DBA or Ph.D in Educational Leadership?

Discussion in 'Education, Teaching and related degrees' started by Luciano Batista, Apr 29, 2020.

  1. Luciano Batista

    Luciano Batista New Member

    I have an MBA from an excellent university. What would be better for my future to do a DBA or Ph.D in Educational Leadership, what degree would increase my MBA the most and give me more opportunities in the area of education or in the area of business? Could I teach doctoral classes with a DBA? or as i have an MBA can i complete credits and give business classes too? I prefer and like the administrative area, but both in the DBA and in the Ph.D in Educational Leadership I have to study hard, but will a Ph.D in another area open up more opportunities for me?

  2. Garp

    Garp Active Member

    This is not my field so I hope someone else better wade in. A Ph.D. is generally seen as more impressive than a DBA. First, a DBA is seen as a professional doctorate. Second, many people see DBA and think "Doing Business As".

    That said, if the Ph.D. is in "Leadership" I am not sure whether that will be thought of as a true research doctorate. Many schools have these but they seem to attract people who want a practical doctorate to enhance prestige or their career (kind of a cash cow for the school). In that case a DBA may be better. I believe DBAs do teach at University level. Business Accreditation of the program would be important.

    Another factor is where are you trying to use this. In business school or a school instructing teachers?

    Take what I say with a grain of salt. These are impressions from someone out of his league in this area.
  3. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I, for one, think your post gives great guidance. I'm going to take a shot as well.

    The degree to pursue depends on the goal involved. A DBA is, generally, a professional degree designed to advance practice. It is typically offered to working professionals interested in using the degree--and the education taken to earn it--to advance their careers.

    The PhD is a scholarly degree. It is designed to advance scholarship in the designated field. It is typically used to start (and sometimes advance) one's academic career.

    "Leadership" is most certainly a scholarly field worthy of being studied under the PhD.

    While the DBA is typically a professional degree and the PhD a scholarly one, these lines are often blurred or even ignored. YMMV.

    Also, how the degrees are used cannot be separated cleanly into two categories. There are plenty of examples of DBA holders in traditional academic jobs, and lots of PhD holders in practice outside of academia. Again, YMMV.

    It is important to have a goal in mind and then do the research necessary to be as sure as possible that the choice you make will support your needs both now and into the future. If not, you might have to go back and get another one! :cool:
    Marvin Fontaine likes this.
  4. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    I am sure a DBA from Harvard will fare way better than a Ph.D. from any lower-ranked school. The title of the degree is less significant. The ability to engage in schorly work is usually what matters at R1/R2 universities.
    felderga likes this.
  5. Acolyte

    Acolyte Active Member

    I would think it depends on the position. A Ph.D. Would have a stronger research/academic component where a DBA would have a stronger “applied practice” component. Regardless of where the degrees are from. Who needs a bunch of theory with no practical experience? OR who wants someone from “the trenches” that doesn’t understand how to construct or interpret a proper study? It would depend on the position...maybe, of course.
    Luciano Batista likes this.
  6. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    This depends on the school. For example Harvard awards the DBA but not the PhD. The DBA is considered a scholarly degree, in every way equal to the PhD. But because the degree is not awarded in the arts and sciences, it is a DBA instead of a PhD. I believe their EdD is the same: a PhD with an alternate title because it is not coming from the arts and sciences.

    Also, the gulf between a professional doctorate and a scholarly one isn't as dramatic as you depict. They're far more similar than they are different. Sometimes it is nothing more than institutional prerogative regarding the title. Other times there are real distinctions, where the PhD advances the scholarship in the field of study while the professional doctorate advances practice.

    At Leicester, the difference between the PhD and the DSocSci wasn't about scholarly vs. professional. "Taught" degrees--degrees that had a curricular component like the DSocSci--are given alternate titles, while "Research" degrees--where the sole basis for the award of the degree is the thesis--result in a PhD. But Leicester explicitly states that the two degrees are equal in rank, and that both are scholarly--instead of the DSocSci being considered a professional degree. But no one ever said the British were easy to figure out.
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  7. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Well, not all Ph.Ds are created equal. The same goes for DBAs and other professional doctorates. Some of these professional doctorates have equal or more research courses than some Ph.D. programs. Some DBAs require the same 5-chapter dissertation, which requires original research. UT Dallas prides its DBA as a rigorous research doctorate. One should focus more on the curriculum of the degree rather than the title.
    Luciano Batista likes this.
  8. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    If you are looking for a tenure track, most schools look at several things but mainly: Prestige of the school, field of study, ability to do research and teaching potential. The DBA from an AACSB accredited would be preferred than a PhD in Educational Leadership but in general both degrees are not really ideal for a tenure track. The DBA is in general a degree meant for professionals but it can lead to a tenure track if you complete it in a field of demand such as Finance, Accounting or IT. The PhD in Educational Leadership is normally followed by people already in academia that want to become administration rather than full time faculty. Let's say that I am already full time faculty at a University or CC with my MBA but I want to become a director of a program, chair or maybe administrator in a particular department, the PhD in Educational Leadership would help here. However, very faculty positions would be open in Educational Leadership compared to Finance, Accounting, etc.

    If you only have these two options, if the DBA is from a non AACSB accredited and the PhD in Educational Leadership is from a non or low ranked school and you are not a full time faculty. Both degrees might just help you to become adjunct or consultant or might be boost your existing resume but wont be for the most part game changers.
    Luciano Batista likes this.
  9. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Yes and no. As many Universities are now offering DBAs in executive format, short residency, part time, etc and the PhD still remains at many schools as the typical 5 year residential programs, many hiring committees would prefer PhDs than DBA in particular for research positions. There are exceptions such as the Harvard DBA but many schools now have the DBA offered part time, short residency or online, etc and the PhD full time residential so the same Universities are making the DBA a watered down version of the PhD. There are some schools that call DBAs "Executive PhDs" just to avoid the stigma.

    I have myself a DBA and have people telling me in my face that the DBA is lower than the PhD. It gives me the right to be called Dr but the perception among academics is that is a lower degree than a PhD but maybe still better for practical purposes as you can teach many subjects than PhDs in Leadership, Education, etc.
    Luciano Batista likes this.
  10. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

    That was true until recently, but changed within the past two years. Since then Harvard Business School retired the DBA; through collaboration with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the HBS doctoral program now leads to a PhD.
    Luciano Batista likes this.
  11. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Boston University and Indiana University also changed designations from DBA to PhD. Other schools have both, DBA for people working unable to attend full time and executive 3 year part time format and the PhD full time 5 year program. Slowly, the DBA is becoming like a super MBA and not desirable by Universities for University tenure track positions.
    Luciano Batista likes this.
  12. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Kennesaw also changed its DBA to Ph.D. Quite a few of Scranton's DBA faculty have their DBA from Kennesaw. Dakota State also changed its D.Sc. to Ph.D., although the D.Sc. had always been a research-based degree.
    Luciano Batista likes this.
  13. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I am afraid that the DBA brand is being oversold just like the EdD. I have not applied for a job for a while but few doctoral graduates told me that in their interviews the employer specifically asked if the degree was not a DBA, this because some of the foreign degrees do not use the PhD designation such as doctorat en administration, doctorado en administracion, etc that give the impression of DBAs. Some French schools even add the acronym (PhD) in their qualifications just they are not confused to DBAs.

    I am sure that given the business model of Universities, you will have one or two year programs that upgrade from DBA to a PhD for a feee and some small dissertation.
    Luciano Batista likes this.
  14. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Interesting. However, I don't think it's far-fetched when you think about the for-profit behavior of colleges (that's what they all are regardless of formal structure). A lot of these online/hybrid doctorates (professional and Ph.D.) are all about generating income.
    Luciano Batista likes this.
  15. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Yes, but at the same time they don't want to lose the prestige. So the strategy is simple, make a product that gives you the right to be called Dr for those people that are already established making tons of money but just want be called Drs as ego and profile boosters, this last group is willing to pay a lot of money for a Doctor title but not willing to spend years and slave with publications so they rather pay, for this market we create a product called "DBA" that is kind of a higher degree but not quite the PhD.

    For those that are interested in becoming academics and that are set for an academic career, we have the full time 5 year program (PhD) and we expect people to slave with publications, conference presentations, TA and lecturer work, etc. It is like an initiation process to the academic world.

    Originally, the DBA was a credential for teaching and research Business but the title is slowing becoming a second tier doctorate used for those that are not just willing to slave 5 year full time for a PhD. The DBA is still good for those positions that call for a Masters but the DBA becomes the ice on the cake such as a CC or Small University academic position or an academic administration job such as Chair, President, Program Director, etc.
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  16. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Good to know. And a good move. That acknowledges that the PhD is the appropriate degree--a scholarly degree--for studying business at that level. If the DBA had truly been a professional doctorate, fine. But it wasn't, and this gives it the appropriate title. That doesn't mean the DBA for a professional doctorate in business isn't a good thing, but this is the right degree title for the doctorate earned.
  17. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Seems like a big conclusion based on a tiny bit of data. Doesn't mean you're not right, of course.

    I'm all for it. Not the "super MBA" part, but the DBA for a professional doctorate and a PhD for a scholarly one. Same with the EdD, DA, and others.

    The Leicester DSocSci is a scholarly doctorate, but that title (vice the PhD) is awarded because of the taught component. (Ironically, typical of an American PhD.) The school states that the two degrees are equal. I do know this: they would not accept a professional thesis instead of a scholarly one. Still, I like the alternative degree title.
    Luciano Batista likes this.
  18. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Is it "oversold"? Or is it just that the degree is now more available--and more relevant--to working professionals who won't have to leave their jobs to earn it?
  19. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I disagree with these supposed distinctions completely. In what way is the DBA inferior to the PhD in terms of how hard one must work to get it? Your other distinctions really need some evidence to back them up.

    (If it seems like I'm hounding you, I apologize. It's just that your posts are quite meaty and foster interesting perspectives. I appreciate them.)
    Luciano Batista likes this.
  20. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Active Member

    Y'all have a lot of conversations, considering Luciano hasn't returned!

    As for my fellow poster who's name ends in a vowel, if you choose to return, I'll simply state that generally (IMO/IME) a DBA would be preferable to an Ed.D in Leadership for someone interested in teaching business in an academic setting or desires to advance in the private sector. As it would generally appear better to to instruct business courses with a doctoral credential in the subject matter than a more generic educational leadership degree. That being said, they're both doctorates and both can open doors.
    Luciano Batista and felderga like this.

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