Online Graduate Programs in Business Administration

Jan 01, 2019

Online graduate programs in business administration make it easier for business professionals to continue their education while working full-time. Programs are available at public and private colleges and universities.

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The MBA (Master of Business Administration) and the DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) are two common online graduate programs in business administration. These degrees help business professionals develop competencies and research-based practices that can position them as global business leaders.

Overview of Online Graduate Programs in Business Administration

Applicants enrolling in online graduate programs in business administration should determine how much flexibility they need while working toward a degree. Asynchronous programs offer more flexibility because students complete assignments at their convenience. The asynchronous format works well for busy executives who may be unable to participate in synchronous online studies which require students to meet online with instructors at a scheduled time. Blended or hybrid programs use a combination of asynchronous or synchronous online and campus-based courses. Students enrolled in online graduate programs in business administration complete assignments, participate in discussions and take quizzes and exams through a learning management system (LMS). Students enrolled in MBA (Master of Business Administration) programs typically complete 36-48 credit hours for the degree. DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) students complete at least 50 credit hours including a dissertation.

Examples of Courses for Online Business Administration Graduate Programs

Courses in online graduate programs in business administration focus on competencies that enable graduates to perform at the level which businesses expect from their leaders. Students in DBA programs should expect to take more courses in research and statistics. In some MBA and DBA programs, students may choose an area of specialization such as healthcare, consulting, or finance. Examples of core courses taught in both MBA and DBA programs include:

Business Ethics

Students in this course may look at ethics in business from a personal and organizational perspective. They also examine barriers to ethical decision-making. Participants may be provided with opportunities to assess ethical dilemmas using case studies.

Data Analysis

In this course, students develop skills in reviewing and analyzing data for decision-making and planning. The use of business software for data analysis is typically covered. Participants may learn about the various sources of data and how to leverage and use data for competitive advantages.

Managerial Finance

Students in this course practice analyzing financial statements and may study financial articles published in respected financial publications. There is an emphasis on gathering information to make sound financial decisions. Students can gain an understanding of corporate systems, and how funding and investments impact businesses.


Leading people and managing processes are overarching themes in a graduate leadership course. The leadership course teaches students competencies necessary to act as change agents in organizations. Participants explore personal beliefs and leadership. Strategic leadership may also be a focus of this course.


Students in MBA and DBA programs take research courses to develop advanced research and writing skills. Research courses are necessary for developing competencies necessary for successful completion of capstone projects or dissertations. Participants also gain beneficial skills for making research-based business decisions.

Capstone Project

Capstone projects provide opportunities for students to participate in real-world work related to specialized areas of business administration. Students participate in internships in business organizations. At the conclusion of the project, the student writes a paper that summarizes the project activities. In online MBA programs, a capstone project is usually an alternative to a thesis.


Students enrolled in DBA programs typically engage in dissertation research near the end of the program. The dissertation focuses on a specific area of interest in the field. Once the student completes the research and writes the dissertation, he or she must defend the findings before a committee. The dissertation should contribute new knowledge to the field.

Online Graduate Programs in Business Administration: Admission Requirements

Whether pursuing the MBA or DBA, applicants to online graduate programs in business administration must meet the admissions criteria for the schools they plan to attend. An application, resume, official transcripts, letters of recommendation, and GRE or MAT scores should be submitted, although these may be optional for some MBA programs. Schools usually require a statement of purpose or an essay. International students should expect to take and achieve an acceptable score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). DBA programs require a master's degree and work experience. Interviews may also be required for DBA applicants.

Online graduate programs in business administration offer a convenient way for busy executives to continue their education while working, especially since these programs are accessible through various formats. Students can expect to take typical courses across different schools and will need to submit common admission requirements such as transcripts and recommendation letters to gain acceptance in these programs.

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