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Doctor of Business Administration

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No Residency

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No Group Work

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100% Online Learning

National and Northcentral have merged, and this program is now offered by NU. Learn more.

Home » Programs » Doctor of Business Administration

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

National University’s Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program offers high-level training for senior leadership positions. Our online DBA programs have an emphasis on the application of research as a means for developing strategies and tactics for solving organizational problems. You will also learn to create and execute solutions that are effective and ethical. NU offers you the opportunity to refine your knowledge and explore emerging business technologies, while vicariously gaining real-world experience from your mentoring professors.

Bring More to the Table with an Online DBA Degree

No other university can match National University’s uniquely flexible approach to earning your DBA degree online, which includes weekly course starts to fit your schedule. NU’s online DBA has no GRE or GMAT exam requirement, which can be time-consuming and costly.

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The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accredits public and private schools, colleges, and universities in the U.S.

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*The DBA program is accredited by ACBSP; however, the Health Services, Industrial/Organizational Psychology, and Information Technology specializations are not.

Course Details

Online DBA Course Listings

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.

In this course you will be introduced to the applied business doctoral academic journey. You will explore what it means to become an academic learner. You will compare and contrast the applied degree to a research degree to show which is applicable in differing environments. You will discuss the use of conceptual frameworks and theories in research and be introduced to scholarly writing and reference management. Your course will conclude with you developing a researchable applied business research question and a brief research plan.

Students will analyze and apply knowledge in 12 business areas necessary to address a wide variety of business-related situations. The focus of the course is demonstrating core proficiencies in the following business areas: Marketing, Business Finance, Accounting, Management, Legal Environment of Business, Economics, Business Ethics, Global Dimensions of Business, Information Systems, Quantitative Techniques and Statistics, Leadership, and Business Applications. The intent is not to introduce these core business concepts, but rather to verify a graduate-level threshold competency within each. The course includes a comprehensive case study that will allow students to demonstrate their competency within all 12 professional component areas.

In this course you will explore the ideas and methods for encouraging innovation as part of successful organizational strategic planning. You will use organizational assessment tools to evaluate a company’s human resource practices and assess how strategic planning includes elements of technology and sustainability to ensure competitive advantage in global markets.

Organizations can no longer ignore ethics and social responsibility, including the green movement. Ethics are required by local, state, and federal legislation, and today, more than ever, stakeholders at organizations are being held accountable for their actions and societal harm. Therefore, academic integrity must be carried out from the classroom to the place of business. In a case study format, students in this course will learn about current laws, their applications to business, and how to maintain an ethical perspective within the context of a global framework.

In this course, you will engage in the process of scholarly literature reviews and academic writing. With an emphasis on how to (a) conduct effective literature searches, specifically in preparation for the dissertation, (b) develop a plan for writing comprehensive, critical, and synthesized reviews of research literature, and (c) critically review and write about underlying theory/conceptual frameworks, you will develop a foundation for future research. The overarching goal of this course is for you to conduct an exhaustive search of the peer-reviewed research literature in your topic area and identify potential areas of inquiry for your dissertation.

In this course, you will cultivate a statistical mindset through learning and nurturing skills needed to perform and interpret univariate inferential statistics. The course will facilitate building your statistical confidence in assessing and performing statistics. The course will cover univariate parametric and non-parametric statistical tests, interpretation of statistical output, and introduce skills needed to select statistical tests based on quantitative research questions.

During this course, as a scholar-practitioner, you will build the skills essential for designing quantitative studies; analyzing the data collected in these studies, and interpreting the results of data analyses. You will explore designs and statistical techniques to use with their envisioned dissertation research.

During this course, you will examine qualitative methods for studying human behavior including grounded theory, narrative analysis, ethnography, mixed methods, and case studies. You will explore designs and methodologies to use with your envisioned research.

The Pre-Candidacy Prospectus is intended to ensure students have mastered knowledge of their discipline prior to candidacy status and demonstrated the ability to design empirical research as an investigator before moving on to the dissertation research coursework. Students will demonstrate the ability to synthesize empirical, peer-reviewed research to support all assignments in this course. The Pre-Candidacy Prospectus is completed only after all foundation, specialization, and research courses have been completed.

Students in this course will be required to complete Chapter 1 of their dissertation proposal including a review of literature with substantiating evidence of the problem, the research purpose and questions, the intended methodological design and approach,  and the significance of the study. A completed, committee approved (against the minimum rubric standards) Chapter 1 is required to pass this course successfully. Students who do not receive approval of Chapter 1 to minimum standards will be able to take up to three supplementary 8-week courses to finalize and gain approval of Chapter 1.

Students in this course will be required to work on completing Chapters 1-3 of their dissertation proposal and receive committee approval for the Dissertation Proposal (DP) in order to pass the class. Chapter 2 consists of the literature review. Chapter 3 covers the research methodology method and design and to includes population, sample, measurement instruments, data collection and analysis, limitations, and ethical considerations. In this course, a completed, committee-approved Chapters 2 and 3 are required and, by the end of the course, a final approved dissertation proposal (against the minimum rubric standards). Students who do not receive approval of the dissertation proposal will be able to take up to three supplementary 8-week courses to finalize and gain approval of these requirements.

Students in this course will be required to prepare, submit, and obtain approval of their IRB application, collect data, and submit a final study closure form to the IRB. Students still in data collection at the end of the 12-week course will be able to take up to three supplementary 8-week courses to complete data collection and file an IRB study closure form.

In this dissertation course students work on completing Chapters 4 and 5 and the final Dissertation Manuscript. Specifically, students will complete their data analysis, prepare their study results, and present their findings in an Oral Defense and a completed manuscript. A completed, Committee approved (against the minimum rubric standards) Dissertation Manuscript and successful Oral Defense are required to complete the course and graduate. Students who do not receive approval for either or both their Dissertation Manuscript or defense can take up to three supplementary 8-week courses to finalize and gain approval of either or both items as needed.

Program at a Glance

  • Total Credit Hours: 48 Credit Hours
  • Courses: 16 Courses
  • Recommended Completion Time: 34 Months
  • Next Start Date: Every Monday
  • Classroom Size: One


No business can survive without a clear understanding of the bottom line, so it is no surprise that the accounting field is expected to grow 13% in the next seven years. With a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in Advanced Accounting, you’ll be poised to help organizations use data to ensure a positive financial footing. With this NU specialization you will acquire a broad accounting perspective and technical accounting knowledge as you explore the relationships among business activities, economic outcomes and business performance with our unique one-to-one mentoring approach. As a graduate you will be prepared to pursue positions such as chief accountant, senior audit director, and vice president of accounting.

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Money talks and, with a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in Financial Management, you’ll be the person companies listen to. Working with professors who all hold doctoral degrees, you will gain advanced skills in fiscal analysis, budgeting and spending for public and private organizations. In a program that is 100% online, you will examine domestic and global financial issues, including causes of fluctuations in interest and monetary exchange rates, and explore advanced business financial decision models, investment selection techniques and how financial institutions generate earnings and manage risks. As a graduate, you will be ready for a variety of related positions, including economist, financial research specialist, statistician, financial analyst, budget analyst, loan officer, financial manager, financial planner and investment banker.

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Modern business is ever-evolving and in this tumultuous setting a business generalist is an invaluable asset. The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in General Business specialization allows you the flexibility to select courses from a broad range of electives so you can study subjects in a one-to-one mentoring environment that fit your personal and professional interests and goals. You will have the opportunity to examine a variety of topics, including advanced corporate finance, supervisory techniques and business knowledge in the global environment, with the goal of strengthening your knowledge in business practices.

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NU’s Doctor of Business Administration with a specialization in Global Business Management covers the essential elements required to understand and manage global organizations. Individuals interested in global management positions and/or teaching in post-secondary institutions of higher education would benefit from this program. The specialization focuses on topics such as global leadership issues and characteristics, trends and strategies in global business strategic management, and the challenges of positioning global brands and pricing approaches.

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By 2024, it’s estimated that nearly $1 in every $5 spent in the U.S. will be spent on health care. The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in Health Services will prepare you to lead private or public sector entities as they try and navigate this challenging industry. You will develop essential perspectives and skills for application of theoretical and research-based health care industry management issues. You will explore strategic planning in health care and managed systems, comparative health care system analysis, and examine strategies related to total quality management in health care. In addition, you will develop skills in problem identification and resolution, analysis and intervention as administrative issues, and recognition of the constraints and limitations to intervention and change in delivery systems.

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People are every organization’s greatest asset. In the DBA in Human Resources Management specialization, you will have the opportunity to expand your knowledge of strategic labor relations and practices as you examine how an organization’s employee relations practices are linked to its overall business plan. You will explore HRM Information Systems, compensation and staffing strategies, training and professional development, recruiting, workplace diversity, benefits and pay management, labor relations, labor laws, and field-specific technology. Your doctoral professors will also help you develop the necessary skills to properly create, develop, mediate and maintain the personnel interrelationships that are so important to the overall success of the organization.

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Consulting opportunities in Industrial/Organizational Psychology are exploding. The NU DBA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology is a 100% online specialization that explores the application of industrial and organizational psychology and management theory to the understanding of people in a work environment. Under the mentorship of your doctoral professor, you will develop competencies in theory, research and applications of psychology to human behavior in organizations, and conduct advanced research related to the application of organizational and psychological theory to human resource management. NU graduates are prepared for positions that include evaluating, interpreting and integrating knowledge into the business decision-making process.

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NU’s Doctor of Business Administration with a specialization in Information Technology is a cross-discipline specialization that utilizes courses from NU’s School of Technology programs. 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. In this specialization, you will gain a general understanding of networks and computing, as well as the cloud, mobile technology, telecommunications, architectures, computing platforms, protocols, and tools.

This specialization does not offer the same experience and deep level of knowledge as the focused School of Technology programs. However, with specialization courses directly from the School of Technology, this program will provide business leaders a strong understanding of the field through courses that are aligned to the current standards in the industry.

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Competition for CEO jobs is fierce, but having a doctorate in the subject can help you rise to the top. Our Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in Organizational Leadership is an interdisciplinary, 100% online program designed to help you develop the research skills, management practices and understanding of qualitative and quantitative business analysis tools needed of professionals in business administration, human resources, non-profit administration and related fields. You will explore theoretical research as it relates to strategic planning in all phases of organizational leadership, including building organizational capacity and sustainability. Our graduates are prepared for positions in organizational consulting or generalist leadership positions within corporate, government, not-for-profit, educational or community organizations.

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According to the 2013 Project Management Talent Gap Report, more than $15.7 million new project management jobs are projected in the next decade. The DBA in Project Management specialization focuses on management, leadership and team building in the project/program environment. You will 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. Through mentoring feedback from your doctoral professors, you will explore principles, concepts, tools and techniques that help improve project performance and organizational effectiveness.

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NU’s Doctor of Business Administration with a specialization in Strategic Marketing transcends traditional marketing by focusing upon emerging trends in the 21st century in marketing management and marketing research. Students will focus on thought leadership-driven strategic marketing, encompassing contemporary and emergent marketing management methods, global product management, precision pricing, advanced promotional methods, and proven distribution techniques. At the conclusion, students will be well prepared for the marketing workforce of tomorrow.

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Ever since the events of 9/11, homeland security has taken on a heightened status in the defense of our nation. The field offers unique career opportunities to help secure our borders, airports, and waterways; research and develop the latest security technologies and analyses; and respond to natural disasters or terrorist assaults.

This doctoral 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. The program provides rigorous educational opportunities to research and explore advanced concepts and methods, and it allows you to apply theory to real world issues through innovative approaches to complex problems. You’ll choose from a number of courses that cover terrorism, strategy, intelligence, emergency management, and critical infrastructure security issues. At the conclusion, you’ll complete a final written research project demonstrating your ability to investigate a workplace problem, identify an area for intervention, and then critique, justify, and recommend a plan of preventive action.

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Doctor of Business Administration Program Outcomes

At National University, you can earn your Doctor of Business Administration degree online, when it’s convenient for you. And although you attend class online, you still receive the personal support and guidance you deserve thanks to our one-to-one learning model. We also have no residency requirements, no GRE/GMAT requirements, and no group projects. This offers the flexibility you need to fit higher education into your busy schedule.

DBA Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of National University’s Doctor of Business Administration program, graduates will be able to:

  • Formulate solutions to practical business problems based on original research
  • Evaluate the relationship between the global environment and business decisions
  • Construct socially responsible and ethical business strategies
  • Defend business-related theories, applications, and perspectives to diverse audiences
  • Develop business methods and concepts based on practical application of current theories

Hear From Our Faculty

Watch our video to learn more about the Doctor of Business Administration program from Dr. Eugene Wilkerson, Dean for the School of Business.


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Weekly Course Starts
Our course structure is built to make earning your degree accessible and achievable by offering a rigorous, yet flexible program that works with your schedule.

Finish Your Dissertation!

Dissertation Completion Pathway (DCP) is a 100% online pathway helping students “All But Dissertation” finish their doctoral degree.

  • Block transfer of credit from your previous institution
  • Flexible monthly start dates
  • Highly trained faculty providing feedback each week on your dissertation
  • Strategic support and targeted resources to help you finish

Why Choose National University

  • Eight-Week Courses
  • 190+ Degree Programs
  • Online or On-Site
  • Year-Round Enrollment
  • Military Friendly

We’re proud to be a Veteran-founded, San Diego-based nonprofit. Since 1971, our mission has been to provide accessible, achievable higher education to adult learners. Today, we educate students from across the U.S. and around the globe, with over 230,000 alumni worldwide.

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“National University has impacted my career. You can immediately apply what you learn in class to your business.”

-Francisco R., Class of 2016

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We know your life may not happen on a 9-5 schedule, so we offer courses online or on-site at locations across California.
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The Key Grant Scholarship

Do you qualify for a needs-based scholarship? Learn more about the NU Key Grant Scholarship and other scholarship opportunities to unlock the door to your dreams!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Career Potential*

  • Chief Executive
  • General and Operations Managers
  • Sales Manager
  • Administrative Services Manager
  • Industrial Production Manager
  • Transportation Manager
  • Storage and Distribution Manager
  • Social and Community Service Managers
  • Regulatory Affairs Manager
  • Investment Fund Manager
  • Supply Chain Manager
  • Security Manager
  • Loss Prevention Manager
  • Cost Estimator
  • Management Analyst
  • Business Teacher, postsecondary
  • Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists
  • Operations Research Analyst

*Positions may depend on specialization chosen and require additional experience, training, and other factors beyond successfully completing this degree program. Some roles may also require state licensure, and it is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all licensure requirements are met.

A PhD or Doctor of Philosophy is a doctorate degree — but only one of several varieties. Read on to learn more about the major categories of doctoral degrees and some important ways in which they differ from one another.

Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)

As a leading accreditation association for business education, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) “develops, promotes, and recognizes best practices that contribute to continuous improvement of business education.” The Association emphasizes the importance of “learning how to learn,” balancing teaching and research activities to enhance the quality of classroom instruction and contribute to student learning. To learn more about the ACBSP, visit their website.

Program Disclosure

Successful completion and attainment of National University degrees do not lead to automatic or immediate licensure, employment, or certification in any state/country. The University cannot guarantee that any professional organization or business will accept a graduate’s application to sit for any certification, licensure, or related exam for the purpose of professional certification.

Program availability varies by state. Many disciplines, professions, and jobs require disclosure of an individual’s criminal history, and a variety of states require background checks to apply to, or be eligible for, certain certificates, registrations, and licenses. Existence of a criminal history may also subject an individual to denial of an initial application for a certificate, registration, or license and/or result in the revocation or suspension of an existing certificate, registration, or license. Requirements can vary by state, occupation, and/or licensing authority.

NU graduates will be subject to additional requirements on a program, certification/licensure, employment, and state-by-state basis that can include one or more of the following items: internships, practicum experience, additional coursework, exams, tests, drug testing, earning an additional degree, and/or other training/education requirements.

All prospective students are advised to review employment, certification, and/or licensure requirements in their state, and to contact the certification/licensing body of the state and/or country where they intend to obtain certification/licensure to verify that these courses/programs qualify in that state/country, prior to enrolling. Prospective students are also advised to regularly review the state’s/country’s policies and procedures relating to certification/licensure, as those policies are subject to change.

National University degrees do not guarantee employment or salary of any kind. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to review desired job positions to review degrees, education, and/or training required to apply for desired positions. Prospective students should monitor these positions as requirements, salary, and other relevant factors can change over time.