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Business Administration DBA

College of Management
Graduate degree

The Doctorate of Business Administration is an innovative doctoral program whose curriculum and research requirements focus on applied management practice. An internationally recognized alternative to a PhD program, the DBA enhances the knowledge and skills of experienced business practitioners and higher education faculty to prepare them for demanding positions in management, post-secondary teaching, and consulting. The Metropolitan State University DBA program provides a rare opportunity for professionals to earn a high quality, applied doctoral degree on a part-time basis.

Are you interested in the Doctorate of Business Administration? Learn more at one of our Zoom information sessions.

The program prepares you to be a successful, ethical business leader in complex and changing organizations. It will help you develop the advanced skills and depth of understanding needed to assume demanding positions in business management, higher education teaching, and management consulting. The program also:

  • Offers you a part time program, approved by the Higher Learning Commission, that matches your work schedule.
  • Engages you in a Web-enhanced model in which you enroll in one to two courses per semester and attend classes on alternate Saturdays with web exercises in between classes.
  • Brings you into a community of business professionals who share your professional interests and career goals.
  • Offers you an outstanding cohort program at an extraordinary value.    Allows you to conduct an applied research project, advised by experienced faculty, that will bring up-to-date theory to bear on real issues of importance to managers and organizations.
  • Allows you to develop advanced financial and managerial skills through applied, rigorous seminars, and enhances your ability to develop and execute business strategies.
  • Provides you with the opportunity to complete coursework in a condensed two-year timeframe, leaving more time for self-paced research pursuits.

Student outcomes

  • Evaluate and analyze complex research and practice-based information valuable to business practitioners.
  • Design effective problem-solving strategies for organizations, clients, or students.
  • Construct and execute complex research based on practically significant problems.

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Program eligibility requirements

The DBA Admissions Committee reviews the complete application, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate. Admission criteria include:

  • An earned MBA or equivalent management-related master's degree or completion of DBA-level MBA Math.
  • Course credits and professional experience in areas related to business and/or business administration.  Students must have 20 credits of master’s level coursework in the following areas: a) organizational behavior, b) management information systems, c) finance, d) organizational strategy, e) accounting, f) economics, g) marketing, h) operations management, i) project management, j) research methods, and/or k) statistics.
  • Five years of professional experience.

If you wish to apply for the program and wish to include coursework outside of the following areas listed in a) through k) above, you must include a rationale paper that helps to elucidate the connection between the DBA program and the coursework in question. Use this rationale paper to explain how the coursework is applicable to the 20-credit admissions requirement and/or DBA program more generally; consider including such things as course syllabi, course descriptions, or other material evidence that would help to strengthen your argument. 

  • The ideal applicant will have earned at least a 3.5 grade-point average.
  • The ideal applicant will have a GMAT or GRE scores above the 51st percentile.

Students seeking admission to the DBA program may complete required prerequisite courses in the College of Management without being admitted to a COM graduate program if they meet the following criteria:

  • Have earned an MBA or management-related master's degree
  • Achieved a 3.0 GPA in their master's degree program
  • Have completed at least five years of professional work
  • Indicate in writing an intent to apply for the DBA program in a specific year


Application instructions


November 15, March 15, July 1
Application deadlines will not be waived.

The next cohort will be admitted in fall 2022.

Application review

Completed application files are reviewed three times per year. The College of Management Graduate Admissions Committee will review all completed application files immediately following each of the three posted deadlines. Applicants should allow 7-10 business days after the posted deadline that has been met for their completed application to be reviewed.

Application packet

To be considered for full admission to the Doctor of Business Administration, applicants must submit both parts of the application packet (and part three if applying as an international student.) All application materials become the property of Metropolitan State University and are not returned.

Part one

Online Application - You will use your Minnesota State StarID to complete the application. If you don't have a Minnesota State StarID, you may create one at the beginning of the application.

  • Current fee of $20 is waived for graduates of Metropolitan State, Veterans, and Active Military members.

Official transcripts - Transcripts must show a baccalaureate and master's degree or equivalent earned from a regionally accredited institution with grade-point average or narrative description describing courses completed.

  • Transcripts from ALL schools attended after high school and from any graduate or professional programs are required.
  • All transcripts from non-U.S. schools must be evaluated (course-by-course) by either ECE (preferred) or WES.
  • Electronic transcripts should be sent to
  • Paper transcripts should be sent directly from the sending institution (preferred) to:
    Metropolitan State University
    Attn: Graduate Admissions
    700 East Seventh Street
    Saint Paul MN 55106

Part two

  • Current vita or resume
    • A vita documenting extensive professional work experience with significant responsibilities or significant full-time post-secondary teaching responsibilities.
    • Using StarID, upload via Applicant Portal
  • Two professional references
    • Two reference letters, preferably one from a professional practitioner and one from an academic faculty member or administrator.
  • Goals Essay
    • Using StarID, upload via Applicant Portal
    • Provide a brief description of your background, training and experience
    • Explain why you are pursuing a Doctorate in Business Administration degree at this point in your career
    • What are your short-term and long-term objectives?
  • Admissions Essay

This admissions essay serves as both a writing sample for evaluation during the admissions process, and an indicator for faculty of the potential area of research interest. Your essay should reflect your perspectives and aspirations. It is imperative that the essay reflects your own work, however, cited outside sources integrated into the paper are welcome and encouraged.

Admissions Essay Instructions:

Please describe an area of interest that you would like to consider researching during the Doctorate of Business Administration program. This may be a) a problem that you have observed or experienced in your professional life, b) an area related directly or tangentially to your work, or c) a topic that has otherwise caught your attention. While the appropriate components of this essay will differ depending on the particular topic, your essay might incorporate:

  • A clear description of the issue, including whether it is a problem, an opportunity, or a topic requiring greater knowledge development,
  • A description of the issue’s context and the effects of context on the issue, which includes outside information that would help readers to understand the significance of the issue,
  • Challenges in finding solutions to the issue if it is considered a problem or opportunity,
  • Development of different, possibly competing, perspectives on the issue or problem,
  • Perspectives provided by experts or other parties interested in the issue,
  • A description of how you might research and/or analyze the issue at hand, including what data you may collect, how you would collect it, and from whom,
  • How a graduate student, with the guidance of faculty, might gain additional insight into this issue.

Please include 5 to 10 outside sources that you have used as background information in addressing your chosen issue. The admissions essay should be approximately 1500 words in length, which is about 7-8 pages double-spaced. One of the standard writing formats should be used (APA, MLA, Chicago/ Turabian, etc.).

  • Please note that students frequently (in fact, typically) change their research topics of interest during the DBA program as they are exposed to new ideas. As such, DBA applicants are not required to engage in research on issues described in the admissions essay during their academic program, assuming they are admitted. Rather, it is expected that your research topic may change over time as you are introduced to different fields of study and thought throughout the program.

Choose one of the following options:

  • Option 1:  GMAT/GRE scores
    • Verifiable documentation of completion of GMAT quantitative, writing, and overall scores or GRE quantitative, verbal reasoning, and overall scores.
  • Option 2:  Completion of the Doctoral-level MBA Math.

Questions about applying to the DBA program?

Please contact (preferred) or call 651-793-1302.

The DBA curriculum requires 52 doctoral credits beyond an MBA (or an equivalent management-related master's degree program). Prerequisite courses (minimum of two credits each) must have been completed with at least a B grade and include the following:

  • Graduate courses in organizational behavior, management information systems or information systems, finance, and a strategy or related capstone course.
  • Three other graduate courses from among accounting, economics, marketing, and operations/project management or process modeling.

Time to completion

Students have seven years to complete all graduation requirements from enrollment in the first semester of DBA courses.

Course requirements

Requirements (52 credits)

Phase one (40 credits)

DBA 700 Doctoral Seminar in the Development of Management Thought

4 credits

This course examines the history of the development of management theory and practice and its relationship to significant issues and challenges of today's managers. The works of both classical and contemporary management theorists will be analyzed, with students developing and defending models of management practice for their use in business organizations.

Full course description for Doctoral Seminar in the Development of Management Thought

DBA 711 Advanced Methodology

4 credits

DBA 711 Advanced Methodologies is an extension of DBA 705 Introduction to Research Inquiry, and covers research methodology at a deeper level. In this course students will gain practical experience by applying the procedures and techniques of various research methodologies, using both instructor-provided and student-generated data. Students will learn methodological techniques that require the collection, and analysis of data and reporting of results via such methods as bivariate, and multivariate data analysis, as well qualitative research methods to a lesser degree.

Full course description for Advanced Methodology

DBA 712 Applied Research Projects Design

4 credits

In this course, students design the research proposal for their applied doctoral research project. The proposal is an expansion of the research prospectus developed in DBA 705 Foundations of research. The proposal consists of the identification and definition of the research problem, the literature on the problem of study, and a description of the specific research methodology to be used in the research project.

Full course description for Applied Research Projects Design

DBA 740 Global Issues in Business: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach

4 credits

This course provides students with an in-depth understanding of international factors directly or indirectly affecting day-to-day operations and management decision making of small, mid size, and large organizations that pursue business opportunities internationally. Emphasis is placed on research, analysis, and decision making skills essential to success in an increasingly international business environment.

Full course description for Global Issues in Business: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach

DBA 755 Current Topics in Business Leadership

4 credits

This course is an integrated multi-disciplinary inquiry seminar of the critical problems facing the pragmatic and academic nature of leadership theory and practice. The broad scope of this course explores the impact of leadership theory, research and practice on individual, group, and organization outcomes. This course focuses on emerging and applied research and theory in leadership.

Full course description for Current Topics in Business Leadership

Phase two (12 credits)

During Phase two, students must successfully complete written comprehensive examinations. Also in this phase, an applied research project and resulting dissertation are completed. Oral defense of the research project/dissertation project, its methodology and findings are required.