Program banner thumbnail

DBA: Doctorate of Business Administration


The Doctoral Program at the American University in Switzerland (AUS) aims to incrementally develop students’ higher-order business skills and competencies along with an enhanced emphasis on conducting and interpreting research. This program is differentiated from AUS’s Masters in International Business (MIBA) degree which emphasizes professional business management with a global scope. While both the DBA and the MIBA continue to inculcate in students managerial training and competencies, the DBA further includes a higher emphasis on theoretical formulation and on conducting and interpreting research. In keeping with the latter objective, doctoral business students are typically exposed to a wider variety of readings involving journal and research articles, as opposed to predominantly textbook-based material. Further, the DBA students are expected to perform at an incrementally higher level in regard to the analysis and synthesis of business material.

Our DBA students are business professionals looking to acquire additional qualifications as a researcher. Typically they have significant business work experience and managerial knowledge, have already acquired an MBA (or a Masters in a Business discipline), and now desire to complement their knowledge as a business practitioner by becoming a more knowledgeable scholar and researcher. Their aspiration is to broaden their profile of capabilities, rather than just incrementally deepen their existing knowledge base as a business practitioner. In particular, those desirous of a career in academe or in a predominantly research function with a government/educational agency/economic think tank/other research-based agency are predominantly disposed to getting a DBA degree.

Although both MIBA and DBA students are required to successfully complete and defend a thesis, the DBA theses tend to involve more in-depth research and analysis. Furthermore, DBA research can be more ‘niche’ oriented and can involve a reasoned critique of existing theories and paradigms, and/or the formulation of theories of relevance to the particular scope of the thesis problem. Our DBA students will be working with competent and skilled AUS faculty members who will guide their thesis.

The AUS DBA program aims to fulfil the following objectives:

  • To provide a high quality doctorate in the area of Business Administration.
  • To extend professional knowledge through research and the application of personal competencies.
  • To facilitate in-depth studies in particular area(s) of Business Administration.
  • To develop the ability to carry out independent research at an advanced level.
  • To develop you as a reflective practitioner who has the intellectual and personal adaptability to deal with organizational change and ambiguity.
  • To develop your judgement, foresight, and problem analysis in applying theoretical and forensic skills to the research material derived from their investigations

The AUS DBA has a similar academic standing as a PhD. As a student you can therefore expect a challenging experience that is in a stimulating and demanding intellectual atmosphere. The DBA aims to have an impact in the real-world environment so that you can develop a proactive approach to management.

Program Content

The taught element of the DBA focuses on providing the necessary background which supports research design and application through examining current methodological questions and debates. This element is provided by the School's leading professors and researchers.

To support you in your research, you will be assigned one supervisor who will provide specialist subject knowledge. If appropriate to ensure the high standards in AUS other professors may provide support to your supervisor. The research element will form the content of the thesis.

The program will consist of taught modules that are aimed at ensuring that the student is fully prepared to produce research of the highest quality and a series of seminars which are aimed at providing a background to area of research that the student is undertaking.


There will be a series of seminars which will enhance the theoretical knowledge of the student in the area of the research.


The award of the DBA will be on the basis of successful completion of the taught modules, the seminars and the thesis document. Examination of your thesis will involve a viva voce and an external assessor with expertise in the subject or topic area of the thesis.

AUS recognizes that some individuals may not be able to complete the final thesis of approximately 50,000 words. Should students exit the course before the thesis phase of the program is complete, there is the possibility to earn a postgraduate certificate.

Request brochure

Please fill in your name and email address where we can send the brochure.



The Brochure has been sent. Please check your emails for details.