Dr. Michael Williams By Dr. Michael Williams • July 17, 2019

What's the difference between a PhD and a DBA degree?

Perhaps you’ve considered earning a doctoral degree; however, you were unsure which degree is best suited to enable you to achieve your personal and professional goals. Two terminal degrees, the PhD and DBA, are the two primary doctoral degrees that most degree aspirants examine before selecting a program in which to enroll.

So, what’s the difference between these degrees?

The Doctor of Philosophy or PhD is a terminal degree. Typically, after a three-year course of study, the degree culminates in creation of a dissertation. The PhD can be earned in a wide range disciplines in the humanities, arts and sciences.

Similarly, the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree is also a terminal degree. Occasionally, referred to as an “applied doctorate” or a “professional doctorate,” the DBA degree can be completed in two to three years and culminates in a practitioner-focused, field-based research project. The DBA degree is appropriate for practicing professionals in a variety of occupations especially industry, higher education administration and consulting.

Earning the DBA degree is a significant professional achievement. Professionals who have earned this degree often hold senior leadership positions in organizations or consult with a plethora of profit and nonprofit businesses. The degree’s course work provides advanced theory and practical experience in core business disciplines as well as specialized study in professional topics such as management, leadership and human resource management.

So, before choosing and enrolling in either a DBA or PhD degree program, clarify your purpose for earning the degree and how you will benefit from the experience. Remember, if you are interested in research and publishing, enrolling in a PhD is a viable educational choice. However, if your professional goals focus on addressing workplace challenges, solving complex business issues and increasing organizational and professional productivity, the DBA degree is your degree of choice.

Click here to learn more about Thomas Edison State University’s Doctorate of Business Administration or email me directly at mwilliams@tesu.edu.

Dr. Michael Williams

Written by Dr. Michael Williams

Michael Williams, Ph.D., MBA, is dean of the School of Business and Management. He is a seasoned educational and executive leader recognized for solving complex administrative, financial and operational issues. Dr. Williams has held senior academic leadership positions in public, private, and proprietary universities and executive education and business development roles in the financial services and information technology industries. Dr. Williams is a New England Conservatory President's Council member, manages an active international publishing and presenting schedule, and leads Psychology Practices Solutions, a global consultancy specializing in business development and high-performance coaching solutions. He earned a doctoral degree and master's degree from Fordham University, a master's degree from Rutgers University, an MBA from DeVry University and a master's degree from Touro College.

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