The developing prominence of online learning has never been more evident—including for post-graduate degrees. Today, online doctorate degrees are obtainable online—and they can be completed in half the time.
There is an increasing number of universities that offer fast-track online doctorate programs designed with students’ ease and convenience in mind. Before deciding to pursue fast online doctorate degree programs, you will need to weigh in a lot of factors to determine your readiness and willingness to make radical changes in your schedule and lifestyle.
Vital factors that can make or break your online doctorate degree journey are admission and funding requirements. You also need to consider course duration it takes for you to achieve the highest degree level of education for advanced career opportunities and leadership in your field of study.
Our 30 Fastest Online Doctorate Degree Programs for 2020 outlines the universities offering post-graduate programs on a web-based, accelerated format. These schools allow for the completion of a doctorate degree on short terms, with most of them accepting credit transfers for reduced degree course requirements. To complete this list, we factored in the schools’ number of fast-track doctorate programs, the quality of online instruction they provide, and program duration. We also considered ease of access to online tools and resources.
The schools featured on our 30 Fastest Online Doctorate Degrees Programs are listed in random order.
University of South Carolina
Ranked as one of the most promising and innovative universities in the country, the University of South Carolina offers some of the fastest doctorate degree programs. This institution, located in Columbia, South Carolina, offers more than 200 graduate degree and certificate programs on online or distributed learning format. In particular, it offers Accelerated Online Post-Graduate Programs offered by this university are Doctors of Education in Curriculum & Instruction with concentrations in Curriculum Studies and Educational Technology. The core courses consist of Diversity and the Curriculum, Applications of Learning Principles, and Instructional Design and Assessment. There are also cognate courses, educational technology courses, and research courses. Completion of coursework for either doctorate degree programs only takes 36 months and requires 60 credit units.
For more information, visit the University of South Carolina (Graduate School).
Arizona State University
Arizona State University is a public institution with four campuses located across Phoenix metropolitan area. It is a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), an agreement that structured the standards of institutions offering graduate programs. Arizona State University offers some of the fastest online doctorate degree programs, such as Doctor of Behavioral Health (Clinical), Doctor of Behavioral Health (Management), and Doctor of Education Leadership and Innovation. Each accelerated class takes only 7.5 weeks to complete and the program requires a total of 90 credit hours which can be finished within 3 years.
You can visit their Online Graduate Program website at https://asuonline.asu.edu/online-degree-programs.
University of Arkansas
Known as the U of A, this university has 4 online doctorate offerings in the fields of Education and Nursing: Doctor of Education in Adult and Lifelong Learning, Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership, Doctor of Education in Human Resource and Workforce Development Education, and Doctor of Nursing Practice. Three of these programs can be completed in 3 years. Students can take classes daily without going to Fayetteville campus; qualified students can also avail of the Pay-In-State tuition (*Pay-In-State Tuition is granted to students who are/ become residents of the state) and acquire the same quality education in a 100% online or blended program.
If you choose to attend U of A’s Online Doctor of Education in Adult and Lifelong Learning, you can achieve your degree in 2.5 years with 96 credit hours. A full-time coursework for Online Doctor of Nursing Practice can only take 2 years while a part-time course of study can be achieved in 3. Students are required to have 6 face-to-face campus sessions per year. On the other hand, Online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership guarantees 100% online coursework, and requires 42 credit hours and 3 years for completion. On-campus seminars are mandatory every semester.
What’s great about this Mississippi State University is that it offers affordability and convenience without having to compromise the quality of its programs. The school offers in-state tuition and allows you to choose the most convenient start dates to attend your doctorate online degree program. Online and on-campus course instruction are conducted by the same faculty.
MSU’s accelerated online doctoral degree programs include Doctor of Philosophy in Community College Leadership, which requires 61 credit hours and only takes less than 3 years–even less than the time it takes to complete a master’s degree. MSU also has six fast Ph.D. programs for various fields in the College of Engineering. Some courses require students to attend on-campus classes.
Visit MSU’s Fast Online Doctoral Programs and explore your options.
Texas A&M University-Commerce
Located northeast of the Dallas metroplex, Texas A&M University-Commerce has been known to provide outstanding quality education since 1889. It is one of the only 62 members of the Association of American Universities.
Over 50% of all programs are offered on an online set-up. The university is only one of the few that offers full-scale online format for Doctor of Education in Educational Administration in Texas. This program requires 60 credit hours which can be completed in about 3 years. They also offer Hybrid Online Programs for Doctor of Education in Higher Education, Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Psychology, and Doctor of Philosophy in English.
Choose your accelerated online doctorate degree program at Texas A&M University-Commerce.
Breyer State University
Finishing a Doctorate Degree for only one year is absolutely possible at Breyer State University. They offer an Accelerated Doctor of Psychology in Grief Counseling Program. Students also get to enroll and set off the program at any time. Obtaining a high-level education online has never been this quick! This accelerated online doctorate degree program is also affordable. Top educators make up the faculty and the courses are taught using the latest technology.
Get more info about your accelerated online Doctorate degree program at Breyer State University.
University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill is known as the first public university to hold classes and graduate students in the eighteenth century. It is among the three universities that claim to be the oldest public university in the nation. At the forefront of 17 campuses of the University of North Carolina, UNC-Chapel Hill offers more than 20 online programs. This school also stays ahead in the field of Physical Therapy and is consistently ranked as a top health school.
UNC-Chapel Hill has a competent the Doctor of Physical Therapy (Transition Program) or DPT. It is an accelerated online doctorate degree program designed to provide Physical Therapists with demanding careers the convenience and easy access they need as they pursue advanced education. This transitional doctorate program for Physical Therapy is offered fully online with a program duration of only 21 months.
Another expedited online doctorate degree program offered by UNC-Chapel Hill is the Public Health Executive Leadership or DrPH which can be obtained in 3 years. However, delivery for this program is partially online and requires students to submit a dissertation by the third year.
Duquesne University is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a private, Catholic university which has an array of Online Graduate Program that operates on a teacher-scholar model that integrates instruction and scholarly engagement to benefit both the faculty and the students.
Online students at Duquesne University have the opportunity to choose among four accelerated online doctorate degree programs. The Ed.D. in Instructional Technology & Leadership is a 57-credit program that can be completed in approximately 3 years. Students planning to take Ph.D. in Nursing can choose between a 3-year and a 4-year curriculum with 56 credit hours.
To get more information, explore Duquesne University’s Online Campus.
Chicago School of Professional Psychology
There are nine fast online doctorate programs offered at The Chicago School. Two of them are Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership and Ph.D. in Business Psychology which you can finish in 3 years as a full-time. Three years is incredibly fast for this kind of program in Psychology since most Ph.D. programs for this field take 5 years to complete. The institution uses a combination of innovative teaching and real-world experience to prepare students in achieving their career aspirations and growing into effective members of society.
If you’re considering psychology degree advancement, check out the fast online doctorate degree program offered at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.
Formerly known as Regis College, Regis University has a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1. The school takes pride in the fact that 95% of its graduates are either currently employed or continuing their education. The school offers 80 online degree programs, including Doctor of Nursing Practice and Doctor of Occupational Therapy Accelerated Programs. Three specializations are under DNP and you can opt for either a 6-semester (24months) or a 9-semester (36 months) program length with all coursework completely online.
Regis University collaborates with Creighton University to provide the Doctor of Occupational Therapy program taught by Creighton staff and faculty. This accelerated online doctorate degree takes only 3 years to complete. Both online and campus visits for laboratory activities are required.
Visit Regis University to see its accelerated online doctorate degree programs.
East Carolina University
East Carolina University (ECU) is located in Greenville, North Carolina. It offers many different specializations for doctorate programs for students looking to get a degree through accelerated online instruction.
Different specializations and majors mean different program lengths. You can get a Doctor of Nursing Practice in 2 years with 36 credit hours on either a full-time or part-time Post-Master’s track. The program requires students to be active both online and in on-campus activities. New academic online programs are offered under Public Health (DrPH) such as Public Health – Environmental and Occupational Health (EOH) and Public Health – Health Policy Administration and Leadership (HPAL) that take as little as 2 years to complete. A total of 45 credit hours and a combination of online and on-campus courses are also required.
Check out many of ECU’s Quick Online doctorate degrees programs.
Georgia Southern University
Georgia Southern University is the largest center for higher education in the southern part of Georgia. It is accredited by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (a U.S.-based policy and research center) as a Doctoral and Research Institution. The school was also recently recognized as a leader in Veterinary Medicine.
Georgia Southern University offers a fully-online Post MSN- Doctor of Nursing Practice, D.N.P. program with a curriculum total of 37 credits (and 630 clinical hours) and can be completed less than 2 years.
Learn more about Georgia Southern University’s fastest online doctorate degree programs.
With a rich African-American history under its belt, Hampton University is a multicultural institution that is best known for its top-quality education and innovative scientific research programs. Its Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) is one of the quickest programs in the university that only takes 2 years with 33 credits for completion. Another accelerated online program is Ph.D. in Education Management that can be completed in 2.5 years with 66-degree credits.
Find out more about the online doctorate degree programs at Hampton University.
University of Bridgeport
Accredited, experienced, flexible, interactive and supportive. These are the five components of instructional success that the University of Bridgeport promises to offer. Since 1997, UB has been offering online programs that have expanded to post-graduate degrees. Students will find quick online doctorate degree programs in Health Sciences (D.H.Sc.) and Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) that are offered in hybrid format. You can earn your doctorate degree in Health Sciences in 40 months while Educational Leadership takes only 3 years. Both programs require 1-2 weeks of residency.
Interested in the accelerated online doctorate degree programs? Visit University of Bridgeport and explore your options.
The College of St. Scholastica
The College of St. Scholastica main campus is located in Duluth, MN but it has sites in Austin, Brainerd, Cloquet, Inver Grove Heights, Rochester, St. Cloud, St. Paul, and a virtual campus. It offers two doctorate degree programs under the School of Health Sciences and School of Nursing. The instructors consist of experienced clinical practitioners. The program provides personal advisors to support you in planning out your courses.
The Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy Program affords you the opportunity to earn your doctorate degree in just 2 years. The program operates on a 100% online format with 16 program credits in six courses. The College of Scholastica’s accelerated DPT program supports The American Physical Therapy Association’s (APTA) Vision 2020 which calls for all physical therapy to be provided by DPTs in 2020.
Here’s a quick tour of the fast track online doctorate degree programs offered by the College of St. Scholastica.
Drexel University is a comprehensive research university located in the heart of Philadelphia, PA. It is known for its cooperative education programs that immerse students in professional experience before entering the workforce. Its online program has been in the scene since 1996, providing leading-edge learning experience in higher education.
Unlike other universities that only implement a two-semester system, Drexel University offers online programs that students can complete in four 10-week quarters per year, allowing them to take extra courses and earn their degree in no time.
Doctor of Health Science (DHSc), Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Management (EdD) are the accelerated online doctorate degree programs in the university. DHSc requires 45-47 credits, DNP asks for 46 credits, and EdD entails completion of 60- 61.5 credits.
Find out what your fast online doctorate degree program options are at Drexel University.
Located in Lynchburg, Virginia, Lynchburg University was founded as Lynchburg Baptist College in 1971. It is the largest Christian university in the world and the largest non-profit university in the United States. Online academic offerings are available in different areas like Behavioral Sciences, Government, Music, Business, Divinity, Nursing, and Education. The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program consists of 8 courses with only 41 credit hours to complete. Duration is one of the fastest doctorate programs offered in LU, which is only 2.5 years. A degree in Ed.D. in Community Care and Counseling will only take you 3 years to complete with 57 credit hours.
Learn more about Liberty University’s and their fast track online doctorate degree programs.
Frontier Nursing University
A private non-profit graduate school, Frontier Nursing University is recognized as the country’s first school with a family nurse practitioner program. If your focus is on nursing education, then this is the right school for you. The university offers master’s degrees in Nursing in Nurse Midwifery, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner. There are also Post Master Certificate and Doctor of Nursing (DNP) programs.
After obtaining your Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Post Graduate Certificate (PGC) programs, you can get your DNP degree by completing your coursework online, getting 19 credit hours, and complying with your clinical practicum requirements in your chosen or home community.
Boston University is a private, non-profit research university. It is recognized as an R1: Doctoral University (Highest Research Activity) in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. BU offers two online doctorate programs. One of the fastest programs online is the Occupational Therapy, Doctorate, which provides one-on-one mentorship with the faculty. It requires 33 credits and only 18 months to complete. The other online doctorate program is Doctor of Musical Arts in Music Education Program which requires 48 credits but has to be completed within 6-7 year. This program also requires on-campus attendance.
Get to know more about Boston University’s online programs including its fast track online doctorate degree offerings.
Gwynedd Mercy University
Gwynedd Mercy University, also known as GMercyU, aims to produce graduates who are not only competent professionals but also principled leaders in their field. This university offers various Accelerated College Degree Programs that include two online doctorate degree programs.
The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) equips students with high-quality, advanced nursing skills with courses that focus on evidence-based nursing practice. It consists of 13 courses, 39 credits, and 400 hours of practicum experience. The completion time is 2 years. Another excellent online program at GMercyU is the Executive EdD Program: Doctorate in Education Leadership that is composed of a few specializations of your preference. To earn a degree in this area, you must accomplish 54 credits and a complete a dissertation.
Get more insight into the online programs at Gwynedd Mercy University.
University of Florida
The eighth largest single-campus university in the United States, University of Florida formed sixteen academic colleges and more than 150 research centers and institutes. It also boasts its accreditation from Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
UF offers 9 fast track online doctorate programs in Audiology (Au.D.), Classical Civilization (Ph.D.), Curriculum, Teaching, and Teacher Instruction (Ed.D.), Educational Leadership (Ed.D.), Educational Technology (Ed.D.), Higher Education Administration (Ed.D.), Latin and Roman Studies (Ph.D.), Nursing Practice (DNP), and Pharmacy (Pharm.D. Distance Campus Sites). They provide one of the fastest online M.Ed. Programs that are taught purely online, operating under the school’s Higher Education Administration Department. It only takes 39 credit hours and a duration of three years to complete your UF accelerated online doctorate degree programs.
Educational Technology also offers a 3-year program with a minimum of 54 credit requirement and all courses require online attendance for 8 weeks. For some of the programs, students are expected to do campus doctoral work.
Navigate your way through UF’s accelerated online doctoral programs.
University of North Dakota
The University of Dakota is located in Grand Forks, North Dakota. It is a public research university established in 1883 and is the only university that houses schools of law and medicine in the state.
At UND, You can earn your degree for Biomedical Engineering (Ph.D.) after completing 90 credit hours in only 2 years and you may either take the courses online or on-campus. Energy Engineering (Ph.D.) may take 3- 6 years but the credit-hour requirement is 90. Both Nursing Anesthesia (DNP) and Nursing Practice (DNP) may take up to 3 years. A 100 % online course is offered for Nursing Practice, while Nursing Anesthesia may be taken online or on-campus.
Learn more about these online doctorate degree programs by exploring their interactive web finder.
Monmouth University is a private institution located at West Long Branch in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Most of the faculty members in this university hold a Ph.D. or other professional degrees. They offer individual faculty attention to students while being involved in the growth of academic research.
Monmouth offers accelerated online programs for Doctor of Education (EdD) in Educational Leadership which requires 54 credits and can be completed in just 2 years with both online and on-campus. You may also earn your Doctor of Nursing Practice degree by completing only 36 credits. The program also gives the students the freedom to choose courses and when to take them, giving them the needed flexibility and convenience throughout the coursework.
Check out Monmouth University’s accelerated online doctorate degree programs.
University of Tennessee-Knoxville
The University of Tennessee-Knoxville is the flagship campus of The University of Tennessee system. It offers an online learning format for Master’s Program, Post Master’s Program, Certificate Program, and Doctoral Programs. Both the College of Nursing and College of Social Work offer online programs as well.
Doctor of Social Work Degree (DSW) in Clinical Practice & Leadership Program awards successful graduates with a doctoral diploma after completing the coursework in 3 years. DSW is a comprehensive accelerated online doctorate program that also requires on-campus sessions. This arrangement is deemed essential in encouraging student involvement.
Get to know more about online accelerated graduate programs at The University of Tennessee-Knoxville
University of Missouri
University of Missouri (Mizzou) is located in Columbia, Missouri. It is the first public institution for higher education in the west of the Mississippi River. It is a member of the Association of American Universities and is one of the top research institutions in the U.S. Some notable alumni are Sam Walton, Tennessee Williams, Brad Pitt, Sheryl Crow, and Jon Hamm.
Mizzou’s fast online doctorate programs operate under the College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources, College of Education, College of Human Environmental Sciences, and Sinclair School of Nursing. Although most online doctorate programs in this university are completed within 4-5 years, it only takes 3 years for full-time students to complete these fast online doctorate programs: Doctor of Nursing Practice with an emphasis on Family Psychiatric and Mental health nurse practitioner (DNP), Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD.), Doctor of Nursing Practice concentrating on Nursing Leadership and Innovations in Health Care (DNP), and Doctor of Nursing Practice with an emphasis on Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (DNP). All these online programs require additional campus visits.
Mizzou offers prospective students access to the accelerated online doctoral degree programs.
Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins, also known as JHU, offers both full-time and part-time courses in all education levels. The university offers over 200 programs in various fields, online doctorate degree programs included.
Doctor of Education (EdD) is one of the accelerated online doctorate programs that JHU offers. The student can graduate after 3 years or after completing 54 credit units. The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Executive Track offers a 2-year program but students can opt to get a dual degree (Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Executive Track and Master’s of Business Administration) to obtain the doctorate after 2 years, 66 credits, and 448 practice hours completed.
Visit John Hopkins University’s interactive website to see your accelerated online doctorate options.
Concordia University Chicago
Concordia University Chicago is a private, liberal arts institution founded in 1864 and is located in the suburb village of River Forest, Illinois. This school has been delivering accelerated programs for 20 years. Its Online Degree Programs are offered at every educational level—Certificate, Endorsement, Associate’s Degree, Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree, and Doctorate Degrees.
Concordia’s Doctorate in Business Administration has both online and on-campus requirements. It can be completed in years with 60 credit units.
Under its EdD/PhD Leadership online doctorate program, the university has a number of specializations to choose from, including Curriculum and Instruction, Early Childhood Education, Educational Leadership, Education Technology, Gerontology, Health and Human Performance, Higher Education, Organizational Leadership, Reading, Language and Literacy, Special Education, Sports Leadership, and Teacher Leadership. All of them require 61-67 credits with both online activities and on-campus attendance requirements.
Visit Concordia University Chicago for details on their expedited online doctorate degree programs.
Nova Southeastern University
Nova Southeastern University, commonly known as NSU, is a 314-acre campus located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This private non-profit university has 18 colleges and over 150 programs of study. Its range of online programs gives students access to an electronic library, real-time electronic classrooms, and faculty-student communications through threaded bulletin boards.
NSU offers multiple accelerated online degrees, including blended doctorate programs with a minimum requirement of anywhere from 53 to 90 credit units. These fast online doctorate degrees may be completed in as little as 3 to 3.5 years or 6 short semesters.
In particular, NSU’s Online Doctorate Programs with specializations include Ph.D. in Computer Science, Conflict Analysis and Resolution (Ph.D.), Criminal Justice (Ph.D.), Doctor of Speech-Language Pathology (S.L.P.D.), Education (Ed.D.), Educational Specialist (Ed.S.), Health Sciences (D.H.Sc.), Health Sciences (Ph.D.), Nursing (D.N.P.), Nursing (Ph.D.), Occupational Therapy – Post Professional (Dr.OT), and Occupational Therapy – Post Professional (Ph.D.). On-campus visits, sessions, orientations or Summer Residency may be required.
University of Michigan-Flint
The University of Michigan-Flint is a public university with rigorous, challenging, and well-rounded online programs. UM-Flint has 3 Online Doctorate Programs with minimal campus visits. You can get a Doctorate Degree for Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy (t-DPT) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). If you choose the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) program, you will only spend 36 months to complete it.
Check the details of these accelerated online doctorate degree programs and find more online courses at the University of Michigan-Flint.
Maryville University of St. Louis
Simply known as Maryville or Maryville University, this school offers online doctorate programs that can award you with a diploma in just a matter of 20- 32 months. It has 9 doctorate degree programs that mainly consist of courses in the Nursing and Education fields. All programs offer 100% online coursework with no on-campus activities needed.
At Maryville, the doctorate nursing degrees focus on Acute Care, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care, Family Nurse Practice, Pediatrics, and Psychiatric Mental Health.
Here’s all you need to know about Maryville University’s online doctorate degree programs.
What is the average length of time for completing Doctorate Degree Programs?
Generally, full-time students can earn the degree in 3 years, but it is important to remember that time for completion varies depending on individual factors. These factors may include acceptance of credit transfers, program or specialization changes, and the student’s circumstances. There are fast track online doctorate degree programs that let you complete your doctorate in half the time but they consist of rigorous curricula that require commitment toward successful completion.
How do I verify the accreditation status of online doctorate degree programs?
A good place to start is the online program’s website. You can search the school’s programs that have been awarded accreditation by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, an organization that oversees the quality of programs offered by colleges and universities. You can also check with the U.S. Department of Education if the university is accredited to offer online doctorate degree programs.
Is Financial Aid available for students of doctorate programs?
Many institutions offer financial aid to full-time online doctorate students. These institutions must be accredited by agencies that are approved by the U.S. Department of Education. You can also check with The Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA regarding your eligibility in obtaining federal student financial aid.