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Online Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Business 

Build the expertise to reach the top of your field by earning an online Doctor of Philosophy in Business. In this respected doctoral program, you’ll gain the skills needed to make an impact through research, teaching, and leadership. Whether you’re interested in educating the next generation of business leaders or discovering solutions to complex challenges in the global business landscape, earning your Ph.D. in Business will help you push the boundaries of your career.


What is an Online Doctor of Philosophy in Business?

A Ph.D. in Business is the highest academic credential attainable in the field of business. The degree is typically designed to prepare candidates for careers in academia, research, and other roles that require complex problem solving. To that end, the program focuses on original research and developing new theories to further the body of knowledge in your discipline. Doctoral candidates pursue interdisciplinary coursework to gain a strong professional foundation. They also take courses on research skills in preparation for completing an original dissertation. 

Many students wonder if a Ph.D. in Business is the same as a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA). While both are doctoral degrees, these programs differ in a few ways—most notably, in their approach to research. Because a Ph.D. is traditionally intended for those pursuing careers in academia, this program emphasizes original rather than applied research. Ph.D. candidates focus on making contributions that advance the field of business. DBA programs also require research, but the focus is on applying existing theories to real-world business problems. 

Ph.D. and DBA programs may also lead to different professional outcomes. Many students pursue a Ph.D. in Business because they intend to teach in a postsecondary setting or work as researchers. A DBA, on the other hand, is designed for business practitioners who hope to attain advanced leadership roles in their organizations. That said, after earning a Ph.D., many graduates pursue a business career outside the realm of academia. With a doctoral degree under your belt, you’ll be ready to choose your own path.

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What Can I Do with a Doctor of Philosophy in Business?

A doctorate in business can prepare you for diverse career paths in academia, research, and even business leadership. In particular, demand for postsecondary business teachers is on the rise. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, these roles could increase by 12 percent over the next decade. That’s much faster than the average for all occupations. Along with a Ph.D., postsecondary business teachers may need several years of relevant work experience—perfect for sharing examples of real-world business challenges with their students.

Other Ph.D. holders pursue research career paths. For example, survey researchers design and conduct surveys, then analyze the results to glean insights that could help organizations or entire industries take action. A career as a management analyst or consultant is another possibility. Management analysts advise businesses on solving problems, improving efficiency, and increasing profits. These and other career paths call for the advanced business knowledge and research skills you’ll gain by earning a business doctorate. 

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Is a Ph.D. in Business Worth It?

For many candidates, earning a Doctor of Philosophy in Business is an investment that offers tremendous returns, both personally and professionally. Advantages include:

  • Career opportunities. From academia to the private sector, demand is growing for professionals with business expertise. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that management analyst roles will grow 14 percent over the next decade—much faster than average. Earning a Ph.D. could help you stand out to employers and gain the necessary expertise to make an impact in your chosen profession.
  • Higher earnings. Climbing the career ladder comes with salary growth. Business professors are among the highest paid postsecondary teachers, earning a median annual salary of $79,640 as of 2021 . And management occupations, which include top business executive and postsecondary education leadership positions, earned the highest median annual salary of all occupations in 2021: $102,450. A Ph.D. could help you advance your career and compete for a salary that matches your level of preparation. 
  • A bigger impact. With a Ph.D. in Business, you won’t just react to changes in the business landscape. You’ll drive innovation and shape the future of your industry. For many candidates, earning a doctoral degree in business is a chance to build on past education and professional experience, delve deeper into what makes organizations successful, and discover new possibilities. 

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Curriculum and Degree Requirements

The online Doctor of Philosophy in Business from University of the Cumberlands will impart the skills you need to stay at the cutting edge of innovations in business, along with the tools you need to teach at postsecondary institutions. You’ll learn the business philosophy, critical thinking skills, and evidence-based practices necessary to excel in any teaching, research, or business roles.

This online graduate degree in business builds on your undergraduate and graduate work, as well as your practical, real-world business experience. Along with professional research courses, you’ll take core business courses in areas ranging from comparative economics and corporate finance to managerial ethics and social responsibility. In addition, you’ll choose one of the following content specialty areas:

  • Accounting
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Marketing
  • Project Management
  • Strategic Management

Curriculum for this online Doctor of Philosophy in Business Management program—including all coursework and field and clinical experiences—will engage you in the theories, strategies, and tactics you need to:

  • Research and attain business discipline-specific knowledge and competencies
  • Develop business-related professional skills—from communication to collaboration
  • Assess your personal values, connecting them with ethical business and research behaviors

Core Courses - 18 Hours

  • BACC 731 Advanced Managerial Accounting
  • BADM 733 Strategic Marketing: Research and Practice
  • BADM 734 Corporate Finance: Fiscal Management in a Global Climate
  • BADM 735 Comparative Economics
  • BADM 737 Managerial Ethics and Social Responsibility
  • BADM 838 Strategic Thinking, Decision-Making, and Innovation

Professional Research - 24 Hours

Strategic Focus Courses - 24 Hours

  • A content specialty area of at least twenty-four (24) hours must be earned in one of these disciplines:
  • Accounting
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Marketing
  • Project Management
  • Strategic Management

For a full list of course offerings or more program specific information, visit our Academic Catalog page. 

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Costs for programs of study at University of the Cumberlands are competitive and affordable. Click here to view tuition rates and fees.

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Admission Requirements

University of the Cumberlands has established the following qualitative and quantitative requirements for admission into the Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration Degree Program.

A master's degree in a business-related field is preferred; however, applicants holding an undergraduate degree in a business area and a master's degree in a non-related area will be accepted. Applicants must have graduated from a regionally-accredited institution of higher education or an appropriately certified foreign institution approved and documented by director of the program. Students may be accepted into the program before completing a master's degree but must have completed the degree before beginning coursework for the Doctor of Philosophy in Business program.

All applications for admission must be submitted to the Graduate Admissions Office.

Transfer and Course Credit Policy
A maximum of fifteen semester hours of credit may be transferred from an accredited graduate institution with the approval of the Program Director and the Registrar.

  • Transfer credits must be in courses equivalent to courses in the program
  • All coursework offered for transfer credit must have been earned within the last five years prior to admission to the program
  • Grades for transfer credits accepted into the program do not count in the program GPA


Admission to our University is very competitive as well as selective and we review each application by the same standards.

  • Application and Application Fee
  • Submit official transcripts from all applicable colleges/universities attended; must be received directly from the issuing college or university.
  • Doctoral degree admission requires a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale from the conferred master’s degree as well as in any subsequent graduate study. Admission to a Doctoral degree requires a master’s degree or higher from a US Department of Education recognized accredited institution, in a field related to the doctoral degree of application.
  • Any international course work completed must have official transcript evaluations completed and submitted to the University by the evaluation firm. Evaluations MUST include GPA for admission.
    Approved Evaluation Firms are:
    • World Education Services (WES)
    • Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE)
    • International Education Research Foundation (IERF)
    • Educational Perspectives (EP)
    • SpanTran
  • Documentation of language fluency for non-native speakers of English, such as a score report from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the 8 International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or a report from Duolingo. This requirement is waived for students who have completed bachelor’s or master’s level coursework in the U.S. at an accredited institution. The minimum acceptable TOEFL or IELTS scores for admission are: 
    • Paper-based TOEFL (PBT) - 550 
    • Internet-based TOEFL (IBT) - 79 
    • IELTS - 6
    • Duolingo - 100

All admissions materials should be submitted to Graduate Admissions:

University of the Cumberlands
Graduate & Online Admissions

649 S. 10th Street Suite C
Williamsburg, KY 40769
Phone 606.539.4390
Toll Free 855.791.7199

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Click here to view University of the Cumberlands' accreditation information. 

In addition to the overall institutional accreditation statement above, the Hutton School of Business at University of the Cumberlands has received specialized accreditations for its business programs through the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE) located at 11374 Strang Line Road in Lenexa, Kansas, USA. For a list of accredited programs please refer to our IACBE member status page. Please review our Public Disclosure of Student Achievement.


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Click here to view a list of faculty. 

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Admissions Office

Contact Us

Phone: 606.539.4390
Tollfree: 855.791.7199

Visit Us In Person

649 S. 10th Street Suite C
Williamsburg, KY 40769