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Graduate Diploma in Business Administration


This online program is open to international students but does not qualify for a study permit or post-graduate work permit. Please see program requirements for more information.

The Graduate Diploma in Business Administration (GDBA) is a competitive credential that offers the rigour of MBA-level courses with more flexibility. Delivered 100% online, its value is clear from the first class. Study while you work and put your new skills into practice straight away. You can also apply your GDBA toward a future MBA at SFU Beedie, as you will already have completed a third of the MBA program.

Whether the GDBA is your starting point or your end goal, boost your career with a deeper understanding of the different functional areas of a company. A solid grounding in a broad spectrum of business theory and practice enables you to collaborate with colleagues across disciplines.

Who it’s for

If you have an undergraduate degree in any discipline, at least two years of full-time professional work experience, and the motivation and self-discipline to learn business in an interactive online setting, the GDBA could be the best next step in your career. It’s ideal for someone who wants to test business graduate level courses before fully committing to an MBA, and/or who wants the flexibility of an online program. Or, if you’ve already decided you want to study for an MBA, the GDBA could be the pathway you’re looking for.

What you’ll learn

Graduate-level courses ground you in business theory and practice. Learn to communicate with colleagues from diverse backgrounds across the functional areas of business as you prepare to move forward into an MBA, a new organizational role or a new career.

Our online learning system is interactive and user-friendly. It’s a collaborative learning space that provides everything you need to succeed as a graduate student, including 24/7 access to educational resources. You can take classes whenever works for you. There’s no need to be online at the same time as your classmates and instructors.

Where it can take you

The GDBA can help prepare you for an MBA. It helps you build a stronger application for an MBA when taking the quantitative courses prior to the MBA and you won’t have to take the GMAT if you want to ladder to the FT MBA. In addition, some GDBA course credits can be applied to the MBA program of your choice. It also spreads out the costs of taking an MBA and reduces your future workload as an MBA student.

The GDBA is also a valuable graduate qualification in its own right. It lets you:

  • Demonstrate your business acumen to future employers
  • Try out graduate-level business education in a low-risk setting
  • Gain the core business skills you need to launch or progress your career
  • Expand your network with your fellow SFU Beedie students and join SFU Beedie's global alumni community

We schedule lectures, exams and assignments to accommodate individuals working between Monday to Friday 9am to 5 pm PST. If you fall outside of this time zone or schedule, you may need to make occasional adjustments to your schedule.

We move through the modules at the same rate, meeting the same dates for individual and team assignments. That keeps you on track and engaged with the coursework. Instructors deliver each course online in weekly or bi-weekly modules. During that time, you are free to study whenever it suits you. Expect to spend 8 to 10 hours per week on each course (a full course load is two courses per semester). Each course in the program ends with a final exam/paper.

Most GDBA students complete the program in two years. However, you have the option to study at your own pace, adjusting your academic plan to accommodate your changing life and career.

MBA-level courses and instruction

All GDBA courses are equivalent to courses taught in our MBA programs. In addition, our MBA professors teach most GDBA courses. That makes the GDBA a valuable program and qualification in its own right.

  • Begin the program in January, May or September
  • Attend GDBA orientation, a 14-day online orientation before classes begin
  • Complete the GDBA in 24 months (six semesters) by taking one course per semester while working full-time—or take more or less time
  • Each course is delivered online in weekly or bi-weekly modules
  • Each course typically involves 8-10 hours per week
  • Each course in the program ends with a final exam/paper

Tuition for Fall 2023: $18,2601.

Tuition is paid each term depending on the number of credits (Full class $3,083*; Half class $1,541*)2

1Approximate total for 24 credits taken in 12 months.
2Tuition will vary based upon intake term.
*Subject to Board of Governors approval.

Fees and other costs

Additional fees & costs: $1,600 approx.

For information on funding opportunities, visit Fund Your Degree. Employer sponsorship is also an option; to learn more, visit Benefits to your company.

Maybe you already know your ideal role. Maybe you have only a vague idea what the future holds for your career. Either way, our GDBA program gives you access to the same valuable online career resources available to all graduate students. These include:

  • An SFU Beedie-specific job board with more than 2,000 jobs posted annually
  • Online job search resources designed specifically for business students, including career guides developed by the Career Management Centre

The GDBA program is delivered entirely online. You can participate in classes wherever you are in the world and on your own schedule. You don’t even need to be online at the same time as your classmates or instructors. But that doesn’t mean you’ll be on your own. Our online learning environment is designed to be interactive and ensure your voice is heard. In fact, instructors and students often connect more closely than they do in a traditional classroom setting.

Program Brochure


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My key lessons from the program were learning how to effectively frame and structure a problem or situation, manage a tight schedule, know what to prioritize and how to prioritize it, and identify core problems quickly and addressing them.

Bobbie Dhillon, EMBA

Senior Vice President, Marketing & Planning

G&F Financial Group

The comprehensive simulations provided the greatest learning for me. They helped change my mindset and connect the different areas of learning into a comprehensive view of how an organization runs.

Matthew Grunert, MOT MBA

Sr. Director, Digital Operations & IT

Motorola Solutions

The MSc Finance program gave me the technical foundation that I couldn’t function without. I work with clients in very senior roles, and it’s important to demonstrate your technical knowledge to gain their trust.

Christine Jakshoej Sangha, MScFin

VP of Customer Success - Capital Markets


The immediate impact of the GDBA has been a change in the way I approach my day professionally. I am equipped to make better decisions. My confidence level has been elevated significantly, and I am enjoying a new sense of optimism in my career.

Percival Chang, GDBA

Manager & Investment Funds Advisor

PH&N Investment Services

I always saw myself working beyond clinical pharmacy. I felt that I could also shine on the business side of healthcare. I knew that with my strong clinical training an MBA would help open more doors and give me the mobility I was looking for in my career.

Morenike Akinyemi, FT MBA

Senior Project Manager, Transformation Delivery

Provincial Health Services Authority

The Part-Time MBA was excellent. It gave me exactly what I expected to receive, and I think that is the highest compliment you can pay a program. It met all my expectations and provided a solid grounding in business skills and strategies.

Oliver Zihlmann, PT MBA

Director of Development and Alumni Engagement

UBC Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences

The i2I program is perfect for people like me who are deeply involved in science, and who want to look for opportunities in the business world. A program like this opens your mind and teaches you that there is another world of possibilities outside of the lab.

Elena Groppa, i2I

Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Faculty of Medicine

University of British Columbia Biomedical Research Centre

The learners I work with are 95% Indigenous, and I find that they become more interested and retain information more, when we speak and learn from an Indigenous lens. The Indigenous content integrated into the program has been very beneficial to me in terms of how I can incorporate Indigenous information into the curriculum I currently teach.

Wanda Rockthunder, EMBA IBL

Business Instructor, Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies

Cree, a citizen of the Muskowekwan First Nation, Saskatchewan

EMBA: Bobbie

MOT MBA: Matthew Grunnert

MSc Fin: Christine

GDBA: Percival

FT MBA: Morenike

PT MBA: Oliver

i2I: Elena


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Our admissions team is more than happy to answer your questions so you know what you can expect before, during, and beyond your program.

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