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?

Most doctoral programs require students to write a dissertation, which is a lengthy research paper that introduces an original concept, theory or practice to help advance your field. This can be just as daunting as it sounds! Fortunately, a growing number of universities are now offering doctoral students an alternative to the dissertation: a capstone project.

Doctorate Degree Online No Dissertation

Like dissertations, capstone projects are a culmination of your education, and usually involve some original research and/or contribution to your field. There may be a written portion and an application portion. You may be working “in the field” as a part of your capstone project. It all depends on the school and program.

Sound like a promising alternative? If online doctoral programs without dissertations sound like a good option for you, read on!

Online Doctoral Programs in Education Without 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 DBA Without Dissertation – Doctor of Business Administration

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.

List of Online Doctorate Without Dissertation Programs

Here’s a list of doctoral programs that don’t require a dissertation.

Instead, you complete a capstone project or a doctoral study project.

Healthcare & Public Health

Computers & Information Technology

Homeland Security

Business & Management


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 Doctoral Programs in Education Without Dissertation

FAQs: Doctoral Programs 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 posts on accelerated online doctoral programs and 1 year 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.

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.

Some common online PsyD fields of specialization include:

  • Behavioral Health Leadership
  • Behavioral Psychology
  • Child 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, you will complete a PsyD capstone project related to your field of specialization.

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:

University No Dissertation Doctoral Degrees
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 work on an applied dissertation that is part of EdD coursework)
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 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?

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.

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.

This article is brought to you by
Lindsay Aldini
Lindsay Aldini
Lifelong Learner
Joy Miller
Joy Miller
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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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