An online PhD or professional doctorate is the real deal. Working professionals who want to earn the highest degree in their field – along with the expertise, respect, and career advancement that comes with it – no longer have to take time away from their career to go back to school. They don’t even have to spend their evenings commuting to night classes, or lose their weekends to intensive courses. The revolution in online learning over the last decade means that many of the most prestigious, reputable, and influential universities in the nation offer fully online doctoral programs in a wide variety of fields.
You may not be able to get your MD fully online, but you can get an online Doctor of Public Health from the University of North Carolina’s Gilling School, the highest-ranked public school of public health. You can get doctorates in engineering, computer science, social work, education, psychology, and more – the list goes on and on. Building on your experience as a working professional, and using cutting-edge technology, you can complete an online doctorate in just a year or two in some cases, often without ever having to go to campus. Not from fly-by-night diploma mills, but from trusted institutions with vast reach and job market advantages.
Ranking the Best Online Doctoral Program: College Consensus Methodology
To rank the best online doctoral programs, College Consensus editors turned to the best tool we have: the Consensus itself. We researched Consensus-ranked institutions offering at least one fully online doctoral program, then ranked them according to their Consensus Score. With the Consensus method, we offer students a ranking based on a wide range of expert opinion and student reviews.
University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia, PA
University of Michigan-Ann ArborAnn Arbor, MI
Columbia University in the City of New YorkNew York, NY
University of Virginia-Main CampusCharlottesville, VA
University of California-BerkeleyBerkeley, CA
University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel Hill, NC
University of FloridaGainesville, FL
University of Wisconsin-MadisonMadison, WI
Purdue University-Main CampusWest Lafayette, IN
University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaign, IL
Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimore, MD
University of Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles, CA
Texas A & M University-College StationCollege Station, TX
Carnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburgh, PA
Lehigh UniversityBethlehem, PA
California State University-Channel IslandsCamarillo, CA
University of GeorgiaAthens, GA
North Carolina State University at RaleighRaleigh, NC
Ohio State University-Main CampusColumbus, OH
Appalachian State UniversityBoone, NC
University of Minnesota-Twin CitiesMinneapolis, MN
Florida State UniversityTallahassee, FL
George Washington UniversityWashington, DC
Boston UniversityBoston, MA
Rutgers University-New BrunswickNew Brunswick, NJ
Indiana University-BloomingtonBloomington, IN
New Mexico Institute of Mining and TechnologySocorro, NM
University of Illinois at ChicagoChicago, IL
Southern Methodist UniversityDallas, TX
New York UniversityNew York, NY
University of IowaIowa City, IA
University of ArizonaTucson, AZ
Goshen CollegeGoshen, IN
Villanova UniversityVillanova, PA
California State University-FresnoFresno, CA
University of Massachusetts-AmherstAmherst, MA
Clemson UniversityClemson, SC
Stony Brook UniversityStony Brook, NY
Saint Mary's CollegeNotre Dame, IN
Iowa State UniversityAmes, IA
Colorado School of MinesGolden, CO
American UniversityWashington, DC
Syracuse UniversitySyracuse, NY
Worcester Polytechnic InstituteWorcester, MA
Howard UniversityWashington, DC
Radford UniversityRadford, VA
University of Central FloridaOrlando, FL
La Salle UniversityPhiladelphia, PA
West Chester University of PennsylvaniaWest Chester, PA
Towson UniversityTowson, MD
Michigan Technological UniversityHoughton, MI
Webster UniversitySaint Louis, MO
Winona State UniversityWinona, MN
University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh CampusPittsburgh, PA
Rutgers University-NewarkNewark, NJ
University at BuffaloBuffalo, NY
University of UtahSalt Lake City, UT
Illinois State UniversityNormal, IL
Colorado State University-Fort CollinsFort Collins, CO
Baylor UniversityWaco, TX
University of Minnesota-DuluthDuluth, MN
The University of West FloridaPensacola, FL
Saint Louis UniversitySaint Louis, MO
Notre Dame of Maryland UniversityBaltimore, MD
Bradley UniversityPeoria, IL
University of South Florida-Main CampusTampa, FL
University of DenverDenver, CO
Gonzaga UniversitySpokane, WA
Concordia University-Saint PaulSaint Paul, MN
Fordham UniversityBronx, NY
SUNY at AlbanyAlbany, NY
Florida International UniversityMiami, FL
University of KansasLawrence, KS
Texas Christian UniversityFort Worth, TX
Auburn UniversityAuburn, AL
Drexel UniversityPhiladelphia, PA
University of DaytonDayton, OH
Creighton UniversityOmaha, NE
University of Missouri-ColumbiaColumbia, MO
Oregon State UniversityCorvallis, OR
East Carolina UniversityGreenville, NC
Lewis UniversityRomeoville, IL
The University of Tennessee-KnoxvilleKnoxville, TN
University of Nebraska-LincolnLincoln, NE
Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical CollegeBaton Rouge, LA
Temple UniversityPhiladelphia, PA
University of Wisconsin-StoutMenomonie, WI
University of South Carolina-ColumbiaColumbia, SC
Holy Family UniversityPhiladelphia, PA
DePaul UniversityChicago, IL
University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical CampusDenver, CO
Texas Tech UniversityLubbock, TX
University of Alabama at BirminghamBirmingham, AL
Azusa Pacific UniversityAzusa, CA
Bethel University (MN)Saint Paul, MN
University of North Carolina WilmingtonWilmington, NC
Duquesne UniversityPittsburgh, PA
Bellarmine UniversityLouisville, KY
Quinnipiac UniversityHamden, CT
Are Online Doctoral Programs Respected?
When professionals think of pursuing their doctorate degrees, what comes to their mind is “are online PhDs respected?”All online programs are respected as long as they are from institutions that are accredited by relevant bodies, and online doctoral programs are no exemption. Most people who want to pursue a doctoral degree are busy professionals who are not able to accommodate a traditional course of study. The best online PhD programs are offered in regionally accredited institutions. An independent body such as WSCUC reviews the degree programs offered in the institution and judges them on different factors before giving accreditation.
Accredited online PhD programs are available in many U.S. universities, both public and private. Online PhDs are just as challenging as traditional PhDs. Students that choose to pursue a doctorate degree online are self-motivated and enjoy the freedom of choosing how long they want to take to finish their doctorate. This aspect of online education helps students prove to their employers or prospective employers that they are disciplined and self-driven. Actually, 79% of organizations see the value of online degrees and say that they had hired an applicant with an online degree in the last year according to research by Society for Human Resources Management.
How Long Do Online Doctorate Programs Take?
Enrolling in a doctorate program is a big commitment and a huge step towards advancing one’s career and achieving excellence in any field. The length of time it takes to complete an online doctorate program depends on the type of program and how many credits it requires to complete. Most traditional PhD programs take between four to seven years but students are allowed up to ten years to complete.
Online programs give students the flexibility to pursue their doctorate at their own pace. There are accelerated doctoral programs online that take as short as one year to complete. The length also depends on whether you have a master’s degree or you are pursuing a direct entry PhD. A master’s degree may allow students to transfer some credits to their doctorate. On the other hand, direct entry programs may require students to take extra credits. The shortest doctoral programs online are found in public service, law, government, engineering, education, and arts programs.
The quickest PhD ever is a PhD in philosophy. As long as one already has some publications, one can become a doctor of philosophy in less than a year. One can also pursue 1-year doctoral programs online in other fields of study as long as they are ready to spend enough time studying and researching.
Do I Have to Write a Dissertation for an Online PhD?
As much as getting a doctoral degree has many benefits, the work that goes into achieving it requires much dedication. There are many roadblocks on the road to achieving your PhD, including family responsibilities, work, time, and money. Many professionals looking to further their educations are always asking, “What is the easiest doctorate degree?” Well, there are no dissertation PhD programs. Accelerated PhD programs do not require a dissertation to graduate and take one year to complete. One-year doctorate programs are available in select universities across the country but are more intensive and require students to study full time. Some of the programs that do not require a dissertation include Doctor of Management (DM), Juris doctorates, law degree (JD), Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), and Doctor of Education (EdD).
The most common doctorate degree online no dissertation is the Doctorate in Leadership. This is a doctorate that applies in many disciplines including Organizational Leadership, Leadership and Management, and Higher Education Leadership. Traditional doctoral programs use dissertations to assess the student’s knowledge in the field. Universities that offer accelerated doctoral programs understand that it is not the only way to assess the student’s knowledge in the field and they use other parameters such as doctoral capstone projects. Students that already have published books and journals can also take their doctoral degree programs without a dissertation.
Are There Any PhD Programs Without GRE or GMAT Requirements?
The online no GRE PhD programs are gaining popularity in many universities. These universities instead use the student’s professional experience, academic merits, and their motivation among other factors to admit them to their graduate programs. The GRE can be a big hurdle for students who want to pursue their PhD programs but do not have the time and money to invest in studying for the standardized exams. There are a number of PhD programs that do not require GRE online and others that the GRE can be waived under special circumstances.
Do I Need a Master’s Degree to Enroll in an Online Doctoral Program?
There are a number of PhD programs without requiring a master’s degree in many universities in the U.S. Some accept students with undergraduate degrees into their doctoral programs and award them the master’s degree during the course after a certain amount of coursework has been completed. Others have specific stipulations for students applying for their doctoral programs without a master’s degree. For example, many universities will allow registered nurses to pursue their doctoral degrees if they pass an interview. There are universities that will confer a master’s degree once a student is admitted to the doctoral program. Universities offering PhD without a master’s admit exceptional students with outstanding grades and sometimes at least two years of professional experience.