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PhD Programs

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Executive PhD in Business

A part-time, accelerated PhD program that combines real-world business with world-class research

Today's business executives face unprecedented challenges that require uncommon leadership and the ability to gain deep insight into the issues that define the global economy.

Bentley's part-time Executive PhD in Business delivers an intellectually rigorous and critically relevant academic opportunity for seasoned professionals. The program develops a new breed of high-achieving industry leaders who combine business acumen with a research-driven mindset. Graduates will earn more than a valuable credential. They will gain the rare ability to identify the most consequential of challenges, the analytical toolset to reach data-driven decisions, and the insights to manage change in any business or organization. 

Program Attributes


Earn your PhD on a schedule that allows you to maintain your high-powered career and busy life.


Graduate in three years, far faster than traditional five-year PhD programs.


Virtual classes can be taken from home, the office, or anywhere you want. Face-to-face sessions bring students and faculty together twice each semester.


Grow your network by studying with the same dedicated group of peer business leaders over the course of your program.

Learn more and take the next step

Why an Executive PhD?

Three PhD students graduating from Bentley

Relevancy and Rigor

Bentley's Executive PhD provides an unparalleled opportunity to access the doctoral study of business, separating accomplished professionals and strong performers from their peers. The Executive PhD program offers industry leaders access to an enriching academic experience, provides the tools and skills to claim greater agency over future opportunities, dedicates meaningful time to reengage in learning and researching, and culminates with the unique opportunity to create new knowledge through a formal dissertation. 

Growth and Opportunity

Graduates will leave Bentley with an enhanced ability to identify and address the most consequential of challenges, the analytical skills that will help executives to quickly reach informed decisions, and the advanced management skills needed to effectively implement critical change in an evolving, dynamic, global organization.

women business leader shaking hands with partner

Why Bentley?

Proven Reputation

A history of educating and elevating business leaders who make an immediate and lasting impact across all industries.

Expert Faculty

World-class researchers in fields such as leadership, experience design, business analytics, accounting, entrepreneurship and more.

Leading Technology

Access to an unmatched collection of learning labs, where you will leverage the latest data, research and modeling tools.

Program Structure

executive education phd program structure


E. LaBrent Chrite, Ph.D.
I believe strongly that business can be a powerful force to solve problems that plague humanity.
E. LaBrent Chrite, PhD
President, Bentley University

Program Information and Details

Curriculum Overview and Structure

The Executive PhD in Business is a part-time, accelerated and flexible three-year program that will allow you to earn a doctorate while continuing to grow your career. 

To learn details of the program, view our curriculum map, and learn about the program's three focus areas (Leadership, Business Analytics, and Experience Design), please visit the curriculum page.

 Learn More about the Curriculum and Focus Areas

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Admission Requirements

  • Master’s degree required
  • Minimum eight years work experience
  • Demonstrated leadership experience in business

Application Requirements (Application Opens on October 7, 2024)

  • Résumé
  • All academic transcripts
  • GMAT or GRE scores (optional)
  • Personal statement
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Interview
  • Application fee ($150)

Following the initial application:

  • Finalists will be invited to participate in a research webinar and asked to submit an 8 to 10 page research proposal. This research proposal will serve as an early preview of a dissertation topic.

Application Deadlines

  • Early admission deadline of January 6, 2025
  • Final deadline of March 17, 2025
  • Finalists will be notified of advancing to the next round on a rolling basis.
Tuition and Fees
  • The program is designed to be completed in three years over the course of nine semesters. The total cost of the three-year program is $153,000, or $17,000 per semester.
  • The program cost includes tuition, books and software.
  • Students are responsible for the cost of travel and lodging associated with attending the required immersion weekends. 

Learn more about Tuition and Fees, Refund Policy, Payment and Financing Options

Frequently Asked Questions

How does this program differ from Bentley’s PhD in Business and PhD in Accounting?  
This program allows students to maintain their career while earning their PhD in a flexible, accelerated, part-time format. 

What are the on-campus requirements?
During the first year of the program there is an orientation plus three on-campus immersions (Friday/Saturday) during both the fall and spring semesters. During the summer semester there are two immersions (Friday/Saturday).  During the second year of the program there are three immersions (Friday/Saturday) during both the fall and spring semesters, and two immersions during summer term.

How do I find a faculty adviser?
Students will be matched with a faculty advisor during the admissions process and will begin meeting with their advisors during the first semester.

How do the three focus areas work with the PhD?
Students will pick one of these areas (Leadership, Business Analytics, Experience Design) for course work and research leading toward their dissertation. 

What is the deadline to apply? 
The application process for this program is extremely  competitive. We encourage all students to complete their application as early as possible. The early admission application deadline is January 6, 2025. All other applications are due by March 17, 2025.

Why an Executive PhD in Business?

Program Director Jill Brown covers some of the ways an Executive PhD could help advance students in their careers and academic pursuits. 

Work With World-Class Experts

Dr. William Gribbons

Teaching interests include: Human Factors; Product Strategy and Innovation; Design Ethics

Read Bio

Dr. Tatiana Manolova

Teaching interests include: Competitive Strategy; Global Strategy; International Entrepreneurship

Read Bio

Dr. Mingfei Li

Teaching interests include: Applied Statistics; Applied Game Theory; Health and Business Analysis

Read Bio

for more information

Jill Brown
Jill Brown
Director of the Executive PhD in Business Program

Jill A. Brown (PhD, University of Georgia) is the Hieken Professor of Business Ethics and Professor of management at Bentley University. Her scholarly interests include ethics, corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship, corporate governance and strategic leadership. Prior to her career in academia, Brown was a commercial banker and consultant.

Please email me to schedule a one-on-one meeting.

Learn More about our Executive PhD Program