35 Shortest Doctoral Program Online & Accelerated PhD Programs [2020 Guide]

We've ranked the 35 Shortest Doctoral Programs Online for 2020. Explore Accelerated PhD Programs & Doctorates for the fastest online degree programs.

We’ve ranked the 35 Shortest Doctoral Program Online for 2020. Explore Accelerated PhD Programs & Doctorates for the fastest online degree programs.

shortest doctoral program online

Online accelerated PhD programs are growing in popularity as students are searching for the shortest PhD programs with the smallest number of requirements.

Online doctoral programs vary widely in their graduation requirements which is why we put together this guide showcasing universities that require less than 60 credits hours to get your online doctorate degree.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that lifetime earnings for doctorate degree holders is $900,000 more than those holding a master’s degree only.

That’s almost $1 million more!!

And because a doctoral degree is the highest level of academic achievement, you will also receive the accompanying scholarly respect as you make valuable contributions to your field and society as a whole.

Shortest Doctoral Programs Online

The following doctoral programs have accelerated online courses which can help you finish your doctorate at a faster pace:

By earning an accelerated doctoral program online, you will also be contributing to your field’s body of knowledge, which can be deeply satisfying.

Online PhD in Accounting

2 year PhD program course

If you enjoy working with numbers and financial concepts, then consider delving deep into that field with a doctorate in accounting. This degree can prepare you for a position as the chief financial officer of an organization, serve as an auditor, teach accounting at the college level, or oversee a team of accountants.

During your studies, you’ll take classes in statistical analysis, financial research methods, and accounting theories. Available concentrations may include Public Accounting and Forensic Accounting.

Another possible option if you’re looking for the shortest completion time is earning a DBA with a concentration in Accounting.

Online Doctorate in Business Administration – DBA & PhD

fastest PhD programs

A doctorate in business administration is a degree program that will prepare you for leadership at various companies and skillful operation within global markets.

People with a DBA often hold leadership positions in a variety of fields, including for-profit companies, non-profit organizations, and government groups. They can also work in education, whether in an administrative role or as a professor.

In preparation for such positions, coursework may cover topics like quantitative research methods, qualitative research methods, statistics, economics, management theories, and organizational behavior.

As a more exclusive degree than an MBA, a DBA can set you apart and help you land top leadership positions. Plus, the number of courses required is often less, making it one of the shortest doctoral options.

Slightly different than the DBA degree, a PhD in Business Administration is geared more toward academia.

If you’d rather conduct original research and teach students about your specific field in business rather than take on a demanding and rigorous role as a company’s CEO, a PhD in Business might be right up your alley.

Online PhD in Counseling

doctorate in one year

A doctoral degree in counseling or therapy can equip you to help others work through their mental health or interpersonal struggles, and it can prepare you for leadership in a counseling organization.

Potential career paths include social work, private practice, and program administration. You may also tailor your education with concentrations like Counselor Education and Supervision, Art Therapy, Marriage and Family Therapy, and Addiction Counseling.

Coursework often covers topics like group and individual counseling, trauma response, ethical behavior, and diversity. Some universities require that you already be licensed as a counselor in your state before beginning their programs.

A PhD in Counseling is designed for counselors looking to ramp up their careers by becoming college and university educators, advanced counselors who train and lead others, or primary researchers on innovative studies.

If you’re currently a counselor and training other counselors, or if managing counseling programs are career goals of yours, then a PhD in Counseling online can make those goals a reality.

Online PhD in Criminal Justice & Homeland Security

accelerated doctoral programs online

When you hold a doctorate in criminal justice or homeland security, you may find work in law enforcement, government, or private practice. Your chosen career may provide opportunities to protect your community, conduct investigations, work with criminals, or collect intelligence. Often, doctoral graduates gain leadership positions, such as serving as a chief of police.

In pursuit of your doctoral degree, you may take classes in psychology, emergency and disaster situations, the justice system, and victimology.

Your program may offer concentrations like Terrorism, Criminology, Information Assurance, Security or Emergency Management.

Online Doctorate in Education – EdD & PhD

accelerated doctoral programs in education online

Whether you want to teach in a classroom, serve in school administration, support teachers through an outside organization, or equip the next generation of instructors, a doctoral degree in education can help you achieve those goals.

Many graduates remain in the classroom and take on leadership roles, such as becoming a headteacher. Others choose positions such as principals, superintendents, professors, policymakers, curriculum specialists, or educational consultants.

While earning your doctoral degree, you may take classes in curriculum, organizational leadership, student assessment, and education research. You could select an EdD concentration in an area like Special Education, Administration, Curriculum and Instruction, or Early Childhood Education.

A PhD in Education and an EdD are quite similar degrees. Both programs focus on education and prepare you for leadership roles. PhD programs, however, are more research-based.

A PhD is typically more research-based and might be a better match for someone looking for a career in research, publishing, and teaching at the university level. It focuses less on application than an Ed.D., but the same types of careers would be possible with either of these two degrees.

In terms of time to completion, the shortest program option is likely the EdD as there’s often no dissertation required.

Online PhD in Finance

doctorate in 2 years

People with strong math and money skills are good candidates for pursuing a doctoral degree in finance. Many doctoral graduates take leadership positions with investment firms, large banks, hedge funds, universities, or government agencies. Some earn CEO or other C-suite roles.

A doctorate in finance can even prepare you for an international career. As you study for your degree, your classes may cover subjects like market analysis, global markets, financial planning, theories of finance, taxation, and leadership.

Some students choose to prepare for leadership roles in this field by pursuing a DBA with a concentration in Finance.

Online Doctorate in Healthcare Administration

fastest online doctorate

When you hold a doctoral degree in the field of healthcare administration, you will be well-suited for a leadership position in a healthcare or medical setting. Potential places of employment include hospitals, nursing homes, medical records companies, political think tanks, government agencies, and universities.

Students of this discipline take classes on global health, business, law and policies, finance, and organizational leadership. Many DHA programs offer concentrations like Public Health, Leadership, and Health Policy.

An alternative academic path that is available at some colleges and universities is earning a DBA with a concentration Healthcare Administration which can offer the shortest path to a doctorate when no dissertation is required.

Online PhD in Human Services

Human services doctor

A doctorate in human services can prepare you for a leadership position in an organization or program that provides services or assistance for various groups of people. Work settings may include schools, clinics, community outreach programs, or non-profit organizations.

Some people who pursue this degree are licensed counselors who want to serve in a leadership capacity in a mental health practice. Others desire teaching positions in human services at the university level.

Courses in a doctoral program may include grant writing, leadership, communication, financial management, and ethics. Some of the concentration options are Mental Health, Gerontology, Marriage and Family, and Leadership and Management.

A PhD in Human Services prepares graduates for leadership and as policymakers in the public and human services fields.

A PhD in Human Services is quite flexible. Students with a variety of undergraduate and master’s degrees in public service, including social services, child welfare, criminal justice, and healthcare, may find this degree interesting.

Online PhD in Information Systems or Technology

MIS and CIS professionals

Companies and organizations rely on systems to keep their data and records safe and accessible; to be at the forefront of that field, consider a doctorate in information technology.

With this degree, you might be qualify for work as a C-suite executive, a director in a tech department, a consultant, a leader in a government agency, or a strategist. You might also be well-poised for opening your own company.

Your classes will equip you with knowledge about data collection and analysis, threat and risk management, policy-making, strategic planning, and research.

Online PhD in Management

1 year phd programs online

If you want to hold one of the highest roles in an organization, then earning a doctoral degree in management may be in order. Some people who hold this degree become C-suite executives, such as chief operating officers. Others take the helm of school districts or universities, or they accept teaching or research roles in higher education.

To earn this doctorate, you will take classes on leadership, ethics, consulting, decision-making, innovation, and research. Many students pursue concentrations like Technology, Homeland Security, Non-Profit Organizations, or Healthcare.

Alternatively, some schools offer a DBA program with a Management concentration. This often adds more flexibility to the program and can make it the shortest option when compared to the PhD which usually requires a dissertation.

Online Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.)

Dmin student with Bible

You can take your religious education to the next level with a doctorate in ministry. After earning this degree, you may choose to put your education into practice in church, parachurch, counseling, or chaplaincy positions.

Coursework often helps students grow not only academically, but also spiritually. Topics covered may include leadership, spiritual disciplines, evangelism, social justice, and teaching methods.

Some doctoral candidates pursue a specialization; options may include Counseling, Worship, Chaplaincy, Spiritual Disciplines, and Urban Ministry.

A career as a professor is a possibility with this degree as well as a missionary leader or lead pastor at a church.

Many universities require students to hold professional ministry positions before admitting them into their programs.

Online Doctoral Nursing Programs – PhD & DNP

DNP students school

The top-educated nurses have their doctoral degrees in nursing practice. If you have this degree, you may continue offering direct patient care; for example, you may work as a specialty nurse in a healthcare clinic. You could also use your degree as a care coordinator, a manager of a nursing team, a policymaker, or a nurse educator.

For RNs (Registered Nurses) who want to teach and train other nurses in an academic setting, a PhD in Nursing is the best doctorate-level nursing degree to pursue. A PhD in Nursing also prepares graduates for a career in research as nursing scientists who can contribute to the advancement of knowledge.

Coursework may include classes on information technology, finance, organizational leadership, safety, and healthcare law. Keep in mind that a doctoral degree in nursing is a terminal degree in the field does not qualify for a position as a physician.

DNP programs have gained a lot of popularity over the years and are designed for RNs who seek advancement while remaining practicing nurses.

A DNP prepares graduates for leadership in the nursing industry by advocating for and making policy, managing and directing nursing programs at health facilities, and ensuring that their communities offer the best healthcare to citizens who need it most.

Online Doctor of Public Administration

Doctor of Public Administration

Whether you want to work in a government agency or would prefer a position with a related organization, a doctorate in public administration can help you achieve your goals.

People with this doctoral degree often serve as politicians, lobbyists, non-profit directors, grant writers, administrators, or government affairs directors. If you want to go into government or politics, you could work at the local, state, or national level.

Students in this field study human resources, public policy, budgeting, ethics, organizational leadership, and decision-making.

As a professional doctorate, the DNP may be one of the shortest paths to a doctorate when compared to the PhD which generally requires a lengthy dissertation.

Online PhD in Public Health

Public Health Doctorate

Many people who earn a doctoral degree in public health conduct research in the fields of epidemiology, environmental science, clinical trials, or academia.

Others choose leadership roles in public health organizations that work to better the health outcomes for populations or groups of people. For example, you could become a safety engineer, a clinic manager, or an executive of a hospital system.

Classes for this degree program often cover health equity, data analysis, biostatistics, and healthcare policy. Concentrations are available at many universities; options may include Health Education, Leadership and Laboratory Science.

Online PhD in Public Policy

Public Policy Doctoral Students

If you want to have a hand in creating or modifying the policies that shape people’s lives and communities, then a doctoral program in public policy can provide the education that you need. Graduates often work for government agencies, universities, think tanks, and various institutions.

Doctoral programs often prepare students through the study of ethics, decision-making, research, leadership, and cultural diversity. Students identify problems, gather valuable data, and create effective solutions.

Doctoral candidates may focus on Urban Policy, Health Policy, Financial Management, or other areas of specialization.

Online PhD in Psychology Programs

Psychology PhD Programs

A doctoral degree in psychology can help you understand how people think and the influence that thought has on behavior. Many people pursue this degree because they want to work as licensed clinical psychologists in schools, private practices, hospitals, or organizational settings.

The doctoral curriculum often covers counseling theories, psychopathology, culture, motivation and behavior, and cognition.

Programs leading to licensure typically require students to engage in a lengthy supervised practicum.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Difference Between a PhD and Doctorate?

A PhD, or Doctor of Philosophy, is just one type of doctorate degree, of which there are many.

Here’s a list of common doctorate degrees:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
  • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
  • Doctor of Education (EdD)
  • Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
  • Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

Although the PhD is just one type of doctorate, it does have one distinguishing feature: the dissertation requirement. Nearly every PhD program requires adding to your field’s body of knowledge by performing original research on an approved topic of interest.

So, if you’re looking for the shortest doctoral programs, then professional doctorates are generally a better choice.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Doctorate?

someone walking in a long but picturesque trail

The length of time it takes to complete your doctorate depends on the university and type of doctoral program.

On average, it takes 3-5 years.

Here are a few things that significantly impact completion time:

  • Does the doctorate require a dissertation?
  • How many classes can you take at one time?
  • Are you transferring any credits into the program?
  • How many weeks are classes?
  • Is there a residency requirement?
  • Is there a professional internship requirement?

As you can see, the best answer we can give you is: it depends.

To give you a ballpark, if you are working toward a professional doctorate (DBA, EdD, PsyD, etc.) and there is no dissertation requirement, you should be able to complete your program in about 3 years. Some people may be able to complete the degree in less time, of course. This is simply an average.

For those of you pursuing a PhD, the dissertation requirement significantly impacts your completion time. Generally speaking, it takes most students 3 years to 5 years for degree completion.

What is the Shortest Doctoral Program Online?

What are the shortest doctoral programs?

The shortest path to a doctorate varies depending on your background, the program selected, and the university’s requirements.

The time it takes to complete a doctoral program online varies widely by the university. For some universities, 3 year PhD programs are the norm. One common question we hear asked is if there are any 1 year online doctoral programs. For most students, the answer is somewhere in the middle if you already hold a master’s degree.

The official timeline given on most university websites is about 3 – 5 years to complete your degree, but that’s just a general guideline.

If you are looking for the shortest PhD programs, you’ll want to select a program that does not require a dissertation. Dissertations are notorious for taking 2+ years to complete beyond the actual course requirements.

The following doctoral programs often do not always require a dissertation: EdD, PsyD, DBA, DPA, and similar professional degrees. Most PhD programs require a dissertation (which means it’ll take you longer to complete).

Another way to speed up your degree is by enrolling at a university that offers accelerated doctoral courses (8 weeks long). Since the courses take half the time to complete, you can finish your doctoral studies in the shortest possible timeframe.

And finally, you’ll want to pick a program that requires fewer credit hours. For example, one university may require 64 credit hours for an EdD while another may only require 42 credits. When looking for the shortest doctorate programs, you’ll want to examine the credit hour requirements closely. Plus, this is a great way to find the cheapest online PhD, EdD, DBA, and other doctoral programs. Generally, you’ll pay less tuition if you don’t need as many credit hours for program completion.

Are There Any 1 Year Online Doctoral Programs?

1 year online doctoral programs

Although a number of universities offer accelerated doctoral programs online, there are no accredited universities that advertise the shortest 1 year PhD programs online. That being said, there are quite a few universities with 30-credit doctorate degrees which could possibly be completed within a year if you have no dissertation requirement.

You can earn your doctorate online at a fairly fast pace if you enroll in accelerated classes, have transfer credits, choose one of the shortest doctoral programs in terms of credit hours, and select 100% online doctoral programs that do not require a dissertation (which is time-consuming).

Instead, go for a program that offers a capstone project. Although research is still required, it takes far less time to complete a capstone project than it does a dissertation.

Do All the Shortest PhD Programs Require a Dissertation?

Shortest PhD Programs student

An accelerated PhD program usually requires a dissertation, but professional doctorates such as a Doctor of Business Administration or Doctor of Education generally do not require a dissertation. Instead, you complete a capstone project.

We’ve assembled a list of doctorate degrees that don’t require a dissertation here.

Are there any 1 year PhD programs online?

In most cases, a PhD will take 3 to 5 years to complete unless you select a program without a dissertation, though there may be an occasional 2 year PhD program available. Very few doctorates do not require a dissertation and they tend to be professional doctorates like the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), Doctor of Psychology (PsyD), Doctor of Education (EdD), and similar professionally-oriented programs.

If your aim is to find the fastest PhD program, you can complete one in less than 3 years if you opt for a short program (fewer credit hours), accelerated doctoral courses, and no dissertation requirement.

Together, these three factors will go a long way in helping you find the fastest online PhD and speeding up your time to completion.

What is the fastest PhD program available?

The fastest PhD programs available will be those that require 30 credit hours or less to complete. As noted in the guide, we selected a number of fast PhD programs which meet this requirement. Once you’ve selected a PhD that requires fewer credit hours than the norm, try to narrow your list further by selecting a university with accelerated PhD classes which generally only take 8 weeks to complete.

If you don’t absolutely have to have a PhD, you will likely find it easier to locate a professional doctorate program that meets all of these criteria with the added benefit of no dissertation requirement. For example, it will likely take you longer to complete a PhD in Business Administration with 36 credit hours and a dissertation than it will to complete a Doctor of Business Administration of the same length without the dissertation requirement.

If speed is the most important factor for you, than a professional doctorate such as a DBA, PsyD, or EdD will likely be the fastest online doctorate you can find.

What is the Shortest Doctoral Program Online?

a clock image with years

The shortest doctoral program online is an accelerated program that caters to professional students who are seeking to expand their career opportunities into research and higher education teaching fields while still working full-time.

The primary way in which a doctorate program is accelerated is through 8-week online courses.

Some programs even allow you to begin with only a bachelor’s degree, allowing you to complete a master’s degree as part of your doctorate course work.

This can potentially shave off as much as 2 years from your completion time because you won’t have to complete a master’s degree before even considering applying for a doctorate program. It also helps if you enroll in a PhD program without a GRE requirement.

To explore typical salary ranges and career opportunities for a wide range of doctoral programs, check out our in-depth look at all the top online PhD programs.

35 Shortest Doctoral Programs Online

Methodology

For universities to be included in our guide, we looked at a number of criteria including number of credit hours required, accreditation, programs offered, and quality of online programs. Each of these universities offer accredited online doctoral and graduate programs. Some universities offer both campus and online programs as noted below.

Check each university’s tuition costs, graduation requirements, and course offerings before applying.

#1  Boston University

Boston University campus

  • Doctor of Occupational Therapy (Online) – 33 to 37 credit hours

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

#2  Colorado Christian University

Colorado Christian University campus

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 30 credit hours (MSN to DNP)

Colorado Christian University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

#3  Concordia University Chicago

Concordia University Chicago campus

  • PhD in Leadership – Gerontology (Online) – 30 credit hours
  • PhD in Leadership – Health & Human Performance (Online) – 30

Concordia University Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#4  Duquesne University

Duquesne University campus

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 35 credit hours

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

#5  Drexel University

Drexel University campus

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 45 credit hours

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

#6  East Carolina University

East Carolina University campus

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 36 credit hours

East Carolina University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#7  Frontier Nursing University

Frontier Nursing University campus

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 28 credit hours

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

#8  Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University campus

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 36 credit hours
  • DNP in Educational Leadership (Online) – 45

Grand Canyon University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#9  Gwynedd Mercy University

Gwynedd Mercy University campus

  • EdD in Educational Leadership (Online) – 54 credit hours

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

#10  Hampton University

Hampton University campus

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 33 credit hours
  • PhD in Nursing (Online) – 48 (with Masters)

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

#11  Indiana State University

Indiana State University campus

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Campus) – 39 credit hours

Indiana State University has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1915.

#12  Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Indiana University of Pennsylvania campus

  • PhD in Safety Sciences (Hybrid) – 54 credit hours
  • PhD in Criminology (Campus) – 42

Indiana University of Pennsylvania is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#13  Liberty University

Liberty University campus

  • Doctor of Ministry (Online) – 30 credit hours
  • Doctor of Public Administration (Online) – 48
  • Doctor of Education (Online) – 54
  • Doctor of Strategic Leadership (Online) – 51
  • Doctor of Worship Studies (Online) – 45
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 41
  • EdD in Community Care Counseling (Online) – 57
  • EdD in Educational Leadership (Online) – 54
  • PhD in Theology and Apologetics (Online) – 57

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

#14  Monmouth University

Monmouth University campus

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 36 credit hours
  • EdD in Educational Leadership (Hybrid) – 54

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

#15  Northcentral University

Northcentral University campus

  • DNP in Executive Leadership (Online) – 46 credit hours
  • Doctor of Public Administration (Online) – 54
  • EdD in Instructional Design (Online) – 54
  • Doctor of Criminal Justice (Online) – 54
  • EdD in Educational Leadership (Online) – 54
  • Doctor of Education (Online) – 48
  • Doctor of Business Administration (Online) – 48

Northcentral is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

#16  Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern University campus

  • EdD in Curriculum and Teaching (Hybrid) – 57 credit hours
  • EdD in Educational Leadership (Hybrid) – 54
  • EdD in Higher Education Leadership (Hybrid) – 54
  • EdD in Human Services Administration (Hybrid) – 54
  • EdD in Instructional Technology and Distance Education (Hybrid) – 54
  • EdD in Organizational Leadership (Hybrid) – 54
  • EdD in Reading Education (Hybrid) – 54
  • EdD in Special Education (Hybrid) – 54
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 38-40
  • Doctor of Occupational Therapy (Hybrid) – 39

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

#17  Penn State World Campus

Penn State World campus

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 38-46 credit hours(with Masters)

The Pennsylvania State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#18  Regent University

Regent University campus

  • PhD in Communication (Online w/Residency) – 56-64 credit hours
  • Doctor of Strategic Communication (Online w/Residency) – 49
  • Doctor of Ministry in Christian Leadership & Renewal (Online) – 36

Regent University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission.

#19  Seton Hall University

Seton Hall University campus

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 73 – 79 credit hours(BSN)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 31 (MSN)
  • EdD in K-12 Administration (Campus) – 54 – 57
  • Executive EdD in K-12 Administration (Campus) – 54

Seton Hall and its online programs are accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

#20  University at Buffalo

University at Buffalo campus

  • DNP in Child Health Nurse Practitioner (Online) – 36 credit hours
  • DNP in Family Nurse Practitioner (Online) – 36
  • DNP in Family Nurse Practitioner (Online) – 36
  • DNP in Nurse Anesthesia (Online) – 36
  • DNP in Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Online) – 36
  • DNP in Women’s Health Practitioner (Online) – 36
  • PhD in Nursing (Online) – 57

The University at Buffalo is accredited by Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#21  University of Alabama in Huntsville

University of Alabama Huntsville campus

  • PhD in Applied Mathematics (Campus) – 54 credit hours
  • PhD in Atmospheric Science (Campus) – 48
  • PhD in Biotechnology Science and Engineering (Campus) – 48
  • PhD in Physics (Campus) – 48

UAH is officially accredited and/or recognized by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#22  University of Arkansas

University of Arkansas campus

  • EdD in Educational Leadership (Online) – 42 credit hours

The U of A has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission without interruption since 1924.

#23  University of Bridgeport

University of Bridgeport campus

  • EdD in Educational Leadership (Hybrid) – 42 credit hours

The University of Bridgeport is fully accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

#24  University of Colorado Denver

University of Colorado Denver campus

  • PhD in Applied Mathematics (Campus) – 42 credit hours

Since 1913, the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) has accredited all institutions in the CU system.

#25  University of Florida

University of Florida campus

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 75-78 credit hours(BSN to DNP)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 35 (MSN to DNP)
  • EdD in Higher Education Administration (Online) – 39

The University of Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#26  University of Michigan – Flint

University of Michigan - Flint campus

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice – Executive Leadership (Online) – 43 credit hours

University of Michigan-Flint is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#27  University of Minnesota

University of Minnesota campus

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 41 credit hours
  • Dozens of PhD programs are also available on campus with less than 50 credit hours required

All campuses of the University of Minnesota operate with the accreditation of the Higher Learning Commission.

#28  University of Missouri

University of Missouri campus

  • EdD in Educational Leadership (Online) – 46 credit hours
  • PhD in Nursing (Online) – 77 credit hours (BSN)
  • PhD in Nursing (Online) – 56 (MSN)
  • PhD in Nursing (Online) – 48 (Post Clinical)
  • DNP in  Nursing Leadership and Innovations in Health (Online) – 40

The University of Missouri is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#29  University of Montana

University of Montana campus

  • PhD in Counseling – Counselor Education and Supervision (Campus) – 48 credit hours(with Master’s)

The University of Montana-Missoula is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

#30  University of North Carolina at Greensboro

University of North Carolina at Greensboro campus

  • PhD in Economics (Campus) – 45-57 credit hours

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#31  University of North Dakota

University of North Dakota campus

  • PhD in Nursing (Online) – 30 credit hours

The University of North Dakota as a whole is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

#32  University of Northern Colorado

University of Northern Colorado campus

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 44 credit hours (with Masters)

Since 1916, the University of Northern Colorado has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

#33  University of Tennessee – Knoxville

University of Tennessee - Knoxville campus

  • PhD in Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology (Online) – 48 credit hours (with Masters)
  • Dozens of PhD programs are also available on campus with less than 50 credit hours required

University of Tennessee – Knoxville received accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#34  University of Texas at Tyler

University of Texas at Tyler campus

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 45 credit hours

The University of Texas at Tyler is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#35  Wilmington University

Wilmington University campus

  • Doctor of Business Administration (Online) – 54 credit hours
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 33
  • Doctor in Prevention Science (Online) – 39-48
  • EdD in Educational Leadership  (Online) – 49-51
  • EdD in Higher Education (Online) – 51
  • EdD in Organizational Leadership (Online) – 51

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

What’s next?

Accelerated PhD Programs

Whether you’re trying to get your doctorate in one year or you’re just looking for the shortest PhD programs available from accredited universities, the first step is decide how much you’re willing to compromise in the name of speed.

Yes, there are accredited online doctoral programs that can be completed in less time than traditional campus-based programs. The key is finding the one that’s offering the exact program you’re seeking.

This guide is a good place to start:

  • We only included accredited universities with the shortest doctoral and Ph.D. requirements (measured by the smallest number of classes required)
  • Accelerated doctorate courses are available online
  • A growing number of online doctoral degree programs don’t require a dissertation (especially professional doctorate degree programs)

When you select a fast track online Ph.D. or doctorate program with the smallest number of required courses, accelerated online classes, and no dissertation requirements, you’re on the right track.

You’ll soon discover that these factors make for the shortest doctoral programs online and offer the most flexibility with the smallest number of requirements.

Isaac Collins
WRITTEN BY
Isaac Collins
Comments
  1. Chris Kasaija says:

    Dear Stephen, Joy and Isaac. Greetings from Uganda (East Africa). I first want to thank you so much for sharing this valuable information. I hold Masters of Public Health (MPH- General) from Walden University, Minnesota-USA. Am HUNTING for an opportunity to do a PhD in Public Health- Health Policy and my area of preference is Intervention for Child Disability . My request to you is to Kindly link me to a good University in the USA which can give me either a full scholarship or part sponsorship for online – by research only. I already have a written concept on my study. I will be very grateful for your help. Thanks and God bless you. Chris

    1. Joy Mays says:

      Hi Chris- Congrats on your decision to get your doctorate. In the USA, dissertation-only PhD programs are not the norm. That’s the commonwealth model. This is more common in Australia, South Africa, and Europe. If you look in those regions, you should have no problem finding an accredited dissertation only doctoral program. Best-Joy

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