Program Structure

Discover the Penn State Smeal Executive DBA program, a flexible, hybrid program designed for working business leaders worldwide. With a blend of in-person and remote instruction, this program offers a comprehensive curriculum and culminating capstone experience. Explore the program's structure, class schedules, and residency dates designed to accommodate busy senior executives. Join a cohort of ambitious professionals and engage with renowned faculty to elevate your business expertise and contribute to groundbreaking research projects. Download the Class of 2027 Calendar for a detailed overview of the program's timeline and plan your educational journey toward earning an esteemed Executive DBA degree from Penn State Smeal.

The Penn State Smeal Executive DBA is delivered in a flexible, hybrid format to accommodate working business leaders across the globe. Approximately 25 percent of the program instruction occurs on Penn State’s University Park campus located in State College, Pennsylvania. The remaining instruction is delivered on alternating weekends remotely with the full cohort during designated times.  

Years 1 & 2

  • Complete core courses and your chosen elective
  • Attend 4-5 days of in-person instruction at Penn State’s University Park campus at the start of each semester.

Year 3

  • Complete the program's culminating capstone experience by working remotely with faculty advisers on a personalized research project or dissertation

All students are required to attend the campus-based portions of the program and will go through all the courses in the program together with the exception of the elective courses.

Class Calendars

As a hybrid program, the Executive DBA program schedule is designed with working senior executives in mind. Residencies during the first and second year of the program will take place on Penn State's University Park campus typically from Thursday afternoon through Sunday morning. The remaining classes will take place roughly every other week on Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET. These classes will be delivered in a live remote fashion. Note: Calendar dates are subject to change. 

Download the Calendar
- Penn State Smeal Executive DBA Class of 2026 Calendar PDF
- Penn State Smeal Executive DBA Class of 2027 Calendar PDF


Class of 2026: Year 1

  Fall 2023 Spring 2024 Summer 2024
Residency (in-person) Aug 13-16 Jan 11-14 May 9-12
Class 1 Sep 1-2 Jan 26-27 May 17-18
Class 2 Sep 15-16 Feb 9-10 May 31-June 1
Class 3 Sep 29-30 Feb 23-24 June 14-15
Class 4 Oct 13-14 Mar 15-16 June 28-29
Class 5 Oct 27-28 Mar 29-30 July 12-13
Class 6 Nov 17-18 Apr 12-13 July 26-27
Class 7 Dec 1-2 Apr 26-27 Aug 9-10


Class of 2026: Year 2

  Fall 2024 Spring 2025 Summer 2025
Residency (in-person) Aug 17-21 Jan 9-12 May 15-18
Class 1 Sep 6-7 Jan 24-25 May 30-31
Class 2 Sep 20-21 Feb 7-8 June 6-7
Class 3 Oct 4-5 Feb 21-22 June 13-14
Class 4 Oct 18-19 Feb 28-Mar 1 June 27-28
Class 5 Nov 1-2 Mar 28-29 July 11-12
Class 6 Nov 15-16 Apr 11-12 July 25-26
Class 7 Dec 6-7 Apr 25-26 Aug 8-9


Year 3

Executive DBA students will meet regularly with their faculty chair and committee as needed to complete their personalized research project or dissertation.