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Pepperdine | Graziadio Business School

How the DBA Program Works

Doctor in Business Administration Curriculum and Research

Practice-based Research and Learning

The Executive Doctor of Business Administration degree is designed for skilled working professionals who would like to develop expertise through advanced research. The Pepperdine Graziadio Executive DBA utilizes a blended format of in-person instruction at week-long residential sessions, online learning, directed instruction, and self-paced assignments. The progression of the coursework builds toward and supports the final research dissertation project.

2020 DBA Cohort Schedule:

Year One

  • Kickoff Workshop: August 29-30, 2020
  • Residential 1: October 18-24, 2020
  • Residential 2: February 28-March 6, 2021
  • Residential 3: June 24-July 1, 2021

Year Two

  • Residential 4: October 10-16, 2021
  • Residential 5: February 6-12, 2022
  • Residential 6: June 5-11, 2022

Year Three

  • Dissertation defense: TBA Summer 2023
  • DBA conference: Date TBD

2019 DBA Cohort Schedule:

Year One

  • EDBA Orientation Workshop: September 7-8, 2019
  • Residential 1: October 20-26, 2019
  • Residential 2: February 23-29, 2020
  • Residential 3 & DBA conference: May 29-June 4, 2020

Year Two

  • Residential 4: October 18-24, 2020
  • Residential 5: February 7-13, 2021
  • Residential 6 & DBA conference: June 20-26, 2021

Year Three

  • Dissertation defense: Malibu, California
  • DBA conference: June 2022

Residential sessions are scheduled once per trimester and will typically occur in October, February, and June. New coursework is presented during these sessions and is continued throughout the trimester through online instruction or individual assignments. Residentials will be six full days, and most will require arrival the day before the session begins.

Pre-work, interim, and post-course assignments are designed to allow appropriate understanding, reflection, and application of the course content and learning outcomes. Pre-residential work is assigned in advance of the face-to-face session and designed to allow for a more robust discussion in class.

Trimester I

  • EDBA 700A Introduction to Applied Research and Scholarship (0.5)
  • EDBA 711 Kickoff Workshop (1)
  • EDBA 712A Epistemology & Theory Building-A (2)
  • EDBA 798A Integrated Research Seminar A-I: 21st Century Innovation (1)
  • EDBA 798A Integrated Research Seminar B-I: Strategies for Designing and Leading Effective Organizations (1)
  • EDBA 798A Integrated Research Seminar C-I: Global Business and Economics (1)

Trimester II

  • EDBA 712B Epistemology & Theory Building–B (1)
  • EDBA 798B Integrated Research Seminar A-II: 21st Century Innovation (2)
  • EDBA 798B Integrated Research Seminar B-II: Strategies for Designing and Leading Effective Organizations (2)
  • EDBA 798B Integrated Research Seminar C-II: Global Business and Economics (2)

Trimester III

  • EDBA 700B Introduction to Research Design (0.5)
  • EDBA 703 DBA Conference (1)
  • EDBA 731A Quantitative Research Methods I-A (2)
  • EDBA 732A Qualitative Research Methods I-A (2)
  • EDBA 798D Integrated Research Seminar D: Comprehensive Literature Review (1)

Trimester IV

  • EDBA 701A Research Design–A (2)
  • EDBA 702 Research Apprenticeship (1)
  • EDBA 731B Quantitative Research Methods I-B (1)
  • EDBA 732B Qualitative Research Methods I-B (1)
  • EDBA 741A Quantitative Research Methods II-A (1)
  • EDBA 742A Qualitative Research Methods II-A (1)

Trimester V

  • EDBA 701B Research Design–B (1)
  • EDBA 702 Research Apprenticeship (1)
  • EDBA 741B Quantitative Research Methods II-B (2)
  • EDBA 742B Qualitative Research Methods II-B (2)
  • EDBA 799 Directed Study (0-1)

Trimester VI

  • EDBA 702 Research Apprenticeship (1)
  • EDBA 703 DBA Conference (1)
  • EDBA 704 Research Proposal (2)
  • EDBA 799 Directed Study (0-1)
  • EDBA 791 Dissertation (1)

Trimester VII

  • EDBA 791 Dissertation (5)

Trimester VIII

  • EDBA 791 Dissertation (5)

Trimester IX

  • EDBA 703 DBA Conference (2)
  • EDBA 791 Dissertation (4)

The dissertation is the culmination of the student's work throughout the program. The dissertation may take two different forms: a single document in the form of a traditional dissertation, or in rare cases, two or more publishable papers that address related research questions for a particular business problem.

The program is designed so that work completed by the students throughout each course contributes to their dissertation. For example, in the first year, students will develop a literature review for the business problem they have selected. This deliverable will be used within their dissertation proposal and the final submission.

The annual DBA conference is a gathering of all DBA students, other doctoral students within Pepperdine University, and students from other DBA programs nationally and abroad. Its purpose is to provide an opportunity for students to present their ideas for peer review and comment and to hear details about other scholars’ research (including guest keynote faculty).

The DBA conference is intended to advance the doctoral research culture, provide opportunities to evaluate student progress on their research, and foster the ongoing development of a community of scholar-practitioners within the DBA program. The academic director and program faculty will use the conference to evaluate student learning and research progress, creating a learning environment for students to become comfortable and proficient in doctoral research discourse.

This “internal” conference opportunity will also give students the confidence to submit and present their work at regional, national, and international conferences in their field of study.