50 Best Doctorate Degree Online No Dissertation Programs [2019 Edition]

Finish your doctoral program faster without a Dissertation! Explore 50+ doctorate degrees online with no dissertation requirement: DBA, EdD, DNP, PhD, PsyD

In a hurry to finish your PhD and searching for a doctorate degree online with no dissertation requirement?

Doctorate Degree Online No Dissertation

In the past, most doctoral programs required students to write a dissertation.

Now, instead of spending years working on a dissertation, a growing number of universities offer doctoral students an alternative to the dissertation: a capstone project.

List of Doctorate Degrees without Dissertation Requirements

Here’s a list of doctoral programs that don’t require a dissertation. Instead, you complete a capstone project or a doctoral study project.

Click on your desired field to see a complete list of programs:

Like dissertations, capstone projects are a culmination of your education. They usually involve some original research or some type of applied practical knowledge in your field. It all depends on the school and program.

Be sure to check out the specializations available, as well as the particular requirements for each of these non dissertation PhD programs to be sure you select the one that will best suit you and help you achieve your goals.

Online Accounting & Finance Doctoral Programs

Accounting DBA no dissertation

The Doctor of Business Administration offers specializations in either accounting or finance.  The accounting specialization focuses on domestic and international managerial accounting, while the finance concentration focuses on international finance, entrepreneurial finance, law, and compliance.

These DBA programs do not require a dissertation:

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, financial managers are in high demand with a mean salary of $127,990. In addition, the need for financial managers is growing by 19% over the next ten years. And if you’re interested in academia, the need for business educators is growing at the rate of 15% over the next ten years.

Online DBA Without Dissertation – Doctor of Business Administration

Business professionals walking

A Doctor of Business Administration is the highest academic degree in the business world, and is ideal for business professionals in corporations, the public sector, or academia.

Quite a few Online DBA concentrations are available without a dissertation. Instead, you complete a capstone or doctoral study project. These projects provide real-world learning and leadership opportunities.

No Dissertation DBA Programs:

An online DBA program focuses on advanced decision-making and leadership skills, integrating business theory and applied research. The capstone or doctoral study project will relate to the specialization you have chosen and prepare you for that particular career path.

Most online DBA programs allow you to tailor your education by selecting the specialization that best suits your interests and aspirations.

Whether you work as a business consultant or manager, as an entrepreneur, as a school administrator or in government, online PhD no dissertation programs like this can help you take your education – and your career in business – to the next level.

Online Doctorate in Computers & Information Technology

Computer Science managers inspecting server

A doctoral degree in computer information systems or information technology trains you for senior management roles in corporations, government agencies, and non-profits.

These IT programs don’t require a dissertation:

The Doctor of Information Technology and the Doctor of Business Administration are applied doctorate degrees that can prepare you for top-level positions such as IT strategist, IS manager, chief information officer, or even college faculty member.

Online Doctoral Programs in Education without Dissertation

Online Ed D no dissertation

Having an advanced level degree in education can really set you apart and open new doors.

More and more universities are now offering education doctoral programs without dissertation requirements, which means you may be able to complete the program sooner, without neglecting your other obligations, and without writing that massive research paper!

Online EdD Programs without Dissertation:

There are two main doctoral options in the education field: a PhD in Education and Doctor of Education (EdD). So which is the best choice?

A PhD in Education is ideal for someone interested in academic and/or research positions in higher education, or in a corporate, military or government position. Unfortunately this path does not have an online PhD without dissertation option. It is founded in research and theory, and you will be required to complete a traditional dissertation.

An EdD, however, focuses more on developments in the field and preparing you to work in a classroom or for a school district. Quite a few schools now offer online EdD no dissertation programs. University of Southern Mississippi, for example, offers a part time, fully online EdD program that culminates in a capstone project in educational administration instead of a traditional dissertation.

Southern Mississippi No Dissertation Doctorate

If you are comparing online doctoral programs no dissertation, some of the specializations you may be able to choose from include:

  • Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment
  • Educational Administration and Leadership
  • Personalized and Competency-Based Instruction
  • Early Childhood
  • K-12 Studies
  • Special Education
  • Educational Technology

Be sure to select the degree program and specialization that will work with your lifestyle and commitments, and help you achieve your long-term career goals.

Online Healthcare Administration Doctoral Programs

Healthcare administrators talking

The Doctor of Business Administration with a specialization in Healthcare Management provides advanced training in organizational leadership, professional management, and human resource development.

No dissertation required:

Earning a DBA in Healthcare Management will prepare you for senior level leadership positions in the healthcare field. Explore cutting-edge strategies in leadership and decision-making while gaining a deep understanding of both theory and practice.

Online Homeland Security Doctoral Programs

Criminal Justice managers in capitol

With the global increase in terrorism and natural disasters, the need for homeland security leaders well-trained in crisis planning is on the rise.

Does not require a dissertation:

The Doctor of Business Administration with a specialization in Homeland Security addresses global terrorism, risk analysis, policy challenges, organizational leadership, and emerging trends. Courses include an in-depth look into homeland security policies, homeland security business planning, and business infrastructure vulnerability analysis, among others.

Online Management Doctoral Programs

Phd in Management

A Doctor of Business Administration with a focus in management is designed to prepare you for strategic leadership. Not only will you develop advanced research skills, but you will also have the opportunity to learn new ways to address complex problems within your industry.

These programs don’t require a dissertation:

A Doctor of Business Administration is a professional doctorate that can help prepare you for high-level management positions in corporations, non-profits, or government agencies.

Online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

DNP students

Instead of a traditional dissertation, you will complete a DNP practicum.

This DNP can be completed in as little as two years:

Nurses participating in the DNP program will learn to take evidence-based research and put it into practice to improve patient outcomes. Leadership and innovation are also areas of focus to help encourage innovation and positive change in the healthcare system.

Online Doctor of Public Administration

Government workers in meeting

The Doctor of Public Administration is an applied doctorate that gives you the in-depth knowledge you need to lead effectively and help create positive change in non-profits, government agencies, or similar organizations.

Does not require dissertation:

The Doctor of Public Administration program can help prepare you for a career in academia or to work in the public, private, or non-profit sectors. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows high-demand in the field. For example, the need for social and community service managers will grow by 18% in the next ten years.

Online Public Health Doctoral Programs

Public health programs

The Doctor of Public Health is a professional doctorate degree intended for individuals already working in the field of public health. The field is interdisciplinary and covers topics ranging from advocacy and marketing to communications and leadership.

A number of concentrations are available such as epidemiology and biostatistics. Career options vary, but can include health officer, health policy advisor, and community health director.

Online PsyD Programs Without a Dissertation

Online PsyD without dissertation

The Doctor of Psychology is a professional degree that covers both Clinical Psychology and Counseling Psychology. There are a few online PsyD programs that require no dissertation.

Some common fields of specialization include:

  • Behavioral Health Leadership
  • Behavioral Psychology
  • Child, Adolescent and Family Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Couple or Family Therapy
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine
  • Mental Illness
  • Neuropsychology

Instead of a dissertation, some PsyD programs (like Capella) allow you to complete a capstone project related to your field of specialization.

FAQs: Doctoral Programs Without Dissertation

Online Doctoral Programs in Education Without Dissertation

What is a Doctoral Dissertation?

A doctoral dissertation, the culmination of most doctoral programs, is a substantial written document in which the student uses the teachings and skills gleaned from the entire program to develop and discuss an original concept, theory or practice that will help advance the field.

Writing a dissertation is no easy feat! They are typically hundreds of pages long, and students work on them for over a year, reviewing research, conducting experiments and analyzing data.

Because this project is both daunting and demanding, many universities have come up with alternatives that allow students to demonstrate their knowledge and provide worthwhile contributions to their field without completing a traditional dissertation.

What Are All But Dissertation Completion Programs?

“All But Dissertation” (ABD) completion programs, also known as PhD completion programs, are designed to help students who have completed all the requirements of a doctoral degree program except the dissertation.

Oftentimes students work diligently through the coursework of their doctoral program, but fall short when it comes to completing the required dissertation. In fact, only about 56% of those who start a doctoral degree program earn their doctorate or PhD within 10 years. Completing a dissertation is an enormous project, and life, family, careers and other obligations sometimes get in the way.

For example, the Dissertation Completion Pathway (DCP) offered by Northcentral University is one example of a structured program that transfers credit for prior academic coursework and provides guidance and mentorship as you work to finish your dissertation. This type of program typically takes 2-3 years.

Is a Dissertation Required for a PhD?

Not always. In the past a dissertation was required for a PhD, but a growing number of institutions have started to offer online doctoral programs no dissertation.

Instead, students may complete a capstone project to demonstrate their knowledge and provide new contributions to the field. This may be a combination of a research paper and field work, or perhaps you might do some consulting work at a functioning business.

Capstone projects vary from school to school, and program to program.

One of the benefits of non-dissertation doctorate degrees is that you can finish in less time. Check out our post on accelerated online doctoral programs for a deeper look.

Is financial aid available for online PhD programs?

Yes, financial aid is available for online PhD programs.

Federal Financial Aid

First, you should submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), just like you did when you were an undergraduate student. This will open the door to federal grants and loans, as well as many other resources.

State Financial Aid

In addition to Federal financial aid, almost 40 states offer student loan programs. Like Federal loans, the interest rates offered by most state programs are generally less than those charged by private student loan lenders. You can check out the individual State Financial Aid programs here.

Scholarships and Grants for Online Doctorate Programs

Additionally, online PhD and doctoral students are often eligible for grants, fellowships, and scholarships. These may be available through the school, large corporations, or professional associations.

Here are some helpful doctoral scholarship resources:

You can also check with the financial aid office at the university you choose to learn more about institutional funding and financial aid opportunities.

Can You Get a No Dissertation Doctorate Online?

Yes! A growing number of reputable, accredited colleges and universities offer non dissertation doctorate programs.

We’ve compiled a list of universities offering online doctorate degrees without dissertation requirements below:

Rank University Featured Image tbl-programs Location mdgtbl-description

American Sentinel University

American Sentinel is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.
  • Online DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice)

Arizona State University

ASU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
  • Online DBH (Doctor of Behavioral Health)

Bay Path University

Bay Path is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
  • Online OTD (Occupational Therapy Doctorate)
  • Online DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice)

Baylor University

Baylor is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, and doctoral degrees.
  • Online EdD – Learning and Organizational Change

Capella University

Capella is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
  • Online EdD or DBA – Multiple Concentrations

East Tennessee State University

ETSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award Baccalaureate, Masters and Doctoral degrees.
  • Online EdD – Global Sport Leadership

Eastern Kentucky University

EKU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
  • Online OTD (Occupational Therapy Doctorate)

Gannon University

Gannon is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
  • Online OTD (Occupational Therapy Doctorate)

Georgia College & State University

GCSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, masters, and doctorate degrees.
  • Online DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice)

Indiana State University

Indiana State has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1915.
  • Online DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice)

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
  • Online EdD (Does not require a traditional dissertation; students work on an applied dissertation that is part of EdD coursework)

Loma Linda University

Loma Linda is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
  • Online OTD (Occupational Therapy Doctorate)

Morehead State University

Morehead State is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
  • Online EdD – 3 doctoral specializations available

Nebraska Methodist College

NMC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
  • Online EdD – Education & Leadership in Healthcare

New York University

NYU is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
  • Online EdD – Leadership and Innovation

Northcentral University

NCU is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
  • Online EdS – 16 Graduate level concentrations available, but not a doctorate degree. No dissertation required.

Quinnipiac University

Quinnipiac is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
  • Online OTD (Occupational Therapy Doctorate)

Temple University

Temple is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
  • Online OTD (Occupational Therapy Doctorate)

Texas Woman’s University

TWU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, masters, and doctorate degrees.
  • Online OTD (Occupational Therapy Doctorate)

University of Massachusetts – Boston

UMB is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
  • Online DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice)

University of Southern California

USC has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges since March 6, 1949.
  • Online DSW (Doctor of Social Work)

University of Southern Mississippi

USM is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award degrees at the baccalaureate, masters, specialists and doctoral levels.
  • Online EdD – Educational Administration

University of Virginia

UVA is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees.
  • Online EdD – Curriculum & Instruction

University of Western States

UWS is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
  • Online EdD – Sport and Performance Psychology

Utica College

Utica is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
  • Online DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy)

Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award bachelor’s, master’s, professional, and doctoral degrees.
  • Online EdD – Leadership and Learning in Organizations

Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, master’s, doctoral and first-professional degrees.
  • Online EdD – Leadership

Walden University

Walden has been accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1990.
  • Online DBA
  • Online PsyD – Behavioral Health
  • Online EdD

West Virginia University

LOCATIONWest Virginia
WVU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, which guarantees the quality of the university as a whole.
  • Online DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice)

These programs can work around your existing obligations such as family or work commitments, and will allow you to advance in your career and contribute to your field in ways that don’t require a massive research paper.

Are there any PhD Programs without dissertation requirements?

Yes, there are quite a few doctoral programs without dissertation requirements. Instead of the dissertation most commonly used in a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program, a capstone project is required to help you put your new-found skills to good use.

In the past, dissertations were required so that you could demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in your field. But universities have started to realize that there are quite a few ways you can do that.

As you can see with the online DBA programs, a few colleges are no longer requiring dissertations. They allow you to complete a doctoral capstone project instead. No, it’s not technically a dissertation. But you do prove that you have acquired a high level of expertise in your field of study.

Higher education is continuing to change at a rapid pace. As another example, a number of PhD programs without GRE requirements are appearing.

How many credits do PhD Programs require?

Most PhD programs require between 54 and 90 credit hours. That’s between 18 and 30 courses. That is a huge range! This is true for both campus-based PhD programs and online PhD programs.

Let’s look at one of Northcentral University’s online programs as an example.  The Online DBA in Accounting is 54 credit hours and consists of 18 courses (most courses are 3 credit hours).

In contrast, if you attend a state university campus program like the University of Illinois, the PhD in Business requires 64 credit hours (around 21 courses), provided you already have your master’s degree.

Are there any EdD Programs without dissertation?

Yes, there are a number of EdD programs without dissertation. Here is a list of Ed.D. concentrations / specializations without a dissertation requirement: Online Doctor of Education list.

Are there any Online Educational Administration Doctorate Degrees with No Dissertation required?

Yes! You can get a without completing a dissertation: Online EdD – Educational Leadership & Administration

Do all doctoral programs require a dissertation?

No. A wide-range of doctoral programs do not have a dissertation. Instead, graduate schools allow you to complete a capstone project which focuses on solving a real-world problem.

You can also earn your doctorate through an accredited online program if you don’t want to attend on campus.

Is a PhD Program Without a Dissertation respected?

A dissertation allows students the opportunity to demonstrate expertise in their field of study.

In certain fields, a dissertation will be the measure of quality. This is true for academia should you ever want to be a tenured professor at Harvard. But if that’s not your goal, doctoral programs in higher education, leadership, or business administration are reputable – provided you earn your doctorate from a graduate school with regional accreditation.

Can I get an online doctorate degree without a dissertation?

Yes. There are dozens of doctorate degrees with no dissertation being offered online from accredited universities. The most common are the Doctor of Education, Doctor of Business Administration, Doctor of Psychology, and the Doctor of Nursing Practice.

Are there any 18-month Doctorate with No Dissertation Programs?

Yes. Some online PhD no dissertation programs can be completed in as little as 18 to 24 months. To finish in a short time like this, you will need to be enrolled full-time and progressing through your courses successfully. You will also need your capstone project to be approved in a timely manner.

Are there any PhD Without Dissertation Programs Online?

Yes, a number of universities offer online doctoral programs without dissertation. We’ve compiled a list of them above. As more universities offer no dissertation doctorates, we will update the list.

It’s worth noting that while these programs do not require traditional dissertations, there will be a project (usually known as a Capstone) through which you demonstrate what you have learned. Each program should detail the capstone experience requirements and the opportunities you will have while enrolled.

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Lindsay Aldini
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  1. David says:

    Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia offers a 100% online, 42-credit Doctor of Health Sciences degree with no dissertation or capstone required. The DHSc is described as a professional academic degree designed to facilitate advancement or career change for persons in healthcare and public health, clinical practice, administration, or education.

    1. Joy Miller says:

      Thanks for the heads-up, David. 🙂

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