May 26, 2024  
NCU Catalog - December 2016 
NCU Catalog - December 2016 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Business Administration, General Business Specialization, DBA

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Doctor of Business Administration

Description of Program

The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program is designed for current and potential business leaders and senior managers, in the private and public sectors to enhance their knowledge and competencies appropriate to a leadership role in business administration. The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program is a research-based degree, but unlike the PhD, the DBA program is intended to engage the student in the application of theoretical knowledge to the advancement of practice in the field (solving complex problems) (Archibald, 2010; Corley & Giola 2011; Huba, Shubb & Shelley, 2006).

The outcome of the research is designed to provide valuable insights to an organization. Examples of an applied investigation may include a replication study, a case study, or a special project (such as, for example, the creation of a curriculum, training program, or educational artifact), followed by an evaluation. A doctoral project for a professional degree does not have to be an original contribution to the body of knowledge that impacts the theories in the field, but typically responds to a practical problem or proposed innovation (Archibald, 2010).

The DBA is increasingly recognized by international business and management schools as the most appropriate post-MBA (or equivalent master’s degree) route to combining academic research with management and business.

Learning Outcomes

  • Communicate with diverse audiences about practices, solutions, and perspectives related
    to business

  • Construct socially responsible and ethic business strategies

  • Evaluate the relationship between the global environment and business decisions

  • Formulate solutions to practical business problems based on original research 


Basis for Admissions

Admission to the Doctor of Business Administration program will be determined by the degree used to meet the basis for admission. In order to enter the doctoral program, applicants are required to have a conferred master’s degree from a nationally or regionally accredited academic institution. There are two options for entering the doctoral program in the School of Business and Technology Management.

  1. Direct Entry – Individuals may immediately begin the doctoral program through the DBA or PhD track with a previously completed master’s degree in one of the following:
  • A generalized business area such as business management or business administration,
  • Specialized business area (e.g. Master of Finance, Master of Human Resources Management) AND an undergraduate degree in business


  • A previously completed master’s degree in any field AND an undergraduate in business.
  1. Evaluation Track – Individuals not meeting the direct entry requirements are required to take SKS7001-8 - Doctoral Comprehensive Strategic Knowledge Studies  as part of their degree plan.

Students in the Evaluation track will begin their degree plan with BTM 7101-8  Foundations for Doctoral Studies in Business followed by SKS7001-8 - Doctoral Comprehensive Strategic Knowledge Studies  and upon successful completion of SKS 7001-8  take the remaining courses in their degree plan.

Students who feel that they have the business background and knowledge are allowed to take a test-out exam that covers the major business areas. The student must score 70 or above on the exam and can be taken no later than two weeks prior to the beginning of SKS 7001-8  Comprehensive Strategic Knowledge Studies course. This can be discussed with your enrollment or student academic advisor. 

Degree Requirements

Admission to the Doctorate programs requires a master’s degree from an accredited institution (also see Direct Entry and Evaluation Track Requirements).

The University may accept a maximum of 9 semester credit hours in transfer toward the doctoral degree for graduate coursework completed at an accredited college or university with a grade of “B” or better.

The DBA degree programs in business have the following graduation requirements:

  • A minimum of 45 credit hours of graduate instruction must be completed through Northcentral
  • Grade Point Average of 3.0 (letter grade of “B”) or higher
  • Satisfactory completion of a Comprehensive Exam
  • University Approval of Dissertation Manuscript and Oral Presentation completed
  • Submission of the approved final dissertation manuscript to the University Registrar, including the original unbound dissertation manuscript and an electronic copy
  • Official documents on file for basis of admission: a conferred master’s degree from an accredited academic institution
  • Official transcripts on file for all transfer credit hours accepted by the University
  • All financial obligations to the University paid in full

Fundamental Competencies

Students in the DBA program are required to demonstrate competency in the areas listed below:

  • Graduate-Level Research Methods Competency- DBA students are required to complete BTM 7303  and BTM 7103-8 , BTM 7109-8  and either BTM 7108-8  or BTM 7106-8  at Northcentral.
  • Graduate-Level Statistics Competency- DBA students are required to complete BTM 7104-8  Business Statistics at Northcentral.
  • Computer Competency - Doctoral students are required to have computer skills necessary for completing a dissertation. Students must be able to prepare documents using advanced word processing skills (e.g., creation of tables and figures, headers and footers, page breaks, tables of contents, hanging indents). Students must use computer programs for the statistical analysis of data (e.g., SAS). Students must produce a computer-based presentation (e.g., PowerPoint) for their dissertation oral examination.

Time to Completion

Northcentral University allows 7 years to complete all doctoral programs of 60 credits or less.

Normal time to completion for this program is 84 months.

Time to completion varies depending upon the pace in which a student completes courses and the number of transfer credits accepted. As most Northcentral students are working adults balancing educational, professional, and personal commitments, our academic advisors will work with you to develop a program schedule that works best for your needs.

The normal time disclosed above reflects the experience of students who may have entered under different program requirements. In the quest for continuous improvement, academic leadership has revised the program to optimize curriculum and pace, facilitate student learning, and improve chances for success. Therefore, the program is now designed for students enrolling today to take advantage of these revised course structures, lengths, and schedules. New students following the preferred schedule designed by the Dean for this program, and applying no transfer credits, can expect to finish in as little as 39 months.

Courses taken to satisfy the fundamental requirements may not be counted toward completion of required specializations courses or electives.

Students who complete at least 15 credit hours in a single area of specialization at Northcentral University (not counting foundational courses) may elect to have the specialization recorded on their transcript and diploma. Students may also opt for a General Business specialization, electing 15 credit hours of cross-discipline courses. Elective courses must be appropriate to the student’s degree program.

Course Sequence

Credit Hours - The DBA program may be completed in 54 credits. Additional credit hours may be allowed as needed to complete the dissertation research. If granted, additional courses will be added to the student degree program in alignment with the SAP and Academic Maximum Time to Completion policies. Students who do not complete their program in accordance with these policies may be dismissed.

Basis for Admission - In order to enter the doctoral (DBA) program, applicants must have earned a master’s degree from an accredited university (also see Direct Entry and Evaluation Track Requirements).

All DBA specializations require the following courses:

Required Foundational Courses must be taken first and in sequence. Evaluation track students will take SKS 7001-8  after BTM 7101-8  and before BTM 7300 .

General Business Specialization

The General Business specialization allows students to select courses from a broad range of electives to fit their personal and professional goals.

Students must complete a minimum of 15 credit hours for the specialization in General Business. Students may take business courses at the 7000 or 8000 level including up to two courses from other fields (Psychology and/or Education) to fulfill their specialization requirements. Additional courses (i.e., more than two courses) from other disciplines may be considered to fill this requirement, with Dean approval.


Courses listed are examples and upon acceptance to the program the initial degree plan will include these courses. Students are encouraged to choose their specialization courses based on personal and professional goals and to work with their Academic Advisor to revise their degree plan.

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