Doctor of Business Administration

Golden Gate University-San Francisco
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Phd programs

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Golden Gate University’s Ageno School of Business is conducting an in-depth review of the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program. During the program review, the University will accept indications of interest but will not accept applications to the program. The DBA Program Director will notify inquirers when applications are, once again, being accepted.

The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program empowers experienced professionals to establish themselves as thought leaders and innovators. Designed for professionals with the very highest aspirations, the DBA focuses on application of theoretical knowledge that will serve as a basis for consulting, authorship, or starting a new business. 

Offered on-site in the financial district of San Francisco, the Doctor of Business Administration program offers a state of-the-art curriculum delivered by experienced, highly qualified professors. The DBA program is designed for professionals who want to further their career with the most advanced business degree program GGU offers. It is an advanced, rigorous degree for those who want to pursue a career in academia, research, or at the top levels of the business world.

Students are one of the program's greatest strengths. Typical doctoral students at GGU attend part-time. They come from successful careers in top positions in the private, nonprofit, and government sectors. They bring their experiences and knowledge to the classroom and, in turn, demand incisive instruction and intelligent, well-developed classroom discussions.

In the program, students examine current theories, practices, and issues in business; train in research methods; and study the relationships between business and social and global issues. Doctoral students must be adept in all these areas to be successful contributors to the expansion of knowledge and improvement of business practices. For the dissertation, students conduct original research on a topic of current importance and personal interest. The dissertation should impact and help illuminate the strategic issues faced in a student's profession.


The DBA program has been designed with a focus on the "practitioner educational mode," which distinguishes Golden Gate University from other institutions.

This focus is consistent with the position adopted by the Association of Business Schools, which can be summarized as follows:

  • The DBA is therefore a professional practice doctorate and is concerned with researching real business and managerial issues via the critical review and systematic application of appropriate theories and research to professional practice. This may be contrasted to the PhD which places more emphasis on the development of new knowledge and theoretical perspectives.
  • The DBA may often be interdisciplinary in approach and/or content.
  • It is further intended to provide an opportunity for considerable personal development, such that the participant achieves a greater level of effectiveness as a professional practitioner or manager.
  • While the DBA, like the PhD, may have a program of complementary studies, it is a student-driven degree, as its primary mode of assessment is through the production of a dissertation/thesis.
  • Notwithstanding this difference in orientation, the DBA is a true Doctoral program designed to be equal in status and rigor to the PhD It should thus share the same position as the PhD in any national postgraduate typology.

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After the foundation curriculum course work is completed, a qualifying examination is required. This integrative examination will test your mastery of the skills and disciplines of doctoral-level research methods and analysis.


You must choose two of the following DBA seminars from business areas closely related to your dissertation research topic, in consultation with the DBA director:


Students may register for DBA 899 Dissertation Research only after having first completed all required doctoral seminars and having passed the qualifying examination. Successful completion of the dissertation is the final step in your program.


The admission decision is made by a faculty committee and is based on total accomplishment and skills. Specifically, admission to the program requires:

  • Educational preparation: A master's degree from a regionally accredited US institution or comparable foreign institution will usually meet this requirement. A minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.5 in the master's degree is required. GGU will consider candidates who only have a bachelor's degree with a 3.5 GPA.
  • Successful completion of ECON 202 Economics for Managers (or equivalent) and MATH 240 Data Analysis for Managers (or equivalent).
  • Experience: Applicants with responsible managerial or professional work experience will be given preference. A professional resume is required.
  • GMAT or GRE examination: students are required to take the GMAT or GRE examination (within 10 years prior to application to the program) and have the test score results forwarded to the university.
  • English language proficiency: Students whose native language is not English must supply evidence of English language proficiency, such as a score of 550 or higher on the TOEFL or other evidence.
  • Recommendations: Three written recommendations attesting to the ability to succeed in a doctoral program are required.
  • Statement of purpose: A statement of purpose of approximately 1,000 words is required. This statement should address goals and reasons for seeking the doctoral degree.

The admission decision is based on the full range of skills and accomplishments as shown in the application materials. Strength in one of the above areas can offset weakness in another area.


  • Advanced critical thinking, conceptual communication and analytical skills.
  • A grasp of both the seminal theories and the latest practices in business administration.
  • Intensive knowledge of theory and practice in a chosen field of business administration.
  • The tools to perform original applied research that advances knowledge.
  • An appreciation of cultural, ethical, and global issues and their impact on business theory and practices.
  • The ability to make effective decisions in complex environments through integrating theories, insights, and practical knowledge.


Columbia University

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Because I enjoyed what I learned in the MBA program so much, I returned for my DBA. As a partner in a law firm, I stay abreast of new development in my field and use the business knowledge and skills I learned in both programs every day.

Wendy GiblinLLP DBA Gold Bennett Cera & Sidener

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