Accelerated Online Business Administration PhD Programs (Doctorates)


Key Takeaways

  • Professionals interested in business research should consider an online PhD in business administration programs that prepares students for employment in academia, government institutions, and think tanks.

  • From admission to retention and graduation, accelerated online PhD in Business Administration programs are among the most competitive programs offered by higher education institutions.

  • Because every online and hybrid PhD in business administration program is unique, consider your professional goals when choosing the best accelerated doctorate in business administration program.

Featured Programs

Fastest Online Doctorate in Business Degree Programs

  1. Other Rankings

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    Career Outlook for Business Administration degree at Florida Atlantic University

    Cost of Degree: $6,693
    Expenses: $19,974
    Starting Salary: $126,361
    Cost Recoup Time: 11 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    Florida Atlantic University offered an AACSB-accredited Executive PhD in Business Administration program, considered one of the best in Florida. This is an online program suited for senior-level business executives with extensive experience in the field who still wish to earn a terminal degree in business administration.

    • Credit Hours: 80
    • Program Duration: 3 years
    • Format: Hybrid

    What We Love About Florida Atlantic University

    Florida Atlantic University is known for its research programs and partnerships like the Max Planck Society and the Scripps Research Institute. FAU is also the epitome of excellence in marine biotechnology, biomedical, marine biotechnology, and ocean energy technology.

    Florida Atlantic University is great for students who:

    Love a university packed with research opportunities. FAU is also perfect for those who love a large academic community.

    Florida Atlantic University might not be the best fit for students who:

    Want a school more geared towards community and extracurriculars than academia.

  2. #2

    Liberty University

    Lynchburg , VA
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    Career Outlook for Business Administration degree at Liberty University

    Cost of Degree: $8,405
    Expenses: $19,987
    Starting Salary: $55,624
    Salary after 4 years: $74,518
    Cost Recoup Time: 8 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    Liberty University offers an online Ph.D. in Business Administration program that imbues a Christian perspective into the education it provides. Students will discuss matters of domestic policy, national security, and international relations with a Christian outlook. They will also build business skills using business research methods in theory development.

    • Credit Hours: 60
    • Program Duration: 3 years
    • Format: Online

    What We Love About Liberty University

    Being a military-friendly university, Liberty is perfect for military personnel, veterans, and their spouses.

    Liberty University is great for students who:

    Are looking for the best online learning environment that offers excellent support services for students.

    Liberty University might not be the best fit for students who:

    Seek freedom in terms of lifestyle habits, including alcohol consumption and dress code.

  3. Businessman smirking with a binder
  4. #3

    Walden University

    Minneapolis , MN
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    Career Outlook for Business Administration degree at Walden University

    Cost of Degree: $10,381
    Starting Salary: $83,973
    Salary after 4 years: $112,497
    What is Walden University known for?

    Walden University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

    Walden University has an ACBSP-accredited (Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs) PhD in Management program designed for those students who seek successful careers in the business industry, academic, and the public sector. This is also a terminal degree that is considered one of the most prestigious in the country, thus helping increase your credibility, impact, and influence in the industry. 

    • Credit Hours: 64
    • Program Duration: 3 years
    • Format: Hybrid

    What We Love About Walden University

    Walden University allows students to choose from two types of learning based on their needs. The course-based learning is the usual instructor-led method, while Tempo Learning is a more flexible option where students can go for a self- paced study route and subscription pricing.

    Walden University is great for students who:

    Who can take advantage of an online learning environment.

    Walden University might not be the best fit for students who:

    Are only comfortable in in-person learning.

  5. #4

    Northcentral University

    San Diego , CA
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    What is Northcentral University known for?

    Northcentral University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    An ACBSP-accredited program, the online PhD in Business Administration at Northcentral University was launched in 2017. It was called the Dissertation Completion Pathway, which allowed ABD students to earn their doctorates online conveniently. The program is anchored on responsibility, accountability, and innovative student experience to help improve the completion rates of doctoral programs.

    • Credit Hours: 60
    • Program Duration: 38 months
    • Format: Online

    What We Love About Northcentral University

    Northcentral University is a very welcoming institution. It produced its oldest graduate—an 80-year-old student—with a PhD in Business Administration.

    Northcentral University is great for students who:

    Prefer to have a more structured learning environment.

    Northcentral University might not be the best fit for students who:

    Wish to earn their doctorate on campus.

  6. A team of young professionals smiling
  7. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees






    Student body


    Median SAT/ACT


    Career Outlook for Business Administration degree at Oklahoma State University–Stillwater

    Cost of Degree: $9,092
    Expenses: $15,970
    Starting Salary: $144,674
    Cost Recoup Time: 10 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    Oklahoma State University-Stillwater, through the Spears School of Business, offers the online Ph.D. in Business for Executives program. This AACSB-accredited program is designed for executives with extensive leadership experience. Here, they can earn a terminal degree while keeping their full-time careers and use their research-based learning to the benefit of their workplaces.

    • Credit Hours: 50
    • Program Duration: 3 years
    • Format: Hybrid

    What We Love About Oklahoma State University-Stillwater

    OKState is located right in the middle of Stillwater, one of the South’s Friendliest Cities. The school is also near Oklahoma City and Tulsa, which creates more recreational opportunities for students.

    Oklahoma State University-Saltwater is great for students who:

    Thrive in competitive learning environments, love a huge campus community, and generally, those who wish to have fun.

    Oklahoma State University-Saltwater might not be the best fit for students who:

    Are only comfortable on a campus where everybody knows everybody.

Career Outlook for Students with Business Administration Degree

Go to Degree Finder tool

Business Administration And Management

Degree Level: Doctorate

  • Location: The U.S. (Private Schools)
  • Avg. Cost of Degree*: $13,189
  • Avg. Expenses*: $17,917
  • Avg. Starting Salary*: $146,644
  • Avg. Cost Recoup Time**: 6 years
  • Job Growth: 4.86%
  • Number of Jobs: 11,888,900
  • * denotes ‘annually’
  • ** denotes ‘at 15% of annual salary’

Career Salaries

CareerJob GrowthAvg. Salary
Chief Executives-8.21%$161,191
Computer and Information Systems Managers15.41%$134,192
Compensation and Benefits Managers1.71%$124,492
Purchasing Managers4.39%$118,521
Sales Managers4.06%$117,002

Average Career Salaries

Bottom 10%MedianTop 10%

Promising Job Markets

StateCost of LivingAvg. Salary
#2 New York5% higher than average$116,372
#3 Virginia5% higher than average$104,589
#4 Michigan15% higher than average$90,047
#5 Georgia13% higher than average$90,306
#6 Illinois7% higher than average$96,596

Top Industries

IndustryAvg. Salary
Chief Executives$161,191
Computer and Information Systems Managers$134,192
Compensation and Benefits Managers$124,492

The fastest online business administration PhD programs prepare professionals for careers in academia, government agencies, and most business sectors. Like all doctor of philosophy (PhD) programs, the PhD in business administration and similar programs have research-centric programs of study.

On top of acquired knowledge thru collegiate business education, advanced research knowledge, and skills in business and management processes are gained from doctorate programs completed online. Doctoral students typically complete a combination of didactic coursework, dissertation courses, and the actual dissertation.

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Choosing An Accelerated Online PhD of Business Administration

The beauty of accelerated degree programs offering an online PhD in business administration is in their comparatively quick graduation timelines. A typical PhD program can take five to eight years to complete. The fastest online PhD programs take less than three years to complete!

Graduates can then grab career advancement opportunities earlier than their counterparts in traditional PhD programs, giving them a definite competitive advantage.

And what a competitive advantage it is, too! Contrary to popular belief, a PhD in business administration from an accelerated online program isn’t a liability, far from it. Employers will likely see you as the most qualified for the job because of your advanced technical and business skills.

In short, you have something that others don’t—and that makes you more attractive in their eyes. Even better, you’ve reached your goal much sooner than you would have in a traditional PhD program.

The rewards of earning an online PhD in business administration degree in less than three years from an accelerated program are well worth it!

The career opportunities are vast and varied, from management consultants and professors to successful entrepreneurs—and all in nearly half the time it takes (i.e., 6 years, at least) to earn a traditional PhD degree in business administration.

However, it is important to note that earning an accelerated online PhD in business administration will be challenging. The fastest programs will have intensive coursework, heavy class loads, and shortened timelines.

The cost of earning a PhD degree through one of the fastest online programs can also be expensive. This is one of the oft-cited reasons for the high dropout rates.

A quality education from an accelerated online doctorate program is within your reach. Our in-depth, comprehensive guide to accelerated online degrees will give you even more tips on earning a doctorate degree as quickly as possible.

Bottom Line: An accelerated PhD program will require a fierce determination and great organizational skills. The programs are very competitive. But for those students who see it through to graduation, the rewards are also great.

Man explaing a concept to a group
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What is the difference between an online DBA vs PhD in business administration?

A PhD in business administration is a terminal degree, meaning it’s the highest degree that can be conferred on individuals in the field. This is also true for the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree—it’s a terminal degree but it has several significant differences with the PhD degree.

Both online DBA programs and PhD programs confer a doctorate in business administration degree, of course. But generally-speaking, a PhD degree is research-oriented, while a DBA degree is application-oriented.

Which one is better? Neither is better than the other in general—it depends on your personal and professional goals.

On one hand, if you’re into the formulation of theories that provide viable answers to questions in the business world, then an accelerated online PhD in business administration degree is your best choice. Your research knowledge and skills will be of excellent value in academia, business organizations, and think tanks, among other entities.

On the other hand, if you’re interested in effective and efficient solutions for practical issues in your current organization, then accelerated online DBA programs are your best bet.

Key Point: In this ranking, we are only featuring the fastest PhD in business administration programs offered in online and hybrid formats. Note that while a 100% online program may be best for busy schedules, hybrid programs are more common. The hybrid format usually consists of online coursework, on-campus residencies, and either virtual or in-person dissertation oral defense.

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What to Expect from the Fastest Online PhD in Business Administration Degree Programs

While each online business administration doctoral programs is unique, there are some things that remain consistent across most programs.

Admissions Requirements

The typical requirements of accelerated online doctorate degree in business administration programs include:

  • Either a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in business administration or in a related discipline from a regionally accredited institution
  • Official copies of transcripts from colleges and universities attended.
  • Official standardized test score, either the Record Examination (GRE) score or the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT), usually no more than five years old
  • Current résumé or curriculum vitae
  • Letters of reference
  • Statement of purpose demonstrating readiness and capacity for pursuing doctorate studies as well as reasons for pursuing the PhD degree

Key Point: Some programs may also conduct interviews to determine the suitability of applicants for the challenges ahead, especially in an accelerated online program. Schools look for applicants who demonstrate exceptional academic performance, research aptitude, and time and stress management skills. Applicants are also judged on effective communication, collaboration, and critical thinking skills.

The best colleges and universities maintain their prestige by being the best in what they do in terms of academic excellence—and students are a huge part of it! The higher the number of graduates in a business administration program, the better for the school’s reputation—which spills over to the reputation of the college or university, too.


Many PhD in business administration programs have a time-to-completion of 4-5 years for full-time studies, if the curriculum will be followed to the letter. But it is not uncommon for the average time-to-degree completion to be longer because of the extensive time required for the completion of the dissertation. In fact, doctorate degree programs can take 6-12 years to complete!

But the best accelerated online PhD in business administration programs can be completed in as little as three years!

Most accelerated PhD programs usually require full-time matriculation among their students. Some programs may even prohibit students from having external employment, especially for students who have an assistantship.

However, many executive PhD programs do allow their students to maintain their current employment with the provision that their academic performance is up to par.

Key Point: The fastest online PhD in business administration degree programs featured below can all be completed within 3 years.

Number of Credits

The typical PhD in business administration programs require students to complete between 60 and 90 semester credit —or the equivalent in quarter credits—to earn their degrees. The difference usually lies in whether the program accepts students with only a bachelor’s degree (90 credits) or a master’s degree (60 credits).


Many accelerated online PhD in business administration programs allow students to choose from several concentrations or specializations including:

  • Accounting
  • Business and Public Policy
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Healthcare Management
  • Human Resource
  • Information Systems
  • Marketing
  • Real Estate
  • Operations Management
  • Supply Chain Management

Required Courses

The typical doctoral programs classify the coursework into four major areas, namely:

  • Major courses that tackle topics in business administration, such as organizational theory and behavior, strategic management, and international business
  • Research methods that cover topics in qualitative and quantitative research methods, applied business research methods, academic writing and publishing, and regression models
  • Field courses, usually seminars in intercultural management, strategic management, and organization leadership
  • Supervised research including dissertation writing and defense

Key Point: Many accelerated online PhD in business administration programs also require students to create a plan of study with a timeline of courses and their completion. This serves as a way of not only monitoring progress toward degree completion, but also keeping the student on track.

Aside from the didactic and field coursework and seminars, the following requirements are common for degree completion purposes in the best accelerated doctoral programs:

  • The comprehensive exams are intended as demonstrations of a student’s essential knowledge and skills, command of the subjects, and writing and research skills. Passing the comprehensive exams is a sign of readiness for the rigors of the dissertation phase, too.
  • The dissertation is the culminating requirement in doctorate in business administration programs, and it demonstrates a student’s professional capacity to conduct and complete scholarly business research.
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Online PhD of Business Administration Learning Experience

The fastest online PhD in business administration programs use learning management systems (LMS) for the delivery of the coursework and other purposes. While every LMS has its specific features and functions, these are the common aspects that make online learning as productive as in-person learning.

  • Multichannel access, meaning learners can access their student accounts and their respective programs’ course materials through smartphones, tablets, and desktops/laptops.
  • The capacity for creation and importation of course materials from external platforms. Students can then access the course materials (reference books, assignments, and resources) created and imported by the faculty members.
  • Document management, which refers to features related to the uploading, downloading, and management of documents and files.
  • Course calendars that allow both students and faculty members to set and monitor course schedules, test dates, and deadlines.
  • Social features that allow students, faculty members, and other participants to communicate and collaborate and share knowledge. Chat messaging, notification and discussion forums are examples.
  • Tracking and reporting of student progress.
  • Assessment and evaluation features.

Key Point: The learning curve for LMS differs between students but for students who have already earned an online bachelor’s or master’s degree, or even taken online courses in high school, it’s a familiar platform.

Young woman standing in a server room
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Career Options for PhD in Business Administration Degree Holders

PhD in business administration degree holders certainly qualify for positions in academia, think tanks, and research-centric government agencies, but their career options are as diverse as those of DBA holders!

Check out these career paths and see that, indeed, a PhD degree in business administration from an accelerated online program will take you places.

  • Faculty members in colleges and universities educate future business professionals, engage in research projects, and promote business knowledge and skills in the community
  • Business researchers are involved in the complex business process improvement and research, which is considered extremely valuable for decision-making purposes among managers and executives.
  • Business consultants whose business development roles make it possible for start-ups and corporations to improve their operations and profits.
  • Entrepreneurs whose considerable research skills drive the development of new markets, products, and services.

Other possible career paths are in human resources, executive coaching, and leadership development. Graduates of Executive PhD in Business Administration programs can also become chief executive officers or presidents of their companies.

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