Updated at: 10-04-2023 - By: Eden Wise


A doctorate degree opens doors to higher-level management and leadership roles. Full-time study with dissertation requirements may not be feasible for a working professional who must also tend to family and other personal responsibilities. Time spent on dissertations alone can add another year or two to the typical three to seven-year PhD timeline.

What if, however, a PhD program did not involve writing a dissertation or taking a long time to complete?

While earning a PhD online may provide greater flexibility, it will still take many years of dedicated study.

The good news is that you can earn a doctorate without a dissertation in just 18 months at a number of different universities. Is it possible to find a PhD program with no dissertation requirements? Hmm, let’s find out.

The best universities and doctoral programs that don’t require a dissertation are listed below.

Doctorate Programs Without Dissertation

Doctorate programs without dissertation

Online DBA Without Dissertation – Doctor of Business Administration

The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is the terminal degree for business professionals working in industry, government, or higher education.

Several online DBA tracks don’t necessitate a dissertation or extensive study outside of the course material. A dissertation or capstone project is what you’ll be working on instead. Opportunities for leadership and learning in the real world can be found in these projects.

Online Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) programs combine business theory and practice to develop students’ analytical and leadership abilities. The focus of your dissertation or thesis work at the doctoral level will reflect the area of expertise you intend to pursue after graduation.

You can tailor your education to your interests and career goals with most online DBA programs’ concentration options.

Online PhD without dissertation programs like this are ideal for anyone looking to advance their business education and career, whether they currently work as a full-time consultant, manager, entrepreneur, school administrator, or government employee.

Online Doctoral Programs in Education without Dissertation

Online Doctoral Programs in Education without Dissertation

An advanced degree in education can make you stand out and give you access to more opportunities. This is where Ph.D. programs in education come in.

With the proliferation of online doctoral programs in education that do not mandate a dissertation, it may be possible to finish your degree sooner, without sacrificing other responsibilities, and without writing that massive research paper.

A Doctor of Education (EdD) program, in contrast to a PhD in Education, places greater emphasis on the practical application of academic knowledge. Many schools are including more real-world experience in their EdD programs as a result of the Carnegie Project for the Education Doctorate (CPED), which studies the evolution of the EdD program.

As an alternative to the time-consuming and research-intensive dissertation process, some Doctor of Education programs are incorporating capstone projects (or equivalent applications) into the curriculum.

Online Public Health Doctoral Programs

Professionals in the field of public health are the target audience for the Doctor of Public Health degree.

Advocacy, marketing, communications, and leadership are all part of this broad field.

Epidemiology and biostatistics are just two of the many available specializations.

Job titles like “health officer,” “health policy advisor,” and “community health director” are just a few examples.

Post Master’s DNP in Nursing

Nursing professionals with an MSN degree can enroll in a specialty-specific Post-Master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at Florida National University can be finished in 15 or 18 months and calls for a total of 30 credits. This Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program is offered in a total of eight sub-fields.

Post Master’s Nurse Executive (DNP)

Post Master’s Nurse Executive (DNP)

Students seeking this Doctor of Nursing Practice degree must complete all 37 to 47 credit hours of required DNP coursework as well as 1000 hours of supervised clinical practice.

Nurses aspiring to administrative and executive positions will benefit from ODU’s post-master’s Nurse executive program.

Post Master’s Advanced Practice (DNP)

Nurses who want to reach the highest level of education possible in their field can do so through the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.

A total of 37 credits, including a capstone project grounded in evidence and clinical practicum requirements, must be completed successfully for students to earn the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.

PhD in Theological Studies

The Doctor of Philosophy in Theological Studies is for those who want to further their education and expertise in the field of theology so that they can teach, conduct research, and advance knowledge in a particular subfield.

A minimum of 44 credits, including supervised internships worth 4 credits, are required for this PhD.

DBA in General Management

DBA in General Management

Earning a doctorate in general management can put you in a position of authority.

This degree can be completed in 45 FlexPath credits or 90 GuidedPath credits. Students must take eight required courses, five electives, and a capstone to earn this degree.

Dissertation-free Online Doctoral Programs in Education

One way to set yourself apart and open doors is to earn a master’s degree in education. Help in this area can be found in doctoral education programs.

With the proliferation of online Education Doctorate programs that do not require a dissertation, you may be able to complete your degree more quickly without sacrificing your current responsibilities.

While a PhD in education focuses primarily on research, a doctor of education (EdD) program emphasizes how theoretical concepts can be put into practice in the real world.

Online Healthcare Administration Doctoral Programs

Online Doctor of Health Administration degree programs are available without the traditional dissertation requirement. Professional management, human resource development, and organizational leadership are some of the topics covered in depth by the DBA with a healthcare management concentration.

A Doctor of Business Administration in Healthcare Management can prepare you for executive positions in the healthcare sector.

Healthcare Administration Web-Based

Learn the latest in effective leadership and decision-making from the ground up as you explore the theory behind it all.


A doctorate in science can also be obtained without taking any additional classes or writing a dissertation. The doctorate awarded upon completion of such a graduate program is typically referred to as a “degree in science” or “science doctorate” (among other names). You can earn your Ph.D. in science by taking classes in a variety of disciplines without having to write a dissertation. Students enrolled in such courses are not typically expected to finish them entirely through online instruction.

Doctoral programs in the sciences offered by universities are a common way to motivate aspiring scientists to complete their education and enter the workforce. It’s possible that some of these courses put more of an emphasis on research, while others may be designed more with job-readiness in mind.

It’s important to look for a university that offers the specific doctoral program you’re interested in pursuing. Even if you don’t end up attending one of these institutions, they may be able to provide guidance so that you aren’t in this alone.

Prospective students can get a sense of the range of degree options at a given institution by looking at the information provided by the institution about the programs it offers.


You can earn your law degree without having to do any extra work like writing a dissertation. An internship or practicum is typically required by law schools before graduation, and the average time to complete the program is 18 months.

There is a higher course load associated with a legal education compared to other academic disciplines. Although the focus may be on legal studies, it is not uncommon for students to supplement their legal education with coursework from other disciplines.

Liberal Arts

Doctoral programs in the liberal arts can be completed in 18 months without the need for a dissertation. Schools with the goal of imparting specialist expertise to their graduates may confer the doctoral degree under the title “Doctor of Philosophy in the Arts and Sciences.”

Although these degrees can be earned without submitting a dissertation, the vast majority of students will be expected to write one. Compared to other types of doctorates, such as those in business or medicine, these students may have to take on additional coursework.

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in General Management

Capella University’s Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in General Management online program is designed to equip students with the knowledge and expertise necessary to effectively manage, organize, and structure modern businesses. Students can select the most appropriate learning format for them from two options: the flexible FlexPath and the more structured GuidedPath.

The total number of required program credits for FlexPath is 45, while for GuidedPath it’s 90. The program’s total price also depends on the chosen mode of instruction.

Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy (T-DPT) Program

It typically takes students 2 years to complete a transitional DPT, and courses may be taken entirely online or in a hybrid format. However, this tDPT program at the College of Scholastica is shorter than others. Students have between 18 and 24 months to finish the program, and there is no dissertation required.

Physical therapists who are already licensed but wish to advance their education and earn a doctorate may enroll in this program. Since it is available online, you can continue working while pursuing this degree.

Online Doctor of Nursing Practice

Online Doctor of Nursing Practice

There is no dissertation component to this fast-track doctoral program that can be completed in just 20 months. Maryville University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) online program is for working nurses who want to further their careers by obtaining the gold standard of nursing education.

You can complete the clinical hours wherever you like, as this program is entirely virtual. It prepares you for careers as a professor of nursing, director of nursing services, chief nursing officer, chief executive officer of a hospital, manager of medical and health services, or analyst of public health policy. These upper-level positions typically command salaries between $90,000 and $135,000.


What is a Doctoral Dissertation?

At the end of most Ph.D. programs, students write a lengthy dissertation in which they apply what they’ve learned to the creation and discussion of an original concept, theory, or practice that will contribute to the field’s advancement.

A dissertation is not a piece of cake to write. Students spend over a year researching, experimenting, and writing up their findings in these massive documents.

To help students demonstrate their knowledge and make meaningful contributions to their field without completing a traditional dissertation, many universities have developed alternatives to the traditional dissertation.

Is a Dissertation Required for a PhD?

True, not always. A dissertation used to be necessary to earn a PhD, but recently many universities have begun offering online PhD programs that don’t necessitate a thesis or dissertation.

A capstone project is an alternative way for students to show their mastery of the material and make significant contributions to the field. This could involve writing a research paper in tandem with actual fieldwork, or it could involve consulting for a real company. In most cases, though, you won’t need to do as much independent research as you would for a dissertation.

Different institutions and courses have different requirements for capstone projects.

What are the differences between a Thesis and Dissertation?

Thesis is different from dissertation in that it builds on previous studies. In contrast, dissertations are founded on new and extensive research. Thesis writing is typically required for master’s degrees while dissertations are more common in doctoral programs.

What are the requirements needed to enroll in doctoral programs?

The following are typical prerequisites for university admission: Include a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in the relevant field in your resume/CV. Current GMAT/GRE scores Recommendation Letters and Personal Statement


Master’s and doctoral programs typically require a thesis or dissertation. However, there are dissertation-optional PhD programs available.

It may be challenging to find doctoral programs that do not require a dissertation. Because of this, we’ve compiled a list of some of the simplest doctoral degree plans that don’t require a dissertation.

This concludes our look at the dissertation-optional doctoral degree programs with the least amount of work required. Put your inquiry in the “Comment” box if you have one.