Facebook pixel How the DBA Program Works | Pepperdine Graziadio Business School Skip to main content
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 (Fall Y1) (6.5 units)

  • EDBA 711 Kickoff Workshop (1 unit)
  • EDBA 700A Introduction to Applied Research and Scholarship (0.5 unit)
  • EDBA 700B Introduction to Research Design (0.5)
  • EDBA 712A Epistemology & Theory Building A (1.5)
  • EDBA 798 Integrated Research Seminar A: Innovation for the 21st Century (1)
  • EDBA 798 Integrated Research Seminar B: Strategies for Designing and Leading Orgs (1)
  • EDBA 798 Integrated Research Seminar C: Economics and Global Business (1)

Trimester II (Spring Y1) (6.5 units)

  • EDBA 701A Research Design–A (2)
  • EDBA 798 Integrated Research Seminar A: Innovation for the 21st Century (1.5)
  • EDBA 798 Integrated Research Seminar B: Strategies for Designing and Leading Orgs (1.5)
  • EDBA 798 Integrated Research Seminar C: Economics and Global Business (1.5)

Trimester III (Summer Y1) (6.5 units)

  • EDBA 731A Quantitative Research Methods I (2) [Statistics and Intro to Regression]
  • EDBA 732A Qualitative Research Methods I (2)
  • EDBA 703 DBA Conference (1)
  • EDBA 798 Integrated Research Seminar D: Comprehensive Lit Review (1.5) [mentor/supervisor]

Trimester IV (Fall Y2) (6.5 units)

  • EDBA 701B Research Design–B (1) (guidance on dissertation research proposal preparation)
  • EDBA 731B Quantitative Research Methods II (2) [Survey Research Design and Analysis]
  • EDBA 732B Qualitative Research Methods II (2)
  • EDBA 702 Research Apprenticeship (1.5) (supervisor: dissertation research proposal development)

Trimester V (Spring Y2) (6.5 units)

  • EDBA 712B Epistemology & Theory Building–B (1.5)
  • EDBA 731C Quantitative Research Methods III (2) [Advanced Regression Methods]
  • EDBA 732C Qualitative Research Methods III (2)
  • EDBA 702 Research Apprenticeship (1) (supervisor: dissertation research proposal development)

Trimester VI (Summer Y2) (6.5 units)

  • EDBA 704 Research Proposal (2)
  • EDBA 703 DBA Conference (1) (1 unit required)
  • EDBA 791 Dissertation (1) (primary supervisor)
  • EDBA 702 Research Apprenticeship (1-1.5) (supervisor: dissertation research proposal development)
  • EDBA 799 Directed Study (1-1.5) (specialized techniques or dissertation advice: secondary advisor)

Trimester VII and VII (Fall Y3 and Spring Y3) (5 units each)

  • EDBA 791 Dissertation (5) (5 units required: minimum of 4 units with supervisor; max of 1 unit with secondary advisor)

Trimester IX (6 units) (Summer Y3)

  • EDBA 703 DBA Conference (1-2) (2 units required)
  • EDBA 791 Dissertation (4) [Students needing additional time to complete the dissertation requirement will
    enroll in 5 units of EDBA 791 per term until completion of the requirement].

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.