Golnaz Golnaraghi, DBA

Online Doctorate in Business Administration

The AU DBA focuses on practical application of research to managerial settings, while also preparing graduates for potential academic careers.

What can the AU DBA do for you?

As the first online Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) offered by a Canadian University, the Athabasca University (AU) online DBA fills an important niche role in management education by increasing access to doctoral-level studies for highly motivated management professionals in business, government, and not-for-profits.

Direct impact on organizations

The online DBA focuses on researching practical business and managerial issues through knowledge building, critique, and the systematic application of relevant theories and research to management practice. It is designed for those who want to make a direct impact on their organizations, industry and communities through improved management practice. It is a research-based qualification with the same level of rigor and scholarship expected of any doctoral program.

Leading edge research, exceptional management talent

The online DBA supports leading edge research in management thinking and practice by students and faculty who bring real world experience, knowledge, and workplace context to the table. It helps build highly qualified management talent who will foster innovation and competitive advantage for business and government, world-wide.

AU online DBA students will:

  • Expand competencies in management research and practice;
  • Effectively conduct and evaluate management research;
  • Develop scholarship in management practice;
  • Communicate research findings and outcomes;
  • Create solutions to business and organizational problems that will increase competitive advantage;
  • Enhance professional credibility; and
  • Derive intrinsic satisfaction from higher level learning.

Athabasca University is a member of The Executive DBA Council (EDBAC). EDBAC is an international association of thirty-five programs with a presence in thirteen countries.

DBA Webinar Recording

Online DBA Program Information


A strong base of experience and education is necessary for doctoral studies with an emphasis on applied research. To be admitted to the Athabasca University (AU) online Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) program, you should have significant prior knowledge and experience in the area of management research you intend to pursue.

All applicants are carefully evaluated to assess ability to handle the requirements of the online DBA program. We ask for a wide range of information in order to assess your suitability for doctoral studies, and to match your expectations, learning, and experience with the capacities and goals of our program. The online DBA demands that you be committed to your studies and able to balance the demands of education, work, and family.

Online DBA applicants are accepted into the program based on admission criteria and the availability of faculty expertise for supervising proposed research areas.

Admission Requirements

Admission Criteria

Applicants will have:

  • An MBA or equivalent master’s degree from an accredited university;
  • Five or more years of significant management and/or professional work experience;
  • An acceptable university level course in statistics; and
  • English language proficiency

and provide:

  • An expression of research interests (500 – 1,000 words); and
  • Three reference letters: two business references + one academic reference OR two academic references + one business reference OR three business references.
DBA Application Process

Transfer Credit

DBA applicants wishing to transfer from other accredited doctoral programs will be considered on a case-by-case basis. In all cases, they must meet the DBA admission requirements (above) and complete at least 50 per cent of their doctoral courses and all DBA dissertation requirements with Athabasca University.

Applicants must provide all materials as outlined in the admission requirements above with the exception that at least one letter of reference must be provided by an academic from the institution from which the applicant is transferring. Courses being considered for transfer credit must be from a fully-accredited institution. To apply for transfer of credit, applicants are responsible for all applicable fees and must submit the following documents:

  • Official transcripts showing the successful completion of the courses to be transferred; and
  • Course descriptions. The DBA Admissions Committee will review these documents to determine whether transfer credit will be permitted.

How to Apply

Carefully review the requirements for your application package. Please note that the Admissions Committee reviews all completed application packages after the deadline has passed, near the end of March.

Course Descriptions

DDBA 000 - Orientation

This important orientation course for new students is delivered in two week-long segments: one online and one on site. Students will be introduced to the expectations and requirements of the online Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) program and provided with the tools needed for success. Athabasca University (AU) faculty and staff will guide the course, with emphasis placed on gaining a research focus. Overall, students get to know each other, AU faculty and staff, available resources, and technological tools.

DDBA 800 - Conceptual Foundations of Organizational Research

This course provides online DBA students with a basic understanding of the major theoretical perspectives in organization behavior, organization theory and strategic organization.

The readings selected constitute either classics or near classics in the field or integrative works that summarize and critique those classics, and provide an overview of the most important conceptual insights in these fields rather than examples of the most recent studies. Students examine these theories and their applications with a critical eye to determine the conceptual and practical strengths and limitations of the material and its applicability to different administrative situations.

DDBA 801 - Current Research

This course introduces online DBA students to critical thinking, formulating an interesting research question, and writing a review of the literature. Students will select critical readings in their area of research interest for discussion, and will learn about using appreciative inquiry in discussions. Students will be able to examine their own research interests in light of the prevailing work in their field, thus reflecting on their own contributions to the literature.

DDBA 802 - Management Research in Practice

This course examines the gap between research results and management in practice. Online DBA Students will analyze their own area of research interest to determine what the latest scientific research is, and determine how the results are used (or not used) in the workplace today. What are some ways in which we can translate research findings into practice?

DDBA 803 - Quantitative Research Methods

This online DBA course covers the process and practice of research with an emphasis on quantitative research orientations and issues related to design in the management research context. The course spans such topics as: types of research, quantitative research orientations, research ethics, measurement, sampling, and quantitative designs. Students will gain experience in research design to help them develop research questions and elements of their proposal.

DDBA 804 - Qualitative Research Methods

This online DBA course covers the theoretical and philosophical bases of qualitative inquiry and provides students with the basic skills needed to do qualitative research. Topics covered in the course include qualitative research designs, methods of data collection, issues of validity and reliability, and qualitative data analysis. The course will also explore ways to integrate quantitative and qualitative methods.

DDBA 805 - Advanced Readings

This is an individualized readings online DBA course. Students, with the assistance of a designated faculty member, will determine what knowledge and skills are required to be prepared to write the dissertation proposal.

DDBA 806 - Dissertation Proposal / Preparation for Candidacy Exam

Students develop a proposal for their final online DBA dissertation.

Course Schedule

All online Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) courses are paced, meaning there are scheduled start and end dates, and assignment deadlines within each course. Individual course activities vary.

Course names, numbers and schedules are subject to change.

September 2022 DBA Intake

Year One Start Date Completion Date
Orientation Sep 5, 2022 Sep 18, 2022
Conceptual Foundations of Organizational Research (DDBA 800) Sep 19, 2022 Nov 27, 2022
Current Research (DDBA 801) TBA TBA
Management Research in Practice (DDBA 802) TBA TBA
Year Two    
Year Two Research Workshop - on-site TBA TBA
Quantitative Research Methods (DDBA 803) TBA TBA
Qualitative Research Methods (DDBA 804) TBA TBA
Advanced Readings (DDBA 805) TBA TBA
Year Three    
Year Three Research Workshop - on-site TBA TBA
Dissertation Proposal (DDBA 806) TBA TBA
Year Four    
Candidacy Exam TBA TBA
Dissertation Defence TBA TBA

September 2021 DBA Intake

Year One Start Date Completion Date
Orientation - online Sep 6, 2021 Sep 10, 2021
Orientation - on-site Sep 14, 2021 Sep 17, 2021
Conceptual Foundations of Organizational Research (DDBA 800) Sep 20, 2021 Nov 28, 2021
Current Research (DDBA 801) Jan 3, 2022 March 13, 2022
Management Research in Practice (DDBA 802) March 28, 2022 June 5, 2022
Year Two    
Year Two Research Workshop - on-site Sept 13, 2022 Sept 15, 2022
Quantitative Research Methods (DDBA 803) Sept 19, 2022 Nov 27, 2022
Qualitative Research Methods (DDBA 804) TBA TBA
Advanced Readings (DDBA 805) TBA TBA
Year Three    
Year Three Research Workshop - on-site TBA TBA
Dissertation Proposal (DDBA 806) TBA TBA
Year Four    
Candidacy Exam TBA TBA
Dissertation Defence TBA TBA

September 2020 DBA Intake

Year One Start Date Completion Date
Orientation - online Sep 7, 2020 Sep 11, 2020
Orientation - on-site Sep 15, 2020 Sep 18, 2020
Conceptual Foundations of Organizational Research (DDBA 800) Sep 21, 2020 Nov 29, 2020
Current Research (DDBA 801) Jan 4, 2021 Mar 14, 2021
Management Research in Practice (DDBA 802) Mar 29, 2021 Jun 6, 2021
Year Two    
Year Two Research Workshop - on-site Sep 14, 2021 Sep 17, 2021
Quantitative Research Methods (DDBA 803) Sep 20, 2021 Nov 28, 2021
Qualitative Research Methods (DDBA 804) Jan 3, 2022 March 13, 2022
Advanced Readings (DDBA 805) March 28, 2022 June 5, 2022
Year Three    
Year Three Research Workshop - on-site Sept 13, 2022 Sept 15, 2022
Dissertation Proposal (DDBA 806) Sept 19, 2022 November 27, 2022
Year Four    
Candidacy Exam TBA TBA
Dissertation Defence TBA TBA

September 2019 DBA Intake

Year One Start Date Completion Date
Orientation - online Sep 9, 2019 Sep 13, 2019
Orientation - on-site Sep 16, 2019 Sep 20, 2019
Conceptual Foundations of Organizational Research (DDBA 800) Sep 23, 2019 Dec 1, 2019
Current Research (DDBA 801) Jan 6, 2020 Mar 15, 2020
Management Research in Practice (DDBA 802) Mar 30, 2020 Jun 7, 2020
Year Two    
Year Two Research Workshop - on-site Sep 15, 2020 Sep 17, 2020
Quantitative Research Methods (DDBA 803) Sep 21, 2020 Nov 29, 2020
Qualitative Research Methods (DDBA 804) Jan 4, 2021 Mar 14, 2021
Advanced Readings (DDBA 805) Mar 29, 2021 Jun 6, 2021
Year Three    
Year Three Research Workshop - on-site Sep 14, 2021 Sep 17, 2021
Dissertation Proposal (DDBA 806) Sep 20, 2021 Nov 28, 2021
Year Four    
Candidacy Exam TBA TBA
Dissertation Defence TBA TBA

Fees, Financing and Scholarships


The following fees are effective for courses starting September 1, 2021 to August 31, 2022. All fees are quoted in Canadian dollars and are subject to change. Academic-related fees are exempt from the Federal Goods and Services Tax (G.S.T.). G.S.T. is added to all other goods and services, for example, workshops, some publications, self-help seminars, and Athabasca University promotional sales items.

Program application fee (non-refundable) required each time a person applies: $207
Program admission fee (payable upon acceptance into the program and non-refundable): $865
Year 1
Program Fee 1.1 $2,356
DDBA 000 – DBA Orientation 0
DDBA 800 – Conceptual Foundations of Organizational Research $4,592
Program Fee 1.2 $2,356
DDBA 801 – Current Research $4,592
DDBA 802 – Management Research in Practice $4,592
Year 1 Total $18,488
Year 2
DDBA 001 – Onsite Research Workshop Yr. 2 0
Program Fee 2.1 $2,356
DDBA 803 – Quantitative Research Methods $4,592
Program Fee 2.2 $2,356
DDBA 804 – Qualitative Research Methods $4,592
DDBA 805 – Advanced Readings $4,592
Year 2 Total $18,488
Year 3
DDBA 002 – Onsite Research Workshop Yr. 3 0
Program Fee 3.1 $2,356
DDBA 806 – Dissertation Proposal $4,592
Program Fee 3.2 $2,356
DDBA 807 – Candidacy Exam $5,847
Year 3 Total $15,151
Year 4
Program Fee 4.1 $2,356
Program Fee 4.2 $2,356
Year 4 Total $4,712

* The Athabasca University Graduate Studies Association fees of $13 per credit are not included in the above calculation, and will be added to the course tuition fee.

Please Note: The above fee chart is based on a standard expected completion time of four years. Total fees will vary depending on length of time required to complete the dissertation. Once all coursework is complete, students will continue to pay the program fee every six months ($2,356) until their dissertation is also complete.

Other Fees

Transfer Credit Evaluation Fee (one time): $301
Course withdrawal processing fee1: $391
AU Graduate Student Association fee (per credit): $13
Letter of Permission fee: $86

1 The course withdrawal processing fee is a mandatory administrative fee charged when a student withdraws from a course. Refer to Withdrawals.

The following fees will be charged at rates approved by the Athabasca University Governing Council:

  • Dissertation extension fee
  • Program extension fee
  • Course transfer fee
Note: The University reserves the right to apply a surcharge to posted electives in-residence rates when such programs are delivered outside of Canada, and to charge for late cancellation of attendance at in-residence electives. The University also reserves the right to suspend students if their program fees are overdue.


Canadian Student Financing

Please note this information is for Canadian students only. If you are an international student, please enquire in your home country.

Student Loans

The Athabasca University Doctorate in Business Administration is recognized as a full-time program by the Canadian federal government for individuals applying for student loans.

Low Interest Student Lines of Credit

Many banks offer options for financing your education. The following are just a few – check with your own bank as well, to see what they can offer you.

Lifelong Learning Plan

You can also consider using some of your RRSP funds for your education.

NOTE: All tuition fees are tax deductible in Canada

Scholarships, Awards and Grants


Take advantage of this opportunity to possibly fund part of your studies.

The following links will take you to resources on our main campus web site that will help you research graduate-level scholarships offered by AU and external organizations:

  • Awards for Graduate Students

    Please direct applications and inquiries to:
    Student Awards Administrative Assistant
    Office of the Registrar
    Athabasca University
    1 University Drive, Athabasca, AB T9S 3A3
    Fax: (780) 675-6174 Phone: 1-800-788-9041 ext 6197 (Canada and U.S.)
    Email: awardsinfo@athabascau.ca

  • Graduate Student Research Fund

    Please direct applications and inquiries to:
    Research Centre
    Athabasca University
    1 University Drive
    Athabasca AB T9S 3A3
    Toll free: 1 (800) 788-9041 ext. 6651 (Canada and U.S.)
    Fax: (780) 675-6722
    E-mail: aurc@athabascau.ca

PLEASE NOTE: The Faculty of Business is not involved with the administration of scholarships and awards. However, certain scholarships require documentation such as: transcripts, letter of good standing, GPA, etc. To obtain DBA related documentation, contact Graduate Student Services at ssq@fb.athabascau.ca.

DBA Dissertations Defended

DBA Students and Dissertation Titles

DBA Student Dissertation Title
Bharat Aggarwal Building Commitment for a Campus-Wide Internationalization Initiative – A Case Study of a President’s Creative Challenge at Sheridan College
Bradley Anderson Values, Rationality, and Power: Developing Organizational Wisdom
Tanveer Ahmed Effects of foreign direct investments on home and host countries and on the profitability of investing firms
Pascal Becotte The path to the top: An exploratory investigation into process, situational and personal characteristics influencing directors’ willingness to appoint a first-time CEO
Germaine Chan Performance Information Use in Higher Education
Jennifer Cherneski Zebras Showing Their Stripes: A Critical Sensemaking Study of the Discursive Construction and Gendering of Women CSR Leaders
Phil Cook The Contribution of Pathologies of Conversation Theory Toward the Manifestation of Opposition to Landfill Siting
Charles Crawford The net effect: The impact of entrepreneurial networks on new venture performance
Phil Ferguson Distal factors and their effect on employees’ performance appraisal ratings and remuneration: A ratee’s perspective
Richard Game SME Internationalization: The influence of attitude on the decision to commit to advanced market entry modes
Golnaz Golnaraghi Postcoloniality, diversity discourses and corporate Canada: A critical discourse analysis of corporate images of the ‘immigrant’ at work
Colleen Grady Exploring physician leadership development in healthcare organizations through the lens of complexity science
Lee Henderson Envisioning successful sino-foreign university partnerships and strategies in 2030
Rosalie Hilde Workplace (in)equality: Making critical sense of Hong Kong Chinese immigrant experiences in the Canadian workplace
Sami Houry Generic Early Warning Signals for Critical Transitions: An assessment of the signals’ utility as a predictive management tool through an application on the undergraduate distance student’s program withdrawal problem
Keltie Jones Making sense of strategic planning: An examination of the meaning and impact of a university’s strategic planning process
Nathalie Lachance Seeking to Improve Collaborative Capacity to Enhance Health Care Collaboration Between First Nations, Federal and Provincial Governments in Alberta
Margaret Law Employee disengagement: The impact of role discrepancy, professional identity and organizational justice
Patricia MacNeil An Exploration of the Personal Values that Motivate Responsible Leaders in Canadian Organizations: A Personal Perspective on Corporate Social Responsibility
Kara Mitchelmore The role of legacy in implementing change in long standing organizations – A case study
Mark Morpurgo Beyond competency: The role of professional education in the development of meta-competencies
Michael Opara Public private partnerships in Alberta’s transportation infrastructure: A study of the evolution of the institutional environment
Janet Porter The hegemonies and antagonisms of gender equity discourse in the engineering profession
Derek Prue Designed Isomorphism Within an Aboriginal Housing Initiative: Positive Change and Growth For All
Nadine Robinson Customer feedback: The missing link in understanding customer engagement to accelerate firm improvements and innovation
Stefanie Ruel Multiplicity of “I’s” in Intersectionality: Women’s Exclusion from STEM Management in the Canadian Space Industry
Richard Rush Using learning taxonomy to enhance understanding of innovation adoption
Andrea Smilski The effects of individual institutional legitimacy judgments and employee psychological wellbeing on the organizational outcomes sickness absence and presenteeism
Kerri Thompson Recruitment and selection of immigrant professionals in Canada
Richard Vaillancourt Credit union mergers: Psychological contracts and organizational trust
Adriana van Hilten A Tale of Two Identities: Distinguished and Different - An Application of Bourdieu's 'Thinking Tools' to Making Sense of an Information Technology System Implementation
Patrick Yang Determinants of Analytics Adoption in K-12 Organizations
Chandrashekhar Yegnaraman Performance Measurement of Heavy Equipment Retailing Organizations: A Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) Approach

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