Interested in earning a PhD, but you want to get to the finish line as quickly as possible? We rank the 10 best accelerated PhD programs.
Are you a working professional with a desire to raise your education to a doctorate or PhD level? Do you have the determination and capability to squeeze your studies into your busy schedule? Do you want to finish your doctorate degree in less than five years? Are you interested in the added convenience and flexibility of online doctoral program?
If you answer yes to those questions, you should look for respected schools that offer accelerated PhD or doctoral programs.
A PhD or doctorate will broaden your professional horizons. It reduces professional competition, and places you in the upper 2.1 percent of the population of US professionals.
In short, a PhD or doctorate degree makes you elite as you enjoy the benefit of achieving career goals that are not available to the majority of working professionals in your chosen field.
Find out more with a look at our Guide to Online Degrees. Otherwise, read on.
Accelerated PhD or doctorate degree programs are graduate study programs that are shorter yet made more comprehensive and intense than traditional doctorate degree programs.
They require students to accomplish the same amount of work in a shorter time frame, but they intend to provide them with the same amount of knowledge at a lesser cost. They enable students to waive two to three years of schooling to be ready for the job market more quickly.
Accelerated doctoral programs online are designed for students who want to take a shorter route toward a PhD or doctorate degree.
Regular doctorate degree programs require six to eight years to complete. The shortest doctoral program online has a study period of two or three years!Back to Top
Choosing accelerated online doctoral degree programs require a careful evaluation of your commitment and determination to accomplish. Because accelerated doctorate degree programs are demanding and rigorous, you need to examine yourself if you have that will and capability to exert more focus and effort to comply with its requirements.
While it is a given that you may have personal reasons for taking the fast track toward a graduate degree, there are common reasons why most people prefer accelerated doctorate degree programs. One of them may be applicable to you.
The admission requirements for accelerated online doctorate programs may vary from one school to another, but these are the general requirements:
The curriculum and courses of different PhD or doctorate degree programs vary from school to school and from one field of study to the next. However, they are similar in certain ways.
A typical online PhD or doctorate degree, regardless of the school, consists of four phases of coursework:
The natural next step you will take after completion of your PhD degree is to find an academic or research job. However, you are not limited to only working in academia.
Take your career advancement opportunities to the next level with an accelerated doctorate degree program. For information and tips on getting that degree as quickly as possible, check out our in-depth guide to Fast Online Program Rankings.
With the skill sets and knowledge gained, many PhD’s have the career opportunities in numerous job sectors including:
Key Point: It is possible to find a career outside of academia once you have earned a PhD.
If you already made up your mind about pursuing an accelerated online doctorate degree, the first big step you need to make is to choose a graduate school to enroll in. There are numerous schools that offer PhD and doctorate degree programs online. But as a prospective PhD student, it is important to know that the college is a quality place in which to earn a degree.
The following factors should be included in your decision-making process.
Accreditation is one of the top factors you should look for when looking for a college or university to enroll in. It means that the school’s system, programs, faculty, and facilities undergo a regular periodic review for compliance to the quality standards of the accrediting body approved by the Council for Higher Education and the Department of Education.
Accreditation signifies the quality of education the school is offering. The credits you earn from a regionally or nationally accredited institution are respected all over the country.
The one thing you should remember when choosing a college or university offering online doctoral programs is that you’re aiming for the highest educational achievement available in any university. Get the best knowledge through expert, experienced, and respected instructors in their field.
You can check their credentials in the university website. Additionally, you may also seek instructors who foster networking opportunities.
A school offering online accelerated programs should look after its students’ welfare, and provide them with sufficient support. It can be in the form of offering research tools, tutoring and mentoring services, library access, and networking opportunities.
Most students especially in online accelerated PhD programs, are already working and raising a family. For this reason, flexibility is a vital factor to will look for — to attain balance in their study, work, and family life.
While this is more about choosing a specialization than picking a university to enroll in, you need it as a part of your decision before proceeding for enrollment.
The type of doctoral degree program you choose is closely related to the career path you plan to take after graduation. The PhD and professional doctorate degree programs allow you to earn the highest level of academic achievement but they differ in many aspects.
If you plan to work as a researcher or teacher, a PhD or academic doctorate would be an ideal degree. Some examples of a PhD include:
If you plan to become a specialist in your chosen field and use it as your profession, you may opt for the professional doctorate degree. Here are some examples:
When determining the fastest doctorate degree programs that are worth investing in, consider your interests if it fits with the coursework you will study. Your interest in a subject can fuel your drive to learn.
If you want to take your master’s degree to the next level and qualify for higher positions, getting a PhD is the way to go.
If you are interested in doing a dissertation, choose the PhD program, but if you are comfortable with a capstone project or academic residency, you should do well in a professional doctorate degree program.Back to Top
Liberty University’s accelerated PhD in Public Policy is one of its most popular online degree programs. It is designed to equip learners with the competency they need to create fair, specific, legal, and goal-oriented public policy.
Credit Hours: 60
Program Duration: 3 years or less
There are many things that make us admire Liberty University as an institution of learning. The most prominent, however, is its commitment to provide affordable, flexible, and quality online education.
Liberty University is ideal for students who:
Believe in a Christian-centered education, with online courses that are designed in conformity with Christian teachings.
Liberty University might not be the best fit for students who:
Do not conform to teaching from a biblical point of view.
The PhD in International Business at Southern New Hampshire University is designed to increase your theoretical knowledge and sharpen your analytical skills in global business operations.
This accelerated online doctorate degree program exposes you to international trade seminars, provides you with interactive experiential learning, and molds you into an expert in international business theories.
Credit Hours: 46
Program Duration: 4 years
Format: On campus, Hybrid
SNHU offers three elements that make its students grateful to be a part of the university. These are a supportive community, affordability, and an accessible faculty.
Southern New Hampshire University is ideal for students who:
Have an open mind about diversity and are willing to take part in diverse campus or classroom activities.
Southern New Hampshire University may not be ideal for students who:
Do not feel comfortable in a diverse learning environment.
Hampton University’s PhD in Educational Management is an accelerated online doctorate degree program designed to mold you into a leader in a dynamic educational environment. It also enhances your educational leadership abilities and strengthens your confidence to create and implement educational strategies to make things happen in the educational landscape.
Credit Hours: 60
Program Duration: 2 years
We love Hampton University’s openness to diversity and multiculturalism despite being a historically black institution.
Hampton University is ideal for students who:
Are comfortable being in a multicultural and holistic educational environment.
Hampton University might not be the best fit for students who:
Don’t have an open mind about multiculturalism and diversity.
The PhD in Biomedical Engineering of the University of North Dakota’s College of Engineering & Mines is an accelerated online doctorate degree program dedicated to providing you with research skills and specialized technical expertise for the development of advanced medical devices that play huge roles in saving and improving lives on an extensive scale.
Credit Hours: 90
Program Duration: 3+ Years
Format: Online, On Campus
We love UND’s passion for educational excellence, affordable education, and outstanding career outcomes, especially in the fields of science and engineering.
The University of North Dakota is ideal for students who:
Aspire to become a leader of the future in engineering, medicine, science, and aviation.
The University of North Dakota might not be the best fit for students who:
Are not passionate about research to discover new knowledge and develop new devices for the benefit of mankind.
The accelerated PhD in Technology Management offered at Bowling Green State University is a unique accelerated online doctorate degree program. It is not designed for students who seek mentoring positions in the academe.
Rather, it is intended to prepare students for leadership positions in technology-based organizations. The program offers specializations in construction management, digital communications, manufacturing systems, quality systems, and human resources development and training.
Credit Hours: 66
Program Duration: 2.5 to 3 Years
We appreciate BGSU’s commitment to foster research and use public education to produce outstanding and successful technological professionals.
Bowling Green State University is ideal for students who:
Have a vision and desire to consistently move forward to promote public welfare.
Bowling Green State University may not be ideal for students who:
Are content to be led and dependent on leaders to solve problems for them.
Nova Southeastern University’s PhD in Criminal Justice teaches you the three essential elements of crime-busting: Identifying patterns of criminal behavior, developing solutions to control crime, and addressing internal problems in the criminal justice system.
It is a flexible program that prepares you for upper-level careers in law enforcement, crime prevention, and public service. This doctoral degree offers three areas of concentration: Behavioral science, juvenile justice, and organizational leadership.
Credit Hours: 60
Program Duration: 2.5 Years
Format: Online, On Campus, Hybrid
We love NSU’s commitment to providing students with technology-rich education by way of traditional, online, and blended learning.
Nova Southeastern University is ideal for students who:
Have the desire to lead and introduce change in diverse communities without compromising fairness, social responsibility, and cultural values.
Nova Southeastern University might not be the best fit for students who:
Lack concern and a desire to make their community a safer, better, and happier place.
East Carolina University offers the Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing to equip nurses with advanced research knowledge, skills, and methodologies to help strengthen the science of nursing. It is an accelerated online doctorate degree program that aims to serve as a key for graduates to explore possibilities for new knowledge, techniques and theories applicable in the nursing profession.
Credit Hours: 54
Program Duration: 3 - 4 Years
We commend ECU’s passion to promote nursing and medical education. It is the number one producer of allied health professionals in the state of North Carolina.
East Carolina University is ideal for students who:
Have a passion to earn knowledge, learn skills, and have a drive to succeed in a diverse, multicultural society.
East Carolina University might not be the best fit for students who:
Do not have a positive outlook towards change, innovation, and continuous improvement.
Trident University International offers its PhD in Business Administration as an accelerated online doctoral degree program. It intends to provide you with rich academic knowledge and experience through extensive research of your area of interest, and transform you into a world-class business educator.
Credit Hours: 56
Program Duration: 2.5 Years
We love Trident University’s commitment to providing quality education while keeping its tuition low. It manifests the university’s desire to support its students’ aspirations for educational and professional success.
Trident University International is ideal for students who:
Need a flexible, fully online curriculum to help them earn their targeted degree without compromising their existing work and family commitments.
Trident University International might not be the best fit for students who:
Don’t have the commitment, self-discipline, and reliability to study in a self-paced online institution.
The Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing, offered thru the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing, is a flexible, highly individualized accelerated online doctorate degree program designed to groom clinical educators, scholars, and researchers for leadership positions in industrial, academic, or healthcare environments.
Credit Hours: 56
Program Duration: 3 Years or less
Format: Online, On Campus
We favor the University of Missouri’s policy of classifying health-related research as a non-discipline specific endeavor. And because its PhD in Nursing doesn’t require a prior nursing degree, it allows students from other disciplines like health education, occupational therapy, and social work to qualify for enrollment in the university’s academic doctorate degree in nursing.
The University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing is ideal for students who:
Desire to become part of a community advocating to improve the health of the Missouri community through practice, teaching, and discovery.
The University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing might not be ideal for students who:
Are interested in pursuing fields other than nursing and healthcare.
The PhD in Safety Sciences of Indiana University of Pennsylvania is designed to provide you with the capability to develop and hone your research skills while you are working. If you desire to transform your career from business to academia or from an industrial staff to professor, this accelerated online doctorate degree from IUP is your key to attain it.
Credit Hours: 54
Program Duration: 3 Years
Format: Online (Synchronous), Hybrid
We love IUP’s commitment to support its students and ensure that they will flourish academically.
Indiana University of Pennsylvania is ideal for students who:
Desire academic growth through a supportive faculty, experiential learning opportunities, and excellent online and classroom curricula.
Indiana University of Pennsylvania may not be ideal for students who:
Have the tendency to get spoiled by the university’s assurance of personalized guidance and support. It can result in complacency and loss of student drive to work harder.
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