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Athabasca University

Doctor of Business Administration
Admission Requirements

Applicants to an Athabasca University DBA program must have a Master of Business Administration degree or equivalent Master’s degree and at least five years of significant managerial and/or professional experience.

Applicants must also provide:

  • a completed application form.
  • a detailed resumé demonstrating five or more years of significant management and/or professional work experience.
  • a 500 – 1000 word expression of research interests.
  • three letters of reference, ideally from two professional and one academic source. References from personal friends or relatives will not be accepted.
  • official transcripts, sent directly to the Faculty of Business from the respective institution(s). Applicants with degrees obtained outside of North America may be required to have educational qualifications assessed independently (see International transcripts).
  • evidence of a successfully completed university level statistics course.
  • evidence of English language proficiency (see Proof of English Language Proficiency below).
  • a non-refundable application fee.

Applications to the doctoral program will be reviewed by members of the Doctorate Admissions Committee of the Faculty of Business who will make recommendations and decisions regarding offers of admission to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. The Admissions Committee will consist of one member from each department of the Faculty of Business and will be chaired by the DBA Program Director or his/her designate.

Offers of admission will be made by the Faculty of Graduate Studies. In exceptional circumstances, the Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies may waive one or more of the above application criteria.

Appeals to the University concerning admission decisions will be governed by the University’s Appeal 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.

Proof of English Language Proficiency

DBA applicants must meet the English Language Proficiency Requirements outlined by the University's Faculty of Graduate Studies, subject to the following additional requirements:

  • Applicants who submit the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) must obtain a minimum score of 25 on the written component (internet-based test).
  • Applicants who submit the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) must obtain a minimum score of 6.5.

Documented proof must be submitted with the application for admission. Scores more than two years old are not acceptable.

Note: In addition, foreign language students may be asked to complete the CanTEST prior to or following registration and, if need be, remedial measures in language skills based on the results of the CanTEST may be recommended.

For more information, contact the Faculty of Business office.


Information effective September 1, 2020 to August 31, 2021.

Updated April 13 2021 by laurab

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