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The Ultimate Guide to Online Doctoral Degrees

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Plenty of people realize that now that they don’t have to spend any time commuting – instead working from home – an extra hour or more is now available. Instead of filling it with mindless TV or social media scrolling, it’s so much wiser to pursue one of the best online PhD programs.

Recommended Online Doctoral Programs

Contact schools for more information on enrollment, tuition, and aid

Why Should I Get an Online Doctorate?

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There were already a plethora of best online PhD programs to choose from before the pandemic hit, and now schools are converting their programs to virtual format even more. It’s the perfect time to apply to online doctorate programs to further your career. Online programs for PhD candidates are effective and convenient, allowing students to balance the demands of their professional and personal lives well. Now, there are over 205 accredited US institutions offering more than 1,000 online doctorate programs, and more are being accredited now as the pandemic continues and enrollement demand increases.

Online doctoral programs are frequently solid investments because they lead to salary increases, elgibility for new positions, and an edge on the competition as people climb their way up workplace totem poles. High quality online doctoral programs can be completed in the comfort of you own home, even in your pajamas. Distance learning PhD programs offer access to the same quality of professors, opportunities to network with other students and alumni, and often cost less than in-person programs. Plus there is zero risk of contracting COVID-19 when attending distance learning PhD programs – win-win!

When choosing schools to apply to, accreditation is essential. Accredited online PhD programs enable graduates to be recognized for their achievement and skills in workplaces around the world. Looking for distance learning PhD programs at major universities? Johns Hopkins University, University of Southern California, George Washington University, and other distance learning PhD programs at major universities provide the WOW factor many students are looking for when considering various programs.

How Long Does an Online Doctorate Take?

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So many people have very busy lives, big goals they’re striving to attain, and no time to wait around. These people are go-getters who want to maximize their time as much as possible. So a natural question to ask when pondering starting a PhD program is, how long does an online doctorate take? Well, it depends on the specific program, specialty, and the student’s chosen pace as well. Plenty of people have heard horror stories of it taking a decade or more to earn a doctoral degree, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Many students are able to finish their doctoral degrees in around 5-7 years. Accelerated programs can take between 3-5 years.

The good news is that when people pursue online doctorate programs, they can achieve their degrees at a pace that make sense for them – following an accelerated program to attain their degree faster or taking their time more while holding down a full-time job and/or family responsibilities. With an online PhD program, there are so many choices that can be made according to one’s personal preferences. Online programs are perfectly flexible to meet the requirements of just about any serious PhD candidate.

While the timelines listed above are typical, there are some 1 year online doctoral programs that students often find are worthwhile. Georgetown University offers 1 year online doctoral programs in nursing. It’s the shortest doctoral program online available now. Wilkes University offers a 2 year program, which is one of the most sought-after accelerated doctoral programs online. Many people find that accelerated doctoral programs online enable them to take their careers to new heights without requiring as many years of time and effort. The shortest doctoral programs, and longer ones, too, often prove to be worthwhile investments in terms of time, effort, and financial resources.

What is the easiest doctorate degree? This is a natural question to ask, but there are no easy answers. Doctoral degrees are not easy to achieve by any stretch of the imagination, but they are made easier when students have real passion for their chosen field of study. So what is the easiest doctorate degree, you ask? Whichever one interests you the most! All doctoral degrees require hard work and dedication, but the time will pass more comfortably when students have a real passion for their chosen subject and specialty.

Quickest PhD programs ever can be found through accelerated programs. Online courses of study are wise options for those who are in a hurry because often, students can proceed with coursework at their own pace. Quickest PhD programs vary in terms of the time they take to complete, but those who are especially intense about furthering their career with the highest degree can complete them in record time when they dedicate as much of their time as possible to their completion. In accelerated programs, students can achieve their degrees as soon as possible so they can start applying to competitive jobs that require PhD degrees that much sooner. Just make sure any school you apply to has been nationally and regionally accredited to ensure it has high education standards and will be recognized throughout the US and abroad.

Recommended Online Doctoral Programs

Contact schools for more information on enrollment, tuition, and aid

Do I Need a Master’s to Get an Online PhD?

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A frequently asked question is, “do I need a master’s to get an online PhD? The answer is: not necessarily. Yes, many PhD programs require applicants to have master’s degrees already, but some don’t. No GRE PhD programs include those from Walden University, Capella University, Northcentral University, and others. Do I need a master’s to get an online PhD? While it is recommended to first have a master’s degree, it’s not always a requirement. No GRE PhD programs exist and many students have found them to be worthwhile to further their careers in a shorter period of time. It makes sense that many students are interested in getting their academic education done as fast as possible so that they can move on to higher-paying, more fulfilling jobs that much sooner.

Everyone knows that often, the most rigorous part of earning a PhD is researching, writing, and defending a dissertation. But is it possible to get a doctorate degree online no dissertation? That would certainly reduce the stress of a PhD program. The short answer is that yes, there are various programs available, such as Ed. D. PhD programs listed here, that don’t require students to complete dissertations. Doctorate degree online no dissertation programs do exist, but students must proceed with caution, and make sure they are properly accredited before applying.

The commonly accepted course of study is to achieve bachelors, masters, and then a PhD degree. But there are universities offering PhD without masters programs. Northeastern University, Walden University, the University of Bridgetport, and others are universities offering PhD without masters. There are also dual Masters and PhD degree programs for students who want to maximize their time and effort. These are rigorous programs that require an intense time committment, but students graduate with both masters and doctoral degrees much sooner than they would if they were to pursue the degree programs separately. There are often also significant cost savings when masters and doctoral degrees are achieved simultaneously.

PhD programs without GRE or GMAT aren’t very common, but they do exist. Northcentral University offers various accredited PhD programs without GRE or GMAT requirements. Depending on your area of interest and specialty, you may want to consider applying. Many people assume that they’ll need to follow the traditional path of obtaining a master’s degree before pursuing a PhD, but that’s not always required. PhD programs without masters degree programs exist and often save candidates plenty of time, effort, and money. Pursuing a master’s degree first is the usual path, but many people choose to chart their own path by applying to PhD programs without masters degree.

How Much Does an Online Doctorate Cost?

Before applying to various PhD programs, it’s wise to consider how much of a financial investment any particular program will be. If finances are tight, many students are thrilled to find out that there are affordable online doctoral programs, and even free online doctorate programs available for those who qualify. For instance, this website lists various free PhD programs online from reputable universities in the counseling field. Free online doctorate programs include that of New York University, University of Georgia, and Boston College. Affordable online doctoral programs do exist – prospective students just have to do a little digging in order to find them. Ranked in the top 3 of the best free PhD programs online are Lehigh University, New York University, and Columbia University of the City of New York. Frugal-minded students would be wise to consider these fully funded online PhD programs to take their careers to levels they might have only imagined before. With a degree from one of the accredited, fully funded online PhD programs, graduates will be well-equipped to excel in their professional lives without being weighed down by student loan debt. It’s a win-win!

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Many people shy away from the idea of completing a free PhD degree program. They may be concerned that they’ll get what they pay for, as the refrain goes. However, frugality doesn’t need to be completely left in the dust. There are plenty of low cost online accredited doctorate programs to choose from. Liberty University offers fully virtual, low cost online accredited doctorate programs. Affordable online PhD programs are surprisingly easy to find – check out this excellent list of the cheapest online PhD programs. All of these programs offer tuition rates of less than $14,000 per year. Amridge University offers 8 doctoral degree programs, including Doctor of Education in Higher Education Administration and a Doctor of Ministry. Affordable online PhD programs often prove to be smart investments that turn out to be best ROI graduate degrees. Figuring out the best ROI graduate degrees isn’t just a matter of checking prices. Students should also make sure they get the most out of any degree program in terms of career advancement, and time and effort expended, before selecting which of the cheapest online PhD programs would be best for them to pursue.

What Fields are Best for an Online Doctorate?

Those considering how to take their careers to the next level often think about and research answers to the question, “what fields are best for an online doctorate?” It’s natural to want to make sure any course of study will provide tangible benefits before expending considerable time, energy, and effort pursuing it. There are so many doctorate fields to choose from, and it really depends on each individual’s interests. So the question, what fields are best for an online doctorate, doesn’t have an easy answer. It really just depends!


Online PhD programs in psychology can be easily found. Many are regionally and nationally accredited, giving prospective student peace of mind that their degrees will be recognized just about everywhere in the US and abroad. Northcentral University, The Chicago School, Grand Canyon University, and many other programs offer online PhD programs in psychology. There’s no reason to stop working or neglect family responsibilities when considering pursuing an online doctorate in psychology – just apply to a reputable program and squeeze your studies in whenever you can.

You can accomplish an online doctorate in psychology without sacrificing your income. It will require tremendous dedication, but you’ll be able to finish one of the online PhD programs in psychology in your PJs, at the pace that makes sense for you. Start researching online doctoral programs in psychology and pick a few to apply to today. The first step towards greatness and academic accomplishment can be taken right now – start researching which online doctoral programs in psychology match your interests, look into financial considerations, and get going towards a better future now.


A comprehensive list of most popular online PhD programs in business administration can be found here. Business administration is one of the most sought-after online doctorate in business degrees. This list includes online PhD programs in business administration from schools such as Liberty University, Florida National University, California Baptist University, Creighton University, and Saint Leo University. Those wishing to pursue an online doctorate in business would be wise to look over this list and research their options before applying.


Online doctorate in education are ideal choices for students who wish to continue working full time and/or raising a family while seeking academic excellence. Online PhD programs in education aren’t very hard to track down, but prospective students should make sure any program they’re applying to is properly accredited by national and regional organizations in order to ensure high caliber programs. American University, Walden University, Vanderbilt University, Northeastern University, and many other schools offer ideal online doctoral programs in education.

Achieving an online doctorate in education doesn’t have to involve heavy student loans – properly researching any online doctoral programs in education and making sure they are affordable and worth the investment of time, energy, and money will ensure you’ll be set up for success post-graduation and beyond.


Thinking about applying to online PhD programs in leadership? Now is the perfect time to take your career in the public or private sector to the next level. There are various online doctorate in leadership programs available. The first criteria prospective students should check is that they are nationally and regionally accredited. Ashford University, Maryville University, Baylor University and other schools are ideal choices for pursuing online PhD programs in leadership.


There’s no doubt that for those with a passion for history, online PhD programs in history abound. But which one is right for you? Thankfully there are many solid options to choose from. Choices of schools for online PhD programs in history include reputable schools such as Walden University, Northcentral University, University of the Southwest. Specialty options can include medieval European history, Egyptian history, Latin American history, womens history, and more. Online doctoral programs in history provide an opportunity specialize and really become an expert in one’s chosen field of study – all without leaving the comfort of one’s own home!

Public Health

During the pandemic is the perfect time to start investing in oneself and furthering one’s career aspirations. An online doctorate in public health is a wise choice for anyone wishing to maximize future career possibilities in the health care field. The COVID-19 crisis is a salient reminder that the demand for savvy, knowledgeable healthcare professionals continues to grow as populations increase and diversify. An online doctorate in public health is a smart investment that serves graduates for decades to come.

A list of top schools with online doctoral programs in public health can be found here. Students who specialize in statistics and data analytics are especially well-qualified for excellent jobs, where they will be able to serve strained healthcare systems and make competitive salaries upon graduation. Online doctoral programs in public health help people gain the skills needed to further their health administration careers and get the most out of their professional lives. Apply to a few programs today!

Criminal Justice

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Thinking about potentially pursuing an online doctorate in criminal justice? While so many of us are stuck at home, social distancing and watching Netflix, this the perfect time to utilize this extra time to advance one’s career prospects. With an online doctorate in criminal justice from an accredited online university, graduates are well-equipped to apply to competitive jobs throughout the US and internationally. A handy list of top online doctorate in criminal justice programs can be accessed here. Options include the California University of Pennsylvania, Nova Southeastern University, Walden University, and Northcentral University. Start researching schools and narrowing down options today to get ready for a better professional future.

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