Fastest Online Doctoral Degree Programs Ranked for Students in 2023

Fastest Online Doctoral Degree Programs Ranked for Students in 2023

Are you interested in completing an online doctoral degree, but need it as quickly as possible? We have a list of the fastest online PhD degree programs here.

Key Takeaways

  • A growing number of doctoral programs can now be completed online.

  • The fastest online doctoral degrees are typically self-paced online doctorate degree programs offered by graduate schools with excellent graduation rates.

  • Graduate students looking for the shortest doctoral programs online can choose from the online doctorate options below, which boast a minimum graduation rate of 65%.

Featured Programs

Getting your doctoral degree online is one way to reduce the time to completion. The doctoral degree is typically a costly and time-consuming pursuit. Any steps that you can take to reduce the time spent pursuing your doctorate degree would reduce the cost of your program.

Online doctoral programs offer opportunities for self-paced completion of certain credit hours as well as ways to apply your continuing professional practice to the completion of your doctoral degree requirements.

Online doctoral programs are a great option for students looking to minimize their time to complete their graduate education. Most doctoral programs will center on a research project of your own design. Doctoral students will typically work closely with a mentor to complete this capstone project.

You may be required to fulfill credit hours with an array of requirements including research courses, student teaching, community college leadership, internship, and laboratory work.

Online doctoral programs focus on a combination of dissertation research and education research. Doctorate degrees prepare students for leadership positions in their fields as well as opportunities to lead research and provide postsecondary education.

Interested in finding the most affordable online doctorate programs? Check out our ranking of the online PhD programs with the lowest price tag.


What You Should Know About Online Programs for Getting an Online Doctoral Degree

The online doctoral degree is a relatively fast and efficient way to earn a graduate degree so that you can move on with your education and career. But before you jump into online learning, there are a few important things you should know first:

  • The minimum requirement for entry into an online doctoral degree is typically a bachelor’s degree. You are not required to earn a master’s degree to gain admission into an online doctorate program. However, graduate students who have completed their master’s degree may be able to apply some graduate credits toward their online doctoral programs. This is one way you might be able to reduce the time to completion of your doctoral program.
  • It is also essential to choose from online doctoral programs with accreditation from the colleges and schools commission in your region. Regional accreditation is very important as you search for a credible doctoral program. Any research opportunities, education leadership opportunities, or professional certifications you plan to pursue will depend on the accreditation of your online doctorate.
  • Your access to financial aid will also depend on the accreditation status of your online doctorate. Doctoral students will only be eligible for financial aid when completing online degree programs through a graduate school with accreditation from a Department of Education-recognized colleges and schools commission.
  • Doctoral degrees come in numerous forms including the online doctor of arts, online doctor of science, and online doctoral of applied science. The right doctoral degree program for you will depend on your educational and career goals.
  • Students enrolled to get their doctorate online typically have access to the same curriculum, content, and credit hours as traditional doctoral degree candidates.

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How We Ranked Fast Online Doctoral Degree Programs

We ranked the shortest doctoral programs by first identifying fully online doctoral degree programs that rank for Influence—a metric which scores colleges and universities based on the real-world impact of students, alumni, and professors. After identifying the best online doctorate programs based on influence and rate of fully-online graduate enrollment, we measured for graduation rate as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

The online doctorate degree programs ranked here include only doctoral programs with a 65% graduation rate or better. The majority of online doctoral degree programs ranked here demonstrate a better than 70% graduation rate. This denotes that each online doctoral degree program listed here excels at producing doctoral graduates.

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How to Find An Accelerated Online Program

You can find an online degree program with an accelerated format by reaching out directly to the online doctorate programs ranked below. Each online graduate school here excels in delivering students to graduation in their respective Phd degree programs. Find out if you can get an accelerated doctorate degree online from one of these top programs.

While NCES data does not provide comprehensive data on online accelerated degree programs, it does rank graduation rate statistics for doctoral degree programs. Those that achieve the highest graduation rate also typically rank high for average time to complete. One reason for this, especially at the doctoral degree level, is the availability of numerous flexible, self-paced online learning options.

Students typically complete their doctorate degrees in roughly 5 to 7 years. However, rapid proliferation of educational technology and online learning options has improved the flexibility of the traditional doctoral program. With self-pacing, online courses make it possible for students to reduce their time to completion to as little as 4 to 5 years.

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The 25 Fastest Online Doctoral Degree Programs

Each doctoral degree program ranked below boasts a high graduation rate and a top Influence score. Start your school search with a look at these fastest online doctoral degree programs.

  1. #1

    Duke University

    Durham , NC
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    6%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1520/34

    Online Degrees

    Dmin in Doctor Of Ministry
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    DNP in Doctor Of Nursing Practice
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  2. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    13%

    Graduation

    92%

    Student body

    38K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1435/32

    Online Degrees

    EdD in Educational Leadership
    • Required Credits: 43
    • Completion time: 2.5-3.5 years
    • Format: Online
    EdD in Organizational Change and Leadership
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 3.5-4.5 years
    • Format: Online
    EdD in Global Executive
    • Required Credits: 50
    • Completion time: 3-4 years
    • Format: Online
    DSW in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 42
    • Completion time: 2.5-3.5 years
    • Format: Online
  3. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    20%

    Graduation

    90%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1385/30

    Online Degrees

    DrPH in Public Health Executive Leadership
    • Required Credits: 45-51
    • Completion time: 36 months
    • Format: Online
  4. #6

    Messiah University

    Mechanicsburg , PA

    Tuition + fees

    $38K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    77%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1195/26

    Online Degrees

    DNP in Nursing Practice

    Concentrations

    • Family Nurse Practitioner COncentration
    • Required Credits: 86
    • Completion time: 3 years
    • Format: Online
    DNP in Nursing Practice

    Concentrations

    • Nursing Leadership Concentration
    • Required Credits: 34-39
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
  5. Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    60%

    Graduation

    87%

    Student body

    7K

    Online Degrees

    PhD in Systems Engineering
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  6. Tuition + fees

    $26K

    Acceptance

    46%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1045/20

    Online Degrees

    PhD in Organizational Leadership
    • Required Credits: 48
    • Completion time: 27 months
    • Format: Online
    PhD in Educational Leadership
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 4-6. years
    • Format: Online
    DMin in Ministerial Studies
    • Required Credits: 32
    • Completion time: 3 years
    • Format: Online
    PhD in Biblical Studies
    • Required Credits: 42
    • Completion time: 3-5 years
    • Format: Online
    PhD in Intercultural Studies
    • Required Credits: 45
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    PhD in Theological Studies
    • Required Credits: 45
    • Completion time: 3-5 years
    • Format: Online
  7. #9

    Maryville University

    Saint Louis , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    9K

    Online Degrees

    EdD in Education Leadership
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: 32 months
    • Format: Online
    DNP in Nursing

    Concentrations

    • Family Nurse Practitioner
    • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
    • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
    • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
    • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
    • Required Credits: 66-77
    • Completion time: 40 months
    • Format: Online
    DNP in Nursing Practice

    Concentrations

    • Doctor of Nursing Practice with NP
    • AGACNP
    • Required Credits: 33
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  8. Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    1K

    Online Degrees

    EdD in Doctorate In Education
    • Required Credits: 44
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
    DNP in Doctor Of Nursing Practice

    Concentrations

    • Aprn To Dnp
    • Required Credits: 34
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    DNP in Msn/Mhp To Dnp

    Concentrations

    • Public Health Policy
    • Required Credits: 50
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    DNP in Doctor Of Nursing Practice

    Concentrations

    • Bsn To Dnp Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist
    • Required Credits: 75
    • Completion time: 36 months
    • Format: Online
    DNP in Doctor Of Nursing Practice

    Concentrations

    • Bsn To Dnp Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
    • Required Credits: 75
    • Completion time: 36 months
    • Format: Online
    DNP in Doctor Of Nursing Practice

    Concentrations

    • Bsn To Dnp Family Nurse Practitioner
    • Required Credits: 75
    • Completion time: 36 months
    • Format: Online
    EdD in Public Health Policy
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
  9. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    66%

    Graduation

    84%

    Student body

    30K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1295/29

    Online Degrees

    DNP in Nursing Practice

    Concentrations

    • Family Nurse Practitioner
    • Adult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
    • Public Health Nurse Leader
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    DNP in Nursing Practice

    Concentrations

    • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  10. #12

    Bradley University

    Peoria , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    76%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1180/25

    Online Degrees

    EdD in Education

    Concentrations

    • Higher Education Administration
    • Required Credits: 48
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    DNP in Leadership
    • Required Credits: 39+
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    DNP in Nursing

    Concentrations

    • Family Nurse Practitioner
    • Required Credits: 82+
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  11. #13

    University of Miami

    Coral Gables , FL
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    28%

    Graduation

    84%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1335/30

    Online Degrees

    EdD in Applied Learning Sciences
    • Required Credits: 45
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  12. #15

    Olivet Nazarene University

    Bourbonnais , IL

    Tuition + fees

    $37K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1080/22

    Online Degrees

    EdD in Ethical Leadership
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2-3 Years
    • Format: Online
  13. #16

    Florida State University

    Tallahassee , FL
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    37%

    Graduation

    83%

    Student body

    41K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1285/29

    Online Degrees

    EdD in Educational Leadership and Policy
    • Required Credits: 69
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    EdS in Educational Leadership and Policy
    • Required Credits: 33
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    EdD in Instructional Systems and Learning Technologies
    • Required Credits: 66
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    DNP in Nursing Practice
    • Required Credits: 41-79
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  14. #19

    Baylor University

    Waco , TX
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $50K

    Acceptance

    57%

    Graduation

    82%

    Student body

    18K

    Online Degrees

    EdD in Learning and Organizational Change Hybrid
    • Required Credits: 54
    • Completion time: 3-4 years
    • Format: Online
    PhD in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 3.5-4.5 years
    • Format: Online
    OTD in Occupational Therapy
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online
    DNP in Nursing Practice

    Concentrations

    • Executive Nurse Leadership
    • Required Credits: 36
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online
    DNP in Nursing Practice

    Concentrations

    • Family Nurse Practitioner
    • Required Credits: 31-37
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online
    DNP in Nursing Practice

    Concentrations

    • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
    • Required Credits: 31-37
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online
    DNP in Nursing Practice

    Concentrations

    • Nurse-Midwifery
    • Required Credits: 31-37
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online
    DNP in Nursing Practice

    Concentrations

    • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
    • Required Credits: 31-37
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online
  15. #20

    Clemson University

    Clemson , SC
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    49%

    Graduation

    85%

    Student body

    26K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1300/29

    Online Degrees

    PBCERT in Online Teaching Certificate
    • Required Credits: 12
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    EdS in Administration And Supervision
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    PhD in Healthcare Genetics

    Concentrations

    • Interventionists
    • Translational Bench Science
    • Ethics And Health Policy
    • Required Credits: 70
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    PhD in Parks, Recreation, And Tourism Management
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online