New Executive Doctor of Business Administration is the only one of its type in Alabama. Is it your next career step?


UNA is rolling out a new EDBA
UNA Faculty. Photo via UNA

Move over PhD programs, there’s a new “doctor” on the block: UNA’s EDBA (Executive Doctor of Business Administration)—and it just may have your name on it. If you’re mid-to-senior-level in your career and wanting more, you need to know about this exciting new program created by the University of North Alabama

Dr. Wes Davenport is one of the people behind the creation of UNA's new EDBA
Dr. West Davenport. Photo via UNA

Dr. Wes Davenport, Director of Graduate Studies for UNA’s College of Business, and I recently sat down to talk about the program. Here’s what I learned.

What is an EDBA?

UNA's new EDBA logo
Imagine having those letters behind your name… Graphic via UNA

EDBA stands for Executive Doctor of Business Administration (EDBA). A Doctor of Business Administration is a doctoral program focused on applied business research and strategy.

The Executive DBA is unique in that it allows you to apply your knowledge, including extensive  research skills, to real-world business problems. 

What’s the difference between this and an MBA?

In a phrase, applied research skills.

How UNA’s EDBA different from a PhD?

Typically, students will go straight from undergrad to master’s. Then they go on to wrap up their studies before age 30. And PhD’s are heavy on theory with less emphasis on applied research.

Why would someone want to do an EDBA and what can you do with UNA’s EDBA?

Students discussing work
Collaboration, whether in person or virtually, is the name of the game in business and pretty much everywhere now. Photo supplied

Here are just a few of the high-level things you can do with an EDBA: 

  • Address real-world organizational issues + disruptive trends
  • Develop applied executive-level research skills
  • Implement research projects
  • Impact organizational strategic decisions 
  • Solve complex organizational problems
  • Create innovative business solutions
  • Teach at a university

This prestigious degree will set you apart by giving you the tools and skills you need to be able to do all these things and more in an efficient and innovative manner. 

Your organization (or organizations you consult with) will basically think you’re a superhero. 

Ready to take the next step? Request info or apply now

Who’s it for?

woman in orange blazer standing
This program will give students an edge in business. Photo via Unsplash

Not for the 22-24 year olds of the world, this program is a fit for four key groups of people: 

  1. Executives. These are senior-level professionals who are ready to strengthen their leadership skills to keep advancing or shift gears. In fact, sometimes, it’s a CEO who’s ready for a new challenge, whether in their company, in consulting, or in higher education. 
  2. Industry-changers. Maybe they’ve retired from the military and are ready to go into industry. Perhaps they’re in one industry but have their eye on another. Either way, this degree will help them be even more agile across a range of disciplines.
  3. Future academics. These folks have loved their career in business so much they’d do it again if they could. But since they can’t, they’ll do the next best thing: teach the next generation. 
  4. Small business owners. Small business owners might even benefit the most from this degree as they try to adapt to an increasingly competitive landscape. 

Candidates range in age from their late-20s to their 60s, and bring real-world experience to the classroom. 

How does UNA’s EDBA program work?

night-time fountain at UNA
The fountain by night. Photo via UNA’s Facebook page

Most of the 36-month, part-time program is online, with monthly on-campus sessions one weekend per month. If selected, you’ll be part of a cohort of 15 students.

Degree requirements: 

  • 54 post-master’s degree credit hours
  • 21 courses varying in credits from 1-3 hours each (the dissertation counts for more)


  • Years 1 + 2: when the majority of coursework happens
  • Year 3: an applied dissertation that can help solve an existing organizational problem

The first cohort will start in January 2021.

Please note: ssince UNA’s been online since 2004, they’ve got online learning down to a science. In fact, most of UNA’s more than 1,000 MBA students are online. 

What classes do students take and who teaches them?

One of the very awesome things about UNA is that their courses are taught by dedicated full-time faculty. Even better: most of the faculty have PhDs or terminal degrees from leading universities. Check out the EDBA program’s dedicated faculty members here.

How much does it cost and how do people pay for it?

view of UNA from the air
What UNA looks like if you are a bird. Photo via UNA’s Facebook page

Cost: $33,030 per year, which is competitively priced with similar programs around the country. 

As a result, people pay with a mixture of federal and private financial aid, employer reimbursement, and out of pocket. 

What are the eligibility requirements + how do you apply?

Here’s what you need right off the bat: 

  • An MBA or master’s degree in a related field from a regionally accredited academic institution.
  • No test scores are required. 🎉
  • Minimum seven years of substantive work experience—ideally with high levels of responsibility, expertise, and leadership.
  • Completed application.
  • Resume.
  • Official transcripts from all previously attended institutions.
  • Two letters of recommendation from professionals in academia or industry who can comment on accomplishments and contributions, leadership and other potential success factors.
  • One essay outlining goals and motivations for pursuing the EDBA.
  • Virtual interview with EDBA Admissions Committee.

Want to be part of the first cohort in January 2021? Apply now.

Why choose UNA?

University of North Alabama sign
Did you know the lion is the UNA mascot? Photo via UNA’s Facebook page

The University of North Alabama’s College of Business is an applied program that trains and equips people to make a difference in the real world of business. That said, here are some of the things that make UNA stand out: 

Cost: At $33,030 per year for 3 years, the program is competitively priced. 
Quality: UNA is among the 5% of business schools in the world to hold the prestigious AASCB accreditation.
Flexibility: most of the program is online, with monthly in-person weekend sessions on the UNA campus. 

Want more info on UNA’s EDBA program? Request info here or check them out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to learn more!

Sponsored by:

Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

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