Top 10 Executive Doctorate Degree Programs of 2024

An executive doctorate degree is designed for professionals with extensive managerial experience. The degree is at a level higher than a master’s degree and lower than a PhD. The focus is on the in-depth study of a practice area rather than academic studies. Students may choose to concentrate on a particular area such as business, healthcare, public administration, education, or technology.

Executive doctorate degrees are practice doctorates while the typical doctorate degree is a PhD, which is a research degree; an executive doctorate focuses on translating research into practice. Because of the focus on practical work, it is expected that students will continue in their careers while pursuing the degree.

Workshops are more common than lectures, and there is a focus on real-world problems and applications. The degree is designed for individuals who are in or plan to move into leadership or advanced professional roles. It is for executives who have responsibilities for leading knowledge-related and technical organizations, strategies, and operations.

A higher education degree in administration and leadership shows that the student has learned a broad set of skills in development and management. These skills include being able to communicate case analysis and results clearly, critically evaluating leadership and change interventions, and utilizing in-depth knowledge of organizations and educational systems.

What’s the Cost of an Executive Doctorate Degree?

The cost of an executive doctorate program varies significantly from program to program. Several factors can influence the program’s tuition. These factors include:

  • Type of Institution (whether the university is public or private)
  • The location of the university (out-of-state or in-state)
  • Additional fees (such as technology fees, application fees, books and other course materials)
  • Program format (Online or on campus)

Given the factors above, it is difficult to determine a singular cost for an EDBA. Nevertheless, it is of a general view that the Executive Doctorate studies cost between $30,000 to $100,000 or more per year. Prospective students need to consider the tuition cost when applying to a program.

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Why Pursue an Executive Doctorate Degree?

The executive doctoral studies programs are designed for senior executives who want to develop advanced knowledge in their careers. The most important reason is: “life balance and convenience”. Executive doctoral degrees provide high-level professionals with an opportunity to enhance their careers without continuously disturbing their work and home life.

In today’s competitive and dynamic job market, everyone is seeking an extra “brick” for building up their career. More employers are constantly on the lookout for employees with higher credentials such as the EDBAs; and who knows, maybe the next advancement could be just around the corner. So, are you ready for the ride to get an executive doctorate degree now? Well, remember, a successful ride begins with a smart choice.

Who Accredits Executive Doctorate Degree Programs?

Executive doctorate programs (EDBAs) largely get accreditation from business school accreditation agencies, in contrast to regular PhD programs that are usually recognized by discipline-specific certifying bodies. These agencies assess the overall quality and educational criteria of business schools, which includes their EDBA programs.

Here are some of the most recognized international accreditation agencies for business schools:

  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)
  • The Association of MBAs (AMBA)
  • European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS)

Criteria for Selection of an Executive Doctorate Program: Factors to Consider

The most common criteria that are used to evaluate and rank executive doctorate in business programs include the program’s reputation, the expertise and background of its faculty, the quality and flexibility of its curriculum, and the convenience and adaptability of its course offerings.

Some experts may also look into other considerations such as the length of the program, the type and complexity of the student’s dissertation research, and the accessibility of the program’s research resources and facilities. Let us examine these factors to consider as criteria for selection of an executive doctorate program extensively.

  1. Reputation and Accreditation

Reputation and accreditation are two important factors to consider when choosing an executive doctorate studies program. A program’s reputation is usually determined by the quality of its faculty, research resources, and the number of faculty publications in top refereed journals. Accreditation is a process by which a program is recognized as having met certain standards. The quality of faculty and the curriculum are two factors highly emphasized in accreditation.

  1. Faculty Expertise and Experience

Professors and instructors of executive programs must have relevant backgrounds, real-world experience, and expertise. Top programs are led by experts with 20-25 years of industry experience and 10 years of teaching experience. Faculty members often receive awards for their teaching and curriculum development efforts. Their research and publications contribute to the industry’s knowledge and practices.

Faculty’s ongoing research and industry connections benefit executive doctoral students. It is important for potential students to review faculty profiles, publications, research, and industrial experiences when choosing a program. Contacting senior faculty or program directors for input is recommended to make informed decisions.

  1. Curriculum and Course Offerings

Moving on to curriculum and course offerings, this describes the type of coursework included in the programs, namely foundational courses, specialization courses, research methodology courses, and the dissertation. This is useful for potential students to understand what they will be studying and how the coursework is structured.

Each program provides an overview of the curriculum, often by listing the names of some of the courses offered. The focus of the doctoral program and the study habits required by students are often related to the type of program offered.

  1. Flexibility and Convenience

Executive doctorate programs for working professionals need to be flexible and convenient. Many programs provide a 3-4 day weekend residency every 6 to 8 weeks and online coursework. This is ideal for healthcare professionals with unpredictable schedules.

This flexibility allows busy executives to choose different learning approaches. Support and individualized learning opportunities are crucial for success. It’s important to consider class settings, online study options, and support when selecting a program.

Related: 10 Critical Factors to Consider When Choosing a PhD Program

Top 10 Executive Doctorate Studies Programs of 2024

Executive Doctorate Degree Programs
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Getting an executive doctorate degree is important for you if you plan to move into leadership or advanced professional roles and make major contributions to your chosen industries. But then it is not all about starting executive doctorate studies, getting one from the best executive doctorate degree programs should be the priority.

In the following paragraphs, we are going to look at the top 10 executive doctorate studies programs of 2024. Although this list is not exhaustive, it covers famous Ivy League universities and recognized worldwide business schools that are leading the way in developing executive leadership and academic brilliance in the constantly changing field of higher education.

  1. Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania – Executive Doctorate in Business Administration (EDBA)

  2. Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University – Executive Doctoral Program (EDP)
  3. Columbia Business School at Columbia University
  4. Harvard Business School at Harvard University- Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
  5. MIT Sloan School of Management – Executive Doctoral Program (EDP)
  6. The University of Chicago Booth School of Business
  7. Yale School of Management
  8. Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business
  9. University of California, Berkeley – Haas School of Business
  10. University of Texas at Dallas – Jindal School of Management

#1. Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania – Executive Doctorate in Business Administration (EDBA)

The Wharton School’s Executive Doctorate in Business Administration (EDBA) provides the opportunity for executives to obtain the highest academic degree in the field of business, a doctorate, in a format that does not require career interruption. At the same time, it will give them the skills and knowledge to take a more active role in contributing to the establishment of research-based best practices within their organization.

If you require more skills, aspire to become a more effective leader, or need to envision a new future for your firm, Wharton Executive Education will equip you to tackle any obstacle, set you apart from your competitors, and enable you to achieve success.


#2. Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University – Executive Doctoral Program (EDP)

Kellogg School of Management Executive Doctoral Program (EDP) is also designed for executives and senior managers who want to establish thought leadership at the forefront of their profession. The mission of the Kellogg doctoral program is to develop scholars who will have an impact on the field through the creation and dissemination of knowledge.

This program is especially beneficial for those seeking to create a strategic framework for evaluating organizational risk, devising a strategy to exploit business challenges and opportunities, and utilizing innovation to drive success.


#3. Columbia Business School at Columbia University

Columbia Business School is held in high regard around the world and the quality of the faculty reflects this. The curriculum carefully balances practical strategies and concrete methodologies that working professionals can translate to their jobs with a keen focus on a base of strong theoretical and research skills. All candidates for this academic journey have an impressive level of professional achievement that’s met with a ferocious academic curiosity.

Students are attracted to Columbia’s executive doctoral program due to its flexibility, duration and location in the diverse and thriving city of New York. The course is focused on effective governance structures, which speak to the current evolution of the business environment and the societal challenges that have surged in the rise of that mature and digital environment.


#4. Harvard Business School at Harvard University – Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

The Harvard Business School is among the most reputable business schools in the world. It comes as no surprise that the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program offered by the school is one of the top 10 executive doctorate studies programs of 2024. This program specifically aims to give executive-level practitioners in business and industry the analytical and practical skills necessary to create new knowledge and transform current business practices.

It is no surprise that Harvard Business School’s Doctor of Business Administration program has attracted a diverse group of highly talented students. These students come from 16 different countries on six continents and bring a rich set of professional and academic experiences to the program. The student body, just like the program itself, represents diversity and the fostering of different ideas and global intellectual development for all.


#5. MIT Sloan School of Management – Executive Doctoral Program (EDP)

The MIT Sloan School of Management, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is one of the world’s leading business schools and is renowned for its innovative research in the field. Its two-year doctoral program is designed for mid-career executives who are seeking to better understand the nature of business leadership, how leaders shape the future, and how the complex social, political, and economic dynamics can affect change within an organization.

The program provides not only the advanced knowledge for competitive and evidence-based success in industry; it emphasizes training for independent research and discovery of that new knowledge to become a leader in creating organizational change.


#6. The University of Chicago Booth School of Business

As one of the top executive doctorate studies programs globally, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business offers a doctorate program in business administration. The curriculum of the program is aimed at advancing the student’s knowledge and skills.

Also, according to the Chicago Booth Executive PhD students, modern technology has helped students to navigate an increasingly globalised world. Modern technology such as electronic libraries, databases, social networking and many more are helping the researchers to get on with the very important aspect of the program, which is a literature review and data collection.


#7. Yale School of Management

The Executive Doctoral Program in Leadership (EDP) at the Yale School of Management is designed for accomplished professionals who possess significant leadership responsibilities. The program is known for incorporating a behavioural and systemic approach in cultivating effective and ethical leadership, as well as leveraging leadership purpose and potential.

One of the key strengths of the program lies in the diverse and world-class faculty team who share similar passion and commitment in developing impactful, cutting-edge research in leadership and related management fields. Graduates from the program have secured executive leadership positions in prominent private and public organizations, and some of them are also pursuing academic careers in teaching and research.


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#8. Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business

The Tepper EDBA program is designed for senior executives and aims at preparing graduates for careers in research and teaching at leading academic institutions worldwide. The Tepper School of Business has always been ranked as one of the top business schools in the U.S. and is located in the centre of Pittsburgh, a city that has been named among the best places to travel, and cited among the best U.S. cities for businesses and careers.

The Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business is dedicated to fostering a diverse, fair, and inclusive environment that provides all students, staff, professors, alumni, and business partners with a genuine feeling of belonging.


#9. University of California, Berkeley – Haas School of Business

Nestled at the University of California, Berkeley, the Haas School of Business is an ideal location at which to undertake a world-class executive doctorate program. The program is designed with flexibility in mind, recognizing the need for executives with busy working lives to receive the latest executive education – both in terms of academic knowledge and intellectual thought – at times and in a style that suits them.

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To ensure that the course provides maximum benefit to the individuals involved, the curriculum focuses on three key attributes deemed necessary for those at the cutting edge of executive business – design, innovation and the creation of products and services through the intelligent management of technology.

With students placed in the role of knowledge creators and members of an international community of leading executives, the Haas School of Business executive doctorate program remains at the forefront of modern executive education. It is this philosophy of shared aims and collective excellence that drives the program and makes the experience one that provides value and benefits long after the course has finished.


#10. University of Texas at Dallas – Jindal School of Management

The program from the Jindal School of Management is designed for executives who have been in managerial positions. The curriculum focuses on the development of leadership skills and strategic thinking, and it revolves around the completion of a dissertation. Another highlight of the program is the international residency which aims at providing students with an opportunity to work collaboratively with a diverse group of people to explore the differences among cultures.

The Jindal School of Management has achieved a global ranking of 3 based on faculty publications in 24 prominent business journals covering all fields of business during the past four years, as determined by The UTD Top 100 Business School Research Rankings™ (2021).



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