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Best DBA Programs for 2024 Top Consensus Ranked Doctor of Business Ad­min­is­tra­tion Degrees

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Business & MBA Editor
B.S., MBA
Tammie Cagle is a writer, editor, entrepreneur, and certified academic life coach. Tammie received her bachelor’s degree from Texas A & M University-College Station and her MBA from Marylhurst University.
Best DBA

A Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree exists as a practice-based program of study that includes research and development of business principles and practices. Doctoral students often pursue this degree to learn how to respond to the many challenges in business. The DBA degree stands as one of the highest levels of education in business administration.

The Nation’s Best DBA Degrees

The number of professionals getting an MBA has rapidly increased in recent years as business schools heavily market the degree. There is a widespread belief that an MBA qualifies a worker for management and promotions. But because of the volume of MBA grads in the business world today, pursuing a DBA may well be the equivalent of achieving an MBA two decades ago. Today, business leaders need to learn much more than they had to in the past to have a working understanding of what’s happening in regional and global business. DBA programs are well-suited to give them the big picture viewpoint of business while also showing how to put newfound knowledge into practice in innovative ways.

Methodology

This is the College Consensus ranking of the best DBA degrees for 2024. While many programs in this list are offered part-time, and some include a small online component, most of the curriculum happens face-to-face. The ranking list is a consensus ranking, meaning it was constructed by combining information from leading ranking systems: Forbes, Bloomberg BusinessweekFortuneU.S. News and World Report, and The Financial Times.

Each ranking was converted to a score on a 100-point scale. Then all scores were weighted equally and averaged to reveal a Consensus Score. In the event of a scoring tie, the DBA base tuition was used as the tie-breaker.

Recommended Online Programs

Explore our featured online programs to find the right match for you today.

Washington University in St. Louis provides an excellent DBA through the Olin Business School. This degree program offers doctoral students a collaborative atmosphere focused on industry-relevant applied research in Marketing, Operations, Manufacturing Management, and Finance. This advanced graduate degree crosses traditional boundaries and provides students with the opportunity, under Washington University instructors’ guidance, for structured course study and focused independent scholarly research and reading on critical issues relating to business.

Olin’s DBA degree is a 72-credit-hour doctoral program designed for individuals with serious interests in finance and marketing research who desire to pursue graduate study either on a part or full-time basis. This Doctor in Business Administration is an advanced degree that differs from a traditional PhD and goes beyond the fundamental foundation of a master’s to develop the needed skills to conduct applied research. This DBA at Washington University in St. Louis is sure to provide business leaders with the leadership training they need.

Admissions Email: [email protected]
Admissions Phone: 314-935-7301

AACSB Accredited: YES

DBA Website

Consensus Score
100.00

One of the nation’s best DBA programs is offered at the Naveen Jindal School of Management at the University of Texas at Dallas. This Texas DBA program represents a new segment in business leadership education at the Jindal School of Management. The curriculum combines the application emphasis of an EMBA program with the research focus of a PhD program. On-campus learners study and apply advanced analytic techniques and research methodologies to complex business issues.

All qualified DBA students complete the required coursework, write a thesis, and develop a proper case study. The thesis and case studies demonstrate the ability to relate the advanced knowledge acquired in the coursework to a specific business domain problem. DBA students can emphasize Accounting, Finance, Strategic Management, Information Systems, International Business, Organization Behavior, Marketing, or Operations Management. Consider this degree when you are serious about a DBA that will propel your career forward.

Admissions Email: [email protected]
Admissions Phone: 972-883-2270

AACSB Accredited: YES

DBA Website

Consensus Score
87.36

The Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park, provides one of the nation’s best DBA programs. The growth of data and technological advancements redefine how we think about and solve business issues. Program designers know senior executives and researchers expand their expertise and skill sets to stay current within rapidly changing business landscapes. The Smith School’s Doctor of Business Administration helps doctoral students do just that. This DBA program gives students new expertise in business research and theories. Coursework applies to business and organizational problems.

DBA students learn research methodology. They identify vital practical problems and relevant data. Students apply the knowledge to an actual organization through the program’s culminating capstone project. The most qualified students are active with thriving careers. Maryland College Park’s DBA offers flexibility and customization with course materials and its capstone project. Dedicated students complete the degree in three years. Do yourself a favor and investigate how this degree can equip you.

Admissions Email: [email protected]
Admissions Phone: 301-405-3644

AACSB Accredited: YES

DBA Website

Consensus Score
85.08

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An excellent DBA program is at the University of Pittsburgh’s College of Business Administration. Pittsburgh’s business programs are highly ranked and respected. This Doctor of Business Administration degree features a “Hyflex” hybrid format. Doctoral students can take in-person classes or online courses or enjoy the best of both worlds. All instructors teaching in the program are research-active. Program leaders are highly recognized in their fields. Much of the faculty is chaired by professors.

This transformative and innovative three-year program targets individuals with an intrinsic desire to pursue lifelong learning. Enrolled students can excel at their current employers or pivot to new careers in teaching, industry, government, or consulting. This DBA is attractive to those who want to expand their education. Students interact with world-class instructors and other intelligent and motivated DBA students. There are 45 credits within this program. The coursework comprises Methodology Core seminars, Disciplinary Core Seminars, and a Practicum Research Project. This DBA stands out from the pack.

Admissions Email: [email protected]
Admissions Phone: 412-624-PITT

AACSB Accredited: YES

DBA Website

Consensus Score
68.72

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-Newark, and New Brunswick’s Rutgers Business School features a DBA program. The Doctor of Business Administration is the first in New Jersey. It serves the needs of academics and professionals ready to enhance their skills in applied research. This full-time, 60-credit program is offered on weekends and evenings. Enrolled students complete the program in two years. The DBA is highly selective and complements the structure and curriculum of Rutgers’s existing PhD program. Unlike a traditional PhD program, this DBA is an applications-focused doctoral degree. It provides a foundation for using modern theory to address real-world business-related issues.

This DBA degree is perfect for working professionals with extensive managerial and technical experience who want to take their careers to the next level. Academics interested in learning about and applying theoretical concepts to economic issues will thrive within the program. Do yourself a favor and contact the business school about this stellar DBA.

Admissions Email: [email protected]
Admissions Phone: 973-353-1234

AACSB Accredited: YES

DBA Website

Consensus Score
54.98

Recommended Online Programs

Explore our featured online programs to find the right match for you today.

The University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business features an excellent DBA. The business school is actively recruiting cohorts on a rolling basis. It features access to program directors and academic directors for candidates applying or discovering more about the program. Doctoral students complete degree requirements in three years. Essential admissions requirements include a master’s degree. This requirement is waived for exceptional professional experience in business leadership. Qualified candidates hold a GPA of 3.0 or above and have at least 12 years of professional work experience, with five years at an executive, senior managerial, or senior technical level.

New cohorts launch every January, with applications and rolling admission throughout the year. Most coursework is completed through distance learning. There are required on-campus classes one weekend each month, January to May and August to December. The business school provides financial aid for qualified applicants. Muma College of Business offers its DBA students an excellent education.

Admissions Email: [email protected]
Admissions Phone: 813-974-3350

AACSB Accredited: YES

DBA Website

Consensus Score
23.61

A DBA is currently available at the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College. This degree was the first AACSB-accredited program of its kind in Florida. Crummer’s Executive DBA is designed for executives who have already attained an MBA or equivalent degree who want to develop as thought leaders and contribute to an organization’s success at a significantly higher level than that allowed by an MBA.

Rollins’ EDBA gives students an impetus for career advancement and a head start for professional and personal transformation. Each course is taught by top instructors who have real-world experience. The engaged scholarship model is practiced with topics presented at the intersection of contemporary business practice and time-tested theory. DBA students work with faculty advisors for the duration of the three-year program. This educational experience culminates with a dissertation that lasts a year. No GMAT is required for this program. EDBA students meet for class once a month on campus throughout this stellar DBA. Do not pass on this excellent program.

Admissions Email: [email protected]
Admissions Phone: 407-646-2161

AACSB Accredited: YES

DBA Website

Consensus Score
18.88

One of the nation’s best DBA programs is offered at the Fox School of Business at Temple University. Professionals prescribe robust solutions while completing the Executive DBA program. Enrolled students expand their decision-making abilities while gaining new perspectives on everyday business issues. Fox’s Executive Doctorate in Business Administration is a part-time program. It equips executives and senior managers with the power to transform today’s business environment. The curriculum includes tools of applied theory and research.

The Fox Executive DBA prepares students to approach issues as evidence-based managers and thought leaders in their fields. Students enhance their personal and professional development. Program leaders help them fuel research curiosity, teach new tools for understanding organizational systems, and prepare students to address challenges and opportunities. Are you interested in new perspectives and decision-making skills to enhance your organization? Do you like the idea of rigorous testing of assumptions and comparative solutions? This stellar DBA is right up your alley.

Admissions Email: [email protected]
Admissions Phone: 215-204-1380

AACSB Accredited: YES

DBA Website

Consensus Score
15.23

The College of Business at Louisiana Tech University offers a DBA. This full-time, in-residence program of study prepares graduate students for careers in schools and colleges of business that emphasize outstanding research and teaching relevant to public and private organizations. Areas of study include Management, Accounting, Finance, Computer Information Systems, and Marketing. Not all specializations are available to program applicants at all times.

Each cohort consists of up to only four students to build camaraderie within the cohort and allow DBA students to support each other through the education process. The on-campus program’s curriculum is designed to meet four learning goals: graduates will possess the skills needed to become effective teachers, communication skills to succeed in academic positions, tools required to be proficient in conducting and conceptualizing original research, and understand leading edge theory and the methods utilized in their field. This DBA is the perfect choice for a graduate student ready to reach new heights in business.

Admissions Email: [email protected]/
Admissions Phone: 318.257.2924

AACSB Accredited: YES

DBA Website

Consensus Score
13.43

A DBA is featured at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Belk College of Business. This program gives students the chance to distinguish themselves among an elite group of businesspeople. Belk offers the first DBA program in the Carolinas. The UNC Charlotte DBA is a launchpad for careers in a professorship at a business school, management, or consulting. This three-year, face-to-face degree program lets on-campus students study in Charlotte one weekend a month while networking with other business professionals in one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing business centers in the nation.

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s DBA is not just a bullet point on a resume; it’s a lifetime achievement. Program benefits include a three-year completion time and classes that meet over one long weekend each month in North Carolina. Today, this program exists as the only AACSB-accredited DBA program in both North and South Carolina. Program requirements for this degree include completing a master’s degree, five to ten years of professional work experience, and the motivation and drive to achieve this excellent program. Give this degree a second look if you desire the best in what a DBA can offer.

Admissions Email: [email protected]
Admissions Phone: 704-687-5503

AACSB Accredited: YES

DBA Website

Consensus Score
5.73

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A Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree is one of the highest degrees available to those in business management. There are many excellent reasons to pursue a DBA. Here are some of the top questions to consider when looking into this business degree.

What is the Difference Between a DBA and a Ph.D.?

PhDs and DBAs are equivalent terminal degrees. Each program offers a distinctive curriculum in their respective fields of study. Both doctoral programs demonstrate the highest level of scholarly achievement.

The main difference between a PhD and a DBA degree program is the type of research and training expected of students. Traditional PhD students typically plan to enter the academic profession after graduation. They are training to become professional scholars, researchers, and teachers. PhD programs in business administration, specifically, focus on developing new theories and preparing students for careers in teaching, academics, and conducting specialized scholarly research. PhD graduates can become senior researchers in government and select corporations.

DBA candidates are often advanced, high-achieving business practitioners from within the business field. They typically expect to remain professionally engaged in functioning organizations. The DBA’s research training and focus are designed to develop experts in evidence-based business decision-making.

To sum up, Ph.D. candidates research, design, and test theories. DBA students use business theories and processes to solve complicated, real-world business issues.

Can I Be Called a “Doctor” after completing my DBA?

All graduates with a business administration doctorate earn the title of “doctor.” However, DBA graduates do not possess the same qualifications, abilities, or titles as medical doctors.

Will a DBA Help Me Stand out from the Pack of MBAs?

While the MBA has grown to become one of the most popular programs for business leaders and managers, a DBA shows employers that you are willing to go the extra mile in preparing for a leadership position. DBA programs are expected or required for many of the top C-level positions to which many aspire. Chief officer positions and, in larger organizations, vice president positions just beneath the C-suite, will be reserved for professionals who have acquired a DBA.

A Doctor of Business Administration degree prepares professionals to lead in business, nonprofit, government, education, and healthcare industries. Students receive a thorough understanding of these sectors’ issues and get trained in the practical skills required to meet challenges head-on.

Should I Complete an MBA before Pursuing a DBA?

Most Doctorate in Business Administration programs require candidates to have a master’s degree with some years of professional experience. Not all business schools require a prior major in business administration. Some of the nation’s best DBA programs enable students to take placement exams to waive academic entrance requirements.

Should I Pursue a Doctorate in Business Administration?

Doctoral candidates generally pursue a terminal degree after earning a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) or a related major. They combine their education with professional, managerial, and executive experience. Students in these programs gain advanced leadership and management skills.

The nation’s best doctoral programs in business administration feature foundational courses in essential business strategy. Students also gain exposure to financial decision-making, market analysis, and organizational theory and behavior. These programs incorporate research skills and independent learning through a capstone or dissertation requirement.

Most students work while they complete a Doctorate in Business Administration. The completion time for a DBA is roughly three years. Completion times vary depending on program requirements, students’ prior experience, and education level. Graduates with a doctorate in business administration meet most requirements for professional certifications. The certifications include project management professional or professional in human resources. credentials

Will a DBA Teach the most Advanced Skills and Techniques for Leading Businesses and Organizations?

Employers are likely to select a DBA graduate over an MBA because of the more advanced training and knowledge gained with the doctoral degree. DBA coursework has high expectations for achievement and is known for being rigorous. The significant difference between DBA programs and PhDs is that a Doctor of Business Administration offers hands-on, practical training instead of emphasizing theories and book knowledge. PhDs often work as professors and researchers rather than applying the knowledge gained by working for businesses directly.

What Can I Expect to Learn in a Doctor of Business Administration Program?

Many business schools offer a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) as a track within their Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs. There is a spectrum of individual admission requirements and prerequisite coursework. Most programs typically require fifty-four to sixty credits and offer a choice of full- or part-time formats. Online doctorates in business administration include extra-flexible enrollment options for students without access to the college campus.

DBA programs (like the one at USF’s Muma College of Business) focus on sharpening skills in strategic decision-making and data analysis. Coursework covers trend-tracking, market analysis, and nonprofit and corporate management techniques. Graduates pursue professional certifications within a specialized or broad area of expertise.

What Types of Concentrations are Included in a DBA?

You Can Pursue a DBA in Accounting

An accounting concentration features an in-depth examination of accounting ethics, compliance, and applications. Doctoral-level study explores accounting theory and tools. Students learn about conservative and skeptical behavior related to best practices in accounting.

You Can Pursue a DBA in Management

A management concentration emphasizes solid leadership and communication skills. Students build on their MBA experience and years of prior working experience. Lessons cover organizational theory, strategic management for public and private business sectors, and human resources development.

You Can Pursue a DBA in Finance

This specialization prepares doctoral students for advanced roles in finance management. These professionals get equipped as chief financial officers and private consultants. Students in this concentration learn to manage investments, assets, and liabilities while addressing long-term financial planning.

You Can Pursue a DBA in Marketing

A Doctor in Business Administration focusing on marketing suits aspiring senior-level promotions, marketing, and advertising executives. Coursework in this specialization emphasizes advanced sales, advertising strategies, and leadership skills.

You Can Pursue a DBA in Human Resources

This DBA concentration helps students develop and implement advanced human resources policies and procedures. The curriculum includes organizational behavior with everyday challenges and successful models in human resources management.

How Can I Choose a Doctorate in Business Administration Program?

Students face several essential considerations in their search for the perfect doctorate in business administration. These factors include admission requirements, cost, curriculum, and program delivery. Some students prefer a DBA that offers accelerated timelines for graduation and in-state tuition rates for distance learners. Others prioritize programs offering specializations, networking opportunities, and career services. Begin the process by addressing your specific needs. You’ll have an excellent chance at finding the perfect program once you try this technique.

What Type of Accreditation Do I Want from a DBA Program?

Legitimate business schools offering a Doctorate in Business Administration are accredited through the Department of Education. Additional accreditation is through a national or regional accrediting agency. Regional accreditation proves that a B-school meets the highest standards in postsecondary education.

You want a business administration program that boasts additional specialized accreditation. Organizations like AACSB International, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, and the International Accreditation Council for Business Education are well-known and trusted. Programmatic accreditation reveals that a business administration degree meets professional and academic requirements for business and management fields.

How Do I Get into a Doctorate in Business Administration Program?

General admission into a doctorate in business administration usually requires a master’s degree in business or a related subject. DBA students have between two and 20 years of professional experience. While mostly uncommon, some programs accept extensive managerial, supervisory, or executive work experience instead of a graduate degree.

Though less required than before, GMAT and GRE scores can be critical for admission into DBA programs accepting students not holding a master’s degree. Qualified applicants will be prepared to submit a resume, a personal statement, essays, official transcripts, and letters of recommendation.

What Careers am I Ready for with a Doctorate in Business Administration?

Not all organizations require a Doctorate in Business Administration for high-level managerial and executive positions. However, professionals with a terminal degree hold a distinct advantage in their chosen fields. DBA graduates can apply for senior roles in corporate and nonprofit management within the private and public sectors. These professionals use their advanced leadership skills and extensive work experience to earn top salaries and launch fruitful careers.

DBA program graduates can pursue top executive jobs like CTO, CEO, and CFO. Professionals earning a terminal degree can become postsecondary educators in business subjects, business or management consultants, financial managers, or economists. Other graduates are free to carve out business development and entrepreneurship paths.

What Certifications and Licenses Will a Doctorate in Business Administration Prepare Me For?

With its extensive subject matter and beefy context, a DBA prepares business leadership for valuable licenses and certifications that open doors. Here are some essential certificates DBA students will want to consider:

Project Management Professional

Graduates with a DBA often pursue PMP certification to show their versatile project management skills in business or a specialized field. To take the PMP exam, all qualified candidates must have field experience and previous professional certification.

Professional in Human Resources

Doctorate in business administration graduates aspiring to senior roles in HR management can pursue PHR certification. Applicants with a graduate degree or higher need one year of experience in a professional-level HR job to sit for the exam.

Senior Professional in Human Resources

This certification is a step up from PHR certification. The SPHR credential denotes multiple years of senior-level experience in HR management. Applicants with a graduate degree or higher must have at least four years of professional experience to qualify for the certifying exam.

Salesforce Software Certification

Salesforce is the most popular e-commerce and customer-interfacing platform. This certification services sales professionals and network administrators seeking specialized skills. DBA students can take the exam to pursue over 30 certification options. These professionals become salesforce administrators and salesforce-certified advanced administrators.

Certified Public Accountant

Most CPAs hold a degree in accounting. Some pursue CPA licensure to advance their financial management careers after completing a business administration doctorate. Becoming a CPA requires professionals to complete a post-baccalaureate or graduate program with two years of work experience and pass the CPA exam.

How Long Will It Take to Get a Doctorate in Business Administration?

Earning a DBA takes three years, depending on the student’s internship, fellowship, and dissertation requirements. Many online degrees offer accelerated graduation options.

How Much Does it Cost to Get a Doctorate in Business Administration?

In general, doctorate degrees tend to cost more than master’s degrees. Several factors contribute to the higher cost of doctorate degrees: longer program length, extensive coursework and research, faculty expertise, program prestige, and additional research expenses. However, it’s important to note that the cost of both master’s and doctoral degrees can vary depending on factors such as the institution, program type, location, and whether the program is offered online or on-campus. It is always advisable to research and compare the tuition fees of different programs to make an informed decision. Additionally, financial aid opportunities, scholarships, and assistantship opportunities may be available to help offset the cost of advanced degrees.

Affordability of Top DBA Programs

SchoolAffordability
Washington University in St. Louis$$$
University of Texas at Dallas$$$
University of Pittsburgh$$$$
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-Newark and New Brunswick$$
University of South Florida$$
Rollins College$$$
Temple University$$$
Louisiana Tech University$
University of North Carolina at Charlotte$$
This is a list of the top DBA programs and the affordability of their tuition. $ = $0-$49,999; $$ = $50,000-$99,999; $$$ = $100,000-$149,999; $$$$ = $150,000+

Does a DBA Command a Higher Salary?

Hiring organizations understand that advanced degrees come with higher salary expectations because of the increased value degree-bearers bring into the enterprise. Six-figure salaries are typical in larger corporations. Even smaller companies pay more for a DBA degree holder than a professional with a lower degree.

Will a DBA Challenge Professionals to Continue to Grow?

Ongoing academic and professional growth is needed for success in today’s business world. Pursuing a DBA is an excellent way to spur that growth. Professors and fellow students will form a collaborative community. Business schools that utilize cohort programs help enrolled students make the best use of resources in their learning.

Will a Doctor of Business Administration Open the Door to Multiple Career Paths?

Top DBA Program

DBA degrees offer a breadth of experience and knowledge that few in other business programs can claim. Even doctoral students wanting to pursue research or academia instead of hands-on application of their skills in a business or enterprise setting will be well-prepared for those career paths. Some of the nation’s best professors and researchers incorporate the practical and applicable skills in complex business environments into their lessons or research methodology with excellent educational results.

A degree like the DBA has so much going for it. It is no wonder that this business program is a sought-after resume component for many professionals in business.

Related Resources:

Best Online DBA Programs

Ready to start your journey?

Ready to start your journey?