50 Best Doctorate Degrees Online No Dissertation Required [2024 Doctoral Programs]

By Lindsay Aldini
Updated on April 17, 2024
Ready to start your journey?
Finish your doctoral program faster without a Dissertation! Explore 50 doctorate degree online no dissertation programs: EdD, DBA, DNP, PhD, PsyD.

Skip your dissertation with an accredited no dissertation doctoral program!

doctorate degree online no dissertation

In the past, the majority of doctoral programs always 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 process: a capstone project.

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Universities Offering No Dissertation Online Doctorate Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

University Featured Image tbl-programs Location mdgtbl-description

Arizona State University

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

Bay Path University

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONMassachusetts
ACCREDITATIONNECHE
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

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

Capella University

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

East Tennessee State University

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

Eastern Kentucky University

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

Gannon University

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

Georgia College & State University

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONSTATE
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
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

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

Johns Hopkins University

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

Liberty University

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONVirginia
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
  • Online DBA Programs – they offer applied research projects.

Loma Linda University

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

Morehead State University

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

National University

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONCalifornia
ACCREDITATIONWSCUC
National University 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.

Nebraska Methodist College

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

New York University

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

Quinnipiac University

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

Temple University

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

Texas Woman’s University

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONTexas
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
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

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

University of Southern California

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONCalifornia
ACCREDITATIONWSCUC
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

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONMississippi
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
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

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

University of Western States

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

Utica College

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

Vanderbilt University

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONTennessee
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
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

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONVirginia
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
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

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONMinnesota
ACCREDITATIONHLC
Walden has been accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1990.

Online Programs:

  • Online DBA
  • Online PsyD – Behavioral Health
  • Online EdD

West Virginia University

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONWest Virginia
ACCREDITATIONHLC
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 and the massive amount of dissertation research that goes along with it!

List of Doctorate Degrees without Dissertation Requirements

Here is 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 of study to jump to that section:

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.

Accounting

Accounting DBA no dissertation

The Doctor of Business Administration offers specializations in accounting and focuses on domestic and international managerial accounting.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), financial managers are in high demand with a mean salary of $134,180.

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In addition, the need for financial managers in leadership positions is growing by 17% over the next ten years. And if you’re interested in academia, the need for business educators is growing at the rate of 6% over the next ten years.

Business Administration

Business professionals walking

A Doctor of Business Administration is the highest academic degree program 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 involving the dissertation process and associated research. Instead, you complete a capstone project or doctoral study project. These projects provide real-world learning and leadership opportunities.

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

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

Below are a few common DBA concentrations available without a dissertation.

  • Accounting
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance
  • General Business
  • Healthcare Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Information Systems Management
  • International Business
  • Leadership
  • Marketing
  • Project Management
  • Supply Chain Management

Whether you work full time as a business consultant or manager, as an entrepreneur, as a school administrator or in government, programs like this may help you take your education – and your career in business – to the next level.

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.

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The Doctor of Information Technology and the Doctor of Business Administration are applied doctorate degree programs.

These online doctorate programs can prepare you for top-level positions such as IT strategist, IS manager, chief information officer, or even college faculty member.

Criminal Justice

doctorate in criminal justice

Earning your doctorate in criminal justice gives you the tools needed to analyze and operate in the social sciences in areas such as law and society, crime, policing, homeland security, and criminal behavior.

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Criminal Justice programs are often offered as follows:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Criminal Justice
  • Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in Criminal Justice
  • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in Criminal Justice
  • Doctor of Management (DM) in Criminal Justice
  • Doctor of Criminal Justice (DCJ)

Of these five degree program types, the PhD in Criminal Justice is the most common. However, the other four types of doctorates are professional doctorates and are more likely to require a capstone project instead of a dissertation.

Education

Online Doctoral Programs in Education Without Dissertation

Having an advanced level degree in education can really set you apart and open new doors. That’s where Doctor of Education programs come into play.

More and more universities are now offering online doctoral programs in education 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!

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Unlike a PhD in Education which is heavily focused on research, a Doctor of Education (EdD) program is more focused on the real world practical application of knowledge.

With the creation of the Carnegie Project for the Education Doctorate (CPED) which looks at EdD curriculum and its development, an increasing number of universities are adopting a more practical approach in their curriculum.

For this reason, Doctor of Education programs are starting to offer capstone projects (or similar applications) as an alternative to the lengthy, research-intensive dissertation process.

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

A Ph.D. in Education is ideal for someone interested in academic and/or research positions in higher education, or in a corporate, military or government position, but typically requires a traditional dissertation.

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) programs, however, focus more on developments in the field and prepare you to work in a classroom or for a school district. Quite a few schools now offer online Ed.D. programs without dissertation requirements.

The 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 process.

Southern Mississippi No Dissertation Doctorate

Be sure to select one of the doctorate degree without dissertation programs that will work with your lifestyle and commitments, and help you achieve your long-term career goals.

Finance

Financial managers downtown

The Doctor of Business Administration offers specializations in finance and focuses on international finance, entrepreneurial finance, law, and compliance.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), financial managers are in high demand with a mean salary of $134,180.

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In addition, the need for financial managers is growing by 17% over the next ten years. And if you’re interested in academia, the need for business educators is growing at the rate of 6% over the next ten years.

Healthcare Administration

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.

DBA in Healthcare Management degree programs will prepare you for senior-level leadership positions in the healthcare field.

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Explore cutting-edge strategies in leadership and decision-making while gaining a deep understanding of both theory and practice.

Homeland Security

Criminal justice bachelors programs

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

The Doctor of Business Administration with a specialization in Homeland Security addresses global terrorism, risk analysis, policy challenges, organizational leadership, and emerging trends.

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Courses include an in-depth look into homeland security policies, homeland security business planning, and business infrastructure vulnerability analysis, among others.

Management

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.

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.

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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for management professionals is $109,760, which is the highest wage of all major occupation groups.

Nursing

DNP students

Instead of following a traditional dissertation process in your studies, you will complete a DNP practicum.

Nurses participating in the DNP program will learn to take evidence-based research and put it into practice to improve patient outcomes.

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

  • Online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Leadership and innovation are also areas of focus to help encourage innovation and positive change in the healthcare system.

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.

Doctor of Public Administration degree programs can help prepare you for a career in academia or to work in the public, private, or non-profit sectors.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows high-demand in the field. For example, the need for social and community service managers will grow by 15% in the next ten years.

Public Health

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.

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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.

Psychology

Online PsyD without dissertation

The Doctor of Psychology is a professional degree program 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

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

What is a Doctoral Dissertation?

A doctoral dissertation, the culmination of most doctoral degree 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 daunting, demanding, and often requires years of research, 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.

Quite often, students work diligently through the coursework of their doctoral program, but fall short when it comes to completing the required dissertation. According to the Council of Graduate Schools, 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 that entails extensive research — and life, family, careers and other obligations sometimes get in the way.

For example, the Dissertation Completion Pathway (DCP) offered by National 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 fieldwork, or perhaps you might do some consulting work at a functioning business. However, it most cases, it will require considerably less independent research than what is required for a dissertation.

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 guide on accelerated online doctoral programs for a deeper look.

Is Financial Aid Available for Online PhD Programs?

Financial Aid for Online PhD Programs

Looking to manage the costs of an online PhD program? You’ve got options.

First up, the FAFSA – it’s not just for undergrads and can open doors to federal grants and loans. Don’t overlook state financial aid either; many states offer loan programs that might be more budget-friendly than private loans, helping to reduce the cost of repayment.

Also, keep an eye out for scholarships and grants tailored for online doctoral students. These can take into account your academic achievements and work experience.

Many universities now offer affordable online programs, designed to provide quality education without the hefty price tag of traditional on-campus degrees. For more specific details and info about reducing these costs, the financial aid office at your university is a great resource. They can guide you through the maze of options and help you find the best fit for your financial situation.

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 get more info on 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 that take your work experience into account.

You can generally also get more info from the financial aid office at the university or college 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 in the next section.

Are There Any PhD Programs Without Dissertation Requirements?

Yes, there are quite a few doctoral programs without dissertation requirements, but PhD programs without dissertation requirements are few and far between. In these cases, 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. This is true for both campus-based PhD programs and online PhD programs.

Let’s look at one of National 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 Requirements?

EdD Programs Without dissertation

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

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 through extensive research and an associated dissertation research paper.

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 online doctorate degrees with no dissertation being offered from accredited universities. The most common doctoral degree programs 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 doctorate program courses successfully. You will also need your capstone project to be approved in a timely manner. Again, in order to complete your doctorate in less than 18 months, you’ll need to enroll in a PhD without thesis or dissertation requirement.

Are There Any PhD Without Dissertation Programs Online?

PhD Without Dissertation Programs Online

Yes, a number of universities offer online doctoral degree programs without dissertation to help working professionals juggle full time jobs with their studies. 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 usually be a research 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.

A growing number of universities allow you to complete your program as a full time, working professional from the comfort of your own home!

Ready to start your journey?