Top 25 Fastest Online Doctorate Degrees

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A Doctor of Philosophy, known by the initials Ph.D. or PhD, has nothing to do with philosophy. It has much to do with academia and research. Except for some fields, such as creative writing and other artistic disciplines, a Master of Fine Arts may suffice to teach at the college level. If you want a tenure-track position, your chances increase with a Ph.D. Some schools boast on their website the percentage of faculty who has terminal degrees. A high portion of doctorates adds prestige to the program and may lure more students.

Individuals who plan to conduct research pursue a doctoral degree in their specialty. Whether your passion lies in accounting or oceanography, a doctorate demonstrates that you have attained the pinnacle in your profession. However, the number of doctorates awarded in science and engineering (S&E) exceeded non-S&E doctorates, according to 2105 data (National Science Foundation 2017).

The path to a Ph.D. can be a long and expensive proposition. The typical time-frame ranges from four to eight years. You must pass comprehensive exams and write an original research report called a dissertation. The examination is a test of your general knowledge of your chosen field and also your understanding of the intended area of research. At the doctoral level, this written or oral exam is the precursor to your research project.

Therefore, it is important that you ask yourself- why do I want to earn a PhD? As mentioned above, if you intend on academia or research as a career, then it is a wise decision to pursue a doctorate. These two careers will demand that you publish research papers on a regular basis. You should weigh the benefits against the time and expense of obtaining the degree. Perhaps a master’s degree will suffice if a higher salary is your motivation. Engineering with a master’s degree had a median income of $94,000, according to the site – Payscale. The occupation group of Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners had an average wage of $110,930 in 2017 with a Master’s degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some programs allow you to reduce the standard completion period to three years or less. Ultimately, less time studying equals more money saved on tuition. Also, you will be on your way to resume or seek employment with your new status as a “doctor.”

The following collection places the most emphasis on the time to complete the respective Ph.D. All of the degrees are available 100% online unless otherwise noted. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

1. Boston University (BU)

Established in 1839 in Boston, the school has approximately 33,000 students taking degrees from bachelor to doctorates. The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education categorizes them as an R1, meaning a school of high research activity. They have accolades from U.S. News & World Report (2018) for Online Graduate Programs in Business, Computer Information Technology, and Criminal Justice. Also, Times Higher Education ranked BU at sixth globally for employability of its graduates.

Their College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences or Sargent College, founded in 1881, houses their Department of Occupational Therapy. BU’s doctorate in occupational therapy (OTD) is a post-profession degree for practitioners who want to advance their credentials. The structure of the curriculum allows professionals to continue working while earning their OTD. You can complete the ten online courses (33 credits) in a few as 18 months.

A sampling of the classes includes Health Promotion, Social Policy, Clinical Theory and Research, and two titled Outcomes Measurement & Monitoring. The curriculum concludes with a Capstone and a Doctoral Project.

Admission is subject to stringent qualifications. One of which requires U.S. students to have passed the National Board for Certification in Occupational Safety exam.

Tuition: $896 per credit hour

2. Maryville University

The Religious of the Sacred Heart founded the school as a private academy in 1872 for young women and needy youths. In the 1920s, they became an accredited four-year institution. Today, The Higher Learning Commission accredits the St. Louis, Missouri institution. Also, they have accreditation with the Chicago-based North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Maryville is at the forefront of online nursing programs from the RN to DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice). According to statistics, by 2025, there will be an estimated 164 million Americans with chronic illnesses. Couple this with a possible shortage of medical doctors creates a tremendous demand in the nursing profession. Those with master’s degrees and higher will benefit from escalating salaries into six figures.

Graduate nurses who have their MSN can complete their DNP in as few as 20 months. This doctorate provides the skills to work in various healthcare positions, including administration, policy analysis, and teaching.

The 100% online format requires no campus visits, no GMAT or GRE, and no wait list once accepted. Also, you can earn your required clinical hours at a healthcare facility near your residence.

Tuition: $897 per credit

3. Indiana State University

Founded in 1865, the university resides in Terre Haute on over 400 acres of treed campus. The school offers almost 300 academic programs with 70 available online to over 13,000 students. They have over 75 graduate  and over 100 undergraduate programs. ISU attracts students from all fifty states and over sixty-five countries. Forbes magazine acknowledges them as one of America’s Top Colleges and the Princeton Review calls them one of the Best in the Midwest.

The university has a doctorate in education or Ed.S. degree in School Administration for professionals in elementary to secondary school administration. This blended degree will enhance your master’s in education and boost your leadership skills in the public or private schools’ sector. Being a blended or hybrid format means you will have campus visits. The curriculum requires on-campus sessions three times each semester on Saturdays.

You must maintain a minimum of a  3.25 average grade throughout the 66 credit hours – beyond hours taken during your baccalaureate degree. There are a minimum of 27 hours required beyond your master’s degree at ISU. You may also start the program any semester, including the summer session. By successfully completing two to three courses per semester, you can graduate within 12 to 24 months. The maximum limit to complete the Ed.S. degree is eight years.

Tuition: $412 per credit hour (in-state); Eligible Out-of-State: $527

4. University of Arkansas

The university opened its doors in January 1872 with seven boys and one girl attending. Since its establishment, the institution flourished to become a top two percent research school, according to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. U.S. News also includes them in their 2019 Best Online Bachelor’s, Grad Education, and Grad Engineering. As of fall 2017, the school had an enrollment of 27,558 students with 12,467 taking at least one online course.

Their accreditations are from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and the Higher Learning Commission.

In the nursing field, U of A offers online accelerated programs in a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.), and a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) to D.N.P. There are two concentrations in the BSN-DNP choice:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner: Requires 78 credits for graduation, in addition to a minimum of 1,125 clinical practice hours.
  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner: Also requires 78 hours, plus 1,035 clinical hours.

Full-time students can complete the former in four years, which includes 1,035 clinical hours. Note that you apply for the BSN to DNP after earning your bachelor’s degree. Similarly, you need an MSN to enter the MSN to DNP program.

The MSN-DNP takes two years full-time and three years part-time. The M.S.N. to D.N.P. has 500 clinical hours after completing your master’s degree.

Tuition: $560 per credit hour

5. Regis University

Founded in 1877 in Las Vegas, New Mexico, Regis moved to Denver in 1887. Currently, there are 11,411 online and on-campus students across five colleges and four campuses. Since its inception in Las Vegas, New Mexico, Regis has maintained it Jesuit Catholic Tradition, in honor of the Jesuit Saint, John Francis Regis.

Today, approximately 15,000 students receive their education from one of their five colleges. With accreditation by The Higher Learning Commission, the school offers 78 online programs. This format and on-campus classes help 89% of graduates find employment within six months of graduation.

The Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professionals operated in conjunction with the Loretto Heights College (LHC) until 1988. When LHC closed, Rueckert-Hartman College absorbed the nursing programs. The college offers an online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). There are two specializations:

  • Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN): For nurses who have worked in an advanced clinical practice of healthcare.
  • Advanced Leadership in Health Care (ALHC): Program is designed for nurses who are currently working in management or supervisory capacity, as well as those who aspire for leadership positions.

Graduates will have the skills to reach senior levels of management, become nursing educators, supervise direct patient care, and be involved in healthcare policy.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing accredits their nursing school.

The APRN and the ALHC provide accelerated completions of 24 months in the six-semester option versus the nine-semester that takes 36 months. Both have 31 semester hours, and each starts in May. No campus visits required.

Tuition: $890 per credit hour

6. Gwynedd Mercy University

GMercyU is a Catholic college founded by the Sisters of Mercy of Merion in 1948. The Sisters of Mercy was a Catholic order established in Dublin, Ireland, by Catherine McAuley. Their mission has never wavered to produce socially conscious and well-educated graduates, who are also globally aware of the needs of others.

The school is one of 17 Catholic colleges in the Conference for Mercy Higher Education. Situated in Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania, it became a four-year school in 1963. Currently, they offer over 30 undergraduate majors and 10+ graduate degrees to students from 34 states. Gwynedd boasts an average GPA of 3.14 and a 75% retention rate for first-year students from fall 2017 to fall 2018.

In 1982, the school offered its first graduate program in nursing. In 2013, they approved their first doctoral degree in nursing (DNP). Their accelerated online 39-credit Doctor of Nursing Practice expands the knowledge of clinical specialists, nurse anesthetists, and nurse midwives. The curriculum differs from Regis in that there is more emphasis on practical experience. The two-year degree has thirteen courses (39 credits) inclusive of 400 hours of practicum. There are 21 credits of core work and six classes or 18 credits are projects or internships.

Examples of the academic part of the curriculum are:

  • Technology for Advanced Practice Nurses
  • Leadership
  • Organizational Behavior and Social Policy
  • Statistical Analysis

Graduates of the GMercyU DNP will have increased clinical skills and leadership qualities beneficial to work in any healthcare facility. You will also have the ability to teach and mentor nurses enrolled in BSN and MSN programs.

Tuition: $903 per credit

7. Monmouth University

The private university, founded in 1933, has approximately 6,300 students-4,660 undergrads and 1,700 in graduate programs. The majority of students come from the northeast United States, the school’s locale. In 1956, they received accreditation to offer bachelors’ degrees. The New Jersey Commission on Higher Education granted them the status of a university in 1995.

The Princeton Review refers to the school as one of the best for the past fourteen years. U.S. News recognizes the institution on its annual list of Best Colleges, ranking in the top 40. They offer 32 bachelors and 24 graduate programs, plus an array of certificates to students from 31 states and 43 countries.

The university offers a hybrid or blended Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership. Therefore, this is not a 100% online learning format. The school integrates online classes with specified Thursday evenings and weekend sessions. For this format to work for students, you need to live near their West Long Branch, New Jersey campus. Monmouth believes the face-to-face time with the instructors is beneficial for students.

The Ed.D. curriculum consists of 54 credits covering five main topics associated with leadership. They are:

  • Leadership and Learning
  • Transformative Leadership
  • Policies and Procedures
  • Research and Assessment
  • Transformative Leadership Project

The Transformation Leadership Project is a vital component of the coursework. At the end of the 6th semester, students present a dissertation based upon their readings, interviews of local leaders in education, as well as faculty. Beginning in the first year, students start compiling a portfolio of asked and answered questions, research materials, personal reflections on education, and scholarly articles related to leadership.

You submit the portfolio to the doctoral committee for review and approval. Once accepted, you proceed to complete the project as a written dissertation.

The Middle States Commission on Higher Learning accredits Monmouth University’s programs. The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs approves the graduate programs in School Counseling (MSEd) and Mental Health Counseling (MS). The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education accredits The School of Education. Other accreditations are at this link.

Tuition: $1,187 per credit; $1,199 (Summer Session)

8. Pittsburg State University

Since 1929, the university, located in Pittsburg, Kansas, has offered graduate degrees. Currently, the school has a range of online degree and certificate choices from bachelor to doctorate. Their recognized teaching excellence has attracted over 7,000 students from 36 states and 43 countries.

One feature highlighted by the university is their Flat Rate Tuition. It allows full-time students, enrolled in 12 hours or more, to add more hours with no change in tuition. The rate also includes Campus Privilege Fees that benefit only on-campus students for expenses like parking and access to the Health and the Recreation Center.

The university offers two doctorate programs in education leadership. The same admissions criteria apply to both degrees. Your application must indicate your leadership experience within an organization, writing skills, ability to collaborate and problem solve. The proof of leadership is an autobiographical description of roles where you have demonstrated this quality.

One is the Advanced Studies in Leadership (General School Administration) online Ed.S. degree. Students with a master’s degree in an education-related field are eligible for this 36-credit hours degree. By completing two courses each semester, students can complete the program in two years. The curriculum is 100% online-no campus visits needed.

This degree has three sections of the curriculum:

  1. General School Administration: Consist of 12 hours of Leadership and 6 hours of Practicum Educational Systems Leadership.
  2. Research: Twelve to fifteen hours cover educational statistics, computer applications, research skills, thesis, and research projects.
  3. Leadership: These classes entail organizational theory, grant writing, and legal foundations of public education.

Graduates will have the skills to seek management positions in elementary and secondary school levels, as well as community or technical colleges.

The Kansas State Department of Education and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation accredit this program. U.S. News ranks the Ed.S. in the Top 25 Best Online Graduate Education Programs.

Tuition: $382 per credit

9. Pittsburg State University

The other education leadership doctorate is the Ed.S. with a concentration in Special Education. The online 36-credit program is open to students who have completed a master’s degree in Special Education and meet additional criteria for admission. Students, subject to approval, may transfer up to nine hours of courses in special education. The same two-year completion time as the one above applies to this degree.

The special education core coursework focuses on teaching students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), their characteristics, and research strategies for teaching ASD classes. The other two categories of the curriculum are Research and Leadership Core Courses. These two sections, which are 12 to 15 hours each, follow the same courses as the above Ed.S. program.

Graduates will be eligible to work at the elementary and secondary school district levels.

Tuition: $382 per credit (includes $36 electronic fee)

10. Lamar University

Located in Beaumont, Texas, Lamar teaches over 15,000 students enrolled in more than 100 programs from bachelors to doctoral degrees. More than 2,500 live on the 292-acre campus situated 90 miles east of Houston. Founded in 1923 as South Park Junior College, the school took its name from Mirabeau B. Lamar, second President of the Republic of Texas. In 1970, the school offered its first doctoral program. The following year they officially became Lamar University.

Currently, over 300 students are enrolled in doctoral programs that recognize the institution as a Carnegie Doctoral Research University. They are one of just 29 public universities in the United States to receive this accolade.

Their College of Education and Human Development offers an online Doctoral Studies in Educational Leadership. With the accelerated format, you can complete the eight-semester Ed.D. in 2.5 years. During this time, you will specialize in Global Education Leadership, which will create leaders in education at the local, national, and international levels.

The 60-hour program consists of eleven Required (Major) Courses, five Research Courses, and four Dissertation courses. The core subjects cover ethics, leadership, global education, academic research writing, and multicultural educational trends.

Similar to most doctorate programs, there are strict admission requirements. For consideration, your master’s degree courses must have a GPS of 3.5 or more. Your GRE scores cannot be more than five years old. Other documents included at time of application is a letter addressing: the most important issue in education leadership. Your resume must have the details of all your education leadership experience.

The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits the university. The Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate has recently accepted the university.

Tuition: $1,527 for 3 hours; $5,332 for 12 hours: Texas residents

11. East Carolina University (ECU)

Located in Greenville, North Carolina, ECU has over 100 online degree and certificate programs in business, technology, nursing, education, health, and more. Their undergraduate enrollment was 23,100 in the fall of 2018. The school offers 84 bachelors, 71 masters, 13 research doctoral, and five professional doctoral degrees. There are also 84 departmental certificates and 120 online degrees and certificates.

U.S. News ranks its online graduate programs in Education in the Top 10%. Graduate degrees in Nursing, Physical Therapy, and Rehabilitation Counseling are in the Top 25%, according to the same publication. Other honors include Best Business School, Best Medical School, and Green College, as reported by the Princeton Review.

The Brody School of Medicine offers two Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degrees:

  1. Environmental and Occupational Health
  2. Health Policy, Administration, and Leadership

Individuals with a Master of Public Health (MPH) and experience in this or a related field benefit from a shorter curriculum of 51 semester hours.

Option #1 is science-oriented. This choice splits into two specializations of Environmental or Occupational Health. Both are for nine hours. The former studies microbiology, food and water safety, public health pests, disease transmission, and water treatment. The occupational health topics examine the use of protective gear, ventilation systems, and elimination of toxic substances in the workplace.

The program has 15 hours of dissertation and concludes with six hours of field practicum.

Option #2 concentrates (18 hours) on leadership and health policy analysis. You will take courses in strategic planning, human resources, quality improvement, health information systems, policy analysis, disaster preparedness, and more. This option has the same hours of dissertation and field experience.

Students with the appropriate master’s degree and experience can finish either specialization in 2 to 2.5 years.

Tuition: $694 (part-time) per credit hour; $3,275 (full-time 9+ hours)

12. Hampton University

The university is proud of its humble beginnings under an oak tree in Hampton, Virginia. The tree later became known as the Emancipation Oak. At that spot in 1863, the Southern reading of the Emancipation Proclamation took place. One of its most distinguished graduates was Booker T. Washington who arrived in 1872 as a transient looking for work.

The institution has undergone name changes from the original Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute to Hampton Normal School in the 1880s to Hampton Institute to its present name change in 1984.

Aided by their membership in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements, the school allows online degrees to other members. One of these programs is a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Educational Management. It is an accelerated 66-credit degree with the following concentrations:

  • Higher Education
  • Pre-K to 12 Education
  • STEM Leadership
  • Special Education

There are specific criteria to meet before applying. This Ph.D. program prefers applicants to have at least five years of work in a field related to the degree. Preference will be for students who have leadership experience or licensure in Special Education. The preferred employment background varies according to the concentration you select.
An accepted student may be able to transfer up to nine credit hours from an accredited college or university in courses you obtained a “B” or 3.0 grade or better.

The program consists of 22 courses; each one lasts nine weeks with a projected completion time of 2.5 years.

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredits the undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. The National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education authorizes their Division of Education.

Tuition: $695 per credit hour

13. Nova Southeastern University

Established in 1964, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is home for the university. In the 2017-18 school year, this private university had an enrollment of 20,793 students in over 150 programs. The shortlist includes pharmacy, nursing, optometry, education, law, business, physical and occupational therapy. U.S. News ranks the school in the Top 200 in their category of Best Colleges 2019.

The Department of Conflict Resolution Studies offers a Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution that prepares you for careers as consultants, administrators, researchers, and evaluators. Graduates have the skills to function in conflict resolution as practitioners and theoreticians. They will also have leadership qualities and mastery of quantitative research analysis. The 76-credit hour program has a choice of four concentrations:

  1. Community-based Conflict
  2. Conflict in Organizations
  3. Global Conflict
  4. Interpersonal Conflict

Students have the option of full-time studies (9 credits per semester) or part-time (6 credits). The former allows students to complete the doctorate courses in 2.5 years, whereas part-time students take four years. The time-frame does not include the dissertation that follows the academic phase. Also, you may be able to transfer up to 15 credits from a Master’s degree in a similar field.

All online programs require students to attend two Residential Institutes (RI) each academic year for five days. The RIs typically occur in February and late September or early October.

Tuition: $1,095 per credit hour

14. Concordia University-Chicago

Founded in 1864 in nearby Addison, Illinois, Concordia is a private university located in River Forest, near Chicago, since 1912. They are members of the Concordia University System that comprises a national network of colleges. The schools have an affiliation with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

The College of Business offers a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) online and on campus. The DBA differs from a Ph.D. in that the former studies the theoretical aspect of business and leadership. Therefore, the DBA has a practical application for a professional in the business world. Concordia contends that the Ph.D. suits individuals who seek work in academia and research. Academically, the two degrees are equivalent.

The university recommends that applicants have five years of business experience. Admission requires a master’s degree in business or related field, transcripts, and two letters of recommendation. One is a professional recommendation, and the other is academic. Interested candidates for this program must meet the stringent admission requirements, including a minimum of a 3.0 GPA in your master’s degree.

Concordia has four DBA specializations:

  1. Innovation in Healthcare
  2. Innovations in Human Resources
  3. Leadership and Innovation
  4. Marketing Innovations

These specializations have an accelerated online format that students can complete within three years. Furthermore, all of the business programs at the master’s and doctorate levels adhere to their Four Pillars of Knowledge. These emphasize the qualities of ethics, critical thinking, human relations, global inclusive, and communication.

There are three residencies spread over seven of the nine semesters. The initial one occurs in semester one during the first eight weeks. The second is during the first eight-week segment in semester four. The last one is in semester seven. Each counts for one credit of the 60-credits program. Each residency lasts four days.

Tuition: $960 per credit

15. University of Tennessee

The university, founded in 1794, is currently recognized for its research activity by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education in the Doctoral category. More recently, the current Knoxville College of Social Work began as the Nashville School of Social Work in 1942. With the expansion, the school moved to its present location in 1958.

The university changed the name to the College of Social Work in 1986. Today, they offer an online Master of Science in Social Work and an online Doctor of Social Work (DSW) for professionals eager to advance their present clinical practice and gain leadership skills. The accelerated online format allows social workers to continue working and maintain their personal life. The program uses both synchronous (real-time) and asynchronous methods to present the coursework. Interactive media and video are part of the instructional features.

This doctorate targets those who have an average of ten to twelve years of experience in social work. By completing two classes per semester, you can complete the DSW in three years.

The program is not 100% online. There are required campus study sessions each summer for one week. The purpose is to discuss issues face-to-face with professors and peers. You also have the benefit of expanding your network of contacts and associates in the field of social work.

Graduates will have advanced skills as a clinician and a leader to expand their career opportunities. Some of the potential areas to showcase your expertise are in mental health clinics, government agencies, psychiatric facilities, rehabilitation programs, hospice care, and social services’ organizations.

The DSW program is a member of the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education (GADE) in Social Work.

Tuition: $626 per credit hour: in-state; $1,637 out-of-state residents

16. University of the Southwest

Located in Hobbs, New Mexico, B. Clarence Evans founded the school as a source of Christian education. In 1956, Hobbs Baptist College began as a two-year junior college. A name change occurred in 1958 to become New Mexico Baptist College. The school adopted its present name in 1962.

The school offers three Bachelor’s degrees in Science, Arts and Sciences, and Business Administration. Their MBA has ten specializations, the MS in Education has nine concentrations, and there is one doctorate program. All graduate programs are available entirely online.

The College of Business Administration offers a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in three specializations. Each has distinctive coursework designed for executives with leadership experience. Each concentration prepares graduates for advancement in management positions in profit and non-profit companies, government, education, consulting, and civic organizations.

The three specialty areas are:

Strategy and Innovation

This option may suit those interested in corporate strategy and planning. The classes study marketing strategies and planning for a competitive advantage. Decision-making, data analysis, research methods, and human behavior are other courses. The program culminates in 12 hours of dissertation courses.

Leadership and Organizational Development

This area of study focuses on the practical aspect of leadership, problem-solving, and the application of research. The core classes in this specialty are the same as above except for the substitution of Global Financial Management (this option) for Human Resource Development. There are the same hours devoted to Dissertation courses.


This choice has the same core courses as the above, except this one includes Policy Analysis and Evaluation, instead of Marketing Strategies in the Leadership program. There is a focus on problem-solving for executives, and how research applies to challenges facing leaders in the business environment. Again, there are 12 hours of Dissertation.

Students can complete any of the above 100% online selections in three years part-time. The school offers all course materials and books with the cost of tuition. As a bonus, you receive a free laptop in your first class! Students could be eligible to transfer up to 12 credits from a Master’s degree in business or related field. Applicants must have a graduate degree from an accredited university and a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

The Higher Learning Commission accredits the school’s programs. The university is also a member of numerous councils and associations. One, in particular, is the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). The CCCU comprises an association of more than 150 campuses in the U.S. and Canada.

Tuition: $799- inclusive of all fees

17. Maryville University

In addition to the program mentioned above, the school has more choices in their Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs. The same feature applies: all are 100% online with no campus visits, no GMAT or GRE needed for admission, and no waiting once accepted. You can take the necessary clinical hours at a local facility.

Maryville offers a DNP-NP that you may complete within 36 months. Both the DNP and the DNP-NP (Nurse Practitioner) are terminal degrees. The addition of the letters “NP” means the nurse has received advanced education in medical procedures. Therefore, the specialty of a nurse practitioner is for nurses who want to be involved in direct patient care. In this capacity, they can prescribe medications, perform advanced procedures, and diagnosis patients’ medical condition.

All of the DNP programs at Maryville require students to have a MSN.

Tuition: $897 per credit hour

18. Maryville University

Founded in 1872, US News & World Report and Forbes magazine (2018) recognizes the university as one of America’s Best Colleges. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine ranks them as one of the best values in private colleges in 2018.

Nursing professionals who want to extend their education may consider one of the specializations in their DNP-NP 100% online programs.

One of the concentrations is a Family Nurse Practitioner, known in degree terms as the DNP-NP FNPC. The curriculum broadens your medical expertise into the treatment, prevention, diagnosis, counsel, and wellness of all family members. The courses cover pediatric to adult-gerontology care from a holistic perspective. The curriculum consists of 15 foundation courses, 18 hours of Capstone Courses, and 18 hours of FNP courses. In the latter, there are nine hours titled Clinical Inquiry.

19. Maryville University

The university has an NP in Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (DNP-NP AGPCNP). With the adult population living longer, the percentage of seniors over 65 keeps increasing. In 2010, statistics show that 13.1% of the U.S. population was over 65. By 2020, the number will be 16.9%, and by 2030, the projection is 20.6% or 71.5 million seniors over 65. This rise creates a demand for nurses specializing in gerontology.

The 62-credit online AGPCNP concentration consists of Foundation Courses (15 hours), Capstone (18), Core (17), and 12 hours of Adult-Gerontology. This program is for nurses who want to continue in clinical practice. You can complete the degree is less than 36 months.

The school also offers a BSN to DNP AGPCNP that you can graduate in a few as 36 months. There are 580 clinical hours you must complete over three semesters.

Another terminal degree Maryville has is similar to the one above. It involves geriatric care. However, the focus is on acute care. The degree is a concentration in Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner or DNP-NP AGACNP.

The curriculum follows the same categories as the Primary Care Gerontology program. The difference is in the courses specific to the respective concentration. The primary care has 12 hours of Adult-Gerontology NP, whereas the Acute Care NP has 18 hours. The additional hours include Acute Care Diagnosis, Diagnosis and Management (9 hours) and 6 hours of Practicum.

You can complete this doctorate in 36 months. Students with a BSN may consider the MSN + AGACNP program that takes an average of 40 months online.

20. Maryville University

You can put your compassion for children to use by earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice Nurse Practitioner –Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (DNP-NP PNP). This online program is another in the DNP family offered 100% online. The 65 credit curriculum has 15 hours of the pediatric nurse concentration covering courses in Health Promotion of the Pediatric Populations and twelve hours of Pediatric Assessment and Diagnosis, of which six hours is a Practicum.

Similar to the other DNP concentrations, this curriculum has 15 hours of foundation and 18 hours of Capstone courses, plus 15 hours of PNP courses.

You can earn this degree in as short as 36 months. There is also the BSN to DNP PNP program that has a completion time of 40 months. There are three starting months- January, May, and August.

Tuition: $897 per credit for all DNP programs

21. University of South Carolina

Thanks to Thomas Jefferson’s encouragement to expand the Southern public college teaching system, the school began in 1801. Enrollment flourished with the baby-boomer generation from 1960 to 1979. During that time-frame, the campus grew from 5,660 to 26,000 students.

It is one of forty-nine public universities to be a top-tier research institution according to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits this 200-year old school to award bachelors to doctoral degrees.

The university offers an online 60-credit Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction with a concentration in Educational Technology. Intended for teachers from K-12 and professional working for school boards, the completion time is 36 months. The study plan has four sections:

  1. Core Curriculum & Instruction – Coursework examines the design and evaluation of technology used as a teaching method: 12 hours
  2. Educational Technology Concentration – Covers the theory and practical application of technology as they related to the delivery of educational material: 15 hours
  3. Research – Using analysis techniques, interpretation, and data collection, the courses examine research in educational technology: 12 hours
  4. Cognate – Courses study the use of multimedia, including graphics, animations, simulations, as means of instruction: 9 hours
  5. Dissertation Preparation – 12 hours

Students learn about the practical application of technology as an educational tool. You become versed in assessment techniques, such as interviews, performance reviews, and testing procedures.

Tuition: $37,123 for all applicants; $33,703 for South Carolina Certified Teachers

22. University of Bridgeport

Founded in 1927 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the university attracts students from 45 states and 80 countries. The school opened its doors as a two-year junior college. After World War II, attendance blossomed with veterans thanks to the GI Bill. Currently, the university has ten accreditations in various programs. Some of these are:

  • The NAACLS (National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science) accredits the UB Medical Laboratory Science Program.
  • The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) accredits The Ernest C. Trefz School of Business.
  • The Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME) accredits The College of Naturopathic Medicine.
  • The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accredits The School of Education.

The school began offering online degrees in 1987 with the inception of a Master’s degree in Human Nutrition. Recently, U.S. News & World Report in 2018 recognized Bridgeport’s online programs among the best in the nation for the seventh consecutive year.

Their online Doctoral in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) is different than Lamar’s degree. Bridgeport’s is a specialization in International Education. The specialty should appeal to leaders in private and public learning institutions, education policy specialists, and researchers.

The curriculum teaches a range of topics including principles of leadership, organizational psychology, legal issues, methodologies in research, and program assessment.

Applicants must have a Master’s degree from an accredited college with a grade average of 3.0 or higher. Other requirements include two letters of recommendation – one from a colleague and one from a supervisor who attests for your leadership qualities. Another submission, with your application, consists of a 500+ word essay explaining why you want the degree along with your personal and professional accomplishments.

Subject to approval, you may transfer up to nine credits toward this 62-credit program. There are two residency requirements for one week each during the summer semesters. You can complete your doctorate in three years.

Tuition: $680 per credit hour + $2,000 Dissertation/Research & Advisement

23. Liberty University

Since its establishment by Reverend Jerry Falwell in 1971, Liberty has grown to encompass sixteen colleges with over 100,000 students. They offer over 550 programs including associate, bachelors, masters, graduate certificates, and doctoral programs. Their online programs expanded from the first program in 1985 to over 250 currently. Liberty also has an online Bible college-the Willmington School of the Bible.

Individuals working as professionals in law enforcement have the potential to advance their career and stature in this field with an online PhD. Liberty offers a doctoral degree in Criminal Justice at the Helms School of Government. The coursework studies juvenile justice, corrections, causes of crime, international crime, and terrorism. There is a choice of three areas of specialization:

  1. General: Some of the classes entail terrorism, intelligence, stress management, and organized crime.
  2. Homeland Security: Delves into cybercrime, cybersecurity, analysis and protection of computer systems and infrastructure, and counter-terrorism strategies.
  3. Leadership: As the name suggests, you learn about law enforcement leadership, planning, strategizing, and human resources.

All of these options prepare you for a career as a professor, senior investigator, police, public policy advisor, and administrator or security consultant.

This online PhD is 60 credit hours with a target completion time of three years. Each course is eight weeks with eight start dates each year. You may be eligible to transfer up to 15 credit hours. Also, there are no set login times that allows each student to complete classes on his/her schedule.

Tuition: $595 (full-time); $650 (part-time)

24. Liberty University

The university also offers three concentrations under the heading of an Ed.D. degree. This particular doctorate is in Community Care and Counseling. The purpose of the coursework is to enhance your ability to write academic articles, treat and counsel clients, and diagnose in a clinical setting. The 100% online program is meant to complement your Christian mindset. You can complete this degree in as few as three years.

The three choices of specialization are:

Marriage and Family

For individuals who want to enter or magnify their skills counseling couples and families. Students examine the application of theories and principles concerning the dynamics and relationships within the family structure. You learn effective counseling techniques to address the psychological issues that arise within families. Part of the curriculum includes the submission of a research paper based on the student’s theories and experience as a family counselor.

(Learn more about what degree you need to be a holistic counselor.)

Pastoral Care and Counseling

This option continues in the vein of family and marriage therapy. This program may interest those who are licensed family therapists and social workers. The predominant theme running through the curriculum is the moral standards and ethics preached throughout the Bible. Students must also write a paper about their perception of ethics and its significance in counseling.


The courses cover various types of trauma affecting children, adolescents, and adults. Some of these are sexual abuse, PTSD, emotional abuse, neglect, terrorism, date rape, and domestic violence. Students study the physical and psychological damage caused by traumatic events. They also learn about the science behind the delivery of different counseling techniques.

The concentration has four Discussion Forums that requires writing a 400-500 word paper on the topic discussed in a specific forum. The context of the report is based on a review of research articles and the student’s exchange of ideas with peers.

Another crucial component of Traumatology is a PowerPoint presentation of a 40-slide that must include a bibliography of research materials, books, and biblical references. This 150 point graphic presentation is one of seven components of the program that total 1010 points.

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accredits Liberty University.

Tuition: $$595 (full-time); $650 (part-time)

25. Walden University

Walden is a mecca for online degree-seekers. Over 55,000 students from 50 states and 145 countries rely on this institution for their degree. These programs involve criminal justice, education, psychology, management, public health counseling, nursing, public administration, and social and human services. The National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the National Security Agency (NSA) approves their criminal justice programs. The Higher Learning Commission accredits all degree programs.

One of their online doctoral degrees is a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice. This program does require at least two residency sessions. You must complete Residency 1: the first face-to-face in term 1 or 2. Residency 2 and 4 have the option of a virtual session, subject to completing the requisite courses. There is also an optional Ph.D. Dissertation Intensive Retreat. Candidates meet to discuss their respective dissertations with faculty and peers. As an example, for the months June through November 2019, there are four-five day retreats at popular hotels within the U.S.

The school allows the transfer of up to 38 credits as a means to accelerate your degree. Another feature is Walden’s Fast-Track option. This choice provides a faster completion by taking three courses per term. The traditional format is two courses each term. You may be able to graduate within 24 to 36 months, depending on the number of courses completed each term. The fast track benefits those who have earned a master’s degree in criminal justice or a related field.

Both the traditional and fast track offer these concentrations in this Ph.D. criminal justice program:

  • General Program
  • Emergency Management
  • Homeland Security Policy and Coordination
  • Justice Administration
  • Online (Criminal Justice) Teaching in Higher Education
  • Global Leadership
  • Law and Public Policy
  • Public Management and Leadership

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