10 Best Online PhD in International Business Programs [2021 Doctorate Guide]

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If you’re a business professional looking for career advancement on the global scale, consider earning an online PhD in international business.

Online PhD in International Business

For many, it’s an exciting, fast-growing field with new jobs being created every day, and a doctorate degree can help you obtain the experience you need to handle its challenges.

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Additionally, with an online business degree program, you’ll be able to earn your degree almost anywhere and anytime.

Online Doctorate in International Business Programs

Senior Economist and colleague working in the office

An international business degree can help prepare you for work in a variety of fields. Rather than being a specialized degree that trains you for a niche job market, it’s considered a “generalist” degree that you can apply to many different jobs.

Are you good with numbers? You might become an economist that watches worldwide trends or a financial manager that oversees the books for a global company.

Do you have a knack for business? You might find work as a data analyst or management consultant for expanding brands, or you might become a business development director that helps companies launch new products and services overseas.

As befitting a degree with “international” in the title, there are also many opportunities for working abroad. If you’re creative, for example, you might become a global marketing director that works on advertising campaigns in foreign countries.

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If you’re more administrative, you might become a logistics manager that supervises cross-country supply routes, you might work in international trade compliance to ensure that companies aren’t cutting corners with overseas shipments.

Some of your career options will depend on the exact degree that you pursue. You’ll have several choices:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in International Business
  • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) with a concentration in International Business
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Business Administration or Business Management with an emphasis in International Business

You can also find certification programs for certain aspects of global business. These can supplement your education and add a little extra flair to your resume.

International Business Careers & Salaries

International Business Careers & Salaries

An online PhD in global business can help prepare you for a variety of careers. Whether you’re interested in finance, economics, retail, computer science, human resources or foreign relations, a doctorate degree can help qualify you for high-level roles that aren’t always open to people with just a bachelor’s or master’s.

The payoffs can be lucrative, too. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median salary with a doctoral degree is $110,200. Some careers in the international business field include:

Careers Annual Median Salary
Chief Executive $185,950
Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Manager $141,490
Financial Manager $134,180
Economist $108,350
Top Executive $107,680
Economics Teacher, Postsecondary $107,260
General and Operations Manager $103,650
Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Manager $96,390
Management Analyst $87,660
Operations Research Analyst $86,200

Just remember that these are median salaries and not full salary ranges. For example, an economics professor can make anywhere from $53,860 – $152,110 per year. Having a PhD usually puts you on the higher end of that salary range, but it isn’t a guarantee.

International Business Curriculum & Courses

International Business student studying online at home

PhD programs are just as different as the professors that teach them, so your exact curriculum as a PhD student will depend on what you’re studying, where you’re attending school and what specializations or certifications that you’re seeking.

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To give you an idea of your potential course load, however, here are a few classes that are often taught to international business students at the PhD level:

  • Research Methods: Expect to take multiple classes in research methodology and analysis as a PhD student.
  • International Business Law: These classes cover things like tariffs, taxes, treaties, contracts and licensing agreements between global brands.
  • Econometrics: Econometrics is at the junction of statistics and economics. A highly data-driven subject, it’s usually offered as an elective for business students, but some universities might have it as a core class.
  • Cultural Studies: These classes can have many different names, including “Customs and Cultures Across Borders” and “Cultural Aspects of International Trade,” but they’re all focused on doing business in unfamiliar lands.
  • International Finance and Banking: These classes can help you navigate international finance and all of its currencies, markets and exchanges.
  • Global Politics: This is a must-have for government work and a nice-to-have for any international business student who wants a background in things like economics and foreign policy.
  • Leadership and Management: While not exclusive to international business programs, these classes can be valuable to future business leaders who want a strong foundation in communication, organization and workplace infrastructure.
  • Strategic Decision Making: Learn how to assess risks and solve problems with classes that combine old-fashioned critical thinking with new-school data analysis and business management.
  • Special Topics in International Business: There’s always something happening in global business, and these courses adapt to the times by offering current, relevant studies on topical subjects.
  • Dissertation: Most PhD programs require a dissertation, and you can expect to spend several semesters drafting, proposing, researching and defending it.

You should also speak to your university about the face-to-face requirements of your degree. Even if you’re enrolled in an online program, you might need to fulfill internship obligations or complete business practicums to give you real-world experience in the field.

Admissions Requirements

International Business student studying on his laptop at a cafe

Admission to a doctorate program can be quite competitive. To improve your chances, do your research on what the school is looking for in its PhD candidates.

Typical admissions requirements can include:

  • College transcripts. You’ll need to submit your bachelor’s and master’s degree transcripts. If you haven’t taken any prior coursework related to business, you might need additional documentation to prove that you can handle graduate-level study for it.
  • Test scores. Many PhD programs will want to see GRE or GMAT scores. However, there are some schools where this requirement can be waived.
  • Letters of recommendation. You’ll want 2 – 3 letters of recommendation from suitable individuals such as professors and industry personnel.
  • Resume or CV. Include all jobs, licenses, certifications and publications that demonstrate your proficiency for international business.
  • Statement of purpose. Also called a “letter of intent” or “research statement,” this is your chance to showcase your passion for international business and to mention any other accolades or achievements that might sway the admissions board.

Start early with the PhD admissions process. Some universities have deadlines that are months in advance, and you don’t want to miss your window of opportunity.

Accreditation

PhD in International Business Programs Accreditation

As a post-graduate student, you probably know about the importance of accreditation, but it can take on an even deeper meaning for PhD students.

Since you could be pursuing this degree for anywhere from 3 – 7 years, you’ll want to make sure that every credit counts. You’ll also want the security of knowing that your credits are transferable if you ever need to change programs.

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The key is to find a university that’s regionally accredited. This is one of three types of accreditation, and it’s considered the gold standard. You can search for regionally accredited schools through the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

National accreditation and programmatic accreditation are also available, but you’ll want to be careful with them. Sometimes, regionally accredited schools won’t accept transfer credits from nationally accredited schools or vice versa.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Financial Aid for PhD in International Business students

The first step to the financial aid process is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

It’s a common misconception that FAFSA can’t do anything for post-graduate students. In reality, they have an entire loan program called the Direct PLUS Loan for Graduate or Professional Students. They can also determine your eligibility for other types of federal- or state-sponsored assistance.

Another option is scholarships. You can find them for every degree type, including doctorate degrees:

You can also find business scholarships that are open to students at multiple levels of study, including:

Last but not least, ask your school about special funding for PhDs. You might qualify for fellowships or assistantships that can reduce your tuition costs. Some universities even offer fully-funded PhDs that will provide you with a stipend.

What Can You Do With a PhD in International Business?

university professor answering his students questions after the lecture

An international business degree can take you in many different directions. If you want to work with data, for example, you could become an economist, market researcher or business intelligence manager. If you’re interested in working overseas, you could become an international trade analyst or foreign service officer.

If you like research, many PhD holders become full-time researchers, or they find teaching or consulting jobs in universities, government agencies and Fortune 500 companies.

There are endless career opportunities for international business students. Whether you’re interested in finance, policy, technology, marketing or even political science, a doctorate-level degree with a global emphasis can be a very good bet for the future.

Can I Pursue a PhD After an MBA?

PhD in International Business student studying on her laptop

It’s entirely possible to pursue a doctorate degree after getting your MBA.

One of the most common tracks is to go from a Master of Business Administration (MBA) to a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), but you can also opt for other business-related degrees. The same can be applied for an online Master’s in International Business to a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in International Business.

Some of the best part time MBA programs even have a concentration in international business, which may offer you a solid foundation to continue on at the PhD level.

Are There Any Affordable Online Doctoral Programs in International Business?

The cost of a PhD program can vary from $200 per credit to more than $2,000 per credit. Your tuition rate will depend on where you go to school, how many credits that your program requires for graduation and what kind of financial assistance that you’ll receive.

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You might also want to look into schools with special pricing models. For example, some universities offer banded tuition if you take a certain number of credits each semester, or they might lower tuition for PhD students in their third year of study or above.

Is a PhD in International Business Worth it?

Government Program Managers working together in reviewing documents

Yes, a PhD in International Business is worth it for many students. Everyone has their own criteria for deciding if a degree is worth their time and effort.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, business and financial occupations are projected to grow by 5% over the next decade. That’s faster than the national average, so a degree in a related field can leave you well-poised for employment. Common careers in this field include operations research analyst, warehouse operations manager, economics professor, financial manager, and marketing manager.

Universities Offering Online PhD in International Business

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Capella University

Capella University campus

Capella University’s Doctor of Business Administration in Global Operations and Supply Chain Management program is designed to help students obtain the ability to increase their involvement in global operations. The program, administered online and in person, includes eight core courses, four specialization courses, one doctoral research project, and two residences.

Graduates, drawing on their training in global supply chain design and financial decision-making, are better positioned to work in global operations and supply chain management positions around the world.

  • DBA in Global Operations and Supply Chain Management

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Florida International University

Florida International University campus

Florida International University’s PhD in Business Administration aims to give students a solid foundation in methodological and theoretical training that can catapult their careers forward.

The program requires, among other things, that students choose a concentration in one of accounting, finance, information systems and business analytics, management and international business, and marketing. It helps graduates gain the skills needed to re-energize their careers.

  • PhD in Business – Management and International Business

Florida International University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Keiser University

Keiser University campus

Students who earn a Doctor of Business Administration degree from Keiser University should graduate prepared to advance their careers in the global marketplace. The program is offered online through the university’s graduate campus.

Graduates are expected to leave the program with the ability to work in positions that require assessing business practices from a multi-disciplinary point of view, developing policies and programs, and synthesizing research data to solve complex issues.

  • DBA in Global Business

Keiser University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Liberty University

Liberty University campus

Liberty University’s Doctor of Business Administration is designed to equip students with skills they need to become industry leaders, thought leaders, and executive leaders. Graduates should gain the problem-solving and critical-thinking skills needed to serve at the management levels in the corporate world.

The completely online program goes for an average of three years with 60 credit hours.

  • DBA in International Business

Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Northcentral University

Northcentral University campus

Northcentral University’s International Business Specialization, PhD-BA is designed to equip students with the skills they need when doing business outside of U.S. borders. Students, who will get one-to-one teacher-professor facetime, are required to take 20 courses that add up to 60 credit hours.

They should exit the program prepared for careers in international trade, international leadership, marketing, and management.

  • PhD in International Business

Northcentral University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Ohio State University

Ohio State University campus

Ohio State University’s Management and Human Resources PhD with a specialization in international business help students develop the ability to conduct top-class research.

Specifically, the goal of the program is to make sure graduates are equipped to apply their research skills in management capacities with specializations in strategic management, entrepreneurship, international business, human resource management, and more.

The four-year program involves a rigorous coursework schedule that includes seminars, statistics courses, elective courses, dissertation credits, and more.

  • PhD in International Business

Ohio State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University campus

The Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business’ International Business and Marketing, PhD program aims to provide students with the skills needed to pursue careers in academia. After completing the intensive program, students should be prepared to pursue academic careers, usually as faculty at business schools.

The 54-credit program combines coursework, research seminars, teaching, and dissertation experience.

  • PhD in International Business and Marketing

Saint Louis University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University campus

Southern New Hampshire University is designed to prepare students interested in business or academia for success through its PhD in International Business. Graduates are expected to leave with the skills needed to further their careers in applied business or to pursue teaching professions at colleges or universities.

Since the degree is offered as a cohort program, students can choose either a campus option or an executive low-residency option that features online and campus components.

  • PhD in International Business (Hybrid)

Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

University of North Carolina – Greensboro

University of North Carolina at Greensboro campus

The PhD in Business Administration program from the University of North Carolina – Greensboro is designed to help students gain the skills needed to take on an academic career at an institution of higher learning.

The program aims to position graduates for success in academic careers through a heightened understanding of different conceptual and empirical research methodologies as well as a strong grasp of scholarly literature in the field.

All courses are delivered in an online format — with students only required to go to campus for orientation, exams, and dissertation defense.

  • PhD in Business Administration – International Business

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Walden University

Walden University campus

Walden University’s International Business doctorate degree program aims to prepare graduates with the skills to advance their business interests. Required to focus on a degree specialization such as accounting, finance, global supply chain management, students are expected to leave the university prepared to fulfill their personal and professional goals.

The program is delivered online, and students are required to choose from one of three capstone options — namely traditional doctoral study, portfolio, or consulting.

  • DBA in International Business

Walden is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Getting Your Doctorate in International Business Online

Doctorate in International Business student studying online

Earning a PhD in international business can help propel you forward in the field. Not only can it help you buid a strong foundation in things like finance, marketing and management, but it can also channel your studies through a global perspective to better prepare you for the realities of the international market.

If you enroll in an online program, you’ll also be able to complete your coursework with less time being tied down to a college campus.

Start reaching out to universities to get more information on their online PhD programs for international business. You’ll want to start the application process early to have the best chances of admission, so there’s no reason to wait.

Ready to start your journey?
Joy Cromwelle
WRITTEN BY
Joy Cromwelle
Joy is pursuing her Ph.D. in Public Policy & Foreign Policy and holds a Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management, as well as a Bachelor's in Business Administration. Joy's focus is helping non-traditional students find accelerated degree options and credit for prior learning opportunities.