DBA vs PhD.: Difference and Comparison

Doctorates are an esteemed degree for anyone to have in any industry. DBA and PhD are different types of doctoral degrees that teach and prepare you for different occupations.

They both have identical standing and recognition, just in different fields. 

Key Takeaways

  1. A DBA, or Doctor of Business Administration, focuses on practical business applications, while a PhD, or Doctor of Philosophy, is more research-oriented and theory-based.
  2. DBA graduates pursue management, consulting, or entrepreneurship careers, while PhD graduates work in academia or research institutions.
  3. Both DBA and PhD programs require original research and a dissertation. Still, the DBA emphasizes practical solutions to business problems, while a PhD focuses on contributing new knowledge to the field.

DBA vs PhD. 

A Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree is a professional doctorate focusing on applying business theories and practices to real-world business problems. A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree is a research-focused academic degree emphasising original research.

DBA vs Ph.D.

A Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is a professional doctorate in business. It is the highest-level postgraduate qualification available from a university, similar to a PhD.

The degree program is designed to provide practical and innovative business management knowledge that can be applied in any industry.

DBAs are intended for experienced practitioners, such as senior managers, consultants, and entrepreneurs, who want to expand their practical knowledge. 

A PhD is the highest postgraduate qualification, and universities award a doctorate.

It entails conducting original research in a certain topic area and normally takes four years. PhD candidates conduct research, develop ideas, and test them, whereas DBA candidates apply those theories and methods to solve difficult real-world business challenges. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparison DBA Ph.D. 
Full-Form Doctor of Business Administration Doctor of Philosophy 
Research Scope You need to do research that is relevant to real-life business issues. You do research to address existing issues or to answer questions. 
Career Opportunities Higher management roles or consulting jobs. Academic careers 
Duration They take longer (4-7 years) They are shorter (4-5 years) 
Course Type Can be full-time or part-time due to jobs. Mostly full-time. 
Costs More expensive Cheaper 
Salary They earn more They earn less 

What is DBA? 

‘DBA’ is an abbreviation for Doctor of Business Administration.

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A DBA student is an established business professional who wants to improve their leadership skills and their chosen business career as a whole.  

The development of DBA programs within universities arose from the requirement for top managers and professionals to receive official recognition of their significant abilities and expertise in the business field. 

DBA programs run for three to six years. The DBA is primarily concerned with practical research that attempts to meet the needs of industry and the economy. 

This type of doctorate was initially introduced to distinguish between experienced and expert practitioners.

The doctorate is an advanced follow-up to a Master’s in Business Administration and an equal option to a standard PhD. 

The DBA program is meant to provide advanced research skills and resources to business professionals and executives for them to excel in their careers. 

DBA has several advantages, including that it is one of the most highly regarded degrees. Your professional knowledge and contribution to business theory will be greatly regarded.

You will grow as a more empowered professional, gaining leadership abilities in various business domains.  

A DBA will increase your employability and enable you to explore a variety of career pathways in business, research, management, and academia.

As future employers notice your dedication to earning your DBA, your salary potential will rise.

A doctorate in business is highly valued, offering you a competitive advantage in the employment market. 


What is PhD? 

The PhD (also known as a PhD Doctor of Philosophy) is the highest postgraduate degree that may be obtained at a university. Ph.D. recipients are permitted to hold a teaching post at a university.  

A PhD in Business Administration provides a specialized and research-based grounding for a topic in the field of business management.

This is one of the primary reasons it is highly sought after by anyone seeking to work in business-related academia or research. 

To be eligible for a PhD program, you must have a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. However, the specific qualifications will vary based on the institutions you apply to. 

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There are numerous advantages to obtaining a PhD, including the fact that it is the highest degree that can be obtained.

The substantial training required to obtain a PhD enables you to deal with difficult situations professionally and personally.  

You will learn to source information efficiently and effectively as a skilled researcher. You will greatly improve your analytical ability, organizational skills, and self-confidence.

You will be acknowledged as an expert in your chosen field and admired for contributing significantly.  

You will have access to many work opportunities in academia, research, and other industries that require a PhD.

Most importantly, you will have the opportunity to pursue, investigate, and discover a field in which you are interested. 


Main Differences Between DBA and PhD. 

  1. DBA stands for Doctor of Business Administration, while PhD stands for Doctor of Philosophy. 
  2. For a DBA, you do research directly relevant to real-life business issues, whereas, for a PhD, you do research to address existing problems or answer questions. 
  3. The career opportunities after getting a DBA degree are related to higher management jobs or consulting jobs, whereas a PhD helps direct you in an academic career. 
  4. DBAs take longer to finish because most people prefer to have a job while completing it, whereas a PhD takes a shorter time. 
  5. DBA can be full-time or part-time for people doing it along with a job, whereas a PhD is mostly full-time. 
  6. It is more expensive to finish a DBA degree, while a PhD is more affordable. 
  7. A person with a DBA degree has a higher average salary than a PhD. 
Difference Between DBA and Ph.D.


  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08832323.2018.1438983 
  2. http://www.proceedings.informingscience.org/InSITE2006/IJDSv1p035-044Fink14.pdf 

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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14 thoughts on “DBA vs PhD.: Difference and Comparison”

  1. Having a DBA degree will not only expand your professional knowledge, but also help you excel in your career. It is a great opportunity to invest in personal and professional growth.

    • Absolutely! DBA is a fantastic option to develop the leadership abilities and get a competitive advantage in the employment market.

  2. ADBA can be a great option for experienced practitioners who want to expand their practical knowledge and increase their employability in various career pathways. The value of a doctorate in business cannot be underestimated.

  3. DBA and PhD are two degrees designed for different career aspirations. A person must choose between them based on their professional goals and aspirations.

    • Indeed. The choice between a DBA and a PhD depends on the individual’s career prospects and their interest in practical applications or research.

  4. Getting a PhD offers extensive training that really allows you to excel in your analytical abilities and be recognized as an expert in your field. If you are interested in pursuing, investigating and discovering a field, then a PhD might be the better choice.

    • It is a good point, but the cost and time commitment are important factors to consider. A PhD is not for everyone, as it requires a great deal of dedication and effort.

    • I completely agree. The PhD path is intended for those who want to dive deep into research and excel in academia or industry, without worrying so much about the cost and time commitment.

  5. A DBA or PhD degree requires a great deal of hard work and dedication without a doubt. They both offer unique career paths and opportunities to grow professionally.

  6. The PhD offers extensive research training and avant-garde knowledge in a niche area. It is an ideal choice for those with a keen interest in research and academia, although the DBA also has its unique advantages.


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