South Carolina PhD in Business Programs

A Doctor of Philosophy – PhD in Business – is an upper level degree. Those who undertake the rigors of a doctorate in business program are often involved in cross disciplinary study and research. Broad course plans are designed to help students master all facets of their chosen field, while a concentration refines expertise and helps to focus independent projects. Put simply, tomorrow’s thought leaders may be today’s doctorate degree in business students.

Doctorate Degree vs. PhD in Business? The Choice is Yours

PhD in Business programs span academically equivalent degrees, each with distinct objectives. As such, it is a good idea to first unpack your goals. For instance, where do you see yourself in five years – teaching and researching or moving up the corporate ladder? Then, flesh a program and school where it is possible to pursue your chosen doctoral degree – in your field of choice.

As a rule of thumb, a PhD degree is a research doctorate. in a PhD in Business Management or PhD in Business Administration program, students often pursue research that extends existing theory in an attempt to build upon what is already known.

Other degrees associated with business are called ‘applied doctorates’. These include the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), Doctor of Management (DM), Doctor of Public Administration (DPA). Along with the Doctor of Education (EdD) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) these all share the common goal of developing in students their capacity for executive or organizational leadership. Converse to a PhD, students usually learn to translate theory into actionable decisions and plans.

Here are a few common questions that students embarking on a doctorate or PhD degree in business could clarify to help make this important decision.

  • Do you prefer or intend to research and teach in your area of expertise?
  • Is your goal to excel in the practice of your area of expertise?
  • What is your area of expertise (e.g. business, IT, accounting, public administration)
  • Are you a recent graduate or seasoned manager?

Business Doctorate Degree Program Information

The Doctor of Philosophy in Business (PhD)

The PhD itself is traditionally regarded as the classic degree for scholars and is research-intensive. It may appeal to those who want to learn as much as possible in their chosen discipline which is usually accomplished through core courses.

Students might come to their PhD degree in business program with an inquisitive mind, a desire to forge new theory, or bridge their curiosity with tools to teach their expertise to others. They may work closely with PhD faculty and classmates within their field of study as well as interact with other scholars and peers in an exacting course of study.

PhD in Business Requirements

The first portion of many business PhD programs is devoted to mastery of all facets of their program. Students may be exposed to a wide range of behavioral, economic and mathematical sciences (e.g. statistics and data analysis) essential to research in business-related disciplines.

By the second year of their PhD, students in some universities must pass a comprehensive exam that tests the depth of their knowledge. They may also be required to take part in research and teaching apprenticeships. Also, annual evaluations often precede final advancement to candidacy for the dissertation process.

Business PhD students also choose an anchor for their curious mind and each school may have its own list of available concentrations. Expect to read faculty bios to see whether there is any active research underway that you are eager to collaborate on. Here are a few areas one could earn a PhD in

  • International Business
  • Marketing
  • Operations Management
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Finance
  • Accounting
  • Management Science
  • Business Administration

Whatever this focus, expect to study it in depth as you work to contribute new and often, publishable, ideas to this area via a dissertation. The dissertation is the final requirement for the PhD. It is common that students must make a significant contribution to their business topic that is of publishable quality.

PhD in Business: Application Checklist

To be considered for a PhD in Business program, applicants generally need a bachelors degree, resume, essay and letters of recommendation. The GMAT and GRE scores, as well as program and school specific coursework and material may be added to this. While previous work experience and graduate work may not be required, this may vary from school to school.

How Long is a PhD in Business?

In some full-time PhD programs in business, students need about four to five years to complete the requirements of their program. Part-time PhD business programs may stretch out the time to completion, however each school sets their own time frames.

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

A Doctor of Business Administration or DBA degree is an applied degree within the study of leadership. It often provides practical knowledge which may have direct impact in the workplace.

For this reason, DBA programs may appeal to executives and managers who want to improve their grasp of contemporary management theory, refine their ability to lead teams, manage complex projects and structure savvy strategies that promote overall business growth.

Participants in DBA programs usually study the finer points of making sharp and tactical decisions while addressing modern managerial problems. Because DBA programs often target seasoned professionals, students may come to their program with a pressing business dilemma that needs a well-crafted solution.

The final dissertation usually engages the Doctor of Business Administration student with an extensive review of current literature and case studies along with different research techniques. Students may also take doctoral writing courses where they could broaden their presentation skills and learn to communicate clearly.

DBA Degree Requirements

The course of study in DBA programs often includes research of current models and frameworks along with the observation of business systems. Any concentration chosen (E.g. health administration, finance, non-profit leadership) is usually added to a series of core business administrative components.

  • Leadership
  • Financial management
  • Managerial accounting
  • Economics
  • Strategy
  • Business ethics

DBA Degree Checklist

Admissions to a DBA degree program, especially to Executive DBA programs, often requires students to have an MBA or equivalent business related masters degree. Also, a certain work experience or graduate level coursework may be necessary. This experience may – in some schools and programs – help students obtain a waiver for GRE score requirements.

How Long is a DBA Program?

Full-time students who enter a DBA program to build on their masters or MBA and do not need to make up any extra credits may need about three years to earn their degree. Many universities have self-paced online DBA programs and part-time options as well so keep an eye out for ‘executive’ or ‘flexible’ formats.


According to O*NET, when surveyed, 66% of business professors reported they had doctoral degrees, 5% said they had post-doctoral training. Click To Tweet

Doctor of Management (DM)

A Doctor of Management (DM) is applied degree within the study of management. DM degree programs often target the experienced learner and professional adult. students may move through the program in small cohorts which could provide a forum for collaboration. The purpose and objectives of a DM degree is similar to other applied doctoral degree programs (i.e., DBA, EdD, DPA, DA), but focus is placed on practicing and applying management theory and action research.

With its advanced focus on leadership, a DM degree provides exposure to managerial theories. It often relies on analytical models to help students build a repertoire of tools with which to solve industry problems in their chosen field.

Like a DBA degree, a DM program aims to ready persons to think and act strategically. Armed with a deeper ability to use empirical findings, students may be able to leverage their managerial skills to make positive management contributions in a chosen career path.

DM Degree Requirements

Course plans for Doctor of Management programs vary depending on the concentration (E.g. criminal justice, higher education leadership). However, they usually feature a series of core courses – like the DBA but with more emphasis on

  • Management theory
  • Management ethics
  • Leadership theory & development
  • Change management
  • Strategic thinking
  • Theory & practice of consulting

Students also take a few classes in research methods and doctoral writing. A final dissertation documents the student’s research journey and conclusions.

DM Degree Checklist

Admission to a DM program may require a Masters or MBA degree. Applicants typically submit references, a current resume, and essay. Some schools may want to interview prospective candidates so make sure to consult individual university websites.

How Long is a DM Degree Program?

Full-time students who enter a Doctor of Management degree with a related masters or MBA under their belt may require an average of three years to complete their program. However, program lengths vary.

Popular Business Doctoral Programs

It is important to connect with a PhD in Business program that fits with the future trajectory you want for your career. Know that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ and that everyone comes with their own set of criteria – skills they hope to develop, or a curriculum that hones expertise in a specific theme.

Three tips to help you choose the perfect doctorate degree in business for you.

  1. Identify your chosen category
  2. Decide whether you could be happiest on campus or with an online PhD business program
  3. Compare course lists and check out active faculty research projects to decide between a PhD or Doctorate degree


Students who pursue a PhD or DBA in Accounting may expand their knowledge of managerial accounting methods. These are key to a company’s bottom line and competitiveness. Learners might also explore the principles and theories of managerial decision making, corporate governance, and econometrics.

Business Administration & Management

Individuals who pursue a Doctorate in Business Administration or Doctorate in Management focus on the research that creates management theory relevant to business operations. Topics often include organizational behavior, strategy and managerial finance. Many students further pursue a focal area to apply advanced leadership skills to specific industries or environments.

Business Information Systems

Doctorate in business information systems programs may address the challenges that face technology-based businesses. Students may learn how to help align business needs with web-based solutions as well as identify new applications for technology.

E-Commerce & Social Media

A PhD in business program that highlights social media and technology is likely to explore current research in communication media and technology. Students may learn how to create plans and models to integrate information and communication technology (ICT) in strategy and decisions.


A PhD in economics may focus on topics such as econometrics, macroeconomics, environmental economics, and labor economics. Students may also pursue one of these areas for advanced research.


A Doctorate degree in business entrepreneurship might build the skills and know-how to manage risk and change. Also, students may feel encouraged to innovate and raise capital for ventures or identify market opportunities.

Environment & Agriculture

The Doctor of Management with an emphasis in Environmental and Social Sustainability may delve into important issues like climate change and energy conservation. In their research, students might explore organizational policy and management theory.


A PhD in finance program might amp up expertise through a careful look at more advanced theories such as option pricing, derivatives, and hedging. Students might also examine concepts such as valuation, capital budgeting and structure, working capital management, multinational concepts, and Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM).

Healthcare Administration & Management

A Doctor of Healthcare Administration (DHA) degree may help students apply managerial decisions to healthcare policy. Students could explore the regulatory, economic and ethical dynamics of healthcare organizations and health services as they refine executive skills.

Human Resource Management

A PhD or DBA in human resource management may help students develop the ability to plan for an enterprise’s long-term success. Many programs take a deep look at organizational issues and may provide tangible strategy for HR divisions.

International Business

A doctorate degree in international business may prepare students with the skills that are crucial to manage and lead teams, workers, and managers within the global marketplace. Programs of this nature often address trade influences, investments, and interest rates.

Marketing & Advertising

Students who pursue a DBA in marketing might study a variety of key concepts as they prepare to problem solve at the organizational level. Topics could cover areas like market segmentation, marketing channels, competitive intelligence, integrated marketing, product development and commercialization, and consumer behavior. Graduates may take away an enhanced sense of how to leverage strategies in the global arena.

Non-Profit Administration

A PhD or DBA in non-profit administration may enable students to understand how to collaborate with communities, organizations and various groups. Topics of study might include employee and volunteer development, legal, regulatory, and tax issues, financial analysis and reporting, and marketing. Students might develop advanced skills in fund development and stewardship.

Operations Management

A concentration in operations management may help PhD and DBA students learn how to manage global supply chains. Students might explore current trends that boost customer satisfaction, cut operational costs and use technology.

Organizational Leadership

A PhD in Organizational Leadership usually examines leadership in depth. As a result, it may be ideal for managers and supervisors who aspire to pursue executive roles. Many programs of this nature explore team-building, interpersonal dynamics, and strategic change management in diverse settings. For instance, an EdD program might cover tactics for higher education leadership while a DBA may be slanted to the corporate sphere.

Project Management

A DBA in project management may help learners to acquire the skills needed to manage and analyze the performance of, complex portfolios. In addition, a doctorate in project management might boost project-based strategic leadership and organizational practices.

Public Administration & Policy

Individuals may find Doctor of Public Administration (DPA), PhD in Business Administration/Public Administration, PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies and PhD in Public Policy and Management programs. There may be opportunity to focus in on criminal justice, crime and drug policy, health economics, labor economics, homeland security and other issues.

Sports Management

A doctorate degree in sports management might tackle issues and research in areas of marketing, fundraising, law, personnel management, team dynamics, burnout, and transformational leadership. Some programs, such as the Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) might focus more on the behavioral component of performance.

Technology Management

A doctorate in technology management may integrate technical experiences with theory and research. Students who pursue either the DBA or PhD might explore the synergy between business and technology. Also, they may use their research to innovate and build a deeper knowledge of productivity, quality management and environmental systems management.

What Might I Do with a PhD In Business?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a PhD in business may provide the education required to teach or research at the postsecondary level.Per the BLS, the degree level needed by executives vary, although most top executives earn their degree in business administration or in an area related to their field of work.With a projected employment growth of 8 percent to 2024, the median annual wage for chief executives was $100,410 in May 2017.

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