Program Overview

The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program is designed for professionals who want to further their career with the most advanced business degree program GGU offers. The DBA program addresses the learning needs and objectives of senior business managers, consultants and university professors. Its primary objective is to produce graduates who can contribute to the advancement of their professions and to the expansion of knowledge and awareness of contemporary strategic issues and practices.

Our curriculum has a three-tiered focus. Students examine current theories, practices, and issues in business; train in research methods; and study the relationships between business and social and global issues. We believe doctoral students must be adept in all these areas to be successful contributors to the expansion of knowledge and improvement of business practices. For the dissertation, students conduct original research on a topic of current importance and personal interest. The dissertation should impact and help illuminate the strategic issues they face in their professions.

The program encourages students to accept the added responsibility of a shared commitment to the advancement of their professions and to upholding the highest ethical standards in the private or public sector.

DBA Program Details

The DBA program has been designed with a focus on the “practitioner educational model,” which distinguishes Golden Gate University from other institutions. This focus is consistent with the position adopted by the Association of Business Schools, which can be summarized as follows:

  • The DBA is a professional practice doctorate and is concerned with researching real business and managerial issues via the critical review and systematic application of appropriate theories and research to professional practice.
  • The DBA may often be interdisciplinary in approach and/or content.
  • It is further intended to provide an opportunity for considerable personal development, such that the participant achieves a greater level of effectiveness as a professional practitioner or manager.
  • The DBA primary mode of assessment is through the production of a dissertation/thesis.

Our students are one of the program’s greatest strengths. Typical doctoral students at GGU attend part time. Without exception, they come from successful careers in top positions in the private, nonprofit and government sectors. They bring their experiences and knowledge to the classroom and, in turn, demand incisive instruction and intelligent, well-developed classroom discussions.


Faculty members who teach in our DBA program have doctoral degrees from leading universities in their fields and possess extensive practical experience. They bring a theoretical as well as a real-world view to their teaching and a commitment to dynamic, progressive education.


The DBA program uses online-asynchronous and in-person instruction modes and offers a state-of-the-art curriculum delivered by experienced, highly qualified professors. In keeping with our commitment to support working adult professionals, we have one of the few accredited doctoral programs in the Bay Area that allows students to complete doctoral studies on a part-time basis and accommodate their work schedules.

Admission Requirements

GGU seeks doctoral candidates with strong intellect, proper educational preparation, breadth and depth of managerial or professional experience and the capacity for disciplined scholarly investigation. While most applicants have a master’s degree in a business-related field, applicants with academic preparation in other fields are welcome to apply.

Doctoral candidates must be fluent in English and are expected to write at a level that meets the standards of scholarly publications. They are expected to understand contemporary practices in business and the economic, social, and political context in which they are conducted.

The admission decision is made by a faculty committee and is based on the applicant’s total accomplishments and skills. Specifically, admission to the program requires:

  • A minimum 3.0 GPA in their most recent degree program.
  • Admission of the following categories will be subject to the admission committee’s review of the applicants’ work experience and professional accomplishment:
    • Applicants who have earned less than 3.0 GPA in their most recent program;
    • Applicants who do not hold a Master’s degree must hold a Bachelor’s degree and possess a minimum of 5 years of work experience.
  • Experience: Applicants with responsible managerial or professional work experience will be given preference. A professional resume is required.
  • Statement of Purpose: All applicants are mandated to share a Statement of Purpose (SOP) of approximately 500 words detailing the following:
    • What is your motivation to pursue the Golden Gate University DBA Program degree?
    • How do you think the Golden Gate University experience will benefit your career?
  • An admission panel will review applications and recommend applicants for admission to the GGU DBA Committee for approval.

Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the DBA program will achieve the program’s primary objectives through the development of:

  • A thorough knowledge of the scientific and scholarly research methods and their application in the business setting in a senior management position, as a consultant, as a professor at the university level;
  • Advanced critical thinking, conceptual and analytical skills;
  • A strong understanding of both the seminal theories and the latest practices in business management including an advance and intensive knowledge of theory and practice in one field of business;
  • Intensive knowledge of theory and practice in a chosen field of business or public management;
  • Advanced ability to use qualitative and quantitative tools to perform original applied research that advances business knowledge;
  • An appreciation of cultural, ethical, and global issues and their impact on business theory and practices; and
  • Advanced skills necessary for effective decision-making in complex environments through integrating theoretic insights with practical knowledge.


The Doctor of Business Administration requires completion of 12 units of foundation courses, 12 units of concentration courses, and 32 units of dissertation work, for a total of 56 units. Students must earn a “B-” or better in each course and a cumulative grade-point average of 3.00 or better. Although research papers, reports and examinations may be required in doctoral seminars, the major assessment points in the DBA program are the qualifying examination, taken after the foundation curriculum is completed, and the dissertation research. Students must receive a passing score on the qualifying examination and successfully complete all required courses before they are allowed to present a dissertation proposal and officially advance to candidacy. Students must complete and successfully defend their dissertations within seven years of beginning the program.

Mathematics Proficiency Requirement

BUS 240 Data Analysis for Managers (Waived with documentation of student’s having completed equivalent course covering statistics and regression analysis with grade of “B” or better.)

After the foundation curriculum course work is completed, students must successfully pass a qualifying examination. This integrative examination will test the student’s mastery of the skills and disciplines of doctoral level research methods and analysis.

Complete 12 units from one of the following concentrations:

  • Business & Data Analytics
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Strategy
  • Marketing
  • General

Students may register for DBA 890 Dissertation Topic Proposal only after having first completed all required doctoral foundation coursework and having passed the qualifying examination.