In the doctoral study, students demonstrate mastery of the knowledge and skills that will be required for careers in business, academics, and management as leaders. The doctoral study, which is the culminating paper of the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program, is a scholarly response, based in research and theory, to a business-related problem.
At a more detailed level, the doctoral study is grounded in scholarly content, includes a problem definition, reviews previous literature, and provides theoretical perspectives. It is guided by rubrics and supportive of practitioner-researchers’ development. It is required to address Walden’s social change mission, adhere to all Walden guidelines and processes, and demonstrate doctoral-level work in command of writing and APA style, critical thinking, and competence in research design.
The doctoral study includes the following sections:
All doctoral students beginning their DBA program will take DDBA 8005 or 8006 course Foundations for Doctoral Business Administration Studies. By the end of the first course, students develop both a program of study (documenting their expected transfer of credit and choice of specialization) and a Professional Development Plan (documenting the professional goals they bring into the program and the ways in which they anticipate the program will help to achieve them). Doctoral students who want to graduate in a specific semester must plan their program carefully during the development of their Professional Development Plan.
During each phase of the doctoral program, students will be working toward their final deliverable—the doctoral study.
The DBA program offers two distinct doctoral studies courses:
These courses are focused specifically on the process of writing the doctoral study prospectus. Students will use their preliminary research plan, developed previously, and develop a problem statement, to be used in the doctoral study. They further refine the problem statement and carry out the planning and the library research that will bring them to the formulation of a doctoral study prospectus. The prospectus lays out the background for the problem statement, the problem statement itself, a survey of the relevant literature (typically 60–100 peer reviewed references), and a research, implementation, and evaluation plan for the solution of a business-related problem.
Besides serving as the key activity and basis for assessment in these courses, the prospectus serves as a “marketing document” used in the assignment of a mentor/committee chair for the student’s doctoral study. The matching/assignment process should be completed within a short time after the completion of this first course.
A minimum of five semesters of the DBA program are dedicated to the doctoral study. Once students initially register for DDBA 9000, with their supervisory committee chair, they will be continuously enrolled in the same course until the doctoral study is formally approved by the chief academic officer. Ideally, the rest of the student’s committee members (described below under Doctoral Study Completion Course) are engaged at the same time; at the latest, they must be engaged before the student’s doctoral study proposal is submitted for their approval.
At this stage, the doctoral study prospectus is also submitted for University Research Review (URR) for review. If the reviewer finds the prospectus inadequate, the student must revise it to the reviewer’s satisfaction. This revision cycle does not preclude the student’s further progress in courses, but it must be completed before the student can submit a doctoral study proposal to the committee for review.
The 4-credit DDBA 9000 - Doctoral Study Completion Course is taken as many times as needed to complete the degree (typically a minimum of five terms). Students must achieve two milestones. First, they create a doctoral study proposal, expanding the concepts established in the doctoral study prospectus and further developing the sections that will eventually become the doctoral study. This proposal is subject to committee approval, followed by University Research Review (URR), which could potentially return the proposal for further revision and re-approval by the committee.
Subsequent to university-level approval, students must submit the correct forms to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) before beginning their field research. Upon receiving IRB approval, students carry out their field research, develop their proposed solution/implementation plan, and develop a suitable assessment plan.
For the second milestone, students prepare the three-section doctoral study. The doctoral study is subject first to committee review and University Research Review (URR), then to oral examination. The DBA degree is awarded upon successful review at both levels. Please see the Office of Research and Doctoral Services website for further details of the review processes.
Registration for doctoral study credits (DDBA 9000) takes place during the regular course registration period. Students earn a total of 20 semester credits for the doctoral study. Additional semesters needed for completion of the doctoral study do not earn credit.
For more details about the doctoral study, refer to the DBA Capstone Studies portion of the Office of Research and Doctoral Services website and the Doctoral Research Sequence of this Walden University Student Handbook.
The doctoral capstone demonstrates a student’s skill and ability to examine, critique, research, and synthesize knowledge so that new ideas can be tested; best practices identified, established, and verified; or theoretical or policy constructs evaluated and advanced. In this sense, the EdD project study capstone is not a traditional doctoral dissertation; rather, the project study aims directly at the improvement of educational practice in the day-to-day environments where educational leaders work. The project study provides the educational leader with a new product to improve teaching or learning in a designated community of practice. The project study is context-based within the organizational setting and linked to social change.
For more details about the doctoral study, refer to the EdD page of the Office of Research and Doctoral Services website and the Doctoral Research Sequence section of this Walden University Student Handbook.
It is difficult to schedule completion of the doctoral capstone process for a specific semester. Students can begin thinking about their capstone project early in the program as they learn more about their field and research approaches. While the student must complete at least two semesters (12 credits) of doctoral study coursework, the process may take longer, depending on the required background work, the research design, and the nature of the project study itself. University faculty and staff will make every effort to help the student complete a high quality capstone project in an efficient manner.
Students need to complete the process by the close of business (5 p.m. Central time) on the final business day of the semester in which they intend to graduate. Completing the process means that the doctoral study has received final approval from the chief academic officer of the university.
Note on commencement deadlines: Students who want to participate in the summer commencement ceremony must have their doctoral study approved by the chief academic officer no later the last business day of the spring semester. Students who want to participate in the winter commencement ceremony must have their doctoral study approved by the chief academic officer no later than the last business day of the fall quarter.
The final two semesters of the Ed.D. program are dedicated to the doctoral study. Registration for doctoral study credits (EDUC 8090) takes place during the regular course registration period. Once students initially register for 8090, with their supervisory committee chair, they are automatically registered for the course until the doctoral study is formally approved by the chief academic officer. Students earn a total of 12 semester credits (i.e., 2 semesters of 6 credits per semester) for the doctoral study. Additional credits for EDUC 8090 are not reflected in the overall credit requirements needed for graduation, but these additional credits will appear on the transcript. All courses and the residency must be completed prior to registration in EDUC 8090.
The capstone concludes the Education Specialist (EdS) program by providing a practical application of students’ learning. Working in a consultative role as a school or district professional, the student will engage in a real-world problem-solving project within their work environment. The capstone will consist of (1) identifying an issue of concern, (2) conducting a scholarly review of literature, (3) analyzing the literature and articulating how valid and reliable research findings (from the literature review) address the issue of concern, (4) composing scientific research-based interventions or recommendations that address the issue of concern, and (5) reflecting on the capstone project.
Note: Students should see the Education Specialist (EdS) Program Guide for full information on the capstone project and process.
The final phase of study for Walden PhD students begins with the preparation of a dissertation proposal, which is affirmed in an oral presentation and then followed by the execution of a research study. Walden does not favor any particular research approach or methodology, but does require that the dissertation reflect a high level of conceptual manipulation and contribute original knowledge to the field. Through the dissertation, students demonstrate their knowledge of research design and their ability to interpret research findings, both orally and in writing.
For more details on the dissertation, refer to the dissertation information pages on the Office of Research and Doctoral Services website.
For help writing the dissertation, visit the Form and Style Website.
Doctoral students who want to graduate in a specific quarter must plan their program carefully as follows or their graduation date will be delayed:
The dissertation process requires PhD students to participate in a learning platform classroom. Students need to complete the process by the close of business (5 p.m. Central time) on the final business day of the quarter in which they intend to graduate. Completing the process means that the dissertation has received final approval from the chief academic officer of the university.
The following table can be used to plan the final months of the dissertation process, based on the quarter in which the student intends to graduate.
|Quarter of Intended Graduation||Submission to Form and Style||Dissertation Oral Presentation||Final Dissertation and Rubric Submitted||Abstract Submitted for Chief Academic Officer Review|
|Spring||March 1||March 15||April 1||May 1|
|Summer||June 1||June 15||July 1||August 1|
|Fall||September 1||September 15||October 1||November 1|
|Winter||December 1||December 15||January 1||February 1|
Note on commencement deadlines: Students who want to participate in the summer commencement ceremony must have their dissertation approved by the chief academic officer no later than the last business day of the spring quarter. Students who want to participate in the winter commencement ceremony must have their dissertation approved by the chief academic officer no later than the last business day of the fall quarter.
Students enrolled in a KAM-based program will automatically be placed in a Research Forum with the chair of their dissertation committee. They will remain registered in the course for the duration of their dissertation process. The registrar’s office will assign the appropriate dissertation credits when the final academic audit is complete.
Students enrolled in a course-based and some mixed-model programs must earn a minimum of 20 dissertation credits. Registration for dissertation credits takes place during the regular course registration period. After students initially register for the dissertation course, they are automatically registered for the course until the dissertation is formally approved by the chief academic officer. Students who have an approved dissertation supervisory committee may register for dissertation credits during any quarter in which they are working on the proposal and dissertation. Students who have only a committee chair may register for the dissertation course, but they will not be able to submit their proposal for review until they have an approved committee. Students with specific questions about their programs should contact their student success advisor.
My Doctoral Research (MyDR) is the document and progress management tool for doctoral students who are in the dissertation or doctoral study phase of their programs. MyDR offers a secure repository for dissertation documents, facilitates communication between students and committee reviewers, provides a historical archive of faculty feedback, and distributes automatic notifications of approvals and next steps to students and committee members. The MyDR tool is accessible through the Blackboard classroom. Training materials are available on the Office of Research and Doctoral Services website.
Evidence-Based Practice I: Assessment and Design of Programs
Students will identify the clinical/practice question for their course assignment.
The DNP practicum course is designed with 5 credits (4 didactic, 1 clinical) at a 1:6 ratio* = 72 clinical hours. The student will develop a critical review that familiarizes the student with the literature and results in identification of a clinical practice question.
4 credits didactic
1 credit clinical
Best Practices in Nursing
A program/course assignment to intervene with clinical/practice questions under the guidance of an approved clinical mentor will be developed.
The DNP practicum course is designed with 5 credits (4 didactic, 1 clinical) at a 1:6 ratio* = 72 clinical hours. The student will address a clinical/practice questions (e.g. program planning, practice change, consultation, quality improvement project, or pilot study proposal with any necessary IRB approvals).
4 credits didactic
1 credit clinical
Evidence-Based Practice II: Planning and Implementation
Advanced Practice Focus or Aggregate Systems Focus
This DNP practicum course will focus on the implementation of program/course assignment design to intervene with clinical/practice questions under the guidance of an approved clinical mentor.
As a practicum course, the course is designed with 3 credits at a 1:6 ratio* = 216 clinical hours. Additionally, the student will review the evidence regarding the clinical/practice question and resulting findings, conclusions, and recommendations.
4 credits didactic
1 credit clinical
Evidence-Based Practice III: Implementation, Evaluation, and Dissemination
This DNP practicum course will focus on evaluation and dissemination of a program/course assignment design to intervene with a clinical/practice question under the guidance of an approved clinical mentor.
As a practicum course, the course is designed with 3 credits at a 1:6 ratio* = 216 clinical hours.
(216 clinical hours)
The culminating DNP Capstone Project will use TaskStream and MyDR.
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