Executive Doctor of Business Administration (EDBA)

Unlike many DBA programs, the Executive DBA at North Alabama prepares you to address real-world organizational issues and disruptive trends by developing applied executive-level research skills enabling you to solve complex organizational problems and create innovative business solutions.

This DBA program is an ideal fit for experienced leaders seeking to advance within an organization or transition into a consulting career or higher education.

With an applied dissertation, which can be leveraged to solve an existing organizational problem, the Doctor of Business Administration program is primarily online with on-campus sessions one weekend per month. This prestigious degree will distinguish you in your field by preparing you to implement research projects to impact organizational strategic decisions in an efficient and innovative manner.

  • Cost: $33,030 per Year
  • Time to Complete: 36 Months, Part Time
  • Modality Offered: Online with On-Campus Sessions Once per Month
  • Credentials: Executive DBA

Why North Alabama?

The UNA College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International). This is a highly esteemed accreditation held by fewer than five percent of business colleges worldwide.

Curriculum

This non-resident, cohort-based Executive DBA program is primarily online with monthly on-campus sessions over a three-year period. The doctorate in business program requires 54 post-master’s credit hours and students are expected to complete the majority of their coursework in the first two years and their dissertation in year three.

There are 21 courses varying in credits from 1-3 hours (more for the Dissertation):

  • Fall

  • Discovering Applied Research (3) 
    • A graduate-level Research Methods course that introduces experienced business professionals to Social Science Academic Research. Students read and discuss academic literature, including seminal articles, to formulate an understanding of empirical research studies: the research process, academic writing, and interpreting results and findings. Students also learn to effectively use research databases, institutional review, legality, and ethics in research, and the peer-review publication process.
  • Exploring Statistical Relationships in Business (3) 
    • A graduate-level Statistical Analysis course in which students learn and apply fundamental statistical methods using real-world data to address economic and business questions and draw inferences about relationships between variables in the population at large. Students learn techniques to analyze relationships with one random variable and then the relationship between two or more random variables. Ordinary least squares (OLS) regression is the most basic and most widely used way to summarize relationships in a sample of data between a dependent, or explained, variable and one or more independent, or explanatory, variables. 
  • Engaging with Applied Statistics Lab (1) 
    • A graduate-level Statistics Lab course designed to familiarize students with statistical software used in academic research. Students learn basics of statistical software including importing datasets from spreadsheets, syntax and operations, saving and managing files, and basic analytical operations used in advanced statistics courses.
  • Project Management for Applied Research (1)
    • A graduate-level Special Topics course designed for experienced business professionals to explore best practices in project management with particular application to managing the research process. Students review traditional project management frameworks and discuss their application to the research process. Students will formulate a project management plan to manage their doctoral experience and dissertation process using traditional and emerging project management tools.  

     

  • Spring

  • Organizational Problem Solving: Design and Measurement(3) 
    • A graduate-level Research Methods course designed for experienced business professionals to frame organizational problems in the context of a scientific research study. Students learn to design a research study with consideration of operationalizing theoretical constructs and instrumentation. Topics include reliability, validity, survey design and administration, random sampling, generalizability, measurement scales, and psychometrics.
  • Advanced Quantitative Analysis (3) 
    • A graduate-level Statistical Analysis course in advanced regression models, including logistic regression and 2-stage least squares. Students learn tools for applied researchers and industry professionals to categorize data accordingly via exploratory and confirmatory approaches (e.g., cluster analysis, factor analysis), and to use tangible real-world data to explore underlying theoretical constructs (e.g., structural equation modeling).
  • Prediction and Planning for Business Futures (1) 
    • A graduate-level Special Topics course designed for experienced business professionals to explore and engage with decision making strategies in uncertain and rapidly changing futures. Students learn and discuss the processes of strategic planning and strategic foresight tools. Topics include environmental scanning, visioning, scenario-building, forecasting, and implementation.
  • Innovation System Solutions (1) 
    • A graduate-level Special Topics course designed for experienced business professionals to address problem-solving with a systematic approach to create, communicate, and commercializing solutions. Students learn and use an array of tools and processes including organizational leadership of innovation.
  • Summer

  • Advanced Qualitative Analysis (3) 
    • A graduate-level Statistical Analysis course in which experienced business professionals are exposed to fundamental qualitative methods for discovering, observing, and analyzing a variety of organizational phenomenon that are best studied in a qualitative fashion. Students learn and use a variety of analyses including case methods, grounded theory, action research, phenomenology, ethnography, and comparative-historical inquiry. 
  • Developing Applied Research Skills (2) 
    • A graduate level Directed Study course designed for experienced business professionals to begin working with a major professor on research that may be further developed into a dissertation topic. Students will have to opportunity to apply newly acquired skills in research while receiving feedback and guidance.
  • Fall

  • Becoming Data Smart (3) 
    • A graduate-level Seminar course designed for experienced business professionals to illustrate the power and utility of business analytics for making predictions and informed decision making. As more of our everyday life is recorded and quantified, analytics are becoming standard in a number of fields, including information technology, banking, retail marketing, and consulting. Students learn how to construct and interpret decision trees, k-nearest neighbor predictions, Bayesian networks, and cluster analyses.
  • Creative and Innovative Thinking (3) 
    • A graduate-level Seminar course designed for experienced business professionals to foster creativity and an innovative approach to developing products and services. Students will read and discuss applied research findings which may inform organizations on how to develop problem-solving, algorithmic thinking, and a culture of innovation.
  • Designing Technology for User Experience (1) 
    • A graduate-level Special Topics course designed for experienced business professionals to explore the means by which organizations can optimize the human experience with technology. As technology now encompasses virtually all aspects of the human experience, the interaction between humans and computers has become a focal point for organizations. Be drawing on research from human factors, cognitive psychology, and art and design, students develop an appreciation for, and an understanding of the user experience.
  • Emerging Methodologies for Organizations (1) 
    • A graduate-level Special Topics course that exposes experienced business professionals to existing and emerging strategic frameworks and methodologies to address adaptive problems intrinsic to business strategy. Students encounter and engage in tenants of agile strategy such as framing appreciative questions, asset identification, leveraging assets to achieve strategic outcomes, and selecting appropriate projects to attain strategic objectives.
  • Spring

  • Emerging Issues in Business (3) 
    • A graduate-level Seminar course designed for experienced business professionals that examines contemporary issues and trends affecting organizations from a variety of business disciplines (e.g., management, marketing, economics, finance). Students will read and discuss current research and potential applications for industry, and may discover potential research/dissertation topics.
  • Exploring Trends in the Global Economy (1) 
    • A graduate-level Special Topics course designed for business professionals to broaden their perspectives of the global economy and examine recent trends and research in international business by organizations. Students may have the opportunity to engaging first-hand with global corporations by participating in a trip abroad to earn course credit.
  • Integrating GIS to Optimize Business Performance (1)  
    • A graduate-level Special Topics course designed for experienced business professionals to develop strategic competencies in linking organizational data with geographic tools and systems. This course leverages the University’s expertise in applied geography and applications such as ESRI software, resource utilization, regional and organizational planning, land use analysis, and remote sensing.
  • Dissertation Design (3) 
    • A graduate-level Seminar course that allows experienced business professionals to engage with topics they are passionate about and work in groups with faculty to develop their dissertation topics. Students will begin the process of structuring their dissertation design, data collection, and statistical needs and should finish the course with a dissertation proposal and ABD status.
  • Summer

  • Dissertation (3) 
    • Upon approval from a Dissertation Committee, graduate students in the EDBA program are required to complete no less than 12 credit hours toward an original and approved dissertation topic.  
  • Applied Decision Making and Optimization (2) 
    • A graduate-level Seminar course that exposes experienced business professionals to research on decision making and illuminates methodologies for improving business decisions. Students will be introduced to the theory, methodology, and application of optimization routines, including linear programming, integer programming, and dynamic programming. 
  • Fall

  • Applications of Disruptive Technology (3)
    • A graduate-level Seminar course that allows experienced business professionals to experience, first-hand the disruptive technology that is changing the way we all do business (e.g., AI, Machine Learning, Cybersecurity, Blockchain). This course will be developed in consultation with James Jerkins and Mark Terwilliger.
  • Dissertation (3) 
    • Upon approval from a Dissertation Committee, graduate students in the EDBA program are required to complete no less than 12 credit hours toward an original and approved dissertation topic.  
  • Spring

  • Dissertation (6) 
    • Upon approval from a Dissertation Committee, graduate students in the EDBA program are required to complete no less than 12 credit hours toward an original and approved dissertation topic.  

Faculty

You will learn from dedicated full-time faculty—most holding PhDs and/or terminal degrees from leading universities—as you pursue your doctorate degree in business.

The faculty dedicated to the doctorate in business program can be found at this link.

Accreditations

The North Alabama College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International). The Executive DBA program is pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

AACSB Accreditation Seal

What can I do with an EDBA?

By earning an Executive Doctor of Business Administration, you will differentiate yourself from others with only an MBA because you will have developed the applied research skills needed for solving complex organizational problems and will have learned to develop innovative business solutions based on the most current evidence-based practices.

These qualities are an ideal fit for an experienced professional seeking to further strengthen leadership skills and advance within an organization or transition into a consulting career or higher education.

Yes, and it is possible to use this research project to solve an existing organizational problem for your organization.

No. This program has a low residency requirement. This means that students have the flexibility to complete much of their coursework online and on their own schedule, with classes held on campus approximately one weekend each month to learn in a cohort environment from UNA business faculty.

There will be a total of 10 weekend residencies per calendar year, starting midday on Friday and finishing before lunch on Sunday. Some meals will be covered, but overall travel and lodging are not. Weekend residencies include:

  • Class time
  • One-on-one time with faculty
  • Opportunities to engage in group work
  • Team building with fellow classmates
  • Opportunities to explore the campus and city

EDBA students are provided with a laptop and bag, all necessary University and statistical software, textbooks, parking passes, research support for academic conferences, executive nameplates, and EDBA clothing and business cards.

While both are doctoral degrees, PhD in Business Administration programs are generally designed for younger academics looking to advance in the social sciences or academic settings and focus on theory-driven and discipline-based research. DBA programs, however, are constructed for professionals who are already experienced leaders looking for a terminal degree beyond an MBA. The Executive DBA program at UNA goes a step further by emphasizing real world problem solving and the development of applied research skills for professionals who are looking to drive organizational change and innovation.

The cohort size will be approximately 15 students of like-minded professionals.

The Executive DBA from North Alabama will take three years, part time, for working professionals. In the first two years, students will complete the majority of their coursework and year three will be dedicated to their dissertation.

Admissions Requirements

Applicants for the doctorate degree in business should have previously earned an MBA or master’s degree in a related field from a regionally accredited academic institution. Because of this requirement, no test scores (for example, GMAT, GRE, MAT) will be required for admission into the program.

Doctor of Business Administration applicants should possess at least seven years of substantive work experience preferably with high levels of responsibility, expertise, and leadership.

  • Completed application.
  • Application fee of $50.
  • Resume.
  • Official transcripts from all previously attended institutions.
  • Two letters of recommendation from professionals in academia or industry who can comment on accomplishments and contributions, leadership, and other potential success factors.
  • One essay outlining goals and motivations for pursuing the EDBA.

Resources

Executive DBA students are provided with:

  • A laptop and professional EDBA bag
  • All necessary University and statistical software
  • Textbooks
  • Parking passes
  • Research support for academic conferences
  • Executive nameplates
  • EDBA clothing
  • Business cards

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