Best online doctorate in management 2022: Top picks


Doctorate in management degrees can lead to high-paying, top-level positions as CEOs, chief technology officers, operations vice presidents, senior management, and university faculty and administrators. According to PayScale data from August 2021, the average base salary for management doctorate degree-holders is $121,000 per year.  

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an 8% growth in employment of top executives from 2020 to 2030 and a 12% rise in postsecondary teacher positions. The BLS also projects a 9% increase in employment for general and operations managers. These professionals direct the business activities of companies, enterprises, and consulting firms.

Explore our rankings to find out about earning a doctorate in management online.

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The best online doctorate in management degrees

You can count on the accuracy, timeliness, and objectivity of our school listings because ZDNet’s ranking methodology turns to expertly curated datasets for information. Our meticulous editorial team adds another layer of review, ensuring the integrity of our content.

Unless otherwise indicated, data is drawn from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Scorecard.

1. California Baptist University

Riverside, California

About the program: Southern Baptist-based CBU offers a 56-credit doctorate in business administration for working adults interested in advanced business leadership training. 

  • Acceptance rate: 78%
  • Graduation rate: 62%
  • Avg. annual net price: $24,707
  • Years to completion: Three
  • GRE/GMAT: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: Rolling with six start dates
  • Course delivery method: Synchronous

Accreditation: California Baptist University is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

2. Felician University

Lodi, New Jersey

About the program: Felician, a Catholic-Franciscan university, hosts a doctor of business administration that develops leadership and management skills for global business environments.

  • Acceptance rate: 86%
  • Graduation rate: 49%
  • Avg. annual net price: $16,877
  • Years to completion: Three; self-paced
  • GRE/GMAT: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: Rolling
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous with a brief residency

Accreditation: Felician University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

3. Gardner-Webb University

Boiling Springs, North Carolina

About the program: Enrollees in the 60-credit doctor of business administration program at Southern Baptist-focused Gardner-Webb can opt for concentrations in accounting, finance, international business, management, or marketing.

  • Acceptance rate: 67%
  • Graduation rate: 60%
  • Avg. annual net price: $21,296
  • Years to completion: Three 
  • GRE/GMAT: Required
  • Minimum GPA: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: Two
  • Course delivery method: Synchronous

Accreditation: Gardner-Webb University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

4. Hampton University

Hampton, Virginia

About the program: The hybrid Ph.D. in business administration at HU requires 61-84 credits and prepares graduates for academic, consulting, organizational leadership, and research roles.

  • Acceptance rate: 36%
  • Graduation rate: 49%
  • Avg. annual net price: $31,307
  • Years to completion: Three
  • GRE/GMAT: GMAT required
  • Minimum GPA: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: One (Program begins with in-person summer residency)
  • Course delivery method: Hybrid; online courses and two four-week summer residencies

Accreditation: Hampton University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

5. Keiser University

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

About the program: Business professionals can complete KU’s 60-credit doctor of business administration online and prepare for career advancement or positions as business educators, researchers, and scholars. 

  • Acceptance rate: Not publicly available
  • Graduation rate: 57%
  • Avg. annual net price: $33,428
  • Years to completion: Three
  • GRE/GMAT: Not required but encouraged
  • Minimum GPA: B in prerequisite coursework
  • Enrollment periods per year: Rolling
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous with two residencies

Accreditation: Keiser University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

6. Northcentral University

San Diego, California

About the program: NCU’s online Ph.D. in business administration features multiple specialization options and focuses on research-based leadership strategies and emerging technologies.

  • Acceptance rate: Not publicly available
  • Graduation rate: 25%
  • Avg. annual net price: $27,000
  • Years to completion: Three
  • GRE/GMAT: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: Rolling
  • Course delivery method: Online and asynchronous

Accreditation: Northcentral University is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

7. Saint Leo University

Saint Leo, Florida

About the program: Catholic-based Saint Leo offers an online doctor of business administration that includes a doctoral success lab, consulting track, and teaching track in its 57-credit curriculum.  

  • Acceptance rate: 72%
  • Graduation rate: 43%
  • Avg. annual net price: $18,869
  • Years to completion: Three to seven
  • GRE/GMAT: 550 GMAT
  • Minimum GPA: 3.25
  • Enrollment periods per year: Rolling
  • Course delivery method: Synchronous and asynchronous

Accreditation: Saint Leo University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

8. Wayland Baptist University

Plainview, Texas

About the program: Southern Baptist-based Wayland lists a doctor of management among its online degrees. The program requires 57 credits with comprehensive exams and an applied research project.

  • Acceptance rate: 97%
  • Graduation rate: 49%
  • Avg. annual net price: $25,152
  • Years to completion: Three; part-time study available
  • GRE/GMAT: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Enrollment periods per year: Two
  • Course delivery method: Synchronous

Accreditation: Wayland Baptist University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

9. Wayne State University

Detroit, Michigan

About the program: Bachelor’s degree-holders interested in becoming university professors can earn a Ph.D. in management at Wayne State. The program’s 90 credits emphasize organizational behavior and strategy in global business. 

  • Acceptance rate: 73%
  • Graduation rate: 45%
  • Avg. annual net price: $13,965
  • Years to completion: Four
  • GRE/GMAT: 600 GMAT
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Enrollment periods per year: One
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: Wayne State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

10. Wilmington University

New Castle, Delaware

About the program: WilmU offers a doctor of business administration that business professionals can complete online. Enrollees work with industry leaders and faculty mentors on their dissertations or research projects. 

  • Acceptance rate: Not publicly available
  • Graduation rate: 48%
  • Avg. annual net price: $14,683
  • Years to completion: Three
  • GRE/GMAT: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: Two
  • Course delivery method: Synchronous with a two-day residency

Accreditation: Wilmington University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

What to expect in an online doctorate in management degree program

Doctorate in management and Ph.D. in business administration programs teach advanced leadership topics and usually include a research project or dissertation. Programs may also include comprehensive examinations. Curricula generally include shared core topics, but students also select courses in their concentration or specialization area.

Ph.D. programs prepare graduates for academic careers and tend to focus on theory and research. Doctor of management and doctor of business administration (DBA) degrees emphasize the practical skills required for advanced management positions. 

Online study is designed for business professionals looking for a shift into academic research and teaching or career advancement in an organization. 

Doctorate in management courses

Coursework at the doctorate in management level covers topics in global business, cultural competency, ethical management, and innovation techniques. While program curriculums vary, students can expect to see courses like those listed below.

Ethics and Leadership in Global Business

As corporations and organizations become increasingly global, students need theoretical knowledge and practical skills in international business, cultural intelligence, and creating and implementing guidelines for respectful and ethical employee environments. 

Management Theory

This course examines different organizational leadership strategies for problem-solving, building leadership identities, and personnel management. Students explore management theories and approaches through a review of historical and contemporary literature.  

Mechanics of Decision-making

Decision-making constitutes a large part of leadership and affects the success of organizations. In this course, students learn about different approaches to and impacts of individual and group decisions.

Organization Innovation

Enrollees build scenarios based on practical situations and learn how story creation and situational analysis fosters innovation within organizations. Students gain skills in predictive analyses, innovation models, and dissemination methods by developing business plans.    

Management degree levels

If you are just getting started with your postsecondary education and have an interest in business, an associate degree offers opportunities to test the waters. For those working in business or planning to, a bachelor’s or master’s can provide the framework for your career goals. Long-time professionals may choose a doctorate to enter academia or top-level management. 

Associate in management

  • Length: One to two years 
  • Cost: $1,700-$16,000 per year
  • Post-grad careers: Assistant store manager; customer service associate; executive assistant

Associate degree in management programs teach foundational courses in business and leadership, including topics in economics, finance, and sales, and develop skills in analysis and communication. 

Students can choose electives according to their interests and may be able to concentrate in areas like human resources, logistics, and marketing. Experiential learning options may include individual or group projects and internships

Graduates emerge prepared for entry-level administrative positions or admission to bachelor’s degree programs in management.  

Bachelor’s in management

  • Length: Four years
  • Cost: $7,300-$25,000 per year
  • Post-grad careers: Human resources manager; operations manager; marketing manager

A management degree at the bachelor’s level focuses on leadership, decision-making, and improving organizations. Students receive training for management roles, along with a strong basis in general education.

Coursework covers business law, finance, human resources, marketing, operations, and strategic planning. Available concentrations may include entrepreneurship, global business, healthcare management, and nonprofit leadership.

Bachelor’s in management programs emphasize practical leadership and applying concepts learned in class to real-world business issues through capstones, practicums, and internships.

Master’s in management

  • Length: Two to three years 
  • Cost: $14,000-$62,000 per year
  • Post-grad careers: College/university administrator; financial analyst; training and development manager

Students pursuing a master’s in management take courses in advanced management practice and theory, which focus on high-level analysis, communication, and strategic skills. Master’s curriculums explore issues in working with diverse teams and developing cultural intelligence. 

Master’s programs often include internships, projects, and seminars and employ case studies and group discussions. Enrollees may concentrate on business administration (MBA), global enterprises, project management, or sustainable business practices. Graduates find employment in a variety of industries, businesses, and educational institutions. 

Doctorate in management

  • Length: Three to five years 
  • Cost: $15,000-$33,000 per year
  • Post-grad careers: Business operation specialist; chief executive officer; university professor  

Depending on the type of degree and curricular focus, skills taught in doctorate in management programs include overseeing organizations’ day-to-day operations, personnel, and finances, along with designing and implementing improvement strategies and innovations. Ph.D. studies emphasize research and teaching.

Doctoral programs often include research projects, capstones, or dissertations. Internships may be less common because many online DBA programs attract working professionals with business experience.

Career options include chief operating officers and other executive leaders, academic researchers, college presidents, and school superintendents.    

In conclusion

Online doctorates in management come in different flavors: self-paced, asynchronous, cohort-based, or hybrid models, but most tailor their curriculums toward working business professionals. With coursework available 100% online, on weekends, or in the evenings, you can keep your job while exploring your future options. Our ranked list of programs can steer you to the right school.   





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