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The Doctor of Business Administration (commonly abbreviated as D.B.A., DBA, DrBA, or BusD) is a research doctorate awarded on the basis of advanced study, examinations, project work and research in business administration. The D.B.A. is a terminal degree in business administration. Along with the Ph.D. or D.Phil., it represents the highest academic qualification in business administration, and is typically required to gain employment as a full-time, tenure-track university professor or postdoctoral researcher in the field. As with other earned doctorates, individuals with the degree are awarded the academic title doctor, which is often represented via the English honorific "Dr." or the post-nominal letters "DBA" or "PhD".
D.B.A. candidates submit a significant project, typically referred to as a thesis or dissertation, consisting of a body of original academic research that is in principle worthy of publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Candidates must defend this work before a panel of expert examiners called a thesis, dissertation, or doctoral committee.
In the United States, the Doctor of Business Administration is recognized by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as a research degree. The D.B.A. is also considered by both the United States Department of Education and the National Science Foundation to be equivalent to the more commonly awarded Ph.D.
Structure and format
Doctor of Business Administration programs have a dual purpose: contribute to business theory and further develop the professional practice (e.g. contribute to professional knowledge in business). Universities generally require candidates to have significant experience in business, particularly in roles with leadership or other strategic responsibilities. D.B.A. candidates specialize in areas such as management science, information technology management, organizational behavior, economics, finance and the like. As with other doctorate programs, curricula may be offered on a full-time or part-time basis. According to the European higher education standards set by the Bologna Process, the normal duration of research doctorate programs like the D.B.A. and Ph.D. is usually 3-4 years of full-time study.
The responsibility for the structure of doctoral programs resides within the graduate research committees or their equivalent within the university. As such, D.B.A programs have a specific set of university regulations and are subject to quality approval processes. Regulations include references to protocols for treating ethical issues in research. These regulations are widely used in Australian Universities. For instance, a D.B.A student cannot embark on the research phase before passing all his or her coursework. Furthermore, upon passing the proposal stage, he or she must clear ethics-related issues with an Ethics Committee. The D.B.A candidate must go through numerous internal moderations of the dissertation before submitting to external examinations (usually at least two). Successful candidates usually revise their dissertations numerous times before final approval is granted from the doctoral committee.
Relationship between D.B.A. and Ph.D
The Doctor of Business Administration and the Ph.D in Business Administration are equivalent degrees in the United States (they may not be so in other nations). Also, both doctorates are viewed as research doctorates representing the highest academic qualification in business in the United States. As such, both D.B.A. and Ph.D programs require students to develop original research leading to a dissertation defense. Furthermore, both doctorates enable holders to become faculty members at academic institutions. The D.B.A. and Ph.D in Business Administration are terminal degrees, allowing the recipient to obtain a tenure-track position in the United States; other countries' requirements may differ.
In some cases, as in that of Harvard University, the distinction is solely administrative (Harvard Business School is not authorized to issue Ph.Ds; only the Faculty of Arts and Sciences may do so). In other cases, the distinction is one of orientation and intended outcomes. The Ph.D is highly focused on developing original academic knowledge, while the D.B.A. emphasizes applied research. Upon completion, graduates of Ph.D programs generally migrate to full-time faculty positions in academia, while those of D.B.A. programs re-emerge in industry as applied researchers or executives. If working full-time in industry, graduates of D.B.A. and Ph.D programs often become adjunct professors in top undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
D.B.A. programs are offered worldwide. The majority, however, are offered in Europe (42 percent), followed by North America (28 percent) and the Asia-Pacific region (22 percent). 6 percent of the programs are offered in Africa and 2 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Notable persons with a D.B.A. degree
- Hugh T. Broomall – Major General, USAF, Special Assistant to the Director, Air National Guard
- Robert F. Bruner – Dean Charles C. Abbott Professor of Business Administration and Distinguished Professor of Business Administration at the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Virginia
- Clayton M. Christensen – Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School
- Scott Cowen – president of Tulane University of Louisiana
- Nigel Healey – vice chancellor of Fiji National University
- Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries – Raoul de Vitry d'Avaucourt Professor of Leadership Development at INSEAD and director of the INSEAD Global Leadership Centre
- Tony Newton - President and Board Chair, British Dental Health Foundation and International Dental Health Foundation Durham University Business School
- CK Prahalad – Paul and Ruth McCracken Distinguished University Professor of Corporate Strategy at University of Michigan, Ross School of Business
- Michael E. Raynor – Canadian management expert and consultant with Deloitte Consulting LLP, the Distinguished Fellow with Deloitte Research
- Lenos Trigeorgis – Real options pioneer; Professor of finance, University of Cyprus
- John Quelch – Dean, Vice President and Distinguished Professor of International Management at CEIBS, previously Senior Associate Dean and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School
- Birger Wernerfelt – J. C. Penney Professor of Management and Chair of PhD Committee, MIT Sloan School of Management
- Robert B. Wilson – Adams Distinguished Professor of Management, Emeritus, Graduate School of Business, and Professor of Economics (by courtesy), School of Humanities and Sciences, Stanford University
- Dave Yeske – Co-Founder, Managing Director, Yeske Buie; National President (2003), Financial Planning Association (FPA); Distinguished Adjunct Professor, Ageno School of Business, Golden Gate University
- Business Education
- Doctor of Management
- Executive DBA Council
- List of fields of doctoral studies: Business Management/Administrative Services
- PhD in Management
- Master of Business Administration (MBA)
- List of DBA programs
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