The 18 Most Affordable Online Doctorate Degrees in Business Administration offer flexible distance education options in 2020. The business industry is full of career options, and whether you have an interest in nonprofits, marketing, or human resources, you’re sure to find plenty of ways to put your skills to work.
While a Master’s Degree in Business qualifies you to hold many positions in the business industry, pursuing a Doctorate in Business Administration can create even more opportunities. This terminal degree is designed for professionals who plan to work in the field, rather than teach at a college or university. These 20 Most Affordable Online Doctorate Degrees in Business Administration allow you to study while still working full-time, and attaining a degree can qualify you for the upper-level management positions that you aspire to hold.
FINDING A DOCTORATE IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
If you want to hold an upper-level position in the business world, a Doctorate in Business Administration is an excellent investment. When you have your DBA, you can qualify for titles such as CFO, CEO, Executive Administrator, Research Associate, Dean, and more. Depending on the particular industry that you’re interested in, you may want to look for a program that offers a specialization in that field. Many of these programs provide specialties in leadership, finance, nonprofits, higher education, project management, marketing, and human resources, and some allow you to select electives or tailor your dissertation to focus in your area of interest.
Working a full-time job and pursuing your Doctorate in Business Administration means that you need a program that allows for plenty of scheduling flexibility. Many of the programs in this ranking are available entirely online with no on-campus requirements. With other programs, you can complete most of the coursework online, only traveling to the campus occasionally for intensives.
You will want to consider your availability for travel when evaluating a program’s suitability to your needs. You will also want to consider whether a program’s online coursework is offered synchronously, with you needing to be online at particular times, or asynchronously, which provides greater scheduling flexibility. Some of the programs are entirely asynchronous, while others do schedule some synchronous classes so that you can connect with other students and with your professor in real time.
RANKING THE 18 MOST AFFORDABLE ONLINE DOCTORATES IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
While you’re on your way to earning your Ph.D. or Doctorate within your field, the editors at Online PhD Programs are already practicing doctors of their craft: ranking the best online Ph.D. programs. To be featured on our annual rankings online doctorates must satisfy four coinciding requirements: accreditation, research and scholarship doctorate certification, NSF recognition, and institutional association with peer-reviewed academia.
Each degree is then ranked using information provided – primarily – through the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook. The data collected is scored through a series of weighted categories to represent seven crucial aspects of what makes an online doctorate valuable to future students. Online program quality and presence are joined by industry salaries, student reviews, degree exclusivity, costs, and completion rates to determine the best online doctorates available. For a comprehensive breakdown of how we categorize and source data, please visit our methodology page.
#1. COLUMBIA SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY
The Doctor of Business Administration at Columbia Southern University is offered online to accommodate the schedules of working professionals. This 61-credit-hour program allows students to transfer up to nine credits from another institution. During this program, students will study an in-depth application of theory and research, will develop their decision-making and leadership skills, and will explore different methods to solve industry problems. Before graduating, students must successfully defend a theoretical-based or a research project-based dissertation before a committee. This defense may take place at a distance using audio/visual equipment. In addition to offering textbooks to students at no cost, CSU also offers eTextbook and textbook-free courses.
CSU is based in Orange Beach, Alabama, and is an online university offering associate, bachelor, master, doctorate, and certificate level programs. Founded in 1993, CSU has since grown to accommodate more than 29,000 and to employ over 1,000 faculty members and staff. CSU offers different online learning options, all with the flexibility to make learning accessible for working professionals, parents, and anyone balancing school with life commitments. LifePace Learnings allow students to progress through courses in just four weeks, or to extend the time up to 18 weeks. Term Enrollment is based on an eight-week semester that provides set course start and end dates. Columbia Southern University is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.
#2. CALIFORNIA INTERCONTINENTAL UNIVERSITY
The Doctorate of Business Administration program offered by California Intercontinental University is an online program that provides the flexibility working students need to attain their degree while accommodating outside commitments. Throughout the DBA program, students will develop advanced decision-making skills and techniques. Students will also hone and develop the research skills needed for high-level positions in academia or business. This program is available to students holding a bachelor’s or a master’s degree. All e-textbooks are included with this degree, saving students time and money. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission accredits CIU.
CIU offers a variety of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees that can be completed entirely online. These online distance learning programs feature the latest curriculum which teaches students practical approaches to solving real-world issues. Areas of particular focus include business, healthcare, information technology, and management, and students may choose from over 21 different programs. Located in Irvine, California, CIU is a Council for Higher Education Accreditation member and was founded in 2003. CIU works to educate the business managers, executives, leaders, researchers, and consultants of tomorrow who need quality distance learning opportunities to progress in their careers.
#3. UNIVERSITY OF CHARLESTON
The University of Charleston’s Doctor of Executive Leadership program is offered almost entirely online, with students attending a one-week Charleston residence each year. Web conferencing facilitates distance learning, and students enter the program in cohorts of 12 to 15. Students may complete this 58-credit-hour program in just three years, and work both individually and in groups to complete this research-based curriculum. The program coursework focuses on strategy, research methodology and presentation, leadership, business theory, and other topics. Upon graduation, students are prepared to hold executive leadership positions in the business world. Program applicants must have a master’s degree or first professional degree from a regionally accredited school.
Founded in 1888, today UC is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. UC has three West Virginia campuses in Charleston, Beckley, and Martinsburg. UC offers low-cost online tuition rates as well as financial aid to qualifying students. UC’s School of Business & Leadership is a member of the Accreditation Council of Business Schools and Programs. Conveniently located in the center of Charleston’s business district, the School of Business & Leadership helps students to engage in their learning process with top-level executives as they build business networks including CEOs, CFOs, and more.
#4. BAKER COLLEGE
Baker College’s Doctor of Business Administration focuses on high-level business theories and management techniques, preparing students to hold positions like business consultants, analysts, C-level executives, and business operation specialists. Program graduates are also qualified to teach business classes at colleges and universities. The 60-credit-hour program takes three and a half years to complete and is delivered mostly online with professional residencies. Students focus on real problems businesses face today in their research-based dissertation. Students may choose from leadership, finance, human resources, management information systems, or marketing specializations. Alternatively, students may design their program specialization to focus on a topic that interests them.
Located in Flint, Michigan, Baker College is an independent, not-for-profit college. Baker College has been educating students for over a century, and today has over 23,000 students enrolled in over 100 programs. The college features nine campuses, multiple campus extensions, and online course offerings. Baker College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and works to prepare students for careers in the business, health, human services, and technical industries.
#5. UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX
The Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership is an online 62-credit-hour program that can be completed in four years. Through the University of Phoenix’s Doctoral Education Ecosystem, students can access experienced researchers, online dissertation research and writing schools, and even grants, fellowships, and scholarships to support them throughout the program. Program graduates are prepared to hold positions as management consultants, business analysts, management analysts, and more. With many program start dates throughout the year, students don’t have to wait to take the next step in their education.
The University of Phoenix offers both online and on-campus education programs designed specifically for working adults. Not only does the university allow students to transfer credits from other institutions, but work or military experience can also be evaluated for potential college credit. This university also offers a tuition guarantee where students enjoy locked-in tuition from the date that they start a program until their graduation. With shorter classes that are just five or six weeks long, students can take one course at a time and truly focus on their education and learning in that particular class. The University of Phoenix is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is home to one million alumni.
#6. WILMINGTON UNIVERSITY
Wilmington University’s Doctor of Business Administration program is available entirely online or in a face-to-face format. The program emphasizes critical thinking, disciplined inquiry, leadership management, and communication skills and ethics to prepare students to become essential thought leaders in the business industry. The 54-credit-hour program can be completed in three years, and students enter the program in cohorts. Students must complete a DBA capstone project and faculty guide and mentor students through this process.
WilmU is a private, non-sectarian university that was founded in 1968. Today, WilmU has multiple locations in both Delaware and New Jersey and also offers many degrees online. The university has an enrollment of over 18,000 students, more than 8,000 of which are graduate students. Approximately 44 percent of the students utilize WilmU’s online learning options, and all students pay WilmU’s low in-state tuition rates, even if they live out of state. Students are also able to transfer up to 90 credits from other institutions toward their degrees. The Middle States Commission accredits the university on Higher Education.
#7. COLORADO TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY
Colorado Technical University’s Doctor of Management program is a 100-credit-hour program designed to teach students how to evaluate, analyze, and solve problems critically. Students can choose from 13 different concentrations including Executive Leadership, Global Leadership, Non-Profit Leadership, Higher Education Leadership, Project Management, and Technology Management. The online curriculum is supplemented with a residency component including in-person symposium experiences, and students have the option to complete the program in three years. This program features multiple start dates throughout the year, so students don’t have to wait to take the next step in pursuing their education. Grants and scholarships are also available to qualified students.
CTU was founded in 1965 and had decades of experience in implementing online learning programs. CTU’s Virtual Campus received the Best of the Best award in the Computerworld Honors Program, and CTU’s Online MBA was ranked among the top 10 online MBA programs globally in 2013. CTU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and the Accreditation Council accredits its business programs for Business Schools and Programs. CTU offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in a variety of fields, including healthcare, information technology, project management, and nursing. The Military Times included CTU in its Military Times Best: Colleges 2018 rankings.
#8. CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY CHICAGO
Concordia University Chicago’s Doctorate in Business Administration is offered both face-to-face and online. Students who take the program online attend four-day on-campus residencies to provide a blended learning experience. This 60-credit-hour program can be completed in three years, and students can choose from specializations in Innovation in Health Care, Innovations in Human Resources, Leadership and Innovation; and Marketing Innovations. This program is unique in that students begin the dissertation process immediately, choosing a topic at the beginning of the program.
Located in River Forest, Illinois, Concordia University Chicago is a private, liberal arts-based university. The college was founded in 1864 as a college for teachers, but today it consists of five different colleges, including the College of Business. Concordia University Chicago is an establishment of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and incorporates Christian values into its teachings. This university offers a unique tuition guarantee, where, as long as there are no disruptions to a student’s study, the university guarantees that the student’s tuition will remain the same without increasing during the process of earning a degree.
#9. FELICIAN UNIVERSITY
Felician University’s Doctor of Business Administration is offered entirely online with only a brief residency requirement, making it an ideal choice for working professionals. Students can progress through the degree at their own pace and can complete assignments and tests when they are ready with no pressure or restriction from course or semester schedule. Students partner with faculty members who serve as personal learning coaches during the program. Program applicants must have an MBA degree. During the program, students will prepare and teach a university-level course and pass a certification or licensure exam such as a CPA, CFP, or CMA exam.
Felician University is an independent co-education Catholic/Franciscan University located in Rutherford, New Jersey. The university offers undergraduate, pre-professional, certificate, and graduate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, and nursing. The university is home to over 20 student clubs and six professional organizations, including the Student National Education Association and the American Nurses’ Association. Felician University is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and is a chapter under the National Student Veterans of America. The university also offers a Felician University Military Grant, which is available to veterans and military students in addition to military educational benefit programs.
#10. FRANKLIN UNIVERSITY
Franklin University’s Online Doctor of Business Administration features coursework that can be completed entirely online, and that is designed with a working professional’s busy schedule in mind. Students can customize their program with a variety of electives, and complete the 58-credit-hour DBA within just three years. Additionally, students can transfer up to 24 hours of previously earned credits to finish their degree faster. Franklin graduates are prepared for a variety of careers, including positions as professors, analysts, consultants, executives, human resource specialists, and more.
Franklin University has a rich 115-year history of educating adult learners. The university’s main campus is located in downtown Columbus, Ohio, with additional locations in Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Additionally, Franklin offers quality online degrees to students all across the world. Online offerings include 20 business degree programs, online marketing programs, online finance and accounting programs, and more, all with the flexibility that adult learners need. Plus, one-on-one transfer supports ensures that students get credits for all of the applicable work that they’ve previously completed. Franklin is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, and nearly 80 percent of Franklin students take courses online. Franklin is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
#11. CALIFORNIA BAPTIST UNIVERSITY
California Baptist University’s Doctor of Business Administration program is designed to offer a quality education with the flexibility that working adults need. This 50-unit online program, including the dissertation, can be completed in just three years. Students take one eight-week course at a time and attend an on-campus residency periodically throughout the program. This program is taught by CBU’s credentialed faculty who have experience in the public, non-profit, and private sectors. Program applicants must have a master’s degree from an accredited institution. Applicants should have a minimum 3.0 GPA for unconditional admission, though students with at least a 2.75 GPA may be admitted to the program conditionally.
California Baptist University was founded in 1950 by the Southern California Baptist Convention. The school features 100 percent Christian faculty and staff and is located in Riverside, California. CBU Online offers over 40 online majors and concentrations available. CBU is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs. The U.S. News & World Report ranked CBU Online as having the top Graduate Education Faculty Credentials and Training in the country in 2019. CBU Online was also included in the U.S. News & World Report‘s 2019 Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs for Veterans ranking.
#12. JOHNSON & WALES UNIVERSITY
The Johnson & Wales University Doctor of Business Administration is a 54-credit-hour program that is offered entirely online. Students advance through the DBA in cohorts and take eight-week-long courses, allowing them to move through the content quickly. This program is designed so that faculty begins advising students at the end of the first year of the program, and then the lock-step dissertation model helps to guide students through the entire dissertation process. Program faculty hold terminal degrees and have extensive experience in their field and in teaching online. Applicants to the DBA should have a master’s degree with a concentration in or related to business and should have five years or management or industry leadership experience.
Founded in 1914, JWU has four different campus locations and offers over 80 different majors. JWU students hold over 3,400 internships each year in 48 states and 21 countries. The JWU College of Online Education offers an inclusive online learning community accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education. Students enrolled online are connected with the instructor and other students via ulearn, the online learning course platform. Students can participate in courses on their own time but must meet course deadlines. Online learners receive the same diploma that on-campus learners receive, with no designation of the fact that the program was completed online.
#13. KEISER UNIVERSITY
Keiser University’s Doctor of Business Administration program is offered online, and its flexible format is ideal for adult learners or professionals who are balancing a career with their education. Students may choose from three specializations including marketing, global business, and global management. During the program, students will learn how to both apply and evaluate effective leadership and decision-making practices. Additionally, students will learn how to use advanced research systems to prepare and evaluate business decisions. The DBA is designed to enable students to meet the challenges and opportunities of today’s business environment, and an approach involving theory and applied research, gives students a well-rounded approach to business leadership.
Founded in 1977, Keiser University is a private, not-for-profit university dedicated to providing students with a personal learning experience. Keiser University offers associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs, and its small class sizes ensure that students acquire plenty of personalized attention from faculty. The university has a unique four-week class model, so students take just one class at a time, which allows them to focus on their learning truly. At Keiser University, students may take courses on campus, online, or both, giving them plenty of scheduling flexibility.
#14. LIBERTY UNIVERSITY
Liberty University’s Doctor of Business Administration program is offered entirely online and is designed to prepare students for upper-level business leadership and management positions. Students can choose a specific skill path such as accounting, finance, healthcare management, marketing, non-profit leadership and management, project management, strategic management, and more. During the course, students are mentored by respected business professionals and will gain skills in evaluating business programs and identifying the most active industry practices. Program applicants must have a master’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher from a nationally accredited institution.
Liberty University was founded in 1971 and has evolved into the large evangelical liberal arts institution it is today. The university has 16 locations that provide over 550 programs of study. Home to 100,000 students, Liberty also has a significant online program offering, with over 250 degrees available as online degree programs. Liberty is dedicated to keeping education affordable, and when compared to other residential and online universities, its tuition prices are some of the cheapest in the country. Liberty offers tuition discounts to service members, veterans, military spouses, and Department of Defense employees. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
#15. CREIGHTON UNIVERSITY
Creighton University’s Doctorate in Business Administration is a hybrid, cohort-style program that allows students to continue working in their current positions while also completing a degree. During the first two years, students must attend seven-weekend residencies which will enable the cohort and faculty to meet face-to-face. Such residencies provide students with an opportunity to develop valuable business networks for post-graduation. In addition to these residencies, students attend once-per-week evening practical sessions with the instructor and the cohort during two semesters of the program. During the DBA, students will learn analytical approaches to business research, how to publish in applied research journals, teaching techniques such as online and hybrid course delivery, and more.
Located in Omaha, Nebraska, Creighton University offers more than 30 online programs including bachelor’s, doctoral degrees, and more. Creighton is a Jesuit and Catholic institution that offers flexible learning options to make education accessible to busy professionals. The U.S. News & World Report has ranked Creighton at the top of its Midwest Regional Universities ranking for the past 16 years. The U.S. News & World Report also ranked Creighton in the top 20 of the Best Online Graduate Business Programs 2019, in the top 10 of the Best Online Graduate Business Programs for Veterans 2019, in the top 20 of the Best Online Graduate MBA Programs 2019, and in the top 10 Best Online Graduate MBA Programs for Veterans 2019.
#16. ROLLINS COLLEGE
The Executive Doctorate in Business Administration at Rollins College is a three-year program for executives who hold a master’s degree in business or a related advanced degree. As students progress through the program, they learn how to be thought leaders and gain applied research skills that help to differentiate them from other managers. The program allows students to continue working while attending school, with students learning via an online educational platform. Students meet on-campus once a month for a Friday and a Saturday. Students enter the program as a cohort group, and all of the students have a similar level of experience and common goals, creating stimulating and rewarding relationships and interactions.
Located in Winter Park, Florida, Rollins College was founded in 1885 by New England Congregationalists. It became the first recognized college in Florida and today, Rollins is a coeducational institution that is home to 100 student-led organizations and clubs and 22 varsity athletic teams. Classes at Rollins average only 17 students in size, so students receive plenty of personalized attention. Rollins is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and its Crummer Graduate School of Business is approved by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The EDBA program was the first EDBA program in Florida to be accredited by the AACSB.