The business profession is vast and ever-changing.

Technology, government oversight, evolving best practices, and legal changes are aspects that continually affect business executives. Earning a doctoral degree can help provide you with the education and insight you need to effectively lead organizations at the highest levels.

But should you pursue a Doctor of Philosophy in Business Management (PhD) or a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree? What’s the difference between the two?

While there is some overlap between the programs, there are significant differences as well, especially in terms of career outcomes.


Difference Between a DBA and PhD in Business Management

A PhD in Business Management is focused on thought leadership, developing new theories, and expanding or building on existing theories. A DBA is a practitioner-based degree that utilizes existing research and theories to develop hands-on, practical solutions to problems in the workplace.


phd dba



PhD in Business Management

If contributing to the body of knowledge on business management interests you, consider a PhD. You’ll conduct original research on topics that have not been previously explored or examine new aspects of existing research.

With a PhD, you could find yourself teaching at a university, consulting, or conducting research for corporations, nonprofits, or the government.

At Capella University, PhD in Business Management coursework includes:

  • Applied Multivariate Modeling
  • Business Principles and Practices
  • Research Processes, Theories, and Practices in Global Business
  • Management Theory Creation
  • Economics in Global Environments
  • The 21st-Century Organization
  • Quantitative Research Techniques

Job titles to explore:

  • Full-time faculty member
  • Consultant
  • President or vice president
  • Director


Doctor of Business Administration

If applying existing research and knowledge to solve business problems interests you, consider a DBA. You’ll apply existing research findings to problems in the workplace.

With a DBA, you may be able to move into leadership roles at corporations, nonprofits, consulting firms, government agencies, colleges, or in private practice.

DBA coursework includes:

  • Guiding the Implementation of Information Technology Policies and Processes
  • Consumer Marketing in a Global Environment
  • Strategic Thinking and Innovation
  • Data Mining and Predictive Analytics
  • Attracting and Retaining Talent
  • Advanced Concepts of Project Management Methodologies

Job titles to explore:

  • Adjunct or part-time faculty
  • Administrator/director
  • Consultant
  • C-Suite executive
  • Vice president


Learn more about Capella’s online doctoral business programs.  

Important Information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rate of students who attended these programs.
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