DBA vs. PhD

DBA vs. PhD

DBA vs. PhD banner

If you’re thinking about expanding your formal education and increasing your career opportunities with a doctoral degree, consider the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA). Although most familiar is the PhD, there are some significant advantages to earning a DBA — and it is a professional doctorate with the same status, standing, and academic challenge as a PhD. The majority of DBA candidates are working professionals with established careers who want new intellectual challenges and opportunities to perform research, solve specific work environment problems, and enhance career growth. Most DBA programs are applicable across many sectors of business, healthcare, government, the military, higher education or nonprofits.

Career Opportunities

PhD graduates are primarily prepared for faculty positions at institutions of higher learning. The DBA is also considered a terminal degree, qualifying you for faculty positions, but more often pursued to advance career opportunities as executive-level organizational leaders, industry innovators, consultants, and policymakers, with many programs requiring some level of management experience. DBA candidates seek practical solutions to current workplace/industry problems, providing benefits to both the student and the employer.

Scope of Research

PhD candidates focus on making a contribution to scholarship and research, finding gaps in theory and developing new ones in a specific field. DBA candidates are also qualified to do research and focus on making a contribution to the practice of business, with an emphasis on practical applied research that aims to fulfill the needs of industry, the economy, or those of your own organization.

Course of Study

Both PhD and DBA programs include the study of research methods through multiple courses. Depending on your area of focus or concentration, courses will vary. For DBA candidates your program will usually include the study of business theory, core business functions (such as accounting, HR, marketing, IT), and contemporary strategic and operational business challenges. Courses may also include topics such as innovation and change, leadership issues, and executive decision-making. You will complete your studies with a doctoral dissertation.

The Dissertation

The doctoral dissertation is an integral component of a doctoral program and serves as a demonstration of academic excellence and rigor. Both PhD and DBA programs usually culminate with a five-chapter written dissertation and oral defense. Some programs may allow for multiple published articles in scholarly journals or a thesis/project in place of the dissertation (see specific school websites for their requirements).

The DBA dissertation displays expertise in applying the science of business and usually focuses on an applied research project, placing value on the relevance of findings to the researcher. It is designed to make a positive difference in an organization setting, specific to an employer or industry.

Program Design

The structure of PhD and DBA programs vary widely, including a number of courses, credits per course, number of courses taken at one time, time to complete, and support systems for dissertation completion. While PhDs are usually full-time programs, most DBA programs are part-time since the majority of candidates are working professionals. Some programs can be completed in three years, while others will take much longer. You will find 100-percent online options, hybrid (where you are required to physically come to campus during certain periods each year), or attend all classes at a campus.

The Faculty

In PhD programs, many faculty members may only have academic experience. For DBA programs the faculty may also have the required academic background and credentials but usually also have professional experience and credentials in their field of study; some may still be actively engaged in the industry.

The DBA degree is an official acknowledgment of extensive skills gained and knowledge acquired, based on the latest business research and theories.

Whatever your decision, whether to pursue a business PhD or DBA, review program requirements and formats carefully. It is essential that you pick a program that works for you and your personal situation. Doctorates are a significant investment in time and money, and you want to make the most of your experience.

About the JWU Doctor of Business Administration

Students ethically address business challenges, think critically and creatively, and learn how to transform business practices to create organizational optimization, growth, and sustainability – in profit or nonprofit settings. Your research will address an authentic problem, issue or concern, based on theory and supported by appropriate methodological and statistical applications.

  • Regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • 100 percent online format, providing flexibility and convenience
  • Unique lock-step dissertation model integrated into the coursework, designed to guide students through the dissertation process

For more information on pursuing your DBA degree from Johnson & Wales University College of Online Education, complete the “Request Info” form on this page or call 855-JWU-1881 or email [email protected].

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