Bellevue University is adding a doctorate program to the College of Business with a unique twist.

Students are now able to pursue a Doctorate of Business Administration, a completely online program with a three-year timeline.

Rebecca Murdock, dean of the College of Business, said the university knew timing was right to get the program running.

“Over the years, the College of Business had an incredibly strong set of graduate programs, including our Master’s of Business Administration program,” Murdock said.

“We really have a history of working with students in the realm of graduate education for a long time, particularly with working with adult students who really want to advance their careers.”

Julia Cronin-Gilmore, director of the Doctorate of Business Administration program, said there were many business students interested in increasing their “intellectual stimulation.”

“Educating these individuals to advance in their knowledge and career became our focus,” Cronin-Gilmore said in an email.

There are approximately 3,000 students annually enrolled in the Business Administration program, and those interested in the DBA have more than likely earned an MBA, Murdock said.

Murdock said the College of Business surveyed about 3,000 MBA alumni to see if the DBA program would be of interest to them.

“We received lots of favorable feedback from them,” she said. “We feel our enrollment pipeline will be strong right away.”

Cronin-Gilmore said the university decided to adopt the cohort model where students take all their classes as a group, which she said has been successful at BU.

The model, which Cronin-Gilmore refers to as 3-2-1, allows students to complete the program in three years, have two weeks off in between courses and have one doctoral project at the end of their program, rather than a dissertation.

Along with that, the classes are all offered online, which Murdock said students appreciate because of the convenience.

“I believe online learning has matured,” she said. “We really feel there’s an opportunity to engage with working professionals who want to advance their careers.”

The courses the students will take focus on their previous knowledge with business administration, but being able to develop and utilize their research skills in the doctoral setting.

“In addition to marketing and finance and strategy type courses, we’ve also included the appropriate level of research courses so they can develop their research skills in terms of doing both quantitative and qualitative research,” she said, “and then be able to communicate that kind of analysis in ways that are not only appropriate for a doctoral-level education, but also in meaningful ways for their organization.”

Cronin-Gilmore said she’s looking forward to being with the students and seeing them grow within the program.

“We are educating business professionals with managerial experience who desire to expand their leadership capacities through a rigorous doctoral program in business and advance in a leadership or consulting role,” she said.

Murdock said the program will benefit the College of Business, as well as the university as a whole.

“I think it’s a testament to the expertise of the faculty who worked on developing the program, the work the faculty have done over the years for our undergraduate and graduate programs,” she said. “It’s an important time in the history of the institution that we’re ready now to bring a program like this to the marketplace.”

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