Business Administration, Doctor of Business Administration

Program Purpose

The DBA program is designed to facilitate the continuing development of professionals as senior managers or innovative leaders who wish to build upon master’s-level core skills and knowledge. The DBA enables students to develop a higher level of competence in conducting applied research and in the comprehension of theoretical and applied literature in a chosen business discipline. The DBA helps students to develop critical knowledge and skills that will enhance their success in service to their profession and community; in future professional development; and in attaining credentials and skills that are essential to business consulting, management, and academia.


The DBA program is an institutional member of and fully accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE). 

Program Competencies

Students will achieve an advanced level of skills and knowledge in key business functions. Upon graduation the student will be able to demonstrate competencies in:

1.  Oral Communication

Demonstrate advanced oral business communication skills by selecting appropriate communication tools and utilizing them in a highly effective, professional manner.

2.  Written Communication

Demonstrate a high skill level in academic writing by properly utilizing information literacy and research methods, critically analyzing results, and expressing findings using clear, concise tools and writing styles and proper academic writing formats.

3.  Disciplined Inquiry

a. Exercise critical thinking strategies, including scientific reasoning for business problem definition, problem analysis, and evaluation of solutions, and be able to appropriately apply them at high levels in organizational settings.

b. Select appropriate research methods and be able to properly apply them to the economic, behavioral, and social science theories that provide the foundation for strategic research in business administration.

4.  Information Literacy

Demonstrate the ability to access, evaluate, and use information and information technologies to enhance the effective utilization and practice of business research.

5.  Ethics

Properly evaluate and apply high ethical and legal principles to guide professional behaviors and decision-making in business organizations.

6.  Professional

a. Evaluate the theories and tools that are essential to implement change in the business environment and be able to apply them effectively at strategic levels.

b. Formulate an understanding of the issues facing business leaders in a contemporary global environment and develop strategies to effectively address those issues.

Program Design

The DBA degree requires the completion of 54 semester credit hours. The program course work is designed to be completed within a 2½ year time frame. The dissertation or culminating research project will require additional time to complete, typically 1-2 years. The program is organized and scheduled to accommodate the needs of people who maintain full-time employment while pursuing the degree. The program design permits students to complete the requirements for the DBA at their own pace.


Wilmington University is committed to helping students achieve their educational goals by providing high quality programs, affordable tuition, with a format that fit busy lifestyles. The DBA program is an online format with students meeting via an online platform one night a week.

In order to provide a seamless program for our students, your choice of enrollment will remain the same for the entire program. We will make adjustments for a student on an individual basis.

100% Online

The essence of Wilmington University’s DBA program is fostering a highly participative learning community. Peer interaction and support are key elements of the learning and discovery process. Accordingly, all of the online courses will utilize an online platform to facilitate weekly class meetings that will include short lectures, discussions, debates, and student presentations. All online students are expected to participate actively in these virtual class meetings. In addition to the weekly class meetings, various online learning experiences will be used, including peer coaching sessions or small group discussions.  Classes run for 7-week blocks.

The typical load will be two classes per semester. Including spring, summer, and fall semesters, an online student taking two courses per semester would complete six classes per year.

New Student Orientation Requirement

Each student will participate in a new student orientation that is held approximately 2-3 weeks prior to the start of your first semester. Attendance is required in order to be eligible to start the program. Prior to the orientation meeting, students are required to watch a series of videos that orient them to details related to Canvas (the online learning platform), library resources and doctoral writing requirements. The videos can be found on the DBA Organization Site in Canvas. The DBA program’s administrative assistant will provide access to this site when students are fully accepted and have enrolled in their first courses.

Residency Requirement

Residency is an important event for DBA students. It is held on-campus and one time per cohort. For online students, this is a two-day series of workshops, activities, and individual meetings. Residency occurs at the end of Year 2 as students are beginning their dissertation work. Attendance is required. Travel and accommodations are at the student’s expense, while some meals are provided by the DBA program. The goal for Residency is to refine your dissertation research topic area. Following Residency, students are assigned their Dissertation Committee Chairperson. 

The Residency in-person format is subject to change and a format change may become necessary based upon campus closure related to inclement weather or public health guidelines (ex: Covid-19 indoor group gathering limits).

DBA Portfolio Project Comprehensive Assessment

At the end of the first year of coursework, the student is required to achieve a passing grade on a formal Comprehensive Examination, which is the DBA Portfolio Project Comprehensive Assessment. This examination consists of the analysis of one key strategic issue for a chosen industry. The selected issue will be examined through the first six core courses – leadership, ethics, business intelligence, innovation, finance, and organizational strategy. The student will present a paper and presentation to a faculty panel. All students must pass this assessment before moving forward in the DBA program.

Advancing to Doctoral Candidacy

At the conclusion of DBA 8000, the student’s dissertation committee must approve the student’s research proposal for their dissertation research project. Upon completion of this requirement, in addition to the completion of all required courses prior to the 9000 series course, and passage of the Comprehensive Exam, the student will then advance to doctoral candidacy.

Dissertation or Research Project

The DBA dissertation (traditional five chapter or Critical Evaluation and Recommendation Paper) requires a minimum of 9 semester credit hours for completion. A dissertation or research project proposal must be completed, reviewed, and approved by the student’s dissertation committee prior to the beginning of data collection in the area of the research topic. Once the dissertation or research project is complete, the student will present the results before the dissertation committee and colleagues.

Qualifications for Degree

To qualify for the DBA degree, a student must satisfactorily complete 54 credit hours, including 4 research foundation courses, 11 program-specific courses, and a dissertation or research project. The student must: (1) maintain a minimum grade point average of at least 3.0; (2) achieve a grade of at least “B” or better in all courses; (3) achieve satisfactory performance on the Comprehensive Examination; (4) obtain approval of the student’s research proposal; and (5) successfully complete and defend the dissertation or research project. These requirements must be completed within seven years of matriculation into the program.

Course Requirements

Course sequencing

LDR 7000 Experiential Learning: Leadership Issues

DBA 7600 Ethics in Business and Management

DBA 7510 Business Intelligence

LDR 7100 Managing Innovation and Change

DBA 7400 Advanced Seminar in Managerial Finance and Accounting

DBA 7100 Organizational Strategy and Policy

DBA 7310 Executive Decision-Making

DBA 7800 Global Management Models

DBA 7200 Advanced Organizational Behavior

DBA 7900 Advanced Marketing Seminar

RES 7106 Disciplined Inquiry I

RES 7105 Statistics for Research

RES 7107 Disciplined Inquiry II

RES 7111 Research Design

DBA 8000 Seminar on Research in Management

DBA 9000 DBA Research

DBA 9001 DBA Research

DBA 9002 DBA Research

DBA 9004 DBA Research

DBA 7200 and DBA 7900 are elective courses and may be substituted with select EdD, DSS, or DNP courses with approval from the program Chair. Reach out to the DBA Chair for more information.

This information applies to students who enter this degree program during the 2023-2024 Academic Year. If you entered this degree program before the Fall 2022 semester, please refer to the academic catalog for the year you began your degree program.