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PhD in Business Administration

Primary Difference between a Doctorate in Business Administration & a Business PhD

In general, as in other disciplines, a doctorate degree is a research-oriented degree, with a focus on developing advanced theoretical or practical research skills in a particular area.

The PhD is the most common doctorate degree for those who wish to pursue academic careers. However, the degree is also used as for advanced consulting, research, or business/public administration careers. Often, PhD students choose an area of specialization such as finance, marketing, or accounting.

The DBA (or Doctor of Business Administration) is designed to provide business executives with competencies needed to pursue business/public administration careers that require more advanced research skills and qualifications. Some DBA programs may also be pathways into careers in academia.

Primary Difference Between a DBA and PhD

The primary difference between the two is found in a program's orientation and intended outcome. Often, the business PhD and the DBA are more similar than they are different. In general, the focus of a PhD program is to develop new theory, whereas the focus of a DBA program is to apply theoretical knowledge to the advancement of business practice. Both PhD and DBA programs require original research culminating in the creation and defense of a thesis or dissertation. Among DBA programs, there is a range of emphases with some more oriented toward the application of knowledge and some more oriented toward the creation of knowledge. The same is true for other doctoral programs in business, such as the Doctor of Management or the Executive Doctor of Management.

Deciding Between the DBA and PhD

If you are interested in pursuing either a PhD or a DBA you should confirm the orientation of the program on a school-by-school basis, as institutions may have different approaches to each degree. The best way to determine whether a program is what you will need is to look at its structure, curriculum, and graduation requirements, as well as the career paths that the program's alumni have pursued. You also want to explore the types of research that have been published by a program's graduates and its faculty. Keep your end goals in mind when making your decision. The career or job you want may prefer one over the other.

Which Degree Do AACSB-Accredited Schools Prefer?

In order to be considered "academically qualified" to teach at an AACSB-accredited business school, faculty members are normally expected to hold a doctorate degree from a "program intended to produce scholars capable of creating original scholarly contributions through advances in research or theory." Graduates of doctoral programs without such a focus, or individuals without doctorate degrees, may be considered "professionally qualified" to teach, provided other expectations are met.