Online DBA Programs

Dec 11, 2018

Online DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) programs offer convenience for working professionals and executives seeking advanced education. Online DBA programs teach critical thinking skills and strategies for success in business environments.

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Enrolling in an online DBA program makes sense for the business executive who is more interested in a career as an organizational leader than working as an academic researcher or teacher. While students in online DBA programs learn to conduct research and may pursue teaching or research roles, programs focus heavily on applying theories and research in the workplace.

What Can Students Expect When Enrolling in an Online DBA Program?

Depending on the school, an online DBA program may offer courses that are asynchronous or synchronous. Some schools offer hybrid or blended programs with a combination of online and campus-based courses. Synchronous courses require students to be online at a specified time to listen to live lectures and engage with professors and peers. Asynchronous courses feature pre-recorded lectures that students may access at their convenience. Both asynchronous and synchronous courses require reading, writing papers, participating in discussion groups, and posting information to discussion boards within a learning management system that houses the course. Programs may offer the opportunity to specialize in disciplines such as accounting, consulting, finance, leadership, and teaching. Credit hours required to complete online DBA degrees vary, but students should expect to complete at least 50-60 credit hours, including a dissertation.

What Courses are Offered in Online DBA Programs?

The specific course titles of DBA programs may vary, but you may find that the content across programs have similarities. The following courses are common to online DBA programs.

Analytics for Decision-making

In this course, students can learn to analyze data using technology. Participants are introduced to various software that can help them analyze available data which in turn may be used for making business decisions. Students can also learn about the internet and gain social media data mining skills.


This course covers leadership skills essential for higher level business administration practitioners. Leadership courses may have a global or strategic focus. The impact of personal values on leadership, ethics, and how leaders function as change agents are topics that may be discussed in this course.

Research and Writing

In this course, students learn the strategies for being successful writers, whether for academic papers or other publications. Topics covered may include logical arguments, information flow, and giving clear explanations. This or a similar course might be offered early in a program to prepare learners for advanced research courses.

Strategic Management

Students in this course learn strategic approaches useful for decision-making and making businesses more competitive. Participants explore internal issues such as performance and external factors such as competition and how both may impact the organization. Students also discuss the use of research-based information for planning and allocation of resources.


The dissertation process takes place over several months near the end of the program. It requires the in-depth research and independent study of an issue which the student is interested at. The dissertation should contribute new knowledge to the field. Topics must be approved, and students work closely with a faculty advisor during the entire process. The final product is a comprehensive paper that must be defended before a committee.

What are the Admission requirements for an Online DBA Program?

Admission requirements for online DBA programs are usually consistent with institutional requirements and include an application, official transcripts, letters of recommendation, GMAT or GRE scores, and the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) for international students. Meeting general admission criteria may not guarantee acceptance into a program. Some programs are competitive, so applicants must meet additional requirements. Applicants with several years of relevant work experience and other achievements may receive priority in some institutions. The admissions process may involve interviews where students must demonstrate critical thinking and communication skills.

An online DBA program is worth the pursuit for business executives who want to gain high-level leadership skills in a flexible format. The degree prepares graduates to apply critical thinking skills and use research-based information to lead domestic and global organizations.

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