dba online

The 10 Best Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) Online Graduate Schools in 2021

The Doctor of Business Administration, also known widely as a “DBA”, is the highest degree that one can earn in the business world. It combines executive experience in the field with academic research and presentation. For business leaders looking to deepen their knowledge, move into college teaching positions, increase credibility and mobility in their careers, earning a Doctor of Business Administration is a necessary step to achieving these goals. The online DBAs in this list each meet the highest standards of academic rigor and industry recognition. Each has its strengths that will appeal differently to those in differing circumstances. For anyone looking to earn an online Doctor of Business Administration, you’ll surely find an outstanding school in this list of top online DBA degree programs.

doctor of business administration
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  • 100% online and hybrid courses provide distance learning students in a DBA program with convenience and flexibility
  • Online DBA programs promote advanced knowledge and specialization
  • Students are given the opportunity to present research through seminars, conferences, and publications
  • Programs and institutions are recognized for their excellence
  • Strong faculty and staff support for online Doctor of Business Administration’ students
  • Favorability to transfer students
  • Availability of financial support

Table of Contents

The Best Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) Online Graduate Schools

The University of the Incarnate Word

San Antonio, TX

The top online DBA offered by the University of the Incarnate Word is designed to accommodate current business leaders. The program is a blend of synchronous and asynchronous course delivery. Courses can be taken online or in-person, making this online DBA accessible to a wide number of potential candidates. Students complete 45 credits, which include 9 hours of supervised work that produces three peer-reviewed presentations. This can be either a peer-reviewed publication, a conference presentation, or a work-based project in the field.  

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Tuition: $1,060 per credit

Admission Requirements:

  • MBA from accredited institution
  • Overall 3.0 GPA minimum
  • All official transcripts from each college and university attended
  • One professional and one academic letter
  • Resume
  • Written statement of purpose

Key Courses:

  • Business Ethics
  • Corporate Financial Decision-Making and Value Creation
  • Survey Design, Development and Deployment

Program Outcomes: Graduate will be able to develop innovative principles in management and operations; conduct and communicate research; use technology; maintain high standards of ethics; communicate effectively to different audiences.

Learn more about the innovative online DBA at the University of the Incarnate Word

Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA

Liberty University is one of the top places to look for quality online degrees. The outstanding Doctor of Business Administration from Liberty is 100% online and designed to be completed in only three years. This DBA program is designed to form outstanding, Christian business leaders. Through coursework and personal mentoring, students gain the latest knowledge on business practice. Students’ specialization allows them to gain further mastery in the area that corresponds to the needs of their employers or businesses.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Tuition: $565 per credit

Admission Requirements:

  • Official Transcripts
  • Master’s Degree in Business with 30 graduate credits in Business

Sample Specializations:

  • Accounting
  • Executive Coaching
  • Finance
  • Healthcare Management
  • Human Resources
  • Information Systems
  • International Business
  • Leadership
  • Marketing
  • Nonprofit Leadership

Program Outcomes: Graduate from Liberty University’s online DBA will be prepared to advance to top business positions in executive management; corporate consultation; entrepreneurship; education administration; academic faculty; government consultation.

Learn more about the excellent online DBA at Liberty University

Grand Canyon University

Phoenix, AZ

The unique Bridge DBA in Management is not a DBA per se but can be an outstanding way for business leaders to earn a DBA who do not hold an MBA or related field. While earning a DBA is difficult in itself, going back and earning a second (or third) master’s degree in business when you are already working as a business leader could stop you from taking the needed step of getting the DBA and advancing your career. The outstanding, 100% online, Bridge DBA program at Grand Canyon University is just your ticket. This 16 credit program will give you the necessary business credentials to earn a DBA.

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Tuition: $615 per credit

Admission Requirements:

  • Official transcripts
  • Complete online application
  • GRE combined score of 1,000 verbal/quantitative

Key Courses:

  • Accounting Practices
  • Finance Principles
  • Applied Business Probability and Statistics
  • Marketing Management

Program Outcomes: This unique Bridge DBA allows those with master’s degrees in non-business fields to complete the business coursework necessary before earning a DBA.

Learn more about the outstanding Bridge online DBA at Grand Canyon University

University of the Cumberlands

Williamsburg, KY

The top online DBA degree offered at the University of the Cumberland is designed for professionals already working in business management and administration. Students in this program focus on applied research that they can then bring to their workplace. This 66-credit program can be complete by full-time students in three years. A part-time student can complete the degree in five years.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Tuition: $500 per credit

Admission Requirements:

  • Official Transcripts
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.5
  • Written Interview/Writing Sample

Key Courses:

  • Advanced Managerial Accounting
  • Strategic Marketing: Research and Practice
  • Managerial Ethics and Social Responsibility

Program Outcomes: Graduates from this online degree program will be able to digest and apply current research; develop their own research; communicate business-related information to different audiences; design research.

Learn more about the outstanding online DBA offered at the University of the Cumberlands

Wilmington University

New Castle, DE

WilmU’s top online DBA program is tailored to fit the shape of the life of business professionals and leaders. Are you already in management or just wanting to break into an administrative job? WilmU is a great choice. The 100% online curriculum combines synchronous and asynchronous learning with webinars and both teacher/student and student/student engagement. The program is 54 credits where courses run for 7-week blocks, capped by a dissertation.

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Tuition: $647 per credit

Admission Requirements:

  • Doctoral Application
  • Official Transcripts
  • Current resume
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Statement of goals and objectives

Key Courses:

  • Experiential Learning: Leadership Issues
  • Statistic for Research
  • Global Management Models
  • Research Design

Program Outcomes: Graduates from this degree program will have advanced expertise in key business management and administration areas such as communications, research, information literacy, ethics, critical inquiry.

Learn more about Wilmington University’s top online Doctor of Business Administration

Saint Leo University

Saint Leo, FL

Saint Leo University’s top online DBA is a 100% online degree that “prepares graduates… to make an intellectual contribution in their field of business study.” Special emphasis is placed on social responsibility and social accountability. Saint Leo’s excellent online DBA requires 57 credits. A dissertation is part of the program’s requirements.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Tuition: $910 per credit

Admission Requirements:

  • Official transcripts
  • GRE scores
  • MBA or equivalent

Key Courses:

  • Global Perspectives in Human Resource
  • Strategic Management in Global Organizations
    Global Leadership and Ethics

Program Outcomes: Graduates from this online DBA go to work at college professors, consultants, executives, analysts, CFOs, and other related fields.

Learn more about the outstanding online DBA at Saint Leo University

Florida International University

Miami, FL

The online DBA presented by the Chapman School of Business at Florida International University was created for business professionals already well-seasoned as managers and administrators. For long-time business leaders, this degree is intended to get them to the highest point of their career or to get them over the final hump. As an intense program, FIU’s online DBA requires 72 credits. However, the curriculum is designed for the possibility of working professionals completing the entire DBA program in three years.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Tuition: $900 per credit

Admission Requirements:

  • Minimum of 10 years experience, 7 in a documented managerial role
  • MBA or related business master’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • Current resume
  • Statement of purpose
  • 2 letters of recommendation from employers, faculty, or professional associates

Key Courses:

  • Quantitative Research Methods in Business
  • Experiments and Survey Designs
  • Theories of Organization
  • Theory Development

Program Outcomes: Graduates from this online DBA, already having a decade of experience in the workforce, will be able to gain needed knowledge of business function in a global context; identify and foster excellent organizational practices; publish and/or present their research in academic and professional settings.

Learn more about the outstanding online DBA offered by Florida International University

Baker College

Owosso, MI

Students in Baker College’s top online Doctor of Business Administration program are provided multiple learning opportunities in many different formats. They will experience classes, seminars, and minimal residencies. This 60-credit program is set apart from other programs not only for its quality. Baker stands out for its financial support of students (86% of students receive financial assistance). Baker also is very receptive to transfer students, and also for a dissertation-only option for transfer students with 30 credits.

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Tuition: $915 per credit

Admission Requirements:

  • Official transcripts
  • Current Resume
  • Short essay explaining career goals
  • GRE scores
  • MBA or business-related degree

Key Courses:

  • The Scholar Practitioner
  • Managing in a World-Wide Context
  • Corporate and Personal Ethics
  • Leading 21st Century Organizations

Program Outcomes: Graduates from this online DBA will possess advanced business knowledge in relation to social changes. They will have technological proficiency and ethical awareness that will facilitate excellent management and outstanding contributions to the field.

Learn more about Baker College’s outstanding online DBA

Bellevue University

Bellevue, NE

Bellevue University’s online DBA stands out for its outstanding quality as well as its accessibility. Designed for experienced professionals who want to continue working while studying, Bellevue’s online DBA requires 55 credits. Unlike many of the other online DBA programs on this list, Bellevue does not require the GRE for admission, nor does it require a dissertation. The degree takes only 3 years to complete, and is solely designed for business practice, and, hence, cuts out coursework that is oriented towards academic interests. This helps cut down the time the program requires to complete.

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Tuition: $760 per credit

Admission Requirements:

  • MBA from an accredited institution
  • 3.0 GPA minimum
  • 5 years of professional experience
  • Resume
  • 1,000 word statement of interest
  • 1 Letter of nomination from employer
  • 1 Letter of recommendation from a peer or personal reference

Key Courses:

  • Business and Society
  • Organizational Communication
  • Human Capital Development
  • Sustainable Business Development

Program Outcomes: Graduates from this online DBA program will possess advanced skills and knowledge in business analyses; they will be able to assess current scholarship; they will be able to make ethical decisions in a socially responsible manner; they will be able to combine knowledge with experience to make sound business administrative judgments.

Learn more about the top online DBA at Bellevue University

George Fox University

Newberg, OR

George Fox University’s online DBA program is known not just for excellence in business application and academics. It is known for helping business leaders undergo professional and personal transformation. George Fox’s online DBA systematically attempts to integrate faith and ethics within effective business models and leadership strategies. This 56-credit DBA is designed to be complete in 4 years (3 years of coursework and 1 year for the dissertation). Courses are delivered entirely online with two in-person sessions per year at the George Fox campus in Newberg, Oregon.

Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Tuition: $964 per credit

Admission Requirements:

  • Full-time faculty appointment or 5 years experience
  • Bachelor’s and master’s degrees from accredited institutions
  • Academic and professional background information
  • Resume/CV
  • Three completed reference forms
  • Three short answer essays questions
  • Official test scores: GRE, GMAT, or Peregrine
  • Official transcripts
  • Sample of academic writing

Degree Concentrations:

  • Accounting
  • Management
  • Marketing

Program Outcomes: Graduate from George Fox’s online DBA go on to work in higher education, positions of corporate leadership, and in consulting.

Learn more about George Fox University’s online DBA degree program

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a DBA better than an MBA?

One could never say with an all-encompassing certainty that a certain degree is absolutely better than another. When it comes to comparing the MBA to the DBA, it is a matter of perspective and one’s career goals. Here are some things to consider when comparing the DBA to the MBA.

  • Salary: Although earning a doctorate normally adds up to earning more money, such a direct correlation is not readily noticeable in the comparison between the DBA and the MBA.
  • Credibility: The determination to take the next step and earn a DBA will almost bolster credibility. This is especially true in the business world where DBAs are already season executive.
  • Opportunity: The added expertise the DBA provides allows business leaders to branch out into areas most often closed to MBAs, such as research, teaching, consulting, and many others.
  • Upward Mobility: This, like salary, is more difficult to quantify across the spectrum. However, the added knowledge expanded skill set, and demonstrated work ethic will almost certainly be positive when being considered for promotion.

What is the Difference between PhD and DBA?

The MBA is designed to prepare business professionals to become business leaders. The focus of the MBA is practical. You learn the basics of business, economics, management, human resources, and then you put this knowledge to work in business management and administration. The DBA targets seasoned executives, taking what was just said about the MBA, and sharpens an executive’s theoretical focus. Practically, this means that the DBA will make you an absolute expert in a particular area of business. Executives can apply this outstanding knowledge to their work, and they can also engage in research and teaching. The DBA, as compared with the MBA, raises your level of knowledge and broadens your range of impact on the business world.

Can I get a DBA without an MBA?

The short answer is, Yes! However, the path to the DBA will be more difficult. There are two obvious reasons. The first is that the MBA provides a great deal of practical business knowledge needed to be a successful executive. It is difficult to get into a management position without the needed education. The second reason follows from the first. Most DBA programs are restricted to seasoned executives. If an MBA is already needed to become a manager-administrator, how would one become the kind of seasoned administrator most DBA programs are looking for?

Thankfully, there are options. Many online DBA programs allow for prerequisite courses to satisfy the business education requirements that an MBA would provide. Also, there are DBA Bridge programs for those who want to earn a DBA but do not have an MBA.

Is an Online DBA worth it?

The answer to this question will depend largely upon the value a person ascribes to the possibilities beyond the MBA that a DBA would bring in comparison to the cost of time and money required to earn the DBA. The main considerations would include the increased knowledge, mobility, and promotability earning a DBA would provide, over and above the MBA.

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