Best 18-Month Doctorate without Dissertation [2024 Guide]

By Joy Cromwelle
Updated on February 13, 2024
Ready to start your journey?

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.

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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.

Online Programs

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:

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.

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Key subjects studied include advanced financial reporting, strategic taxation, and auditing practices. With a focus on real-world financial challenges and strategic decision-making, this 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Pros Cons
  • Quicker completion. Some doctorates without dissertations can be completed in 18 months.
  • Practical focus. These programs are practice oriented, emphasizing real-world skills.
  • Flexible learning. These programs are often online or part-time.
  • Diverse fields. With a variety of fields to choose from, you can find one that aligns with your career goals.
  • Career advancement. A doctorate sets the stage for advanced positions and higher earning potential.
  • Less research intensity. Without a dissertation, you might miss out on deep-dive research experiences.
  • Limited academic exploration. Those craving academic discovery might find practical-focused programs lacking.
  • Perception issues. Though not as common, some might see a non-dissertation doctorate as less prestigious.
  • Cost considerations. While quicker, these programs aren’t always cheaper. It’s strategic to budget wisely.
  • Self-discipline required. Time management and self-motivation are key when pursuing a fast-paced program.

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.

Choosing a Program

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.

Doctorate without Dissertation Traditional PhD
  • Focuses more on practical application
  • Often involves a capstone or applied research project
  • Generally shorter, often designed for working professionals
  • Geared toward professional advancement in industry roles
  • Focuses heavily on original research and theoretical contributions
  • Requires a dissertation based on original research
  • Usually takes longer, with a deep dive into research
  • Often leads to careers in academia or research

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.

Careers Median Annual Wages What They Do
Political Scientists $128,020 Study political systems, research policies, and analyze governments
Mathematicians $112,110 Work with formulas and data to solve problems in various fields
Medical Scientists $99,930 Conduct research to understand and improve human health outcomes
Statisticians $98,920 Analyze data and apply computational techniques to solve problems
Psychologists $85,330 Study and help individuals with mental health and behavioral issues
Postsecondary Teachers $80,840 Instruct students beyond high school and possibly conduct research

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

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 campus

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

Chatham University

Chatham University campus

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

Frontier Nursing University

Frontier Nursing University campus

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

Quinnipiac University

Quinnipiac University campus

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

Utica University

Utica University campus

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

Valparaiso University

Valparaiso University campus

Valparaiso University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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.

Ready to start your journey?
Joy is pursuing her Ph.D. in Public Policy & Foreign Policy at Liberty University and holds a Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management from Amberton University, as well as a Bachelor's in Business Administration from Columbia College. With over 20 years of experience navigating online degrees and courses, Joy's focus is helping non-traditional students find accelerated degree options and credit for prior learning opportunities.