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 Assembly for Collegiate 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
    1. 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.
    2. 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
  5. Demonstrate the ability to access, evaluate, and use information and information technologies to enhance the effective utilization and practice of business research.

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

  8. Professional
    1. 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.
    2. 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 distributed as follows:

  • Common core course requirements, 21 credit hours
  • Program core course requirements, 24 credit hours
  • Dissertation or research project requirements, 9 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, and formats that fit busy lifestyles. In order to achieve this commitment, the DBA program offers two formats in which students can progress through the program: the hybrid face-to-face weeknight format and a 100% online format.

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.

Hybrid Weeknight

Hybrid weeknight classes include a mixture of face-to-face and online learning in each course. Hybrid weeknight classes follow a 7 week block schedule, with 7 face-to-face meetings over the 7 weeks. A student in this format will take one class in Block 1 and then another in Block 2, both on the same weeknight. This format is geared towards the working professional from the surrounding area. All classes take place at the Wilson Graduate Center.

100% Online

The online program is identical to the hybrid program with respect to courses, expectations, tuition, and instructors. 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 interactive webinars or similar communication tools. These virtual meetings will be scheduled as needed by course requirements at times most appropriate for the instructor and students in the course. The webinars will include short lectures, discussions, debates, and student presentations. All online students are expected to participate actively in these webinars. In addition to the webinars, various online learning experiences will be used, including discussion boards and videos.

Classes run for 7 week blocks, similar to the hybrid weeknight format. The typical load will be two classes per semester. Including spring, summer, and fall semesters, a student taking two courses per semester would complete six classes per year.

Residency Requirement

One residency is required for online DBA students. This residency will take place toward the end of the content courses and will be scheduled during RES 7111 Research Design. The residency is two days in length, and it will consist of workshops and consultation with faculty members designed to develop a solid plan for the student’s dissertation process.

Advancement to Doctoral Candidacy

At or near the completion of the student’s course work, but before embarking on the DBA dissertation or research project, the student is required to achieve a passing grade on a formal Comprehensive Examination, which is the DBA portfolio project assessment. In addition, the student is required to form a dissertation committee and gain approval for a concept paper describing the purpose and approach envisioned for dissertation research. After completing these requirements, the student will advance to doctoral candidacy.

Dissertation or Research Project

The DBA dissertation (traditional five chapter or Critical Evaluation 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 beyond the master’s degree, 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

RES 7105 Statistics for Research

RES 7106 Disciplined Inquiry I

LDR 7100 Managing Innovation and Change

DBA 7400 Advanced Seminar in Managerial Finance and Accounting

RES 7107 Disciplined Inquiry II

DBA 7800 Global Management Models

DBA 7100 Organizational Strategy and Policy

DBA 7310 Executive Decision-Making

RES 7111 Research Design

DBA 7200 Advanced Organizational Behavior

DBA DBA 7900 Advanced Marketing Seminar

DBA 8000 Seminar on Research in Management

DBA 9000 DBA Research

DBA 9001 DBA Research

DBA 9002 DBA Research

DBA 9004 DBA Research

Total credits required for program completion: 54

This information applies to students who enter this degree program during the 2020-2021 Academic Year. If you entered this degree program before the Fall 2020 semester, please refer to the academic catalog for the year you began your degree program.