2024 Best Online PhD in Management Programs [Doctorate Guide]

By Jason Collins
Updated on February 1, 2024
Ready to start your journey?

There are many compelling reasons to pursue your PhD in Management. If you enjoy leading others, a doctoral program in management might be a strategic next step in your career path.

Best Online PhD in Management Programs

Earning a PhD in Management can help you learn how to use your research and analytical skills to make high-stakes decisions that can impact your business and staff alike.

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Here we’ll take a closer look at what is involved in earning a management PhD.

Online PhD in Management Programs

Online PhD in Management Programs

There are two major types of management doctoral degrees: a Ph.D. in Management and a Doctor of Management.

A PhD focuses more on research and theory, examining how to approach and resolve common issues. Students who pursue this degree are often employed in an academic field, with many graduates becoming professors, deans, and school superintendents.

The Doctor of Management program emphasizes the practical application of management skills.

Those who earn their Doctor of Management often look forward to advancing a career in business, starting their own company, or working in executive-level roles.

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The courses studied in either program are designed to provide you with greater insight into high-stakes decision-making and the processes businesses use to thrive and succeed. These programs are typically designed to teach:

  • Quantitative vs. qualitative research methods
  • Statistical analysis
  • Strategic resources management
  • Leadership ethics
  • Creative problem solving

It’s common for a PhD program to have a dissertation component. Many doctoral programs also ask students to apply the skills learned in these courses in complex real-life and fictitious scenarios to test and challenge them.

These skills can help you be more prepared for situations you’ll encounter in business-related careers. Whether you pursue a career in academia or business, a doctoral program in management can help equip you to deal with complex issues.

Management Careers & Salaries

Management Careers & Salaries

The career options you can choose to pursue can vary based on your academic concentration throughout your studies. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are the median salaries of some of the careers related to terminal studies in management.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Chief Executives $179,520
Computer and Information Systems Managers $159,010
Financial Managers $131,710
Compensation and Benefits Managers
Sales Managers $127,490
Human Resources Managers $126,230
Training and Development Managers $120,130
General and Operations Managers $97,970
Postsecondary Education Administrators $96,910
Business Teachers, Postsecondary $94,360

In a management PhD program, you’ll be asked to explore various methods of research and analysis, which could broaden your horizons for future careers.

You may also be encouraged to choose a focus for your studies, which could allow greater insight into a particular facet of management and impact future career decisions.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, positive job growth is projected for executive and managerial roles as well as roles in academia.

Management PhD Curriculum & Courses

Management PhD Curriculum

The courses offered for management PhD programs vary from school to school. In most cases, though, coursework is geared toward helping students reach a higher level of analytical skills within a business setting.

Throughout a management doctorate program, you may encounter courses like the following:

  • Management Theory: This course explores various managerial types and patterns.
  • Finance and Financial Management: This class discusses the monetary aspects of business management.
  • Leadership Techniques for Global Business: In our global economy, the decisions leaders make have an impact around the world, and this class explores how to make an impact.
  • Organization Innovation: This course highlights how people at all levels of an organization can inspire change—and each other.
  • Leadership Theory: This course looks at the behaviors and motivations of leaders throughout history.
  • Applied Systems Thinking: Collaboration and seeking patterns in problem-solving are two skills highlighted in this course.
  • Quantitative Research Method and Theory: This course teaches how to conduct research based on facts and objective information.
  • Qualitative Research Method and Theory: In this course, sociological patterns and behaviors are used to create theories.
  • Strategic Management: Strategies such as the ones studied in this course can be very important to high-level players in a variety of management fields.
  • Statistical Analysis: In the business world, the bottom line is impacted by many factors. This course is an exploration of some of these factors.

The specific curriculum in each PhD in Management program will differ from school to school. It is very likely, though, that you’ll be asked to research, analyze, and exercise a variety of methods and theories related to business management in your courses.

Admissions Requirements

Management PhD Requirements

Each online program will have different admissions requirements, so it’s helpful to review each school’s admission criteria and application carefully before applying. In many cases, you will likely be asked to provide:

  • GRE or GMAT scores (only some schools require them)
  • Completed online application
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Transcripts from bachelor’s and master’s programs
  • Personal statement

Some doctoral programs in management require a master’s degree, such as a masters in global management online or on campus, for example, while others do not. In addition, some programs may require your previous degrees to be in a business or management field. If this is the case for you, and you don’t yet have a master’s, you may want to consider one of the master’s degree in management online programs that a growing number of universities offer.

Doctoral Management Programs Accreditation

Doctoral Management Programs Accreditation

There are many online doctoral management programs available to students, and there are advantages to choosing a course of study that is regionally accredited. Accredited programs and schools have been found to meet rigorous standards for educational and student services.

Additional benefits to attending accredited schools include eligibility for scholarships and grants. Selecting an accredited program can also make it easier to transfer credits during your course of study if you choose to apply to another school or program.

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Graduating from an accredited program may also be a prerequisite for membership in professional associations. You can visit the US Department of Education’s website to verify the accreditation status of prospective schools.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Doctoral Management Programs financial aid

If you’re looking for assistance in paying for your tuition, there are several options you can explore.

One option is to apply for federal aid by completing the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This type of financial aid offers grants or loans based on financial need.

The school you choose to attend may also award a variety of grants and scholarships for students based on academic performance. This may be related to a prior degree or based on your performance in your specific program or concentration.

Some employers provide educational assistance to qualifying workers as well.

What Can You Do with a PhD in Management?

PhD in Management careers

Those who pursue a doctoral program in management can continue in a variety of fields. Some professionals prefer to choose careers in management, directorial, or executive roles in fields such as finance, human resources, or training and development.

Others use their degree to explore postsecondary academic opportunities. They may become college professors, education administrators, school superintendents, or college presidents.

Those who work in academia may also pursue research opportunities.

How Long Does It Take to Get a PhD in Management Degree Online?

PhD in Management Degree Online

While each program has different requirements, it generally takes 3 to 5 years of study to complete a PhD in Management degree online. If you maintain full-time enrollment throughout your online management degree program and are not required to complete a dissertation, you may be able to receive your degree in just 3 years.

Many programs require PhD candidates to complete a dissertation, a comprehensive exam in a specialized area of concentration, and a professional residency to graduate. These factors may extend the length of a program.

What’s the Difference Between a DBA vs. PhD in Management?

There are several differences between a PhD in Management and a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA). Here are some of the main ways in which these programs differ:

PhD in Management Doctor of Business Administration
  • Focuses on developing theories and understanding existing theories
  • Examines the evolution of business practices
  • Pursues the social implications of business practices and innovation
  • Studies policies and policy implementation
  • Focuses on problem-solving organizational issues and downstream complications
  • Examines the application of current theories to real-life scenarios
  • Pursues activating change in global business to impact society at large
  • Studies policy impact for various businesses

Those who pursue a PhD in Management typically focus more on the “why” and “how” of business. Those in a DBA program generally put those theories to use in management or executive roles.

Is a Doctorate in Management Worth It?

Doctorate in Management

Yes, a doctorate in management is worth it for many students.

A management doctoral degree can help open many career paths. Depending on your concentration and program, you may be interested in a more academic role or one directly impacting business.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects steady growth over the next ten years for careers in the fields of both management and education. For instance, top executives and postsecondary teachers are expected to see employment increases of 8% and 12% respectively.

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This could mean that more professionals will be needed in managerial or executive roles as well as teaching and administrative positions.

Universities Offering Online Doctorate in Management Degree Program

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 offers an online program for a Doctor of Philosophy in Business Management, Strategy, and Innovation. It seeks to cultivate dynamic, knowledgeable graduates who will serve as leaders in the ever-changing business world.

The program requires the completion of 75 credits and includes studies in foresight, business strategy, and the identification of innovative opportunities.

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Colorado Technical University

Colorado Technical University campus

The Doctor of Management program at Colorado Technical University requires the completion of 100 credit hours. Students in the program can specialize in Executive Leadership, Healthcare Management, Homeland Security, or Organizational Development.

The program is primarily completed online, but it is complemented by some in-person symposium components. Its goal is to ensure flexibility around students’ schedules while providing important networking opportunities.

Colorado Technical University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Liberty University

Liberty University campus

The online Doctorate in Management and Organization program at Liberty University allows students to cater their degree to their career goals. It offers concentrations in Entrepreneurship, Executive Coaching, and Leadership. Most students finish the 60 required credit hours in 3 years.

Liberty generously permits students with qualifying credits to transfer in up to half of their degree credits from other institutions.

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

Maharishi International University

Maharishi International University campus

At the core of Maharishi International University’s PhD in Management are sustainable business practices and leadership. This online program seeks to support students’ success not only in business but in their personal lives as well.

The program aims to teach vital communication and research skills and encourages students to pursue holistic personal growth through daily meditation practice.

Maharishi International University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Sullivan University

Sullivan University campus

Sullivan University’s PhD in Management is often an ideal next step for individuals hoping to go into management consulting, upper-level public or corporate leadership, or teaching. Classes can be taken at one of three campuses or online.

Part-time students can typically complete the program in 4 years, while full-time students can usually finish in 2 years.

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

Trident University International

Trident University International campus

Trident University International’s PhD in Business Administration program aims to equip students with the skills needed to become top-tier problem-solvers, researchers, and leaders.

Prior to the completion of their dissertations, students must take 10 core courses. These courses focus on research methods and theory and the student’s chosen concentration.

Trident University International is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix campus1

The University of Phoenix’s Doctor of Management program allows students to specialize in either Organizational Leadership or Information Systems. This fully online program requires the completion of 54 credits, which most students can complete in under 4 years.

Courses are 8 weeks long and completed one at a time, making the workload more manageable for those with busy schedules.

The University of Phoenix is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of the Cumberlands

University of the Cumberlands campus

The Doctor of Philosophy in Business program at the University of the Cumberlands is designed for students pursuing careers in academia, research, or business leadership. This online program requires the completion of 66 credit hours.

Core courses include Managerial Accounting, Comparative Economics, Inferential Statistics, and Qualitative Research.

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

Walden University

Walden University campus

Walden University’s online Doctorate in Management program offers multiple specializations to encourage students to pursue their individual passions. Options include Management in Human Resources, Information Systems, Organizational Innovation, and Leadership.

Students who complete the program graduate with not only their PhD in Management but also a Master of Philosophy in Management as well.

Walden University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Wayland Baptist University

Wayland Baptist University campus

The 60 credit hour Doctor of Management program at Wayland Baptist University is designed to teach fundamental skills in research and leadership. It aims to prepare students for management careers in commercial, government, nonprofit, and educational sectors.

The program is fully online and can typically be completed in 10 terms.

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

Getting Your Doctor of Management Online

Doctor of Management Online

Choosing to get your doctoral management degree could lead to many prospective career options in a variety of fields. There are many management doctorate programs available online, which can allow for greater flexibility for working professionals. 

To get started, you could research each of the best online business degree options in detail to determine which one fits your needs the best. You can also look at degree concentrations to see which one best aligns with your interests.

Getting your PhD in Management is a strategic choice for many professionals. It can help you develop advanced knowledge in business management theory and practice.

If you’ve decided this is the educational path for you, you can take the first step in your doctoral journey today by exploring available management doctorate degrees from accredited universities.

Ready to start your journey?
Jason has a bachelor in English Literature from Loyola Marymount University with a minor in history. A life-long learner with a love of science, philosophy, and history, he works in career enrichment, professional development, and improved business practices.