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Degree Overview

Doctor of Business Administration

South University 2020 Graduation

Whether you want to lead college business classes or executive board meetings, South University Savannah's Doctor of Business Administration program can help you prepare for your next step as a professional. Offered in our new Online + On Campus learning format, you will have the opportunity to learn alongside your peers while still having the capacity to meet the demands of your current career. The first week of the quarter is spent in the classroom, getting to know classmates and faculty, followed by an alternating schedule of one week online and one week on campus.

By utilizing real-world experiences, our dedicated faculty will teach you specialized business knowledge, research skills, and techniques for communicating complex concepts. This program includes studying current business research, analyzing and practicing research methods, and developing your own methodologies for teaching business concepts. You can also gain valuable experience by participating in two residencies and teaching an online course under the mentorship of a South University faculty member.

Admission Requirements

Admission Criteria for the Doctor of Business Administration Program are as follows:

  • Completion of an MBA degree from an acceptable accredited institution.


  • Completion of an undergraduate degree in business and a master's degree in a business field (such as organizational leadership, management, or human resources) from an acceptable accredited institution. The College Dean makes the final decision regarding accepted fields of study for admission to the program.


  • A cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 (on a scale of 4.0) on the earned master's degree. Additional coursework may be required to meet the Required Knowledge Base. Refer to section on Required Knowledge Base for further information.
  • Completion of an application for admission.
  • Submission (within 10 weeks of class start date) of official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended.
  • Personal interview with a representative from the College of Business as designated by the Dean of the College of Business (may be conducted by teleconference).  

Submission of the following:

  • A 1,000-word Statement of Purpose Essay that targets the applicant's  academic and professional preparation for the South University DBA, along with future academic and professional goals. This statement must detail how the applicant's goals will be enhanced from earning a South University DBA and how the degree will be integrated into future career goals.
  • Résumé or curriculum vitae that clearly outlines academic and professional preparation for a doctorate program.
  • Three current academic/professional recommendations submitted directly to South University from the evaluator.  References submitted to South University by an applicant will not be accepted. These recommendations must present the applicant's ability to successfully matriculate the program and how the applicant will contribute to the overall quality of the program. Additionally, the recommendations must include an assessment of the applicant's ability to be successful as a professional in teaching, service and research.

Once all required admissions documents and information are submitted, the candidate's admission packet will be reviewed and evaluated by the program director. Applications will be reviewed on a weekly basis and applicants will be notified immediately.

Required Knowledge Base for the DBA Program

Applicants to the DBA degree program must demonstrate a master's level ability to integrate knowledge within critical knowledge areas with a grade of "B" or better. These knowledge areas must have been taken at an acceptable accredited institution and be equivalent to a 3 semester-hour, graduate level course:

Knowledge Areas:

  • Organizational Behavior and Communication
  • Statistics

Students meeting all other admission requirements except not having met the Required Knowledge Base areas will be admitted into the program; however, these graduate level knowledge areas must be successfully completed with a grade of "B" or better within the first two quarters of enrollment.

If a student does not complete the Required Knowledge Base areas within the required timeframe, he/she will be dismissed from the program.

The Required Knowledge Base course credits do not count towards the total number of credits for graduation nor do they count in the Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA); however, they do count in determining the maximum time frame (MTF) and the Incremental Completion Rate (ICR).

Virtual Residency Requirement for Online Students

The doctoral residencies are a requirement for online students in the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program.  These are a time for faculty, staff, and students to meet in a collegial learning opportunity. Residencies are designed as a time for students and faculty to work together collaboratively and to support the creation of a community of scholars.  Students will participate in faculty- and student-led presentations and will have the opportunity to network and share their experiences in the program. They will also be able to work collaboratively on their scholarship during the residencies, and opportunities to provide service to the academic community will be discussed.

The South University DBA has two residencies.  All DBA students in the online program are required to participate in these two residencies; these residencies are part of the completion requirements for the program.

Students attend the virtual Residencies I and II in either the fall or spring depending upon the enrollment date for the student. Residency I is expected to be completed before or during the MGT7100 course in the online program.  Residency II is expected to be completed before or during the MGT7205 course in the online program.

If a student fails to attend Residency I or II, he/she will not be able to progress beyond the course for which the residency is a prerequisite or co-requisite (MGT7100 for Residency I and MGT7205 for Residency II).


Students are made aware of the requirement of attending those residencies upon admission into the doctoral program. Attendance is required in order to progress in the program.  Should an emergency arise that prevents the student from attending the virtual residency, the student must immediately contact the DBA Program Director to receive instructions on how to proceed.

Special accommodations can be made for students who cannot attend a portion of the residency due to medical reasons, religious reasons, and active military deployment. Students who arrive late or fall ill during a residency should immediately contact the Program Director. Students who cannot attend a portion of the residency due to religious reasons, medical reasons, or active military deployment should contact the Program Director at least ten days in advance of the residency.

Other exceptions - There may be additional exceptions that are presented from time to time.  How these exceptions will be handled is at the discretion of the DBA Program Director based upon the guidelines set forth in this document.

Documenting exceptions - The Program Director will notify the Academic Counselor regarding any student being granted an exception. Documentation of the exception will need to be placed in the student's academic file in Image Now.  The Program Director will then notify the Academic Counselor of the result of each exception granted.

Course Requirements

Doctor of Business Administration: 72 Credits
Foundation: 4 Credits
BUS7000 Introduction to the Professional Doctorate, 4 Credit Hours
BUS7001 Virtual Residency I, 0 Credit Hours


BUS7002 Virtual Residency II, 0 Credit Hours


*Residency Required for Fully Online Students Only

Major Courses: 24 Credits
BUS8000 Comprehensive Exam, 0 Credit Hours
MGT7100 Seminar in Organizational Behavior, 4 Credit Hours
MGT7105 Seminar in Group and Team Behavior, 4 Credit Hours
MGT7110 Seminar in Organizational Theory, 4 Credit Hours
MGT7115 Seminar in Leadership, 4 Credit Hours
MGT7200 Seminar in Organizational Development and Change, 4 Credit Hours
MGT7205 Seminar in Ethics and Social Responsibility, 4 Credit Hours
Research Methods/Statistics: 16 Credits
BUS7100 Research Methods I, 4 Credit Hours
BUS7105 Research Methods II, 4 Credit Hours
BUS7200 Statistics for Research Methods I, 4 Credit Hours
BUS7205 Statistics for Research Methods II, 4 Credit Hours
Teaching in Higher Education: 8 Credits
INS7115 College Teaching, 4 Credit Hours
INS7200 Instructional Design, 4 Credit Hours
Dissertation: 20+ Credits
BUS8100 Doctoral Dissertation Research Development, 4 Credit Hours

(may be repeated using course code BUS8100E 4 credit hours)

BUS8105 Doctoral Dissertation Proposal, 4 Credit Hours

(may be repeated using course code BUS8105E 4 credit hours)

BUS8110 Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Defense, 4 Credit Hours

(may be repeated using course code BUS8110E 4 credit hours)

BUS8115 Doctoral Dissertation Preparation, 4 Credit Hours

(may be repeated using course code BUS8115E 4 credit hours)

BUS8120 Doctoral Dissertation Defense, 4 Credit Hours

(may be repeated using course code BUS8120E 4 credit hours)


*Refer to the DBA Progressions Policy

South University, Online Program Offerings may not be available to residents of all states.  Please contact an admissions representative for further information.


Offered at South University, Online Programs; and South University, Savannah

The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree program at South University is designed to prepare students to seek employment teaching business courses in higher education or to practice their profession in business or consulting. The program is organized around three core areas: field specialization, research methods/statistics, and quality teaching instruction.

The program focuses on the discipline of organizational behavior, which is the study of human behavior in organizations. The discipline draws from the areas of industrial, organizational, and social psychology.

The Doctor of Business Administration program is delivered in two modalities: fully online and blended. Students enrolled in the blended modality meet face-to-face in the classroom and asynchronously online on alternating weeks over the 11-week quarter.

The primary objective of the DBA degree program is to prepare graduates to seek employment in faculty positions in academic institutions. Another potential value of the degree program is that graduates may have the opportunity for advancement and for enhanced performance in their positions as senior executives and consultants. The DBA degree program is designed to help candidates develop skills in applied research by improving their methodological and analytical proficiency. These skills can help graduates advance in their academic careers or in their careers as senior managers or consultants.

Students have the opportunity to study the current research in the field, analyze and practice the research methods appropriate to the topics within the disciplines of organizational behavior and leadership, and develop appropriate methodologies to teach the topics to future students through the methods used in the discipline.

Online students are required to complete two residencies as part of the degree completion. One residency will take place early in the program and another will take place near the completion of their coursework prior to the start of their dissertation.

Program Distinctions

The South University DBA program is designed to be unique through the combination of the following items:

  • Focuses on teaching, scholarship and service and as such mirrors the performance criteria for faculty within higher education.
  • Includes instruction in quality methods of teaching in higher education through study and classroom observation.
  • Includes a traditional preliminary exam and dissertation experience similar to PhD degree programs.
  • Integrates management research paradigms as an organizing structure within content courses.
Program Student Learning Outcomes

Graduates will be able to:

  1. Apply critical thinking skills to analyze and apply contemporary theory of organizational behavior and leadership within their discipline and make contributions to the business administration knowledge base.
  2. Comprehend and apply the concepts, principles, and methods of researching business topics, and develop research designs using scientific investigation and systematic inquiry in an area of management. Emphasis will be placed upon directing research for peer reviewed journals, business practices, and consulting assignments.
  3. Demonstrate a thorough understanding and practice of teaching and managing courses in higher education.
  4. Demonstrate excellent oral and written communication related to the academic and professional environment. Students will demonstrate these skills in their coursework, instructional activities, and the dissertation.

Career Outlook

The Doctor of Business Administration program is built to prepare you for faculty positions in academic institutions, advancement in positions of executive or senior management, and improved engagement in business and management consulting roles.
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Success Stories

Outstanding Education for Remarkable Careers

We're committed to helping our graduates make impact in their professional and personal lives. We applaud our business and technology alumni and the difference they make. 

Jennifer Hunter Atkinson null
Jennifer Hunter Atkinson Grad Alumni
Class of '16
Bachelor of Business Administration

“South has undoubtedly played a pivotal role in steering my life into a direction I’m proud of. Through the last two years, I have gained tremendous support from my professors and I feel part of a community that challenges me to achieve personal and professional goals.”

Jefferson Reid 2012
Jefferson Reid Grad Alumni
Class of '12
Bachelor of Business Administration

“I wanted to stay in project management, but I knew my associate’s degree in aviation technology wouldn’t allow me to get where I wanted to be. A business degree was most relevant to the experience I had gained in the workforce. South University professors do a good job of teaching the concepts and then combining them.”

Endora Todd 2004
Endora Todd Grad Alumni
Class of '04
Bachelor of Business Administration

“The organization serves a unique population of students who see value in small class sizes, individual attention and support before, during and after graduation”

Lauren Elsberry null
Lauren Elsberry Grad Alumni
Class of '12
MBA in Healthcare Administration

“This program has helped make me better. It improved my time management. It improved my organization. I think because of its accelerated pace, it created those unexpected benefits. The classes I have taken in the AMBA program are relevant to my new position. I know my degree was something they looked at. South University has a good reputation; people have heard of it.”

blue cap and gown graduate icon
Leah N. Williams Grad Alumni
Class of '09
Master of Business Administration

“A few years ago, I decided that I wanted to take my career to the next level and realized that an MBA would allow me to achieve that goal. When I first showed interest in South University, I met my admissions officer, Shakeara Hudson. She made the application process as easy as possible, and then she checked on me continuously while I was a student just to make sure I was on track to complete my MBA. She even attended my graduation ceremony and spoke with me afterwards.”