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Pepperdine | Graziadio Business School

Doctor of Business Administration Curriculum

Bobbi Thomason at DBA conference

The Pepperdine Graziadio Executive Doctor of Business Administration program is a fully-accredited three-year, 55-unit degree program, pursued in trimesters. For those seeking a personal and intellectual challenge within an academic environment, our hybrid learning model accommodates demanding executive schedules.

  • The coursework begins with the broadest evaluation of the nature of knowledge and theory building and moves in a series of interdisciplinary seminar courses applied to contemporary business topics. These seminar courses lay a theoretical foundation from a range of perspectives to guide you in your own research.
  • The coursework expands into research methodology and directed studies, which specifically address your research project needs.
  • At the end of each year, you will be required to deliver on a key element of your research project. In year one, that will be a literature review; in year two, your formal research proposal; and finally in year three, your completed study.

The course progression is intentionally laid out with dissertation completion in mind, and your dedicated faculty advising team will guide you in through the entire process.

Year-by-Year Requirements

 Year 1: 3 one-week residentials and DBA conference attendance

In year one, students will be required to present a brief synopsis of their research topic and collect feedback from faculty and peers. Once the topic has been approved, students will advance to the preparation and delivery of a comprehensive literature review.

 Year 2: 3 one-week residentials plus DBA conference participation

In year two, students will engage in a defense of their doctoral research proposal with a dissertation committee that includes their Dissertation Chair, additional faculty advisor(s), and other subject matter experts. The dissertation committee will deliver feedback to revise and resubmit the proposal, or will pass the student to continue onto the next stage of their research.

 Year 3: Dissertation defense and DBA conference participation

In year three, students will share their preliminary or completed findings to DBA conference participants and incorporate feedback into their dissertations or publishable papers. Successful sign-off on the completed dissertation by the dissertation committee is required for graduation.

 Business Doctorate Learning Outcomes

Assess theoretically-grounded and methodologically-sound research skills that provide the foundation for impactful, practice-focused research

  • Synthesize relevant theoretical models and past research on a business issue or challenge
  • Apply and/or develop theory, models, and methods into new, practice-relevant contexts
  • Evaluate the current literature and construct a literature review to support a defendable research question and justify why it makes a contribution to the field

Devise quantitative and qualitative research methods oriented to applied research

  • Explain epistemology of research and determine among alternatives the appropriate qualitative or quantitative methods that will address research questions
  • Develop a research study that applies quantitative research methods to collect, organize, and analyze data to address an applied research question
  • Develop a research study that applies qualitative research methods to collect, organize, and analyze data to address an applied research question

Disseminate research by effectively communicating to audiences within an applied academic setting

  • Create an original research manuscript suitable for publication in practitioner and/or academic journals
  • Present research in a professional conference setting, effectively communicating research findings

Integrate applied research, with specific consideration of ethics, innovation, and global factors

  • Evaluate the impact of ethical factors in a complex business or societal environment
  • Explore innovative and value-creating products, processes, or organizational forms
  • Analyze the implications of economic, environmental, technological, legal, and regulatory factors on global business practice
  • Articulate and defend a point of view on business as an integrated practice