Best Hybrid and Online DBA Programs—2024

April 1, 2024

online dba programs degrees

A DBA, or Doctorate of Business Administration, is a terminal degree for those aiming to become leading professionals in business. This degree offers training in business analytics and research methods, supporting executives, managers, consultants, and educators as they explore important contemporary questions in the field. Better yet, professionals can become doctors of business administration online (or through hybrid formats), which can be perfect for those who already hold full-time jobs. Continue reading for a DBA overview, as well as a list of the 20 best online DBA programs/DBA degrees in the U.S.

What’s the difference between a DBA and a PhD?

First of all, it’s important to distinguish between the DBA and the PhD, both terminal and doctoral degrees.

DBA programs are fairly flexible, designed for professionals who plan to work full-time jobs while enrolled. Most DBA programs, whether in-person, hybrid, or online, require students to complete about 60 credits (this may vary widely) in approximately 3 years. During the first two years, DBA candidates take courses and participate in residencies to receive core class requirements. The third year is often completely remote, allowing more space for working on the capstone or dissertation. So, if you’re looking for a lower-residency program that will enhance your success as a business professional, a DBA could be an excellent option.

While a DBA’s flexibility makes it ideal for those with full-time jobs, a PhD is best for those who wish to be full-time students while enrolled. While a DBA usually takes 3-years to complete, a PhD usually requires 5-years of residency in a program. This degree tends to be better suited for those seeking academic careers in teaching and scholarship.

Possibilities for enrollment in an online or hybrid DBA program

Enrolling in an online or hybrid DBA program is best for students who plan to work full-time while pursuing the degree. However, even these DBA programs vary in flexibility when it comes to scheduling. Many programs offer some combination of these models:

  • Synchronous online programs (or partially-synchronous programs) require students to log in at certain times for lectures and discussions, so they are useful for students with schedules that allow for some regular course commitments.
  • Asynchronous programs allow students to fully schedule their coursework on their own time, which can be especially convenient for those with full-time jobs and packed schedules.
  • Hybrid programs require students to occasionally show up on campus, for example, to attend in-person residencies on weekends. These programs are useful for students who have busy schedules but can make enough time to commit to campus visits. Most of the schools listed below involve at least some aspects of hybrid learning.

Continue reading for examples of online and hybrid DBA programs that offer courses in a range of formats.

20 Online & Hybrid DBA Programs to Consider

Consider the following programs, all accredited and highly ranked. Many are part of large business schools, so students have access to expert faculty and top facilities (when on campus). These programs are listed in alphabetical order.

1) California Baptist University (Riverside, California)

California Baptist University is a private school offering an online DBA degree with asynchronous courses. Students must take 56 credits in order to graduate, and courses range from Ethics in Organizations & Management, to International Business in Global Markets. This program prides itself on its small cohorts and supportive faculty. The program is 100% online, accelerated, and full-time.

2) Case Western Reserve University—Weatherhead School of Management (Cleveland, Ohio)

This comprehensive and research-focused program also offers the option of extending one year to pursue Weatherhead’s PhD in Management: Designing Sustainable Systems (for those who are drawn to both the professional and academic sides of business). Though a mostly-online program, students participate in 3 on-campus residencies and 3 virtual residencies per semester.

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3) City University of Seattle (Seattle, Washington)

CityU’s program is comprised of 91 credits (18 of which come from dissertation-writing), and it emphasizes multi-disciplinary topics in leadership, technology, finance, marketing, ethics, and more. Most classes are flexible and asynchronous, though students have the option to attend residencies in-person. The program stresses cultural competency, equity, diversity, and inclusion, integrating ethical principles into many aspects of learning.

4) University of Colorado, Colorado Springs—College of Business (Colorado Springs, Colorado)

This unique program is an Executive Doctor of Business Administration (EDBA) focused specifically on cybersecurity management within organizations. It includes 60 credits that are delivered through a blend of on-campus, online, and hybrid methods. Working professionals usually take 3-5 years to complete the program.

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 5) CUNY Bernard M. Baruch College—Zicklin School of Business (New York, New York)

Designed for senior executives with 7+ years of experience, this program boasts its multidisciplinary curriculum with both traditional and cutting-edge research methodologies. It is structured to accommodate the busy schedules of working students and their specific business interests. Students must earn 42 credits in order to graduate.

6) University of Dallas—Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business (Dallas, Texas)

This 62-credit hour program is the first accredited DBA program in Texas. Blending classroom and online learning, it was created to assist working professionals in career development while accommodating their current jobs. Courses range from Becoming an Applied Researcher, to Organization Development and Change, to The Craft of Research and Writing, to Applied Statistical Analysis. These courses are followed by doctoral colloquia that support the dissertation-writing process.

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7) Drexel University—Bennett S. LeBow College of Business (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

DBA students at LeBow work with top faculty in the business field. Courses are broken into three types: seminar, methodology, and dissertation. The program blends online and in-person course delivery, beginning with a weekend on-campus so that students can meet members of their academic community face-to-face. Students can potentially complete this program in only 2.5 years.

8) University of Florida—Warrington College of Business (Gainesville, Florida)

University of Florida’s DBA program is offered as a track under the PhD degree, and aims to integrate theory and practice in the context of current issues in the business world. Professionals with 10+ years of management experience who already have a master’s degree are encouraged to apply. This program is primarily online with only two weekend residencies per semester, which allows students to maintain their personal and professional responsibilities. Many graduates pursue consulting, as well as positions in higher education.

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 9) Florida International University—Chapman Graduate School of Business (Miami, Florida)

This hybrid program holds Friday and Saturday residencies once a month and online classes on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. While it involves more scheduled time than some of the other programs, the face-to-face experience can be beneficial for those whose jobs allow for it and who value the structure.

 10) University of Houston—C.T. Bauer College of Business (Houston, Texas)

Bauer’s DBA program involves 3-day weekend residencies each semester, though its requirements are mostly flexible. Here, students have the opportunity to learn from Tier 1 research faculty across multiple disciplines while developing advanced research tools and critical thinking skills.

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11) Johnson & Wales University (Providence, Rhode Island)

This program focuses on ethically addressing business challenges. Students complete 54 credits throughout 18 courses, focusing on one 8-week course at a time. There are no residency requirements, though students continuously engage with faculty online, making it a flexible-yet-supportive option.

12) University of Missouri, St. Louis—College of Business Administration (St. Louis, Missouri)

This cohort-based program is also quite flexible, since students only make two visits to campus over the course of three years. Those with 10-20 years of management experience who seek to advance a professional career are encouraged to apply.

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13) University of North Alabama—College of Business (Florence, Alabama)

This is a hybrid program, primarily online with monthly on-campus sessions. It involves 54 required credits, and students are expected to complete most coursework the first two years while working on their dissertation the third.

14) University of North Carolina, Charlotte—Belk College of Business (Charlotte, North Carolina)

The first DBA program in the Carolinas, Belk allows students to study in Charlotte one weekend per month while also networking face-to-face with top business professionals in the area. Prerequisites include a master’s degree and 5-10 years of work experience. The curriculum emphasizes marketing, management, and information systems throughout 18 courses and a dissertation.

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15) Pennsylvania State University—Smeal College of Business (University Park, Pennsylvania)

Another hybrid and flexible program, Smeal’s DBA is designed for senior-level leaders looking to develop research skills grounded in theory and methodology. Students can choose from 16 concentrations and work with advisors matched with personal research interests in mind. Though a hybrid program, students only need to be on campus for the first 4-5 days of instruction each semester. For the third year, students work fully remotely with faculty advisors.

16) Pepperdine University—Graziadio Business School (Malibu, California)

Part of a private Christian school, DBA students at Graziadio receive one-on-one mentorship for the completion of 55 credits. The program emphasizes its experience-driven learning and supportive cohorts.

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17) University of Pittsburgh—College of Business Administration (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

The DBA program at the University of Pittsburgh involves 45 credits, which are earned between Methodology Core seminars, Disciplinary Core Seminars, Practicum Research Project, and one-week summer residencies after the first two academic years. Graduates from this program go on to advance in their current jobs, as well as pivot to jobs in government, consulting, or teaching.

18) University of Rhode Island—College of Business (Kingston, Rhode Island)

This program is designed for already-experienced professionals who aim to apply advanced research skills in the field. It’s a hybrid DBA program, though it only involves 3 in-person residencies per year. Students are expected to enter into the program prepared with a specific research question in mind.

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19) University of South Florida—Muma College of Business (Tampa, Florida)

Muma College of Business offers an online synchronous learning experience in which students meet on alternating Saturdays through Microsoft Teams. There are only two meetings on USF Tampa’s campus throughout the 3-year program. DBA students must earn 72 credits to graduate, and cohorts are small, limited to 15 students.

20) University of Wisconsin, Whitewater—College of Business and Economics (Whitewater, Wisconsin)

UW Whitewater’s program, designed to be both challenging and practical, “focuses on the most up-to-date professional and academic knowledge regarding key business issues.” As a hybrid program, it requires one weekend on campus per month, as well as regular synchronous interactions. It also focuses on mentorship, only admitting students whose research interests can be supported by its current faculty.

Best Hybrid and Online DBA Programs— Final Thoughts

All in all, online and hybrid DBA programs can be excellent options for those with business leadership experience who strive to further influence their organizations and professions. As you research DBA options, it is wise to consider each program’s scheduling flexibility, as well as its location and specialized faculty. Hopefully, this list can help you to kickstart your search.

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