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DBA/AACSB/Online/Cheap... does this exist?
(06-26-2019, 08:19 PM)EducationSeeker Wrote:
(06-26-2019, 03:14 PM)sanantone Wrote:
(06-25-2019, 10:44 PM)EducationSeeker Wrote:
(06-20-2019, 09:19 AM)posabsolute Wrote: Wow that's an awesome find EducationSeeker
In addition to Stellenbosch, the University of Cape Town, and the Univ. of Witwatersrand all have "triple crown" or AACSB, EQUIS, AMBA business school accreditation.  I think only Stellenbosch can be required all at a distance for a research based degree (i.e. no classes and you come up with research proposal for dissertation before you are accepted). 

You do need a master's degree and a research proposal.  For the masters, look at a competency based degree like WGU or if you want an AACSB accredited MBA, look at the following list. You could get an MBA for less than $10K.  Also, Stellenbosch does not discriminate against non-AACSB MBA's so you could look at cheaper options like WGU or Heriot Watt University or the Edinburgh Business School.  You could also look at Stellenbosch for their Master's program.

Cheapest AACSB MBA online programs

I am looking at Stellenbosch for a PHD with an emphasis in Organizational Development or Coaching.  Also, if AACSB accreditation is not required, I would also recommend a Prof Doctorate (DProf) from the University of Wales or Christ Church Canterbury University for a degree program in Executive Coaching.  These programs are very applied and run about $5-6K a year for 4 years.  I do not think they take US student loans.

Basically, you could fund an entire BA, MBA, and PHD program totally student loan free for the following cost breakdown:

Big 3 Liberal Arts Degree or Bachelor's in Business for less than $6-7k
MBA - WGU or Heriot Watt University or AACSB online school mentioned above $5-14k
PHD - Stellenbosch University - 2-5 years cost is about $3-10k 

You could theoretically finish all 3 degree with an out the door price of less than $20-30k total debt without factoring any scholarships or support you could receive.


Don't they require a master's thesis for admission? None of the competency-based master's programs have a thesis option.

That is a great point about competency based Master's degree needing a thesis.  I am not sure. It would pay to contact them which I have not done yet.  I would appear the faculty coordinator for the PHD program is Ms Anneli Maas, email:  

If a master's thesis is required, if a candidate did a capstone project, would could could ask if the capstone paper would be counted as a thesis. For example, I did an MBA with the University of Phoenix and had to write a capstone paper.  Otherwise, one could look at obtaining another Master's such as online AACSB program from the USA or .  I would think that looking at either a similar Master's or MBA at Stellenbosch would have some research thesis tied towards the master's. I have pasted the email response I got and then also the Concept Note (i.e. target of potential research).

I hope this helps.


As an update to my post earlier this Summer, I did contact Stellenbosch Business Department and one of the main contacts informed me that you need to have a research based Master's or MBA?  If not, you are currently not eligible to be considered for the PHD program.  As with many MBA's, my degree was more industry based as a traditional MBA and not research based. I asked if one could take a research module at Stellenbosch in the MBA program or at another distance learning university like Heriot-Watt/Edinburgh Business School. Although my contact said she was pushing for considering non-research based master's programs (or the ability to take the research module) in 2020, but, I cannot do it right now.

This is a shame as I was looking for a distance learning (research only), inexpensive, AACSB accredited program and Stellenbosch seemed to meet all these criteria.  Other South African universities with AACSB, EQUUS, and AMBA accreditation I believe are University of Cape Town and Univ. of Witwatersrand, but, both require travel to S. Africa.  This is hard to do from the US.

Does anyone have any other recommendations for research based, preferably AACSB accredited, relatively inexpensive, Business PHD programs that will accept non-research based MBAs?

Thanks EducationSeeker
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  • tesu-acct-student

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