Washington, DC Online PhD Programs in Business

Online PhD Business programs may appeal to busy professionals who want to earn a terminal degree in business while they maintain their career and lifestyle duties. While in their program, students often receive support from faculty and advisors through videoconferencing, email, chat, discussion boards, and sometimes, in-person meetings. These face-to-face residencies are used to network, meet faculty, attend seminars, and collaborate. Courses are then available through a web platform.

Online Business Doctorate Programs

As such, students usually schedule their study and research around their own timetable. To that end, many universities provide extensive online library databases, writing tutors and inter-library loan systems. Consequently, an online PhD in business program may have all the same features as their campus counterparts except for the commute.

Types of Online PhD Programs in Business

While academically equivalent, online PhD business programs have their own set of requisites, and target students. There are several main degree paths one might follow in their pursuit of the highest degree in the world of business.

Some of the most common include the DBA, or Doctor of Business Administration; the DM, or Doctor of Management and the PhD in Business. Or, a focused degree that emphasizes one aspect of business. Health administration, leadership or accounting, for example. These focal areas anchor a student’s research and may foster expertise in their chosen field.

Consequently, students might want to first decide what degree they want to work towards. Then check into accredited online PhD in business programs that mirror their goals. After all, each school may offer a unique type of program and areas of study.

FACT: When surveyed, 58% of Economic Consultants reported they had a Doctoral degree.i

Online PhD in Business

An online PhD business degree typically stresses research in the world of business. It may appeal to those who intend to pursue an area of business that requires more in-depth analysis, research and interpretation of results, such as economics or organizational behavior. Also, this degree may be a great choice for those who want to pursue a research or teaching career. Or, for those who want to boost their resume.

This type of program typically requires students to hold at least a bachelors degree, and may require four to five years of study post masters. Students in online business PhD programs are almost always required to complete a dissertation that highlights an issue and provides their original theory. Candidates are then required to defend that dissertation before a panel of business experts and academic advisors.

Online DBA Degree

The online Doctor of Business Administration, DBA, is designed for those who want to apply business theory to practical problems and find solutions through critical analysis. Though much of the program does focus on research, core courses often touch on concerns of a day-to-day workplace. For instance, managerial finance, organizational psychology and strategy. Also, while a customized program is possible, it is common for students to pursue a DBA ‘in’ and area of emphasis.

Concentrations span criminal justice, IT, project management, finance and more. Online DBA programs are often geared toward current executives and graduates of MBA or other masters programs. As such, some schools offer part-time study options. Those who pursue the degree full-time might expect about three years to completion. Meanwhile, online learners may be able to apply what they learn to a current work environment, another practical feature of distance education.

Online Doctor of Management

An online DM, Doctor of Management is often the terminal degree of choice for those who want to focus solely on team-building, management of organizations and conflict resolution (HR). In some schools, management is a focus area within the DBA, while in others, it may be a standalone degree. Students who apply to an online DM degree program usually have a masters degree, and may be suitable for individuals who aspire to climb the corporate ladder.

Generally, this type of program prepares graduates to take charge of every aspect of management, from personnel to supply chains to business information systems. Like the DBA, the DM is meant for current professionals, and may be offered in a part-time online format. Students might expect to complete the DM within three to four years of full-time, rigorous study.

Concentrations for Online PhD Business Programs

Aside from the type of online doctorate degree in business, it is important to choose a target area. To this end, many online universities offer several options for concentrations. And, they often have students work with an advisor to help chart a course of study right from the outset.


Students who pursue their online PhD in Accounting may conduct research and explore advanced topics. These could include courses in capital markets, earnings management, voluntary disclosure/management guidance, corporate governance, and financial institutions and instruments.

Business Administration and Management

Online PhD and DBA programs in business administration and management are often designed for those who want to move into overall management and administration in a business-related field. Studies might include fiscal leadership, global economies, case studies and business analysis, corporate sustainability, business strategy and decisions.

Business Information Systems

At the doctoral level, business information systems courses might include data science, business analytics, cross-disciplinary scholarship in computer science, economics, machine learning, marketing, and management science. Online students who pursue this focus might learn how to integrate new technology into an enterprise, or solve business problems through digital tools.


The focus on entrepreneurship may help students to grasp concepts such as risk management, innovation and market opportunity. Coursework and research might help a PhD candidate with the skills to lead in an established company, a start-up or raise capital for a personal venture.


A focus in finance often dives into valuation of assets, corporate finance, global markets, derivatives, and behavioral finance. Some online PhD Business programs in finance might also cover financial economics and financial management issues.

Healthcare Administration

An online PhD program in Healthcare administration may prepare students to conduct research on the managerial, operational, and strategic issues that face organizations in the health care industry. By contrast, the DBA might provide strategic, managerial and financial theory that may be applied into the administration of healthcare enterprises.

Human Resource Management

Current HR managers who want to research conflict resolution and human behavior might focus their online PhD business program in human resource management. This type of program may equip students with the know-how to lead within a human resources department. Courses may include topics such as human capital development, hiring strategies, benefits analysis, organizational effectiveness, advanced communication, and management skills.

International Business

An online PhD in international business may help students develop the skills to lead and manage teams in the global marketplace. Courses might delve into financial markets, investments, new markets, exchange and interest rates. Learners may also gain an overview of the effects of global financial institutions such as the World Bank.

Marketing & Advertising

The marketing and advertising focus may cover consumer behavior theory, microeconomic theory and firm behavior. Online students may have an option to pursue marketing from the behavioral or quantitative analysis point of view.

Nonprofit Management

Online PhD programs in nonprofit management and leadership might help students develop a solid grasp of how to work with governments and businesses. Students who choose this as their focus might also use their dissertation to research aspects of the nonprofit/NGO sector.

Organizational Leadership

A concentration in organizational leadership may prepares students to effectively lead at high levels within organizations. Courses might include leadership styles and theories, ethics and legal issues, and interpersonal dynamics. Also, there may be topics such as communication styles, organizational growth and development.

Operations Management

A focus in operation management may provide students with the opportunity to research in supply chain design, product development and inventory management. Courses may address the dynamics of price strategy, logistics and manufacturing.

Project Management

Students who graduate with an online PhD in project management may be prepared to handle complex projects for organizations. Courses might include time management, strategy, budget, communication styles, and organization. Also, students may learn how to set goals, meet objectives, manage a supply chain, report and track results.

Public Administration & Policy

Students might find online PhD in public policy and online Doctor of Public Administration (DPA) programs. Candidates may conduct policy analytic research, and may develop skills to help shape and execute public policy. Core topics might span economics and normative theory as well as analytic methods. Also, students may need to choose a focus area such as environmental policy.

Sports Management

Sports management may be offered as a track within an online PhD program in leadership. This type of programs might explore research-based decision making, sports administration, and leadership theory. Also, it may cover topics such as sports promotion, events management, sports finance and the economics of sport.

Technology Management

Technology management doctoral programs may help students discover ways to cut costs and create new business opportunities through technological solutions. Also, to integrate new technology into an enterprise.

Why Consider an Online Business Doctorate?

One of the reasons to consider an online business doctorate is that the flexible study option may make your personal and professional goals accessible. Also, a PhD is often designed for the curious, the contributor and the thought leader. Students who earn their PhD or DBA in business might be prepared to advance or initiate a career in a variety of areas.

  • Business Intelligence Analysts ii
  • Director of Enterprise Strategy ii
  • Director of Global Intelligence ii
  • Business Administration Professor iii
  • Research Analyst iii

Find Accredited Online PhD Programs in Business

Some schools that offer online PhD in Business programs are traditional universities who may offer both on campus and distance programs. Other universities may only offer online degrees. A savvy student might look at whether the schools on their list are regionally accredited – a basic ‘stamp of approval’. Also, some online PhD business programs in these schools may be AACSB-accredited, which is another layer that may ensure quality standards are maintained.

Start Down Your Business Doctorate Path Today

For busy adults, convenience is key. Compare paid online PhD business programs in the category of choice. Click ‘request info’ to contact the schools.

Some online PhD business schools offer multiple start dates so stay at the head of the class. Take the next step now!

[i] onetonline.org/link/summary/19-3011.00 |[ii] onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1199.08 |[iii] onetonline.org/link/summary/25-1011.00

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