Jun 05, 2023  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Executive, D.B.A.

Executive DBA Program Office
Tower Place 200, 3348 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 500, Atlanta, GA 30326
Program website: robinson.gsu.edu/executive-doctorate-in-business
Email: lgrabowski1@gsu.edu

Louis J. Grabowski, MBA, DBA, Director of the Executive DBA Program
Lars Mathiassen, Ph.D., Academic Director of the Executive DBA Program

Please contact the Executive DBA Program Office for more information about this program.

Goals and Expectations

The Executive Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) program of the J. Mack Robinson College of Business is designed to transform executives with strong managerial, industry and academic experience into engaged practitioner-scholars with interdisciplinary, global perspectives on the dynamic business environment of today. This mission is accomplished by helping these executives develop general research competence in applied research (including demonstrating knowledge of relevant theory and scholarly literature) while creating new knowledge on contemporary business problems through both rigorous coursework and the writing and defense of a dissertation. Upon successful completion of the program students will have the:

  • Knowledge and expertise required to identify, understand, and successfully tackle the interdisciplinary, big picture issues that characterize global business management today.
  • Skills in formal social inquiry required to define and address complex issues and to disseminate knowledge in a variety of professional and public outlets to influence professional activity and public policy.
  • Interdisciplinary and global systems-oriented perspective that is required to understand and address contemporary business problems.

The Executive DBA program is a 3-year degree program designed for senior executives who already possess an MBA, EMBA, or equivalent MS degree. It is offered in an executive format with students participating in four 3-day residencies (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) per semester for 6 semesters.


All Executive DBA students must assume full responsibility for knowledge of the rules and regulations concerning their studies. Moreover, students are expected to abide by generally accepted standards of conduct. The university reserves the right to exclude any student whose conduct is prejudicial or injurious to the university, faculty, or other students. Students should review the “University Code of Conduct ” in the General Information chapter of this catalog for explicit information on this topic.

Admissions: Applications, Procedures, and Criteria

Applications for the Executive DBA program are reviewed on a “rolling” basis throughout the year for once-a-year admission in the upcoming fall semester. Once approximately 24 students are accepted admission for that fall ends and admission for the next year’s fall semester begins. Applicants are therefore encouraged to apply as early as possible to ensure a seat in the fall semester.

The application is completed online at robinson.gsu.edu/executive-doctorate-in-business/application-process/.

Inquiries and questions may be addressed to:

Executive DBA Program Office
Georgia State University
c/o Associate Director
Tower Place 200
3348 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 500,
Atlanta, GA 30326

All documents and other materials submitted by or for applicants for admission to the Executive DBA program become the property of Georgia State University and cannot be returned. It is the responsibility of each applicant to follow the application procedures completely and correctly and to be certain that all materials have been submitted to the Executive DBA Program Office before the application can be reviewed. Incomplete applications will not be processed.

Admission Criteria

Admission decisions are based on a careful review of the applicant’s official transcripts, resume, required essays, and the other information submitted in support of the application. Applicants must possess an accredited MBA, EMBA, or equivalent MS degree. Applicants are not required to submit a certification of their state of health but on enrollment, must submit an immunization certification before being enrolled. The college reserves the right to investigate the health, character, and personality of each applicant. Listed below are the materials which all applicants must submit to the Executive DBA Program Office to be considered for admission. All applicants must provide proof of lawful presence.


Applicants must submit all application forms, including the narrative essay section.

Application Fee

An application fee of $100 must be submitted by all applicants and may be paid by credit card. Checks or money orders should be made payable to Georgia State University in U.S. currency. Do not send cash. The application fee cannot be waived, is nonrefundable, and does not apply toward registration fees.


Applicants either must request that two official copies of all transcripts be sent directly from each institution attended (even if a degree was not obtained) to the Executive DBA Program Office or submit the official transcripts unopened with the application. If the transcript is sent via E-script, it should be submitted to: execdoctorate@gsu.edu, ATTN: Associate Director. An applicant who has previously attended Georgia State University is permitted to submit only one copy of transcripts from each institution attended prior to entering the university; two copies are required from all institutions attended after having last been registered at Georgia State University.


A full, detailed resume should be submitted as part of the online application.


To assess the applicant’s writing skills and understand his/her goals and expectations, 3 essays of approximately 1-1.5 pages are required. The specific questions can be found on the website at robinson.gsu.edu/executive-doctorate-in-business/application-process/.


Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee comprising faculty and the directors of the Executive DBA Program. If short-listed, the selection committee will request a one hour, face-to-face interview with the candidate. Based upon the submitted information and the interview the selection committee will then make a final decision as to acceptance.

International Applicants

International and domestic students follow the same application process. International applicants are not required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Testing System (IELTS). However, they must provide proof of a F-1 or J-1 Visa.

Financial Requirements

Georgia State University reserves the right to admit only those applicants who are academically qualified and who have documented their ability to meet the financial requirements while in attendance.

Degree Requirements

DBA Program of Study

Year 1

Year 2

Spring Semester (9 Credit Hours)

Year 3

Fall Semester (9 Credit Hours)

Spring Semester (9 Credit Hours)

Academic Regulations

  1. Scholastic Warning and Termination
    Each student must maintain a 3.00 doctoral GPA (“B” average). The doctoral grade-point average (GPA) is defined as the GPA for all Executive DBA courses numbered 9000 or higher taken after admission to the Executive DBA program. A student whose doctoral GPA falls below 3.00 is on “scholastic warning.” After being placed on scholastic warning, a student must attain a 3.00 doctoral GPA within two consecutive calendar semesters; otherwise the individual will be terminated from Executive DBA studies in the Robinson College of Business. The doctoral GPA could differ from the GPA calculated by the university and reported on the student’s official transcript, since the university GPA would also include the grades from any graduate courses numbered 6000 or above taken at Georgia State University before admission to the Executive DBA program.
    A student who has been terminated from the Executive DBA program will not be permitted to reapply to or reenter the program.
  2. Standards of Performance
    The requirements and regulations listed in this catalog refer to minimum standards of performance. The program may have additional requirements, as set forth in writing, that exceed the minimum standards published in this catalog. If a student fails to meet these additional requirements, the directors of the Executive DBA program may require that the student withdraw from Executive DBA study. To continue in the program, a student must make reasonable and timely progress toward the degree in terms of coursework completed.
    Beginning with the semester of acceptance, an Executive DBA student must register for a full load each semester (excluding summer semester unless the student has completed all coursework) until graduation. A full load is considered a minimum of nine semester hours. Students who are visa-holders may need to register for more hours and should discuss their status with the Office of International Student and Scholar Services. An additional Dissertation Seminar, DBA 9171  , may be used to satisfy this requirement until the student has passed the final dissertation defense. Students who fail to meet the continuous enrollment requirement are subject to withdrawal from Executive DBA studies in the Robinson College of Business.
    As stated in the previous section concerning continuous enrollment, students must enroll for a full course load each semester (excluding summers). Any absence from the program must be approved by the academic director. Students who leave the program without an approved request or who do not fulfill the terms of an approved request for an absence may not be allowed to re-enter the program. Any student who is not registered for one calendar year must file a re-entry application with the Registrar’s Office. Students must be mindful of the deadline for this application. There is a charge to file a re-entry application. As previously stated, reentry approval is not automatic and the student should check with the Executive DBA Program Office if considering re-entry.
  3. The Dissertation
    The purpose of the dissertation is for the Executive DBA candidate to demonstrate ability to conduct research leading to a significant contribution in a chosen area of inquiry. Before a student begins to collect any primary data from human subjects, the student must make sure that all data collection, including surveys, is in compliance with the guidelines set out by the Institutional Review Board (IRB). Included among these requirements is certification via an online test on ethical treatment of subjects. The IRB’s Human Subjects Manual is accessible online at ursa.research.gsu.edu/ursa/compliance/human-subjects/.
  4. The Dissertation Committee
    The Dissertation Committee consists of a chair plus a minimum of two members. The committee, and any subsequent change in its membership, is appointed by the academic director of the Executive DBA program. Faculty from institutions other than Georgia State may serve as members of the committee, but at the time of the initial formation of the committee, there must be at least two Georgia State faculty on the committee. At least two committee members must be in good standing with respect to Georgia State graduate faculty status. Co-chair arrangements are not only acceptable, but even encouraged, especially in cases where one of the co-chairs is an assistant professor. When the student is ready to begin the initial work on the dissertation, he or she should first discuss with the Executive DBA academic director the names of potential faculty who would be the most appropriate chair of the Dissertation Committee. Only after the Executive DBA academic director has agreed with the student as to the choice of a particular faculty member should the student then invite the faculty member to be chair of the committee. Once the dissertation chair has been chosen, the chair, in consultation with the student, will recommend the selection of the remaining committee members to the Executive DBA academic director.
  5. Dissertation Proposal and Dissertation Defense
    Prior to admission to candidacy for the degree, a dissertation proposal defense must be held. After the student completes a written proposal that the Dissertation Committee deems to be ready for final defense, a dissertation proposal defense will be held before the Dissertation Committee.
    The student’s dissertation proposal should include a summary of the following: the purpose of the study; the nature of the subject to be investigated and its importance; a brief review of the literature; the theory, if any, to be developed; the empirical methodology, techniques, and data sources, if any, to be used; the nature of the hypotheses to be developed or tested, where appropriate; and a time frame for completion of the dissertation.
    The proposal defense will be open to all interested faculty and doctoral (Executive DBA and Ph.D.) students. After the proposal defense has been held, the members of the committee will vote to determine if the student is deemed to have a satisfactory research topic. A unanimous decision by the student’s Dissertation Committee is required. The members of the committee will sign the dissertation proposal defense approval form.
    Submission of the approval form does not constitute a contractual agreement between the student and the Dissertation Committee. It is within the scope and function of the Dissertation Committee to recommend modifications to the research as it proceeds. Upon submission of the proposal defense approval form to the Executive DBA Program Office, the student is admitted to candidacy for the degree.
    Committee members should be given a draft of the proposal (and also the final dissertation) at least two weeks before the proposed defense date. This will permit a revision cycle to both improve the work before the defense and ensure that committee members have adequate time to comment and raise substantive issues, should this be the case. It will also allow the defense date to be postponed in the event that required changes could not be completed before the proposed defense date.
    When the candidate’s Dissertation Committee judges that the dissertation is complete, it must be defended orally in a final dissertation defense. At least two weeks in advance of the final dissertation defense, the student will inform the Executive DBA Program Office of the scheduled date of defense and an announcement will be made to all academic units. While any interested faculty member or graduate student may attend the examination and participate in the discussion, only those individuals who are members of the candidate’s Dissertation Committee will vote to approve or disapprove the dissertation. Upon successful defense of the dissertation, a dissertation defense approval form will be signed by the members of the Dissertation Committee and submitted to the Executive DBA Program Office. Unanimous approval is required. Guidelines for the dissertation are available from the Executive DBA Program Office.
  6. Dissertation Embargo Policy
    Students may request a 3-month, 6-month, 9-month, or 12-month restriction of dissertation publishing (hereafter termed embargo). Requests must be made in writing to the dissertation chair/co-chairs prior to the electronic uploads of the dissertation to ProQuest/UMI and Georgia State University’s ScholarWorks Digital Archive Library. Written approval from the chair/co-chairs must be sent to the Executive DBA Program Office. Once the approval is received by the Executive DBA Program Office, the dissertation will not be published for the approved embargo period. The dissertation will be released for publishing after the embargo period ends.
  7.  Dissertation Defense and Graduation
    When the candidate’s Dissertation Committee judges that the dissertation is complete, it must be defended orally in a final dissertation defense. While any interested faculty member or graduate student may attend the examination and participate in the discussion, only those individuals who are members of the candidate’s Dissertation Committee will vote to approve or disapprove the dissertation. Upon successful defense of the dissertation, a dissertation defense approval form will be signed by the members of the Dissertation Committee and submitted to the Executive DBA Program Office. Unanimous approval is required. An electronic copy of the dissertation must be submitted to the Executive DBA Program Office two weeks prior to the anticipated date of graduation.

Time Limits for the Degree

The time limits specified below should be interpreted as the maximum amount of time students may take to complete each of the degree requirements. It is anticipated that most students will complete the requirements within the intended three years of study:

  • All requirements for the Executive DBA degree, including the dissertation, must be completed within five years from the semester of entry into the Executive DBA program.
  • Additional tuition will be required for any program of study in the Executive DBA program, including the dissertation, beyond three years.