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Best Online PhD Business Programs: 2024

Best Online PhD Business Programs: 2024

Enrolling in the right online PhD program in business can help you expand your professional reach and sharpen your skills. Find a list of this year’s best programs, and learn more about what you can expect before, during, and after your business PhD.

Why are you interested in earning your business PhD? Maybe you’re a senior manager and are thinking about how to reach a leadership position, but you have too many responsibilities to commit to campus life. Or you’re a veteran consultant who wants to learn new perspectives and explore advanced practical concepts to become a true expert in your field while still spending time with your family and friends. Maybe you simply want more money. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, professionals with a doctorate earn 21% more than those with master’s and 43% more than those with a bachelor’s degrees.

Whether you want to grow in your current organization, strengthen your credibility as a business leader, or you’re an entrepreneur who wants to create a new product or experience your industry has never seen, online doctoral programs in business can help you achieve your goals. 

Before you get there, you’ll need to find the right online business doctoral program, one that meets your needs. To help you find the perfect online PhD business degree, we have compiled the following rankings of online PhD programs in business to help you find the best PhD program that will best meet your needs. 

We’ve carefully curated these online doctoral business programs based on what students want most, so you will receive the personalized education necessary to further your career no matter which direction you choose to take. Review the rankings below to find the PhD in business online program that’s best for you.

Best Online PhD Programs in Business for 2024

We have ranked the top schools below. Our Rankings Data comes from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES.) Click the About the Ranking link below for more information about our methodology.


    Base Methodology for OnlineColleges.me’s 2024 Online College Rankings

    1. Create List of Eligible Schools and Programs

    To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

    • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
    • At least one program in the subject area offered partially or fully online.
    1. Assign Weightings

    After creating the list of eligible schools, OnlineColleges.me data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability metrics. Online program availability and overall affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings.

    Online Program Availability

    • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education. Because exact numbers change often and can be difficult to verify, we use a range-based scoring system: 0-5 online programs = 1 star; 6-10 = 2 stars; 11-15 = 3 stars; 16-20 = 4 stars; 21+ = 5 stars. In our design, laptop icons = stars.
    • For degree-specific pages, ex: Psychology degrees, we list the current number of online programs available at that school for that degree type, as self-reported by the schools.


    • Cost – Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
    • Students w/ Institutional Aid – Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

    Support Services

    • Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.
    • Career Placement – Existence of this service on campus or online.

    About Our Data

    OnlineColleges.me’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: January of 2024

  • Greensboro, NC
    Public $$

    Housed in sunny North Carolina, the University of North Carolina Greensboro offers a specialized doctoral program in business administration for students interested in strategy, international business, or organizational behavior. The program does have a specific emphasis on developing expertise knowledge and once students choose their area, most of their coursework and their thesis is in that field. The curriculum is also intended to cover how strategy, international business, or organization behavior relates to academic, corporate, and governmental settings so graduates are prepared to take on roles in any and all of these fields. The program is offered fully online and is research heavy, with an emphasis on preparing students for research-heavy work after graduation. The program is also the first – and only – AACSB-accredited PhD program in business administration.

    Program Highlights:

    PhD in Business Administration

    • Credits: 60
    • Length: 3 years
    • Cost: $338 per credit in-state | $628 per credit out-of-state
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges | AACSB-accredited

What You’ll Take Away from an Online PhD in Business

The effectiveness of an online doctoral business program depends on whether these programs meet accreditation standards. Although the curriculum you’ll complete will vary from school to school, universities should meet these educational standards and offer course content that leads to specific, tangible student outcomes. 

Apply to programs that have been accredited. Schools with regional accreditation are certified to provide a high-quality education, and the following are some common learning objectives online PhD programs in business must have to receive this designation.

Problem-Solving Skills

Business professionals face many daily challenges , so when you enroll in an online PhD business program, you learn advanced strategies that will help you build on your previous problem-solving skills to tackle higher-level issues that come up as you advance in your career. Classes may include case studies of how well-known business leaders confronted organizational challenges, so you can understand the strategies to use when facing similar workplace issues.

Critical Thinking Skills

Throughout your career, and during your previous business education, you may have already learned how to tackle the business problems that slide onto your desk. When you earn a doctoral degree in business from an online program, you gain more advanced critical thinking skills that will help you solve higher-level problems that people working in the C-Suite face every day, as well as issues entrepreneurs navigate while protecting the well-being of their businesses.

Research Skills

Whether you want to stay in the corporate world or enter the education sector to teach the next generation of business professionals, earning a PhD from an online business program will help you sharpen the research skills you need to succeed. Look for coursework that will teach you how to map out research from start to finish, conduct original studies, and effectively communicate the results both verbally and in writing. This process also allows students to become discerning readers of information so they can critically judge the validity of what they read and sort fact from fiction.

Leadership Skills

Every business needs strong leaders. online PhD business programs teach students how to create effective management teams that can weather any storm. As you work through the curriculum of this program, you learn advanced leadership skills to crystallize your business acumen so you can reach your business goals no matter what challenges your organization encounters.

Common Courses in an Online PhD in Business Program

Although online business doctoral programs are required to meet certain educational standards to receive accreditation, each online PhD program in business takes its own approach to reaching this goal. Which means you should pay close attention to the curriculum of the online business PhD programs that interest you to determine how well they will prepare you for the challenge of reaching your aspirations. 

So you’ll know what to expect, we’ve listed some examples of common business PhD coursework below.

Advanced Managerial Accounting

This course teaches students how to use managerial accounting to maintain an organization’s financial wellbeing. The class helps to sharpen your research skills so you’re able to conduct studies about the managerial accounting processes and systems at a company to ensure financial goals are being met. Specific topics that may be covered include capital budgeting, operating budget planning and control, and pricing decision-making strategies.

Organizational Leadership 

This course can help sharpen your leadership abilities by giving you a comprehensive look at the seminal theories and concepts that have been developed over many decades through research and practice. In addition to learning past and present theory, this class will test your managerial abilities through projects designed to promote your growth as a leader.

Organizational Behavior

This course can also help you develop leadership abilities, as well as problem-solving and critical thinking skills, because it provides a deep dive into why people behave how they behave in the workplace, and how to best respond to and improve organizational behavior. Topics may include group dynamics among workers, organizational communication, and managerial effectiveness.

Business Ethics and Social Responsibility

This course will help to develop strong decision-making skills based on ethical best practices. The business decisions leaders make affect people both inside and outside of each organization, so it’s important that they behave in ethical and socially responsible ways. This course teaches the role that ethics and social responsibility play in organizations and how you can apply these principles to day-to-day workplace situations. 

Quantitative Research Methods

Research is a large part of online PhD business programs, so this course is specifically designed to help you increase your research abilities. The class focuses on topics like the internal and external validity of a research study, how to create an experiment’s design, and the different methodologies used to craft and carry out a study from the conception of a hypothesis to the reporting of results.

Marketing Theory

A marketing theory class will help you improve your decision-making and problem-solving skills when launching new products and services in the market. You’ll gain a deep understanding of promoting products. You’ll learn how consumers think what appeals to customers, and what turns them off to a brand completely? Through this class, you can build on your existing knowledge and gain a thorough understanding of what makes consumers tick and how you can use psychology to sell products and services in the most effective manner.

 FAQs About Earning Your PhD in Business Online

If you’re considering enrolling in a PhD online business program, chances are you have many questions floating around your head that you need answers to. The following are answers to seven of the most common questions that enter the minds of prospective online PhD students as they research schools.

  • Are online PhD programs in business offered fully online?

    Yes, you can earn a PhD in business completely online. You can choose between synchronous programs , for which you’re required to attend classes on a specific schedule, and asynchronous programs, which allow you to complete coursework during times that work best for you. This gives you maximum flexibility to choose a school that provides the best education for your specific lifestyle. In some cases, however, a program may be delivered in a hybrid format, which will require you to complete some coursework on campus and some online.

  • What are some common career paths for professionals with a PhD in business?

    A business education can translate into numerous career opportunities—whether you want to work in the private or public sector, whether you want to work for an established company or start your own business, or whether you want to mentor students by teaching at a college or university. The following is a sampling of some of the career paths you can pursue after completing an online doctoral program in business.

    • Professors
    • C-Suite Executive 
    • Strategic Planners
    • Economist
    • Independent Business Consultants
    • Organizational Development Manager
    • Human Resources Manager or Director
  • What type of accreditation should an online PhD business program have?

    Accreditation is the seal of approval online PhD business programs need to signal that they’re offering the quality education students deserve. Accreditation is granted on a school level, as well as a programmatic level. As a result, business programs offering this degree can be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. 

    On the school level, accreditation is granted through regional associations, such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the Higher Learning Commission, and the New England Commission of Higher Education. On both the program and school levels, accreditation is granted based on factors like curriculum, student outcomes, and the effectiveness of a program’s faculty.

  • What are the admissions requirements for an online PhD in business program?

    For admission into an online PhD business program, most schools require that you have a master’s degree in business with a minimum 3.0 grade point average. . Depending on the school, you may be required to earn a certain score on the Graduate Management Admission Test.

  • How much does an online PhD program in business cost?

    Online doctoral programs in business generally charge students per credit hour, which makes education more accessible and can help you save money. For example, Liberty University charges $595 per credit while Trident University students pay $990 per credit. The cost for the program depends on whether you attend a public or private college, and if you attend on a full-time or part-time basis.

  • How long do online PhD business programs take to complete?

    Your workload will determine exactly when you’ll be able to complete your degree program, though as a full-time student, you can generally expect to earn a PhD online in three to five years.

  • What specializations can I choose from for my PhD in business program?

    Specializations help you gain further expertise in a specific area of business, so you’ll benefit from looking for schools that offer concentrations in the subjects that match your career objectives. The following are examples of some common concentrations you will find in online PhD in business programs.

    • Marketing
    • Nonprofit Management
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Healthcare Management
    • Supply Chain and Logistics
    • Human Resources
    • Finance
    • Information Systems
    • Accounting
    • Management

Demand and Earnings for Your PhD Degree in Business

Earning a PhD in business online is a huge commitment of time and money, so obviously you want to make sure the degree will help you advance in your career. Once you’ve spent this time expanding your business expertise, you’ll likely feel ready to apply all that you’ve learned! 

Fortunately, completing an online doctoral business program can prepare you for several high-level careers, boosting your earning potential. Review the table below, which includes data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, to learn what jobs people pursue after earning this degree, the salaries these roles pay, and the career growth that is expected in coming years.

CareerMedian Annual Earnings
Job Growth
Management Analysts$93,00014%
Purchasing Managers$75,410-4%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics