Katz Executive DBA

Fulfill your drive to learn, pivot your career

with this face-to-face/online hybrid format program

3 Year Hybrid Format

Cohort Learning Model

The path to innovative leadership requires a

Distinctive & Brilliant Approach

The Doctor of Business Administration degree will get you there.

Applications for Fall 2023 are open.

Rolling Admissions

The University of Pittsburgh, whose online MBA program is ranked No. 7 overall in the U.S. by Fortune, is now offering a Doctor of Business Administration degree. Students learn in a “Hyflex” hybrid format; taking classes in person, online, or any combination of the two. The pandemic has demonstrated the effectiveness of hybrid education.

All faculty teaching in the program are research-active. They are highly recognized in their fields, and many are chaired professors.

This innovative and transformative three-year program is targeted at individuals who have an intrinsic desire to pursue lifelong learning so they can excel at their current employer or pivot to a new career in industry, government, consulting, or teaching. Our DBA is attractive to those who want to expand their education while interacting with world-class faculty and other motivated, intelligent DBA students.

Watch this student testimonial from Kerr Mason

DBA Program Overview

45 credits total, broken out as follows:*
* Assuming transfer of 27 credits from a qualifying master’s program

  • 10.5 credits of Methodology Core seminars
  • 22.5 credits of Disciplinary Core Seminars
  • 12 credits of Practicum Research Project (PRP)
  • One week summer residency after the first and second academic year (Students facing travel/visa restrictions can request to participate virtually).

Program Duration: Three years, with two, one-week summer residencies

Phd Classroom
Executive DBA Council logo

Our DBA program is a proud member of the Executive Doctorate of Business Administration Council.


Katz is among only 5% of business schools accredited by AACSB.


Pitt is an R1 Research University and AAU member – a set of only 66 prestigious institutions.

Executive DBA class


#8 Worldwide for Executive MBA programs in public universities

Financial Times | 2021

Three Katz Doctoral Majors among Top 10 in U.S.

Nature | 2022

Faculty members rank among Top 2% in career citations

Stanford Analysis  | 2021


“Pitt Business has a long tradition of research and teaching excellence. This innovative program brings both together to serve the growing need for deeper methodological and problem-solving capabilities in today’s rapidly changing business world.” – Gene Anderson, Henry E. Haller Jr. Dean

Courses and Faculty //

Course of Study

Are you ready to create your future success through a Katz Executive DBA?
Find out how you’ll get there by exploring the course schedule.

Course Schedule

  Semester 1

Course Credits
Quantitative Research Methods 1: Mathematical Statistics and Data Analysis 1.5
Quantitative Research Methods 2: Optimization and Decision Analysis 1.5
Behavioral Research Methods 1 1.5
Organizational Science 1: Evidence-Based Management 3


Semester 2

Course Credits
Quantitative Research Methods 3: Multivariate Data Analysis 1.5
Quantitative Research Methods 4: Data Mining 1.5
Behavioral Decision-Making and Choice 1.5
Strategic Research: Strategy, Strategic Planning, And Strategic Management Systems 3.0


Semester 3

Course Credits
Applied Economics 1 1.5
Applied Economics 2 1.5
Managing in Uncertainty: Entrepreneurship 1.5
Organizational Science 2: Managing the Triple Bottom Line 3.0


Semester 4

Course Credits
Information Systems Research 1.5
Marketing Research 1.5
Corporate Finance Research 1.5
Accounting Research 1.5
Supply Chain and Operations Management Research 1.5


Semester 5

Course Credits
Behavioral Research Methods 2 1.5
Quantitative Research Methods 5 1.5
Practicum Research Project 4.5


Semester 6

Course Credits
Practicum Research Project 7.5
Course Descriptions

Methodology Core (12 credits)

Quantitative Research Methods I (Topics: Hypothesis Testing and Analytical Modeling) (Pandu Tadikamalla and Luis Vargas) and Quantitative Research Methods II (Topics: Multivariate Analysis, Simulation, and Data Mining) (BAO Group) (Jen Shang and Leon Valdes): Review Inferential Statistics:  Confidence Interval, Hypothesis Tests, and Regression. Multivariate Analysis (MVA): learn when and how to use MVA techniques, interpret outputs and extract knowledge to solve problems in a variety of disciplines. Management Science/Operations Research Techniques: Build analytical and modeling skills for both deterministic & stochastic optimization; Understand Simulation, Decision- and Queueing-Theory, to help students make better management decisions. We anticipate that most projects will entail some data analysis.  This course will help develop the concepts and skills needed for effective analysis of data and the interpretation of results for decision making. Possible software packages for the course are Excel, Tableau, SPSS, SAS-JMP. After a review of Inferential Analysis and Regression, potential topics for the course are Multivariate Analysis (Visualization, Cluster analysis, Binary & Multinomial Logistic Regression, Multiple Discriminant Analysis, Principal Components & Factor Analysis); Data Mining (Prediction, classifications, association rules), Optimization (LP review, DEA, Network Modeling, Integer Programming, Nonlinear programming, and Simulation), Stochastic Processes, Decision Analysis, Queuing Theory, Multiple Criteria Decision Making

Behavioral Research Methods (Topics: Inquiry Strategies, Measurement, and Sampling) (Dennis Galletta) Reviews options for performing quantitative and qualitative research studies in firms that focus on individuals’ attitudes, intentions, and behaviors. Firms can investigate research questions concerning employees, customers, and trading partners. For quantitative methods, the course will cover topics such as how to create a behavioral study strategy, formulate research questions based on theory, design questionnaires and surveys, design experiments, carry out the studies, and assess the results. Qualitative topics to be covered include methods for designing and conducting studies involving interviews, focus groups, and archival documents such as filings, news reports, and social network posts.  Methods for analyzing unstructured data will be covered, using software such as Dedoose, NVIVO, and/or LIWC. Machine learning concepts will also be discussed. Prerequisite: Quantitative Research Methods I.

Managing in Uncertainty I (Topics: Methods for Decision Making under uncertainty) (1.5 credits) (Jeff Inman) Covers utility theory, bounded rationality, risk, heuristics, biases (e.g., inertia), and social influences. We will cover methods used to assess utility (e.g., conjoint analysis, analytic hierarchy process) and how to frame and answer research questions in the context of decision making under uncertainty.

Managing in Uncertainty 2 (Topic: Managing Novel Products and Services, in Uncertain Contexts) (Sharon Alvarez) (1.5 credits) Organizational processes differ from standard practices and routines when they create new knowledge, engage in novel behaviors, and build innovative products and services that did not previously exist. Managing across the liminal space between what we do and do not know, and what we think we know but is no longer relevant, is fundamentally creative and different than managing with knowledge that is codified and routinized, clearly relevant, and where the likelihood of certain outcomes over others can be projected with confidence.  We know that managers tend to be creatures of habit, thriving on standard operating procedures, routines, and rational expectations of the future.  This side of managing has been well studied, and a robust conceptual vocabulary and toolkit exists in management theory to understand it.  But, the difficulties in managing when introducing new novel products and services are less understood. This class will focus on managing in uncertain contexts through a number of readings from different areas.


Disciplinary Core Courses

Organizational Science 1 (Topic: Evidence-Based Management) (Carrie Leana) Evidence-based management means making organizational decisions through the conscientious and explicit use of the best available evidence to increase the likelihood of a favorable outcome for stakeholders. Evidence-based management requires a set of skills and knowledge whereby practitioners translate an issue or problem into an answerable question; systematically search the evidence and critically assess its quality; and incorporate that evidence into the decision making process.  It blends science with practice with the goal of ensuring that organizational decisions are based on quality social science research. In this seminar our focus will be on topics in organization science.  These topics include leadership, motivation, job design, incentives, and other foundational topics in organizational science.  Students will use this information, as well as the principals of evidence-based management, to develop a proposal for addressing a relevant issue or problem to address within their own organizations or industries.

Organizational Science 2 (Topic: Decision Making for Human Capital) (Gary Florkowski) This course assesses evolving patterns of practice to configure and leverage globalized talent pools in pursuit of competitive advantage.  Topics will include fundamental choices between internal- versus external labor markets, traditional staffing models versus the alternative gig-economy paradigm for work relationships (temps, freelancers, crowd workers), firm- versus network-based talent structures (e.g., foreign supplier workers in global supply chains, BPO vendor staff), globally integrated versus differentiated talent management practices, and their managerial implications throughout the employment lifecycle.  Readings will be drawn from the fields of labor economics, comparative industrial relations, and strategic HRM to (1) highlight the state of existing research and (2) identify the opportunities that researchers have to develop and implement better designs.

Organizational Science 3 (Topic: Managing the Triple Bottom Line) (CB Bhattacharya) This seminar-style course will focus on theories and concepts that we can use to understand the role of the firm in the 21st century and develop strategies that enable businesses to transition from a singular focus on profits to managing the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit.  There will be particular emphasis on current societal challenges – as articulated in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – and their implications for business sustainability. The course will be interdisciplinary, drawing on literature in strategy, marketing, organizational behavior, and operations, to understand the conditions under which creating social and environmental value can drive business value.

Strategic Research 1 (Topic: Strategic Planning Systems) (John Camillus) Analyzes the strategic planning process in terms of the varying combinations of subsystems that may be required for different organizational purposes.  Research regarding both the design and evaluation of planning systems will be studied with the objective of developing improved models of the underlying processes.

Accounting 1 (Topic: Budgeting and Controls) (Karen Shastri) The purpose of this course is to provide students with the theory and concepts underlying budgeting practices (i.e.,  what has existed, is currently in use, and has been proposed for contemporary purposes). It will focus on research related to budgeting and controls, how these topics relate to a firm’s strategy, management motivation, performance measures and risk management.  Topics will include budgeting in uncertain times, the balanced scorecard, and “beyond budgeting” approaches, as well as others. The pedagogical approach is to address these topics through case studies and to introduce and apply relevant research findings.

Financial Management (Topics: Research and Strategies for Financial Policies, Capital Allocations, and Valuation) (Ahmed Elshahat) Evaluation and execution of financial policies; Valuation. Students act as members of the capital committee and are tasked to allocate capital, during the course of the semester, from the senior-management perspective. The course gives the students the opportunity to evaluate and execute a set of high level financial polices to enhance efficiency, innovation, and overall performance. This is a case-based, hands-on, data-driven course with two capital budgeting & data analytics simulations at the end of the course. Each class, students evaluate a diverse set of competing investment proposals that cover a wide range of projects including replacement decisions, expansions, mergers/acquisition, and projects with real options. The course covers the impact of capital rationing on capital investment, integration of real options to emphasize how they can change a negative value to a positive value, integration of uncertainty in capital budgeting using stochastic analysis versus risk-adjusted discount rates, integration of the impact of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, understand how capital budgeting rules set a firm’s market position and highlighting the impact of Foreign exchange theories and applications on capital budgeting.

Information Systems Research (Topic: Measurement and Evaluation of Information Systems) (Chris Kemerer) This seminar-style course provides an overview of approaches to measuring and evaluating both the demand for, and the supply of, information systems and their related information technologies.  Given the critical role played by information technology in organizations, students require an exposure to these topics in order to help management make informed decisions about investing in IT.  This course will draw on both research materials and case studies.  Students will be required to develop a research proposal.

Supply Chain and Operations Management Research Methods (Prakash Mirchandani and Arian Aflaki) SC/OM involves the planning, designing, operating, controlling, and improving the processes that transform inputs into finished goods and services.  Only through effective and efficient utilization of resources can an organization be successful.  Significant competitive advantages can accrue to firms that manage their operations effectively. Thus, SC/OM is crucial for the long-term success and survival of a firm. In this course, students will learn core OM concepts and techniques. Example topics include process and bottleneck analysis, forecasting, product/process design, Quality Management and Six Sigma, Process Strategy and Sustainability, Location/Layout Strategies, Capacity Planning, Inventory Management, Outsourcing Strategy, Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP), Revenue Management, Lean and Agile Operations, Coordination and Restructuring, Transforming Operations through Blockchain, Supply chains: Challenges, Opportunities and Redesign.

Applied Economics (Advanced Topics) (Esther Gal-Or and Haimanti Banerjee) This course provides a comprehensive perspective of various microeconomic and macroeconomic topics, emphasizing their application in markets and the macroeconomy. The microeconomic topics include economics of strategy and game theory, designing organizational architecture, decision rights of firms, incentive compensation and individual performance evaluation. The macroeconomic topics will range from connections between labor markets and unemployment, consumption decisions by households, fiscal deficit, inflation and exchange rate systems to the role of the government in the macroeconomy. The course will draw on published research material, empirical data and statistical techniques and case studies.

Marketing Science (Topic: Marketing and Brand Strategy) (Vanitha Swaminathan) This seminar-style course provides an overview of various substantive topics in the context of applied marketing and brand strategy topics including measuring marketing performance, marketing partnerships, digital platforms and direct-to-consumer distribution strategy etc. This will also cover some branding topics in depth, including brand valuation, brand architecture, and global branding. Rather than theory development, this course will have a special focus on applications of existing theories. Readings will be drawn from various scholarly and applied journals including Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, California Management Review, among others.

Program Overview Video Playlist

Frequently Asked Questions

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Why should I choose this program?

Katz and the University of Pittsburgh are well-positioned to deliver a high-quality Executive DBA program. Katz has been running a world-class PhD program for decades placing students at highly ranked global universities demonstrating our rigor in research and theory. The University of Pittsburgh is classified as an R1 research institution, which is the top tier of the Carnegie classification. The University of Pittsburgh is also a member of the AAU representing the top 60 universities across the country. Katz is also accredited by the AACSB, the top accreditation body for business schools globally with only 5% of business schools reaching AACSB accreditation status.   

Who teaches in this program?

We engage research-active, tenure track faculty. Most are tenured full professors and several are chaired professors. That status indicates both high quality and high quantity of research achievements. That is, the faculty members have engaged in high quality research and have produced a high quantity of that research. Those are the faculty members who can help you attain rigor in your own research. Most have received national or international awards and other recognitions for that research. This article, “Katz EDBA: Faculty Expertise and Mentorship,” has more details. 

Watch this video to learn more.

Is there a thesis requirement? What is the Practicum Research Project?

As this is a professional doctorate, most students will have a management position in industry. We employ a Practicum Research Project (PRP) that focuses on a situation or problem in your work that you want to address but may not wish to be published. If you desire to publish it, your advisor will guide you in that direction. 

The PRP requires the following: 

  • Identify a situation that cannot be addressed with intuition alone, and requires careful and rigorous analysis. 
  • Find some previous research that addresses problems in this realm. 
  • Use that research to inform your own approach and research expectations. 
  • Find a database or collect your own original data to address the problem. 
  • Analyze the data in an appropriate and rigorous way. 
  • Draw conclusions from that analysis. 
How do I obtain guidance for my Practicum Research Project?

During your first two years in the Katz DBA program, you will likely have conversations with your professors either inside or outside of class in conjunction with some of your class assignments. You can ask any of your professors to serve as your PRP Advisor, or you can ask if they can recommend others who specialize in the context of your PRP or the methods you choose for the project. The PRP Advisor can provide advice on any of the steps of the PRP (see the FAQ “Is there a thesis requirement” for details). 

Watch this video to learn more.

What is the cost of this program?

The tuition for the part-time, 45-credit hour program is $3,000 per credit. A limited amount of financial aid is available. 

Is financial aid available?

Many of our admitted students are funded directly through their employer. We encourage you to talk with your employer about available funding for your Executive DBA.   

If significant funding is not available through your employer, there is a limited amount of financial aid available. If you are accepted into the program, you will receive a “Financial Support Plan” form to complete and submit. The admissions committee will review your plan and determine if and how much financial support is available and applicable.  You will also be given additional resources about external financial support including Federal loans and external grants. 

When are classes held?

Our DBA courses are held on weeknights in the fall and spring. These courses will be offered in a “Hyflex” hybrid format, which can be taken in person, online, or any combination of the two. This means that you can take courses from anywhere.

You must, however, be in attendance while each class is held (three evenings per week during each semester). We have found that the weeknight “Hyflex” approach is more effective and conducive for learning than the rushed weekend-a-month format that some programs hold. Those sessions tend to overload and fatigue students. Our approach will enable you to acquire the knowledge in smaller chunks and to complete assignments along the way. You will have your weekends free from scheduled DBA courses throughout the program. 

There will be no courses during the summer, but we do hold a Summer DBA Research Symposium that will be scheduled in advance. 

What will the Summer 2023 DBA Research Symposium focus on?

The DBA Research Symposium, to be held in-person on Pitt’s campus during the summer of 2023, will focus on workshops dedicated to helping you with your research in general and the capstone Practicum Research Project (PRP), in particular. You will also have the opportunity to meet with your PRP faculty Advisor and share your work with other DBA students. Specific dates will be forthcoming. 

Watch this video to learn more.

How many hours per week will the program require?

The DBA program is designed for students to spend about 7.5 hours in-class or watching material in preparation for class. Additionally, students can expect 2 hours of additional time outside of class hours to complete course work.  The total estimated time per week for the DBA program is 15 hours for the fall and spring semesters.  There are no courses in the summer, but there is the one-week required summer residency. 

Watch this video to learn more.

What is the difference between a DBA and a PhD?

Both degrees represent the highest level of academic achievement, but also have differences. The DBA is considered a professional doctorate, while the PhD is considered an academic doctorate. The DBA program is a part-time program to be completed in 3 years allowing for students to continue to work while they complete their doctoral studies. The DBA program is designed to engage and synthesize research with the real-world practice of business and the student’s executive management experience. The PhD is a full-time 4-to-5-year program, in which you would have to leave your employer, go to graduate school full time, and complete 20 hours of graduate assistantship per week. The PhD emphasizes the development of theories and addressing gaps in knowledge.    

Watch to learn more.

How does the program work for the active military?

Members of the military are encouraged to apply. In the first cohort, we have active military members who are successfully balancing their courses and their military responsibilities.

Learn More //

Connect with Katz

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If so, click the button below to receive more information.

Application Process //

Forge Your Path Forward

Individuals pursuing the DBA program should have 8+ years of professional management experience and currently work in a middle-to-top management position. A baccalaureate or advanced degree from an accredited college or university is required for admission. Applicants with a master’s degree from an approved institution can transfer up to 27 credits into the Executive DBA program. Candidates must submit an application, resume, professional essay, official transcripts, and two letters of reference.

Latest News //

Executive DBA Coursework and Experience

Executive DBA Coursework and Experience

Katz DBA Delivers Experiences and Solutions Experienced professionals will get expert advice to solve complex, real-time challenges at work through the new Executive Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree offered by the University of Pittsburgh Joseph M. Katz...

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Katz EDBA: Faculty Expertise and Mentorship

Katz EDBA: Faculty Expertise and Mentorship

When it comes to research expertise, the University of Pittsburgh Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business faculty are ranked among the best in the world. Students in the new Executive Doctor of Business Administration (EDBA) program will get the direct benefit to...

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As a Katz MBA student, Steven Renfro Jr., (MBA ’15) strengthened key skills and evolved as a business professional, observing the thought process of others when problem-solving. Over the past 12 years, he has thrived in accounting, finance, and marketing management roles for various corporations across multiple industries, solving a wide range of business problems along the way.

Read more about Steven’s journey in our Pitt Business Magazine