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Discover Top MBA/DBA Dual Degree Online Programs Today

Ready to find top MBA/DBA dual degree programs online? We’ve got you covered. Read on for a look at great schools, solutions to common challenges, and more.

Search hundreds of top schools for the doctorate YOU want.

Written By

Michael Hoffman

Last updated

Feb 14, 2024

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is the most widely recognized and accepted academic business credential in the world — that is its greatest strength. MBA holders are seen as possessing the advanced knowledge and skills they need to succeed as leaders across industries and business sectors. The MBA is also the most common business degree awarded today, and therein lies what may be its greatest weakness. The MBA’s prevalence has, in some ways, made it harder for its holders to distinguish themselves from others with the degree. So, how can you set yourself apart from the competition for the uppermost jobs in your profession?

Enter the Doctor of Business Administration, or DBA, degree. The DBA offers professionals a way to truly stand out from the MBA pack by preparing them for advanced careers as researchers, academics, and top-tier business executives.

Traditionally, DBA programs have focused on mid-career professionals seeking advancement. But if you’ve got your sights solidly set on storming the upper echelons of the business world, then earning your MBA and DBA together through a single, dual degree online program may be the perfect choice for you. 

We’ve written this guide to introduce you to MBA/DBA dual degree online programs, how they work, what they cost, and the kind of career opportunities they prepare you for upon graduation. Keep reading to discover how you can launch your business career directly to the top by earning both your MBA and DBA in a single, quality online dual degree program.

Deep Dive into Dual Degree MBA/DBA Programs

There’s no better way to get a feel for what high-quality MBA/DBA dual degree online programs are all about than by taking a good look at a couple of those programs, that’s why we’ve spotlighted the two below. These spotlights will give you a good idea of what to expect in terms of costs, curriculums, completion times, and more.

Bellevue University

Despite the fact that the online Doctor of Business Administration program at Bellevue University isn’t labeled an MBA/DBA “dual degree” program, it is structured like one. Students transfer in 36 eligible credits from their MBA or equivalent graduate-level program which, when combined with the 55 credits they earn in their DBA course of study, allows them to earn their business administration doctorate in as few as three years.

Unlike many business doctorates that prepare graduates for careers in research and academia, Bellevue’s DBA is designed for working professionals looking to advance their careers in the business sector. For this reason, students complete an applied research project instead of an academic dissertation. The program offers several other features tailored to working professionals, including 100% online coursework with no campus residency requirement and two-week breaks between each course.

Neither GRE nor GMAT scores are required for admission. With a current tuition rate of $799/credit, affordability is another enticing feature of Bellevue’s online DBA program.

Edgewood College

Edgewood College is a private, Dominican school located in Madison, Wisconsin. Students seeking convenience and affordability in earning their MBA/DBA dual degree will find both in abundance in Edgewood’s 60-credit Master of Business Administration + Doctor of Business Administration Online program.

As part of the MBA curriculum, students complete 15 credits (approximately half of their total MBA credit requirements) of research-focused coursework that are transferred to the DBA course of study. Students then complete an additional 30 credits of doctorate coursework including a culminating applied research capstone project to earn the DBA. The entire program is delivered 100% online in an asynchronous format with no on-campus residency requirement. Courses are presented in a seven-week format and there are five program start dates available each year. 

Another major benefit of Edgewood’s MBA/DBA Online program is its price. The current per-credit tuition rate is $500 for a total of $30,000 for both the MBA and DBA degrees. Admission requirements include a baccalaureate or more advanced degree from an accredited college or university with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher. GMAT scores are not required.

Challenges & Solutions of MBA/DBA Dual Degree Programs

As you might expect, pursuing both your master’s and doctorate in business in a single, condensed program brings with it a number of unique challenges. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most common of those challenges below, along with our suggestions for how you can successfully meet them.

Accessing Faculty

A major challenge of any graduate degree program, particularly one facilitated online, is consistent and effective one-on-one communication with your faculty advisors and professors.

Solution: Reach Out Proactively

Fortunately, online MBA/DBA program faculty members are keenly aware of the many challenges their students face and try to make themselves available to help students navigate them. They do so by providing generous digital office hours and closely monitoring other online modes of communication (emails, file-sharing, etc.). However, communication is a two-way street and none of this matters if you do not do your part to facilitate clear communication. You can do so by consistently reaching out to your professors and faculty advisors through regularly scheduled meetings. It’s also critical that you broach any issues you may be having with your studies as they arise (and not at the last minute).

Balancing Degree Requirements

A key feature of online MBA/DBA programs is that many of the MBA credits you earn are applied to your DBA curriculum. This sharing of credits is how MBA/DBA dual degree programs can save you time and money. But it also requires that you select your MBA courses carefully.

Solution: Plan Strategically

Planning is everything here. If you’ve decided to pursue a dual degree MBA/DBA program, then you probably have a solid grasp of your academic and professional aspirations. Be sure to discuss these in detail with academic counselors, faculty members, and trusted peers before enrolling in a program to make sure that your MBA course choices are applicable to both your DBA program requirements and your unique professional goals.

Fulfilling Work Commitments

Like most online MBA/DBA dual degree students, you’ll likely be working full-time as you pursue your graduate studies. Doing so successfully will require focus and strategic planning.

Solution: Communicate with Employers and Professors

This is another issue where the solution lies in good communication. Make sure that from day one you are maintaining strong, clear, and consistent communication with both your program faculty and your employer regarding your availability and needs. You’ll likely find them all more than willing to help you accommodate these to their benefit and yours.

Maintaining Self-Motivation & Discipline

A concern for all online college students is maintaining a consistent level of self-motivation and discipline. This will be especially critical to MBA/DBA students as they work their way uninterrupted through the requirements of two graduate degrees.

Solution: Set Clear Goals & Commit to a Routine

Having systems in place gives you something to fall back on when your motivation wanes. Create a manageable list of goals and a consistent routine to meet them at the start of your program to set yourself up for success. Your routine should include both a regular study schedule and a setting that’s conducive to completing your coursework.

As a business professional, you’ve already developed the motivation and discipline skills you need. All you need to do now is apply them to your academics.

Navigating Financial Constraints

You’ll save a substantial amount of money by combining your MBA and DBA studies, but that doesn’t mean your graduate education will be cheap.

Solution: Explore Financial Aid Options

Like most students, you’ll probably draw from one or more sources of financial aid to help you pay for your graduate education. Be sure to contact the financial aid offices at the schools you’re considering as part of your initial program search. You may also want to speak with your employer about any tuition reimbursement opportunities they may offer.

Visit this U.S. Department of Education Direct PLUS Loans website to learn about federal student loans for graduate degree programs. And for more on funding your degree, explore our guides to scholarships, fellowships, and financial aid for doctoral students.

Application Requirements of MBA/DBA Programs

If you’ve considered a standard MBA program, then you already have a good grasp on the application requirements for most online MBA/DBA dual degree programs. There are some differences, though, which is why we’ve provided the following look at common application requirements of MBA/DBA dual degree programs.

Academic or Professional Excellence

Admission to the online MBA/DBA dual degree program you’re interested in may be competitive, which means that you need to find ways to stand out from your fellow program applicants. The most conventional, though effective, way to do so is by highlighting your exemplary record as an undergraduate student or your professional accomplishments in the business world. Your application is your chance to make your case to the admissions committee, so don’t be shy about your academic and professional achievements.

Application Fee

Like most graduate programs, the majority of online MBA/DBA dual degree programs require an application fee when submitting your application. These fees vary from program to program, with most falling in the somewhere between $50 and $250. For example, applicants to the Bellevue DBA program spotlighted above pay $100. Application fees are typically non-refundable.

GMAT or GRE Scores

If you’ve been away from postsecondary academics for a while, you might be surprised to discover that many graduate business programs today (including the Bellevue and Edgewood programs spotlighted above) no longer require standardized test scores like the GMAT or GRE. While this saves you the time, money, and stress of sitting for an exam, it also means that admissions committees are looking more closely at other factors when selecting students for their MBA/DBA programs. If you have any concerns about those other factors, be sure to contact an admissions counselor to discuss them. If you feel submitting your GMAT or GRE scores would enhance your application, you may also want to ask if you can do so.

Interview

An interview with an admissions committee or program faculty member(s) may or may not be required for the MBA/DBA dual degree online program you’re interested in. Interviews are typically granted exclusively to applicants in serious contention for a seat in the program. Be prepared to answer questions about your professional background and your goals for graduate school and your career. Be ready with a few thoughtful questions of your own and make sure to get a good night’s sleep the night before. 

For more great advice on preparing for your interview, check out this Graduate Admissions Interviews webpage from the University of California San Diego.

Writing Samples or Essays

Submission of an essay or personal statement is another likely requirement for admission into your MBA/DBA online program. There is likely no more important application requirement than your essay or personal statement. It is through these writing samples that you have the opportunity to show exactly why you are the best candidate for admission into the program.

For advice on writing your personal statement, check out this University of Southern California article.

MBA vs. DBA: Understanding the Differences

Before you enroll in an MBA/DBA dual degree program, it’s important to clearly understand why earning both degrees is right for you. To do that, you must first understand the many similarities and differences between the two degrees. Here’s a look at a few of the most important.

Academic Requirements

MBA programs typically consist of 40 to 50 semester credits of foundational, core, and elective courses in business administration. Elective requirements are often taken up by courses in your specialization or concentration. Most MBA programs culminate in the completion of a thesis, or, more commonly, a professional portfolio or other capstone project.

DBA curriculums typically consist of 45 to 60 semester credits of coursework focused primarily on research topics and culminate in the writing and defense of a dissertation or, more commonly, an applied research project. MBA/DBA programs allow students to apply coursework credits toward both their MBA and DBA reducing the credits required to earn both degrees.

Career Opportunities

For the most part, MBA and DBA degree holders compete for the same types of jobs: roles in business leadership and management. The difference lies in the level of those roles. MBA graduates typically qualify for more generalized management jobs while DBA holders are favored for the highest-tier and more subject-focused positions. Like those with a PhD in business, DBA holders often fill top jobs in advanced research and academia.

Check out these articles from the University of Iowa and University of Minnesota for more on MBA job opportunities and Marymount University and Pepperdine University for more on careers for DBA graduates.

Cost

The cost of earning an MBA, DBA, or both varies substantially according to several factors, most significantly among them, your specific school, its status as a public or private institution, its prestige and reputation, and more.

MBA costs can range from $30,000 or less to as much as $120,000 or more. A DBA’s total cost can run anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000. Don’t let these numbers scare you off, though. There is a myriad of affordable online DBA programs out there for students balancing their finances and their education. What all of this should tell you is that you can save a tremendous amount of money by earning both degrees in a single MBA/DBA dual degree program, especially online.

Salary Prospects

Salaries for both MBA and DBA degree holders are impressive. While MBA salaries can best be described as commensurate with the degree holder’s specific job title, level of professional experience, and job performance, six-figure annual earnings for MBA holders are not uncommon. That’s particularly true for those working in certain industries. The same can be said for those with a DBA degree whose job title, job performance, and work experience are also reflected in higher earnings than those with only an MBA.

Specialization Options

Both MBA and DBA programs often offer students the option to narrow their studies to a specialized area within the larger field of business administration. Popular specializations or concentrations include management, marketing, healthcare administration, information technology, and accounting. The Online MBA program at the University of Arizona offers an MBA program with a variety of specialization options. Your program may offer different concentrations, though. DBA students typically focus their studies on a specific field of interest through the subject of their culminating applied research project.

Time to Completion

Program lengths for stand-alone MBA programs can vary from one year to 18 months for accelerated programs, around two years for standard full-time programs, and three years or more for part-time programs.

Stand-alone DBA program lengths also vary substantially due mainly to the generous time allowed for students to complete their dissertations or culminating projects. Most students, however, earn their DBAs in around three years of part-time study. MBA/DBA programs often provide for substantially shorter completion times. As an example, Edgewood University’s program features a surprisingly fast program length of just 2½ years.