Cleveland Online DBA Programs | Online Doctor of Business Administration Programs

Online DBA programs offer advanced education for individuals interested in pursuing potential careers in senior leadership within a current organization, making a career change, or launching a business venture of their own.  Earning a Doctor of Business Administration degree online may be a convenient way to pursue a DBA degree without disrupting on-going responsibilities.

Online DBA Programs

About Online DBA Programs

While some online doctor of business administration programs may accept students with an undergraduate business degree, most online DBA programs are designed for experienced professionals with MBA degrees who wish to distinguish themselves academically from other MBAs.

FACT: Per the BLS, “For chief executives, those with an advanced degree and extensive managerial experience will have the best job prospects.”[i]

Basics of DBA Online Degree Programs: Coursework, Research

While program lengths and course credits are variables, a full-time online DBA degree program might entail about 60 credits and four years or so.

Coursework: Typically, doctorate level programs in business administration offer a comprehensive core curriculum that might include leadership, research, strategy, technology, and ethics, as well as intensive coursework designed to help students cultivate competencies in systems, critical, creative, reflective, and statistical thinking.

Concentrations: One of the ways to select an online DBA degree program is to consider whether you have specific research interests or want to pursue a concentration. Some students may seek a general business concentration, while others may look for a DBA in a concentration area; for instance;[ii]

Doctoral Project/Dissertation:  The doctoral research for DBA online programs usually requires students to research and analyze a business problem within their area of interest (e.g. general business, management), and challenges students to help find solutions based on their findings. The dissertation involves analysis, synthesis and critical thinking skills which may be useful in one’s current career.

Online DBA Programs: Format

The one thing to know about online DBA programs is they may be formatted differently from university to university. Some may be 100% online, while others may involve scheduled on-campus courses, conferences, meeting or residencies. Some of the potential features of online DBA degree and Online PhD programs in business administration might include;

Flexible Scheduling: For currently working professionals who are returning to university to advance their education, web-based learning might be the learning format that offers greater flexibility and more control over one’s schedule. The online learning experience generally is set up so that students do not have to commute to class. Instead, they log into a course management system when it is convenient.

Virtual Classroom: Digital tools such as online libraries help facilitate your study and research, and web chats or video conferencing might be used to stay connected to faculty. If you are someone who studies well independently, and have limited time to attend on campus classes, the virtual classroom may be a good alternative.

Online DBA Programs: Structure

During the first few years of doctorate of business administration online degree programs, students typically take courses and may select a concentration area such as financing, information technology, healthcare administration or management. Once these first years are completed, students take comprehensive exams that are a measure of their knowledge and understanding. The final years are spent selecting a dissertation topic, conducting the research for it and then submitting it to a supervisory committee.

Online DBA Programs: Alternative to a PhD Business Administration

As an alternative to a PhD in Business Administration, the Doctor of Business Administration is an applied doctorate degree, intended to help the current executive stay competitive in the marketplace. As the highest academic level in business education, a DBA degree provides advanced business knowledge and practical skills that many executives might find useful in terms of cultivating industry expertise and potentially addressing actual business challenges.

Online PhD Business Administration

While the academic equivalent to an online Doctor of business administration, the PhD is an academic doctorate that might prepare the student for more scholarly research and publication. Typically, online PhD programs in business administration focus on the development of new theory in management, public administration, consulting, economics and several other related fields in business. In general, PhD Business Administration graduates lead careers as university researchers and professors.[iii]

How to Choose an Online DBA or PhD in Business Administration

With the variety of online DBA programs available, what criteria might help you find the ‘right’ university for your DBA degree? We have mentioned a few, namely;

  • Find a curriculum that addresses your goals,
  • Decide between an online PhD in business administration or a doctor of business administration degree,
  • Find a schedule you can handle (whether full or part-time online DBA, completely or partially online)

Other factors that might be helpful in your selection process may require you to do some legwork;

  • Consider online DBA programs that are accredited, and understand which accreditation might be valuable to you
  • Check into student support (tech support, faculty support)
  • If important to you, look at universities with an international perspective, that may promote study abroad for doctoral students or have a mindset of promoting international exchange
  • Review what alumni say about the DBA coursework
  • Look for faculty that have seniority in their field

Find Accredited Online DBA Programs

One of the potentially key ingredients to selecting a doctoral program is to find and choose from, online DBA programs that have been accredited or are offered from regionally accredited institutions. There are different accreditation agencies for business programs;

  • Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) provides assurance that your DBA program meets nationally recognized standards of quality that are endorsed in businesses, governments, and other organizations;[iv]
  • The Association of MBA’s (AMBA) accredits the MBA, DBA programs,[v]
  • The Association of Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB) provides specialized accreditation for business and accounting programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral level[vi];
  • The European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) accredits institutions devoted to management education;[vii]
  • The Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) is a national accreditor of institutions that primarily offer distance learning[viii].  

Take the Next Step

Your next step? Browse our sponsored listings. Whether you choose an academic PhD in Business Management or the professional Doctor of Business Administration, distance learning may make it a feasible and convenient endeavor. Use our on-page navigation to request info from prospective schools. Don’t delay, enrollment periods vary!


[i] bls.gov/ooh/management/top-executives.htm |[ii] https://www.capella.edu/dba-degree-online/[iii] bls.gov/Oes/current/oes251011.htm |[iv] acbsp.org |[v] mbaworld.com/about-us |[vi] aacsb.edu/accreditation |[vii] efmd.org/accreditation-main/equis |[viii] deac.org/Discover-DEAC/Heading.aspx |

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