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Doctorate of Applied Management: An Interdisciplinary Degree

By JoVon Sotak

Applied management is an interdisciplinary field that blends management practices with another field—essentially, management theories are applied to another industry or put into practice. In a doctoral program, one may study how management practices in that particular field influence development on both an individual and societal level.

Like any doctorate program, a Doctorate of Applied Management can take anywhere from three to seven years depending on one’s previous education, the program's requirements, and the format in which education is delivered. In addition to traditional campus programs, individuals can also attend online Doctorate of Applied Management programs or hybrid programs which typically blend online learning with residency requirements. Some schools may allow students to work in a more self-directed format, something that encourages independent study and allows students to specialize their areas of interest. This school format can be a great option for working professionals who want to examine their work experience in a particular field through an academic lens.

Applied Management Specializations and Coursework

Because applied management is an interdisciplinary degree, some of the coursework depends on the specialization. Individuals may also have an option between earning a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree. Just about every industry requires the application of management principles, so options for specialization may include any of the following, though options largely depend on the school one chooses to attend:

  • Engineering
  • Ethics
  • Finance
  • Global business
  • Health and health services
  • Human resources
  • Marketing
  • Operations
  • Policy
  • Training and development

If one doesn't already have an academic foundation in organizational behavior, management of information systems, or project management (like one would get in an MBA program), some additional courses may be required. The curriculum for a Doctorate of Applied Management degree program is designed to provide certain outcomes, such as a mastery of advanced business knowledge within a particular industry. Individuals may also learn how to analyze complex research that could be valuable in business settings and to develop effective strategies to achieve business objectives. In these programs, individuals will likely receive a management education that may include some of the following courses:

  • Accounting and financial policy
  • Advanced strategic management
  • Applied research project design
  • Development of management theory
  • Issues and strategies in information technology
  • Issues in business
  • Professional business consulting
  • Research inquiry and methods for applied projects

Common Careers in Applied Management

Management careers in a variety of fields are possible with a Doctorate of Applied Management degree. Salaries vary by field, but according to Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2009, professionals in management occupations made an average annual salary of $102,900. Managers in the following fields earned these average salaries:

  • Engineering $122,810
  • Financial $113,730
  • Marketing $120,070
  • Medical and health services $90,970
  • Training and development $94,360

Additionally, upon graduation individuals may choose to consult professionally or teach at an institution of higher learning. Professors' earnings vary by institution, experience, geographic location, and tenure. A 2008-09 survey from the American Association of University Professors showed that the salary for a full-time faculty member averaged $79,439. However, BLS data at the same time indicated annual earning of all post-secondary teachers being closer to $58,830.

Resources for Applied Management Professionals

A number of publications for applied management professionals are currently available. With a DBA or PhD in Applied Management, individuals may have opportunities to publish their research and establish “a name” in the field. If one wants to get a better sense of what applied management professionals are publishing after earning their degrees, check out the following journals:

  • Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship
  • Journal of Behavioral and Applied Management
  • International Journal of Applied Management
  • International Journal of Applied Management and Technology
  • International Journal of Applied Management Science
  • International Journal of Business Science and Applied Management

A doctoral degree is an investment in the future career. Those who are considering a Doctorate of Applied Management degree should be sure to thoroughly research programs and investigate the accreditation of any institution. Selecting a program that suits one’s needs can be the key to success.


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