May 20, 2024  
National University Volume 86B-2 Catalog - April 2024 
National University Volume 86B-2 Catalog - April 2024

Doctor of Business Administration, 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.

Click here for potential career opportunities within the DBA.

Learning Outcomes

  • Develop business methods and concepts based on practical application of current theories
  • Defend theories, applications, and perspectives related to business to diverse audiences
  • Construct socially responsible and ethical 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 Economics.

  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 SKS-7001 - Doctoral Comprehensive Strategic Knowledge Studies  as part of their degree plan.

Students in the Evaluation track will begin their degree plan with BUS-7102 - Applied Doctoral Studies in Business  followed by SKS-7001 - Doctoral Comprehensive Strategic Knowledge Studies  and upon successful completion of SKS 7001  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 - Doctoral Comprehensive Strategic Knowledge Studies  course. This can be discussed with your enrollment or Academic and Finance 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 up to 12 semester credit hours in transfer with a maximum of 9 semester credit hours in transfer eligible toward the specialization courses in 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 36 credit hours of graduate instruction must be completed through the University
  • Grade Point Average of 3.0 (letter grade of “B”) or higher
  • Satisfactory completion of the DBA Pre-Candidacy Prospectus
  • 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 must be met before the student will be issued their complimentary diploma

Dissertation Completion Pathway

The University’s mission is dedicated to assisting students in achieving their academic aspirations and helping them become valuable contributors to their community and profession. To support our mission, the University now offers a dissertation completion pathway for students who have successfully completed their doctoral coursework and achieved doctoral candidacy at a previous institution but were unable to complete their dissertation. The University’s Dissertation Completion Pathway (DCP) offers a unique opportunity for students to complete their doctorate in one of the doctoral programs offered at the University (excluding the PhD MFT, DMFT, and DNP). Students successfully meeting the entrance and application requirements will complete a minimum of 23 credit hours to earn their doctorate.

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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 BUS-7100  and BUS-7320 BUS-7380  
  • Graduate-Level Statistics Competency- DBA students are required to complete BUS-7105  
  • ​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

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

The median time to completion for this program is 64 months.

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

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 34 months.

Dissertation Process

Faculty assists each Doctoral student to reach this high goal through a systematic process leading to a high-quality completed dissertation. This process requires care in choosing a topic, documenting its importance, planning the methodology, and conducting the research. These activities lead smoothly into the writing and oral presentation of the dissertation.

A doctoral candidate must be continuously enrolled throughout the series of dissertation courses. Dissertation courses are automatically scheduled and accepted without a break in scheduling to ensure that students remain in continuous enrollment throughout the dissertation course sequence. If additional time is required to complete any of the dissertation courses, students must re-enroll and pay the tuition for that course. Continuous enrollment will only be permitted when students demonstrate progress toward completing dissertation requirements. The Dissertation Committee determines progress.

Course Sequence

The DBA program may be completed in 48 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.

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

Students who complete at least 12 credit hours in a single area of specialization at the 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 12 credit hours of cross-discipline courses. Courses must be appropriate to the student’s degree program.

All DBA specializations require the following courses:

Required Foundational Courses must be taken first and in sequence. Evaluation track students will take SKS 7001  after BUS-7102  and before BUS-7112 .

Advanced Accounting Specialization

This specialization is designed to provide students with practical application of a broad accounting perspective and technical accounting knowledge, enabling the exploration of relationships among business activities, economic outcomes, and business performance. Students will be able to meet the demand for analyzing advanced management and organization of business transactions and statements related to the assets, liabilities, and operating results of a business.

Financial Management Specialization

This specialization concentrates on research and development analyses used to manage and allocate financial resources and develop effective strategic planning for projection and ROI issues. Students will analyze financial and non-financial organizations - private, public, and corporate. The specialization focuses on international financial issues, quality concepts in financial management, and accounting for profit/nonprofit organizations.

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 12 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, Technology 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.

Global Business Management Specialization

This specialization covers the essential elements required to understand and manage global organizations. Individuals interested in global management positions in industry, higher education, government and public entities, and business consulting would benefit from this program. The specialization provides students with comprehensive education and training in interdisciplinary global management subjects of leadership, government, diplomacy, economics, finance, marketing, and organizational effectiveness. Students study global business theory, decision-making, and problem-solving techniques related to global strategic planning.

Health Services Specialization

This specialization develops essential perspectives and skills for health service industry management issues. The specialization prepares students for problem identification and resolution, analysis and intervention as administrative issues, and recognition of the constraints and limitations to intervention and change in delivery systems. Students in this specialization will focus on the foundations of health services management, including an overview of the United States healthcare delivery system, financial management and economics, human resource management, quality management, and law, ethics, and policy.

Homeland Security: Leadership and Policy Specialization

This specialization prepares senior leaders of public administration, law enforcement, public safety, and emergency medical care and disaster preparedness agencies for executive leadership positions in the field of homeland security. Students are provided with a rigorous educational opportunity to research and explore advanced concepts and methods, and apply theory and emerging concepts to real world issues through innovative approaches to complex problems. Students choose from a number of courses that cover terrorism, strategy, intelligence, emergency management, and critical infrastructure security issues. Students will complete a final written research project demonstrating the ability to conduct an investigation on a workplace problem, identify an area for intervention, critique, justify, and recommend a plan of preventative action.

Human Resources Management Specialization

This specialization explores the interrelationships between human resource capital, leadership, and business organization. Students research theory and practice for HRM information systems, compensation and staffing strategies, training and professional development, cultural diversity, innovation, labor relations, and legal issues in HRM.

Industrial/Organizational Psychology Specialization


This specialization explores the practical application of industrial and organizational psychology to the understanding of people in the world of work. In this interdisciplinary specialization, students in the DBA program also complete courses in the JFK School of Psychology and Social Sciences in order to develop competencies in theory, research, and applications of psychology related to human behavior in organizations. Students conduct basic and applied research related to the applications of organizational and psychological theory to human resource management. Students will complete a final written research project (through business), demonstrating the ability to conduct an investigation on a workplace problem, identify an area for intervention, critique, justify, and recommend a plan of preventative action.

Information Technology Specialization

Technology can be intimidating—yet beneficial—for many organizations. It is important for leaders to know how to take advantage of new technologies and ideas or be trapped in stagnation. The Information Technology Specialization helps prepare professionals to be champions of positive change through new ideas and new technologies.

Organizational Leadership Specialization

This specialization serves to enhance the understanding and practice of organizational leadership using an interdisciplinary approach between business and education theory and research. This specialization has broad appeal among practicing professionals (middle and upper management, and military personnel) with a background in business administration, human resources, nonprofit administration, and related fields, whose professional goal may be organizational consulting or a generalist leadership position in corporate, government, not-for-profit, educational or community organizations.

Project Management Specialization

This specialization explores principles, concepts, tools, and techniques to improve project performance and organizational effectiveness. Students examine all aspects of managing and overseeing business projects, including cost estimates, budget management, cost control, risk assessment, bid negotiation and contracts, and performance reporting critical to the success of any enterprise. The specialization focuses on management, leadership, and team building in the project/program environment. Students will examine strategies relating to managing multiple projects as well as the concepts of earned value project management.

Strategic Marketing Specialization

The Strategic Marketing Specialization at the doctoral level delivers a next-generation approach to strategic marketing, transcending traditional marketing management, and research methodology. This tertiary level specialization delivers benchmark training in the three pillars of global change leadership, marketing science, and innovation in marketing economics. Following the execution of strategic coursework, students will focus on real-world global product strategy, advanced digital marketing across the entire scope of the product life cycle. The specialization provides strategies for a sound, systematic, ethical, and legal approach to contemporary and emergent marketing practices. At the conclusion, students will be well prepared to lead the marketing workforce of tomorrow.

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