So you’re interested in pursuing an advanced degree in business administration but still, keep wondering what the difference between a DBA and a Ph.D. is? While they’re very similar, they both have distinguishing features that may fit you better than the other, depending on what your goals are with your future or current career.

That said, let’s dive into the first section, where we’ll go over what exactly a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) entails.

What Is a Doctor of Business Administration?

A DBA prepares college students for managerial roles in non-profit organizations, government agencies, or a senior-level occupation, such as CEO. In addition, upon graduation, students can pursue being a development director or specialize in specific areas of the business, like accounting, HR, or project management.


A DBA is versatile, and this door opens to many career paths after years of hands-on training and gathering knowledge in a variety of areas. People who have a DBA might be considering running a business, furthering their profession, or instructing the next generation. With a DBA, you’re presented with a wide range of possibilities.

Here are some general facts about the DBA program:

  • Online and part-time options are available
  • A typical DBA program includes the course requirements, electives, a research component, and a final project
  • A Master’s degree is required before you apply

Candidate profile

In the program, the student would read and study theories about, for example, employee motivation and engagement. They would then identify resources from articles or literature and create a program that addresses the issue they studied. If it wasn’t solved, they would make changes, provide additional research, and try again.

They would need to have good research skills when addressing issues in the workplace. Furthermore, they’d have to communicate clearly while asking questions, apply what they’ve learned, and use research to help solve real-world problems.

DBA costs

The cost is dependent on what state you reside in and technology fees (especially for the online program). You can expect to pay between $27,000 to $60,000 in total.

Career outcomes

Once you have a DBA, the median annual salary is about $100,000, and you can choose from various job opportunities, ranging in interest and rigor:

  • Corporate executive – CEO
  • Consultant – helps businesses solve problems and maximize profits
  • Economist – collaborates with policy-makers and business leaders; helps them understand through research evidence
  • Logician – informs the company of the lifecycle of their product; sells and campaigns
  • Professor, entrepreneur, HR director, and more.

DBA benefits

You learn more about finance, leadership, economics, international business, decision-making, contemporary issues, and business ethics. In addition, the program teaches you about international companies, data mining, predictive analysis, generating capital, and managing innovation for a well-rounded educational experience in business administration.

How long does it take to earn a DBA?

The online DBA programs typically require between 54 and 60 credits, meaning that it takes 3-5 years to complete.

What Is a Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration?

So, what is a Ph.D. in business? This program revolves more around research and academia. These degrees are tailored for those who want to get extensive research experience and then teach at universities or colleges.

They research their area of expertise and pass their knowledge to equally enthusiastic students who want to learn more about business concepts that interest them. Having a Ph.D. is beneficial when applying yourself in the workplace and starting a company, but a DBA would suit you better if those are your specific goals.


Graduates with a Ph.D. in business learn a lot about customer behavior, how businesses operate regularly, and how certain business practices work in the real world. A Ph.D. in business administration is ideal if you’re looking to help managers or executives make good decisions that positively impact their company.

Candidate profile

Students have solid skills in economics and math to assist governments or corporations. They analyze the information they’re presented with and come up with their theories. Candidates pursuing a Ph.D. apply what they’ve learned to situations they encounter and help identify problems, making changes to ensure more profit and efficiency.

Interested in pursuing a degree?

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Ph.D. costs

The average cost for a doctorate of philosophy is about $112,000, but that price range depends on what type of school you intend, whether it’s public or private, and where it’s located. Additionally, the type of doctorate alongside the length of the program can make it costly. Regardless, financial assistance is available.

Career outcomes

Having a Ph.D. is just as versatile as its cousin, the DBA, and many career opportunities open up once you graduate. Here are a few examples of some areas of interest:

  • Management analysts
  • Top executives
  • Budget analysts
  • Postsecondary business teachers
  • Financial managers

Ph.D. benefits

With a Ph.D., you’re able to collect data and rank highly in a business, making a direct impact on future operations. Developing new goals, procedures, and policies becomes easier, thus lowering costs overall. You’re able to explore a wide variety of jobs and collaborate with ease.

Your research skills help uncover new ways to solve problems within the business world, and you can teach the same skills to future generations. Overall, a Ph.D. helps you and your company become more effective while analyzing trends and profits.

How long does it take to earn a Ph.D.?

A Ph.D. takes 4-5 years total, in addition to obtaining a Bachelor’s degree. The first two years include core courses, such as organizational theory and microeconomics. Then, the remainder of your education includes finance, marketing, strategic management, and more. Your final year includes a teaching assignment or dissertation to present to your professors and fellow students.

What Is the Difference Between DBA and Ph.D.?

There are subtle differences between DBA and Ph.D.

The easiest way to think about this would be to remember that a DBA is more application-oriented while a Ph.D. is more research-oriented. For example, a Ph.D. would have students develop a theory that answers questions in a larger picture. In contrast, a DBA would have you solve practical problems in a company currently. A Ph.D. develops the theories, and a DBA applies them.

You’re given the title of doctor no matter what program fits you better, and that conveys an advanced understanding of the business field that would undoubtedly impress any employer or customer.