DBA vs. PhD in Business Administration Programs

Learn if there's a difference between the major doctor of business administration degrees.

The Programs

The DBA and PhD degrees are very similar in most respects:

  • They are "academically equivalent"
  • Both entail rigorous courses of study with a heavy emphasis on research
  • Students must write and defend a doctoral dissertation, in addition to taking a comprehensive exam

The DBA and PhD are generally designed to prepare students for academic careers, either in teaching or research or both. There is no hard and fast rule about which degree you need in order to be hired by a university.

PhD in Business of Administration

dba and phd in business administration students talking

PhD programs in business focus intensively on preparing candidates for academic careers and to conduct highly specialized scholarly research, both in theory and application.

They focus on the development of new theory in management, public administration, consulting, economics and several other related business fields.

Most PhD in Business Administration graduates lead careers as university researchers and professors or as senior researchers in business or government.

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) programs focus on the application of theory rather than on the development of new theory, which is geared more to the PhD program. While also intended to prepare graduates for academic careers, the Doctor of Business Administration, by virtue of its focus on application of theory, has more practical application in managerial settings than the PhD.

As such, the DBA is designed to provide business professionals and executives with advanced research skills and tools.