The D.B.A. is usually identical to a Ph.D in Business Administration, except that it tends more towards applied research rather than theoretical research, especially during the thesis writing phase. A few schools, prominently among them Harvard Business School and Boston University School of Management, offer D.B.A.
The portion of the program that consists of coursework may be comparable to that of a Ph.D. However the larger part of the program, consisting of independent research and the writing of a thesis, is geared towards more applied research in D.B.A. programs, with the research making a direct contribution to business practice. Another way to see the distinction is that Ph.D.s aim at the creation of new theory, while D.B.A.s aim at applying theory to business problems.
The choice of D.B.A. or Ph.D is always relevant for those considering a doctorate and its contribution. A Ph.D in Business is more suitable for students who want to pursue a career exclusively in academics, while the D.B.A. has been designed for students who might wish to pursue a career in the profession as well. A typical D.B.A. program has a dual purpose: (1) to contribute to both theory and practice in relation to business and management; and (2) to develop professional practice and to contribute to professional knowledge. Nevertheless, the D.B.A. degree can suffice to obtain tenure-track positions at research-oriented schools, provided the research conducted was of high quality.
Structure and Format
Typical entry requirements include M.B.A., MSc, or similar masters degrees, or equivalent qualifications in general management, or in a functional field by examination awarded by a professional body. Some universities also ask for significant experience in a managerial or professional supervisory position involving responsibility for strategic issues. The D.B.A. normally requires a significant thesis, dissertation or final comprehensive project including a formal defense and approval by nominated examiners or an officially sanctioned and qualified doctoral review committee. The degree is conferred when all coursework, testing, and written research are completed and
reviewed and approved by the awarding institution.
D.B.A. candidates may specialize in areas such as management science, technology management, organizational behavior, economics, or finance or other practical fields. Curricula may be offered on a full-time or part-time basis. According to the European higher education standards set by the Bologna Process, it is stated that the normal duration of a doctorate should correspond to 3–4 years of full time study
DBA program quality
The responsibility for the overall quality of a D.B.A or other doctoral programs resides within the graduate research degrees committees or their equivalent within the university. As such, D.B.A programs must have a specific set of university regulations and must be subject to appropriate quality approval processes. Regulations should include reference to protocols for treating ethical issues in research, including those involving researchers working within the organisation that employs them and/or having access to privileged information. The implementations as above are widely used in Australian Universities, for instance a D.B.A student cannot embark into research phase before passing all his/her courseworks, research proposal and ethics, upon passing proposal stage, he/she still needs to clear ethics from Ethics Committee. Even after completing the dissertation writing, the D.B.A candidate still needs to go through numerous internal moderations of the dissertation before submitting to external examinations (at least two external examiners). For successful candidates in the external examinations stage, they usually need to revise their dissertations before final approval from the D.B.A committee of granting the degree. The research phase is always a tedious and demanding phase.