Doctorate of Business Administration List of Subjects & Syllabus

A Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) is a terminal professional degree to provide graduates with cutting-edge business abilities. The DBA degree is intended for talented individuals who aim to advance their research and analytical abilities in the business sphere. It is equal to a Doctorate in Business Management.

The DBA curriculum typically lasts 3 to 5 years and includes the completion of a dissertation. Core courses, optional courses, and dissertation research are the three primary components of the program curriculum. 

In this blog, we will review the DBA program’s topic list and curriculum.

Eligibility for DBA

Let’s briefly take a look at what are the requirements to apply for a DBA program.

  • A Bachelor’s degree in any concentration from an accredited institution
  • Master’s degree from an accredited institution; this can be optional
  • A significant work experience to easily transition into this research-based higher education

Many colleges and business institutions in India offer the DBA degree, including the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), the Indian School of Business (ISB), the S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research, and many more. DBA program graduates in India can pursue employment in academia, consultancy, research, or top-level management roles in corporations.

Exploring DBA Curriculum

Here we will get to know about some subjects and syllabi that are commonly included in DBA programs.

Some core courses are:

  1. Research Methods – The principles of study design, data gathering, and analysis are covered in this course. Students learn how to formulate research questions, pick suitable research methodologies, and use statistical tools to evaluate data.
  2. Leadership and Management – This course covers the theory and practice of leadership and management. Students learn about different leadership styles, communication strategies, and decision-making processes.
  3. Strategic Management – This course covers the development of organisational strategies in a global business environment. Students learn about the various tools and techniques used to analyse business environments, identify opportunities, and develop strategies for long-term success.
  4. Organisational Behaviour – This course covers the study of human behaviour in organisations. Students learn about the theories and concepts that explain how people behave in the workplace and how organisations can manage human resources effectively.
  5. Marketing Management – This course covers marketing principles and their application in business management. Students learn about consumer behaviour, market research, product development, and promotion strategies.
  6. Dissertation Research – The dissertation research component of a DBA program is designed to allow students to conduct original research in a specific area of business management. Students work closely with a faculty advisor to develop and execute a research project that contributes to the body of knowledge in their field.

The dissertation research component generally includes the following stages:

  • Literature Review: Students thoroughly examine existing research on their subject to discover knowledge gaps and research opportunities.
  • Research Design: Students develop a research plan that includes their research questions, methodology, and methods for data analysis.
  • Data collection: Students employ several research methods to collect data, including surveys, interviews, and observations.
  • Data Analysis: Students analyse their data using statistical methods to discover patterns and trends.
  • Dissertation Writing: Students write a dissertation that compiles their research results, conclusions, and recommendations.

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Doctor of Business Administration subjects and popular specialisations

Some of the popular specialisations for a Doctorate of Business include:


Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) programs in technology studies are designed for senior professionals who want to make a difference in the field of business and technology. Unlike the PhD program, which focuses on research, the program is intended to advance practice in the field. The DBA in Management and Technology is an executive doctoral program that prepares students for careers in advanced business consulting or academia.


DBA in Entrepreneurship and Business Management equips students with the skills they need to run their businesses successfully. The program focuses on advanced decision-making skills and techniques while honing critical thinking skills for local and global business new venture planning and decision-making. 


A Doctorate in accounting is an option that may be pursued in several ways. It includes accounting theory as well as morals and best practices. It is noteworthy to remember that while both DBA and PhD programs are doctorate programs that offer expert knowledge and terminal degrees, they differ in their areas of emphasis. A DBA focuses solely on business concepts, but a PhD may be more appropriate for people interested in research and academics.

Social Impact

A specialisation in social impact enables learners to develop in-depth expertise in their choice of concentration while customising the academic preparation required to lead transformational social change within any sector. The course teaches the fundamentals of business and social impact and provides evidence-based strategies to achieve sustainable social impact. 

Supply Chain

A Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in Supply Chain Management is a terminal degree that equips students with vocational knowledge for top-level jobs and provides them with skills to compete in a global business environment. Students familiarise themselves with the systems required to categorise and identify sources of material and personnel and to guarantee adherence to the highest global standards within supply chains. 

The DBA in Supply Chain Management specialises in Global Operations and Supply Chain Management, which prepares students to be leaders among global professionals. The program is designed for working adults who are executive-level professionals interested in deepening their engagement with management.

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Human Resource Management

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in Human Resource Management is a doctoral degree program that prepares students to lead at the highest levels of business. The DBA in Human Resources offers a unique approach to online learning using a mix of case studies, research and experiential exercises.

Students will explore topics like the changing nature of work, employment law and regulations, compensation and benefits management, recruitment and selection strategies, training and development programs, performance management systems, and more.

Healthcare management

A Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) in Healthcare Management is a degree program designed to help students perform applied research and transform mature learners into leaders. The program focuses on advanced decision-making skills and techniques while honing research and writing skills required for high responsibility in academic and business environments.

DBA in Healthcare Management program graduates can pursue administrative or leadership positions in the healthcare industry. They can also expand their skill set or pursue higher-level organisational roles.

International Business

The program offers an advanced study of global trade, the international business environment, and global management. In addition to extensive coursework in international business, students are required to develop a cognate or area of functional specialisation. 

DBA vs PHD: What’s the difference?

Before advancing in their careers, aspirants must know the difference between a PhD in Business and a Doctorate of Business Administration programme. The below table and the image will give you a clear idea:

Attribute DBA PhD in Business
Focus Applied research and real-world business issues Theoretical research and academic scholarship
Emphasis Practical application and problem-solving Intellectual curiosity and original research
Research Applied research focused on solving real-world business problems Theoretical research focuses on expanding the body of knowledge
Dissertation Emphasises practical problem-solving and real-world applications Emphasises original research and contribution to the academic literature
Curriculum A balanced mix of coursework and research Emphasises research and scholarship, with minimal coursework
Career Goals Business leadership, executive-level consulting, and applied research Academic research and teaching, with some consulting or industry work
Program Length Typically 3-5 years Typically 4-6 years
Admission Criteria Emphasises work experience and practical skills Emphasises academic achievement and research potential

How upGrad Helps

upGrad offers a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program from top B-schools around the world, including the DBA from Swiss School of Business and Management (SSBM) and DBA from Golden Gate University (GGU). The DBA program is designed for working professionals looking to transition into the C-suite or become experts in their domain of choice.

upGrad’s doctorate in business management course subjects include:

  • Research Methodology and Quantitative Techniques
  • Strategic Management
  • Corporate Governance and Social Responsibility
  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Financial Management
  • Marketing Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Operations and Supply Chain Management
  • Business Ethics and Sustainability
  • Leadership and Organisational Behavior
  • Global Business and International Trade
  • Information Technology Management
  • Project Management

The DBM program is designed to provide students with a solid grounding in business and management concepts as well as the abilities and information required to carry out in-depth study in the area.


Earning a Doctorate in Business Administration can lead to higher salaries and better career prospects for individuals seeking senior management positions in academia or industry. Graduates can pursue careers as Management Analysts or C-Suite Executive Professionals, depending on their area of specialisation.

Q: How does a DBA differ from an MBA or PhD in Business Administration?

The coursework in an MBA program tends to cover topics relevant to general business management, while a DBA program typically allows for more individual study in a specific area. A PhD in Business Administration focuses on people, while DBA graduates are often more likely to pursue careers in the business world.

Q: Can you progress from MBA to DBA within the same programme?

Yes, some business schools allow you to progress from an MBA to a DBA within the ambit of the same programme. Applicants could also extend their period of study upon entering into doctoral research.

Q: Do you need an MBA to get a DBA?

Academic requirements can be flexible; you may be admitted to a DBA without an MBA based on your work experience and other qualifications.

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