Most Affordable Online DBA Programs

Find convenient online DBA programs that deliver the highest level of business education at the lowest costs.

Written by

PhDs.me Staff

Last updated

Nov 23, 2021

Earning a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) online prepares you for top-tier leadership positions where you’ll be able to apply advanced research and theories to solve the most challenging business problems. And while the cost of earning your doctorate may seem out of reach, there are now plenty of affordable online DBA programs offered by respected universities. This list below showcases the most affordable programs currently available, so you can find a quality DBA degree online without breaking the bank.

18 Most Affordable Online DBA Programs for 2021

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1
Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$

The Doctor of Business Administration degree from Saint Leo University offers a convenient online format for business professionals seeking the knowledge and skills to advance their careers into top leadership positions, particularly in the teaching, research, and consulting fields. The first two years of the program consist of classes and seminars. This is followed with one to two years completing and defending a dissertation. Coursework is accessed entirely online asynchronously, meaning that students complete their coursework at any time. The program’s practicum requirement, however, may include in-person components such as the option to teach an on-site business class. Students also participate in five-day seminars at the beginning of each year-long session on the school’s campus in Saint Leo, Florida.

Admission requirements for Saint Leo University’s online DBA program include a master’s degree from a regionally accredited university earned with a minimum 3.25 GPA, current resume, two recommendations (academic or professional), and a professional goals statement.

Program Highlights:

Doctor of Business Administration

Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
99%
AccreditationSACSCOC
2
Gardner-Webb University Boiling Springs, NC
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$

Gardner-Webb University, a private, Christian-affiliated institution in North Carolina, offers a Doctor of Business Administration degree program focused on creating effective and ethical business leaders by providing students with advanced skills in leadership, applied research, and global strategic management. The course of study begins each fall with students progressing through the curriculum as a cohort over nine consecutive semesters (fall, spring, and summer). Students choose one of five concentration tracks in Accounting, Finance, International Business, Management, or Marketing. The program culminates in the research, writing, and defense of a dissertation in the student’s concentration field. All coursework is accessed and completed asynchronously online, except for weekend residencies attended at the beginning of each semester on Gardner-Webb’s Charlotte-area campus. 

Admission into the DBA program is competitive. Selections are based on the overall quality of the applicant’s admission package, which includes a master’s degree in business or business-related major earned with a 3.0 or better cumulative GPA, resume, two letters of recommendation, and statement of interest. 

Program Highlights:

Doctor of Business Administration

  • Credits: 60
  • Cost Per Credit: $927
  • Est. Total Tuition: $55,620
  • Length: 3 years
  • Format: Fully-online coursework with on-campus weekend seminars at the beginning of each semester.
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
100%
AccreditationSACSCOC
3
Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$

Study flexibility and specialized coursework are key features of Liberty University’s Doctor of Business Administration program. Students tailor their studies by choosing from among 17 specializations. All program components are completed 100% online in a fully asynchronous format. No campus visits are required, although students have the option to come to Liberty’s Lynchburg, Virginia, campus to defend their dissertations in person. Affordability is another major feature of Liberty’s DBA program, with substantial discounts for current and former military and their spouses. Additionally, students can transfer in up to 50% of the required 60 credits needed to earn the degree. 

Admission is open to applicants with a master’s degree in business or a related field (with at least 30 hours of graduate business credit) earned with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Some specializations require a master’s in that specific field. Admission into the program is competitive, so meeting minimum application requirements does not guarantee acceptance.

Program Highlights:

Doctor of Business Administration

Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
89%
AccreditationSACSCOC
4
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$

You’d be hard-pressed to find many U.S. colleges or universities that offer as many online doctoral degree programs as Kentucky’s University of the Cumberlands. UC currently houses eight doctorates with fully-online or partially-online programs in business, education, information technology, and leadership. Total credit hour and additional degree requirements vary by program, as do tuition rates. However, total costs for many UC doctorate programs are surprisingly competitive, proving that there are exceptions to the general rule that degrees from private schools are always more expensive than those from public ones. School-sponsored payment plans are also available. UC is approved by the U.S. Department of Education, making its students eligible for federal student financial aid.  

Program Highlights:

  • Tuition: $315-$700/credit
  • Credits: 60-66 (varies by program)

Online Doctoral and PhD Programs

Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
97%
AccreditationSACSCOC
5
Columbia Southern University Orange Beach, AL
Type: Private, For-Profit
Cost: $

Alabama’s Columbia Southern University breaks the “private schools are more expensive” rule with its online Doctor of Business Administration program. Columbia Southern’s DBA offers one of the most student-friendly distance programs available with all coursework in a 100% online asynchronous format and flexible schedules allowing students to complete courses in four to 10 weeks. Students opting for CSU’s LifePace Learning model can begin their programs at any time. Along with its very competitive tuition rate, CSU offers several cost-saving features like free textbooks and tutoring services, military tuition assistance, and one-course-at-a-time payment plans to its DBA students. Federal student aid is also available to qualifying students.

Program Highlights:

  • Tuition: $420/credit
  • Credits: 61

Online Doctoral and PhD Programs

Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
68%
AccreditationDEAC
6
Wilmington University New Castle, DE
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
16%
AccreditationMSCHE
7
Type: Private, For-Profit
Cost: $$

California Miramar University’s Doctor of Business Administration provides students the opportunity to develop and sharpen their skills in leadership to make substantial contributions to business management education and practice. Students choose from among four concentrations in Finance, International Business Administration, Marketing, and Strategic Management. Assignments and interaction with instructors and fellow students take place fully-online. Study culminates with a dissertation presentation and defense. All coursework is typically completed within three years and the entire program, including dissertation, is normally completed in four to four-and-a-half years.

California Miramar’s DBA program is open to candidates with a master’s degree (earned with overall 3.0 or higher GPA), a minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate business-related coursework, and at least three years of combined professional and/or teaching work experience. 

Program Highlights:

Doctor of Business Administration

  • Credits: 66
  • Cost Per Credit: $606
  • Est. Total Tuition: $39,996
  • Length: 4 to 4.5 years
  • Format: Partially-online
  • Accreditation: DEAC (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationDEAC
8
Baker College Flint, MI
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$$

Michigan’s Baker College offers a full Doctor of Business Administration degree program as well as a unique Doctor of Business Administration—All But Dissertation program, both in online formats. The full DBA program consists of two years of online coursework in business theory and practices, research methods and design, and organizational management. The third year is devoted entirely to the research, writing, and defense of a doctoral dissertation. All degree requirements can be completed asynchronously and entirely online, except for a professional residency attended in-person during the first or second year of the program.

Individuals who have completed their DBA studies with the exception of their dissertation can enroll in Baker’s All But Dissertation DBA program. The program consists of the 28 credit hours of coursework needed to satisfy dissertation requirements, including development of a dissertation research problem and question, six dissertation courses, and a doctoral specialization seminar.

Program Highlights:

Doctor of Business Administration; Doctor of Business Administration—All But Dissertation

  • Credits: 60 (DBA); 28 (DBA-ABD) 
  • Cost Per Credit: $915
  • Est. Total Tuition: $54,900 (DBA); $25,620 (DBA-ABD)
  • Length: 3.5 years (DBA); over 1 year (DBA-ABD)
  • Format: Fully-online coursework. Attendance at a professional conference with Baker College DBA seminar required for full DBA students.
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC) (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
88%
AccreditationHLC
9
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$$

The Doctor of Business Administration program at California Baptist University (CBU) is designed to provide working adults with the most convenient and flexible path to earning a DBA degree. The curriculum is presented in a 100% online asynchronous format with no required on-campus visits or other in-person components. Students, however, have the option of attending the program’s Comprehensive Experience as well as presenting and defending their dissertations on CBU’s Riverside campus. Students progress through the 56-credit, three-year course of study as a cohort, completing one eight-week class at a time. 

Admission into the DBA program is open to candidates with an MBA from a properly accredited program or the equivalent. Students who have successfully completed an MBA competency exam are also eligible.

Program Highlights:

Doctor of Business Administration

  • Credits: 56
  • Cost Per Credit: $795
  • Est. Total Tuition: $44,520
  • Length: 3 years
  • Format: Fully-online coursework with optional on-campus Comprehensive Experience and/or dissertation presentation and defense.
  • Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
92%
AccreditationWSCUC
10
Type: Private, For-Profit
Cost: $$

Online Doctoral and PhD Programs

Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
29%
AccreditationHLC
11
Type: Private, For-Profit
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationDEAC
12
Type: Private, For-Profit
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
30%
AccreditationSACSCOC
13
Capella University Minneapolis, MN
Type: Private, For-Profit
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
50%
AccreditationHLC
14
Type: Private, For-Profit
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationDEAC
15
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationNECHE
16
Walden University Minneapolis, MN
Type: Private, For-Profit
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationHLC
17
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
97%
AccreditationHLC
18
Type: Private, For-Profit
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
5%
AccreditationDEAC

Rankings Methodology

PhD.me’s rankings are based on official government data from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). To be eligible for our most affordable rankings, colleges were required to have the following characteristics:

  • Annual graduate tuition and fees under $15,000
  • At least one DBA program offered partially online or fully online.
  • Accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Eligible colleges were then ranked based on their performance in the following categories:

  • Cost: Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year. (Heaviest weighting)
  • Institutional Aid: Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself. (Second-heaviest weighting)
  • Online Program Availability: Number of fully-online or partially-online DBA programs reported.
  • Academic Counseling: Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Career Placement: Existence of this service on campus or online.