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Doctorate Degree Online No Dissertation? No Problem!

Doctorate Degree Online No Dissertation? No Problem!

In a hurry to get your PhD and searching for a doctorate degree online with no dissertation requirement? Online doctoral programs include EdD, DBA, PhD, and

Doctorate Degree Online No Dissertation
In a hurry to finish your PhD?

Searching for a doctorate degree online with no dissertation? Until recently, all doctoral programs required a dissertation.

But who wants to spend 3+ years writing a lengthy research paper?

Not me!

Now, a growing number of universities offer another option: a capstone project.

Yes. A capstone project still involves some original research. But it’s based on solving real-world problems. Not creating a new volume of literature.

Sound like a promising alternative? Let’s check it out…

Online Doctoral Programs in Education Without Dissertation Requirements

student admissions online edd no dissertation

Earning a doctoral degree in education can help you stand out from the pack. Not only that, it can lead to an increase in pay, greater security, and scholarly respect.

A few colleges now offer education doctoral programs without dissertation requirements.

Online Doctorate Programs in Education Without a Dissertation:

There are two main doctoral program types in the education field: a PhD in Education and Doctor of Education (EdD). So which doctoral degree 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 for a career in a classroom or for a school district. Quite a few graduate 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, there are a number of the specializations to choose from including:

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

Be sure to select a doctoral program and specialization that will mesh well with your lifestyle and commitments, and help you achieve your long-term goals.

Online DBA Without Dissertation – Doctor of Business Administration

Online DBA students 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.

An online DBA program focuses on advanced decision-making and organizational leadership skills, integrating business theory and applied research. A number of schools offer online DBA programs without dissertation that involve capstone or consulting projects.

These projects provide real-world learning opportunities, placing you in an operating business where you may help develop strategies, streamline operations and provide leadership in a way that provides immediate and measurable results and prepares you for your career in business.

Online Doctorate Programs in Business that do not require a dissertation:

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

Here are some common doctoral business program specializations, including:

  • Accounting
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance
  • Global Supply Chain Management
  • Healthcare Management
  • Human Resources Management
  • Information Technology Management
  • International Business
  • Leadership
  • Marketing
  • Project Management
  • Health Administration
  • Organizational Leadership

The capstone project you complete will relate to the specialization you have chosen and prepare you for that particular path.

Whether you are employed 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.

List of Online Doctorate Without Dissertation Programs

List of online doctorate without dissertation

Not sure where to find programs offering an online doctorate no dissertation? We’ve compiled a list of some of the best options out there.

Online Doctoral Programs What is Required?
Online Doctor of Business Administration – Accounting Capstone (no dissertation)
Online Doctor of Business Administration – Business Intelligence Capstone (no dissertation)
Online Doctor of Business Administration – Global Operations & Supply Chain Management Capstone (no dissertation)
Online Doctor of Business Administration – Human Resource Management Capstone (no dissertation)
Online Doctor of Business Administration – Information Technology Management Capstone (no dissertation)
Online Doctor of Business Administration – Leadership Capstone (no dissertation)
Online Doctor of Business Administration – Project Management Capstone (no dissertation)
Online Doctor of Business Administration – Strategy and Innovation Capstone (no dissertation)
Online Doctor of Education – Educational Leadership and Management Capstone (no dissertation)
Online Doctor of Education – Performance Improvement Leadership Capstone (no dissertation)
Online Doctor of Education – Reading and Literacy Capstone (no dissertation)

Online PsyD Programs Without a Dissertation

A PsyD is a Doctor of Psychology program, meaning you will earn a doctorate in the field of psychology. This professional degree covers both Clinical Psychology and Counseling Psychology. There are a few online PsyD programs that require no dissertation.

Common fields of specialization for the Doctor of Psychology, including:

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

Instead of a dissertation, you will complete a PsyD capstone project related to your field of specialization.

Be sure to check out the doctoral program 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 PhD Without Dissertation Requirements

A PhD without dissertation requirements is far more difficult to find than an EdD, DBA, or other professional doctorate program.

PhD programs are steeped in academic tradition. A tradition that loves its dissertation requirement!

As one faculty member put it, “It’s a hazing ritual passed down from another era, retained because the Ph.D.’s before us had to do it.”

But things are slowly changing, especially with the growth of online education.

With the help of some forward-thinking faculty members, a few colleges are making changes. At the City University of New York and Michigan State University (among others), students are being encouraged to complete nontraditional dissertations. For example, some faculty members allow students to publish several articles instead of a dissertation the size of a book.

Although these changes seem quite small compared to the leaps being made with other online education programs, it’s a welcome change.

If you have come across a new PhD with no dissertation requirements, whether online or on campus, drop us a quick line in the comments below. We want to make this guide as helpful as possible!

FAQs: Doctoral Programs Without Dissertation

Online PsyD candidate without dissertation

What is a Doctoral Dissertation?

A doctoral dissertation, the culmination of most PhD programs, is a substantial written document in which the student uses the teachings and skills gleaned from the entire doctoral 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.

It’s no wonder that so many of us are looking for a PhD without a dissertation!

Because this project is both daunting and demanding, many colleges have come up with alternatives that allow students to show 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.

Often, students are diligently working through doctoral coursework, but fall short when it comes to completing the required dissertation. In fact, only about 56% of those who start a doctoral program earn their doctorate or PhD degree within 10 years. Completing a dissertation is an enormous project, and life, family, 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.

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.

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 or real-life project, or perhaps you might do some consulting 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 posts on accelerated online doctoral programs and 1 year online doctoral programs for a deeper look.

Are there any PhD Programs without dissertation requirements?

There are a number of doctoral programs without dissertation requirements. But most Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs still require a traditional dissertation.

The main reason dissertations are required for most students is so that you can demonstrate that you are adding knowledge to your field. But 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.

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 no dissertation doctoral programs include:

  • Online EdD – Educational Leadership and Management
  • Online EdD – Performance Leadership
  • Online DBA – General Business
  • Online DBA – Accounting
  • Online DBA – Global Operations and Supply Chain Management
  • Online DBA – Human Resources
  • Online DBA – Information Technology Management
  • Online DBA – Educational Leadership
  • Online DBA – Project Management
  • Online PsyD – Family Therapy

Like their on campus counterparts, these doctoral programs are terminal degrees.

Can I have two doctorate degrees?

Absolutely. You can finish as many doctoral degree programs as you like.

Although doctorate degrees are referred to as a terminal degrees, that just means once you’ve earned that doctoral degree, you’ve reached the highest level of education attainable in that field.

Here’s an example.

Let’s say you wanted to research PhD programs that would allow you to help families coping with tragedy. You might be interested in getting your PhD in Family Therapy (or even social work). Once you completed your studies, you might decide that you want to return to graduate school in pursuit of a health sciences doctorate. Or, if you wanted to become an expert in business to run your family therapy practice more efficiently, you might look into doctorate degrees related to health administration, human resources, or accounting.

Although earning that many doctorate degrees would be a massive undertaking (both in time and tuition), for some people, it might make perfect sense. You have to be the judge of what is best for you.

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.

What is a dissertation really worth?

Historically, most PhD programs required a dissertation as a way to allow students to prove mastery in a field.

But not anymore.

More and more schools offer a new alternative to the dissertation: a capstone project.

A doctoral degree capstone project allows students to apply research to solve real-world problems. On the other hand, a dissertation is meant to give students the opportunity to add to the body of academic knowledge in a specific field.

With a capstone, significant research is still required. The difference is the ultimate goal.

The most common doctoral programs with no dissertation include:

  • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) – this includes fields such as organizational leadership, public administration, human resources
  • Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)
  • Doctor of Computer Science
  • Doctor of Education (EdD)- includes concentrations in instructional design, special education, educational administration, educational leadership, and higher education leadership.
  • Doctor of Health Administration (DHA)
  • Doctor of Health Sciences – a Health Sciences doctoral degree will help prepare you for leadership positions in the healthcare industry
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)
  • Doctor of Management (DM) – this is related to a Doctor of Business Administration. Some graduate schools even have a DBA in Management
  • Juris Doctor (JD) – this is a 3 year law degree
  • Doctorate in Organizational Leadership – closely related to a DBA, the Organizational Leadership doctoral degree helps prepare you for leadership and management in a wide-range of industries
  • Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

These terminal degrees do not have a dissertation at some graduate schools. Instead, doctoral candidates complete a capstone project that allows them to prove they have expertise in their field of study. Capella University is a good example. They have doctoral programs in organizational leadership, business intelligence, human resources, accounting, and educational leadership.

Although these programs do not always require a dissertation, the same number of credit hours is generally required for completion.

Can you get a doctoral degree in business online?

Yes, there are quite a few online doctoral programs in business online.

Are there any EdD Programs without dissertation?

Yes, there are a number of edd programs without dissertation.

Here are a few of the most popular Ed.D. concentrations / specializations:

We will continue to update this list with more doctoral online education programs as they become available.

What’s the difference between a DBA and PhD in Business Administration?

Doctoral candidates in either program will perform a great deal of research. The main difference between a DBA and PhD degree program is the type of research being performed.

Drexel University notes that traditional doctoral candidates in a PhD program generally enter the academic profession as professors, scholars, and researchers.

In contrast, DBA doctoral candidates focus on being expert practitioners in their field. Instead of basing their studies in theory, they focus on problem solving.

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

Yes! You can get a Doctor of Education (EdD) – Educational Leadership and Management online without completing a dissertation. Capella University has this program with a capstone project.

Is financial aid available for online PhD programs?

Yes, financial aid is available for online PhD programs. Whether you attend graduate school or through an online program, as long as the university is accredited, you may qualify for financial aid.

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 have 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 Doctoral Degree 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. Quite a few schools care about how much debt their students incur, so they may have tuition payment plans, too.

Here are some doctoral scholarship resources:

You can also check with the financial aid office at the university you choose to learn more about the process of institutional funding and financial aid opportunities for doctorate degree programs.

Can You Get a No Dissertation Doctorate Online?

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

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

University No Dissertation Doctoral Programs
American Sentinel University
  • Online DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
Arizona State University
  • Online DBH (Doctor of Behavioral Health)
Ashford University
  • Online PsyD (Doctor of Psychology)
Bay Path University
  • Online OTD (Occupational Therapy Doctorate)
  • Online DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
Baylor University
  • Online EdD – Learning and Organizational Change
Capella University
  • Online EdD or DBA – Multiple Concentrations
East Tennessee University
  • Online EdD – Global Sport Leadership
Eastern Kentucky University
  • Online OTD (Occupational Therapy Doctorate)
Gannon University – Erie
  • Online OTD (Occupational Therapy Doctorate)
Georgia College
  • Online DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
Indiana State University
  • Online DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
Johns Hopkins University
  • Online EdD (Does not require a traditional dissertation; students complete an applied dissertation that is part of EdD)
Loma Linda University
  • Online OTD (Occupational Therapy Doctorate)
Morehead State University
  • Online EdD – 3 doctoral specializations available
Nebraska Methodist College
  • Online EdD – Education & Leadership in Healthcare
New York University
  • Online EdD – Leadership and Innovation
Northcentral University
  • Online EdS – 16 Graduate level concentrations available, but not a doctorate degree. No dissertation required.
Quinnipiac University
  • Online OTD (Occupational Therapy Doctorate)
Temple University
  • Online OTD (Occupational Therapy Doctorate)
Texas Woman’s University
  • Online OTD (Occupational Therapy Doctorate)
University of Massachusetts – Boston
  • Online DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
University of Southern California
  • Online DSW (Doctor of Social Work)
University of Southern Mississippi
  • Online EdD – Educational Administration
University of Virginia
  • Online EdD – Curriculum & Instruction
University of Western States
  • Online EdD – Sport and Performance Psychology
Utica College
  • Online DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy)
Vanderbilt University
  • Online EdD – Leadership and Learning in Organizations
Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Online EdD – Leadership
Walden University
  • Online DBA
  • Online PsyD – Behavioral Health
  • Online EdD
West Virginia University
  • Online DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice)

These doctoral programs offer flexibility around your existing obligations such as family or career 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. And, you don’t have to leave your local area to complete your studies.

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. For graduates to finish in such a short time, students need to be enrolled full-time and progressing through coursework 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 our content.

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 required for graduates to complete the program.

This article is brought to you by

Lindsay Aldini
Lindsay Aldini
Lifelong Learner
Joy Miller
Joy Miller
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2 thoughts on “Doctorate Degree Online No Dissertation? No Problem!”

  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. Visit their website at for details.

    1. Joy Miller says:

      Thanks for the heads-up, David. 🙂

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