DBA Acceptance in Germany - how to find the right program

Program selection
  • Posted by elfarid on 03/17/14 7:59pm

    Dear Thomas,

    first of all, my compliments for your graete expertise site. I red most oft you articles and would like to start a conversation about acceptance of DBA programs in Germany (and of cause countries other than the country you get your DBA from).

    In this post http://www.fernstudium-infos.de/weiterbildung-studium-allgemein/23702-anbieter-fuer-dba-doctor-business-administration-2.html you wrote i.e. about the IE Business School in Madrid and that their doctoral degree is not accepted in Germany since the IE itself is not accepted by the Spain government. And that the accredition is no guarantee for acceptance.

    My concrete question is how I can find the right program accepted in Germany.

    I have a MSc degree (dipl.-inf), no MBA, have been working 8 years as department head and now since 5 years as manager in large SAP projects. So SAP business research would be one oft my favorite research areas for the DBA thesis, too. Do you have ans idea in which business school I could combine these subjects?

    Many thanks and besteht regards

    • Posted by Thomas Graf on 03/18/14 3:11pm

      Dear Elfarid,

      thank you for your question. The general rule of thumb is that German authorities accept a degree if this degree is accepted in the home country of where the university or degree-granting school in general is accepted.

      The primary address to find this our for Germany is ANABIN. here you can search for Institutions and inform yourself about their status. H+ means accepted, H- means not accepted, and H+- means partially accepted or not clear.

      IE is H+- because some of its programs are accepted and others are still in the process. For the PhD, for instance, you do 2 years of course work and finish them with a comprehensive exam. People who started the PhD some years ago, received only a certificate for these two years. The new PhD students receive a Master of Science in Management Research that is accepted due to an accreditation procedure vis-a-vis the Spanish authorities.

      The PhD itself, however, is not accepted officially. Practically, many universities and primarily the private ones may accept the degree in the sense that they appreciate your degree and employ you as a Professor. But in Germany and countries such as Portugal you may still not be able to include the "Dr." in your passport.

      Similar for the DBA. Unless the institution or the program itself is recognized you may not be allowed to hold your "Dr." officially. Hence, if the "Dr." is important for you - which I perfectly understand - you may watch out for the respective schools. If the "Dr." in your passport is less important for you and your primary goal is a doctoral degree that qualifies you for teaching at a renowned international business school, you may ignore the acceptance of the DBA itself and instead choose a DBA from a very renowned institution (such as IE) whether this degree is officially accepted or not. With this second strategy, you trust in the school's reputation as a whole and that business schools where you want to teach accept your DBA degree because they accept your institution (they may even not know whether your degree is offically accepted or not).

      I wanted to re-phrase this for everyone who is not familiar with this.

      Now, if you want to search specifically for DBA programs that allow you to hold the "Dr." degree in Germany, a good starting point is Anabin. State universities in general and UK universities specifically grant degrees that are accepted. Hence, your DBA at Bradford, Cranfield, or Manchester will be accepted. Your DBA at ESB Reutlingen in cooperation with Portmouth will be accepted etc.

      Best wishes,

      By Thomas Graf
      Founder DBA Compass
      Author of the DBA Survey

      • Posted by dbando on 05/16/14 11:56am

        Dear Thomas,

        I'm using this thread because I have a similar question.

        I'm very much interested in finding a program which is fully accepted in Germany, meaning I'd like to carry the "Dr.". As I am working in the industry, the teaching opportunity is not the most important criterion.

        So here on your website I found a DBA programm at Horizons University in Paris. I already checked the ANABIN for the university but I could not find it at all. Does this mean, the DBA would be worthless for me? Or has the ANABIN simply not checked this university yet?

        Thank you very much for your kind response

        • Posted by Thomas Graf on 05/16/14 2:58pm

          Hi there,

          indeed, it seems as if the Horizon University is not listed at anabin. I would contact them via email or phone http://anabin.kmk.org/service/kontakt.html. Let me know about the results.

          The key question will be: Is HU officially accepted in France? Their accreditation page at Horizons University at least says: "Horizons University is registered in: French Ministry of Education (number 0451674A)"- but you need confirmation from Anabin.

          Best wishes,

          By Thomas Graf
          Founder DBA Compass
          Author of the DBA Survey

    • Posted by dbando on 05/20/14 12:56pm

      Dear Thomas,

      I just got the answer from Anabin: "Die Horizons University ist nicht dazu berechtigt, französische Hochschulgrade zu verleihen. "DBA" ist zudem kein französischer Hochschulgrad. Sie verfügt nach unserem Kenntnisstand auch nicht über eine Akkreditierung durch einen der maßgeblichen regionalen Akkreditierungsverbände der USA und ist damit auch in den USA keine staatliche anerkannte Hochschule."

      So basically what Anabin is saying is that the Horizons University is not authorized to award any French academic degrees. Further they informed me that the DBA is not a French academic degree. Also, the Horizons University is not accredited by any of the relevant US accreditation associations and therefore not a state-recognized institution in the US.

      What I get out of this is that I should be looking for a US or UK institution. Would you agree?

      Thank you very much for your Kind response

      • Posted by Thomas Graf on 05/20/14 8:52pm

        Thanks for this information. It depends on what you want.

        If you want to get the experience of a DBA, you can do this from any institution that provides a good education. Worldwide renowned schools such as IE grants such a degree, for instance.

        If you want to carry the "DBA" title behind your name, you can also do your DBA from any institution.

        If you want the German "Dr.", however, you need the degree from an institution that is accepted officially in the country where the degree-institution is based.

        It can be a DBA from the Reutlingen University, for example, as there DBA is granted by the University of Portsmouth. Or from other UK universities like Bradford in Bonn or Cranfield, Manchester etc. Or from any other institution in any other country as long as it is accepted officially there.

        Best wishes,

        By Thomas Graf
        Founder DBA Compass
        Author of the DBA Survey

  • Posted by Dominik Schmitt on 06/24/21 9:47pm


    HU is fully approved and authorized by the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (updated on the website)

    Further, the president of the private university told me that it has state recognition. All the programs are accredited by the ministry since HU is recognized and it gets annual controls.

    The DBA is not an official French degree, but rather an international degree.

    As long as HU is approved and recognized by the ministry there is no problem to carry the DBA without any problem. The academic degrees are officially accepted and recognized either in France or in Germany -> hint to Bologna process.

  • Posted by Melissa on 08/09/21 9:33pm

    Sehr geehrte Forenmitglieder, Sehr geehrter Herr Graf,

    Ich wohne seit 2017 in Bayern. Ich promoviere in Betriebswirtschaftslehre an der Università Telematica Internazionale Uninettuno, eine Fernuniversität mit Sitz in Italien. Der Kursname lautet: "DBA - Doctorate in Business Administration".

    Ich würde gerne wissen, ob ich am Ende meines Studiums den Titel Dr. hier in Deutschland führen darf. In der Anabin-Datenbank hat die Uninettuno-Universität den Status H+.

    Vielen Dank

  • Posted by thomas.graf on 08/10/21 1:07am


    Voraussetzung für das Führen des deutschen Doktorgrads ist, dass der Titel im Ursprungsland - also in Italien - als Doktorgrad anerkannt ist.

    1. Hochschulgrade aus Mitgliedstaaten der Europäischen Union (EU)1 oder des Europäischen Wirtschaftsraumes (EWR) sowie Hochschulgrade des Europäischen Hochschulinstituts
      Florenz und der Päpstlichen Hochschulen können in der Originalform ohne Herkunftsbezeichnung geführt werden.

    2. Inhaber von in einem wissenschaftlichen Promotionsverfahren erworbenen Doktorgraden, die in den in Ziff. 1 bezeichneten Staaten oder Institutionen erworben wurden, können anstelle der
      im Herkunftsland zugelassenen oder nachweislich allgemein üblichen Abkürzung gem. Ziffer 1 des Beschlusses vom 14.04.2000 wahlweise die Abkürzung „Dr.“ ohne fachlichen
      Zusatz und ohne Herkunftsbezeichnung führen. Dies gilt nicht für Doktorgrade, die ohne Promotionsstudien und -verfahren vergeben werden (so genannte Berufsdoktorate) und für
      Doktorgrade, die nach den rechtlichen Regelungen des Herkunftslandes nicht der dritten Ebene der Bologna-Klassifikation der Studienabschlüsse zugeordnet sind. Die gleichzeitige
      Führung beider Abkürzungen ist nicht zulässig.

    Quelle: Vereinbarung der Länder in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland über begünstigende Regelungen gemäß Ziffer 4 der „Grundsätze für die Regelung der Führung ausländischer Hochschulgrade im Sinne einer gesetzlichen Allgemeingenehmigung durch einheitliche gesetzliche Bestimmungen vom 14.04.2000“
    (Beschluss der Kultusministerkonferenz vom 21.09.2001 i. d. F. vom 26.06.2015)

    Entscheidend ist, dass der Titel nach den rechtlichen Regelungen des Herkunftslandes der dritten Ebene der Bologna-Klassifikation der Studienabschlüsse zugeordnet ist. Um sicher zu gehen, würde ich beim Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Unterricht und Kultus nachfragen - die fragen dann bei der KMK nach und geben Ihnen anschließend eine verlässliche Antwort.

    Viele Grüße
    Thomas Graf
    DBA Compass

  • Posted by Scott on 11/30/21 7:27pm


    For a DBA from the US, would it be recognized in Germany as a doctorate/ earn the title of 'Dr.' if it comes from an H+ institution like Florida or UNC Charlotte, or does the program need recognition in addition to the university itself?


  • Posted by Thomas Graf on 12/02/21 9:52am

    Hi Scott,

    the rules of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany from 2001 (still valid today) say:

    You can hold the German Dr. title if you achieved a Ph.D. in the US from an institution that the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has classified as "Research University (high research activity)“ or „Research University (very high research activity)“. Does this help?

    Best wishes,

    Thomas Graf
    Owner of DBA Compass

    • Posted by Scott on 12/02/21 1:05pm

      Hi Thomas,

      The schools that I'm interested in meet the requisite Carnegie classification. With the DBA being doctoral level degree, would that qualify then or does it need to explicitly be a PhD?

      Thank you for the feedback.

  • Posted by thomas.graf on 12/02/21 4:59pm

    Hi Scott,

    the document does not mention the DBA in the context of the US. Therefore, I cannot give you a general answer. You will have to conatact the ministery of culture and education of the respective federal state in Germany. They will evaluate the DBA of your US University then (more precisely, they will ask the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany) and let you know.

    Best wishes,