Jul 14, 2024  
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog

Business Administration, D.B.A

Department: Dean’s Office

This major shares core requirements with the Business Administration, Ph.D.  

This is a self-supporting program.  Information on tuition and fees can be found here.

Please note: With the exception of the Department of Children and Family (DCF) waivers, all other waivers (including State of Florida and USF employee) are not accepted for Self-Funded/Self-Supporting or Market Rate Tuition program courses. For additional information, visit: USF Tuition Waiver.


The D.B.A. degree program offered by the Muma College of Business provides its graduates with the skills needed to conduct rigorous research with the objective of applying the findings to real-world decision-making in industry and government. The Program provides for intellectual growth as students work closely with faculty in seminars, research projects, and other assignments that develop their research skills and ability to communicate their findings to a broad audience of both practitioners and researchers. It also offers students the opportunity to develop a portfolio of skills that, when combined with the extensive experience that they bring into the program, uniquely qualifies them to serve in clinical faculty positions.

The curriculum is designed to build upon the breadth of business understanding that they have previously achieved as successful executives. This is achieved by offering substantive coverage of a broad variety of qualitative and quantitative research techniques and by allowing students the flexibility to focus more deeply on their personal areas of interest during the dissertation phases of the program. The degree conferred is a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), a terminal degree so-named to differentiate it from the Ph.D. degree that specifically focuses on preparing students for an academic research career within a specific discipline. Students will complete the 3-year program in a cohort with other executives. Classes are scheduled all day for two consecutive days approximately one weekend a month for six 5-month semesters. Each semester is divided into 2 quarters, with a one-month break between semesters. Face-to-face classes are heavily supplemented by online activities between face-to-face classes. The weekend format allows participants to continue carrying their careers while they master a range of applied research skills.

Accredited by the AACSB International –The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Admission Information

Must meet University Admission and English Proficiency requirements as well as requirements for admission to the major, listed below.

  • Master’s degree or under exceptional circumstances, candidates with an undergraduate degree from an accredited, or equivalent, institution with a minimum US GPA of 3.00 or equivalent. In some situations, additional preparatory course work may be required.
  • At least 12 years of professional work experience, at least 5 of which must be at a senior managerial, senior technical or executive level
  • Personal statement
  • Interview

Curriculum Requirements

Minimum Hours: 72 Credit Hours post-bachelors

  • Shared Core Requirements – 5 Credit Hours
  • Additional Required Courses – 28 Credit Hours
  • Publication courses – 9 Credit Hours
  • Issue courses – 10 Credit Hours
  • Dissertation Proposal - 4 Credit Hours 
  • Directed Research - 8 Credit Hours
  • Dissertation or Doctoral Project – 8 Credit Hours

Shared Core Requirements (5 Credit Hours)

Additional Required Courses (28 Credit Hours)

Provides students with exposure to research methods and research in the multi-disciplinary topics that represent the current areas of focus of the Muma College of Business.  

These required courses consist of:

Publication Courses (9 Credit Hours)

These courses have a substantial distance learning and collaboration component between class meetings, with members of the cohort being required to peer review each other’s work and make revisions. They represent an extension of previous courses, and require the students to create publishable documents, such as journal, conference and book chapter submissions. Depending upon the particular publication project, each course will have one of the following designations:

Issues Courses (10 Credit Hours)

These courses are intended to run in parallel with proposal and dissertation activities. Although meeting according to the same schedule as regular courses, issues courses offer fewer credits than regular or publication courses, and therefore have commensurately reduced outside workloads to avoid interfering with the dissertation process. Members of the cohort select the topics from a list of proposals made by faculty members and other members of the cohort. Students may also elect to facilitate issues courses under the direction of a faculty supervisor, who acts as the instructor of record. Depending on the topic being taught, these courses may be any of the following:

Dissertation Proposal Course (4 Credit Hours)

The proposal course requires the student be matched to a four (4) person Dissertation Committee and submit a dissertation proposal for approval by the Committee. For the purpose of the DBA degree program, the course requirements for both dissertation and doctoral project proposals are the same. Prior to the proposal course, students will take the university-mandated qualifying exam, whose results will be assessed by the DBA Committee. Proposal courses are graded Pass/Fail, and must be passed.

Comprehensive Qualifying Exam and Doctoral Candidacy

Students must meet the University requirements for the Comprehensive Qualifying Exam and Doctoral Candidacy.

Directed Research (8 Credit Hours)

Dissertation/Doctoral Project (8 Credit Hours)

Students are required to complete a dissertation or doctoral project, as approved by his or her committee. 

All students take eight (8) hours of Directed Research and then either eight (8) hours of Dissertation or Doctoral Project.


Dissertation courses are offered every quarter throughout the student’s last year, upon satisfactory completion of at least 44 course credits, four (4) proposal credits, and Admission to Doctoral Candidacy. These courses require the student to work towards the completion of the Dissertation approved by his or her committee. Dissertation courses are graded Pass/Fail, and must be passed. 

Because the DBA degree is designed to be responsive to the needs of the Candidate, there is some flexibility in the form that the Dissertation can take—subject to approval by the Committee. University policy allows for two variations in the format: 

1. A traditional research dissertation

2. Collection of articles/papers

The Candidate will meet with members of the Committee during each residency of the final year of the major, and will present his or her dissertation to the Committee in the final semester of the major. Upon successful completion of the dissertation defense presentation, the Dissertation Committee will then approve the awarding of the Degree, subject to all remaining curriculum program requirements being met, including submission of the Dissertation to the Office of Graduate Studies.

Doctoral Project

Or, a student may opt to complete a doctoral project in lieu of the Dissertation.  Examples that could be approved might include:

  1. a practice-focused book submitted for publication, 
  2. a write-up of a substantial work-related project in which the principles of evidence-based research were applied 
  3. a portfolio of related research products/activities that demonstrate knowledge creation or innovative application in a given area. Such a portfolio might include journal, book, magazine articles, conference papers and presentations. 

Students completing the Doctoral Project earn their required eight (8) credit hours by taking courses specifically designated as doctoral project courses by the program. In the event such courses are not available in the catalog, special topics courses designated “Selected Topics: Doctoral Project” may be substituted. These courses are graded Pass/Fail, and must be passed.  Confirmation of successful completion of the Doctoral Project must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies.

External Activity Requirements

In addition to the major’s course requirements, each student is required to participate in three external activities that involve meeting with academics and/or doctoral students from other institutions. Examples of such activities could include academic conferences, workshops, colloquiums, doctoral symposiums or academic association annual or regional meetings. At least one of these should include a substantial proportion of international attendees.

Grading Requirements

Proposal, Dissertation, and Directed Research courses are graded Pass/Fail, and must be passed. Students must complete all remaining courses with a grade of “B” or better.  Should a student fail to pass or complete a course with the required grade, the DBA Degree Program Committee may offer an alternative activity as a substitute.

Other Requirements

As a result of the program’s cohort structure, normally all doctoral coursework must be completed at the University of South Florida within the DBA degree program. Students seeking to transfer from other majors should contact the DBA Academic Graduate Director prior to applying. All program requirements will normally be completed in three (3) years, as part of a cohort. In the event of unavoidable interruptions to a student’s progress, the student may petition the DBA Graduate Committee for an extension up to a maximum of five (5) years from the student’s original starting date. Any student not completing all program requirements within the five (5) year time period will be dropped from the program and the student would need to re-apply for admission to the major in the event he or she wishes to continue.