The Doctor of Business Administration program at St. Ambrose University teaches a fresh approach to critically thinking about complex managerial issues.
Geared toward experienced managers and professionals who are interested in management, the program strengthens your job performance, the potential for advancement in your career or organization, and awards the credentials – your doctorate – to pursue consulting or teaching.
Our graduates work at Deere & Company, The HON Company, Wahl Clipper Corporation, Department of Defense, Genesis Systems, Inc., Rush University Medical Center, Augustana College, Grand View University, University of Northern Iowa, and many others.
Beginning Fall 2021, the DBA program will be offered online in a synchronous environment with residency requirements.
- Ranked #5 Best DBA Program in U.S. 2019
- Accredited by the ACBSP
- Evening Courses for the Working Professional
More Information on the Doctor of Business Administration
The DBA program will broaden your knowledge in the management field and improve your critical thinking, analysis, and writing skills.
Some graduates use these skills and insights to advance their careers in diverse fields such as engineering, manufacturing, banking, accounting, marketing, sales, human resources, and information technology.
Others use their talents in education, and advance into administration or faculty positions. Still others have made career changes into academia, consulting, or management.
Only at Ambrose:
- The supportive culture in our DBA program facilitates lifelong friendships. You'll experience a spirit of cooperation and generosity, which reflects the spirit of St. Ambrose University.
- We appreciate and welcome the diversity of our students' backgrounds and experiences. The broad perspectives of our students enrich class discussions.
- You can use what you learn in class to benefit your company, and your dissertation work can further your impact. Emphasis is placed on ethical research and scholarship.
How is a DBA different from a PhD?
Both the DBA and PhD are graduate degrees in business. The exact nature of these degrees differs by institution. Generally speaking, the PhD in business is designed to prepare individuals for careers in education with a strong emphasis on academic research. While our DBA program does include a high degree of academic rigor, we often include a more applied focus than would be found in some PhD programs.
How long will it take to get my DBA?
That depends on the pace you choose. Students typically take 1-2 courses per semester. Coursework is followed by comprehensive exams and the dissertation. In total, the program can be completed in three years, but some students take longer to help balance school with their work and family.
What can I do with a DBA degree?
You have lots of options. Whether you want to teach at the college level or advance in the business world, the DBA can give you that versatility. The SAU DBA is designed to enhance your critical thinking and analytical skills, and provide a larger breadth of career options--from academia to consulting. Knowledge gained from your DBA experience can improve performance in your current organization or be a stepping stone to other career opportunities.
Is the St. Ambrose DBA program accredited?
Yes. St. Ambrose University is a member of the North Central Association and is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission to offer the DBA degree. In addition, the DBA Program is also accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
As the culmination of your academic achievement, the dissertation presents an opportunity for you to research an area of interest.
You'll work one-on-one with your dissertation chair to develop a topic that will evolve into a detailed research proposal. Once the proposal is approved, you collect and analyze data, write a report of the results, and discuss your research and findings in a dissertation defense.
Classes such as research methods and statistics provide the training and tools necessary to complete your research project, the progress of which is monitored by the dissertation chair.
Research reflects our students’ diverse interests. Topics cover a wide range of subjects, such as leadership, organizational change, and mentoring. See the list of dissertations below (ordered by author's last name).
- Aiello, A. (2018, April). The Relationship of National Culture and Turnover: An Examination of Differences Employees Give for Quitting in Three Countries.
- Allison, J. (2007, April). Introducing the Electronic Edition: First-Movers in the Newspaper Industry.
- Aprianingsih, A. (2012, December). The Kaleidoscope Career Model and Work Family Conflict: An Exploration Across Career Stages.
- Avdic-McIntire, G. (2020, May). Exploring the Theoretical Domain and Predictive Power Between Task-Specific Self-Efficacy and State-Based Core-Confidence.
- Behnke, T. (2010, April). Knowledge Sharing at Work: An Examination of Organizational Antecedents.
- Carlock, B. (2008, May). A Model of Public-Private Partnership Success: Case Studies of Partnerships Between U.S. Army Installations and Private Firms.
- Coe, M. (2013, April). Intention to Sit for the CPA Examination: An Investigation of Cost, Exam, Support and Career Factors.
- Davis, J. (2014, August). Social Networking Sites: An Exploration of Usage, Benefits, and Drawbacks.
- Delaney, J. (2005, December). The Impact of Ethics Education on the Reasoning Ability of Accounting Students.
- Denker, J. (2014, May). Looking for Performance in All the Right Places: What Do New Venture Startup Teams Have to Do With It?
- Doyle, S. (2005, May). The Role of Organizational Citizenship Behavior in Volunteer Organizations.
- Dunne, B. J. (2013, November). The Employee Psyche at Work: A Model of How Psychological Contracts Moderate the Relationship Between Psychological Safety and Engagement.
- Duster, S. (2010, April). Factors that Motivate Protégés to Participate in Formal Mentoring: Do Motivated Protégés Report Higher Mentoring Effectiveness?
- Eaton, D. (2008, December). An Investigation of Generational Differences in Job Satisfaction in a Bureaucratic Environment.
- Ebener, D. (2007, April). The Servant Parish: A Case Study of Servant Leadership and Organizational Citizenship Behaviors in High-Performing Catholic Parishes.
- Edenborg, M. (2013, April). The Effect of Type of Education on an Individual's Self Employment Choice: Comparison of Vocational and College Education.
- Franklin, J. (2006, May). Successful Implementation of Technology Projects in the Steel Industry: The Effects of Technology Acceptance, Organizational Culture and Leadership.
- Geil, M. (2016, December). Beyond Cultural Intelligence: The Influence of Polychronicity and Core Confidence on Perceived Global Effectiveness.
- George, S. (2014, September). Perceptions of top management team commitment to corporate social responsibility: An exploration of the relationship with employee engagement.
- Gilstrap, R. (2015, August). Developing an Inimitable Resource: The Relationship between Core Confidence and Employee Engagement.
- Graham, J. (2012, May). Same Goal, Different Day: The Moderating Effect of Experience on the Goal Difficulty - Performance Relationship in a Repetitive Goal Setting Environment.
- Guillaume, P. (2015, May). Permanent and Seasonal Employees: An Investigation of Differences in Perceived Organizational Support, Job Engagement and Dedication to Service Quality.
- Haack, D. (2006, May). Family Status and the Workplace: An Investigation of Job Satisfaction, Role Salience, Role Conflict and Coping Strategies.
- Hager, M. (2014, May). An examination of Social Skills as a Correlate and Moderator of the Relationship Between Networking Behaviors and Career Outcomes.
- Harb, S. (2011, May). Employee Engagement: The Impact of Intervention Methods.
- Hechtel, K. (2010, April). An Examination of the Social Capital Requirements for the Selection, Training, Performance, and Retention of Industrial Sales Personnel.
- Herlein, M. (2009, December). An Examination of Managerial Competencies and Their Relationship to Performance.
- Hibbeler, P. (2008, April). Communities that Accept or Resist Supercenters: A Comparison of Cultural Differences.
- Holdorf, W. (2017, August). Toward a Taxonomy and a Construct of Responsibility.
- Hollingsworth, L. (2020, January). Better for Marketers? An Examination of Market Orientation and Employee Perceptions of Organizational Justice and Commitment.
- Huegel, B. (2015, December). Employer Support in Public Accounting: An Investigation of the Effect on Organizational Attraction.
- Jayne, R. (2008, May). Experienced Business Angels: What They Know, Who They Know, and How They Contribute to a Startup Firm's Performance.
- Juergens, S. (2012, August). Experiential Learning: How the Utility of Experiential Learning Within a MBA Course Enables Transfer of Learning.
- Kleine, R. (2013, December). Formal Mentoring Relationships: An Examination of Processes, Mentor Rank, and Protégé Satisfaction.
- Kuznia, K. (2006, May). The Antecedents and Influences of Career Related Continuous Learning: Implications for Management Professionals.
- Linderman-Hill, K. (2018, November). Engaging Top Performers: The Influence of Core Confidence on the Relationship Between Job Characteristics and Engagement.
- Logan, N. (2004, December). Effects of Environment and Organizational Context on Opportunity Recognition by Employees of For-Profit Organizations: A Comparison of State-Level Banks and BioScience Companies.
- Mahon, M. (2017, September). The Influence of Leader Prototype Congruence on Leadership Beliefs.
- Mayes-Denker, K. (2014, May). Private or Public: Does Corporate Social Responsibility Influence Profit?
- McCallum, S. (2008, May). An Examination of Internal and External Networking Behaviors and Their Relationship to Career Success and Work Attitudes.
- Meyer, J. C. (2019, May). Core Self-Evaluation: An Examination of its Relationship with Abusive Supervision and Coping Strategies.
- Miller, L. (2015, November). Firm Growth: An Explanation of the Processes of Growth of New and Small Firms.
- Murphy, C. (2008, May). Antecedents of Job Search Success for NAFTA-Eligible Dislocated Workers.
- Palar, B. (2020, June). The Influence of LinkedIn on Reputation: A Laboratory Study.
- Parise, M. (2005, May). Formal Mentoring Programs: The Relationship of Program Design to Mentor Perceptions of Benefits and Cost.
- Passini, D. J. (2020, June). Openness of Office Design and Employee Outcomes: An Examination of Personality and Job Characteristics as Moderators.
- Pollock P. (2015, October). Learning to be Engaged: Leader Goal Orientation, Employee Goal Orientation, and the Mediating Role of Employee Learning on Employee Engagement and Performance
- Quinlan, T. (2005, May). The Efficacy of Health Care Quality Initiatives in a Single Hospital System.
- Rothbardt, J. (2012, April). Applicant Attraction to Socially Responsible Corporations: The Moderating Effect of Core Self-Evaluation.
- Rouse, P. (2004, May). Technology Acceptance and Sensemaking: Exploring the Antecedents and Moderating Trigger Conditions Related to Perceived Usefulness and Perceived Ease of Use.
- Schmidt, H. (2010, April). An Examination of Service Learning and the Development of Work-Related Skills in Undergraduate Business Students.
- Siebert, D. (2008, April). An Investigation of Intergenerational Workplace Conflicts and Managerial Responses.
- Simmons, J. (2012, December). The Kaleidoscope Career Model: An Investigation of Authenticity, Balance, and Challenge and Their Relationship with Networking Behavior.
- Styvaert, M. (2011, May). Core Self-Evaluations: A Malleable Disposition?
- Sundberg, L. (2003, May). The Relationship Between Proactive Coping Skills and Personal and Organizational Outcomes.
- Thome, M. (2014, October). Turning Outsiders to Insiders: A Study of Job and Community Embeddedness on Voluntary Turnover.
- Thurman, C. (2003, May). The Effect of a Collective, Formal, Serial Socialization Program for Recalled Employees on Employee Behavior and Attitudes.
- Van Den Beldt (2015, April). Immigrant Entrepreneurship: A Qualitative Study of Factors that Facilitate the Startup of Restaurants.
- Vaske, A. (2008, November). The Relationship Between Motivation to Volunteer and Cultural Preference A Study of a Youth Development Organization.
- Wade, M. (2008, December). Getting Off The Ground: Factors Related to Protégés' Initiation of Mentoring Relationships With Their Formal Mentors.
- Wolbers, G. (2016, June). Toward a Generative Capacity Framework of Firm Growth.
- Zama, A. (2012, May). Corporate Elites - How They Came to Be: An Analysis of TMT Composition Change Following CEO Succession.
Tuition and Fees
The 2021-22 tuition rate is $1,168/credit hour plus fees. The program is usually completed in a total of 48 credit hours.
Fees: $280/year (9+ credits per semester); $140/year (≤8 credits per semester)
The St. Ambrose University Financial Aid Office provides information on loans for graduate studies. Interested DBA candidates should also confer with their human resource department for policies regarding educational reimbursement.
Does your employer offer tuition reimbursement?
This is a common method many of our students use to pay for their graduate education. Because it varies when companies reimburse their employees, St. Ambrose offers deferred payment until you get reimbursed or until you complete your classes (proof of completion). Both options are helpful when you want to avoid the use of personal finances to pay for classes. To qualify for employer deferral, our enrollment specialists will be happy to walk you through the process. If you aren't sure your employer offers tuition assistance, we recommend speaking with your human resources representative.
Do you have military benefits you would like to explore?
We have an admissions specialist who is an expert in military benefits who will work with you to determine available dollars and how to invest this benefit in a St. Ambrose education. If neither of these options pertain to you, there are federal loans available. Graduate students have up to $20,500 available per academic year for low-interest loans not based on income level. Our Financial Aid Department can help you with any questions.
Graduate level students taking 9 or more credit hours $280/yr. ($140/semester)
Graduate level students taking 8 or less credit hours $140/yr. ($70/semester)
The DBA program addresses current challenges facing students and their organizations. The DBA Program consists of 48 credit hours focused on the areas of organizational behavior, human resource management, and strategic management. You will take 11 courses (3 credits each), comprehensive exams, and complete a dissertation (15 credits).
Courses are held on Zoom from 6-9 p.m. (Central Standard Time), Monday through Thursday.
There is a one-day residency requirement on a Saturday in both the Fall and Spring semesters for students in the coursework stage of the program. There is a two-day residency requirement for written comprehensive exams.
Required Core Management Courses
DBA 910 Analyzing Behavior in Organizations
DBA 911 Managing Human Resources in a Global Environment
DBA 913 Developing Strategy for Competitiveness
Special Topics Courses
Students take 4 of any of the following electives (other special topics courses are also offered)
DBA 930 Enhancing Employee Engagement
DBA 931 Training and Development
DBA 940 Leadership
DBA 941 Teamwork in Organizations
DBA 950 Leading Organizational Change
DBA 951 Organizational Culture
DBA 960 Entrepreneurship
DBA 961 Corporate Social Responsibility
DBA 970 Collegiate Teaching
Required Core Research Courses
DBA 901 Research Methodology
DBA 902 Statistical Techniques I
DBA 903 Statistical Techniques II
DBA 904 Dissertation Design and Development
Comprehensive exams consist of both a written and an oral component, designed to assess the student's knowledge of and ability to apply management concepts and research.
Provides our doctoral students with coaching, networking, and professional development.
- Two, 1-day residencies per academic year (while in the coursework phase)
- 2-day residency for written comprehensive exams
The dissertation (DBA 990) is the student’s major research project. It is the culmination of the student’s academic achievements and represents an original contribution by the student to the field of management. Students are required to complete their dissertation after the successful completion of written and oral comprehensive exams.
You'll need to get a few things together to submit along with your application.
BJ Dunne '13 DBA
"A colleague from work mentioned the program as he was preparing for the comprehensive exams. I was intrigued because I always assumed it would be necessary to quit work in order to complete my doctorate. After reviewing the DBA coursework and structure, I liked the idea of returning to a learning environment and became really excited for the challenge. I honestly didn't know if I could balance work and life with the demands of the program until my first semester was completed. After that, I knew the DBA was going to be a rewarding experience that would be worth the significant effort required."Read BJ's Story