Bellevue University Designs a Different Kind of DBA Degree

Directed at executives, the doctoral degree will emphasize applied projects that solve real-world business challenges.

MOST DOCTORATE OF business administration degree programs prepare practitioners for careers as academics, but a newly launched DBA at Bellevue University’s College of Business in Nebraska has been designed with a different purpose. Offered in a fully online format, Bellevue’s 55-credit-hour DBA is intended to prepare executives to apply advanced business knowledge to current business problems.

Students in Bellevue’s applied DBA will not write dissertations. Instead, they will complete research-based doctoral projects over all three years of the program; these doctoral projects will be structured similarly to dissertations. As they work on their projects, students will take courses in applied research, as well as topics such as organizational communication, human capital development, business and society, and sustainability.

Executives want to address challenges that relate to managing global organizations and workforces, employing advanced technologies, and implementing strategic plans, says Rebecca Murdock, the business school’s dean. “Doctorally prepared students,” says Murdock, “should be equipped to diagnose those kinds of issues across all of those dimensions and be able to help the enterprise … perform more effectively.”

The DBA’s online format is intended to make it easier for working adults to pursue doctoral-level study. In addition, two-week breaks between courses will afford students the time and flexibility to meet other obligations.