicants with a 3.4 or higher GPA need to submit an online application, application fee, their official transcripts, and a current resume. Prospective students with a 3.0-3.39 GPA need to participate in a personal interview with the admissions committee for consideration. Incoming students can transfer up to two-thirds of the required credits toward the DBA, provided they earned a "B" or higher grade in eligible courses.

Average Net Price: $21,593

Wilmington University – Georgetown, DE

WilmU is a private nonprofit school located in Georgetown, Delaware. The school holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and features an online DBA program.

WilmU offers this DBA program to help foster the next generation of senior managers and innovative leaders in the business world. Remote students build upon the skills acquired throughout their master's program to develop high-level academic research skills and an understanding of progressive business theories in their specialty areas.

Degree-seekers need to complete at least 54 credits for graduation. Remote students take seven-week courses entirely online or in a hybrid format. Most full-time learners take two classes per semester, or six classes per year. Required courses include statistics for research, business intelligence, ethics in business and management, executive decision-making, and organizational strategy and policy.

Distance students also need to write a traditional dissertation or complete a culminating research project. At least nine semester credit hours come from dissertation research credits or time spent on the research project. Whether students choose to write a dissertation or complete a project, they need to present the results to a dissertation committee for evaluation. Depending on how long it takes to complete the dissertation or research project, full-time students can finish this degree in approximately three years.

Remote students complete a two-day residency on campus to participate in workshops and meet with faculty members to discuss the dissertation or final project process.

Interested learners need to submit an online application, including a current resume, three letters of recommendation, and a statement of goals.

Average Net Price: $13,814

Liberty University – Lynchburg, VA

Liberty is a private Evangelical university located in Lynchburg, Virginia. The nonprofit institution is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1971, the school serves more than 100,000 students worldwide. Liberty also boasts over 400 online programs, including 300 graduate degree options. Distance students enjoy remote access to the school's online doctoral degree in business.

Pupils pursuing this doctor of business administration degree need at least 60 credit hours for graduation. Faculty deliver eight-week courses entirely online and help students explore essential topics in finance, healthcare management, accounting, and leadership. Required courses include strategic supply chain management, human resource development, and strategic thinking for decision-making. Most students follow Liberty's suggested course sequence and complete required classes in nine semesters.

Liberty's DBA program builds upon students' existing business skill set and prepares them for leadership and administrative roles in a specialty area. Graduate students in this program can choose from a dozen specializations, including information systems, international business, strategic management, real estate management, and strategic management and digital content.

Prospective students need a master's degree in business or a related field. Students who wish to pursue the concentration in accounting should have a master of science in accounting or a related degree. Liberty expects applicants to possess a 3.0 or higher GPA. Incoming students can transfer up to 15 credit hours toward the DBA. Liberty waives application fees for military personnel, veterans, and service members.

DBA graduates move on to careers such as college or university faculty members, corporate consultants, education administrators, government policy consultants, and executive managers.

Average Net Price: $27,432

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.


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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