EdDPrograms.org

Online Ed.D. Programs Without a Dissertation

Last updated on January 23rd, 2024 at 09:57 am

Online Ed.D. programs—and in-person doctorates—always contain a rigorous, research-based project. In the past, this has been a traditional dissertation, just like a Ph.D. program. But in recent years, more and more schools are choosing to focus on a Dissertation in Practice (DiP) or Capstone Project . Discover how these two "No Dissertation" models differ from the older framework. Or skip ahead to the online listings and on-campus listings to explore your options!

No matter what Ed.D. you choose, you are always going to have to complete a research-based doctoral project. Schools that advertise “No Dissertation” Ed.D. programs typically require a Dissertation in Practice (DiP) or capstone project . These are the doctorates that we’ve included in our online listings . Examples include:

  • University of Missouri-St. Louis’s Online Ed.D. in Educational Practice . UMSL employs an 8-credit Dissertation in Practice (DiP) model, which is completed through group work.
  • University of Southern California’s Online Ed.D. in Educational Leadership . This program involves a Dissertation in Practice (DiP) that focuses on issues impeding K-12 students’ access to learning opportunities.
  • University of Southern Mississippi’s Online Ed.D. in Educational Administration . This degree includes a 12-credit capstone research project, which runs the length of the program. Students are expected to focus on a problem of practice in their workplace.
  • Nebraska Methodist College’s Online Ed.D. in Education and Leadership in Healthcare . This “No Dissertation” degree contains an 8-credit capstone split into four courses over a six-term program.
  • National University’s Online Ed.D. in Organizational Innovation , which requires a culminating project, worth 9 quarter credits. This is a written work based on research students do in their workplace.

Note: Avoid like the plague any Ed.D. program that has no DiP or capstone requirement! They almost certainly will a) not be accredited; and b) not be recognized by employers.

What is a Traditional Ed.D. Dissertation?

A traditional Ed.D. dissertation is a five-chapter paper, roughly the length of a short book. It shows that you can conduct original research into the field of education. The dissertation process starts as soon as you begin your online Ed.D. or on-campus doctorate and it can be broken down into six steps:

  • Choose a Research Topic: Near the beginning of the Ed.D. program, you’ll be expected to identify a topic that will require substantial research. This topic should revolve around a unique issue in education (e.g. Helping Intellectually Gifted Middle School Students, Bridging the Gap Between Training and Educating in Adult Learning, etc.).
  • Craft a Proposal: You’ll use the knowledge you’ve gained from didactic coursework and Ed.D. research classes to write the opening chapters of your dissertation, including an introduction that defines your chosen problem, a literature review, and a proposed methodology for finding the answer.
  • Defend the Proposal: Before proceeding, you will need to present your dissertation proposal to a committee. The committee will want to see that your research is significant and relevant works are included in the literature review. In online Ed.D. programs, this defense can usually be done virtually.
  • Research the Topic: After making any necessary tweaks to the proposal, and getting it approved, you can begin researching your topic.
  • Write the Remainder of the Dissertation: Once you have completed your research, you’ll write up the final chapters—one chapter will detail your findings; the other should contain an analysis of what your findings mean and how they might apply to professional situations.
  • Defend Your Dissertation: At the end of the Ed.D. degree, you must present your dissertation to the committee (usually in an oral presentation). After you have incorporated any notes from the committee, you can finalize your draft and graduate.

Note: Several universities publish full Ed.D. dissertations online, among them George Fox and the University of San Francisco .

Practice-Focused Alternatives: The “No Dissertation” Model of the DiP or Capstone Project

Unlike Ph.D. programs, Ed.D. programs are focused on professional practice—on-campus and online Ed.D. graduates are expected to apply their research in order to solve or improve real-world problems. To that end, many universities in our online listings and on-campus listings have been moving away from a traditional dissertation to more innovative models.

What does an Ed.D. Without a Dissertation Entail?

In general, all alternatives to a traditional Ed.D. dissertation involve a Problem of Practice (PoP) in the workplace. When you tackle a Dissertation in Practice (DiP) or capstone project , you’ll be using your research to create practical & workable solutions (e.g. recommending better practices or creating different approaches to current practice).

As we mentioned, you’ll sometimes see these kinds of education doctorates labeled as “No Dissertation” degrees. But keep in mind that the final project will be just as challenging as a traditional dissertation! Be prepared for a lot of on-the-ground research and writing.

Dissertation in Practice (DiP)

In the 2000s, the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) wanted to make the Ed.D. more relevant for school practitioners and education leaders. So it devised a new Framework for Ed.D. Program Design , with a) a new definition of the Ed.D.; b) a list of guiding principles for program development; and c) a set of building blocks for the degree.

One of these building blocks is the Dissertation in Practice (DiP) . During a DiP, you’ll be expected to:

  • Tackle a complex Problem of Practice (PoP) facing an organization or stakeholder group in education.
  • Create an innovative, research-based project that can help guide other educators and be used in the field.
  • Integrate concepts of practice, leadership, and equity into your project.

DiPs are geared toward working professionals who want to make substantive changes in education. Experienced practitioners act as DiP advisors; collaboration is encouraged; and applied research & theory is the name of the game. Examples of this practical approach include ASU’s focus on “action research” within the workplace; Pitt’s use of “improvement science” to address equity and justice; and Harvard’s concern with “strategy in action.”

Capstone Project

While you’re examining universities, you may also come across Ed.D. programs that contain a culminating project , scholarly delivery , applied inquiry project , or a capstone project . The choice of language is determined by graduate faculty and the university. But all of them hold the equivalent weight of a traditional dissertation or DiP.

To get a sense of how an on-campus or online Ed.D. capstone project is structured, we recommend you examine the Ed.D. program page carefully.

  • Some schools like to put an emphasis on group work.
  • Others are interested in seeing innovative final projects/deliverables.
  • Many follow the DiP model.

An education doctorate with a capstone project is probably the closest you’re going to get to a “No Dissertation Ed.D.” You’ll often be in involved in more collaboration and hands-on deliverables. But you’re always going to have to produce rigorous, research-focused results.

Note: CPED posts examples of award-winning Ed.D. Dissertations in Practice in its Resource Center and UW Tacoma maintains a database of Dissertations in Practice/Capstone Projects .

How an Ed.D. Capstone Project Works

Let’s say you’ve decided on pursuing an accredited, on-campus or online Ed.D. without a dissertation. How can you be sure that the final research project is going to be as tough as the traditional model? Here is a general summary of the steps involved in completing a strong Ed.D. capstone project:

  • Choose a Capstone Topic: The beginning of your Ed.D. will typically be front-loaded with foundational coursework, as well as classes on how to conduct research. It’s here that you’ll start to explore what a good capstone topic might be and learn about relevant research tools.
  • Meet with an Advisor: You’ll work with an advisor to firm up the real-world problem you want to address and determine how to approach it. Part of this process will involve figuring out what an appropriate deliverable would be (e.g. change management plan, new curriculum, portfolio of educational materials, etc.).
  • Draft a Proposal: About halfway through the program, you may be expected to draft a report that contains a problem statement, an outline of your process for finding solutions, and a description of deliverables.
  • Defend the Proposal: Before any actual research takes place, the committee needs to sign off on your proposal.
  • Research the Topic: Even without a standard Ed.D. dissertation, there’s no getting around conducting research. The key difference is how that research is gathered and applied. You may end up combining traditional research with action research and/or evaluation research (e.g. collecting and analyzing real-time data from your workplace).
  • Defend Your Findings: You have one more defense—this time of your research findings and accompanying recommendations. This is separate from the project deliverable.
  • Produce a Deliverable: The deliverable/final project is something that an organization can actually use to improve educational access or outcomes.

Ed.D. Traditional Dissertation vs. DiP/Capstone Project

As long as they contain a DiP or capstone, accredited on-campus & online Ed.D. programs without a dissertation carry the same weight as doctoral programs with traditional dissertations. There’s absolutely no difference in quality. The CPED consortium includes numerous prominent universities , and U.S. News & World Report highly ranks several schools with Ed.D. capstone components. So you have a choice.

Traditional Ed.D. Dissertation

You may wish to consider Ed.D. programs with a traditional dissertation if you want to dig deep into original research. This research may not be immediately applicable to your workplace, but it will help advance educators’ understanding of an issue. It contributes new knowledge to the field. Some dissertation writers like to investigate cultural topics (e.g. Latinx learning experiences); others are interested in the effect of education in particular settings (e.g. U.S. prison system).

Ed.D. Capstone Project or DiP: The “No Dissertation” Model

If you would like to tackle a specific problem in your workplace, then we recommend you consider in-person or online Ed.D. programs with a DiP or capstone project. These doctorates are focused on applied theory & research—you will be expected to test & implement changes over the course of your degree (e.g. new education methods, curriculum changes, leadership interventions, etc.). Ed.D. programs without a dissertation may also contain more group work and interpersonal opportunities.

Note: If you don’t have the capacity for a large research project at this time, you could consider pursuing an Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degree . This leaves the door open for you to complete an Ed.D. completion program or All But Dissertation (ABD) program later down the track.

All Online No-Dissertation EdD Programs

49 Schools Found

Arizona State University

Teacher's College

Tempe, Arizona

EdD in Leadership and Innovation

  • Curriculum Info
  • How To Apply

EdD in Leadership and Innovation - Higher Education Change Leadership

Edd in leadership and innovation - pk-12 change leadership, edd in leadership and innovation - systems, professional and reimagined change leadership, online edd in leadership and innovation.

Offered Online

Online EdD in Leadership and Innovation - Higher Education Change Leadership

Online edd in leadership and innovation - pk-12 change leadership, online edd in leadership and innovation - systems, professional and reimagined change leadership, university of arizona.

Department of Educational Policy Studies and Practice

Tucson, Arizona

EdD in Educational Leadership

National university.

Sanford College of Education

La Jolla, California

Online Ed.D. in Organizational Innovation

University of southern california.

Rossier School of Education

Los Angeles, California

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership

Doctor of education in educational leadership - educational psychology, doctor of education in educational leadership - higher education administration, doctor of education in educational leadership - teacher education in multicultural societies, global executive doctor of education, online doctor of education in educational leadership - k-12 leadership in urban school settings, online doctor of education in educational leadership - leading instructional change, connecticut, sacred heart university.

Isabelle Farrington College Of Education

Fairfield, Connecticut

Ed.D. in Educational Leadership

Wilmington university.

College of Education

New Castle, Delaware

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership - District Leadership

Doctor of education in educational leadership - school leadership, doctor of education in educational leadership - teacher leadership, doctor of education in organizational, learning, leadership and innovation, doctor of education in organizational, learning, leadership and innovation - strategic leadership, doctor of education in organizational, learning, leadership and innovation - talent development, doctor of education in organizational, learning, leadership and innovation - workplace learning, edd in higher education leadership and innovation, online doctor of education in organizational, learning, leadership and innovation, online edd in higher education leadership and innovation, district of columbia, american university.

School of Education

Washington, District of Columbia

Online EdD in Education Policy and Leadership

Nova southeastern university.

Fischler College of Education

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

EdD in Curriculum and Instruction

Edd in higher education leadership, edd in higher services administration, edd in instructional technology and distance education, edd in organizational leadership, edd in reading education, edd in special education, online edd in curriculum and instruction, online edd in educational leadership, online edd in higher education leadership, online edd in higher services administration, online edd in instructional technology and distance education, online edd in organizational leadership, online edd in reading education, online edd in special education, university of florida.

Gainesville, Florida

Online Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction - Teachers, Schools, and Society

University of miami.

Coral Gables, Florida

Doctor of Education in Applied Learning Sciences

Georgia southern university.

Statesboro, Georgia

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies - Cultural Curriculum Studies

Doctor of education in curriculum studies - learning, development, and curriculum, doctor of education in curriculum studies - multicultural and social justice education, doctor of education in educational leadership - p-12 administration, governors state university.

University Park, Illinois

Online Doctor of Education in Interdisciplinary Leadership - Higher Education Administration

Online doctor of education in interdisciplinary leadership - not for profit/social entrepreneurship leadership, online doctor of education in interdisciplinary leadership - superintendent p-12, national louis university.

National College of Education/School of Business and Management

Chicago, Illinois

Doctorate of Education in Higher Education Leadership

Online doctorate of education in higher education leadership, allen college.

School of Health Sciences

Waterloo, Iowa

Doctor of Education in Health Professions Education

University of saint mary.

Education Department

Leavenworth, Kansas

Doctor of Education in Leadership - Innovation in Curriculum and Instruction

Doctor of education in leadership - innovative leadership in higher education, johns hopkins university.

Baltimore, Maryland

Online EdD in Instructional Design in Online Teaching and Learning

Massachusetts, bay path university.

Longmeadow, Massachusetts

EdD in Higher Education Leadership & Organizational Studies

Boston college.

Lynch School of Education

Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts

Executive Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Higher Education

Executive doctor of education (ed.d.) in higher education - catholic education, boston university.

Wheelock College of Education & Human Development

Boston, Massachusetts

EdD in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies: Leadership in Early Childhood Education-Grade 12

Northeastern university.

College of Professional Studies

Doctor of Education

Online doctor of education - curriculum, teaching, learning and leadership, online doctor of education - higher education administration, online doctor of education - organizational leadership studies, regis college.

School of Arts and Sciences

Weston, Massachusetts

Andrews University

Department of Leadership

Berrien Springs, Michigan

Online Doctor of Leadership (D.Lead)

Cornerstone university.

Adult & Graduate Studies

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership and Development

Capella university.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

EdD in Adult Education

Edd in performance improvement leadership, edd in reading and literacy, edd, curriculum and instruction, saint mary's university of minnesota.

Graduate School of Education

Winona, Minnesota

Executive Doctor of Education in Leadership

The college of saint scholastica.

Duluth, Minnesota

Doctor of Educational Leadership

Walden university.

Riley College of Education & Leadership

Online Doctor of Education - Community College Leadership

Online doctor of education - curriculum instruction and assessment, online doctor of education - early childhood education, online doctor of education - educational administration and leadership (for administrators), online doctor of education - educational administration and leadership (non-licensure), online doctor of education - educational technology, online doctor of education - higher education (self-designed), online doctor of education - higher education and adult learning, online doctor of education - higher education leadership and management, online doctor of education - p-20 education (self-designed), online doctor of education - reading, literacy, and assessment, online doctor of education - special education, mississippi, university of southern mississippi.

Department of Educational Research and Administration

Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Online EdD in Educational Administration - P-12

Online edd in higher education administration, a. t. still university of health sciences.

College of Graduate Health Studies

Kirksville, Missouri

Doctor of Education in Health Professions

Nebraska methodist college of nursing & allied health.

Healthcare Management Department

Omaha, Nebraska

EdD in Education & Leadership in Healthcare

University of nebraska-lincoln.

Department of Educational Administration

Lincoln, Nebraska

Doctor of Education in Educational Studies - Innovative Learning Technologies

Doctor of education in educational studies - teaching, curriculum and learning, fordham university.

Department of Educational Leadership

Bronx, New York

Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership, Administration and Policy

Online doctorate of education in educational leadership, administration and policy, franklin university.

Columbus, Ohio

Online Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership - Higher Education Leadership

Online doctor of education in organizational leadership - organizational leadership focus, online doctor of education in organizational leadership - pk-12 educational leadership, kent state university at kent.

School of Foundations, Leadership and Administration

Ed.D. in Interprofessional Leadership - Athletic Training

Ed.d. in interprofessional leadership - cultural foundations, ed.d. in interprofessional leadership - curriculum & instruction, ed.d. in interprofessional leadership - educational technology, ed.d. in interprofessional leadership - special education, university of dayton.

School of Education and Health Sciences

Dayton, Ohio

Doctor of Education in Leadership for Organizations

South carolina, university of south carolina-columbia.

Columbia, South Carolina

Online Doctor of Education in Educational Practice and Innovation - Education Systems Improvement

Online doctor of education in educational practice and innovation - stem education, online ed.d. in educational practice and innovation with a concentration in curriculum studies, online ed.d. in educational practice and innovation with a concentration in learning design and technologies, east tennessee state university.

Johnson City, Tennessee

Doctorate of Education in Global Sport Leadership

Lipscomb university.

Nashville, Tennessee

Doctorate in Education - Learning Organizations and Strategic Change

Online doctor of education in learning organizations and strategic change, vanderbilt university.

Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations

EdD in Higher Education Leadership and Policy

Edd in k-12 educational leadership and policy, online edd in leadership and learning organizations, tarleton state university.

Department of Educational Leadership & Technology

Stephenville, Texas

Ed.D. in Educational Leadership - EC-12 Education Leadership

Ed.d. in educational leadership - higher education leadership, ed.d. in educational leadership - superintendent or principal certification, texas a & m university-college station.

Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development

College Station, Texas

Doctor of Education in Educational Administration

Online doctor of education in curriculum and instruction, texas tech university.

Lubbock, Texas

Online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership

Online doctor of education in higher education administration - community college administration, online doctor of education in higher education administration - higher education college/university administration, west texas a & m university.

College of Education and Social Science

Canyon, Texas

Online Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership

Online doctorate of education in leadership in higher education, college of william and mary.

Department of Educational Policy, Planning and Leadership

Williamsburg, Virginia

EdD in Educational Policy, Planning and Leadership - International School Leadership

Edd in educational policy, planning and leadership - gifted education, edd in educational policy, planning and leadership - higher education administration, edd in educational policy, planning and leadership - k-12 administration, liberty university.

Lynchburg, Virginia

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership

Online doctor of education in curriculum & instruction, online doctor of education in curriculum & instruction - elementary education, online doctor of education in curriculum & instruction - middle grades education, online doctor of education in curriculum & instruction - secondary education, online doctor of education in curriculum & instruction - special education, online doctor of education in school administration and supervision, university of virginia.

Curry School of Education

Charlottesville, Virginia

EdD in Administration and Supervision

Edd in higher education, virginia commonwealth university.

Richmond, Virginia

Doctor of Education in Leadership

Doctor of education in leadership - general leadership, doctor of education in leadership - higher education leadership, online doctor of education in leadership, online doctor of education in leadership - general leadership, online doctor of education in leadership - higher education leadership, gonzaga university.

Spokane, Washington

Doctor of Educational Leadership - Educational Leadership Among Indigenous Peoples

Doctor of educational leadership - leadership in catholic schools, doctor of educational leadership - pre-k-12 school leadership, university of wyoming.

Laramie, Wyoming

Online Ed.D. in Education - Higher Education Administration

Online edd in learning, design and technology, all on-campus no-dissertation edd programs.

25 Schools Found

California State University-San Bernardino

San Bernardino, California

Doctorate in Education - Community College Leadership

Doctorate in education - pk-12, la sierra university.

Department of Administration and Leadership

Riverside, California

Doctor of Education in Administration and Leadership

Doctor of education in curriculum and instruction, doctor of education in curriculum and instruction - educational psychology, doctor of education in curriculum and instruction - higher education, doctor of education in curriculum and instruction - leadership and administration, doctor of education in curriculum and instruction - neuroscience and education, doctor of education in educational psychology, doctor of education in educational psychology - mental health, doctor of education in school psychology, doctor of education in school psychology - bcba, university of colorado denver/anschutz medical campus.

School of Education and Human Development

Denver, Colorado

Doctorate in Education - Leadership for Educational Equity

Doctorate in education - leadership for educational equity - early childhood education and early childhood special education, doctorate in education - leadership for educational equity - executive leadership, doctorate in education - leadership for educational equity - higher education, doctorate in education - leadership for educational equity - latin learners and community, doctorate in education - leadership for educational equity - mathematics education, doctorate in education - leadership for educational equity - professional learning and technology, doctorate in education - leadership for educational equity - science education, doctorate in education - leadership for educational equity - urban and diverse communities, university of connecticut.

Storrs, Connecticut

Delaware State University

Department of Education

Dover, Delaware

EdD in Educational Leadership in Higher Education

Edd in educational leadership in k-12, university of delaware.

Newark, Delaware

Barry University

Miami, Florida

Doctor of Education in Organizational Learning and Leadership - Higher Education Administration

Edd in organizational learning and leadership - educational leadership, edd in organizational learning and leadership - human resource development, florida state university.

Tallahassee, Florida

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Administration

Doctor of education in learning design & performance technology, lynn university.

Boca Raton, Florida

Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership

University of north florida.

Department of Leadership, School Counseling and Sport Management

Jacksonville, Florida

Augusta University

Augusta, Georgia

Doctor of Education in Educational Innovation - Curriculum and Instruction

Doctor of education in educational innovation - education leadership, doctor of education in educational innovation - elementary education, doctor of education in educational innovation - middle grades, doctor of education in educational innovation - p12 art education, doctor of education in educational innovation - p12 health & physical education, doctor of education in educational innovation - p12 music education, doctor of education in educational innovation - secondary education - biology, doctor of education in educational innovation - secondary education - chemistry, doctor of education in educational innovation - secondary education - earth science, doctor of education in educational innovation - secondary education - economics, doctor of education in educational innovation - secondary education - english, doctor of education in educational innovation - secondary education - french, doctor of education in educational innovation - secondary education - german, doctor of education in educational innovation - secondary education - history, doctor of education in educational innovation - secondary education - mathematics, doctor of education in educational innovation - secondary education - physics, doctor of education in educational innovation - secondary education - political science, doctor of education in educational innovation - secondary education - science education, doctor of education in educational innovation - secondary education - spanish, doctor of education in educational innovation - special education, university of hawaii at manoa.

Honolulu, Hawaii

Education Doctorate in Professional Education Practice

Depaul university, edd in curriculum studies, illinois state university.

Normal, Illinois

EdD in Education Administration and Foundations: P-12 Administration

University of illinois at chicago, doctor of education in urban education leadership, drake university.

Des Moines, Iowa

Doctor of Education with Principal Licensure

Edd in administration with superintendent licensure, university of iowa.

Iowa City, Iowa

Doctor of Education in Education Policy and Leadership Studies - Higher Education

Doctor of education in education policy and leadership studies - pk-12 administration, morehead state university.

Morehead, Kentucky

Doctor of Education in Adult and Higher Education Leadership

Doctor of education in educational technology leadership, doctor of education in p-12 administrative leadership, northern kentucky university.

Department of Counseling, Social Work and Leadership

Highland Heights, Kentucky

Spalding University

Louisville, Kentucky

University of Louisville

Edd in educational leadership and organizational development, university of maryland-college park.

College Park, Maryland

Doctor of Education in School System Leadership

Michigan state university.

Department of Education Administration

East Lansing, Michigan

EdD in Educational Leadership - K12 Administration

University of mississippi.

University, Mississippi

EdD in K-12 Educational Leadership

Edd in math education, maryville university.

Saint Louis, Missouri

Saint Louis University-Main Campus

Doctor of education in educational leadership - catholic, university of missouri-st louis, edd in educational practice, new hampshire, southern new hampshire university.

Manchester, New Hampshire

Rutgers University

Camden, New Jersey

EdD in Design of Learning Environments

Edd in education, culture, and society, edd in teacher leadership, cuny hunter college.

New York, New York

Doctor of Education in Instructional Leadership

New york university.

Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions

EdD in Educational Theatre in Colleges and Communities

Edd in higher education administration, the sage colleges.

Esteves School of Education

Troy, New York

University at Buffalo

Buffalo, New York

Doctorate in Education - Educational Administration

North carolina, east carolina university.

Greenville, North Carolina

EdD in Educational Leadership - Higher Education

Gardner-webb university.

Boiling Springs, North Carolina

Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership

Western carolina university.

Human Services Department

Cullowhee, North Carolina

Wingate University

Wingate, North Carolina

Doctor of Education in Higher Education Executive Leadership

Miami university-oxford.

Oxford, Ohio

Ohio State University-Main Campus

Doctor in education studies - educational administration, pennsylvania, kutztown university of pennsylvania.

Department of Secondary Education

Kutztown, Pennsylvania

Education Doctorate in Transformational Teaching and Learning

University of pittsburgh-pittsburgh campus.

Department of Administrative and Policy Studies

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

EdD in Health and Physical Activity

Edd in higher education management, edd in out of school learning, edd in social and comparative analysis in education, edd in special education - applied behavioral analysis, edd in special education - blindness/vision impairments/orientation and mobility, edd in special education - early intervention, edd in special education - emotional and behavioral disorders, edd in special education - learning disabilities, edd in special education - severe disabilities, edd in stem, clemson university.

Clemson, South Carolina

Doctorate in Education in Education Systems Improvement Science

Texas christian university.

Fort Worth, Texas

Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership

Brigham young university-provo.

McKay School of Education

Provo, Utah

University of Utah

Department of Educational Leadership and Policy

Salt Lake City, Utah

EdD in K12 Leadership and Policy - Administrative Licensure

K12 edd program, university of vermont.

College of Education and Social Services

Burlington, Vermont

Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Seattle university.

Seattle, Washington

Doctorate in Educational and Organizational Learning and Leadership

University of washington-tacoma campus.

Tacoma, Washington

Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership

Doctoral program in educational leadership - adult education, doctoral program in educational leadership - higher education, doctoral program in educational leadership - nursing education and healthcare leadership, doctoral program in educational leadership - p-12 educators/superintendent credential, doctoral program in educational leadership - public service, washington state university.

Pullman, Washington

EdD in Educational Leadership - Administration

Edd in educational leadership - higher education leadership, edd in educational leadership - teacher leadership.

Grad School Center

15 Best Online EdD Degrees with No Dissertation Programs

Reviewed by David Krug David Krug is a seasoned expert with 20 years in educational technology (EdTech). His career spans the pivotal years of technology integration in education, where he has played a key role in advancing student-centric learning solutions. David's expertise lies in marrying technological innovation with pedagogical effectiveness, making him a valuable asset in transforming educational experiences. As an advisor for enrollment startups, David provides strategic guidance, helping these companies navigate the complexities of the education sector. His insights are crucial in developing impactful and sustainable enrollment strategies.

Updated: May 13, 2024 , Reading time: 30 minutes

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In this article, we will be covering...

A career in education is one of the most rewarding. Often working in school settings across all levels of learning, education professionals thrive in working with students or formulating initiatives beyond the classroom that can positively impact the educational system.

While an entry-level position in the field only requires at least a degree in education or a related field, many decide to solidify their knowledge and skills by pursuing an advanced degree. It is not uncommon to find teachers and other education professionals who enroll in doctoral degree programs.

This necessary step allows them to enhance their credentials and help them achieve higher and more important positions within the academe and related fields.

A Doctor of Education program is an ideal choice for those who want to boost their opportunities to land leadership positions. It also encompasses other aspects of the education profession, such as curriculum development , learning theory, and public policy . Fortunately, many of these doctoral degree programs are fully available online.  

Quick audio summary:

Online doctoral programs in education help working professionals pursue their terminal degrees while juggling their personal demands at home and work. These education doctorate degrees aid them in preparation to lead various academic levels, allowing them to take on leadership positions and drive change in the educational system.

Doctor of Education Concentrations

Education leadership.

This specialization provides educators with essential tools integral to their success inside and outside the classroom. As educational leaders , they are expected to lend administrative help to school principals, formulate techniques for classroom teaching, and develop initiatives for other educational professionals.

Students in this program are equipped to lead schools and organizations through conducting, interpreting, and evaluating research and data. They are then expected to diagnose and resolve organizational challenges that affect learning success.

Instructional Design

In this specialization, students are trained to examine the relationship between the design of technology, cultural context, digital media, learning, and social interaction. They are exposed to cognition and design theories while being encouraged to dive deep into them and learn how to apply such theories in their practice.

Students who pursue this major have an opportunity to explore a wide range of career paths, including faculty and teaching, administrative posts, and even government or nonprofit positions.

Learning Design

Those who wish to take on leadership roles in the field of education in relation to the latest theories and technologies may want to consider opting for the Learning Design specialization. This option allows students to prepare for strategic leadership roles in a variety of settings, including classrooms and corporations.

In this program, they are expected to master innovative learning practices in the digital context while ensuring their practical applications to real-world problems in the field of education.

Curriculum and Instruction

Designed for educators and practitioners, the curriculum and instruction specialization is an ideal choice for those whose interests lie in teaching in higher education or spearheading program improvements in various settings, such as education, social service agencies, military organizations, or businesses.

The program emphasizes the importance of identifying the obstacles to effective practice and program improvement by evaluating educational and clinical programs and their effectiveness.

Multicultural Education

This specialization is the best choice for students who wish to gain a better understanding of the diverse contexts within the field of education, including sociocultural, political, economic, and linguistic aspects. They will be able to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills needed in teaching, scholarship, and advocacy.

This program is often grounded in common conceptual areas, including critical social theory and schooling, human rights and social movements, and alternative research paradigms, among others.

Special Education

One of the popular majors in many doctorates in education programs, the special education major , prepares the leadership personnel to serve in public or private schools and other educational environments and services.

Students are expected to develop knowledge and skills in various aspects, including management, leadership, collaboration, administration, supervision, and program evaluation, among many others.

This specialization is integral in preparing quality leaders who can transform the educational landscape for children with exceptional needs. They can advance their careers by taking on the administrator or executive leader position.

Urban Education

This particular specialization prepares aspiring urban school superintendents, central office administrators, and advocacy organization leaders to lead and transform complex educational systems in urban communities and contexts.

While most of the programs focus on urban school challenges, some recognize the interconnectedness of other issues, encompassing state, national, regional, and global scales.

Online EdD Degrees with No Dissertation - fact

What is a Capstone Project?

Talking about doctoral degree programs without dissertation-based final requirements, we’re brought to its alternative, which is t he capstone project . Its usage and popularity vary across countries’ higher education systems, but here in the country, many degrees feature the capstone project as the final requirement, including doctorate degree programs.

It is sometimes known as a Dissertation in Practice or Problem of Practice Project, and in the context of the doctoral degree, a capstone project is like a practical application period, where doctoral students take their learning throughout the program and use these to address a specific set of real-world problems, often from within their respective areas/workplaces.

It is also multifaceted in that students get to apply their coursework together with appropriate research methods in resolving their chosen problems and working together with their mentors; they often have a degree of freedom to tailor their projects as they see fit.

As with online Management doctoral programs, capstone project often results in innovative solutions that most often get adopted long-term in the settings in which they are applied. Given their practical aspect, the results of capstone projects also add to the overall body of knowledge regarding education and can also be replicated in similar contexts elsewhere.

We might compare the capstone project with dissertation research, but it’s certainly not the case that one is better than the other. It’s simply down to the design of the curriculum and the intended outcomes of doctoral programs. The traditional dissertation process aims to come up with original knowledge, which is why we see it in research-focused Ph.D. degree programs.

Capstone Projects are favored in EdD degree programs that prepare their graduates for their forthcoming higher education leadership roles by giving them a venue for the practical application of their learnings.

How an EdD differs from a PhD

As a whole, more people might have heard of a Ph.D.; after all, it is arguably the most common terminal degree across different higher education systems worldwide. EdD degree programs, on the other hand, are less numerous. So how does a Doctor of Education (EdD) differ from a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree?

As a whole, there isn’t a very wide gulf between the two. They possess many similarities, with both being terminal degrees, that is, the highest degree/title that can be awarded to professionals in their fields, similar to Juris Doctor/JDs for lawyers and MDs for doctors.

Both doctoral programs require significant amounts of research, and students are trained accordingly with appropriate research techniques. Both degrees also require a form of published output from students as one of the requirements for graduation, with their output often published in academic journals.

Still, both degrees tend to have stringent and selective admissions processes, as candidates for the degrees are expected to have the potential to give solid contributions to the field’s body of knowledge. Lastly, both degree programs tend to have roughly the same amount of required credits and can be completed within the same amount of years.

The differences between the two doctoral degree programs lie in some key areas. First, the Ph.D. is more of a research-focused doctoral degree program. The Ph.D. also tends to have a more scholarly focus, with graduates often going on to work within academia and take up research-related roles. By their research-focused nature, the Ph.D. has final requirements that are expected to result in original knowledge, i.e., in the form of a doctoral dissertation.

Meanwhile, an EdD/Doctor of Education degree is generally a practice-focused degree, focusing on sharpening students’ skills through the combination of practice and established research methods. There is also an emphasis on honing educational leadership skills that they can apply to various settings and educational systems, whether K-12, higher education, or others.

This practical application is generally centered on a problem/set of problems that have been identified by the student together with their mentors. This is why students’ final requirements are often in the form of capstone projects. As a result of this practice-focused curriculum design, the EdD doctoral program opens a broader range of non-academic roles that graduates can enter into aside from within the educational system, such as leadership positions in government agencies or the private sector.

Top 15 Doctor of Education Online Programs Without Dissertation

Nova southeastern university.

Nova Southeastern University - Abraham S. Fischler College of Education and School of Criminal Justice

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership

Aiming to help students move education forward at various levels, Nova Southeastern University offers the online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership degree program. This doctorate degree online helps them solve real-world problems through project-based planning and implementation. They will be taught to formulate innovative ways to improve the school and boost administrative competencies.

Unlike Ph.D. programs that are often research-heavy with their rigorous dissertation process, an education doctorate provides students with a hands-on learning experience. To successfully earn this degree, students need to complete a doctoral capstone project. They can choose among two options, but if they want to do away with the traditional dissertation, then opting for the Strategic Research Project is the best choice.

This degree is one of the online doctoral degree programs that is designed for practicing superintendents, principals, and lead teachers from public and nonpublic K-12 learning institutions. They must have a master’s degree in education or a related field in order to get admitted into the program.

Texas A&M University

Texas A&M University

Online Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction

Students who wish to specialize in leadership roles within the education system with an emphasis on curriculum development will want to consider earning a Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Texas A&M University. Like other online EdD programs, this specialization allows one to complete the coursework at their own pace through a web-based delivery system.

Requiring the completion of 64 credit hours, this degree focuses on three major goals of the program, including leadership, discovery, and application of knowledge. Students are expected to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge in curriculum and instruction, preparing them for new leadership roles within the domains of educational practice. This includes roles in school change and improvement initiatives, professional development, curriculum leadership in schools or districts, and organizational management.

Students wishing to get admitted into the program must have earned a master’s degree and a minimum of five years’ worth of teaching experience.

Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Curriculum

Vanderbilt University offers one of the quality online EdD programs under its Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations. The Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Curriculum aims to bridge the gap between theory and practice. The online program can take 36 months to complete, designed to accommodate the needs of mid-career K-12 and higher education professionals.

The online format of the program means that working professionals in the field of education can still pursue their doctorate degree without compromising their blossoming careers. Students are equipped with robust knowledge and skills that will help them make a positive impact on education policy and practice. The program accounts for 84 credit hours, 30 of which can be admitted as credit transfers from a prior master’s degree.

As one of the online EdD degrees with no dissertation programs, this doctorate degree culminates in a capstone during the third and final year of study. Students must need to complete a year-long independent research and analytic task within a group project.

Liberty University

Liberty University

Online Doctor of Education in Administration and Supervision – Educational Leadership

Liberty University offers various online doctorate programs in education. Among the options is the Doctor of Education in Administration and Supervision – Educational Leadership. Designed for students who are preparing for licensed school administration, this terminal degree provides studies and training integral to the management of education organizations.

By the end of the program, students are expected to learn all about education law and policies, leadership principles and ethics, and issues and trends in learning technologies. Some of the courses they cover in this online degree program include Educational Leadership and Public Relations, Theories of Educational Leadership, Advanced Learning Theory and Research, and Advanced Education Law, among others.

The degree is specifically designed for licensed educators pursuing endorsements in administration. To be qualified, they must document an active, renewable teaching license and a full-time contractual teaching experience under a license.

Spalding University

Spalding University

Doctorate of Education in Leadership

Spalding University boasts one of the interdisciplinary and dynamic online programs with its Doctor of Education in Leadership degree offer. This program is designed for those who want to earn their terminal degree and take on leadership roles within the school system.

The courses in this program are delivered one at a time, which means one can earn their degree within two years while juggling their personal and professional responsibilities. This degree will help students stand out as exemplary practitioners of ethical organizational leadership. Some of the courses included in the curriculum are Systems Theory and Leadership, Ethical Leadership, and Research Methodology and Problem-Solving.

For admission, students must meet the program requirements, such as a master’s degree from an accredited university and a GPA of 3.0. They must also submit their resume along with two letters of recommendation, a critique of a journal article, and official transcripts from the learning institutions they have previously attended.

Nebraska Methodist College

Nebraska Methodist College - The Josie Harper Campus

Online Doctorate in Education and Leadership in Healthcare

The Doctor of Education in Leadership and Healthcare offered by Nebraska Methodist College allows students to accelerate their careers without compromising their pursuit of a terminal degree. The program’s online format allows them to find the right balance between their personal and professional life.

The program curriculum focuses on honing their knowledge and skills in transforming organizational culture through the use of concepts like reflection, relationship building, education, accountability, and organizational awareness.

Instead of an arduous dissertation process, students only need to complete a scholarly doctoral practice project where they can demonstrate the effective application of the theories and concepts to address education and practice issues.

The program can be completed within 24 months if students are enrolled full-time. Part-time students will be able to earn the degree in 36 months.

The University of Mississippi

The University of Mississippi

Online Doctor of Educational Administration

The University of Southern Mississippi offers an online doctor of educational administration with no dissertation requirement. This 54-credit-hour degree can be completed within three years and is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Education Preparation (CAEP).

This program is most suitable for those looking to attain leadership roles in schools, helping them become an effective administrator at a district level. Students will gain real-world experience in solving on-hand issues as they work their way through the program. They will tackle theories of teacher supervision, school budgeting and finance, and educational leadership, among others.

Students can also avail of scholarship opportunities. In fact, the university offers an Online Student Scholarship program that grants first-time, fully online students with $500 for their first semester. The admission process requires a copy of the student’s current educator license with at least three years of teaching experience. 

Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth University

Doctor of Education in Leadership

Virginia Commonwealth University offers a Doctor of Education in Leadership that can be completed entirely online. The 48-credit hour program has a 36-month/3-year completion time frame and is based on a cohort model, which they call a Learning Community. Each Learning Community, in turn, has cohorts that are based around the learning areas:

  • Higher Education Leadership
  • K12 Leadership
  • General Leadership

The program begins each summer and features an action-oriented curriculum design that is anchored on principles of adult learning. The program’s curriculum design is also anchored on the analytical lenses of equity, accountability, and learning theory to facilitate learning through common perspectives. The degree program helps prepare students to become effective leaders in various careers.

While the program is delivered entirely online, students are required to attend a brief 2 to 3-day in-person residency every summer at VCU. This facilitates building relationships within the cohort, and provides students with guidance and support in the program.

As a final requirement, students participate in a 3-semester long collaborative capstone project called a Dissertation in Practice , where they work with a faculty chair and a community-based partner.

East Tennessee State University 

East Tennessee State University 

Ed.D in Educational Leadership Ed.D in Global Sport Leadership

East Tennessee State University offers two online doctoral degree programs: an Ed.D in Educational Leadership and an Ed.D in Global Sport Leadership. The former has three concentration areas and leads to a dissertation as the final output, while the latter leads to a capstone program as the final requirement.

The Ed.D in Global Sport Leadership is a unique 60-credit hour program and is aimed at preparing students for leadership positions in today’s highly competitive sports industry, whether at the academic or professional levels. The degree program is delivered 100% online and follows a cohort model.

In order to deliver a truly global perspective in sports, the degree program has global study abroad components on top of standard coursework. The degree requires students to attend international sporting events, which ultimately feeds into the final Doctoral Capstone Project.

University of Virginia

University of Virginia - School of Education and Human Development

Ed.D in Curriculum & Instruction

The University of Virginia offers its Ed.D in Curriculum and Instruction as an online program. It is designed to prepare graduates to be effective practitioner-scholars who excel in localized problem-solving within settings that are focused on the areas of curriculum, instruction, and assessment. The degree program has a minimum of 72 credit hours and follows an asynchronous model.

In a nod to providing a flexible degree program, UVA lets students map out their own personalized academic plans, which adapt to their previous commitments. This highly adaptable and individualized arrangement conceivably lets students fulfill their coursework from anywhere in the world. Likewise, the degree allows up to 24 credits to be transferred in, provided that these were earned at an accredited institution within ten years of admission to the program.

The program’s final Capstone Project consists of 10 credit hours. 6 of these credits are dedicated to Field Study, where students are challenged to perform unpaid fieldwork at an education-related partner organization, addressing a specific Problem of Practice in the process.

Morehead State University

Morehead State University

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)

Morehead State University offers its Doctor of Education degree program in a flexible self-paced online format. The program is aimed at preparing students to become practitioner-scholars who can assume multiple roles in educational leadership, all working towards the goal of improving educational attainment.

Morehead State’s Doctor of Education program has a choice of 4 specialization areas, namely Adult and Higher Education , P-12 Administrative Leadership , Educational Technology Leadership , and Exceptional Child Leadership , with all paths amounting to a total of 60 credit hours.

Each Specialization has its own further emphasis area, and while there are a set of emphasis areas pre-planned by faculty, they are meant to be flexible and can be adapted by students accordingly to fit their individual plans, aspirations, and professional interests.

As part of their final requirement, students must complete a doctoral capstone project regardless of their specialization area. This consists of a total of 12 credit hours.

West Texas A&M University

West Texas A&M University

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D)

West Texas A&M University offers its Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership as an online program that has a total of 60 credit hours and lasts three years. The program also follows a cohort model and equips students with a skillset of great depth that can enable them to lead any school district of various sizes and locations. Students can also transfer up to 12 credits in the program.

While the program provides excellent leadership preparation for its students, it is designed with two distinct tracks aimed primarily at providing leadership to rural schools. The Doctorate of Educational Leadership track is focused on problems of practice in rural school settings, such as school districts that serve less than 1,000 students (it is noted that this is the case for 50% of school districts across Texas).

The Doctorate of Leadership in Higher Education, meanwhile, is designed for those who have Master’s Degrees in areas other than educational leadership but want to hold administrative positions in a higher education environment or in educational settings that serve rural schools and communities.     

Instead of the traditional dissertation, both tracks have a Doctoral Capstone Project as part of their final requirements. Students’ scholarly work throughout the program’s three years is meant to result in an extensive literature review, as well as two publication-ready articles.

Eastern Washington University

Eastern Washington University

Eastern Washington University offers a 78-credit hour hybrid Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership program. The program follows a cohort model, and students can attend the program part-time or full-time.

The program has two concentration areas: PK-12 Education, and Higher Education. It features a curriculum design that is geared towards the goal of achieving socially-just transformative leadership in educational settings at the local, state, regional, and national levels. To this end, students take courses on educational leadership, research, and applied practice on top of their chosen specialization areas.

As part of the final requirements, students have a choice of completing either a dissertation or a capstone project in order to target a specific problem of practice that they have identified.

University of Illinois Chicago

University of Illinois Chicago

Ed.D in Urban Education Leadership

Located in one of the country’s biggest cities, the University of Illinois Chicago offers an EdD in Urban Education Leadership. This nationally recognized program is designed to prepare and develop education leaders, primarily principals, to become effective leaders in urban school settings and work towards significantly improving teaching and learning in this milieu.

The intensive and highly selective program follows a cohort model and consists of a total of 80 credit hours, or 96 credit hours if the Superintendent’s Endorsement is included in the EdD.

The selection preference is on candidates that have exhibited instructional expertise and success in leadership roles, as well as a strong commitment towards improving schools and learning, given the high-need context of the area immediately served by the university.

The program features in-depth coursework that is designed to be immediately applicable and has individual courses that build upon each other. Students in the program likewise get on-the-job coaching throughout their stay in the program, as well as a full year of internship under a mentor-principal.        

Wilmington University

Wilmington University

Ed.D in Educational Leadership Ed.D in Higher Education Leadership Ed.D in Organizational Leadership, Learning, and Innovation

Wilmington University offers 3 Doctor of Education degree programs that are delivered in a variety of formats. The Ed.D in Educational Leadership (49-51 credit hours) is a hybrid program, while the Ed.D in Higher Education Leadership (51 Credits) and Ed.D in Organizational Leadership, Learning, and Innovation (54 credit hours) are offered in traditional on-campus, hybrid, and fully online formats. All three are also offered in Wilmington University’s FLEX format, which lets students attend classes synchronously online or face-to-face.

The three-degree programs are all designed with the aim of preparing students to effectively take leadership roles in their respective settings, whether they be school districts, higher education, or organizations. Students also get to choose from concentration areas in each degree program and are trained in skillsets that involve practical problem-solving as leaders.

As part of their final requirements, all three degree programs conclude in a doctoral capstone project—also known as an Applied Inquiry Project or a Dissertation in Practice Project—and are primarily focused on applied research aimed at a problem in practice identified by the student together with their advisor.

Typical Career Paths for Doctor of Education Graduates

University president.

Often considered equivalent to a CEO of a major corporation, a university president ’s responsibility extends to overseeing both the academic and administrative operations of an educational institution.

Most of them concentrate on enrollment rates and student GPAs, all the while making sure that the school stays within budget. They are also tasked to set and maintain school policy and to give recommendations for changes and improvement if warranted.

As of 2022, the median annual pay for a top executive is $100,090 . Beyond educational qualifications, becoming a university president draws more from experience in education and administration.

Chief Learning Officer

The role of a chief learning officer in an organization is to take charge of the learning strategy. They are primarily responsible for training employees and making sure they comply with the policies and regulations within the school. This can be done through mentoring and coaching. The chief learning officer also ensures that their workplace standard is met.

The latest statistics say that chief learning officers, also known as training and development managers, can earn a median pay of $120,000 annually .

School Superintendent

As a school superintendent, one makes sure that the daily operations and long-range planning of a school district are running smoothly. They serve as the point person for all district matters. It is their job to supervise school principals and district staff. They are also known to work with school board members and manage fiscal operations.

Sometimes, school superintendents also need to hire staff, solve problems, and lobby for resources. To become one, a superintendent must first gain ample experience in teaching in the classroom and serve as a school principal.

A master’s degree is needed to enter this position, but a doctorate degree can amplify their chances of landing the role.

Policy Maker

In educational institutions, a policymaker plays a critical role in ensuring that policies at all levels, from local and state to federal, are done with a systemic approach. They tend to focus on different things, depending on the priorities of the educational institution.

Some focus on reducing student absenteeism. Ultimately, policymakers decide the policies that will lead to positive changes that can impact the next generation.

As policymakers, one should have analytical skills and hefty expertise on important subject matters. At the very least, they should have a solid understanding of the complex issues in education, public policy, and legislation.

School Principal

Principals are integral to the smooth higher-level operations in a school. It is their responsibility to create safe learning environments for students and to set the goals that students and teachers should meet. They also make sure that school facilities are safe and protected, often planning regular maintenance of school grounds and equipment.

Beyond the obvious duties, they are also helping shape a vision of academic success for their students. They make sure to cultivate leadership in their teachers and other staff. According to BLS, school principals can get a median annual pay of $103,460 .

College Provost

Often considered postsecondary education administrators , provosts serve as academic chairs or heads of a college department or faculty. They usually report directly to the college or university president. While this position is exciting, it also comes with great responsibilities. Their duties include implementing academic priorities for the university. They make sure that there is a clear direction for the curricula and allocate resources to support initiatives.

Provosts work with department heads, academic deans, faculty, and staff. They often aim to ensure that students will receive a quality education. Annually, they can earn a median pay of $99,940 .

Curriculum Director

Hired by the school board, a curriculum director sets out an effective educational program in place to help students realize their learning potential. They often work closely with teachers when implementing and overseeing a high-standard curriculum. They make sure to provide solutions and initiatives that can meet the unique challenges of a particular school board.

Curriculum directors are expected to be good at planning and evaluating as well as developing a team. Their work also involves developing instructional materials and assessing their effectiveness. Every year, their median pay is around $66,490 .

How long will it take to finish an online EdD program?

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take to finish an online edd program.

The answer will often depend on whether students are earning the program full-time or part-time. It also depends on the term starts available in a higher learning institution.

Typically, a Doctor of Education program will take two to three to complete. For schools with multiple term starts and accelerated program options, the duration can be significantly cut. Other factors that can affect the program duration also include specializations and transfer credit policies.

Students enrolled on a part-time basis will understandably take longer to earn this terminal degree. Working professionals who go through the coursework at their own pace may take four to seven years to complete the program.

Is an online EdD degree worth pursuing?

The Doctor of Education program is offered as an alternative to a Doctor of Philosophy in Education, which is heavier on research. An Ed.D. program is more of a practitioner’s degree, making it a suitable choice for academic researchers and college professors. Those who work in K-12 schools or pursue a position as college administrators will find this degree quite useful.

A doctorate in education can help grow one’s skillset and boost one’s earning potential. It is especially valuable if they are aiming to attain positions in education and educational administration. This includes job positions such as education administrators, superintendents, provosts, academic deans, and so much more.

What are the most common admission requirements to an EdD program?

The admission requirements to a doctor of education degree program may vary from university to university.

Generally, one is required to hold a master’s degree from an accredited institution. They must also have demonstrated experience in educational roles along with leadership potential. Other requirements may include the following:

  • Graduate admission application
  • Official transcripts from undergraduate and graduate institutions
  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Personal statement
  • Letters of recommendation

What are the common requirements for admission into online EdD programs?

As is the standard with all graduate degrees, applicants to EdD programs are expected to have passed GPA standards, typically around 2.75 or 3 as a minimum. It varies between universities, but some may also require GRE / GMAT /MAT scores.

To prove that applicants have completed both the required Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees , they are required official transcripts, and most universities will prefer degrees awarded by institutions that have regional accreditation.

As previously mentioned, EdDs tend to have a degree of selectiveness and stringency that is typical of doctorate degrees. Universities tend to require applicants to have verifiable references and recommendation letters aside from a CV/Résumé.

Most importantly, in order to assess the capability of students to convey their ideas and conduct rigorous academic work, a personal essay from the applicant is typically required, which is complemented by interviews done by university faculty.

As a final note, this is not necessarily a university requirement, but it is a general rule that students enrolling in doctoral degree programs should already have a well-formed seed of an idea or problem they would like to pursue. That way, they would be better able to fit their forthcoming degree plans accordingly, and their mentors would be able to help them better.

Any lack of pre-existing ideas/research problems would be detected in students’ personal essays and subsequent interviews. As they say, never go to battle unprepared, and this is especially true with doctorate degrees.

How much do online EdD programs cost?

There is a wide variance between universities in terms of the total cost of their degrees. They each have their own set of fees that support the university on top of the cost of the degree itself, and some may have different rates for out-of-state students.

To get a rough sense of part of the costs involved, per-credit-hour costs for online EdD programs can range between $600-$1000, and they can have a total of a little more or less than 60 credit hours. To get the most exact costs for tuition, it is best to reach out to the universities themselves, as they will have dedicated personnel that assist students with concerns regarding how to finance degree programs.

However, graduate degrees and terminal degrees, such as online doctorate programs, tend to be on the more expensive side of the tuition costs scale. There are, however, several ways students can offset these costs aside from loans .

Federal financial aid is always available, even for graduate students, and students may be able to access grants. It differs between universities, but most will have some form of Scholarship that eligible students can access. Lastly, this may be more toward on-campus students, but Graduate Assistantships are also an option.

What are the benefits of earning a doctorate degree online?

It will invariably require the student to invest in time, effort, and finances, but being a terminal degree, a doctorate degree represents the peak of a professional’s career advancement and educational achievement.

A doctorate degree signifies that one has contributed (and continues to contribute) original knowledge through research, which ultimately benefits the discipline they belong to. On a more practical note, the learnings one gets from the courses in a doctorate degree and the opportunity to apply these are invaluable to students who, by this point, are already working professionals.

Meanwhile, earning a doctorate degree online has the distinct benefit of giving students more flexibility to balance their careers and their coursework. There may also be savings for students since they do not have to attend classes in person. Still, for some, enrolling in an on-campus doctorate degree that they like or that fits them might involve having to move into a new city, which can be a great cost.

Granted, on-campus/in-person classes have aspects that are very hard, if not impossible, to replicate in online classes, but the latter does bring its own set of benefits and advantages.

Key Takeaways

As alternatives to dissertation research, the capstone research project provides venues for doctoral students to provide real-world practical solutions to problems in areas or fields that they believe must be addressed. The practical focus of a doctoral research project is what makes them a good fit for the desired outcomes in Doctor of Education programs.

Like most doctoral degree programs, Doctor of Education degrees have concentration areas. These online Ph.D. programs add specialized courses on top of a degree’s core course content, translating to crucial skills and insights that students can apply to their professional milieu.

Ph.D. Degrees are generally orientated toward research-focused roles within academia and require dissertation research as their final requirement.

EdD degrees, meanwhile, have an added applicability toward taking leadership roles; hence they are often designed with capstone projects that enable online doctoral students to apply their knowledge to solve issues relevant to their field.

Additional Resources:

  • The Best Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Graduate Schools
  • The Best Online Doctor of Educational Psychology Degree Programs
  • The Best Online Doctor of Counseling Education and Supervision Degrees

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Education (Educational Administration P-12) EdD

Online educational administration doctorate with no dissertation required, program-at-a-glance (graduate).

Credit Hours:

Total Hours: 54

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Special Requirements:

Copy of current educator license (with at least 3 years of teaching experience).

Learn more about this program:

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If you are an educator looking to become a powerful leader in your school, the revolutionary new online Educational Administration Doctorate Degree can teach you what you need to know to become an effective administrator at the building or district level. The best part? No dissertation required!

The online E ducational Administration EdD offers you a unique learning experience with synchronous classes. These live, online classes give you the opportunity to meet with your instructor and classmates each week and learn from a community of your peers. Your classes will meet at the same time and same day each week and are typically night classes.

With this degree, you’ll be gaining real-world experience and solving hands-on issues as you work through the program. This program will immerse you in theories of teacher supervision, school budgeting and finance, and educational decision-making and leadership on your way to becoming a principal, superintendent or program coordinator. This is your chance to make a greater impact in your school system!

Applicants are required to have at least three years of teaching experience .   Looking for more education-related degrees? Check out our other fully-online options ! Want more info about this degree ? Our enrollment coaches are standing by to assist you. Click here for more info! This is your life, plus college!

A number of scholarship opportunities are available for online students! Our Online Student Scholarship gives first time, fully online students an opportunity for $500 towards their first semester. To get started with our Online Student Scholarship, or to view our list of available scholarships for which you may qualify, visit our  Student Scholarship page  now!

What can you do with an Education Administration EdD?

An EdD in Education Administration provides you with the advanced knowledge and skills necessary for leadership roles in educational institutions, policy development, and program management in education.

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Core Courses (30 hours)

Select 1 course:

Additional Note

Please note that the above information is meant to be a guide and is not official. For further information regarding courses for this degree, see the University Bulletin . Please be aware that not all course choices listed in the University Bulletin are available online. However, sufficient online options are available to complete this degree.

Frequently Asked Questions

The prospective student must complete the Graduate School admission application online and pay the application fee at http://apps.usm.edu/graduate-school/grad-school-apps/ .

To find pricing information,   visit our pricing page . For financial aid information,  view our financial aid page . For detailed tuition information,  visit our business services page .

Yes! To view all the funding resources available to graduate students, please visit the  Graduate Admissions Funding Resources  page.

You can earn an a dministrative license if you do not already hold it, and you can earn a s uperintendent license if you already hold administrative license. Also you must have held a license for three years to be admitted. However, l icensure requirements and approval are determined by each state’s licensing board. For general information about professional licensure, please review the Online Programs & Professional Licensure Page .

Either the GRE, PRAXIS or any other nationally recognized graduate-level exam is required for this program.

You will need a USM application, resume, letter of interest, official transcripts, GRE scores, and three letters of recommendation.

The program, including the final Capstone Project, may be completed over three years.

Yes, the online Education Administration Doctorate degree program is delivered 100% online.

No. Instead of a dissertation, this program requires a capstone research project that is focused on a real-world problem of practice that you encounter in your workplace. The capstone is completed in courses that are schedule alongside the content courses so that you will be able to complete the capstone as you complete the required coursework.

At the discretion of the academic program, the Ed.D. program will accept up to 18 transfer hours so long as the credits have not been applied to a previously conferred degree.

No, there is no out-of-state tuition associated with the online program.

If you still have questions, please visit our FAQ page , or take a moment to fill out our form at the bottom of the screen, and we will reach out to you!

Admission Requirements

In addition to the requirements detailed in  Admission Requirements and Procedures , applicants must meet the following requirements and submit the following documents:

  • Official GRE scores or other acceptable standardized graduate-level exam scores
  • Statement of Purpose – In a letter or essay format, describe your professional experiences and goals and how obtaining this degree will help you to realize those goals.
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
  • Copy of current educator license (with at least three years of teaching experience)

This program admits new students each fall. Members of underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

Program Requirements and Academic Policies See  General Degree Requirements  and  General Academic Information .

The online Educational Administration Doctorate is nationally recognized by CAEP, and the program is aligned to the Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC) standards. It is a part time, fully online program redesigned to accommodate the schedule of current educators. The University of Southern Mississippi is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools of Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The online Educational Administration doctorate is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). That means you can expect a program with the highest standards and quality.

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Online EdD Programs

Question: Are there any online EdD programs that do not require a dissertation?

Answer: Yes – Several schools that offer Doctor of Education degrees online do not require students to complete a traditional dissertation. However, these programs typically include another type of capstone requirement, such as an applied project or requiring students to publish a journal quality research article.

At this time, the majority of online Ed.D. programs require students to complete a dissertation in order to earn their doctorate. There are, however, options for those who do not wish to write a traditional research-based thesis. Several programs now offer students the opportunity to develop and implement a more action-oriented “dissertation-in-practice” dissertation or an applied capstone project. While these capstone options also require a considerable amount of research and writing, they differ from traditional dissertations, focusing more on producing direct solutions to existing problems in education or organizational leadership, instead of furthering theory in the field.

A traditional dissertation has a formal five-chapter structure and aims to contribute to the existing scholarly literature on a topic in education development or leadership. The dissertation-in-practice, on the other hand, is an applied dissertation that still maintains the formal structure of the traditional dissertation, but focuses more on specific education challenges that students experience in their place of work. In contrast, the applied project is distinct from a dissertation in that it does not abide by the formal five-chapter dissertation structure, and has a more applied objective that relates to investigating or solving an educational practice or learning outcomes problem. In most cases, students who choose an applied project are tasked with examining an education challenge at their current place of employment (or one that is present regionally), and making an improvement to strategies or methods used in their organization or district.

Students should note that regardless of the option they choose, all three culminating experiences require rigorous research and writing. To learn more about the differences between these three capstone experiences, and to see a list of online programs that include an applied project option, continue reading below. (Note: At this time, the majority of online Ed.D. programs require students to complete some sort of a capstone experience whether it is a traditional research dissertation, a dissertation-in-practice, or an applied doctoral project.)

Ed.D. Dissertation and Dissertation-in-Practice vs. Applied Project

While each is an extensive undertaking, intended to represent the culmination of one’s doctoral studies, a traditional Ed.D. dissertation, a dissertation-in-practice, and an applied capstone project are all similar to and distinct from each other depending on how you compare them. Additionally, for Ed.D. students, one option is not inherently better than the other; therefore, it is important to understand the similarities and differences and to choose an option that best aligns with a student’s educational and professional goals.

For students who are worried about the time it may take to complete a traditional dissertation, many Ed.D. programs are now better incorporating dissertation work into the curriculum. From the beginning of students’ enrollment, these programs have a structured environment in which students conduct their research, write their dissertation chapters, and consult with instructors for their dissertation work. This is a fairly recent change from the way dissertations have historically been completed in doctoral programs, where the student embarks on his or her dissertation work after he or she completes all of the program coursework.

Ed.D. Dissertation

The dissertation is an original research study, in which students use qualitative and/or quantitative research methods to examine and analyze a specific issue related to education. The goal of this project is to contribute new insights on a particular topic in the field, making a positive impact on established methods or theories by advancing existing research.

Students typically begin the dissertation process by formulating a specific research question to investigate. After reviewing past research on the subject, they then design and conduct a study of their own and analyze the results. The final product is a five-chapter document detailing the entire dissertation process, including students’ research methodology and conclusions drawn from their findings. Overall, students can expect to spend a significant portion of their Ed.D. studies planning for and completing their dissertation. Most programs include multiple courses related to dissertation research and development, and allow for one or more years of independent study to finish the project. The entire process is typically overseen by a dissertation committee comprised of program faculty, who provide mentorship and make sure students reach certain deadlines along the way. In most cases, students must present their initial research proposal to this committee for approval, as well as explain their findings during a formal dissertation defense at the end of their studies. For Ed.D. students, a traditional dissertation is very similar to what students in a Ph.D. program complete.

Ed.D. Dissertation-in-Practice

Unlike a Ph.D. in Education, the Doctor of Education degree is more focused on practice than scholarly research. Indeed, with the establishment of the Carnegie Project for the Education Doctorate (CPED) as a guiding organization in the area of Ed.D. curriculum development, a growing number of Ed.D. programs have joined CPED and expressed their commitment to the scholar-practitioner model. As such, many Ed.D. programs are beginning to offer alternative dissertation options that more closely align with the Ed.D.’s role as a practitioner’s degree. Therefore, students who prefer to focus on practical skills and real-world applications over intensive academic inquiry should look for programs that offer a dissertation-in-practice and/or an applied project option.

The dissertation-in-practice is, in many ways, a compromise on the historical requirement that students must complete a dissertation in order to earn their doctorate, and the central mission of the Ed.D. degree to train students to be advanced scholar-practitioners (i.e. educational leaders who use research to solve education problems and challenges in their place of practice). Instead of focusing on furthering scholarly understanding of a particular issue in education, the goal of a dissertation-in-practice is to address a specific problem of practice (as such, a dissertation-in-practice is often referred to as an applied dissertation). Students who elect to complete a dissertation-in-practice identify a research question pertaining to a specific problem they wish to solve in their own place of work, or an educational issue that is affecting their region (e.g. school district or community).

Students completing a dissertation-in-practice utilize qualitative and/or quantitative research methodologies to investigate their research question, and to gather data that will provide insights on addressing, preventing, or mitigating their chosen education problem. They also generally follow the same process that students completing traditional dissertations follow, which includes forming a faculty research committee, submitting and presenting a research proposal, writing their paper, and presenting their final conclusions to their committee. In general, dissertations-in-practice also follow the same formal five-chapter structure as a traditional dissertation, but the implications of students’ research are much more aligned with the goal of directly improving learning outcomes or enacting positive change in organizations and systems of education.

Ed.D. Capstone Project

An Ed.D. capstone project, on the other hand, is quite different from a traditional dissertation or even a dissertation-in-practice. While an applied project may have a similar scope or address a similar question as a dissertation-in-practice, instead of creating a traditional five-chapter dissertation, students typically have a much more concrete deliverable, designed to be implemented immediately with the goal of improving performance or learning outcomes in a particular setting. This can take many different forms, such as a new curriculum plan for students, a staff training program, a piece of learning software, a district-wide technology strategy, potential policy changes, or recommendations for other organizational improvements that may help solve a current educational issue.

As with a dissertation, students typically complete this project under the guidance of faculty mentors. They must submit their initial proposal for approval, as well as defend the final product in front of their project committee. Most Ed.D. programs that have an applied project option also include a number of credits or courses directly related to capstone development, as well as certain deadlines students must meet during the process. In the end, these projects are generally just as rigorous as a traditional dissertation, requiring a similar time commitment as well as substantial research and writing.

Note : For the most detailed information on a program’s dissertation or capstone requirement–as well as how the program may define a traditional dissertation vs. a dissertation-in-practice vs. a capstone project–it is always best to contact the program directly.

Online Ed.D. Programs with No Dissertation Required

Below is a list of online Doctor of Education programs that include an applied project rather than a dissertation (e.g., traditional research dissertation or a dissertation-in-practice) as their capstone requirement. Students interested in earning their Ed.D. without completing a dissertation have a variety of degree options to choose from, with specializations ranging from P-12 Educational Administration to Global Sport Leadership. Keep in mind, the requirements and goal of each program’s capstone project or culminating experience may vary, depending largely on the degree’s particular area of focus within education or organizational leadership.

Below are the schools that currently offer Ed.D. programs online which do not require a dissertation (either a traditional dissertation or a dissertation in practice):

  • A.T. Still University : Doctor of Education in Health Professions (Doctoral Research Project)
  • Boston College : Executive Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Higher Education (Professional Capstone Project)
  • Bradley University : Doctor of Education – Higher Education Administration (Action Research Project and an Applied Internship)
  • Cornerstone University : Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership and Development (Organizational Leadership and Development Project)
  • East Tennessee State University : Doctor of Education in Global Sport Leadership (Doctoral Capstone Project)
  • Kent State University : Online Ed.D. in Interprofessional Leadership (Comprehensive Paper or Capstone Project)
  • Liberty University : Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (Capstone Project)
  • Liberty University : Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Capstone Project)
  • Marymount University : Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Organizational Innovation (Doctoral Project/Final Research Paper)
  • Morehead State University : Doctor of Education with Specializations in Adult and Higher Education Leadership, P-12 Administrative Leadership, and Educational Technology Leadership (Doctoral Capstone Project)
  • National Louis University : Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership (Doctoral Capstone)
  • National University : Doctor of Education in Organizational Innovation (Culminating Project)
  • Nebraska Methodist College : Doctor of Education in Education and Leadership in Healthcare (Capstone Project)
  • New York University : Doctor of Education in Leadership and Innovation (Capstone Project)
  • Rockhurst University : Online Ed.D. in Education and Leadership (Capstone Project)
  • The University of Louisiana at Monroe : Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction (Capstone Project or Three Publishable Research Articles)
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill : Doctor of Education in Organizational Learning and Leadership (Three Semester Capstone Courses and Project)
  • The University of Southern Mississippi : Doctor of Education in P-12 Educational Administration (Four-chapter Capstone Project)
  • The University of Southern Mississippi : Doctor of Education in Higher Education Administration (Field-based Capstone Project)
  • University of Miami : Doctor of Education in Applied Learning Sciences (Group Project and Individual Paper)
  • University of Virginia : Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction (Capstone Project)
  • Vanderbilt University : Doctor of Education in Leadership and Learning in Organizations (Group Capstone Project)
  • Virginia Commonwealth University : Ed.D. in Leadership (Collaborative Group Study Capstone)
  • West Texas A&M University : Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Two Publication-worthy Research Articles)
  • Wilmington University : Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership (Applied Inquiry Project)

When researching potential programs, students should decide which type of capstone experience best fits their academic and professional goals. Ultimately, it is important to choose a degree that both aligns with one’s particular learning style and provides them with the type of training needed to advance in their field of interest. To learn more about any of the Ed.D. programs listed above, as well as their specific capstone requirements, students should visit the school’s website or contact an admissions representative.

Online EdD Program FAQs

  • Are there any fully online EdD programs?
  • FAQ: Are there any online EdD programs in kinesiology?
  • FAQ: Are there any online EdD programs in TESOL and English Language Learning?
  • Are there any online EdD programs that can be completed in 2 years?
  • Are there any online EdD programs that do not require a master’s degree for admission?
  • Are there any online EdD programs that do not require the GRE for admission?
  • Are there any online EdS to EdD degree programs?
  • Are there any schools that offer faith-based EdD programs online?
  • Are there online EdD programs with an ABD option?
  • How long does it take to complete an online EdD program?
  • What is an embedded dissertation in EdD programs?

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Best 18-Month Doctorate without Dissertation Programs

Lisa Marlin

A PhD  helps you advance your career and secure senior leadership positions. However, if you’re a busy working professional struggling to manage your family, work, and personal commitments, full-time enrollment with dissertation requirements might not be an option. Most PhDs take 3-7 years to complete, with lots of time spent on dissertations.

But what if you could study a PhD without dissertation requirements or lengthy durations?

Sure, online PhD programs  offer more flexibility; however, you’ll still spend years studying.

Luckily, many schools offer 18-month doctorate without dissertation programs that you can complete in record time, often while studying online on your own schedule. Does that mean you can find the easiest PhD without dissertation requirements? Let’s find out.

Here are some of the top universities and no-dissertation PhD programs you can finish in just 18 months or a little more.

Table of Contents

Top 18-month Doctorate without Dissertation Programs

We’ve separated our list of doctorate degrees without dissertation into a few categories: education, nursing, physical therapy, and business management.

Walden University

PhD in Education (P-20 Education)

Walden University logo

Walden University is known for offering research doctorates to African-American students and has many flexible options in various disciplines to extend education to everyone. This flexible PhD without dissertation requirements is a fabulous education program where you can design your study based on your interests.

  • Courses:  Leading the future of education, governance & politics of education, and learning experiences in supportive environments.
  • Credits:  86
  • Delivery:  Online
  • Tuition: $692 per quarter hour
  • Financial aid:  Grants, education assistance, and loans.
  • Acceptance rate:  100%
  • Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Nebraska Methodist College

Online Doctorate in Education & Leadership in Healthcare

Nebraska Methodist college logo

Nebraska Methodist College is one of the country’s most famous allied healthcare colleges and offers more than 40 healthcare and education programs online and on-campus. You don’t need to complete a dissertation or submit GRE scores to apply for this doctoral degree online; no dissertation. You can also balance your studies with other parts of your life by choosing between part-time or full-time options.

  • Courses: Information technology in healthcare & education, legal & ethical issues in organizations, and healthcare policy.
  • Duration: 24 months
  • Cost per credit hour : $817
  • Financial aid: Scholarships, grants, and loans.
  • Acceptance rate:  92%
  • Location:  Omaha, Nebraska

Nova Southeastern University, College of Education & School of Criminal Justice

EdD – Educational Leadership

NSU Florida logo

Nova Southeastern University is a nationally renowned private institution that embraces social mobility and diversity. The institution offers an EdD that doesn’t require a dissertation. Instead, you’ll need to complete a Strategic Research Project (SRP) amounting to 12 credits.

  • Courses: Leadership, communication, & technology, legal & ethical issues in educational leadership, and leading an educational organization.
  • Credits:  55
  • Delivery:  On-campus
  • Tuition : $1,505 per credit
  • Financial aid:  Scholarships, employer assistance, and veteran benefits.
  • Acceptance rate:  76%
  • Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Maryville University

Online Doctor of Nursing Practice

Maryville University logo

Maryville University is renowned for innovative and comprehensive education, using advanced technology to deliver distance learning programs across a range of disciplines. If you are a working nursing professional, this doctoral degree without dissertation requirements will qualify you to reach the highest levels of nursing leadership.

  • Courses:  Principles of epidemiology & biostatistics, ethics for advanced nursing practice, and professional role development.
  • Credits:  33
  • Duration:  20 months
  • Delivery: Online
  • Tuition : $813 per credit
  • Financial aid: Scholarships, grants, and employer assistance.
  • Acceptance rate: 95%
  • Location:  St. Louis, Missouri

Monmouth University

Online DNP Program

Monmouth University logo

Monmouth University has a low student-faculty ratio and believes in immersive learning experiences beyond the classroom. This DNP doctoral program without dissertation requirements helps students analyze evidence to improve clinical policies and practices.

  • Courses: Translating evidence to clinical practice, organizational leadership in healthcare, and health care economics and financial management.
  • Credits:  36
  • Tuition :  $1,348 per credit hour
  • Acceptance rate: 79%
  • Location:  West Long Branch, New Jersey

Bay Path University

Doctor of Nursing Practice – Family Nurse

Bay Path University logo

Bay Path University is a non-profit institution that offers a range of opportunities for lifelong learning, especially for women. This DNP program seeks to prepare nursing professionals with modern evidence-based knowledge to handle advanced nursing practitioner roles, especially in the family health sphere. You can complete this online doctorate (no dissertation) at your own pace.

  • Courses:  Managing healthcare delivery systems, healthcare informatics, and biostatistics & epidemiology.
  • Tuition : $995 per credit
  • Financial aid: Federal loans and private loans.
  • Acceptance rate: 78%
  • Location:  Longmeadow, Massachusetts

Physical Therapy

The university of north carolina at chapel hill, school of medicine.

Transitional Doctorate in Physical Therapy

The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill logo

The University of North Carolina is ranked #5  for research among public universities and has two Nobel laureates. This non-thesis PhD helps licensed physical therapists gain advanced knowledge and skills in their area of practice. Additionally, physical therapists earn a median salary of $91,010, making this program one of the highest-paid PhDs . Balance familial and work responsibilities easily as you complete this doctorate degree online (no dissertation).

  • Courses: Advanced patient management, advanced neuromuscular intervention, and advanced practice issues.
  • Credits: 27
  • Tuition :  $902 per credit
  • Financial aid: Scholarships, loans, and employee benefits.
  • Acceptance rate: 25%
  • Location: North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Gannon University

Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate

Gannon University logo

Gannon University is a private Christian institution with a low student-faculty ratio that offers various online programs. This is one of few occupational therapy doctorate degrees without dissertations that help physical therapy professionals translate knowledge from cross-disciplinary theories and research into practice, enabling them to grow beyond a therapist-clinician role.

  • Courses:  Applied research in clinical practice, advanced leadership & ethics, and entrepreneurship for the IT professional.
  • Credits:  34
  • Duration:  2 years
  • Tuition :  $770 per credit
  • Financial aid:  Scholarships, grants, loans, and veteran benefits.
  • Acceptance rate:  79%
  • Location:  Erie, Pennsylvania

Business Management

Capella university.

Doctor of Business Administration in Strategy & Innovation

Capella University logo

Capella University is a private institution that strives to extend education to all by offering programs that fit with busy routines. As a result, many of its programs are highly flexible, allowing you to finish at your own pace. The institution also makes it easy to manage study costs by only requiring payment for 12 weeks instead of per credit. This doctorate without dissertation offers two streams: the GuidedPath, where you have a pre-fixed curriculum structure, and FlexPath, where you can modify the structure and complete the program according to your pace and convenience.

  • Courses:  Effective organizational leadership, strategic decision making, and teaching business in higher education.
  • Credits:  45
  • Tuition : $545 – $810
  • Financial aid: Grants, scholarships, loans, and military benefits.
  • Location:  Minneapolis, Minnesota

Liberty University

Online Doctor of Business Administration

Liberty University logo

Liberty University has been named one of the top 5  online universities and is known for its quality, accessibility, and affordability. This flexible DBA program allows you to specialize in one of a range of business areas, from international business to healthcare management. No dissertation is required for this doctorate degree online.

  • Courses:  Strategic allocation of financial resources, marketing for competitive advantage, and quantitative research methods.
  • Credits:  60
  • Tuition:  $595 per credit
  • Financial aid:  Scholarships, grants, loans, and military benefits.
  • Acceptance rate: 50%
  • Location: Lynchburg, Virginia

What Is a Dissertation and How Does it Work?

A dissertation, sometimes called a thesis, involves conducting research before writing a final report to summarize the research’s findings. It is a fundamental requirement of many graduate programs, especially doctorates, and allows students to develop advanced research, writing, and analytical skills. If a panel approves your dissertation, it will become a part of the field’s current body of knowledge.

The student may choose the topic independently or in consultation with an advisor. In some cases, students can collaborate with faculty members to conduct research. Once complete, the university evaluates the dissertation, and their assessment often decides whether the candidate achieves their PhD .

Why Do So Many Programs Require Dissertations?

A dissertation is usually the most involved and longest-running assignment you need to complete as part of a graduate program. Many schools include a dissertation in the program to develop and test students’ research abilities and set them up for careers in academia.

However, some universities offer graduate programs that don’t require a dissertation. Instead, these programs involve additional research-oriented courses for the students to make up their credits.

Ranking Methodology for 18-month Doctorate without Dissertation Programs

We put together the above list of universities and doctorate programs across various disciplines based on their requirements for a dissertation and the total duration of the program. Of course, we gave preference to 18-month programs, but we also included some slightly longer programs.

Most programs don’t require any dissertation at all, while some require fair research activity for satisfactory completion. We ranked the programs based on accessibility, delivery mode, courses, faculty, and school reputation.

Key Takeaways

While most doctorate programs include a mandatory dissertation, several universities now offer no-dissertation programs. These are ideal for working students who may not be able to attend full-time, on-campus programs involving extensive research that can take years to complete.

But you might wonder whether an 18-month doctorate without dissertation status is still valuable. The good news is that it is — a doctorate without a dissertation is nonetheless a respected advanced degree that can significantly boost your career and secure well-paid, senior positions in the field of your choice.

Looking for other ways to speed up your post-graduate education?

Explore the Best 1-Year PhD Online Programs!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you get a doctorate without doing a dissertation.

Yes. Many universities offer doctorate programs that don’t require a dissertation at all. Review the ones we’ve listed in this article for more information.

What Is a Doctorate Without a Dissertation Called?

There’s no particular term for doctorates without dissertations. Instead, they’re simply known as PhDs, EdDs, DNPs, or doctorate degrees. However, some institutions call them “no-dissertation programs” on their official websites.

Is a Dissertation Required for a PhD?

At many universities, a dissertation is an important and indispensable part of a PhD curriculum. However, some universities offer doctorate programs that don’t require a dissertation or thesis for completion. This can be a good option if you’re uninterested in research, don’t wish to work in academia, or are looking for an accelerated option.

Lisa Marlin

Lisa Marlin

Lisa is a full-time writer specializing in career advice, further education, and personal development. She works from all over the world, and when not writing you'll find her hiking, practicing yoga, or enjoying a glass of Malbec.

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Best 18-Month Doctorate without Dissertation [2024 Guide]

An 18-month doctorate without dissertation is a strategic option for those looking to advance their education quickly and efficiently.

18-Month Doctorate without Dissertation

This guide explores a variety of professional doctorates, covering diverse fields from business administration to social work. You can gain insights into the subjects each degree covers as well as the potential career paths they can lead to.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Whether you’re looking to climb the career ladder or pivot to a new field, read on to discover a range of accelerated doctorate programs that don’t have a dissertation component.

List of Colleges Offering No Dissertation Doctorates

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Boston University

Boston University’s 18 month post-professional OTD program is tailored for occupational therapy graduates and focuses on innovative practice and research. It requires the completion of 33 to 37 credits, depending on prior coursework. Classes are online and 7 weeks long, allowing flexibility with three annual start dates. Students work on their doctoral projects each semester instead of completing a final dissertation.

Boston University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Chatham University

Chatham University offers a 16 month online OTD program designed for occupational therapists aspiring to leadership roles. It requires the completion of 30 credits over 4 terms and allows students to progress by taking two classes at a time. Some courses in the curriculum are 7 weeks long, while others are 14 weeks long. The program is 100% online, providing flexibility for professionals to balance their studies with other commitments.

Chatham University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Frontier Nursing University

Frontier Nursing University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program is intended for registered nurses seeking advanced clinical, leadership, and organizational roles. It’s an 18 month, online program that requires the completion of 30 credit hours.

Students undertake a Quality Improvement project instead of a dissertation, focusing on enhancing healthcare delivery and outcomes through practical, evidence-based initiatives.

FNU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Quinnipiac University

Quinnipiac University’s post-professional OTD program is tailored for practicing registered occupational therapists. It has minimal campus requirements and may be completed in 5 semesters.

Courses are offered in varying durations (5, 7, and 14 weeks long) and designed for working professionals. The program seeks to help students become leaders and evidence-based scholars without a dissertation requirement.

Quinnipiac University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Utica University

Utica University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program combines online and on-campus learning and may be completed in 3 years. It’s crafted to enhance evidence-based practice, clinical, and research skills, aiming to equip aspiring physical therapists for the licensure exam. The curriculum encourages the development of diagnostic and critical thinking skills through a mix of instructional methods and practical case studies.

Utica University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Valparaiso University

Valparaiso University’s online post-professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy (DROT) is a 30 credit, fully online program. It is designed to be completed over 4 semesters and a capstone, potentially in just 18 months. It aims to prepare graduates for advanced roles in mentorship, education, evidence-based practice, and policy-making. The curriculum focuses on innovation without requiring a dissertation.

Valparaiso University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau , there’s a growing trend in higher education, with more people earning advanced degrees. Online doctorate programs that don’t require a traditional dissertation can often be completed in less time, some in as little as 18 months.

The following degree options showcase the wide range of fields that offer accelerated doctoral programs. Select the program that most interests you to jump to that section of the guide:

  • Doctorate in Accounting
  • Doctorate in Business Administration
  • Doctorate in Computers & Information Technology
  • Doctorate in Criminal Justice
  • Doctorate in Education
  • Doctorate in Engineering
  • Doctorate in Entrepreneurship
  • Doctorate in Finance
  • Doctorate in Healthcare Administration
  • Doctorate in Information Technology
  • Doctorate in Liberal Arts
  • Doctorate in Marketing
  • Doctorate in Ministry
  • Doctorate in Nursing
  • Doctorate in Occupational Therapy
  • Doctorate in Physical Therapy
  • Doctorate in Public Administration
  • Doctorate in Public Health
  • Doctorate in Psychology
  • Doctorate in Social Work

The program that’s best for you will depend on your personal interests and professional goals.

DBA in Accounting

DBA in Accounting

An online DBA in Accounting helps you develop advanced accounting expertise and qualifications. This doctorate emphasizes applying accounting principles and strategies directly to professional settings, equipping you with skills to lead in dynamic business environments.

Key subjects studied include advanced financial reporting, strategic taxation, and auditing practices. With a focus on real-world financial challenges and strategic decision-making, an online DBA with no dissertation program can help prepare you for high-level finance roles, such as chief financial officer or financial strategist.

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

Doctor of Business Administration

An accelerated Doctor of Business Administration program with no dissertation offers a swift path to advanced business leadership expertise.

Key subjects studied include global business strategies, organizational leadership, and business analytics. This program is beneficial for those aspiring to senior management roles or consultancy, as it focuses on broad-based business acumen applicable across various industries.

A DBA can help you develop practical skills for effective leadership and strategic planning in the ever-evolving global business landscape.

Computer Science

Doctorate in Computer Science

An 18-month non-dissertation doctorate in computer science program is a rapid route to advanced technological expertise.

This program is aimed at professionals who are eyeing leadership roles in tech industries. It emphasizes cutting-edge computing technologies and problem-solving in real-world contexts. Key subjects studied include advanced algorithms, data analytics and big data, and cybersecurity.

You can learn to apply advanced computer science principles in areas like software development, data security, and AI.

Doctor of Criminal Justice (DCJ)

Doctor of Criminal Justice

An accelerated Doctor of Criminal Justice program offers a fast-track to expertise in criminal justice leadership. With a focus on contemporary issues in the criminal justice system, the program covers key subjects like advanced criminology, law enforcement leadership, and criminal justice policy and administration.

You can become better equipped to make informed decisions and lead effectively in various criminal justice settings. Many graduates pursue high-level positions in law enforcement, policymaking, or justice administration.

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Doctor of Education

A non dissertation EdD program is designed for rapid advancement in educational leadership and innovation. This program emphasizes applying educational theories and practices to address contemporary challenges in education.

Key subjects studied include curriculum design and assessment, educational leadership and policy, and instructional technology. An EdD is common for aspiring educational leaders, administrators, and policymakers.

With in person or online doctoral programs in education without dissertation , you can become adept at implementing effective educational strategies, driving organizational change in educational settings, and contributing to policy development.

Doctor of Engineering (D.Eng)

Doctor of Engineering

A non-dissertation Doctor of Engineering program offers a rapid path to advanced engineering leadership. This program is designed for professionals who want to pursue executive or high-level managerial roles in engineering.

A DEng program helps prepare you to effectively lead engineering projects and innovations, integrating theoretical knowledge with hands-on application in a variety of engineering fields. Key subjects studied include advanced engineering management, sustainable engineering practices, and emerging technological innovations.

DBA in Entrepreneurship

DBA in Entrepreneurship

An online DBA in Entrepreneurship program without a dissertation is a streamlined path to mastering entrepreneurial leadership. This specialized DBA is tailored for aspiring entrepreneurs or business leaders, helping you hone skills in creating, developing, and managing successful entrepreneurial ventures.

Core subjects studied include innovation and venture development, strategic entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurial finance. With an entrepreneurship DBA, you can grow your knowledge of how to launch and grow businesses, apply innovative strategies, and lead entrepreneurial initiatives.

DBA in Finance

DBA in Finance

A DBA in Finance emphasizes strategic financial management and decision-making in business. Key subjects studied include advanced corporate finance, investment strategies and analysis, and financial risk management.

A finance DBA is geared toward professionals who want to pursue roles such as CFOs or financial consultants. As a graduate, you may be ready to take charge in finance departments, handle complex investment portfolios, and tackle the intricacies of financial markets.

Doctor of Healthcare Administration (DHA)

Doctor of Healthcare Administration

A Doctor of Healthcare Administration focuses on managing healthcare systems effectively and ethically. This doctorate program is designed for professionals who are seeking leadership and executive roles in healthcare organizations.

A DHA combines theoretical knowledge with practical skills for real-world healthcare management. Key subjects studied include healthcare policy and regulation, organizational leadership in healthcare, and health services management. You can become better equipped to improve healthcare delivery, lead healthcare organizations, and influence policy.

Doctor of Information Technology (DIT)

Doctor of Information Technology

A doctorate in information technology is beneficial for professionals who are eyeing senior and leadership roles in the IT sector. DIT programs emphasize the strategic application of IT in business and organizational contexts.

Key subjects studied include advanced data analytics, cybersecurity management, and IT strategic planning. You can become better equipped to tackle complex IT challenges, lead technology-driven initiatives, and drive IT strategies that align with organizational goals.

Doctor of Liberal Arts (DLA)

Doctor of Liberal Arts

A Doctor of Liberal Arts offers an advanced education through diverse interdisciplinary studies. A DLA is aimed at professionals in education, policymaking, and cultural sectors.

While this program involves a broad perspective on arts and humanities, key subjects include cultural studies, ethical and political theory, and interdisciplinary research methods. Graduates can could apply their comprehensive liberal arts knowledge in a variety of fields, promoting understanding and innovation in both academic and real-world settings.

DBA in Marketing

DBA in Marketing

A DBA in Marketing blends advanced marketing strategies with practical applications. This program focuses on applying contemporary marketing theories to real-world business scenarios.

Key subjects studied include consumer behavior analysis, digital marketing strategies, and brand management. This program can help you develop the skills to lead innovative marketing campaigns and strategies. A marketing DBA is especially beneficial for professionals working toward senior marketing roles.

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

Doctor of Ministry

A Doctor of Ministry focuses on practical ministry skills and leadership strategy. Since it’s designed for ministry professionals, it emphasizes real-world application of theological concepts and leadership in faith-based contexts.

Key subjects covered in a DMin program include pastoral care and counseling, theological reflection and application, and ministry leadership dynamics. A DMin could help prepare you to lead congregations, manage ministry programs, and engage effectively with communities.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Doctor of Nursing Practice

A DNP program is designed for nurses seeking advanced nursing roles and leadership roles in healthcare settings. This program focuses on applying advanced nursing skills to improve patient outcomes and healthcare delivery.

Key subjects studied include advanced clinical practice, healthcare policy and advocacy, and nursing leadership and management. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , 45% job growth is projected for nurse practitioners over the next ten years, making it one of the fastest growing occupations.

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

Doctor of Occupational Therapy

An online Doctor of Occupational Therapy program is tailored for occupational therapists aiming for higher-level clinical or administrative roles. This type of program emphasizes enhancing therapeutic practices and leading in healthcare settings.

Core subjects include advanced clinical practice, occupational therapy leadership, and evidence-based practice in occupational therapy. Graduates may apply their skills in diverse healthcare environments, implementing innovative therapy techniques, managing therapy programs, and contributing to the development of OT practices.

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

Doctor of Physical Therapy

A Doctor of Physical Therapy is the minimum educational requirement for aspiring licensed physical therapists. This program focuses on applying advanced therapeutic techniques and leading in diverse healthcare environments.

Key subjects studied include advanced clinical biomechanics, physical therapy in special populations, and health care policy and administration in PT. A DPT can help equip you to improve patient rehabilitation, bring new approaches to physical therapy, and effectively manage physical therapy departments or practices.

Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)

Doctor of Public Administration

A doctorate in public administration is designed for professionals who aspire to lead in government or non-profit organizations. This program centers on applying advanced concepts to public administration challenges.

Key subjects studied include public policy analysis, organizational leadership in government, and public financial management. A DPA program can help prepare you to shape policies, lead public organizations, and manage resources effectively, making a meaningful impact in public service.

Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)

Doctor of Public Health

A Doctor of Public Health is designed for professionals who want to pursue senior or leadership roles in the public health sector. This program emphasizes the practical application of public health theories in addressing global and community health challenges.

Key subjects studied include epidemiology and biostatistics, health policy and management, and community health promotion. DrPH graduates may be equipped to lead in public health organizations, design effective health programs, and influence health policy.

Psychology (PsyD or PhD)

Doctorate in Psychology

Doctoral psychology programs help prepare you for careers in clinical psychology, counseling, or research.

A Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) focuses on practical psychological skills. A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Psychology tends to emphasize research and theory in the field. Key subjects include clinical practice and assessment, counseling techniques, and behavioral therapy.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA) , psychology professionals work in various settings, like schools, healthcare facilities, and private practice.

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

Doctor of Social Work

A Doctor of Social Work is geared toward social work professionals who want to pursue leadership roles in agencies or nonprofits. This program can help you hone skills in both clinical practice and social work administration.

Key subjects studied include advanced clinical practice, social policy analysis, and leadership in social work. Advanced social work roles include clinical directors, policy advisors, and heads of social service organizations.

Advantages and Challenges of No Dissertation Doctorates

Exploring the shortest doctoral programs without dissertation is beneficial if you’re looking to fast-track your career with practical skills. It’s helpful, though, to first weigh the pros and cons to see if it’s the right fit for you.

At the end of the day, the easiest doctorate degrees or easiest PhD without dissertation programs are beneficial if they help you work toward your personal, professional goals.

online 18 month doctorate program

When choosing an online 18 month doctorate program, here are some key factors to consider:

  • Accreditation . It’s beneficial to make sure the school is accredited. This stamp of approval means it meets certain quality standards, which is crucial for your degree’s value.
  • Program flexibility . You can look for programs that fit your schedule, especially if you’re balancing work or personal commitments.
  • Faculty expertise . You can research the faculty’s background. You might prefer experienced instructors who are experts in their fields.
  • Curriculum relevance . You can check whether the coursework aligns with your career goals and interests.
  • Technology and resources . Some schools offer robust online resources and tech support—essential for a smooth online learning experience.
  • Cost and financial aid . You can evaluate the total cost as well as what financial aid or scholarships are available.
  • Alumni network and career services . A strong network and career support can be invaluable for post-graduation opportunities.

The right program for you is the one that not only meets your preferred criteria but also fits your personal and professional aspirations.

Admissions Requirements

doctoral student preparing admissions requirements

Each program has its unique admissions requirements, but here are some common criteria for doctoral programs:

  • Advanced degree . Many doctoral programs require a master’s in a related field.
  • Professional experience . Relevant work experience showcases your practical knowledge in the field.
  • Letters of recommendation . These can come from academic or professional references who can vouch for your qualifications.
  • Personal statement . You can explain your motivations and goals for pursuing a doctorate.
  • Standardized test scores (if required) . Some grad programs ask for GRE or GMAT scores.

Tailoring your application to each school’s criteria will strengthen your chances of success.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Financial Aid for Doctoral Program Students

Financial aid options can help make paying for a doctorate more manageable. You can start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) . It will determine your eligibility for grants, loans, and other federal aid. You can also check out what financial aid opportunities your state offers.

If you’re working, you could see if your employer has tuition assistance programs. Many employers are willing to invest in their employees’ education. In addition, you can keep an eye out for scholarships offered by universities, private organizations, or community groups. They can help cover the cost of higher education.

Find quick answers to the most frequently asked questions below.

Can You Get a Doctorate Degree Without a Dissertation?

doctorate degree without a dissertation

Yes, you can get a doctorate degree without a dissertation, and it’s becoming a popular choice for many. These programs focus on practical knowledge and skills rather than traditional research.

Instead of a dissertation, you might work on a capstone project, an applied research project, or a professional portfolio that’s more aligned with your career goals. This approach is especially appealing if you’re a working professional looking to advance your career without the time-intensive commitment of a traditional dissertation.

How Is a Doctorate Without Dissertation Different from a Traditional PhD?

Here are some of the differences between a doctorate without a dissertation and a traditional PhD.

Both the fastest PhD programs online and accelerated doctorate programs without dissertations have their merits. You can choose the path that best fits your career aspirations.

Program Cost

18-month doctorate program cost

The cost of an 18-month doctorate program can vary. But according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) , the average cost of graduate tuition and required fees for an academic year is $12,596 at public institutions and $29,931 at private nonprofit institutions.

Keep in mind, these are averages. The actual cost could be different based on the specific program and school. When considering a program, it’s helpful to look at the detailed tuition fees and factor in other expenses like books, program fees, and living costs. This helps you plan financially for your educational journey.

Are 18-Month, Non-Dissertation Doctorates Credible and Accredited?

There are 18-month, non-dissertation doctorates that are both credible and accredited. Accreditation is key here, especially regional accreditation, which is regarded as the gold standard in higher education.

When a program is regionally accredited, it means it has met rigorous standards set by a recognized accrediting agency. This stamp of approval ensures the quality and credibility of your degree, making sure it’s recognized by employers and other educational institutions.

So, when you’re scouting for programs, it’s always strategic to check their accreditation status. You can find more information and a list of accredited institutions on the US Department of Education’s website.

Can You Get a Doctorate Without a Masters Degree?

student taking a doctorate program

Yes, you can get a doctorate without a masters degree. Some PhD programs welcome candidates straight from their bachelor’s program, especially if you have a strong academic record and relevant research or work experience.

These programs typically integrate the coursework of a master’s degree into the PhD curriculum, so you’re not missing out on any vital knowledge. Every program has its unique admissions criteria, so it’s important to check the specific requirements of the schools you’re eyeing. That way, you can find a path that fits with your educational background and career goals.

What Kind of Career Opportunities Can I Pursue with an Accelerated Doctoral Degree?

The jobs available to you with a doctoral degree depend on a number of factors, including your degree specialization, work experience, and geographic location.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are a few roles that typically require doctoral degrees.

Your career opportunities will likely depend on your field of interest, skill sets, and experience.

Getting Your Degree Online

man getting his 18 Month Doctorate Without Dissertation Online

Diving into an 18-month doctorate program without a dissertation component can be a game-changer for your career.

It’s a fast track to advancing your expertise with a practical focus that fits into your busy life. The key is to choose an accredited doctoral program that aligns with your goals. So, why wait? You can start exploring your options today!

The sooner you find the accredited school and program that’s right for you, the sooner you can take that next step in your educational and professional journey.

education doctorate without dissertation

Online Schools Report

Best Doctorate Degree Online No Dissertation

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Renee Whitmore

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In this article, we will be covering…

Best Online Doctorate Degree No Dissertation

Some doctoral programs require you to be on-campus. Many other degree programs are entirely online. Others involve mostly online studies with a few campus visits.

And while some doctorate degrees online require a traditional dissertation, many other programs don’t. This means you can get your doctorate online and without a dissertation requirement.

What is Required Instead of a Dissertation?

Many online PhD programs include capstone projects (which are also known as a doctoral research project or a dissertation in practice) in lieu of traditional dissertations. A summative project like a capstone project or dissertation in practice puts your learning to the test. You solve real-world problems using the knowledge and skills you’ve gained during your studies.

To say that these are easy PhD programs might be a misnomer, but they are certainly the easiest PhD to get. A dissertation alone can take years to prepare for; without such a requirement, these online programs are easier and less time-consuming than many of your other options.

Why You Should Get a Doctorate

Getting an easy doctorate degree online is a great way to advance your career, build new skills, and acquire new knowledge. These doctoral programs are easier than on-campus, traditional dissertation-based doctorate degree programs. However, they still represent an academic challenge. These doctoral degrees without dissertation enable you to become a well-rounded student and more prepared for your chosen field of work.

Which Doctorate Should You Get?

Which online doctorate programs should you pursue? If you Google “the best doctorate degree online no dissertation,” you’ll get many results from various fields, including:

  • nursing practice
  • business administration
  • public administration
  • health care

But sifting through all those results for doctoral programs can be laborious and confusing. So, we’ll do it for you!

Below is a ranking of some of the easiest PhD programs online. These online doctoral programs represent some of the best options currently available. You can find an easy doctorate program online, no matter your area of interest. You can even find an 18 month doctorate without dissertation!

Many of these online doctoral programs allow transfer credits. You can shorten the time needed to complete the doctoral degree program by transferring credits. Likewise, many of the higher education programs listed below are quite affordable, so you can get the doctorate you want while also saving money.

Online Schools Report’s Methodology for Ranking the Best PhD Without Dissertation

The online doctorate programs listed below weren’t just randomly chosen from a Google search. Instead, each doctorate degree online meets a set of criteria that we use to determine the best options available for you. Our methodology includes several factors, including:

  • online program criteria
  • ancillary services
  • school criteria

Let’s explore each doctoral degree online no dissertation in more detail.

Online Program Criteria

The largest component of our ranking methodology is program criteria. It is worth 50 percent of the total score.

When evaluating doctoral programs online with no traditional dissertation, we consider the following critical questions:

  • Is the doctoral program 100 percent online? If not, how much of the program can be completed remotely? If campus visits are required, how long are those visits, and how frequent?
  • What methods are used to deliver the program? Is it synchronous or asynchronous? Is the online experience intuitive and easy to use? Are there flexible due dates?
  • Do the doctorate degree programs have good retention rates? What are the graduation rates like? How long does the program take? Is there an  18-month doctorate without dissertation option?

Using these and other program-related criteria, we can determine the value of an online doctoral program and rank it accordingly.

What Services are Provided?

Another important factor in determining the best online doctoral degree programs to list here is the ancillary services that the doctoral program offers.

For example, online doctoral programs with career services programs, job placement services, and tutoring are ranked higher than online programs that don’t.

Likewise, doctorate degree programs that offer “extras,” like internship placements or practicum placements in or near your hometown, get more points. These programs offer more value than those requiring you to do an internship at a location of their choosing.

Some doctoral programs even offer one-on-one learning. This benefits distance learners because you can work directly with a professor or mentors and discuss concepts you might need help mastering. It’s nice to have that one-on-one time with a professor to pick their brain, ask questions, and build rapport as well.

In other words, this component, which is worth 30 percent of the total score, is all about the flexibility a program offers.

Additionally, the services provided indicate the support you can expect during your learning experience.

School Criteria

The final 20 percent of our score for the easiest PhD degree programs is related to school criteria. This component relates to:

  • Institutional accreditation
  • The breadth and depth of the curriculum
  • The school’s acceptance rates
  • The experience level of the school’s professors

These are but a few examples. However, you can see how accredited schools with a high percentage of professors with a terminal degree would be ranked higher than a similar program that lacks both criteria.

Additional Criteria

Additionally, we narrowed our list down by selecting doctoral degree programs that meet the following criteria:.

  • Positive reviews from students
  • Offers a variety of online doctoral degree programs
  • Offers some form of field experience, be that job shadowing, practicum, internship, or clinical experience.
  • Offers an easy-to-use online learning portal

Additional Methodology Details

So, keep this methodology in mind as we explore some of the best doctoral degree online no dissertation. More details about this methodology are available here as well.

Note that these degree programs tick more of these boxes than most other online doctoral programs. This means they might provide you with a more well-rounded higher education.

Also note that the rankings below of the doctoral degree programs are in random order. Doing so allows you to determine which of these doctoral programs is a good fit without the distraction of numerical rankings to influence your choices.

Ranking the Best PhD Without Dissertation

Doctor of education in learning and organizational change, baylor university.

Baylor University offers this PhD program with a focus on educational leadership. The result is a Doctor of Education. This doctoral program aims to help doctoral students understand how to manage organizational change. This is done using the processes of teaching and learning.

Designed for education professionals, this is a top choice among online doctorate programs. It’s for teachers, administrators, and other educators who want a more prominent role in leading and managing school systems.

Likewise, this doctoral degree program prepares you to lead change-making in:

  • government agencies
  • businesses and corporations
  • non-profit organizations

If you want online doctoral programs in education without dissertation, this is a great option.

Practitioner-Oriented

This is a practitioner-oriented doctoral degree program. This means you put what you learn about educational leadership into practice.

For example, you’ll take nine credits of learning foundations courses. There are 24 credits of organizational change courses. There are also nine credits of research methods courses. Then, you’ll put it all together at the end of your studies. Using the knowledge and skills you’ve gained about educational leadership, you’ll work on a Problem of Practice (PoP) and Capstone project.

The PoP experience challenges you to consider your professional experiences. You’ll explore what you’ve learned about educational leadership. You’ll consider how you can use your experience and learning to make measurable organizational change.

Program Features

  • Weekly online courses provide you with guided learning opportunities and group discussions. Courses are delivered via video. You can interact with your professors and classmates in a real-time, face-to-face digital environment.
  • On-campus immersion experiences are held twice during the program. These experiences give you and other doctoral students much-needed collaborative time to work on skill-building and knowledge-building about educational leadership.

Accreditations

Baylor University is accredited by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges .

Get more information about Baylor’s Online Doctor of Education Program in Learning and Organizational Change .

Doctor of nursing practice, bradley university.

Bradley University offers this online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). It’s a top option in terms of the easiest doctorate to get.

Bradley University has three different doctoral program tracks to make it more accessible for students.

This doctoral degree program is for nurses interested in family practice. You need a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) from a regionally accredited college or university to apply. Likewise, the BSN must be from a nursing program accredited by either:

This track is for nurses with a master of science in nursing (MSN) from an NLNAC, ACEN, or CCNE-accredited program. If you’re interested in learning the administrative part of healthcare and want to take on a leadership role within a healthcare organization, this is the track for you.

Psychiatric Mental Health NP

The psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner track is a great option if psychiatry interests you. You’ll learn therapeutic treatments, advanced nursing practice, and improve your psychological communication skills. You need a BSN from an NLNAC, ACEN, or CCNE-accredited program to apply.

Regardless of which track you choose, you’ll learn from outstanding faculty with years of real-world nursing practice experience.

The program also takes a student-centered approach. You have access to Bradley’s learning tools and resources. You also get individualized attention that helps make your online studies a success. The emphasis on student support, working collaboratively with other doctoral students and professors, and the flexibility of choosing your preceptors for fieldwork are further reasons why this is on our list of easy doctorate degrees.

The Higher Learning Commission  accredits Bradley University. It’s recognized  by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top regional universities in the midwest.

Additionally, this Doctor of Nursing Practice doctoral degree online (DNP program) is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education .

Get more information about Bradley’s Online Doctor of Nursing Practice .

Doctor of Criminal Justice

NCU

Northcentral University

Northcentral University offers this doctoral program. It’s likely to show up when searching for “what is the easiest doctorate degree?” There are many reasons for this.

First, the program is online. There is no residency requirement. There are no on-campus visits required.

Second, this online doctoral program doesn’t require GRE or GMAT scores. You can forgo those testing experiences, keep a little money in your pocket, and begin your studies faster. Of course, you must meet other admissions criteria (like already having a master’s degree). There’s no traditional dissertation process or dissertation in practice required, either!

Third, Northcentral University’s program is in a one-to-one format. You get individualized attention, guidance, and support to help you make your way through the program. This also means you can begin the program at virtually any time. You have the flexibility to start your studies when it works best for you.

Credits and Timeline

You’ll complete 18 courses worth 54 credit hours for this professional doctorate. You’ll need 45 months to meet these course requirements. This timeline might be reduced or expanded depending on your specific needs.

Coursework adapts to your interests as well. For example, this online PhD program offers specializations in:

  • Organizational Leadership
  • Homeland Security
  • Public Administration

Whichever specialization you select, you’ll explore many different topics.

Sample Courses:

  • Criminal justice
  • Management and budgeting
  • Civil and criminal liability
  • Public safety

By completing doctorate degree programs like this, you set yourself up for career advancement in criminal justice.

For example, if you’re already a law enforcement officer, this degree could help you become a detective or criminal investigator. Likewise, if you work for a federal agency like the FBI, you could get a doctoral degree online and get a promotion to Special Agent in Charge. 

Other Possible Career Tracks:

  • Intelligence Analyst
  • Immigration and Customs Inspector
  • First-Line Supervisor
  • Compliance Manager
  • Loss Prevention Manager
  • Sheriff or Sheriff Deputy
  • Police Detective

Northcentral University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission .

Get more information about Northcentral University’s Doctor of Criminal Justice Online .

Doctor of business administration, walden university.

This Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree is offered entirely online by Walden University. It’s a top choice among online doctoral programs without dissertation.

One of the best features of this doctoral program is that there are many different options you can use to customize your learning experience.

Multiple Degree Tracks

For example, there are no less than 16 individual tracks from which you can choose, including:

  • International Business
  • Social Impact Marketing
  • Global Supply Chain Management
  • Energy Management

Of course, more traditional tracks like accounting, finance, marketing, and leadership are also available.

Capstone Project Possibilities

In addition to these specializations, you also get to choose among three capstone project options. These include:

  • Traditional doctoral study

This allows you to pursue higher education in a manner that’s right for your interests and needs. A traditional doctoral study might be preferable for some doctoral students, particularly if they already have experience in research or higher education.

But for other students, a portfolio capstone project that reviews the knowledge and skills gained throughout the program might be preferable. Likewise, the consulting track allows you to get real-world experience working as a consultant, which you could then use to land a consulting job upon graduation.

Leadership Focus

In addition to focusing on specialized tracks and capstone projects, this program puts leadership and management skills front and center. You’ll learn how to think critically, become an excellent problem solver, and you’ll acquire the communication skills needed to be an effective leader in business administration.

Yet another factor that makes this a desirable program is that you can transfer up to 17 credits. So, if you’ve started your doctoral studies elsewhere, you might be able to move those credits to Walden and reduce the amount of time needed to finish your doctoral degree.

Upon enrolling in this program, you get access to many doctoral studies resources from Walden University. This includes access to a writing center that will help you develop your written communication skills.

Walden University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission .

Get more information about Walden University’s Online Doctor of Business Administration .

Doctor of physical therapy, arcadia university.

If you wish to continue your higher education in physical therapy, Arcadia University’s online Doctor of Physical Therapy program is a good option.

This doctoral program is not entirely online. But, the bulk of it is remote. Over six semesters, you’ll complete 110 credit hours. This includes coursework in:

  • Differential Diagnosis and Intervention
  • Integrated Patient Management
  • Management and Leadership Principles in a PT Settings
  • Exposure to Physical Therapy in a Health Care System

There are immersion experiences and clinical rotations as well.

Immersion Experience Details

Immersion experiences bring the cohort together on campus. These experiences allow you to study alongside your classmates and learn from professors in a real-world environment. They also let you practice the skills you’ve learned while using therapy equipment in a lab setting.

Additionally, there are 32 weeks of clinical practice. During practice, you’ll put what you’ve learned to the test in various settings.

For example, you’ll work in different clinical situations, with different patients, and with different supervisors. This gives you a complete picture of what it’s like to work as a physical therapist. This arrangement also allows you to practice your skills. You’ll get feedback on your work from multiple supervisors.

On top of all these features and benefits, this program is one of the top-ranked physical therapy degree programs in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report.

This program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Arcadia University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education as well.

Get more information about Arcadia University’s Online Doctor of Physical Therapy .

Doctor of education in curriculum and instruction, university of wyoming.

This program is from the University of Wyoming. The EdD program in Curriculum and Instruction is 100 percent online. As part of your studies in this Doctor of Education program, you’ll take various curriculum design and instructional practice courses. This might include:

  • Learning and cognition
  • Action research
  • Curriculum development
  • Diversity in education
  • Educational leaders as communicators
  • Educational leaders as change agents

What is an Applied Program?

Unlike many doctoral programs, this is an applied program. It’s also a PhD no dissertation option. So, rather than traditional PhD studies with a research-based dissertation process, this program includes problem-based research, curriculum design activities, and field experiences. These experiences give you practical experience in curriculum and instruction.

You’ll complete a dissertation in practice. A dissertation in practice involves working on a highly complex education-related problem. You must solve the problem using innovative, research-based solutions. You have the option of working with:

  • public schools
  • private schools
  • community-based educational organizations

You can also worth with other learning facilities to complete the dissertation in practice.

In-Person Option

While this is a 100 percent online doctoral program (which uses blended delivery methods like video conferencing, audio conferencing, and web chats), you have the option of attending courses on campus in Laramie, Wyoming, if you so choose.

Faculty members for the online courses are the same as for online courses. Whether you study online or make your way to Laramie, you’ll get the same high-quality higher education.

Other features of this education doctorate no dissertation include:

  • the availability of assistantships on campus
  • the ability to pursue a minor in a different field
  • the opportunity to participate in high-tech teaching at the University of Wyoming Shell 3-D Visualization Center

At the Shell 3-D Visualization Center, faculty members engage in designing immersive learning experiences for students.

The University of Wyoming is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission .

Get more information about the University of Wyoming’s Online Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction .

Doctor of leadership, andrews university.

Do you have a few years of work experience? Do you want to enhance your skills and abilities? The online Doctor of Leadership degree from Andrews University might be a good fit.

This is a project-focused doctoral program. There is no dissertation process or dissertation in practice requirement for this higher education leadership program.

Instead, you complete a final capstone project. A capstone project aims to meet competencies and use data to inform your decision-making process.

Hybrid Program

This is a hybrid program. Most work is remote. However, there is also a yearly visit required. The first visit is an orientation. Subsequent visits to campus are for an annual leadership conference. You’ll have roundtable discussions with your classmates and others in the leadership field during the conference.

One of the advantages of this program is that it’s short. There are 16 courses required for graduation. This is in addition to the doctoral project described above.

Andrews University works with you to build a learning program for your specific needs. You develop a plan of study that helps you meet your educational needs and achieve your career goals.

Other Features

  • The ability to develop your own specialty
  • Opportunities to learn from leaders from around the world
  • A portfolio creation process with professional artifacts that are valuable when applying for jobs

This 54-credit program is shorter if you transfer applicable credits. This could make it one of the shortest doctoral programs on this list.

Andrews University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission .

Get more information about Andrews University’s Online Doctor of Leadership .

Doctor of public administration.

Northcentral University’s online Doctor of Public Administration degree is one of the best PhD degree programs for working adults. This doctoral degree is 100 percent online. It’s a one-on-one learning format.

In other words, you can begin your degree when it’s right for you. Then, you can pursue your studies based on your schedule. You can continue working in your full-time job without school getting in the way.

Like other easy doctorates from Northcentral, this program doesn’t have a residency requirement. There isn’t a dissertation process or a dissertation in practice. In fact, there is no group work required. Instead, you can work at your own pace to get a doctoral degree and advance your career.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learning how to formulate solutions to public policy issues at home and abroad
  • Developing an understanding of how to contribute to the field of research in public administration
  • Evaluating ethical issues and other problems in public organizations
  • Creating strategies for improving organizations through evidence-based research
  • Developing an understanding of the values that drive public administration

Additionally, you’ll learn about administrative law, principles of organization, and public management theory. The learning experiences in this program are many. They prepare to take the next step in your career.

Prepare for a Future Career or More Education

These outcomes are applicable in many areas of public administration. You might use this degree to advance to a higher position in your current workplace. You might also use it to find new employment at the management or executive level of:

  • corporations
  • state agencies
  • federal agencies
  • non-profits

This doctoral program includes 18 courses. You can finish in less than four years – all while continuing to work in your current job.

As a fully online, accredited program, the Doctor of Public Administration degree is a good option if you want a way to advance your career on your own terms.

Northcentral University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission . Accreditation is important to ensure that you’re getting the best possible education and that the learning outcomes are aligned with industry standards.

Get more information including scholarship and financial aid for Northcentral University’s Online Doctor of Public Administration .

Doctor of health administration, capella university.

Are you passionate about making positive changes in the healthcare system? The online doctoral program in healthcare administration from Capella University is worth a look!

This program includes multiple areas of specialty. You can tailor your learning to a specific area about which you are passionate.

General Health Administration

This is a good option if you want to become a health care leader. It has a focus on problem-solving and communication. Additional focuses are on collaboration and ethics.

Health Care Leadership

This track focuses on developing 21st-century leadership skills. You’ll also gain financial management skills and research skills. Together, this enables you to evaluate and interpret health care data.

Health Care Quality and Analytics

This option guides you in learning how to use analytics to improve patient outcomes. You’ll also learn how to increase the effectiveness of health care organizations and shape health care systems.

Health Policy and Advocacy

Studies in this track assist future health care professionals in developing skills needed to make organizational changes at the executive level that will positively impact patients’ lives.

A unique feature of this doctoral program is that it has an integrated capstone project and practicum experience.

Rather than completing a dissertation, you work with professors to solve a real-life health care organization problem in your capstone project. At the same time, you gain real-world experience by completing a practicum in a health care setting. Combined with a capstone project, this gives you excellent real-world experience before graduating.

If you’ve already begun doctoral studies in this field, you might be able to transfer up to 18 of those credits to apply towards this doctoral degree.

Capella University is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission .

Get more information about Capella University’s Online Doctor of Health Administration .

Doctor of public health, university of south florida.

The Doctor of Public Health online program from the University of South Florida is broad-based. It focuses on advanced education and training in public health.

Specifically, this doctoral program concentrates on the leadership roles you’ll be qualified for after completing this program. This can lead to employment in a wide range of settings, including:

  • Health departments
  • Community-based health organizations
  • Non-profit organizations
  • International agencies

To prepare you for competent practice, you’ll explore many topics. You’ll take courses related to lab management, global health assessment, and biocomputing, among others.

Throughout your course of study, you’ll develop advanced expertise in evidence-informed public health practice.

This is a hybrid program. This means that most courses are remote. But there is also an on-campus learning requirement. This on-campus experience includes three institutes. They allow you to collaborate with classmates and learn together in a real-life campus environment.

By mixing in-person learning with online learning, you can get the bulk of your studies done from home. However, you can still reap the rewards that in-person learning offers to students.

Another flexible feature of this doctoral program is the chance to choose from two tracks. You can select the Advanced Practice Leadership in Public Health option or choose the Public Health and Clinical Laboratory Science and Practice option.

Either way, it’s a doctorate degree without dissertation. However, there is a doctoral project requirement that you complete in the field. This involves the delivery of three evidence-based outcomes as part of the project.

The University of South Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges .

Get more information about the University of South Florida’s Online Doctor of Public Health .

Doctor of education in policy and leadership, american university.

This online EdD program from American University focuses on helping you develop the skills to be a leader and change-maker in the educational system.

In addition to allowing you to learn about educational theory, this doctoral program also emphasizes practice experience. The combination of the two enables you to lead the charge to change the American educational system for the better, and for all students.

Areas of Focus

You can use this doctoral degree to narrow your practical application of knowledge to one of many areas, including:.

  • Policymaking
  • Educational instruction
  • Organizational leadership
  • Strategic budgeting
  • Talent management
  • Collaborative inquiry

Additionally, you’ll take courses that help build skills related to:

  • social justice
  • systems change
  • personal leadership
  • educational research

This Doctor of Education program involves 40 credit hours of study. The coursework takes less than three years to complete. The bulk of the program is online. However, there are three required campus visits. There is one visit each in the first, fourth, and sixth terms of the program.

Like some of the other options on this list, this EdD program is cohort-based. This gives you the chance to build personal and professional relationships with your classmates over the course of the program. American University strives to create diverse cohorts that provide a rich learning environment.

Some of the courses are synchronous, meaning they are offered online and live at a certain time. Other courses are asynchronous and self-paced. This is a big bonus if you have work and family obligations. You can complete the self-paced courses as time allows. This makes this program a prime choice for an online doctorate no dissertation.

American University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education .

Get more information about American University’s Online Doctor of Education in Policy and Leadership .

Doctor of psychology, southern california university.

Southern California University’s Doctor of Psychology program is for students with a bachelor’s degree. Likewise, if you have a master’s degree in psychology or a related field, this is the program for you.

This program allows you to extend your studies. You can develop a higher level of skills related to clinical practice.

This 4-5 year program. Courses prepare you to meet the requirements for licensure as a clinical psychologist.

This program includes courses related to:

  • Advanced theories of personality
  • Ethical and professional issues
  • Physiological psychology
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Psychological assessment

In addition to these required core courses, you’ll take various elective courses. These classes are in your areas of interest as part of this doctoral program. Possible courses include sports psychology, the psychology of learning, and brief therapy, just to name a few.

But this program isn’t just about classroom learning. Instead, you also have the opportunity to participate in supervised clinical experiences. These experiences enable you to apply what you’ve learned to real-world clinical settings.

Rather than completing a lengthy dissertation, this program culminates with a doctoral project. The project is a practical application of your knowledge and skills. So, unlike a PhD, which focuses on research, this Doctor of Psychology program is much more focused on applying your learning in a clinical setting.

  • Understanding appropriate communication skills for working with a variety of clients
  • Understanding how social and cultural institutions influence each clients’ worldview
  • Understanding how to design evidence-based treatment plans
  • Understanding how to design psychometric assessments that are solidly based in proper theory
  • Understanding how to study advanced psychological concepts

This program is 66 credits. It takes most students about four or five years to complete. However, California Southern University allows up to 30 transfer credits to speed up the process.

Likewise, you can take more classes each semester to shorten the timeline. Having that kind of flexibility is extremely valuable for any student. This is especially so if you have work or family obligations.

In addition to offering this easy doctorate degree online, California Southern University is also fully accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission .

Get more information about California Southern University’s Online Doctor of Psychology .

Doctor of education in leadership for educational equity, university of colorado – denver.

This EdD program from the University of Colorado at Denver is cohort-based. You’ll study with the same group of students throughout the program.

You have additional flexibility because the program comes in a three-year or five-year format. It’s a great option if you currently work full-time.

This EdD program is specifically for people with experience as educators. The concentration of this program is on higher education.  You’ll gain the tools necessary to affect positive changes in higher education settings.

Rather than working on a traditional dissertation, this program requires you to complete a dissertation in practice. The goal of a dissertation in practice is to conduct research, problem-solve, and integrate principles of leadership and equity into this long-term assignment.

Topics of Study

  • Leadership and equity
  • Power and privilege
  • Research methods
  • Predictive analytics
  • Finance and strategic resource allocation
  • Strategic enrollment management
  • Policy and governance / Law & ethics
  • Organizational culture and performance

In addition to the 54 credit hours of online study, you must visit campus twice each year of the program. This equates to six or 10 campus visits, depending on which track you choose.

Admission to this program is much like the other online doctoral programs on this list. You must already have a master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. You also need to submit a curriculum vitae or resume and three letters of recommendation. Also needed are official transcripts, two professional artifacts, and a statement of purpose.

The University of Colorado at Denver is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission .

Get more information about the University of Colorado at Denver’s Online Doctor of Education in Leadership for Educational Equity .

Doctor of business administration in financial management.

The PhD in Business Administration (PhD-BA)degree from Northcentral University concentrates on building skills related to financial management.

You’ll conduct research, analyze data, and learn how to manage financial resources. Likewise, your courses build knowledge to develop strategic financial planning measures. You’ll also learn how to maximize return on investment for your clients.

To do so, you’ll work closely with the faculty to explore topics such as:

  • Financial statement analysis
  • Investment selection techniques
  • Risk management
  • Financial business decision models

This program includes 20 courses worth 60 semester credit hours. It takes less than four years to complete this degree. Faculty with terminal degrees guide your studies.

Additionally, there are no scheduled class meeting times. There is no group work, and there are weekly course start dates.

This program has flexible due dates and the ability to schedule your courses around your work and life obligations. You can also work directly with your professors in a one-on-one format.

As a result of this, graduates of this program have the ability to:

  • Evaluate business practices
  • Defend business theories to diverse audiences
  • Evaluate the interconnectedness of globalism and business decisions
  • Develop a clear understanding of current business and finance theories
  • Formulate solutions to critical business problems

You can also choose from a variety of related specializations.

PhD Specializations

You can choose from any of the following:

  • Project Management
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychology
  • Homeland Security Leadership and Policy
  • Health Services
  • Advanced Accounting
  • Global Business Management
  • Information Technology
  • Strategic Marketing

Get more information about Northcentral University’s Online PhD in Business Administration in Financial Management . 

The university of arizona – global campus.

The University of Arizona Global Campus’ online doctor of psychology program is flexible. You can complete your doctoral degree on your terms.

The program includes 10 core courses. There are seven specialization courses and a capstone project as well.

You must complete an Applied Doctoral Project. This is instead of a dissertation. The Applied Doctoral Project consists of two planning courses. There are also five units of applied coursework.

This online doctoral program is 62 credits. Those credits consist of courses that are mostly six to nine weeks in length. There are also several on-campus weekend residencies.

Degree Outcomes

  • The ability to apply best practices when working with clients
  • Exhibit culturally diverse standards when working with different groups, communities, and individuals from diverse backgrounds
  • Develop a deep understanding of psychological theories, evidence-based methods, and appropriate research methods in psychology
  • Exhibit leadership skills
  • Possess the ability to critically evaluate applied psychological research methods

Additionally, this program offers three specialization areas. You may choose between Criminology and Justice Studies, Health and Wellness Psychology, and Sport and Performance Psychology. 

The University of Arizona Global Campus is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission .

Get more information about the University of Arizona Global Campus’ Online Doctor of Psychology .

Doctor of social work, the university of tennessee- knoxville.

The doctor of social work program at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville is a specialized program that focuses on clinical practice and leadership.

Students who enroll in this program are typically working professionals in social work. The program helps advance your knowledge and skills to deliver improved services to your clients.

This is an intensive, accelerated program. It takes just three years to complete.

  • An opportunity for advanced clinical practice rooted in evidence-based theory
  • Synchronous and asynchronous courses
  • Yearly on-campus sessions

As part of the online coursework and yearly on-campus sessions, you participate in activities to develop clinical leadership skills. You also gain applied research skills and advanced practice skills in social work.

Sample Courses

  • Neuroscience
  • Psychopathology
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
  • Clinical Research
  • Trauma-Focused Interventions

You must meet several criteria to gain admission. You must have a master’s degree in social work. The master’s degree must be from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Additionally, you must have at least three years of clinical practice experience beyond your clinical practice from your master’s program.

It’s important to note that this is a professional practice degree – a DSW rather than a PhD. The difference is that a professional practice degree prepares online doctoral students for clinical practice and leadership in social work. A PhD in social work focuses on research and contributing to the research knowledge base in social work.

The University of Tennessee is fully accredited by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges .

Get more information about the University of Tennessee’s Online Doctor of Social Work .

Occupational therapy doctorate, quinnipiac university.

Are you already a registered occupational therapist? The occupational therapy doctorate from Quinnipiac University allows you to gain advanced knowledge and skills. You can use what you learn to deliver improved services to your clients. Likewise, you might find that career advancement is more straightforward with a doctorate.

This program allows you to bring your past experiences as an occupational therapist to the virtual classroom. You can blend those experiences with skills development, new professional knowledge, and opportunities to learn from other professionals.

You’ll find that this program offers good flexibility. Courses are in a single module format. Each course’s duration varies depending on the content.

Most coursework is online. There is one campus visit, though. It’s a weeklong class in the summer. There’s also a Symposium Day after the final semester. Additionally, there is an optional on-campus orientation. It’s highly recommended that you attend that as well.

Furthermore, this occupational therapy program doesn’t interfere with your work schedule. Instead, the goal is to build new skills you can apply in your current job.

  • Critical inquiry of scholarship
  • Studies in evidence-based practice
  • Innovations and emerging issues in children and youth
  • Adult health care

There is also a doctoral capstone project. It allows you to contribute to the body of research in occupational therapy. You’ll also gain critical skills to apply in the field.

If you only have a bachelor’s degree, you can still enter this program. This is a unique feature. It might help you get your doctorate more quickly. You’ll have to complete Quinnipiac’s Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Occupational Therapy first.

Quinnipiac University is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education .

Get more information about Quinnipiac University’s Online Occupational Therapy Doctorate .

Frequently asked questions about the best doctoral degrees online with no dissertation, are there any 1-year phd programs online.

There are some 1-year PhD programs online. Typically, online doctoral programs take at least three years to complete. In many cases, your studies might take up to five years.

Usually, 1-year PhD programs online are accelerated degree programs. You need prior knowledge and experience to enroll in a program like this. So, for example, if you have a master’s degree in business administration, you might be able to complete a PhD program in business administration in as little as one year or two years.

These higher education programs require you to attend school year-round to meet the year deadline. This means taking summer courses. You might also take intersession courses between the spring and summer semesters and again between the summer and fall semesters.

What is the easiest PhD without dissertation to get?

While PhD programs are rigorous, some online doctoral programs are less challenging than others. The level of challenge depends on other factors, too:

  • your study habits
  • your ability to finish coursework
  • your existing level of education and experience

For example, if you already have a master’s degree in counseling psychology and have worked as a counseling psychologist for ten years, getting a PhD in counseling psychology will be easier for you than for those with less experience.

Having said that, there are some disciplines known for being easier than others. This might make getting a PhD in those areas easier.

PhDs with a reputation for being easy include:

  • Educational Curriculum and Instruction
  • Educational Leadership
  • Educational Leadership and Management
  • College Policy and Administration
  • Health Sciences
  • Business Administration
  • Nursing Practice
  • Technology Management
  • Safety Sciences
  • Doctor of Philosophy

Many of the easiest PhDs to get are in the field of education. Again, a large part of this is because people that seek out education-related PhDs already have a great deal of practical experience in education. They likely already have a master’s degree in education as well.

How are PhD programs for working adults structured?

Many colleges and universities offer PhD programs for working adults that are highly flexible. You can get a higher education degree while working around your work and family schedules.

In most cases, these PhD courses are online. Completing your course requirements is much easier by removing the need to travel to a college campus for class and doing distance learning.

You can do this without sacrificing the classroom experience of working with your classmates and professors. This is because many online doctoral programs offer video conferencing and live streaming. You and your classmates can see and hear one another, interact with your professors, and work together on collaborative projects.

In some cases, online courses for working adults are in an asynchronous format. You can take courses in an order that best fits your schedule.

Furthermore, many of the courses in these types of degree programs are self-directed. This means you can complete assignments and other course requirements on your own schedule, not the professor’s.

Granted, self-paced learning is not a feature of all online courses that working adults might take. It is reasonable to assume that at least some of your courses will follow that format.

Another feature of online PhD programs is that they are often flexible in terms of how long you take to complete them. For example, if a higher education program normally takes three years to complete, you might be able to work on graduation requirements for four or five years to get the same degree. If going part-time works better for you, it might take longer but can still be accomplished.

There are typically many different class options as well. For example, a course might be offered in the spring semester and the fall, and perhaps even in the summer. This gives you greater flexibility for completing the necessary courses.

In some cases, you might also find that colleges and universities work with you to transfer existing credits or give you credit for work experiences. Doing so reduces the number of course credits you need to take to get the desired PhD.

This, in turn, reduces the amount of time you need to complete your PhD program. Not all schools accept transfer credits, though. Check with the schools you’re considering to be sure your existing credits are accepted.

Related Reading:

  • Best Online Doctorates in Sports Medicine
  • Best Online Graduate Certificate in Restorative Justice

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Earn a Doctorate Online With No Dissertation

A graduate student taking classes online works on his laptop.

These research projects allow students to influence policy and practice changes by conducting research with a narrow focus that solves a problem.

Nebraska Methodist College (NMC) offers doctoral degrees, including a Doctor of Education and Leadership in Healthcare (Ed.D.), with no dissertation requirements. 

Because NMC has adopted the scholarly research project, students are making a difference in healthcare, academia and communities.

The online doctorate for healthcare professionals gives students the opportunity to integrate the guiding values of NMC - caring, excellence, holism, learning and respect - at the upper echelons of both academic and healthcare institutions. 

Here’s what makes this online Ed.D. program with no dissertation stand out in a competitive field.

Online Doctorate in Healthcare Leadership: Beyond the Dissertation

Revolutionizing ed.d: the scholarly research advantage over dissertation.

The doctoral dissertation has been a common requirement of doctoral programs, but many colleges and universities are taking a more modern approach. 

Debate in academic circles about the value of a doctoral research project has led to a change in philosophy about what is most beneficial for students.

The Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) Consortium issued a statement that called for a transformation of the doctoral candidate’s culminating academic work. 

The call for change resulted in the scholarly research project, which acts as an exemplar of the student taking all that they’ve learned and demonstrating the impact of their knowledge with real, concrete results.

The difference between a dissertation and a scholarly project is the type of research being conducted.

While a dissertation is original research with a goal to generate new knowledge, the doctoral scholarly project is translational research, which ‘translates’ the research into practice through quality improvement or evidence-based practice initiatives.

Our emphasis on the doctoral research project represents a modern approach to a candidate’s final demonstration of expertise in the subject matter, allowing students to apply theory to solve problems in a real-world practical setting.  

All of this is accomplished without losing any of the academic rigor that one would expect of a doctoral program.

NMC is a leader in putting forth this new academic ideal, with students whose breadth of knowledge encompasses the most innovative practices in the modern world. 

The doctoral scholarly research project is a showcase of their work and the core knowledge they’ve gained through the academic process.

Read more: Why NMC’s Online Doctorate Has No Dissertation

Merging Healthcare and Education

While NMC may be known for our nursing programs, including our Doctor of Nursing Practice , we’ve recognized a need for non-nursing doctorates online.

NMC’s Doctor of Education and Leadership in Healthcare is for leaders who want to develop effective management solutions in healthcare, education or the community.

Healthcare and education are industries that are in the midst of upheaval. 

The healthcare industry is managing the organization-wide changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act and an aging population while successfully making the transition to a preventive healthcare model that emphasizes value over volume. 

Higher education is coping with a mounting student debt dilemma, substantial shifts in financial aid and demographic patterns, and ongoing accreditation considerations.

Education and leadership doctoral programs, like the one at NMC, prepares students to meet the demands of healthcare and education.

Career Impact of an Online Healthcare Leadership Ed.D.

A Doctor of Education can open up leadership opportunities and advance your career.

“An Ed.D. provides a competitive advantage in attaining leadership roles in healthcare, community-based and private organizations, and education,” said Dr. Alice Kindschuh, director of doctoral studies at Nebraska Methodist College (NMC).

“It also demonstrates a commitment to your profession to employers and strengthens your skill-set as an innovative change agent.”

NMC’s education doctorate program has two tracks:

  • Education and Leadership in Healthcare

You can choose to study education and leadership to become a college or university professor, researcher, program director or administrator. 

A doctorate in public health policy will allow you to work as a public health consultant, health policy advisor, health and safety engineer, public health program specialist or an executive director of a public health non-profit.

Read more: Getting a Doctor of Education in Public Health Policy Online

We understand the management skills it takes to successfully run enterprises as wide-ranging and ever-evolving as healthcare and education. The Ed.D. program allows us to pass those skills on to the next generation of leaders, who will be ready to meet challenges that are only beginning to take shape.

Read more: What Job Can I Get With a Doctor of Education?

Evolving Higher Education: Introducing the Streamlined Online Ed.D.

With just 24 months of full-time study, you’ll be able to add “Dr.” to your name.

We thought long and hard about how to make this program convenient for the modern professional without losing any of the scholarly rigor that defines the doctoral degree. 

Other programs require a longer time commitment, due to a dissertation process that has stymied even the best candidates.

We came to the conclusion that two years is the perfect amount of time to provide this education. It’s long enough to attain the ultimate expertise in a given subject matter while still creating a viable timeframe that won’t have you feeling like you’ll never be done with school.

What’s more, a flexible doctoral degree online allows students to balance coursework with their professional lives more than would be possible with an on-campus degree. 

While you still have assignments on a regular basis, you choose when and where to complete them. 

Read more: Steps to Succeed in Online Learning as a Graduate Student

Support and Resources for Online Ed.D. Students

As an online student at NMC, you have access to academic and technical support to help you succeed during your program.

  • On-staff writing coach and statistician to assist in planning and evaluating scholarly research projects. 
  • Networking and community building through online discussion boards.
  • Digital library and on-staff librarian to help with research.
  • Faculty office hours.

Testimonials: Success Stories from our Online Ed.D. Graduates

Graduates of NMC’s doctoral degree programs take on leadership positions in healthcare systems and education. Here’s what some of our graduates had to say about their experience in the education and leadership doctoral programs:

Josey Harris, Education and Leadership in Healthcare

“The Ed.D. program is very well designed, which facilitated my ability to manage the competing priorities of my home life, my career and my schooling simultaneously. 

“Larger assignments in one course are balanced by having smaller assignments in your other courses, which helps to minimize feelings of being overwhelmed. 

“In addition, the one-week break after every five weeks of class is a lifesaver. It allowed me to decompress a little and start back refreshed every time!”

Lacey Petersen, Education and Leadership in Healthcare

"I am so proud of completing my doctoral research project and earning the distinction of being able to say that I have earned a Doctor of Education.

“The NMC faculty are truly some of the most diverse, compassionate and educated individuals that I have ever been blessed to meet. I am humbled by the variety of backgrounds, level of experience, and expertise that my professors at NMC had. 

“I will forever be grateful how they shared this knowledge with us as they facilitated our education. I am most definitely a more well-rounded individual for the insight and perspectives that they shared with us throughout this program. 

“From the first day to the last day, I was always made to feel cared for, important, and valued as a student!”

Vanessa Humphreys, Education and Leadership in Healthcare

“Through the Ed.D. program, I am most proud of expanding my knowledge in the fields of education, public policy, healthcare and community needs. 

“The online discussion forums with fellow students, projects and activities throughout the program not only made me more aware of the various challenges presented in our communities, but the steps we can take to work towards effective change. 

“The coursework also allowed me to reflect more on my personal goals, professional aspirations, workplace environment and the community I live and work in. The online Ed.D. program allowed me time to celebrate all that we have accomplished so far, and critically think about the role I would like to take in my community moving forward.

"Interacting with faculty, staff and students was also such a humbling and inspiring experience. To learn about what each member of the program was working on has motivated me to connect with local organizations in order to continue the scholarly research work I started in the Ed.D. program."

Embracing Change: How Our Online Ed.D. Makes a Real Difference

In creating the healthcare and leadership doctorate online, we sought to make a program that offered an exceptional academic experience while still being flexible enough to accommodate the needs of the modern professional.

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education doctorate without dissertation

Online Doctor of Education (EdD) Programs Empowering Leaders in Education through Advanced Research and Practice

education doctorate without dissertation

Degree Options

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Become a Leader of Distinction in Education with One of Our Online Doctoral Programs in Education

Reach the pinnacle of your profession and impact the field of education with Liberty University’s online Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree. In our online Ed.D. programs, you’ll study education administration, curriculum development, learning theory, and the latest research to gain the advanced knowledge you need to positively influence the world of education. Check out our available online EdD programs .

Additionally, you’ll conduct your own research in order to provide practical solutions to challenges in the field of education with a capstone project. Liberty’s online doctorate in education is a model of high academic standards and leadership in education. With a degree like this, you can become better equipped to become an effective educational administrator, university faculty member, senior-level educational leader, or educational policymaker.

  • By pursuing your doctorate at Liberty, you can better prepare for careers or career advancement in various school and administrative settings within the field of education.
  • As you continue your studies with Liberty’s School of Education, you can be confident that you are receiving a quality education based on the principles of God’s Word.
  • You can learn to be a positive influence in the lives of young people in your school and community and make an impact for Christ!

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What is the Difference Between an EdD and a PhD in Education?

The biggest difference between an EdD and a PhD in education is the scope of the degree itself. While a PhD is primarily concerned with producing original research in the form of a dissertation, our EdD is designed so that you can complete exemplary research in the education field. As more of a practitioner’s degree, the EdD blends praxis and scholarship so that you can be better prepared to impact the field of education wherever you go. If you are more interested in producing original research to further the field of education, you may be interested in our  PhD in Education .

What Will You Study in a Doctorate in Education ?

The core content of our online EdD programs is designed to enhance your understanding of essential educational concepts while giving you practical classroom management tools. The online doctorate in education can help advance your skills in quantitative and qualitative methods of research, advanced learning theory, research skills, and provide many other essential competencies for advanced educators like yourself.

While completing a Liberty University doctoral program, you can choose specialized tracks to further equip you for an administrative role. We offer tracks in leadership, higher education, and curriculum and instruction, so you can pick the degree that gives you the right tools to achieve teaching excellence.

Degree Information

  • This program falls under the  School of Education .
  • View the  Graduate Education Course Guides  (login required).
  • View the  Doctoral Advising Guide .

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Potential Careers for Liberty’s Ed.D. Doctoral Programs

  • Curriculum specialist
  • Elementary educator
  • Gifted-student instructor
  • Instructional supervisor
  • Middle school educator
  • School administrator
  • Secondary school educator
  • Special education instructor
  • University professor

Degree Options for Our Online Ed.D. Programs

We know that you have specific goals. With a wide offering of Ed.D. programs, you can be confident in partnering with Liberty as you continue your educational journey.

Administration and Supervision – Educational Leadership

Liberty University’s online  Doctor of Education in Administration and Supervision – Educational Leadership  degree is designed to provide studies and training in the management of education organizations to help prepare you for licensed school administration.

Upon successful completion of Liberty University’s Virginia state-approved administration and supervision – educational leadership program, you may apply for advanced licensure in another state through reciprocity, which may or may not result in additional requirements based on your state’s Department of Education  regulations .

View the  Degree Completion Plan .

Curriculum and Instruction

Liberty University’s online  Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction  degree can help you build on your foundational knowledge and further master all aspects of education. This education doctorate gives you the flexibility and freedom to mix and match elective courses so you can create a personalized degree program that fits your passions and interests.

View the  Degree Completion Plan.

Curriculum and Instruction – Educational Psychology

Liberty University’s online  Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction – Educational Psychology  degree covers theories of physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development across the lifespan – enabling you to meet your students right where they are and provide the support they need to thrive. Through this program, you can become equipped to improve teaching and learning processes in your school using a fundamental understanding of how people learn and retain information.

Curriculum and Instruction – Elementary Education

Liberty University’s online  Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction – Elementary Education  degree is designed to equip you for a variety of teaching roles – including general education and community classroom settings. You will study various theories, models, and strategies as a practical guide to solve problems. In addition, you will explore research and instructional approaches for managing student behaviors effectively with an emphasis on individualized, classroom, and school-wide behavior support.

Curriculum and Instruction – Instructional Design and Technology

Liberty University’s online  Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction – Instructional Design and Technology  degree is designed to equip you for the modern classroom. By incorporating new technology and methods of instruction into the classroom, you can engage students in new and exciting ways. Your experience can also be valuable in settings outside of the classroom including corporate training, curriculum design, and as a leader in the educational technology field.

Curriculum and Instruction – Middle Grades Education

Liberty University’s online  Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction – Middle Grades Education  degree is designed to strengthen your teaching ability through individualized and collaborative professional development opportunities. You will study curriculum development, usage, and evaluation. Additionally, you will apply considerations of preadolescent physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development to various school processes and teacher interaction with middle school students and families.

Curriculum and Instruction – Online Teaching and Learning

Liberty University’s online  Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction – Online Teaching and Learning  degree covers a variety of advanced educational topics, specifically those that can prepare you for roles in online programs. In this degree, you will study trends in learning technologies and curriculum and instruction. You will also study curriculum theory, applied research methods, and much more!

Curriculum and Instruction – Secondary Education

Liberty University’s online  Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction – Secondary Education  degree addresses curriculum function, development, and evaluation. Our program is designed to provide you with a detailed overview of technology usage in the classroom as it relates to student learning, the effectiveness of administrative processes, and service to students and parents. You will also study various theories, models, and strategies as a practical guide to solving problems.

Curriculum and Instruction – Special Education

Liberty University’s online  Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction – Special Education  degree is designed to help you analyze processes for assessing students with special needs. Additionally, you will develop ways of effectively using various technology for communication and collaboration as you improve classroom instruction. You can learn to use different theories, models, and strategies as a practical guide to solving problems.

Educational Leadership

Liberty University’s online  Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership  degree is designed to train you on best practices in education and technology to help you enhance student learning, become a competent administrator, and best serve your students and their parents. This program focuses on translating classroom theory into real-world application and is designed to provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to effectively lead and manage in an educational environment.

Higher Education Administration – Assessment and Evaluation

Liberty University’s online  Doctor of Education in Higher Education Administration – Assessment and Evaluation  degree covers research-based approaches to analyzing student learning, curricula, academic programs, student services, and institutional structures. In this program, you’ll explore how to help colleges and universities maintain high standards of quality and accreditation so that their students receive the best education possible.

Higher Education Administration – Educational Leadership

Liberty University’s online  Doctor of Education in Higher Education Administration – Educational Leadership  degree can help you strengthen your leadership skills and advance your career in postsecondary education administration. You will analyze the major challenges facing today’s educational leaders and explore methods for helping colleges and universities thrive.

Higher Education Administration – Organizational Leadership

Liberty University’s online  Doctor of Education in Higher Education Administration – Organizational Leadership  degree is designed to provide training in university administration and advanced business topics. You can develop essential skills in business management and use your business knowledge to help your college or education-related organization thrive.

Higher Education Administration – Student Affairs

Liberty University’s online  Doctor of Education in Higher Education Administration – Student Affairs  degree can help you learn how to support college students’ personal, professional, and academic development. That way, you can help them develop essential skills for navigating challenges in school – and in life.

Instructional Design and Technology

Liberty University’s online Doctor of Education in  Instructional Design and Technology  investigates the intersection of education, technology, and creativity. You can gain the necessary knowledge and skills to become a leader in designing and implementing effective educational strategies using cutting-edge technology.

Special Education

Liberty University’s online  Doctor of Education in Special Education  degree can help you learn how to manage and construct educational programs geared for those students with additional educational needs. You can have a profound impact on the lives of your students with the concepts you can master in this program.

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Your success is our success, which is why we are committed to providing quality academics at an affordable tuition rate. While other colleges are increasing their tuition, we have frozen tuition rates for the majority of our undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs for the past 9 years – and counting.

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Admission Information for Liberty’s Online Doctoral Programs in Education

Admission requirements.

  • A non-refundable, non-transferable $50 application fee will be posted on the current application upon enrollment (waived for qualifying service members, veterans, and military spouses – documentation verifying military status is required) .
  • Send official college transcripts (mailed as sealed, unopened copies or sent via a direct electronic transcript system). A regionally or nationally accredited master’s degree with at least a 3.0 GPA is required for admission in good standing.
  • Applicants must submit a copy of their current initial state teaching or school counseling license to  [email protected] .
  • Applicants whose native language is other than English must submit official scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or an approved alternative assessment. For information on alternative assessments or TOEFL waivers, please call Admissions or view the official International Admissions policy .

Preliminary Acceptance

If you are sending in a preliminary transcript for acceptance, you must:

  • Be in your final term and planning to start your doctoral degree after the last day of class for your master’s degree.
  • Complete a Master’s Self-Certification Form confirming your completion date. You may download the form from the Forms and Downloads page or contact an admissions counselor to submit the form on your behalf.
  • Submit an official transcript to confirm that you are in your final term. The preliminary transcript must show that you are within 6 credit hours of completion for a 30-48 credit hour master’s degree or within 9 credit hours of completion for a 49+ credit hour master’s degree.
  • Send in an additional, final official transcript with a conferral date on it by the end of your first semester of enrollment in the new doctoral degree.

Transcript Policies

Official college transcript policy.

An acceptable official college transcript is one that has been issued directly from the institution and is in a sealed envelope. If you have one in your possession, it must meet the same requirements. If your previous institution offers electronic official transcript processing, they can send the document directly to [email protected] .

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Liberty University is dedicated to providing world-class educational experiences to military students across the globe.

Who May Qualify?

  • Active Duty
  • Reserve/National Guard
  • Veterans/Retirees
  • Spouses of Service Members and Veterans/Retirees
  • Current Department of Defense Employees

Available Benefits:

  • Tuition discounts – $275 per credit hour for EdS and EdD courses
  • Additional discount for veterans who service in a civilian capacity as a First Responder (less than $625 per course)
  • 8-week courses, 8 different start dates each year, and no set login times (may exclude certain courses such as practicums, internships, or field experiences)

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should you get a doctorate in education.

Through Liberty University’s online EdD programs, you will have the opportunity to engage with knowledgeable education professionals who want to mentor and help you to become an advanced educator, administrator, and researcher. Our doctorate in education offers a robust, theoretical framework that can advance your teaching methods and theories to a higher order of application, allowing you to evaluate and address teaching challenges in K-12 institutions and at the university level.

Is a Doctorate in Education worth it?

Yes – we think so! You can be better prepared to take advantage of the increased market demand for leaders in education

  • With an online doctorate in education, you may be  eligible for higher pay  than those who hold a master’s degree alone.
  • Throughout the program, you can network with your peers and professors while developing your writing and research for the final capstone project phase.
  • Completing an online EdD gives you a terminal educational credential that shows employers you have reached the pinnacle of your field’s achievement.

What can Liberty’s doctoral programs do for you?

Liberty University’s doctoral programs can offer you advanced academic training and practical skills that align with your professional aspirations and personal values. These programs are designed to enhance your expertise in a specific field, such as education, business, or divinity, enabling you to contribute to academic knowledge, apply practical solutions in real-world settings, and ascend to higher positions in your career.

You can benefit from flexible learning options, including online courses that allow you to balance your studies with personal and professional responsibilities. Liberty’s commitment to integrating ethical and faith-based principles into its curriculum can also provide you with a unique perspective that is valued in many professional settings. Additionally, you’ll have opportunities to engage with experienced faculty and like-minded peers, expanding your professional network and gaining support that can be crucial for both academic and career advancement.

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How To Get A Doctorate Degree Without A Dissertation

  • October 21, 2022

Earn a Doctorate Degree Without A Dissertation

Table of Contents

Getting a doctorate involves hard work and commitment, but not all doctoral programs are built alike. While some doctorate degrees online require a traditional dissertation, many other programs don’t. This means you can get your online doctorate without dissertation requirements.

This has become an attractive option for many aspiring scholars. Understanding the nuances between programs with traditional dissertations and those with alternatives, such as Doctoral Research Projects (DRPs), is crucial in making an informed decision.

How is it Possible to Get an Online Doctorate Without Dissertation Requirements?

Many online DBA programs , such as California Intercontinental University’s, include capstone projects known as Doctoral Research Projects (DRP) instead of traditional dissertations.  But what exactly sets these two paths apart? 

A Doctoral Research Project, in essence, puts your learning to the test while you solve real-world problems. You get to use the knowledge and skills you’ve gained during your studies.

DRP vs Dissertation: What’s the difference?

It all boils down to theoretical exploration versus practical application . Traditional dissertations involve extensive theoretical research and lengthy documents, while DRPs focus on hands-on application without the exhaustive writing process. Prospective students must consider their preference for academic rigor versus real-world relevance.

Essentially, DRPs prioritize applying knowledge in practical scenarios , offering a more flexible structure that blends research methods, critical thinking, and scholarly paper presentation without the frills of a traditional dissertation. 

Think of DRPs as the sweet spot where academic rigor meets real-world relevance. It offers a more hands-on approach without the marathon writing sessions.

While we’re at it, consider reading our article on the differences between DBA vs MBA .

Advantages of a Doctoral Research Project in an Online Doctorate Without Dissertation

There are three key advantages to opting for a DRP in an online doctorate without a dissertation:

  • Practical approach to learning
  • Less writing and more flexibility
  • Accreditations and recognition

Real-World Application of Knowledge

The heart of a DRP lies in its emphasis on the practical application of knowledge . Students engage in research, plan and design projects, and present findings in a scholarly paper, demonstrating their ability to solve real-world problems. 

This approach ensures that the skills and knowledge acquired during the program immediately apply in various professional settings.

DRPs have real-world impact, as students work with real businesses and apply their knowledge to real projects. Therefore, the program goes beyond academic exercises and translates theoretical knowledge into tangible solutions for industry challenges.

Flexibility and Completion Time:

One of the significant advantages of pursuing a doctorate with a DRP is the flexibility it affords students. Unlike traditional dissertations, which may have more rigid timelines, DRPs allow learners to manage their time effectively . 

This flexibility is particularly beneficial for individuals with professional commitments or familial responsibilities, enabling them to tailor their studies to fit their unique schedules.

Completion times for DRPs vary, and prospective students should consider this aspect carefully. While some individuals may complete the program more swiftly, the flexibility allows others to pace themselves according to their circumstances.

Consider CIU’s Doctorate in Business Administration program, which allows students to earn a doctorate degree without dissertation requirements of any kind. The program is designed to be able to be finished within 3 years, but students are free to pace themselves as they see fit.

Program Accreditation and Recognition:

Ensuring the legitimacy of an online doctorate program is paramount. Programs offering DRPs, like California Intercontinental University’s DBA program, often hold accreditation from respected bodies like the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). 

This accreditation guarantees the program’s quality and ensures that the degree earned is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, contributing to the credibility of the qualification.

Prospective students should thoroughly research the accreditation status of any program they are considering to ensure their investment of time and effort leads to a recognized and respected degree.

How a DRP Works in an Online Doctorate Without Dissertation

As a doctoral student in a program with a Doctoral Research Project, you will:

  • Learn research methods
  • Plan and design your research
  • Present your findings in a scholarly paper. 

The project’s purpose is to make an original contribution to your field by creating a practical, everyday solution to a real problem or current challenge using sound evidence and thinking.

The DRP’s components demonstrate your competence in research and research design, your subject matter expertise , and your command of critical thinking and academic writing. Additionally, the DRP will prepare you for the career path of your specialization.

In conclusion, choosing between a traditional dissertation and a DRP is a significant decision that should align with an individual’s goals, preferences, and lifestyle. By carefully considering the differences, prospective students can select a program that meets their academic standards. Plus, it aligns with their aspirations for practical, applicable knowledge in their respective fields.

While a dissertation is the most common capstone project, a DRP in an online doctorate without dissertation requirements is an excellent alternative if you want to demonstrate your knowledge differently.

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COMMENTS

  1. 90+ Online EdD Programs No Dissertation Required

    Nebraska Methodist College's Online Ed.D. in Education and Leadership in Healthcare. This "No Dissertation" degree contains an 8-credit capstone split into four courses over a six-term program. National University's Online Ed.D. in Organizational Innovation, which requires a culminating project, worth 9 quarter credits.

  2. 35 Best Online Doctoral Programs in Education without Dissertation

    Online Doctoral Degree Programs. EdD in Entrepreneurial Leadership in Education. EdD in Mind, Brain & Teaching. EdD in Urban Leadership. 12. Liberty University. Liberty is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  3. Online Doctorate No Dissertation Programs

    The cost of an online doctorate depends on the school, program length, and degree. On average, you can expect to spend around $41,000 per year for a Ph.D. program, according to BestColleges research. However, professional doctorates can cost around $58,650 per year. Choosing an online format can help you save money.

  4. 30 Best Doctorate Degrees Online No Dissertation Required [2024

    Indiana State has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. 10. Johns Hopkins University. Online EdD (Does not require a traditional dissertation process; students work on an applied dissertation that is part of EdD coursework) Johns Hopkins is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. 11.

  5. 15 Best Online EdD Degrees with No Dissertation Programs

    Talking about doctoral degree programs without dissertation-based final requirements, we're brought to its alternative, which is the capstone project. Its usage and popularity vary across countries' higher education systems, but here in the country, many degrees feature the capstone project as the final requirement, including doctorate ...

  6. Explore Online EdD Programs with No Dissertation Requirement

    When looking at online EdD programs with no dissertation, consider Nova Southeastern University's EdD. Unlike a research-heavy PhD or doctorate, this program is for active practitioners. Students learn different educational theories and apply them in real-world settings instead of conducting additional research.

  7. Online Educational Administration Doctorate

    No dissertation required! The online E ducational Administration EdD offers you a unique learning experience with synchronous classes. These live, online classes give you the opportunity to meet with your instructor and classmates each week and learn from a community of your peers. Your classes will meet at the same time and same day each week ...

  8. 2024 Online EdD Programs No Dissertation Required (Applied Capstone

    Updated: April 23, 2024. Answer: Yes - Several schools that offer Doctor of Education degrees online do not require students to complete a traditional dissertation. However, these programs typically include another type of capstone requirement, such as an applied project or requiring students to publish a journal quality research article.

  9. Online Doctorate Degree With No Dissertation Requirements

    Program: Doctor of Audiology; Match results with professional focus and career goals. Program requirements: GRE scores, Undergraduate degree in Communications Sciences and Disorders, 3.2 GPA in undergraduate, Three letters of recommendation. Why no dissertation: Clinical evaluation as well as internship and externship.

  10. P-20 Education (Self-Designed)

    Our innovative PhD in Education with a specialization in P-20 Education (Self Designed; Non-Licensure) gives you ultimate flexibility, allowing you to create a program of study that meets your unique interests and passions. Choose educational topics and issues that impact students from the start of their educational experience through high ...

  11. Compare online Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) programs

    Change lives as an influential leader in education.

  12. Best 18-Month Doctorate without Dissertation Programs [2022]

    This flexible PhD without dissertation requirements is a fabulous education program where you can design your study based on your interests. Courses: Leading the future of education, governance & politics of education, and learning experiences in supportive environments. Credits: 86. Delivery: Online.

  13. PhD without Dissertation 2024+

    Some examples of programs that may not require a dissertation include: Juris doctorates, law degree (JD) Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Doctor of Education (EdD) Doctor of Management (DM) Doctor of Leadership. One of the more common paths for doctoral study that often does not require a PhD dissertation is that of the Doctorate in Leadership.

  14. Best 18-Month Doctorate without Dissertation [2024 Guide]

    An 18-month non-dissertation doctorate in computer science program is a rapid route to advanced technological expertise. This program is aimed at professionals who are eyeing leadership roles in tech industries. It emphasizes cutting-edge computing technologies and problem-solving in real-world contexts.

  15. Online Ph.D. Programs With No Dissertation in 2024: Specializations

    An online Ph.D. program with no dissertation requirement is a doctoral program that allows students to earn a Ph.D. without completing a traditional dissertation. Instead of a dissertation, students may complete alternative requirements such as a capstone project, comprehensive exams, or applied research projects.

  16. 2024 Best Online PhD Programs for Education

    Learn More. The University of Kentucky (UK) is a public university offering an online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership Studies, requiring 46 credit hours. Students studying on a full-time schedule can complete this program in four years. The acceptance rate at UK is 94%, and the graduation rate is 65%.

  17. Best Doctorate Degree Online No Dissertation

    If you want online doctoral programs in education without dissertation, this is a great option. Practitioner-Oriented. This is a practitioner-oriented doctoral degree program. This means you put what you learn about educational leadership into practice. For example, you'll take nine credits of learning foundations courses.

  18. Online Ed.D. in Healthcare Leadership

    All of this is accomplished without losing any of the academic rigor that one would expect of a doctoral program. ... Learn more about our no-dissertation Doctor of Education and Leadership in Healthcare, and take the first step towards educational excellence and professional growth. Apply now and transform your future in healthcare leadership!

  19. 18-Month Doctorate Programs Without Dissertation

    On average, students need to complete 54 credits to earn the degree. You may earn these credits in 18 months or up to 3 years. The courses are each 8 weeks long. There is no dissertation requirement for this course. Many students will not complete the program in 18 months, though. Those with transfer credits may.

  20. Best Online Doctorates In Education Of 2024

    Best Online Doctoral Degrees in Education. Johns Hopkins University. Endicott College. University of Central Florida. Alverno College. Union Institute & University. Gwynedd Mercy University ...

  21. Doctor of Education (Online EdD)

    In our online Ed.D. programs, you'll study education administration, curriculum development, learning theory, and the latest research to gain the advanced knowledge you need to positively ...

  22. Best Online Doctoral Programs Of 2024

    Best online Doctor of Nursing Practice: University of Central Florida. Best online Doctor of Business Administration: Walsh College. Best online doctorate in physical therapy: Texas Tech ...

  23. Doctorate Degree Without A Dissertation

    Advantages of a Doctoral Research Project in an Online Doctorate Without Dissertation. There are three key advantages to opting for a DRP in an online doctorate without a dissertation: Practical approach to learning. Less writing and more flexibility. Accreditations and recognition.