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Best Online Ph.D. in Business and DBA Programs

Considering an Online Doctoral Program in Business? Here are the Top-Ranked Programs and Choosing Between a DBA and Ph.D.

Key Takeaways

  • An online Ph.D. or DBA in business can qualify you for high-paying management and executive roles, providing specialized knowledge and skills for your career advancement.
  • Accreditation is essential when choosing an online doctoral program in business, as it ensures academic excellence, financial aid eligibility, and recognition by employers and professional certifications.
  • The length of online Ph.D. or DBA programs can vary from 3 to 6 years, with costs ranging from $50,000 to $170,000, depending on factors such as program type, school, financial aid, and whether the program is fully funded.

Management jobs are known to pay the highest salaries across various career paths. If you aspire to excel in a leadership role, obtaining a graduate degree in business can be a significant stepping stone.

While an MBA can provide valuable skills and opportunities, a doctorate in business is the highest degree you can achieve in business school.

By pursuing a Ph.D. or DBA degree, you will acquire specialized knowledge and skills that will prepare you for a successful career in the business world.

Quickview: Best Online Ph.D. in Business and DBA Programs

InstitutionLocationAverage Cost per CreditCredits to Graduate
Liberty UniversityLynchburg, VA$60060
Baker CollegeOwosso, MI$75060
Franklin UniversityColumbus, OH$75058
City University of SeattleSeattle, WA$77091
California Baptist UniversityRiverside, CA$80056
Keiser University-Ft LauderdaleFt Lauderdale, FL$98060
Gardner-Webb UniversityBoiling Springs, NC$93060
Concordia University-ChicagoRiver Forest, IL$96060
Johnson & Wales University-OnlineProvidence, RI$99054
Felician UniversityLodi, NJ$1,03061

Benefits of Getting an Online Ph.D. in Business or DBA Degree

  1. Wide Range of Business Careers: An online Ph.D. in business opens doors to various career options, including accounting, advertising, finance, management, marketing, and more.
  2. Increased Salary Potential: Having a Ph.D. in business can significantly boost your earning potential and set you apart from other job candidates.
  3. Advancement into Executive Roles: With a doctorate, you will be better equipped to move into executive and leadership positions within organizations.
  4. Access to Top Programs: Online doctoral programs in business allow you to attend prestigious institutions without needing relocation.
  5. Potential Cost Savings: Some online business doctorate programs offer discounted tuition rates for distance learners, making them more affordable.

Did You Know? Business is a highly sought-after field for graduate studies, with nearly one-fourth of all master’s degrees awarded in 2020 being in business. Additionally, professionals with a doctorate in business report the lowest unemployment rate compared to other education levels.

Why Accreditation Matters for Online Business Doctorate Programs

When selecting an online doctoral program in business, it is crucial to consider accreditation. Accredited universities meet rigorous academic excellence standards, ensuring you receive a high-quality education. Accreditation also affects financial aid eligibility, educational quality, and career prospects.

Many employers and professional certifications require candidates to have a degree from an accredited institution. Therefore, verifying the accreditation status of the online business doctorate program you are considering is essential.

DBA vs. Ph.D.

Understanding the Differences: If you are torn between pursuing a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) or a Ph.D. in business, it is important to understand their distinctions. Here’s a brief overview:

  • DBA: A DBA program emphasizes applied knowledge and practical skills. It typically takes 3-5 years to complete and requires a dissertation or applied project as a culminating experience. Graduates with a DBA degree can pursue leadership roles in business, such as consulting, administration, and academia.
  • Ph.D. in Business: A Ph.D. program focuses on business theory and research. It usually takes 4-6 years to complete and requires a research-based dissertation as a culminating experience. Graduates with a Ph.D. in business can pursue academic and research positions.

Top Online Business Ph.D. and DBA Programs

When choosing an online doctoral program in business, it is crucial to consider reputable institutions. Here are some of the top-ranked online Ph.D. and DBA programs:

Liberty University (Lynchburg, VA)

Online DBA Program

This program provides a 4-year online and on-campus option, with an average cost per credit of $600. Students need to complete 60 credits to graduate.

Located in Lynchburg, VA, Liberty University offers an online DBA program that is accredited by ACBSP (Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs). The program focuses on mentorship and training for the highest level of the corporate world.

Liberty University’s online DBA program offers 17 specializations, including nonprofit leadership, strategic management, international business, and executive coaching. The coursework varies depending on the chosen specialization but typically covers current topics in business administration, strategic thinking, leadership, and other relevant areas.

With a flexible online format, Liberty University’s DBA program allows students to balance their studies with other commitments. The program requires the completion of 60 credits and typically takes four years to complete. To apply, applicants must have a relevant master’s degree from an accredited institution and submit official transcripts. The program offers affordable tuition at an average cost of $600 per credit.

By pursuing a DBA degree from Liberty University, students gain specialized knowledge and skills that can help them excel in leadership roles in various industries. The program’s emphasis on mentorship and training prepares students for success in the corporate world. Additionally, Liberty University’s ACBSP accreditation ensures that the program meets high academic quality and relevance standards.

Baker College (Owosso, MI)

Online DBA Program

This program offers a 4-year online and on-campus option, with an average cost per credit of $750. Graduates need to complete 60 credits to graduate.

Baker College is a private, non-profit university with campuses in Michigan and Ohio. The college offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs, including a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program.

The DBA program at Baker College is designed to prepare students for leadership roles in business and industry. The program is offered online and on campus and can be completed in as few as 3.5 years.

The curriculum for the DBA program at Baker College includes courses in leadership, ethics, organizational behavior, research methods, and quantitative analysis. Students also have the opportunity to complete a capstone research project.

To be admitted to the DBA program at Baker College, students must have a master’s degree from an accredited institution and a GPA of at least 2.5.

Baker College has a 61% retention rate, which means that most students who enroll at the college stay enrolled and graduate. The college also has a 54% admission rate, which means that it is selective about who it admits.

The average cost per credit for the DBA program at Baker College is $750. The program’s total cost will vary depending on the number of credits students take.

The Higher Learning Commission accredits Baker College. The college has a student enrollment of over 6,000 students.

Franklin University (Columbus, OH)

Online DBA Program

This program provides a 4-year online and on-campus option, with an average cost per credit of $750. Students need to complete 58 credits to graduate.

Franklin University, located in Columbus, OH, offers a 100% online, four-year DBA program. The program is designed to provide students with advanced knowledge and skills in various business areas, including accounting, IT, public administration, marketing, human resources management, and healthcare management.

The curriculum includes courses covering statistics, quantitative research, organizational leadership, strategic thinking, decision-making, and innovation. These courses give students a solid foundation in business concepts and prepare them for leadership roles in their respective fields.

To be eligible for admission, applicants must have an accredited master’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Additionally, applicants must have at least 30 hours of graduate coursework or three years of relevant work experience in a business-related field. The application process also involves the submission of official transcripts, a resume, and other required documents.

Franklin University has an average undergraduate tuition of $9,552 and an average graduate tuition of $16,080. The university has a retention rate of 9% (which might indicate a lower percentage of students returning for subsequent years), and specific admission rate information was not provided. The institution is private and offers a 100% online enrollment option.

City University of Seattle (Seattle, WA)

ACBSP-accredited DBA Online

City University of Seattle offers a 4-year online and on-campus program with an average cost per credit of $770. Students need to complete 91 credits to graduate.

City University of Seattle is a private university located in Seattle, Washington. The university offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs, including a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program.

The DBA program at City University of Seattle is designed to prepare students for leadership roles in business and industry. The program is offered online and on campus, and it can be completed in as few as 4 years.

The curriculum for the DBA program at City University of Seattle includes courses in leadership, ethics, organizational behavior, research methods, and quantitative analysis. Students also have the opportunity to complete a capstone research project.

The program emphasizes organization interventional thinking, agile business practices, critical thinking, and leadership. Students can choose between online and on-campus formats, and they can also choose their own specialization. The curriculum includes organizational development theories and trends, financial decision-making, and industry analysis and market innovation.

To be admitted to the DBA program at City University of Seattle, students must have a master’s degree from an accredited institution and a GPA of at least 3.0.

The average cost per credit for the DBA program at City University of Seattle is $770. The average cost per year is $11,812 The total cost of the program will vary depending on the number of credits students take.

City University of Seattle is accredited by the ACBSP. The university has a student enrollment of over 2,000 students.

California Baptist University (Riverside, CA)

Online DBA Program

This program provides a 4-year online and on-campus option, with an average cost per credit of $800. Students need to complete 56 credits to graduate.

California Baptist University is a private university located in Riverside, California. The university offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs, including a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program.

The DBA program at California Baptist University is designed to prepare students for leadership roles in business and industry. The program is offered online and on campus and can be completed in as few as four years.

The curriculum for the DBA program at California Baptist University includes courses in leadership, ethics, organizational behavior, research methods, and quantitative analysis. Students also have the opportunity to complete a capstone research project.

The program emphasizes innovation and sustainability and trains students to lead public, private, and nonprofit organizations. The cohort-based curriculum consists of eight-week online courses.

To be admitted to the DBA program at California Baptist University, students must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and a GPA of at least 3.0.

The average cost per credit for the DBA program at California Baptist University is $800. The average annual cost is $13,410. The program’s total cost will vary depending on the number of credits students take.

CBU has a retention rate of 76% and an admission rate of 80%.

The WASC Senior College and University Commission accredits California Baptist University. The university has a student enrollment of over 11,000 students.

Gardner-Webb University (Boiling Springs, NC)

Online DBA Program

Gardner-Webb University offers a 4-year online and on-campus program with an average cost per credit of $930. Students need to complete 60 credits to graduate.

Concordia University-Chicago (River Forest, IL)

Online DBA Program

This program offers a 4-year online and on-campus option, with an average cost per credit of $960. Students need to complete 60 credits to graduate.

Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale (Fort Lauderdale, FL)

Online DBA Program

Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale offers a 4-year online and on-campus program, with an average cost per credit of $980. Students need to complete 60 credits to graduate.

Johnson & Wales University-Online (Providence, RI)

Online DBA Program

This program is offered entirely online for a duration of 4 years, with an average cost per credit of $990. Students need to complete 54 credits to graduate.

Felician University (Lodi, NJ)

Online DBA Program

Felician University offers a 4-year online and on-campus program with an average cost per credit of $1,030. Students need to complete 61 credits to graduate.

Admission Requirements for an Online Doctoral Program in Business: While specific requirements may vary, typical admission requirements for an online doctoral program in business include:

  • General application
  • Official transcripts from all colleges attended (undergraduate and graduate)
  • Test scores, usually from the GMAT or GRE
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Resume
  • Statement(s) of purpose

Ranking Analysis and Insights

  • Program Duration: All the programs listed have a duration of 4 years, indicating this is a standard length for these types of programs.
  • Cost per Credit: The cost per credit ranges from $750 (Baker College, Franklin University) to $1,030 (Felician University). The average cost seems to hover around $800-900, indicating a competitive and affordable pricing strategy among these institutions.
  • Credits to Graduate: The credits required for graduation vary across the board, from 56 (California Baptist University) to 91 (City University of Seattle). This might indicate differing breadth and depth in course content and the rigor of each program.
  • Tuition: The tuition rates are consistent for in-state and out-of-state students in all the listed universities, which can be attractive for out-of-state students. Graduate tuition tends to be higher than undergraduate tuition, a common trend across universities.
  • Retention Rate: The retention rates, where provided, fluctuate significantly, from as low as 9% (Franklin University) to as high as 79% (Felician University). This might indicate differences in student satisfaction, the quality of the program, or support services available.
  • Admission Rate: The rates vary greatly, from 54% (Baker College) to 94% (Felician University). This could indicate differing standards of admission and competitiveness.
  • Students Enrolled: The total student enrollment varies widely, from 2,052 (City University of Seattle) to 11,317 (California Baptist University). This could be influenced by factors like the size of the university, the number of programs offered, and the university’s reputation.
  • Online Enrollment: A significant proportion of students in these institutions are enrolled online, indicating a growing trend of online education and the institution’s capability to deliver quality online education.
  • Specializations: Various specializations are available in these programs, reflecting the broad applicability of a DBA degree and catering to different career interests.
  • Accreditation: All the programs listed are accredited, affirming their quality and potential acceptance by employers and other educational institutions.
  • Program Content and Emphasis: Different programs emphasize various aspects of business administration, like innovation and sustainability (California Baptist University), organization interventional thinking (City University of Seattle), entrepreneurship (Concordia University-Chicago), or mentorship (Felician University). Understanding each program’s specific focus or strengths can help prospective students choose a program that aligns with their professional goals.
  • Application Requirements: All programs require a master’s degree for admission, though the required GPA varies. This highlights the competitive nature of these programs and the importance of previous academic success in admissions decisions.
  • Percent Online Enrollment: A higher percentage of online enrollment may suggest that a university has a robust online learning platform and support system. This could be a key factor for students who prefer or need primarily online education.
  • Retention Rates: Institutions with higher retention rates are often seen as providing a better quality of education and student experience, as they are more successful at keeping students enrolled.
  • Tuition Costs: Institutions with lower tuition per credit may appeal more to cost-conscious students. However, students should also consider the potential financial aid opportunities that may be available, as this can significantly impact the cost of attendance.
  • Concentrations/Specializations: Institutions offering multiple specializations or focus areas allow students to tailor their degrees to their career goals.
  • Cohort-Based Curriculum: A cohort-based curriculum, like the one offered by California Baptist University, can promote a sense of community among students, even in an online environment.
  • Live Interactive Sessions: City University of Seattle offers live, interactive sessions in their online format, providing students the opportunity for real-time interaction with instructors and peers.

In conclusion, while these programs share similarities in duration and accreditation status, they differ in cost, admission and retention rates, and the number of credits required to graduate. This indicates a wide array of choices for potential students, who should carefully consider these factors alongside their career goals, budget, and personal circumstances when choosing a program.

How Much Does an Online Ph.D. in Business Cost?

The cost of an online Ph.D. in business can vary depending on several factors. On average, most programs take 4-6 years to complete and may cost anywhere from $50,000 to $170,000 in total tuition and fees. The factors that can influence the overall cost include the length of the program, whether it is offered by a private or public institution, the amount of financial aid available, whether the program is fully funded, and whether you opt for a DBA or Ph.D.

Financial aid options like federal grants and loans can help offset the cost. Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is essential to determine eligibility for federal financial assistance. Additionally, some employers offer tuition reimbursement programs, so it is worth checking if your employer provides such benefits. It is important to consider additional expenses such as technology fees and the cost of a laptop when budgeting for your online business doctorate program.

Online Ph.D. in Business Specializations

An online Ph.D. in business allows you to specialize in various areas. Some common specializations include accounting, business administration, entrepreneurship, finance, hospitality and tourism, management, management information systems, marketing, and operations. Consider your interests and career goals when choosing a specialization.

Salary Potential with an Online Business Doctorate

Having a doctorate in business opens doors to high-paying management and executive roles. While salaries can vary based on field, experience, and location, here are some popular jobs for business doctorate holders, along with their median annual salaries (May 2021):

  1. Chief Executives: $179,520
  2. Human Resources Managers: $126,230
  3. Training and Development Managers: $120,130
  4. Economists: $105,630
  5. Top Executives: $98,980
  6. General and Operations Managers: $97,970
  7. Project Management Specialists: $94,500
  8. Management Analysts: $93,000
  9. Postsecondary Teachers: $79,640
  10. Logisticians: $77,030

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Business Doctorate Programs

  1. What can you do with an online Ph.D. in business? An online Ph.D. in business can lead to opportunities in academia and research, such as becoming a business professor. A Ph.D. degree emphasizes theoretical and research skills.
  2. How many years does it take to get an online Ph.D. in business? Typically, earning an online Ph.D. in business takes 4-6 years, while DBA programs usually take 3-5 years.
  3. Are business Ph.D.s in demand? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a projected 12% growth rate in college professor positions from 2021-2031. Business professors tend to earn high salaries.
  4. Is a DBA better than a Ph.D. in business? Neither degree is inherently better than the other. A DBA focuses on applied business knowledge and can help you excel in leadership roles, while a Ph.D. emphasizes research and can lead to academic positions. Choose based on your career goals.
  5. Is a DBA worth it? A DBA can be worth it, as it equips you with applied skills necessary for business, consulting, administration, and academia leadership positions.

An online doctoral program in business offers numerous benefits, including access to a wide range of business careers, increased salary potential, preparation for executive roles, and the flexibility to study from anywhere.

When choosing a program, consider accreditation, the differences between a DBA and Ph.D., specialization options, and the potential cost and salary outcomes.

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