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Distance Education Graduate Degrees in Business Administration

Learn about distance education graduate degrees in business administration. Get an overview of the program types, requirements and course descriptions available for this field.

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Essential Information

Many schools offer distance-education graduate degree programs in business administration. Individuals may pursue a master's or doctoral degree in business administration, and they are often able to choose a specialization.

Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Doctor of Business Administration degree programs are offered online, aimed at working professionals. These programs allow students to view lessons on their own time, within deadlines, and communicate with classmates and instructors through e-mail and message boards. Most programs do not require internships or hands-on experience.

A bachelor's degree is required to enroll in an MBA program. MBA students study management theory and strategies. They may have the opportunity to specialize in fields including public administration, finance or human resource management. Many programs require a thesis.

A doctoral program usually requires that students have a master's degree. Courses in business theory and strategies are also part of a Doctor of Business Administration degree program. Students take courses in research skills and methods and must complete and defend a dissertation, which they may be able to do via the Internet.

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Many distance-education master's degree programs are designed for working adults who wish to advance in their current career roles. These non-campus-based alternatives allow professionals to earn a degree while navigating around their work schedules. Students learn about management theories and practical strategies for the business world. They are generally required to have a bachelor's degree to enroll in a graduate program. Some schools offer concentrations in areas such as public administration, human resource management, finance, leadership and international management.

Program and Training Information

Distance-education degree programs provide an online setting wherein participants access lectures and assignments as well as upload completed coursework. Students receive one-on-one interaction with professors through discussion forums and e-mail. Many schools have an online library. For business administration master's degree programs, curriculum can be completed in 1-2 years.

Access to a computer connected to high-speed Internet is required to participate in a distance-education program. A personal e-mail account may also be required.

Business Administration Courses

This degree program incorporates fundamental business theories, ethical standards, decision-making techniques and problem-solving skills. Graduate students complete core business courses and electives.

Human Resource Management

Students examine the various elements of personnel administration in this course. Focus areas include employment laws, conflict management, compensation, performance evaluation and discipline.

Business Information Systems

This course covers designing and applying management information systems in a business environment. Core subjects are computer software, database administration, business telecommunications and system analysis.

Strategic Management

In this course, graduate students learn to develop corporate goals, design business models and implement objectives. Areas of study include strategic management models, strategic theories, evaluation methods and business analysis.

Doctor of Business Administration

A common prerequisite for entering a doctoral degree program is a master's degree. Graduate students learn to apply business theories to daily business operations. Lessons combine advanced management techniques with contemporary business strategies. Individuals may also be interested in related degree programs such as international business, marketing and health care administration. A few accredited programs for this degree are available online.

Program and Training Information

Graduate students in a distance-education program access courses through an online learning platform which simulates a real-world classroom. Students communicate by uploading comments to discussion boards and chat forums. Many schools also provide a forum for defending a dissertation online or through others means such as a conference call. Coursework may take anywhere from 2-4 years to complete.

Students need a computer to complete assignments and communicate with faculty and peers. Another requirement is access to a private e-mail account and high-speed Internet.

Business Administration Courses

Graduate students study modern business theories, management techniques and historical aspects of business. The doctoral degree curriculum includes a research-based dissertation, for which a defense must be supplied in order to graduate.

Business Ethics

Graduate students study current business laws, theories, and corporate practices. Some topics include international and domestic issues, management values, corruption and professional standards.

International Business

This course develops a student's understanding of business in a global environment. Core areas include world trade, competitive strategies, organizational changes, resources and business sustainability.

Capstone Management Project

In this course, graduate students develop an original, research-based business administration project. A committee or mentor oversees the student's project progression.


Career Information

A master's degree is sufficient for many business administration leadership positions, and individuals with that level of education may work in various fields, ranging from manufacturing to entertainment. For this reason, salary information varies widely. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), general and operations managers earned a median annual wage of $97,730 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also notes expanding career opportunities for general managers in health care industries.

Individuals with a doctorate in business administration are qualified for careers in executive management, teaching and business consulting, among other careers. Salary information for these diverse fields also varies widely. According to the BLS, chief executives earned a median annual wage of $175,110 as of May 2015. Meanwhile, postsecondary teachers earned a median annual wage of $63,000 as of May 2015, but job openings in this field are expected to grow by 13% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). Administration positions are anticipated to remain highly competitive across fields.

For students looking to continue their education after undergraduate study, pursuing an online MBA will give them the flexibility to continue working while studying. Students can expect to spend about 2 years in this program, while a doctoral program is likely to take one to two years longer.

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