In its first meeting of the academic year, the University of Maryland Senate voted Wednesday to approve a new doctorate of business administration within the business school.

After the senate’s vote, the degree program will also require approval from university President Darryll Pines, the University System of Maryland, Board of Regents and the Maryland Higher Education Commission. If MHEC approves, the business school will roll out the program the following fall semester.

The doctorate would be a three-year program broken into three cohorts — information systems, marketing and finance — of five to 10 students. 

Unlike the business school’s current Ph.D. program, which trains students to become academics or researchers, such as university professors, the new program is geared toward working professionals who have a special focus on learning how new technologies can further their work.

“Some of these students may actually come with business contexts, which are important to study, which faculty would otherwise not be able to get access to,” said P.K. Kannan, the associate dean for strategic initiatives at the business school.

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The degree would require 54 credit hours beyond a bachelor’s degree or 30 credit hours beyond a master’s degree. Typically, the courses will be broken down into 10 to 12 credits in research tools and methodologies classes, 10 to 12 credits in elective courses related to students’ practices and 22 to 24 credit hours in a student’s major field of study. In addition, students would participate in six credits of a capstone research project.

Classes for a marketing student in the program could range from market-based management and customer analysis to marketing analytics and consumer behavior, Kannan said. 

Similar programs are offered across the country, including the University of Minnesota, Rutgers University and Temple University, said Rebecca Hann, the assistant dean of doctoral programs at the business school.

“They’ve all taken advantage that there’s this healthy demand to start a DBA program,” Hann, who was one of the four people who originally presented the proposal, said. 

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The program is not geared toward students who just graduated from college, Kannan said. As a result, the program leaders are planning to attract alumni, as well as targeted advertising within organizations.

“We expect there will be a demand for this kind of course from the Smith school,” Kannan said.

Bailey Tetrault, a junior finance and marketing major, said she thinks the new program will be good for the business school. 

“I think keeping alumni back on campus and keeping up to date with the new technologies and innovations going on within the business school, like the actual finance for any business world, will be helpful for both students and alumni,” Tetrault said.

Elizabeth Beise, the associate provost for academic planning and programs, who presented the proposal at the Senate meeting, said she has not seen a university president reject an academic proposal that had received senate approval.

Beise also mentioned Pines will likely grant approval quickly in order to simultaneously send the proposal to the Board of Regents and the MHEC for their concurrent review and approval.