Doctor of Business Administration

Mission Statement

The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program is dedicated to creating a doctoral learning opportunity for business professionals in Appalachia. Through qualified and experienced faculty, students are provided the skills necessary to advance the practice of business in a diverse and evolving global economy, further the body of knowledge and research, and balance the pursuit of prosperous business practices. Graduates from this degree program are able to develop the knowledge and analytical capability to lead an organization in adapting, evolving, and learning in an ever-changing environment; acquire and apply knowledge of behavioral, policy, and strategic issues to improve organizational effectiveness; facilitate and communicate advanced analytic and problem solving capabilities grounded in sound academic and practical research.

Program Overview

The LMU DBA program requires the completion of 60 credit hours, and follows an online format. The DBA program utilizes a cohort model, wherein students take a maximum of six (6) credit hours per semester. The program is intended for upwardly mobile professionals and recent MBA graduates with exceptional academic backgrounds. DBA Foundation classes are the four main components of the LMU MBA core. A DBA candidate who has previously completed an MBA degree may transfer 12 credit hours of equivalent MBA courses into the DBA degree to fulfill the requirement of the DBA Foundations courses. The DBA core is comprised of four (4) classes that will provide a basis for understanding business theory and application in today’s market. The Management and Marketing concentrations are each comprised of four (4) classes. Four (4) DBA research classes are required to teach students how to conduct proper and credible research. Finally, students will complete 12 hours of dissertation credit while working with their dissertation committee.

Expected outcomes of the DBA include:

  • DBA1  Students will evaluate and apply core business theories and strategies relating to microeconomics, management, leadership, and marketing to promote organizational growth, innovation, and competitive advantage.
  • DBA2  Students will demonstrate the ability to generate innovative ideas and solutions through a variety of creative thinking techniques and processes, and will communicate these ideas effectively to varying audiences.
  • DBA3  Students will communicate effectively and persuasively in oral and written formats.
  • DBA4  Students will locate, evaluate, and use information effectively to solve problems, make decisions, and communicate ideas.
  • DBA5  Students will design, deliver, and evaluate effective and engaging pedagogical methods that meet the needs and interests of diverse learners.
  • DBA6  Students will conduct rigorous and ethical research using a variety of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. Students will construct research questions and hypotheses, select appropriate methods, collect and analyze data, and interpret and report findings.
  • DBA7  Develop, conduct, and defend original research through the dissertation process.

Expected outcomes of the Management concentration include:

  • MGMT1  Students will develop the knowledge and analytical capability to lead an organization in adapting, evolving, and learning in an ever- changing environment
  • MGMT2  Student will acquire and apply knowledge of behavioral, policy, and strategic issues to improve organizational effectiveness.

Expected outcomes of the Marketing concentration include:

  • MKTG1  Students will apply integrated marketing communications strategies that aid in advancement of global branding. 
  • MKTG2  Students will examine the psychological, sociological, and cultural variables that influence buyer motivation.
  • MKTG3  Students will evaluate the use of data-driven decision making within the marketing sector, and apply statistical methodologies as they relate to product analytics, marketing-mix analytics, customer analytics, and digital analytics. 

DBA Admission Requirements & Procedures

Students must submit the online application for admission, application essays, the $50 application fee, a current resume, official transcripts showing the completion of a regionally accredited bachelor’s degree, official transcripts showing the completion of a regionally accredited master’s degree with a cumulative GPA of a 3.5, official transcripts of all other undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate/professional course work from regionally accredited institutions, and two (2) recommendation letters from professionals in the field.

International students must have a minimum score of 70 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or a six (6) on the IELTS exam. In cases where a foreign student is otherwise qualified for admission to the program, but his/her TOEFL score indicates the need for additional English language instruction, he/she might be admitted conditionally to the program pending satisfactory completion of the necessary courses.

If an applicant, domestic or international, has completed their bachelor’s degree in a country other than the United States, the applicant is required to submit a degree evaluation report from a reputable credentialing service (WES – World Education Services, that demonstrates degree and course equivalency. The official report for each degree evaluation report must be submitted directly from the credentialing service and provided to the School of Business; Graduate Department; 421 Park 40 North Blvd., Knoxville, TN 37923.

The admission decision is based on an evaluation ofall application materials submitted by the individual. The following are criteria utilized in the decision process:

  1. DBA application
  2. Previous work experience
  3. Undergraduate GPA
  4. Graduate GPA
  5. Specific course work completed
  6. Two (2) recommendation letters
  7. Writing Sample

Conditional DBA Student Status

Under special circumstances, a person who does not meet the requirements for DBA admission may be allowed conditional status. In order to be considered for conditional DBA status, the student must submit official transcripts showing the completion of a regionally accredited bachelor’s degree, transcripts showing the completion of a regionally accredited master’s degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0, as well as the submission of all other DBA admissions documents. If granted conditional DBA status, candidates may take no more than six (6) semester hours of graduate coursework from their planned program within the conditional semester and earn no grade less than “B”. A grade less than “B” disqualifies the candidate from full graduate admission. Students will be granted full graduate admission upon earning grades of “B” or above within all enrolled courses during their first semester within the DBA program.

DBA Handbook

Upon admission, DBA students will be provided with the School of Business Doctor of Business Administration Handbook. This handbook outlines policies and procedures pertaining to the DBA program. Students are required to thoroughly read the handbook and sign the LMU School of

Business: Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) Consent Form. Students will not be allowed to register if the consent form has not been signed and submitted to the appropriate personnel.

Maximum Program Completion

Students who enter the DBA graduate program must complete their studies for their graduate degree within seven
(7) years after initial registration. An extension may be requested of the Program Director for personal or professional reasons.

DBA Dissertation

DBA students who are within the dissertation portion of their program should refer to the LMU School of Business Dissertation Manual for in depth information pertaining to the dissertation and all processes involved.

Students must complete a minimum of 12 credit hours of dissertation work in order to meet graduation requirements. The minimum of 12 hours and maximum of 30 hours for dissertation credit will be assigned a grade based upon the grading scale given in the Graduate Programs Catalog. The grade assigned will become a permanent part of the student’s academic record and will factor into the student’s GPA. DBA students are ineligible to register for dissertation credit hours until they have completed all DBA coursework within their appropriate curriculum. Once course work has been completed, DBA students will be assigned a dissertation committee comprised of three LMU employees. The dissertation committee chair and second committee member must be employed by the LMU School of Business. The third committee member must be employed by LMU. The use of external dissertation committee members is not permitted.

Students within the dissertation portion of their degree must maintain continual enrollment and engagement in their dissertation post-classwork. This means that all candidates must enroll in a minimum of three credit hours of DBA 899 – Dissertation during both Fall and Spring semesters once coursework is completed. If a student completes 12 credit hours of DBA 899 – Dissertation and has not finished their dissertation, the student can then register for 1 credit hour of DBA 899 – Dissertation per semester until the completion of the dissertation. There is not a requirement to take DBA 899 during the summer term, however, if a student wishes to work on their dissertation under the guidance of their Chair during this time, the student will have to register for DBA 899 – Dissertation. Students receiving financial aid should consult with their Financial Aid Officer to determine financial aid guidelines pertaining to credit hours during the dissertation process. It is the responsibility of the candidate to register and maintain enrollment in the program. If a candidate does not enroll as indicated above, the candidate must request reentry into the program by contacting the DBA Program Director. The DBA Program Director will have the candidate make a written request for permission for readmission into DBA 899 and explain reasons for not complying with the requirement of Fall and Spring dissertation enrollment. The DBA Program Director will evaluate the request and forward to the Dean of the School of Business for approval.

Dissertation coursework will be assigned a letter grade of “A” through “F” as outlined within the ‘Grading Scale’ section. Grades earned will be added to the permanent academic record. The permanent academic record in its entirety will be used when evaluating academic probation or dismissal.

Upon completion of the dissertation and all appropriate paperwork as specified in the LMU School of Business Dissertation Manual, students will defend their dissertation. When scheduling a dissertation defense, students should refer to the LMU School of Business Dissertation Manual for date requirements.

DBA Dissertation Academic Dishonesty, Cheating, and Plagiarism Policies

All submissions, drafts, edits, and final copies of dissertation manuscripts will be evaluated for plagiarism, inappropriate citation, and substantive misrepresentation by both electronic and manual means. It is the expectation that any and all work submitted by an LMU DBA candidate is solely and originally the work of the candidate and does not include inappropriately represented work from any outside source, nor does it resubmit the candidates previous work from another project. It is at the discretion of the Committee Chair to evaluate candidate work for violation of this policy. Any evidence suggesting that this policy has been violated, regardless of how small, will subject the candidate to dismissal from the LMU DBA program. 

Dissertation submissions for the LMU DBA program should be solely the work of the DBA candidate. No part of any dissertation submission, draft, or final copy should include any portion, regardless of how small, that has been generated by artificial intelligence. All dissertation submissions will be subject to verification of originality through the use of available technology and software to detect any part which may have not been solely and originally composed by the DBA candidate. Upon verification by two or more independent sources that this policy has been violated, the DBA candidate will be subject to dismissal from the LMU DBA program.

DBA Graduation Requirements

No student will be allowed to participate in Commencement exercises until all degree requirements have been met.

The following requirements must be met for earning the DBA degree:

  1. Completion of 60 semester credit hours of approved DBA courses
  2. Successful defense of the DBA dissertation
  3. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (B)
  4. The receipt of no more than two course grades of ‘C’ or below.
  5. Completion of all outcomes assessment testing and activities
  6. The completion of the DBA degree within seven (7) years
  7. Payment of all fees

Final Evaluation for the DBA Program

As part of the outcomes assessment procedures, students are required to complete the following items prior to graduation:

  • An exit interview
  • All graduating student surveys

Degrees and Certificates


DBA-705: Microeconomics: Theory of the Firm

Credits 3

This course teaches advanced concepts of microeconomics theory, with emphasis on the firms.  It briefly introduces the technology and tools that firs use to minimize cost and maximize profit.  Then the course will switch briefly to consumer utility maximization subjected to a budget constraint. Later it delves deeply into firm behaviors and game theory.  It explores firms’ actions in profit maximizing production level and pricing mechanism in both certain and uncertain environments (with asymmetric information).

DBA-706: Marketing Strategy, Structures, & Systems

Credits 3

This advanced marketing course examines modern marketing trends and coordinating strategies employed by businesses in today’s environment. Students will examine the structures and systems necessary to successfully deploy marketing strategies that aid in the attainment of organizational goals. Course topics will include customer cultivation, digital branding, identifying market needs, customer relationship management, customer segmentation, building brand communities, & value proposition formation.

DBA-708: Competitive Advantage & Innovative Management

Credits 3

Competitive advantage dominates the business world. This course examines the intricacies of creation and continuation of competitive advantages both domestically and internationally. To achieve this continuance, innovative management is required. Measures to promote innovation within the organization to improve products and services, capture new markets, and increase cost savings will be evaluated

DBA-714: Managerial Decision Making & Business Policy

Credits 3

This course helps students make good decisions about strategic business issues involving ambiguity and uncertainty. Students will understand how to structure the decision-making process using quantitative techniques such as decision trees and simulation as well as qualitative techniques such as estimating probabilities. An effective manager needs to frame the problem appropriately, prioritize objectives, generate meaningful alternatives, estimate probabilities, and know how to gain support within the organization.

DBA-716: Organizational Behavior & Leadership

Credits 3

This course explores several different dimensions of organizational behavior and leadership by examining the theory and practice of management with regards to individual differences, group processes, and behavioral dynamics. Students will learn how behavior can vary depending on the interactions of the individual and the context in which it occurs.

DBA-717: Organizational Theory

Credits 3

This course introduces students to the historical roots, development, and contemporary understandings of organizations and their environments. Perspectives are multidisciplinary drawing from economics, sociology, political science, management, public administration, and strategy. This course explores the role of the individual in organizations, group and organizational processes, definitions of the environment, and the interactions between the organization and the environment.

DBA-718: Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Credits 3

This course helps students make good decisions about strategic business issues involving ambiguity and uncertainty. Students will understand how to structure the decision-making process using quantitative techniques such as decision trees and simulation as well as qualitative techniques such as estimating probabilities. An effective manager needs to frame the problem appropriately, prioritize objectives, generate meaningful alternatives, estimate probabilities, and know how to gain support within the organization.

DBA-730: Advanced Consumer Behavior

Credits 3

This course examines consumers in their roles as buyers, users, and evaluators of goods and services.  Students will study the psychological, sociological, and cultural variables that influence buyer motivation.  Emphasis will be placed on research relating to consumer perception, learning, identity, personality, attitude formation and change, decision making, consumption, post-purchase behaviors, and more.

DBA-731: Data-Driven Marketing Management

Credits 3

The course explores the importance of utilizing data for heightened decision making and competitive advantage throughout the marketing management process.  Course concepts include the use of data within the formulation, implementation, and evaluation stages of marketing plans. Students will examine the use of statistical analysis methods as they apply to the marketing research and analytics sectors.

DBA-732: Global Brand Strategy

Credits 3

Today’s brands are a powerful force going beyond the world’s borders, economies, and cultures. This course introduces the student to the global brand dynamic and focuses on why a global brand is important, how to nurture and protect a global brand, global brand management, and the importance of the brand’s authenticity in the formation of the consumer’s brand trust and commitment.

DBA-733: Integrated Maketing Communication

Credits 3

The emphasis of this course is to present current trends in marketing communication, its objectives, and to give students a valuable starting point for further research on the topic. Students learn the latest trends in marketing communication along with the tools and options available for a marketing communication campaign. The course will focus on the effective formulation of strategic integrated marketing communication (IMC) programs and processes covering areas such as, but not limited to, the social media as an IMC tool in conjunction with the seminal use of advertising, promotion, public relations. The student will develop dynamic strategic marketing communications by analyzing the elements and impact of integrated marketing communication including current trends, technology, and other macro-environmental issues.

DBA-804: Doctoral Statistics

Credits 3

Doctoral statistics is a course in applied statistics. It assumes students have a fundamental knowledge of statistical methodologies. Topics such as hypothesis testing, measures of central tendency, measures of variability, analysis of variance and regression analysis will be reviewed.

DBA-805: Qualitative Research Design & Analysis

Credits 3

This course will allow students to extend their research skills by exploring qualitative research methodology and design types. The course will cover qualitative designs such as case study, phenomenology, grounded theory, and ethnography. Students will demonstrate practical knowledge in solving problems as they engage in the practical application of writing and critical-thinking skills with solid theoretical foundations underlying social and behavioral research methods applied to the study of business organizations. Dissertation design and format will be covered.

DBA-806: Quantitative Research Design & Analysis

Credits 3

This course introduces students to the quantitative method of design and analysis in a research study. Students will learn how to critique and evaluate existing research using a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives. Students will learn to use quantitative data-management and analysis techniques and will utilize SPSS software for these processes. Specifically, students will be introduced to quantitative survey research methods, building on the premise that statistical methods can be applied in a practical fashion. Students will be guided through the various steps of the survey research process and will apply learning through a course project. This course covers basic concepts underlying statistical and quantitative reasoning but is not intended for students to become fully grounded in statistical methods.

DBA-807: Multivariate Data Analysis

Credits 3

This course introduces multivariate methods and provides students with instruction in fundamental concepts of data refinement, analysis, and interpretation. Concepts are applied in a multidisciplinary fashion covering various business functions and the social sciences. Particular interest is given to managerial decision-making and application with regards to research.

MGMT-720: Organizational Culture & Change

Credits 3

This course focuses on the holistic understanding of organizational culture and change. Historical perspectives on culture and change theories will be introduced and discussed along with current case studies