2023 Part Time PhD in Business Programs

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Earning a part time PhD in Business may be a way for you to further your education while maintaining a balance between your studies and other commitments.

PhD in Business Programs

Part time doctorate degrees in business teach you how to conduct research on business theory and practice so you may discern the best ways for businesses to operate.

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Earning your Ph.D. could help you take the next step in your career and provide you with valuable knowledge about business.

Part-Time PhD in Business Programs

financial manager with a client

There are now a number of universities that offer part time doctorate degrees in business. This type of degree program can be found both online and on traditional campuses to meet the needs of many different types of students. Business PhD programs specialize in academic research related to business theory and conceptual knowledge.

This terminal business degree can help prepare you for an academic career at a university. Many postsecondary business teachers and academic researchers possess this type of degree. Knowledge from a PhD in Business could be applied outside of the academic world, though.

Most business jobs outside of academia require only a bachelor’s or master’s degree and do not specifically require a doctorate. With a PhD, then, you may receive a higher starting salary for positions in the business field. Some business PhD holders provide consulting services to businesses or to the government.

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Subjects that may be studied in part time PhD programs in business include accounting, decision theory, economics, entrepreneurship, business law, human resources management, marketing, organizational behavior, operations management and research, and statistics.

Exact course requirements may vary from one university to another. Business PhD programs also typically require the completion of a dissertation.

Part-Time vs. Full-Time PhD in Business Programs

When you decide to pursue a doctoral degree in business, one of many things to consider is whether you want to attend school full time or part time. There are many options available for both.


PhD in Business Programs student

When enrolling in a part time PhD program in business, you can sign up for fewer credit hours per semester than what you would take in a full time program.

Financially, going to school part time will likely cost you less money per semester than attending school full time. In a part time program, you may also be more likely to be able to continue working to earn money to support yourself and your education.

Both full time and part time PhD programs in business are available online and on traditional campuses. Within both of these formats, there are many different scheduling options available.

For a part time program, traditional campuses may have evening or weekend classes to accommodate the busy schedules of working adults. Online business administration degree programs are often even more flexible with regards to scheduling options.

Time to Completion

One of the most obvious differences between part time business PhD programs and full time business PhD programs is how long it may take you to complete your degree.

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Doctoral students who attend school full time may be able to earn their PhD in 3 to 5 years. Part time doctoral students usually need at least 5 years to complete their degrees, and they may take as long as 9 years.

Pros and Cons

Part-Time PhD in Business Full-Time PhD in Business
  • Lighter workload each semester
  • Lower cost per semester
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Can work while pursuing degree
  • Allows more time to spend with family and other commitments
  • Can be completed in less time
  • More opportunities to meet with supervisor
  • May provide a more immersive experience
  • May provide more networking opportunities
  • May take more time to complete
  • May have fewer opportunities to meet with supervisor
  • May have fewer networking and social opportunities with other students
  • Heavier workload each semester
  • Higher costs each semester
  • Usually takes up too much time for working while in school to be an option

Business Careers & Salaries

Business Careers & Salaries

Doctoral degrees in business are primarily intended for people who want to become professors of business or academic researchers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these various careers require both business knowledge and analytical skills and may be pursued with a business doctorate.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Chief Executives $185,950
Financial Managers, Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services $154,790
Financial Managers, Management of Companies and Enterprises $149,300
Financial Managers, Manufacturing $135,820
Economists $108,350
General and Operations Managers $103,650
Management Analysts, Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services $93,710
Postsecondary Business Teachers $88,010
Management Analysts, Management of Companies and Enterprises $87,230
Budget Analysts $78,970

Although a PhD in Business is a research-oriented degree, a person possessing this degree may also pursue a career in business as well as in academia. A PhD may qualify you for a higher starting salary for many of these positions.

Business Doctoral Curriculum

Chief Executives in meeting

In order to earn a doctoral degree in business, you will complete advanced-level coursework in different subjects related to business. Exact course titles and requirements may vary at different universities, but here are some subject areas that you will likely study.

  • Accounting: The study of accounting is about how businesses maintain their financial records, analyze them, and report them to tax collectors and oversight agencies.
  • Decision Theory: Decision theory is the study of how people reason to make choices.
  • Economics: Economics is the study of how people and businesses interact with money, goods, and services.
  • Entrepreneurship: This course studies how people start their own businesses, taking on financial risks, investments, and profits.
  • Ethics: This course investigates how to deal with moral dilemmas as applied to business.
  • Business Law: The study of business law can help enable you to understand what laws exist to regulate businesses.
  • Finance: Studying finance at an advanced level can help further your understanding of how businesses can best manage their money.
  • Human Resources Management: This is the study of how businesses can maximize employee performance.
  • Management: This is the study of how leadership in a business can best plan and direct their organization to earn money and achieve goals.
  • Research Methods: Obtaining a PhD requires conducting original research and completing a dissertation, so you will likely take a course specifically about good research methodology.

Earning a PhD in Business often requires being knowledgeable on a variety of topics.

Admissions Requirements

PhD in business student

The following are some common admissions requirements for part-time doctoral programs in management or business.

  • Bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree in business, business administration, or a related field from an accredited university is preferred.
  • Master’s degree. A master’s degree in business, business administration, or a related field from an accredited university is preferred.
  • Letters of recommendation. Personal references from former instructors or other mentors are often requested.

Requirements may vary between schools, so it is helpful to check the admissions requirements of your specific program to ensure you are prepared.


PhD in Business Programs Accreditation

A school is able to receive the distinction of regional accreditation by being evaluated by an outside organization and found to meet a predetermined standard of quality.

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To find out if a prospective school holds regional accreditation, you can search for it on the Council for Higher Education Accreditation‘s website. Regional accreditation can help ensure that your degree is considered legitimate by potential employers. It can also prove beneficial if you ever need to transfer credits to another academic institution.

Financial Aid for Part Time PhD Students

PhD in Business Programs Financial Aid

If you are considering continuing your education by pursuing a part time PhD in Business, you may be wondering how you can pay for your tuition.

Financial aid is available in many different forms for part time PhD students who qualify. You may be able to qualify for federal or state aid, which can include loans and grants. To see if you qualify for federal aid, you can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

If you want to enroll in a part time business doctoral program, you may also see if your employer offers tuition assistance or scholarships, especially if your degree could positively impact your current position.

What Can You Do with a PhD in Business?

Chief Executives in conference

A PhD in Business helps prepare you to analyze a variety of topics related to business, such as economics, marketing, and management. This knowledge may be applied in a variety of careers.

A business PhD is especially useful if you want to conduct research on business theory and practice or teach business courses at the postsecondary level.

You may also use this type of degree to pursue a career in the business world that requires abstract thinking and good analytical skills. This may include roles such as management analyst and financial manager.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in business and financial occupations is projected to grow 5% over the next decade.

How Long Does It Take to Get a PhD in Business?

Financial Manager in office

The amount of time it takes to obtain a PhD in Business can vary considerably, depending on how many credit hours of coursework you decide to enroll in each term.

Full-time students are usually able to complete a PhD in Business in as little as 3 to 5 years while part-time students generally need at least 5 years to complete their degree.

Many different programs are available to suit your time commitment, which may vary throughout your duration in the program if you undergo life changes while working on your PhD.

Can You Pursue a PhD Part Time?

PhD in Business student studying online

Many people assume that completing any sort of PhD requires round-the-clock commitment, but an increasing number of universities are now offering part time PhD programs.

Part time PhD programs help meet the needs of students who are also working, caring for family members, or attending to other commitments.

Online degree programs usually offer additional flexibility when it comes to planning your course schedule for each term. Many traditional campuses also offer weekend or evening classes, which are often beneficial options for students who are also working adults.

Does a Part Time PhD Have Value?

Financial Manager working

Whether a part time PhD has value is subjective. It depends on what direction you want to take your career and what things you most value, such as salary, employability, or even the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake.

A part time PhD from an accredited university closely mirrors a full time PhD. In both you take high-level courses and complete a dissertation.

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The main difference is simply that you take a lighter course load each semester and often take longer to complete your degree with a part time degree program. You ultimately gain the same knowledge that you would gain from completing a full time program.

As long as your part time PhD is from an accredited university, employers should perceive it as having equal worth and credibility as a PhD earned in a full time program.

What Is the Difference Between DBA vs. PhD?

Here are some common differences between a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) and a PhD in Business or Management.

Curriculum Focuses on practical applications Focuses on abstract knowledge and research
Applicants Often older students who have an MBA and many years of work experience Often younger students who have recently completed their bachelors or masters degrees
Career Goals Working in the business world with higher expertise More likely to work in academia and research
Access to Data for Research Likely to have access to data in their own businesses May need to collect data through surveys or other means

Of course, students pursuing a DBA and students earning a PhD in Business study many of the same subjects, such as marketing and economics. If you are more interested in the traits of a DBA from the table above, you may want to look into a part time DBA program offered online or on campus at an accredited university.

If you prefer to learn virtually, online DBA programs accredited by the AACSB may be right for you.

Is a PhD in Business Worth It?

Management Analysts in meeting

Yes, a PhD in Business is worth it for many students. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, business and financial jobs are set to grow at 5% over the next 10 years, faster than the average for all occupations.

Common business careers in this field include postsecondary business teachers, financial managers, management analysts, financial analysts, and budget analysts. As a business PhD student, you may complete your own original research, contributing to knowledge about how to operate a business.

A PhD in Business may provide an intellectual challenge that can help you further your career.

Universities Offering Online PhD in Business Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Capella University

Capella University

Capella University’s PhD in Business is a well-respected program that is offered part time or full time, letting students set a schedule that works best for them. Students entering the degree program can experience Capella’s vast support system, which has strong mentorships and online resources to help ensure success at every turn.

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Northcentral University

Northcentral University

Students who enroll in Northcentral University’s PhD in Business Administration program become a part of a growing community of leaders in their fields.

This program emphasizes research-based learning and emerging technologies to assist students in excelling in their careers. NCU also gives students an abundance of resources to assist with the dissertation process.

Northcentral University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Trident University

Trident University

Trident University allows students to attain a PhD in Business Administration using an online format. This program is meant for individuals who need a flexible part time schedule and desire to engage in academic research experiences in their study areas. A PhD from TU gets students ready to work as scholars in education or research.

Trident University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of North Carolina – Greensboro

University of North Carolina - Greensboro

A PhD in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina – Greensboro can be completed entirely online and is comprised of 60 credit hours.

Students completing this program learn to understand theoretical and practical research methods of crucial contents of their field. This program can  develop leaders in education, government, and private organizations.

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of the Cumberlands

University of the Cumberlands

The PhD in Business from the University of the Cumberlands is a virtual research program that helps students acquire the skills they need for the ever-changing world of business. This program combines business philosophy with the fundamentals of business and critical thinking skills. It also includes access to field experiences and mentorships.

The University of the Cumberlands is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Getting Your Part Time PhD in Business Online

PhD in Business Online

Are you ready to take the next step in your education and career? If you have decided that a PhD in Business is the right educational path for you, there are many options available for earning this terminal degree.

Part time PhD programs may enable you to earn your PhD while continuing to work at your current job. There are also a growing number of online programs that offer flexible scheduling and take away the need to commute to campus.

If you want to earn your business PhD, you may be able to find a program option that is practical for your current schedule and budget. You can start your educational journey today by exploring accredited universities.

Ready to start your journey?
Amy Wilson
Amy Wilson
Amy attended the University of Georgia, enrolling in both online and on-campus classes. Her research and writing focuses on how differing education methodologies can affect student outcomes, as well as making education accessible to more students.