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How the DBA Program Works

Doctor in Business Administration Curriculum and Research

Executive Doctor of Business Administration

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.

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.

Year One

Residential 1: October 27 - November 2, 2018

Residential 2: February 24 - March 2, 2019 

Residential 3 and DBA conference: June 23 - 29, 2019

Year Two

Residential 4: October 6 - 12, 2019; Malibu, California

Residential 5: February 9 - 15, 2020; Malibu, California

Residential 6 & DBA conference: May 24 - 30, 2020; Malibu, CA

Year Three

Dissertation defense: Malibu, California

DBA conference: June 2021; Calabasas, California

Integrated Research Seminar-Measuring Global Impact in Business Research Design  
Research Apprenticeship Directed Study  
Quantitative Methods I Research Proposal  
Qualitative Methods I Dissertation  
DBA Conference DBA Conference  
Year OneYear TwoYear Three
Epistemology and Theory Building Wrap up: Quantitative Methods I and Qualitative Methods I Dissertation
Integrated Research Seminar-Innovation Quantitative Methods II DBA Conference
Integrated Research Seminar-Leadership in the 21st Century Qualitative Methods II  

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 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 two-three day scholarly event that provides the opportunity for students to present their ideas for peer review and comment, and to enhance their own research by hearing about other scholarly research. The DBA Conference will feature guest keynote faculty, as well as DBA students, other doctoral students within Pepperdine University, and potentially other DBA programs nationally and abroad.