EdDPrograms.org

Online Ed.D. Programs Without a Dissertation

Last updated on January 23rd, 2024 at 09:57 am

Online Ed.D. programs—and in-person doctorates—always contain a rigorous, research-based project. In the past, this has been a traditional dissertation, just like a Ph.D. program. But in recent years, more and more schools are choosing to focus on a Dissertation in Practice (DiP) or Capstone Project . Discover how these two "No Dissertation" models differ from the older framework. Or skip ahead to the online listings and on-campus listings to explore your options!

No matter what Ed.D. you choose, you are always going to have to complete a research-based doctoral project. Schools that advertise “No Dissertation” Ed.D. programs typically require a Dissertation in Practice (DiP) or capstone project . These are the doctorates that we’ve included in our online listings . Examples include:

  • University of Missouri-St. Louis’s Online Ed.D. in Educational Practice . UMSL employs an 8-credit Dissertation in Practice (DiP) model, which is completed through group work.
  • University of Southern California’s Online Ed.D. in Educational Leadership . This program involves a Dissertation in Practice (DiP) that focuses on issues impeding K-12 students’ access to learning opportunities.
  • University of Southern Mississippi’s Online Ed.D. in Educational Administration . This degree includes a 12-credit capstone research project, which runs the length of the program. Students are expected to focus on a problem of practice in their workplace.
  • Nebraska Methodist College’s Online Ed.D. in Education and Leadership in Healthcare . This “No Dissertation” degree contains an 8-credit capstone split into four courses over a six-term program.
  • National University’s Online Ed.D. in Organizational Innovation , which requires a culminating project, worth 9 quarter credits. This is a written work based on research students do in their workplace.

Note: Avoid like the plague any Ed.D. program that has no DiP or capstone requirement! They almost certainly will a) not be accredited; and b) not be recognized by employers.

What is a Traditional Ed.D. Dissertation?

A traditional Ed.D. dissertation is a five-chapter paper, roughly the length of a short book. It shows that you can conduct original research into the field of education. The dissertation process starts as soon as you begin your online Ed.D. or on-campus doctorate and it can be broken down into six steps:

  • Choose a Research Topic: Near the beginning of the Ed.D. program, you’ll be expected to identify a topic that will require substantial research. This topic should revolve around a unique issue in education (e.g. Helping Intellectually Gifted Middle School Students, Bridging the Gap Between Training and Educating in Adult Learning, etc.).
  • Craft a Proposal: You’ll use the knowledge you’ve gained from didactic coursework and Ed.D. research classes to write the opening chapters of your dissertation, including an introduction that defines your chosen problem, a literature review, and a proposed methodology for finding the answer.
  • Defend the Proposal: Before proceeding, you will need to present your dissertation proposal to a committee. The committee will want to see that your research is significant and relevant works are included in the literature review. In online Ed.D. programs, this defense can usually be done virtually.
  • Research the Topic: After making any necessary tweaks to the proposal, and getting it approved, you can begin researching your topic.
  • Write the Remainder of the Dissertation: Once you have completed your research, you’ll write up the final chapters—one chapter will detail your findings; the other should contain an analysis of what your findings mean and how they might apply to professional situations.
  • Defend Your Dissertation: At the end of the Ed.D. degree, you must present your dissertation to the committee (usually in an oral presentation). After you have incorporated any notes from the committee, you can finalize your draft and graduate.

Note: Several universities publish full Ed.D. dissertations online, among them George Fox and the University of San Francisco .

Practice-Focused Alternatives: The “No Dissertation” Model of the DiP or Capstone Project

Unlike Ph.D. programs, Ed.D. programs are focused on professional practice—on-campus and online Ed.D. graduates are expected to apply their research in order to solve or improve real-world problems. To that end, many universities in our online listings and on-campus listings have been moving away from a traditional dissertation to more innovative models.

What does an Ed.D. Without a Dissertation Entail?

In general, all alternatives to a traditional Ed.D. dissertation involve a Problem of Practice (PoP) in the workplace. When you tackle a Dissertation in Practice (DiP) or capstone project , you’ll be using your research to create practical & workable solutions (e.g. recommending better practices or creating different approaches to current practice).

As we mentioned, you’ll sometimes see these kinds of education doctorates labeled as “No Dissertation” degrees. But keep in mind that the final project will be just as challenging as a traditional dissertation! Be prepared for a lot of on-the-ground research and writing.

Dissertation in Practice (DiP)

In the 2000s, the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) wanted to make the Ed.D. more relevant for school practitioners and education leaders. So it devised a new Framework for Ed.D. Program Design , with a) a new definition of the Ed.D.; b) a list of guiding principles for program development; and c) a set of building blocks for the degree.

One of these building blocks is the Dissertation in Practice (DiP) . During a DiP, you’ll be expected to:

  • Tackle a complex Problem of Practice (PoP) facing an organization or stakeholder group in education.
  • Create an innovative, research-based project that can help guide other educators and be used in the field.
  • Integrate concepts of practice, leadership, and equity into your project.

DiPs are geared toward working professionals who want to make substantive changes in education. Experienced practitioners act as DiP advisors; collaboration is encouraged; and applied research & theory is the name of the game. Examples of this practical approach include ASU’s focus on “action research” within the workplace; Pitt’s use of “improvement science” to address equity and justice; and Harvard’s concern with “strategy in action.”

Capstone Project

While you’re examining universities, you may also come across Ed.D. programs that contain a culminating project , scholarly delivery , applied inquiry project , or a capstone project . The choice of language is determined by graduate faculty and the university. But all of them hold the equivalent weight of a traditional dissertation or DiP.

To get a sense of how an on-campus or online Ed.D. capstone project is structured, we recommend you examine the Ed.D. program page carefully.

  • Some schools like to put an emphasis on group work.
  • Others are interested in seeing innovative final projects/deliverables.
  • Many follow the DiP model.

An education doctorate with a capstone project is probably the closest you’re going to get to a “No Dissertation Ed.D.” You’ll often be in involved in more collaboration and hands-on deliverables. But you’re always going to have to produce rigorous, research-focused results.

Note: CPED posts examples of award-winning Ed.D. Dissertations in Practice in its Resource Center and UW Tacoma maintains a database of Dissertations in Practice/Capstone Projects .

How an Ed.D. Capstone Project Works

Let’s say you’ve decided on pursuing an accredited, on-campus or online Ed.D. without a dissertation. How can you be sure that the final research project is going to be as tough as the traditional model? Here is a general summary of the steps involved in completing a strong Ed.D. capstone project:

  • Choose a Capstone Topic: The beginning of your Ed.D. will typically be front-loaded with foundational coursework, as well as classes on how to conduct research. It’s here that you’ll start to explore what a good capstone topic might be and learn about relevant research tools.
  • Meet with an Advisor: You’ll work with an advisor to firm up the real-world problem you want to address and determine how to approach it. Part of this process will involve figuring out what an appropriate deliverable would be (e.g. change management plan, new curriculum, portfolio of educational materials, etc.).
  • Draft a Proposal: About halfway through the program, you may be expected to draft a report that contains a problem statement, an outline of your process for finding solutions, and a description of deliverables.
  • Defend the Proposal: Before any actual research takes place, the committee needs to sign off on your proposal.
  • Research the Topic: Even without a standard Ed.D. dissertation, there’s no getting around conducting research. The key difference is how that research is gathered and applied. You may end up combining traditional research with action research and/or evaluation research (e.g. collecting and analyzing real-time data from your workplace).
  • Defend Your Findings: You have one more defense—this time of your research findings and accompanying recommendations. This is separate from the project deliverable.
  • Produce a Deliverable: The deliverable/final project is something that an organization can actually use to improve educational access or outcomes.

Ed.D. Traditional Dissertation vs. DiP/Capstone Project

As long as they contain a DiP or capstone, accredited on-campus & online Ed.D. programs without a dissertation carry the same weight as doctoral programs with traditional dissertations. There’s absolutely no difference in quality. The CPED consortium includes numerous prominent universities , and U.S. News & World Report highly ranks several schools with Ed.D. capstone components. So you have a choice.

Traditional Ed.D. Dissertation

You may wish to consider Ed.D. programs with a traditional dissertation if you want to dig deep into original research. This research may not be immediately applicable to your workplace, but it will help advance educators’ understanding of an issue. It contributes new knowledge to the field. Some dissertation writers like to investigate cultural topics (e.g. Latinx learning experiences); others are interested in the effect of education in particular settings (e.g. U.S. prison system).

Ed.D. Capstone Project or DiP: The “No Dissertation” Model

If you would like to tackle a specific problem in your workplace, then we recommend you consider in-person or online Ed.D. programs with a DiP or capstone project. These doctorates are focused on applied theory & research—you will be expected to test & implement changes over the course of your degree (e.g. new education methods, curriculum changes, leadership interventions, etc.). Ed.D. programs without a dissertation may also contain more group work and interpersonal opportunities.

Note: If you don’t have the capacity for a large research project at this time, you could consider pursuing an Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degree . This leaves the door open for you to complete an Ed.D. completion program or All But Dissertation (ABD) program later down the track.

All Online No-Dissertation EdD Programs

49 Schools Found

Arizona State University

Teacher's College

Tempe, Arizona

EdD in Leadership and Innovation

  • Curriculum Info
  • How To Apply

EdD in Leadership and Innovation - Higher Education Change Leadership

Edd in leadership and innovation - pk-12 change leadership, edd in leadership and innovation - systems, professional and reimagined change leadership, online edd in leadership and innovation.

Offered Online

Online EdD in Leadership and Innovation - Higher Education Change Leadership

Online edd in leadership and innovation - pk-12 change leadership, online edd in leadership and innovation - systems, professional and reimagined change leadership, university of arizona.

Department of Educational Policy Studies and Practice

Tucson, Arizona

EdD in Educational Leadership

National university.

Sanford College of Education

La Jolla, California

Online Ed.D. in Organizational Innovation

University of southern california.

Rossier School of Education

Los Angeles, California

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership

Doctor of education in educational leadership - educational psychology, doctor of education in educational leadership - higher education administration, doctor of education in educational leadership - teacher education in multicultural societies, global executive doctor of education, online doctor of education in educational leadership - k-12 leadership in urban school settings, online doctor of education in educational leadership - leading instructional change, connecticut, sacred heart university.

Isabelle Farrington College Of Education

Fairfield, Connecticut

Ed.D. in Educational Leadership

Wilmington university.

College of Education

New Castle, Delaware

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership - District Leadership

Doctor of education in educational leadership - school leadership, doctor of education in educational leadership - teacher leadership, doctor of education in organizational, learning, leadership and innovation, doctor of education in organizational, learning, leadership and innovation - strategic leadership, doctor of education in organizational, learning, leadership and innovation - talent development, doctor of education in organizational, learning, leadership and innovation - workplace learning, edd in higher education leadership and innovation, online doctor of education in organizational, learning, leadership and innovation, online edd in higher education leadership and innovation, district of columbia, american university.

School of Education

Washington, District of Columbia

Online EdD in Education Policy and Leadership

Nova southeastern university.

Fischler College of Education

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

EdD in Curriculum and Instruction

Edd in higher education leadership, edd in higher services administration, edd in instructional technology and distance education, edd in organizational leadership, edd in reading education, edd in special education, online edd in curriculum and instruction, online edd in educational leadership, online edd in higher education leadership, online edd in higher services administration, online edd in instructional technology and distance education, online edd in organizational leadership, online edd in reading education, online edd in special education, university of florida.

Gainesville, Florida

Online Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction - Teachers, Schools, and Society

University of miami.

Coral Gables, Florida

Doctor of Education in Applied Learning Sciences

Georgia southern university.

Statesboro, Georgia

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies - Cultural Curriculum Studies

Doctor of education in curriculum studies - learning, development, and curriculum, doctor of education in curriculum studies - multicultural and social justice education, doctor of education in educational leadership - p-12 administration, governors state university.

University Park, Illinois

Online Doctor of Education in Interdisciplinary Leadership - Higher Education Administration

Online doctor of education in interdisciplinary leadership - not for profit/social entrepreneurship leadership, online doctor of education in interdisciplinary leadership - superintendent p-12, national louis university.

National College of Education/School of Business and Management

Chicago, Illinois

Doctorate of Education in Higher Education Leadership

Online doctorate of education in higher education leadership, allen college.

School of Health Sciences

Waterloo, Iowa

Doctor of Education in Health Professions Education

University of saint mary.

Education Department

Leavenworth, Kansas

Doctor of Education in Leadership - Innovation in Curriculum and Instruction

Doctor of education in leadership - innovative leadership in higher education, johns hopkins university.

Baltimore, Maryland

Online EdD in Instructional Design in Online Teaching and Learning

Massachusetts, bay path university.

Longmeadow, Massachusetts

EdD in Higher Education Leadership & Organizational Studies

Boston college.

Lynch School of Education

Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts

Executive Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Higher Education

Executive doctor of education (ed.d.) in higher education - catholic education, boston university.

Wheelock College of Education & Human Development

Boston, Massachusetts

EdD in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies: Leadership in Early Childhood Education-Grade 12

Northeastern university.

College of Professional Studies

Doctor of Education

Online doctor of education - curriculum, teaching, learning and leadership, online doctor of education - higher education administration, online doctor of education - organizational leadership studies, regis college.

School of Arts and Sciences

Weston, Massachusetts

Andrews University

Department of Leadership

Berrien Springs, Michigan

Online Doctor of Leadership (D.Lead)

Cornerstone university.

Adult & Graduate Studies

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership and Development

Capella university.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

EdD in Adult Education

Edd in performance improvement leadership, edd in reading and literacy, edd, curriculum and instruction, saint mary's university of minnesota.

Graduate School of Education

Winona, Minnesota

Executive Doctor of Education in Leadership

The college of saint scholastica.

Duluth, Minnesota

Doctor of Educational Leadership

Walden university.

Riley College of Education & Leadership

Online Doctor of Education - Community College Leadership

Online doctor of education - curriculum instruction and assessment, online doctor of education - early childhood education, online doctor of education - educational administration and leadership (for administrators), online doctor of education - educational administration and leadership (non-licensure), online doctor of education - educational technology, online doctor of education - higher education (self-designed), online doctor of education - higher education and adult learning, online doctor of education - higher education leadership and management, online doctor of education - p-20 education (self-designed), online doctor of education - reading, literacy, and assessment, online doctor of education - special education, mississippi, university of southern mississippi.

Department of Educational Research and Administration

Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Online EdD in Educational Administration - P-12

Online edd in higher education administration, a. t. still university of health sciences.

College of Graduate Health Studies

Kirksville, Missouri

Doctor of Education in Health Professions

Nebraska methodist college of nursing & allied health.

Healthcare Management Department

Omaha, Nebraska

EdD in Education & Leadership in Healthcare

University of nebraska-lincoln.

Department of Educational Administration

Lincoln, Nebraska

Doctor of Education in Educational Studies - Innovative Learning Technologies

Doctor of education in educational studies - teaching, curriculum and learning, fordham university.

Department of Educational Leadership

Bronx, New York

Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership, Administration and Policy

Online doctorate of education in educational leadership, administration and policy, franklin university.

Columbus, Ohio

Online Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership - Higher Education Leadership

Online doctor of education in organizational leadership - organizational leadership focus, online doctor of education in organizational leadership - pk-12 educational leadership, kent state university at kent.

School of Foundations, Leadership and Administration

Ed.D. in Interprofessional Leadership - Athletic Training

Ed.d. in interprofessional leadership - cultural foundations, ed.d. in interprofessional leadership - curriculum & instruction, ed.d. in interprofessional leadership - educational technology, ed.d. in interprofessional leadership - special education, university of dayton.

School of Education and Health Sciences

Dayton, Ohio

Doctor of Education in Leadership for Organizations

South carolina, university of south carolina-columbia.

Columbia, South Carolina

Online Doctor of Education in Educational Practice and Innovation - Education Systems Improvement

Online doctor of education in educational practice and innovation - stem education, online ed.d. in educational practice and innovation with a concentration in curriculum studies, online ed.d. in educational practice and innovation with a concentration in learning design and technologies, east tennessee state university.

Johnson City, Tennessee

Doctorate of Education in Global Sport Leadership

Lipscomb university.

Nashville, Tennessee

Doctorate in Education - Learning Organizations and Strategic Change

Online doctor of education in learning organizations and strategic change, vanderbilt university.

Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations

EdD in Higher Education Leadership and Policy

Edd in k-12 educational leadership and policy, online edd in leadership and learning organizations, tarleton state university.

Department of Educational Leadership & Technology

Stephenville, Texas

Ed.D. in Educational Leadership - EC-12 Education Leadership

Ed.d. in educational leadership - higher education leadership, ed.d. in educational leadership - superintendent or principal certification, texas a & m university-college station.

Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development

College Station, Texas

Doctor of Education in Educational Administration

Online doctor of education in curriculum and instruction, texas tech university.

Lubbock, Texas

Online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership

Online doctor of education in higher education administration - community college administration, online doctor of education in higher education administration - higher education college/university administration, west texas a & m university.

College of Education and Social Science

Canyon, Texas

Online Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership

Online doctorate of education in leadership in higher education, college of william and mary.

Department of Educational Policy, Planning and Leadership

Williamsburg, Virginia

EdD in Educational Policy, Planning and Leadership - International School Leadership

Edd in educational policy, planning and leadership - gifted education, edd in educational policy, planning and leadership - higher education administration, edd in educational policy, planning and leadership - k-12 administration, liberty university.

Lynchburg, Virginia

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership

Online doctor of education in curriculum & instruction, online doctor of education in curriculum & instruction - elementary education, online doctor of education in curriculum & instruction - middle grades education, online doctor of education in curriculum & instruction - secondary education, online doctor of education in curriculum & instruction - special education, online doctor of education in school administration and supervision, university of virginia.

Curry School of Education

Charlottesville, Virginia

EdD in Administration and Supervision

Edd in higher education, virginia commonwealth university.

Richmond, Virginia

Doctor of Education in Leadership

Doctor of education in leadership - general leadership, doctor of education in leadership - higher education leadership, online doctor of education in leadership, online doctor of education in leadership - general leadership, online doctor of education in leadership - higher education leadership, gonzaga university.

Spokane, Washington

Doctor of Educational Leadership - Educational Leadership Among Indigenous Peoples

Doctor of educational leadership - leadership in catholic schools, doctor of educational leadership - pre-k-12 school leadership, university of wyoming.

Laramie, Wyoming

Online Ed.D. in Education - Higher Education Administration

Online edd in learning, design and technology, all on-campus no-dissertation edd programs.

25 Schools Found

California State University-San Bernardino

San Bernardino, California

Doctorate in Education - Community College Leadership

Doctorate in education - pk-12, la sierra university.

Department of Administration and Leadership

Riverside, California

Doctor of Education in Administration and Leadership

Doctor of education in curriculum and instruction, doctor of education in curriculum and instruction - educational psychology, doctor of education in curriculum and instruction - higher education, doctor of education in curriculum and instruction - leadership and administration, doctor of education in curriculum and instruction - neuroscience and education, doctor of education in educational psychology, doctor of education in educational psychology - mental health, doctor of education in school psychology, doctor of education in school psychology - bcba, university of colorado denver/anschutz medical campus.

School of Education and Human Development

Denver, Colorado

Doctorate in Education - Leadership for Educational Equity

Doctorate in education - leadership for educational equity - early childhood education and early childhood special education, doctorate in education - leadership for educational equity - executive leadership, doctorate in education - leadership for educational equity - higher education, doctorate in education - leadership for educational equity - latin learners and community, doctorate in education - leadership for educational equity - mathematics education, doctorate in education - leadership for educational equity - professional learning and technology, doctorate in education - leadership for educational equity - science education, doctorate in education - leadership for educational equity - urban and diverse communities, university of connecticut.

Storrs, Connecticut

Delaware State University

Department of Education

Dover, Delaware

EdD in Educational Leadership in Higher Education

Edd in educational leadership in k-12, university of delaware.

Newark, Delaware

Barry University

Miami, Florida

Doctor of Education in Organizational Learning and Leadership - Higher Education Administration

Edd in organizational learning and leadership - educational leadership, edd in organizational learning and leadership - human resource development, florida state university.

Tallahassee, Florida

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Administration

Doctor of education in learning design & performance technology, lynn university.

Boca Raton, Florida

Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership

University of north florida.

Department of Leadership, School Counseling and Sport Management

Jacksonville, Florida

Augusta University

Augusta, Georgia

Doctor of Education in Educational Innovation - Curriculum and Instruction

Doctor of education in educational innovation - education leadership, doctor of education in educational innovation - elementary education, doctor of education in educational innovation - middle grades, doctor of education in educational innovation - p12 art education, doctor of education in educational innovation - p12 health & physical education, doctor of education in educational innovation - p12 music education, doctor of education in educational innovation - secondary education - biology, doctor of education in educational innovation - secondary education - chemistry, doctor of education in educational innovation - secondary education - earth science, doctor of education in educational innovation - secondary education - economics, doctor of education in educational innovation - secondary education - english, doctor of education in educational innovation - secondary education - french, doctor of education in educational innovation - secondary education - german, doctor of education in educational innovation - secondary education - history, doctor of education in educational innovation - secondary education - mathematics, doctor of education in educational innovation - secondary education - physics, doctor of education in educational innovation - secondary education - political science, doctor of education in educational innovation - secondary education - science education, doctor of education in educational innovation - secondary education - spanish, doctor of education in educational innovation - special education, university of hawaii at manoa.

Honolulu, Hawaii

Education Doctorate in Professional Education Practice

Depaul university, edd in curriculum studies, illinois state university.

Normal, Illinois

EdD in Education Administration and Foundations: P-12 Administration

University of illinois at chicago, doctor of education in urban education leadership, drake university.

Des Moines, Iowa

Doctor of Education with Principal Licensure

Edd in administration with superintendent licensure, university of iowa.

Iowa City, Iowa

Doctor of Education in Education Policy and Leadership Studies - Higher Education

Doctor of education in education policy and leadership studies - pk-12 administration, morehead state university.

Morehead, Kentucky

Doctor of Education in Adult and Higher Education Leadership

Doctor of education in educational technology leadership, doctor of education in p-12 administrative leadership, northern kentucky university.

Department of Counseling, Social Work and Leadership

Highland Heights, Kentucky

Spalding University

Louisville, Kentucky

University of Louisville

Edd in educational leadership and organizational development, university of maryland-college park.

College Park, Maryland

Doctor of Education in School System Leadership

Michigan state university.

Department of Education Administration

East Lansing, Michigan

EdD in Educational Leadership - K12 Administration

University of mississippi.

University, Mississippi

EdD in K-12 Educational Leadership

Edd in math education, maryville university.

Saint Louis, Missouri

Saint Louis University-Main Campus

Doctor of education in educational leadership - catholic, university of missouri-st louis, edd in educational practice, new hampshire, southern new hampshire university.

Manchester, New Hampshire

Rutgers University

Camden, New Jersey

EdD in Design of Learning Environments

Edd in education, culture, and society, edd in teacher leadership, cuny hunter college.

New York, New York

Doctor of Education in Instructional Leadership

New york university.

Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions

EdD in Educational Theatre in Colleges and Communities

Edd in higher education administration, the sage colleges.

Esteves School of Education

Troy, New York

University at Buffalo

Buffalo, New York

Doctorate in Education - Educational Administration

North carolina, east carolina university.

Greenville, North Carolina

EdD in Educational Leadership - Higher Education

Gardner-webb university.

Boiling Springs, North Carolina

Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership

Western carolina university.

Human Services Department

Cullowhee, North Carolina

Wingate University

Wingate, North Carolina

Doctor of Education in Higher Education Executive Leadership

Miami university-oxford.

Oxford, Ohio

Ohio State University-Main Campus

Doctor in education studies - educational administration, pennsylvania, kutztown university of pennsylvania.

Department of Secondary Education

Kutztown, Pennsylvania

Education Doctorate in Transformational Teaching and Learning

University of pittsburgh-pittsburgh campus.

Department of Administrative and Policy Studies

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

EdD in Health and Physical Activity

Edd in higher education management, edd in out of school learning, edd in social and comparative analysis in education, edd in special education - applied behavioral analysis, edd in special education - blindness/vision impairments/orientation and mobility, edd in special education - early intervention, edd in special education - emotional and behavioral disorders, edd in special education - learning disabilities, edd in special education - severe disabilities, edd in stem, clemson university.

Clemson, South Carolina

Doctorate in Education in Education Systems Improvement Science

Texas christian university.

Fort Worth, Texas

Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership

Brigham young university-provo.

McKay School of Education

Provo, Utah

University of Utah

Department of Educational Leadership and Policy

Salt Lake City, Utah

EdD in K12 Leadership and Policy - Administrative Licensure

K12 edd program, university of vermont.

College of Education and Social Services

Burlington, Vermont

Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Seattle university.

Seattle, Washington

Doctorate in Educational and Organizational Learning and Leadership

University of washington-tacoma campus.

Tacoma, Washington

Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership

Doctoral program in educational leadership - adult education, doctoral program in educational leadership - higher education, doctoral program in educational leadership - nursing education and healthcare leadership, doctoral program in educational leadership - p-12 educators/superintendent credential, doctoral program in educational leadership - public service, washington state university.

Pullman, Washington

EdD in Educational Leadership - Administration

Edd in educational leadership - higher education leadership, edd in educational leadership - teacher leadership.

The Gradcafe

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Best 18-Month Doctorate without Dissertation Programs

Lisa Marlin

A PhD  helps you advance your career and secure senior leadership positions. However, if you’re a busy working professional struggling to manage your family, work, and personal commitments, full-time enrollment with dissertation requirements might not be an option. Most PhDs take 3-7 years to complete, with lots of time spent on dissertations.

But what if you could study a PhD without dissertation requirements or lengthy durations?

Sure, online PhD programs  offer more flexibility; however, you’ll still spend years studying.

Luckily, many schools offer 18-month doctorate without dissertation programs that you can complete in record time, often while studying online on your own schedule. Does that mean you can find the easiest PhD without dissertation requirements? Let’s find out.

Here are some of the top universities and no-dissertation PhD programs you can finish in just 18 months or a little more.

Table of Contents

Top 18-month Doctorate without Dissertation Programs

We’ve separated our list of doctorate degrees without dissertation into a few categories: education, nursing, physical therapy, and business management.

Walden University

PhD in Education (P-20 Education)

Walden University logo

Walden University is known for offering research doctorates to African-American students and has many flexible options in various disciplines to extend education to everyone. This flexible PhD without dissertation requirements is a fabulous education program where you can design your study based on your interests.

  • Courses:  Leading the future of education, governance & politics of education, and learning experiences in supportive environments.
  • Credits:  86
  • Delivery:  Online
  • Tuition: $692 per quarter hour
  • Financial aid:  Grants, education assistance, and loans.
  • Acceptance rate:  100%
  • Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Nebraska Methodist College

Online Doctorate in Education & Leadership in Healthcare

Nebraska Methodist college logo

Nebraska Methodist College is one of the country’s most famous allied healthcare colleges and offers more than 40 healthcare and education programs online and on-campus. You don’t need to complete a dissertation or submit GRE scores to apply for this doctoral degree online; no dissertation. You can also balance your studies with other parts of your life by choosing between part-time or full-time options.

  • Courses: Information technology in healthcare & education, legal & ethical issues in organizations, and healthcare policy.
  • Duration: 24 months
  • Cost per credit hour : $817
  • Financial aid: Scholarships, grants, and loans.
  • Acceptance rate:  92%
  • Location:  Omaha, Nebraska

Nova Southeastern University, College of Education & School of Criminal Justice

EdD – Educational Leadership

NSU Florida logo

Nova Southeastern University is a nationally renowned private institution that embraces social mobility and diversity. The institution offers an EdD that doesn’t require a dissertation. Instead, you’ll need to complete a Strategic Research Project (SRP) amounting to 12 credits.

  • Courses: Leadership, communication, & technology, legal & ethical issues in educational leadership, and leading an educational organization.
  • Credits:  55
  • Delivery:  On-campus
  • Tuition : $1,505 per credit
  • Financial aid:  Scholarships, employer assistance, and veteran benefits.
  • Acceptance rate:  76%
  • Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Maryville University

Online Doctor of Nursing Practice

Maryville University logo

Maryville University is renowned for innovative and comprehensive education, using advanced technology to deliver distance learning programs across a range of disciplines. If you are a working nursing professional, this doctoral degree without dissertation requirements will qualify you to reach the highest levels of nursing leadership.

  • Courses:  Principles of epidemiology & biostatistics, ethics for advanced nursing practice, and professional role development.
  • Credits:  33
  • Duration:  20 months
  • Delivery: Online
  • Tuition : $813 per credit
  • Financial aid: Scholarships, grants, and employer assistance.
  • Acceptance rate: 95%
  • Location:  St. Louis, Missouri

Monmouth University

Online DNP Program

Monmouth University logo

Monmouth University has a low student-faculty ratio and believes in immersive learning experiences beyond the classroom. This DNP doctoral program without dissertation requirements helps students analyze evidence to improve clinical policies and practices.

  • Courses: Translating evidence to clinical practice, organizational leadership in healthcare, and health care economics and financial management.
  • Credits:  36
  • Tuition :  $1,348 per credit hour
  • Acceptance rate: 79%
  • Location:  West Long Branch, New Jersey

Bay Path University

Doctor of Nursing Practice – Family Nurse

Bay Path University logo

Bay Path University is a non-profit institution that offers a range of opportunities for lifelong learning, especially for women. This DNP program seeks to prepare nursing professionals with modern evidence-based knowledge to handle advanced nursing practitioner roles, especially in the family health sphere. You can complete this online doctorate (no dissertation) at your own pace.

  • Courses:  Managing healthcare delivery systems, healthcare informatics, and biostatistics & epidemiology.
  • Tuition : $995 per credit
  • Financial aid: Federal loans and private loans.
  • Acceptance rate: 78%
  • Location:  Longmeadow, Massachusetts

Physical Therapy

The university of north carolina at chapel hill, school of medicine.

Transitional Doctorate in Physical Therapy

The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill logo

The University of North Carolina is ranked #5  for research among public universities and has two Nobel laureates. This non-thesis PhD helps licensed physical therapists gain advanced knowledge and skills in their area of practice. Additionally, physical therapists earn a median salary of $91,010, making this program one of the highest-paid PhDs . Balance familial and work responsibilities easily as you complete this doctorate degree online (no dissertation).

  • Courses: Advanced patient management, advanced neuromuscular intervention, and advanced practice issues.
  • Credits: 27
  • Tuition :  $902 per credit
  • Financial aid: Scholarships, loans, and employee benefits.
  • Acceptance rate: 25%
  • Location: North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Gannon University

Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate

Gannon University logo

Gannon University is a private Christian institution with a low student-faculty ratio that offers various online programs. This is one of few occupational therapy doctorate degrees without dissertations that help physical therapy professionals translate knowledge from cross-disciplinary theories and research into practice, enabling them to grow beyond a therapist-clinician role.

  • Courses:  Applied research in clinical practice, advanced leadership & ethics, and entrepreneurship for the IT professional.
  • Credits:  34
  • Duration:  2 years
  • Tuition :  $770 per credit
  • Financial aid:  Scholarships, grants, loans, and veteran benefits.
  • Acceptance rate:  79%
  • Location:  Erie, Pennsylvania

Business Management

Capella university.

Doctor of Business Administration in Strategy & Innovation

Capella University logo

Capella University is a private institution that strives to extend education to all by offering programs that fit with busy routines. As a result, many of its programs are highly flexible, allowing you to finish at your own pace. The institution also makes it easy to manage study costs by only requiring payment for 12 weeks instead of per credit. This doctorate without dissertation offers two streams: the GuidedPath, where you have a pre-fixed curriculum structure, and FlexPath, where you can modify the structure and complete the program according to your pace and convenience.

  • Courses:  Effective organizational leadership, strategic decision making, and teaching business in higher education.
  • Credits:  45
  • Tuition : $545 – $810
  • Financial aid: Grants, scholarships, loans, and military benefits.
  • Location:  Minneapolis, Minnesota

Liberty University

Online Doctor of Business Administration

Liberty University logo

Liberty University has been named one of the top 5  online universities and is known for its quality, accessibility, and affordability. This flexible DBA program allows you to specialize in one of a range of business areas, from international business to healthcare management. No dissertation is required for this doctorate degree online.

  • Courses:  Strategic allocation of financial resources, marketing for competitive advantage, and quantitative research methods.
  • Credits:  60
  • Tuition:  $595 per credit
  • Financial aid:  Scholarships, grants, loans, and military benefits.
  • Acceptance rate: 50%
  • Location: Lynchburg, Virginia

What Is a Dissertation and How Does it Work?

A dissertation, sometimes called a thesis, involves conducting research before writing a final report to summarize the research’s findings. It is a fundamental requirement of many graduate programs, especially doctorates, and allows students to develop advanced research, writing, and analytical skills. If a panel approves your dissertation, it will become a part of the field’s current body of knowledge.

The student may choose the topic independently or in consultation with an advisor. In some cases, students can collaborate with faculty members to conduct research. Once complete, the university evaluates the dissertation, and their assessment often decides whether the candidate achieves their PhD .

Why Do So Many Programs Require Dissertations?

A dissertation is usually the most involved and longest-running assignment you need to complete as part of a graduate program. Many schools include a dissertation in the program to develop and test students’ research abilities and set them up for careers in academia.

However, some universities offer graduate programs that don’t require a dissertation. Instead, these programs involve additional research-oriented courses for the students to make up their credits.

Ranking Methodology for 18-month Doctorate without Dissertation Programs

We put together the above list of universities and doctorate programs across various disciplines based on their requirements for a dissertation and the total duration of the program. Of course, we gave preference to 18-month programs, but we also included some slightly longer programs.

Most programs don’t require any dissertation at all, while some require fair research activity for satisfactory completion. We ranked the programs based on accessibility, delivery mode, courses, faculty, and school reputation.

Key Takeaways

While most doctorate programs include a mandatory dissertation, several universities now offer no-dissertation programs. These are ideal for working students who may not be able to attend full-time, on-campus programs involving extensive research that can take years to complete.

But you might wonder whether an 18-month doctorate without dissertation status is still valuable. The good news is that it is — a doctorate without a dissertation is nonetheless a respected advanced degree that can significantly boost your career and secure well-paid, senior positions in the field of your choice.

Looking for other ways to speed up your post-graduate education?

Explore the Best 1-Year PhD Online Programs!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you get a doctorate without doing a dissertation.

Yes. Many universities offer doctorate programs that don’t require a dissertation at all. Review the ones we’ve listed in this article for more information.

What Is a Doctorate Without a Dissertation Called?

There’s no particular term for doctorates without dissertations. Instead, they’re simply known as PhDs, EdDs, DNPs, or doctorate degrees. However, some institutions call them “no-dissertation programs” on their official websites.

Is a Dissertation Required for a PhD?

At many universities, a dissertation is an important and indispensable part of a PhD curriculum. However, some universities offer doctorate programs that don’t require a dissertation or thesis for completion. This can be a good option if you’re uninterested in research, don’t wish to work in academia, or are looking for an accelerated option.

Lisa Marlin

Lisa Marlin

Lisa is a full-time writer specializing in career advice, further education, and personal development. She works from all over the world, and when not writing you'll find her hiking, practicing yoga, or enjoying a glass of Malbec.

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Best 18-Month Doctorate without Dissertation [2024 Guide]

An 18-month doctorate without dissertation is a strategic option for those looking to advance their education quickly and efficiently.

18-Month Doctorate without Dissertation

This guide explores a variety of professional doctorates, covering diverse fields from business administration to social work. You can gain insights into the subjects each degree covers as well as the potential career paths they can lead to.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Whether you’re looking to climb the career ladder or pivot to a new field, read on to discover a range of accelerated doctorate programs that don’t have a dissertation component.

List of Colleges Offering No Dissertation Doctorates

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Boston University

Boston University’s 18 month post-professional OTD program is tailored for occupational therapy graduates and focuses on innovative practice and research. It requires the completion of 33 to 37 credits, depending on prior coursework. Classes are online and 7 weeks long, allowing flexibility with three annual start dates. Students work on their doctoral projects each semester instead of completing a final dissertation.

Boston University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Chatham University

Chatham University offers a 16 month online OTD program designed for occupational therapists aspiring to leadership roles. It requires the completion of 30 credits over 4 terms and allows students to progress by taking two classes at a time. Some courses in the curriculum are 7 weeks long, while others are 14 weeks long. The program is 100% online, providing flexibility for professionals to balance their studies with other commitments.

Chatham University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Frontier Nursing University

Frontier Nursing University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program is intended for registered nurses seeking advanced clinical, leadership, and organizational roles. It’s an 18 month, online program that requires the completion of 30 credit hours.

Students undertake a Quality Improvement project instead of a dissertation, focusing on enhancing healthcare delivery and outcomes through practical, evidence-based initiatives.

FNU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Quinnipiac University

Quinnipiac University’s post-professional OTD program is tailored for practicing registered occupational therapists. It has minimal campus requirements and may be completed in 5 semesters.

Courses are offered in varying durations (5, 7, and 14 weeks long) and designed for working professionals. The program seeks to help students become leaders and evidence-based scholars without a dissertation requirement.

Quinnipiac University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Utica University

Utica University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program combines online and on-campus learning and may be completed in 3 years. It’s crafted to enhance evidence-based practice, clinical, and research skills, aiming to equip aspiring physical therapists for the licensure exam. The curriculum encourages the development of diagnostic and critical thinking skills through a mix of instructional methods and practical case studies.

Utica University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Valparaiso University

Valparaiso University’s online post-professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy (DROT) is a 30 credit, fully online program. It is designed to be completed over 4 semesters and a capstone, potentially in just 18 months. It aims to prepare graduates for advanced roles in mentorship, education, evidence-based practice, and policy-making. The curriculum focuses on innovation without requiring a dissertation.

Valparaiso University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau , there’s a growing trend in higher education, with more people earning advanced degrees. Online doctorate programs that don’t require a traditional dissertation can often be completed in less time, some in as little as 18 months.

The following degree options showcase the wide range of fields that offer accelerated doctoral programs. Select the program that most interests you to jump to that section of the guide:

  • Doctorate in Accounting
  • Doctorate in Business Administration
  • Doctorate in Computers & Information Technology
  • Doctorate in Criminal Justice
  • Doctorate in Education
  • Doctorate in Engineering
  • Doctorate in Entrepreneurship
  • Doctorate in Finance
  • Doctorate in Healthcare Administration
  • Doctorate in Information Technology
  • Doctorate in Liberal Arts
  • Doctorate in Marketing
  • Doctorate in Ministry
  • Doctorate in Nursing
  • Doctorate in Occupational Therapy
  • Doctorate in Physical Therapy
  • Doctorate in Public Administration
  • Doctorate in Public Health
  • Doctorate in Psychology
  • Doctorate in Social Work

The program that’s best for you will depend on your personal interests and professional goals.

DBA in Accounting

DBA in Accounting

An online DBA in Accounting helps you develop advanced accounting expertise and qualifications. This doctorate emphasizes applying accounting principles and strategies directly to professional settings, equipping you with skills to lead in dynamic business environments.

Key subjects studied include advanced financial reporting, strategic taxation, and auditing practices. With a focus on real-world financial challenges and strategic decision-making, an online DBA with no dissertation program can help prepare you for high-level finance roles, such as chief financial officer or financial strategist.

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

Doctor of Business Administration

An accelerated Doctor of Business Administration program with no dissertation offers a swift path to advanced business leadership expertise.

Key subjects studied include global business strategies, organizational leadership, and business analytics. This program is beneficial for those aspiring to senior management roles or consultancy, as it focuses on broad-based business acumen applicable across various industries.

A DBA can help you develop practical skills for effective leadership and strategic planning in the ever-evolving global business landscape.

Computer Science

Doctorate in Computer Science

An 18-month non-dissertation doctorate in computer science program is a rapid route to advanced technological expertise.

This program is aimed at professionals who are eyeing leadership roles in tech industries. It emphasizes cutting-edge computing technologies and problem-solving in real-world contexts. Key subjects studied include advanced algorithms, data analytics and big data, and cybersecurity.

You can learn to apply advanced computer science principles in areas like software development, data security, and AI.

Doctor of Criminal Justice (DCJ)

Doctor of Criminal Justice

An accelerated Doctor of Criminal Justice program offers a fast-track to expertise in criminal justice leadership. With a focus on contemporary issues in the criminal justice system, the program covers key subjects like advanced criminology, law enforcement leadership, and criminal justice policy and administration.

You can become better equipped to make informed decisions and lead effectively in various criminal justice settings. Many graduates pursue high-level positions in law enforcement, policymaking, or justice administration.

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Doctor of Education

A non dissertation EdD program is designed for rapid advancement in educational leadership and innovation. This program emphasizes applying educational theories and practices to address contemporary challenges in education.

Key subjects studied include curriculum design and assessment, educational leadership and policy, and instructional technology. An EdD is common for aspiring educational leaders, administrators, and policymakers.

With in person or online doctoral programs in education without dissertation , you can become adept at implementing effective educational strategies, driving organizational change in educational settings, and contributing to policy development.

Doctor of Engineering (D.Eng)

Doctor of Engineering

A non-dissertation Doctor of Engineering program offers a rapid path to advanced engineering leadership. This program is designed for professionals who want to pursue executive or high-level managerial roles in engineering.

A DEng program helps prepare you to effectively lead engineering projects and innovations, integrating theoretical knowledge with hands-on application in a variety of engineering fields. Key subjects studied include advanced engineering management, sustainable engineering practices, and emerging technological innovations.

DBA in Entrepreneurship

DBA in Entrepreneurship

An online DBA in Entrepreneurship program without a dissertation is a streamlined path to mastering entrepreneurial leadership. This specialized DBA is tailored for aspiring entrepreneurs or business leaders, helping you hone skills in creating, developing, and managing successful entrepreneurial ventures.

Core subjects studied include innovation and venture development, strategic entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurial finance. With an entrepreneurship DBA, you can grow your knowledge of how to launch and grow businesses, apply innovative strategies, and lead entrepreneurial initiatives.

DBA in Finance

DBA in Finance

A DBA in Finance emphasizes strategic financial management and decision-making in business. Key subjects studied include advanced corporate finance, investment strategies and analysis, and financial risk management.

A finance DBA is geared toward professionals who want to pursue roles such as CFOs or financial consultants. As a graduate, you may be ready to take charge in finance departments, handle complex investment portfolios, and tackle the intricacies of financial markets.

Doctor of Healthcare Administration (DHA)

Doctor of Healthcare Administration

A Doctor of Healthcare Administration focuses on managing healthcare systems effectively and ethically. This doctorate program is designed for professionals who are seeking leadership and executive roles in healthcare organizations.

A DHA combines theoretical knowledge with practical skills for real-world healthcare management. Key subjects studied include healthcare policy and regulation, organizational leadership in healthcare, and health services management. You can become better equipped to improve healthcare delivery, lead healthcare organizations, and influence policy.

Doctor of Information Technology (DIT)

Doctor of Information Technology

A doctorate in information technology is beneficial for professionals who are eyeing senior and leadership roles in the IT sector. DIT programs emphasize the strategic application of IT in business and organizational contexts.

Key subjects studied include advanced data analytics, cybersecurity management, and IT strategic planning. You can become better equipped to tackle complex IT challenges, lead technology-driven initiatives, and drive IT strategies that align with organizational goals.

Doctor of Liberal Arts (DLA)

Doctor of Liberal Arts

A Doctor of Liberal Arts offers an advanced education through diverse interdisciplinary studies. A DLA is aimed at professionals in education, policymaking, and cultural sectors.

While this program involves a broad perspective on arts and humanities, key subjects include cultural studies, ethical and political theory, and interdisciplinary research methods. Graduates can could apply their comprehensive liberal arts knowledge in a variety of fields, promoting understanding and innovation in both academic and real-world settings.

DBA in Marketing

DBA in Marketing

A DBA in Marketing blends advanced marketing strategies with practical applications. This program focuses on applying contemporary marketing theories to real-world business scenarios.

Key subjects studied include consumer behavior analysis, digital marketing strategies, and brand management. This program can help you develop the skills to lead innovative marketing campaigns and strategies. A marketing DBA is especially beneficial for professionals working toward senior marketing roles.

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

Doctor of Ministry

A Doctor of Ministry focuses on practical ministry skills and leadership strategy. Since it’s designed for ministry professionals, it emphasizes real-world application of theological concepts and leadership in faith-based contexts.

Key subjects covered in a DMin program include pastoral care and counseling, theological reflection and application, and ministry leadership dynamics. A DMin could help prepare you to lead congregations, manage ministry programs, and engage effectively with communities.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Doctor of Nursing Practice

A DNP program is designed for nurses seeking advanced nursing roles and leadership roles in healthcare settings. This program focuses on applying advanced nursing skills to improve patient outcomes and healthcare delivery.

Key subjects studied include advanced clinical practice, healthcare policy and advocacy, and nursing leadership and management. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , 45% job growth is projected for nurse practitioners over the next ten years, making it one of the fastest growing occupations.

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

Doctor of Occupational Therapy

An online Doctor of Occupational Therapy program is tailored for occupational therapists aiming for higher-level clinical or administrative roles. This type of program emphasizes enhancing therapeutic practices and leading in healthcare settings.

Core subjects include advanced clinical practice, occupational therapy leadership, and evidence-based practice in occupational therapy. Graduates may apply their skills in diverse healthcare environments, implementing innovative therapy techniques, managing therapy programs, and contributing to the development of OT practices.

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

Doctor of Physical Therapy

A Doctor of Physical Therapy is the minimum educational requirement for aspiring licensed physical therapists. This program focuses on applying advanced therapeutic techniques and leading in diverse healthcare environments.

Key subjects studied include advanced clinical biomechanics, physical therapy in special populations, and health care policy and administration in PT. A DPT can help equip you to improve patient rehabilitation, bring new approaches to physical therapy, and effectively manage physical therapy departments or practices.

Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)

Doctor of Public Administration

A doctorate in public administration is designed for professionals who aspire to lead in government or non-profit organizations. This program centers on applying advanced concepts to public administration challenges.

Key subjects studied include public policy analysis, organizational leadership in government, and public financial management. A DPA program can help prepare you to shape policies, lead public organizations, and manage resources effectively, making a meaningful impact in public service.

Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)

Doctor of Public Health

A Doctor of Public Health is designed for professionals who want to pursue senior or leadership roles in the public health sector. This program emphasizes the practical application of public health theories in addressing global and community health challenges.

Key subjects studied include epidemiology and biostatistics, health policy and management, and community health promotion. DrPH graduates may be equipped to lead in public health organizations, design effective health programs, and influence health policy.

Psychology (PsyD or PhD)

Doctorate in Psychology

Doctoral psychology programs help prepare you for careers in clinical psychology, counseling, or research.

A Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) focuses on practical psychological skills. A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Psychology tends to emphasize research and theory in the field. Key subjects include clinical practice and assessment, counseling techniques, and behavioral therapy.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA) , psychology professionals work in various settings, like schools, healthcare facilities, and private practice.

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

Doctor of Social Work

A Doctor of Social Work is geared toward social work professionals who want to pursue leadership roles in agencies or nonprofits. This program can help you hone skills in both clinical practice and social work administration.

Key subjects studied include advanced clinical practice, social policy analysis, and leadership in social work. Advanced social work roles include clinical directors, policy advisors, and heads of social service organizations.

Advantages and Challenges of No Dissertation Doctorates

Exploring the shortest doctoral programs without dissertation is beneficial if you’re looking to fast-track your career with practical skills. It’s helpful, though, to first weigh the pros and cons to see if it’s the right fit for you.

At the end of the day, the easiest doctorate degrees or easiest PhD without dissertation programs are beneficial if they help you work toward your personal, professional goals.

online 18 month doctorate program

When choosing an online 18 month doctorate program, here are some key factors to consider:

  • Accreditation . It’s beneficial to make sure the school is accredited. This stamp of approval means it meets certain quality standards, which is crucial for your degree’s value.
  • Program flexibility . You can look for programs that fit your schedule, especially if you’re balancing work or personal commitments.
  • Faculty expertise . You can research the faculty’s background. You might prefer experienced instructors who are experts in their fields.
  • Curriculum relevance . You can check whether the coursework aligns with your career goals and interests.
  • Technology and resources . Some schools offer robust online resources and tech support—essential for a smooth online learning experience.
  • Cost and financial aid . You can evaluate the total cost as well as what financial aid or scholarships are available.
  • Alumni network and career services . A strong network and career support can be invaluable for post-graduation opportunities.

The right program for you is the one that not only meets your preferred criteria but also fits your personal and professional aspirations.

Admissions Requirements

doctoral student preparing admissions requirements

Each program has its unique admissions requirements, but here are some common criteria for doctoral programs:

  • Advanced degree . Many doctoral programs require a master’s in a related field.
  • Professional experience . Relevant work experience showcases your practical knowledge in the field.
  • Letters of recommendation . These can come from academic or professional references who can vouch for your qualifications.
  • Personal statement . You can explain your motivations and goals for pursuing a doctorate.
  • Standardized test scores (if required) . Some grad programs ask for GRE or GMAT scores.

Tailoring your application to each school’s criteria will strengthen your chances of success.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Financial Aid for Doctoral Program Students

Financial aid options can help make paying for a doctorate more manageable. You can start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) . It will determine your eligibility for grants, loans, and other federal aid. You can also check out what financial aid opportunities your state offers.

If you’re working, you could see if your employer has tuition assistance programs. Many employers are willing to invest in their employees’ education. In addition, you can keep an eye out for scholarships offered by universities, private organizations, or community groups. They can help cover the cost of higher education.

Find quick answers to the most frequently asked questions below.

Can You Get a Doctorate Degree Without a Dissertation?

doctorate degree without a dissertation

Yes, you can get a doctorate degree without a dissertation, and it’s becoming a popular choice for many. These programs focus on practical knowledge and skills rather than traditional research.

Instead of a dissertation, you might work on a capstone project, an applied research project, or a professional portfolio that’s more aligned with your career goals. This approach is especially appealing if you’re a working professional looking to advance your career without the time-intensive commitment of a traditional dissertation.

How Is a Doctorate Without Dissertation Different from a Traditional PhD?

Here are some of the differences between a doctorate without a dissertation and a traditional PhD.

Both the fastest PhD programs online and accelerated doctorate programs without dissertations have their merits. You can choose the path that best fits your career aspirations.

Program Cost

18-month doctorate program cost

The cost of an 18-month doctorate program can vary. But according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) , the average cost of graduate tuition and required fees for an academic year is $12,596 at public institutions and $29,931 at private nonprofit institutions.

Keep in mind, these are averages. The actual cost could be different based on the specific program and school. When considering a program, it’s helpful to look at the detailed tuition fees and factor in other expenses like books, program fees, and living costs. This helps you plan financially for your educational journey.

Are 18-Month, Non-Dissertation Doctorates Credible and Accredited?

There are 18-month, non-dissertation doctorates that are both credible and accredited. Accreditation is key here, especially regional accreditation, which is regarded as the gold standard in higher education.

When a program is regionally accredited, it means it has met rigorous standards set by a recognized accrediting agency. This stamp of approval ensures the quality and credibility of your degree, making sure it’s recognized by employers and other educational institutions.

So, when you’re scouting for programs, it’s always strategic to check their accreditation status. You can find more information and a list of accredited institutions on the US Department of Education’s website.

Can You Get a Doctorate Without a Masters Degree?

student taking a doctorate program

Yes, you can get a doctorate without a masters degree. Some PhD programs welcome candidates straight from their bachelor’s program, especially if you have a strong academic record and relevant research or work experience.

These programs typically integrate the coursework of a master’s degree into the PhD curriculum, so you’re not missing out on any vital knowledge. Every program has its unique admissions criteria, so it’s important to check the specific requirements of the schools you’re eyeing. That way, you can find a path that fits with your educational background and career goals.

What Kind of Career Opportunities Can I Pursue with an Accelerated Doctoral Degree?

The jobs available to you with a doctoral degree depend on a number of factors, including your degree specialization, work experience, and geographic location.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are a few roles that typically require doctoral degrees.

Your career opportunities will likely depend on your field of interest, skill sets, and experience.

Getting Your Degree Online

man getting his 18 Month Doctorate Without Dissertation Online

Diving into an 18-month doctorate program without a dissertation component can be a game-changer for your career.

It’s a fast track to advancing your expertise with a practical focus that fits into your busy life. The key is to choose an accredited doctoral program that aligns with your goals. So, why wait? You can start exploring your options today!

The sooner you find the accredited school and program that’s right for you, the sooner you can take that next step in your educational and professional journey.

dissertation without research

Online EdD Programs

Question: Are there any online EdD programs that do not require a dissertation?

Answer: Yes – Several schools that offer Doctor of Education degrees online do not require students to complete a traditional dissertation. However, these programs typically include another type of capstone requirement, such as an applied project or requiring students to publish a journal quality research article.

At this time, the majority of online Ed.D. programs require students to complete a dissertation in order to earn their doctorate. There are, however, options for those who do not wish to write a traditional research-based thesis. Several programs now offer students the opportunity to develop and implement a more action-oriented “dissertation-in-practice” dissertation or an applied capstone project. While these capstone options also require a considerable amount of research and writing, they differ from traditional dissertations, focusing more on producing direct solutions to existing problems in education or organizational leadership, instead of furthering theory in the field.

A traditional dissertation has a formal five-chapter structure and aims to contribute to the existing scholarly literature on a topic in education development or leadership. The dissertation-in-practice, on the other hand, is an applied dissertation that still maintains the formal structure of the traditional dissertation, but focuses more on specific education challenges that students experience in their place of work. In contrast, the applied project is distinct from a dissertation in that it does not abide by the formal five-chapter dissertation structure, and has a more applied objective that relates to investigating or solving an educational practice or learning outcomes problem. In most cases, students who choose an applied project are tasked with examining an education challenge at their current place of employment (or one that is present regionally), and making an improvement to strategies or methods used in their organization or district.

Students should note that regardless of the option they choose, all three culminating experiences require rigorous research and writing. To learn more about the differences between these three capstone experiences, and to see a list of online programs that include an applied project option, continue reading below. (Note: At this time, the majority of online Ed.D. programs require students to complete some sort of a capstone experience whether it is a traditional research dissertation, a dissertation-in-practice, or an applied doctoral project.)

Ed.D. Dissertation and Dissertation-in-Practice vs. Applied Project

While each is an extensive undertaking, intended to represent the culmination of one’s doctoral studies, a traditional Ed.D. dissertation, a dissertation-in-practice, and an applied capstone project are all similar to and distinct from each other depending on how you compare them. Additionally, for Ed.D. students, one option is not inherently better than the other; therefore, it is important to understand the similarities and differences and to choose an option that best aligns with a student’s educational and professional goals.

For students who are worried about the time it may take to complete a traditional dissertation, many Ed.D. programs are now better incorporating dissertation work into the curriculum. From the beginning of students’ enrollment, these programs have a structured environment in which students conduct their research, write their dissertation chapters, and consult with instructors for their dissertation work. This is a fairly recent change from the way dissertations have historically been completed in doctoral programs, where the student embarks on his or her dissertation work after he or she completes all of the program coursework.

Ed.D. Dissertation

The dissertation is an original research study, in which students use qualitative and/or quantitative research methods to examine and analyze a specific issue related to education. The goal of this project is to contribute new insights on a particular topic in the field, making a positive impact on established methods or theories by advancing existing research.

Students typically begin the dissertation process by formulating a specific research question to investigate. After reviewing past research on the subject, they then design and conduct a study of their own and analyze the results. The final product is a five-chapter document detailing the entire dissertation process, including students’ research methodology and conclusions drawn from their findings. Overall, students can expect to spend a significant portion of their Ed.D. studies planning for and completing their dissertation. Most programs include multiple courses related to dissertation research and development, and allow for one or more years of independent study to finish the project. The entire process is typically overseen by a dissertation committee comprised of program faculty, who provide mentorship and make sure students reach certain deadlines along the way. In most cases, students must present their initial research proposal to this committee for approval, as well as explain their findings during a formal dissertation defense at the end of their studies. For Ed.D. students, a traditional dissertation is very similar to what students in a Ph.D. program complete.

Ed.D. Dissertation-in-Practice

Unlike a Ph.D. in Education, the Doctor of Education degree is more focused on practice than scholarly research. Indeed, with the establishment of the Carnegie Project for the Education Doctorate (CPED) as a guiding organization in the area of Ed.D. curriculum development, a growing number of Ed.D. programs have joined CPED and expressed their commitment to the scholar-practitioner model. As such, many Ed.D. programs are beginning to offer alternative dissertation options that more closely align with the Ed.D.’s role as a practitioner’s degree. Therefore, students who prefer to focus on practical skills and real-world applications over intensive academic inquiry should look for programs that offer a dissertation-in-practice and/or an applied project option.

The dissertation-in-practice is, in many ways, a compromise on the historical requirement that students must complete a dissertation in order to earn their doctorate, and the central mission of the Ed.D. degree to train students to be advanced scholar-practitioners (i.e. educational leaders who use research to solve education problems and challenges in their place of practice). Instead of focusing on furthering scholarly understanding of a particular issue in education, the goal of a dissertation-in-practice is to address a specific problem of practice (as such, a dissertation-in-practice is often referred to as an applied dissertation). Students who elect to complete a dissertation-in-practice identify a research question pertaining to a specific problem they wish to solve in their own place of work, or an educational issue that is affecting their region (e.g. school district or community).

Students completing a dissertation-in-practice utilize qualitative and/or quantitative research methodologies to investigate their research question, and to gather data that will provide insights on addressing, preventing, or mitigating their chosen education problem. They also generally follow the same process that students completing traditional dissertations follow, which includes forming a faculty research committee, submitting and presenting a research proposal, writing their paper, and presenting their final conclusions to their committee. In general, dissertations-in-practice also follow the same formal five-chapter structure as a traditional dissertation, but the implications of students’ research are much more aligned with the goal of directly improving learning outcomes or enacting positive change in organizations and systems of education.

Ed.D. Capstone Project

An Ed.D. capstone project, on the other hand, is quite different from a traditional dissertation or even a dissertation-in-practice. While an applied project may have a similar scope or address a similar question as a dissertation-in-practice, instead of creating a traditional five-chapter dissertation, students typically have a much more concrete deliverable, designed to be implemented immediately with the goal of improving performance or learning outcomes in a particular setting. This can take many different forms, such as a new curriculum plan for students, a staff training program, a piece of learning software, a district-wide technology strategy, potential policy changes, or recommendations for other organizational improvements that may help solve a current educational issue.

As with a dissertation, students typically complete this project under the guidance of faculty mentors. They must submit their initial proposal for approval, as well as defend the final product in front of their project committee. Most Ed.D. programs that have an applied project option also include a number of credits or courses directly related to capstone development, as well as certain deadlines students must meet during the process. In the end, these projects are generally just as rigorous as a traditional dissertation, requiring a similar time commitment as well as substantial research and writing.

Note : For the most detailed information on a program’s dissertation or capstone requirement–as well as how the program may define a traditional dissertation vs. a dissertation-in-practice vs. a capstone project–it is always best to contact the program directly.

Online Ed.D. Programs with No Dissertation Required

Below is a list of online Doctor of Education programs that include an applied project rather than a dissertation (e.g., traditional research dissertation or a dissertation-in-practice) as their capstone requirement. Students interested in earning their Ed.D. without completing a dissertation have a variety of degree options to choose from, with specializations ranging from P-12 Educational Administration to Global Sport Leadership. Keep in mind, the requirements and goal of each program’s capstone project or culminating experience may vary, depending largely on the degree’s particular area of focus within education or organizational leadership.

Below are the schools that currently offer Ed.D. programs online which do not require a dissertation (either a traditional dissertation or a dissertation in practice):

  • A.T. Still University : Doctor of Education in Health Professions (Doctoral Research Project)
  • Boston College : Executive Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Higher Education (Professional Capstone Project)
  • Bradley University : Doctor of Education – Higher Education Administration (Action Research Project and an Applied Internship)
  • Cornerstone University : Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership and Development (Organizational Leadership and Development Project)
  • East Tennessee State University : Doctor of Education in Global Sport Leadership (Doctoral Capstone Project)
  • Kent State University : Online Ed.D. in Interprofessional Leadership (Comprehensive Paper or Capstone Project)
  • Liberty University : Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (Capstone Project)
  • Liberty University : Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Capstone Project)
  • Marymount University : Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Organizational Innovation (Doctoral Project/Final Research Paper)
  • Morehead State University : Doctor of Education with Specializations in Adult and Higher Education Leadership, P-12 Administrative Leadership, and Educational Technology Leadership (Doctoral Capstone Project)
  • National Louis University : Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership (Doctoral Capstone)
  • National University : Doctor of Education in Organizational Innovation (Culminating Project)
  • Nebraska Methodist College : Doctor of Education in Education and Leadership in Healthcare (Capstone Project)
  • New York University : Doctor of Education in Leadership and Innovation (Capstone Project)
  • Rockhurst University : Online Ed.D. in Education and Leadership (Capstone Project)
  • The University of Louisiana at Monroe : Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction (Capstone Project or Three Publishable Research Articles)
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill : Doctor of Education in Organizational Learning and Leadership (Three Semester Capstone Courses and Project)
  • The University of Southern Mississippi : Doctor of Education in P-12 Educational Administration (Four-chapter Capstone Project)
  • The University of Southern Mississippi : Doctor of Education in Higher Education Administration (Field-based Capstone Project)
  • University of Miami : Doctor of Education in Applied Learning Sciences (Group Project and Individual Paper)
  • University of Virginia : Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction (Capstone Project)
  • Vanderbilt University : Doctor of Education in Leadership and Learning in Organizations (Group Capstone Project)
  • Virginia Commonwealth University : Ed.D. in Leadership (Collaborative Group Study Capstone)
  • West Texas A&M University : Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Two Publication-worthy Research Articles)
  • Wilmington University : Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership (Applied Inquiry Project)

When researching potential programs, students should decide which type of capstone experience best fits their academic and professional goals. Ultimately, it is important to choose a degree that both aligns with one’s particular learning style and provides them with the type of training needed to advance in their field of interest. To learn more about any of the Ed.D. programs listed above, as well as their specific capstone requirements, students should visit the school’s website or contact an admissions representative.

Online EdD Program FAQs

  • Are there any fully online EdD programs?
  • FAQ: Are there any online EdD programs in kinesiology?
  • FAQ: Are there any online EdD programs in TESOL and English Language Learning?
  • Are there any online EdD programs that can be completed in 2 years?
  • Are there any online EdD programs that do not require a master’s degree for admission?
  • Are there any online EdD programs that do not require the GRE for admission?
  • Are there any online EdS to EdD degree programs?
  • Are there any schools that offer faith-based EdD programs online?
  • Are there online EdD programs with an ABD option?
  • How long does it take to complete an online EdD program?
  • What is an embedded dissertation in EdD programs?

Grad Coach

Dissertation Structure & Layout 101: How to structure your dissertation, thesis or research project.

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) Reviewed By: David Phair (PhD) | July 2019

So, you’ve got a decent understanding of what a dissertation is , you’ve chosen your topic and hopefully you’ve received approval for your research proposal . Awesome! Now its time to start the actual dissertation or thesis writing journey.

To craft a high-quality document, the very first thing you need to understand is dissertation structure . In this post, we’ll walk you through the generic dissertation structure and layout, step by step. We’ll start with the big picture, and then zoom into each chapter to briefly discuss the core contents. If you’re just starting out on your research journey, you should start with this post, which covers the big-picture process of how to write a dissertation or thesis .

Dissertation structure and layout - the basics

*The Caveat *

In this post, we’ll be discussing a traditional dissertation/thesis structure and layout, which is generally used for social science research across universities, whether in the US, UK, Europe or Australia. However, some universities may have small variations on this structure (extra chapters, merged chapters, slightly different ordering, etc).

So, always check with your university if they have a prescribed structure or layout that they expect you to work with. If not, it’s safe to assume the structure we’ll discuss here is suitable. And even if they do have a prescribed structure, you’ll still get value from this post as we’ll explain the core contents of each section.  

Overview: S tructuring a dissertation or thesis

  • Acknowledgements page
  • Abstract (or executive summary)
  • Table of contents , list of figures and tables
  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 2: Literature review
  • Chapter 3: Methodology
  • Chapter 4: Results
  • Chapter 5: Discussion
  • Chapter 6: Conclusion
  • Reference list

As I mentioned, some universities will have slight variations on this structure. For example, they want an additional “personal reflection chapter”, or they might prefer the results and discussion chapter to be merged into one. Regardless, the overarching flow will always be the same, as this flow reflects the research process , which we discussed here – i.e.:

  • The introduction chapter presents the core research question and aims .
  • The literature review chapter assesses what the current research says about this question.
  • The methodology, results and discussion chapters go about undertaking new research about this question.
  • The conclusion chapter (attempts to) answer the core research question .

In other words, the dissertation structure and layout reflect the research process of asking a well-defined question(s), investigating, and then answering the question – see below.

A dissertation's structure reflect the research process

To restate that – the structure and layout of a dissertation reflect the flow of the overall research process . This is essential to understand, as each chapter will make a lot more sense if you “get” this concept. If you’re not familiar with the research process, read this post before going further.

Right. Now that we’ve covered the big picture, let’s dive a little deeper into the details of each section and chapter. Oh and by the way, you can also grab our free dissertation/thesis template here to help speed things up.

The title page of your dissertation is the very first impression the marker will get of your work, so it pays to invest some time thinking about your title. But what makes for a good title? A strong title needs to be 3 things:

  • Succinct (not overly lengthy or verbose)
  • Specific (not vague or ambiguous)
  • Representative of the research you’re undertaking (clearly linked to your research questions)

Typically, a good title includes mention of the following:

  • The broader area of the research (i.e. the overarching topic)
  • The specific focus of your research (i.e. your specific context)
  • Indication of research design (e.g. quantitative , qualitative , or  mixed methods ).

For example:

A quantitative investigation [research design] into the antecedents of organisational trust [broader area] in the UK retail forex trading market [specific context/area of focus].

Again, some universities may have specific requirements regarding the format and structure of the title, so it’s worth double-checking expectations with your institution (if there’s no mention in the brief or study material).

Dissertations stacked up

Acknowledgements

This page provides you with an opportunity to say thank you to those who helped you along your research journey. Generally, it’s optional (and won’t count towards your marks), but it is academic best practice to include this.

So, who do you say thanks to? Well, there’s no prescribed requirements, but it’s common to mention the following people:

  • Your dissertation supervisor or committee.
  • Any professors, lecturers or academics that helped you understand the topic or methodologies.
  • Any tutors, mentors or advisors.
  • Your family and friends, especially spouse (for adult learners studying part-time).

There’s no need for lengthy rambling. Just state who you’re thankful to and for what (e.g. thank you to my supervisor, John Doe, for his endless patience and attentiveness) – be sincere. In terms of length, you should keep this to a page or less.

Abstract or executive summary

The dissertation abstract (or executive summary for some degrees) serves to provide the first-time reader (and marker or moderator) with a big-picture view of your research project. It should give them an understanding of the key insights and findings from the research, without them needing to read the rest of the report – in other words, it should be able to stand alone .

For it to stand alone, your abstract should cover the following key points (at a minimum):

  • Your research questions and aims – what key question(s) did your research aim to answer?
  • Your methodology – how did you go about investigating the topic and finding answers to your research question(s)?
  • Your findings – following your own research, what did do you discover?
  • Your conclusions – based on your findings, what conclusions did you draw? What answers did you find to your research question(s)?

So, in much the same way the dissertation structure mimics the research process, your abstract or executive summary should reflect the research process, from the initial stage of asking the original question to the final stage of answering that question.

In practical terms, it’s a good idea to write this section up last , once all your core chapters are complete. Otherwise, you’ll end up writing and rewriting this section multiple times (just wasting time). For a step by step guide on how to write a strong executive summary, check out this post .

Need a helping hand?

dissertation without research

Table of contents

This section is straightforward. You’ll typically present your table of contents (TOC) first, followed by the two lists – figures and tables. I recommend that you use Microsoft Word’s automatic table of contents generator to generate your TOC. If you’re not familiar with this functionality, the video below explains it simply:

If you find that your table of contents is overly lengthy, consider removing one level of depth. Oftentimes, this can be done without detracting from the usefulness of the TOC.

Right, now that the “admin” sections are out of the way, its time to move on to your core chapters. These chapters are the heart of your dissertation and are where you’ll earn the marks. The first chapter is the introduction chapter – as you would expect, this is the time to introduce your research…

It’s important to understand that even though you’ve provided an overview of your research in your abstract, your introduction needs to be written as if the reader has not read that (remember, the abstract is essentially a standalone document). So, your introduction chapter needs to start from the very beginning, and should address the following questions:

  • What will you be investigating (in plain-language, big picture-level)?
  • Why is that worth investigating? How is it important to academia or business? How is it sufficiently original?
  • What are your research aims and research question(s)? Note that the research questions can sometimes be presented at the end of the literature review (next chapter).
  • What is the scope of your study? In other words, what will and won’t you cover ?
  • How will you approach your research? In other words, what methodology will you adopt?
  • How will you structure your dissertation? What are the core chapters and what will you do in each of them?

These are just the bare basic requirements for your intro chapter. Some universities will want additional bells and whistles in the intro chapter, so be sure to carefully read your brief or consult your research supervisor.

If done right, your introduction chapter will set a clear direction for the rest of your dissertation. Specifically, it will make it clear to the reader (and marker) exactly what you’ll be investigating, why that’s important, and how you’ll be going about the investigation. Conversely, if your introduction chapter leaves a first-time reader wondering what exactly you’ll be researching, you’ve still got some work to do.

Now that you’ve set a clear direction with your introduction chapter, the next step is the literature review . In this section, you will analyse the existing research (typically academic journal articles and high-quality industry publications), with a view to understanding the following questions:

  • What does the literature currently say about the topic you’re investigating?
  • Is the literature lacking or well established? Is it divided or in disagreement?
  • How does your research fit into the bigger picture?
  • How does your research contribute something original?
  • How does the methodology of previous studies help you develop your own?

Depending on the nature of your study, you may also present a conceptual framework towards the end of your literature review, which you will then test in your actual research.

Again, some universities will want you to focus on some of these areas more than others, some will have additional or fewer requirements, and so on. Therefore, as always, its important to review your brief and/or discuss with your supervisor, so that you know exactly what’s expected of your literature review chapter.

Dissertation writing

Now that you’ve investigated the current state of knowledge in your literature review chapter and are familiar with the existing key theories, models and frameworks, its time to design your own research. Enter the methodology chapter – the most “science-ey” of the chapters…

In this chapter, you need to address two critical questions:

  • Exactly HOW will you carry out your research (i.e. what is your intended research design)?
  • Exactly WHY have you chosen to do things this way (i.e. how do you justify your design)?

Remember, the dissertation part of your degree is first and foremost about developing and demonstrating research skills . Therefore, the markers want to see that you know which methods to use, can clearly articulate why you’ve chosen then, and know how to deploy them effectively.

Importantly, this chapter requires detail – don’t hold back on the specifics. State exactly what you’ll be doing, with who, when, for how long, etc. Moreover, for every design choice you make, make sure you justify it.

In practice, you will likely end up coming back to this chapter once you’ve undertaken all your data collection and analysis, and revise it based on changes you made during the analysis phase. This is perfectly fine. Its natural for you to add an additional analysis technique, scrap an old one, etc based on where your data lead you. Of course, I’m talking about small changes here – not a fundamental switch from qualitative to quantitative, which will likely send your supervisor in a spin!

You’ve now collected your data and undertaken your analysis, whether qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods. In this chapter, you’ll present the raw results of your analysis . For example, in the case of a quant study, you’ll present the demographic data, descriptive statistics, inferential statistics , etc.

Typically, Chapter 4 is simply a presentation and description of the data, not a discussion of the meaning of the data. In other words, it’s descriptive, rather than analytical – the meaning is discussed in Chapter 5. However, some universities will want you to combine chapters 4 and 5, so that you both present and interpret the meaning of the data at the same time. Check with your institution what their preference is.

Now that you’ve presented the data analysis results, its time to interpret and analyse them. In other words, its time to discuss what they mean, especially in relation to your research question(s).

What you discuss here will depend largely on your chosen methodology. For example, if you’ve gone the quantitative route, you might discuss the relationships between variables . If you’ve gone the qualitative route, you might discuss key themes and the meanings thereof. It all depends on what your research design choices were.

Most importantly, you need to discuss your results in relation to your research questions and aims, as well as the existing literature. What do the results tell you about your research questions? Are they aligned with the existing research or at odds? If so, why might this be? Dig deep into your findings and explain what the findings suggest, in plain English.

The final chapter – you’ve made it! Now that you’ve discussed your interpretation of the results, its time to bring it back to the beginning with the conclusion chapter . In other words, its time to (attempt to) answer your original research question s (from way back in chapter 1). Clearly state what your conclusions are in terms of your research questions. This might feel a bit repetitive, as you would have touched on this in the previous chapter, but its important to bring the discussion full circle and explicitly state your answer(s) to the research question(s).

Dissertation and thesis prep

Next, you’ll typically discuss the implications of your findings . In other words, you’ve answered your research questions – but what does this mean for the real world (or even for academia)? What should now be done differently, given the new insight you’ve generated?

Lastly, you should discuss the limitations of your research, as well as what this means for future research in the area. No study is perfect, especially not a Masters-level. Discuss the shortcomings of your research. Perhaps your methodology was limited, perhaps your sample size was small or not representative, etc, etc. Don’t be afraid to critique your work – the markers want to see that you can identify the limitations of your work. This is a strength, not a weakness. Be brutal!

This marks the end of your core chapters – woohoo! From here on out, it’s pretty smooth sailing.

The reference list is straightforward. It should contain a list of all resources cited in your dissertation, in the required format, e.g. APA , Harvard, etc.

It’s essential that you use reference management software for your dissertation. Do NOT try handle your referencing manually – its far too error prone. On a reference list of multiple pages, you’re going to make mistake. To this end, I suggest considering either Mendeley or Zotero. Both are free and provide a very straightforward interface to ensure that your referencing is 100% on point. I’ve included a simple how-to video for the Mendeley software (my personal favourite) below:

Some universities may ask you to include a bibliography, as opposed to a reference list. These two things are not the same . A bibliography is similar to a reference list, except that it also includes resources which informed your thinking but were not directly cited in your dissertation. So, double-check your brief and make sure you use the right one.

The very last piece of the puzzle is the appendix or set of appendices. This is where you’ll include any supporting data and evidence. Importantly, supporting is the keyword here.

Your appendices should provide additional “nice to know”, depth-adding information, which is not critical to the core analysis. Appendices should not be used as a way to cut down word count (see this post which covers how to reduce word count ). In other words, don’t place content that is critical to the core analysis here, just to save word count. You will not earn marks on any content in the appendices, so don’t try to play the system!

Time to recap…

And there you have it – the traditional dissertation structure and layout, from A-Z. To recap, the core structure for a dissertation or thesis is (typically) as follows:

  • Acknowledgments page

Most importantly, the core chapters should reflect the research process (asking, investigating and answering your research question). Moreover, the research question(s) should form the golden thread throughout your dissertation structure. Everything should revolve around the research questions, and as you’ve seen, they should form both the start point (i.e. introduction chapter) and the endpoint (i.e. conclusion chapter).

I hope this post has provided you with clarity about the traditional dissertation/thesis structure and layout. If you have any questions or comments, please leave a comment below, or feel free to get in touch with us. Also, be sure to check out the rest of the  Grad Coach Blog .

dissertation without research

Psst... there’s more!

This post was based on one of our popular Research Bootcamps . If you're working on a research project, you'll definitely want to check this out ...

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The acknowledgements section of a thesis/dissertation

36 Comments

ARUN kumar SHARMA

many thanks i found it very useful

Derek Jansen

Glad to hear that, Arun. Good luck writing your dissertation.

Sue

Such clear practical logical advice. I very much needed to read this to keep me focused in stead of fretting.. Perfect now ready to start my research!

hayder

what about scientific fields like computer or engineering thesis what is the difference in the structure? thank you very much

Tim

Thanks so much this helped me a lot!

Ade Adeniyi

Very helpful and accessible. What I like most is how practical the advice is along with helpful tools/ links.

Thanks Ade!

Aswathi

Thank you so much sir.. It was really helpful..

You’re welcome!

Jp Raimundo

Hi! How many words maximum should contain the abstract?

Karmelia Renatee

Thank you so much 😊 Find this at the right moment

You’re most welcome. Good luck with your dissertation.

moha

best ever benefit i got on right time thank you

Krishnan iyer

Many times Clarity and vision of destination of dissertation is what makes the difference between good ,average and great researchers the same way a great automobile driver is fast with clarity of address and Clear weather conditions .

I guess Great researcher = great ideas + knowledge + great and fast data collection and modeling + great writing + high clarity on all these

You have given immense clarity from start to end.

Alwyn Malan

Morning. Where will I write the definitions of what I’m referring to in my report?

Rose

Thank you so much Derek, I was almost lost! Thanks a tonnnn! Have a great day!

yemi Amos

Thanks ! so concise and valuable

Kgomotso Siwelane

This was very helpful. Clear and concise. I know exactly what to do now.

dauda sesay

Thank you for allowing me to go through briefly. I hope to find time to continue.

Patrick Mwathi

Really useful to me. Thanks a thousand times

Adao Bundi

Very interesting! It will definitely set me and many more for success. highly recommended.

SAIKUMAR NALUMASU

Thank you soo much sir, for the opportunity to express my skills

mwepu Ilunga

Usefull, thanks a lot. Really clear

Rami

Very nice and easy to understand. Thank you .

Chrisogonas Odhiambo

That was incredibly useful. Thanks Grad Coach Crew!

Luke

My stress level just dropped at least 15 points after watching this. Just starting my thesis for my grad program and I feel a lot more capable now! Thanks for such a clear and helpful video, Emma and the GradCoach team!

Judy

Do we need to mention the number of words the dissertation contains in the main document?

It depends on your university’s requirements, so it would be best to check with them 🙂

Christine

Such a helpful post to help me get started with structuring my masters dissertation, thank you!

Simon Le

Great video; I appreciate that helpful information

Brhane Kidane

It is so necessary or avital course

johnson

This blog is very informative for my research. Thank you

avc

Doctoral students are required to fill out the National Research Council’s Survey of Earned Doctorates

Emmanuel Manjolo

wow this is an amazing gain in my life

Paul I Thoronka

This is so good

Tesfay haftu

How can i arrange my specific objectives in my dissertation?

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What Is a Dissertation? | 5 Essential Questions to Get Started

Published on 26 March 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on 5 May 2022.

A dissertation is a large research project undertaken at the end of a degree. It involves in-depth consideration of a problem or question chosen by the student. It is usually the largest (and final) piece of written work produced during a degree.

The length and structure of a dissertation vary widely depending on the level and field of study. However, there are some key questions that can help you understand the requirements and get started on your dissertation project.

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Table of contents

When and why do you have to write a dissertation, who will supervise your dissertation, what type of research will you do, how should your dissertation be structured, what formatting and referencing rules do you have to follow, frequently asked questions about dissertations.

A dissertation, sometimes called a thesis, comes at the end of an undergraduate or postgraduate degree. It is a larger project than the other essays you’ve written, requiring a higher word count and a greater depth of research.

You’ll generally work on your dissertation during the final year of your degree, over a longer period than you would take for a standard essay . For example, the dissertation might be your main focus for the last six months of your degree.

Why is the dissertation important?

The dissertation is a test of your capacity for independent research. You are given a lot of autonomy in writing your dissertation: you come up with your own ideas, conduct your own research, and write and structure the text by yourself.

This means that it is an important preparation for your future, whether you continue in academia or not: it teaches you to manage your own time, generate original ideas, and work independently.

Prevent plagiarism, run a free check.

During the planning and writing of your dissertation, you’ll work with a supervisor from your department. The supervisor’s job is to give you feedback and advice throughout the process.

The dissertation supervisor is often assigned by the department, but you might be allowed to indicate preferences or approach potential supervisors. If so, try to pick someone who is familiar with your chosen topic, whom you get along with on a personal level, and whose feedback you’ve found useful in the past.

How will your supervisor help you?

Your supervisor is there to guide you through the dissertation project, but you’re still working independently. They can give feedback on your ideas, but not come up with ideas for you.

You may need to take the initiative to request an initial meeting with your supervisor. Then you can plan out your future meetings and set reasonable deadlines for things like completion of data collection, a structure outline, a first chapter, a first draft, and so on.

Make sure to prepare in advance for your meetings. Formulate your ideas as fully as you can, and determine where exactly you’re having difficulties so you can ask your supervisor for specific advice.

Your approach to your dissertation will vary depending on your field of study. The first thing to consider is whether you will do empirical research , which involves collecting original data, or non-empirical research , which involves analysing sources.

Empirical dissertations (sciences)

An empirical dissertation focuses on collecting and analysing original data. You’ll usually write this type of dissertation if you are studying a subject in the sciences or social sciences.

  • What are airline workers’ attitudes towards the challenges posed for their industry by climate change?
  • How effective is cognitive behavioural therapy in treating depression in young adults?
  • What are the short-term health effects of switching from smoking cigarettes to e-cigarettes?

There are many different empirical research methods you can use to answer these questions – for example, experiments , observations, surveys , and interviews.

When doing empirical research, you need to consider things like the variables you will investigate, the reliability and validity of your measurements, and your sampling method . The aim is to produce robust, reproducible scientific knowledge.

Non-empirical dissertations (arts and humanities)

A non-empirical dissertation works with existing research or other texts, presenting original analysis, critique and argumentation, but no original data. This approach is typical of arts and humanities subjects.

  • What attitudes did commentators in the British press take towards the French Revolution in 1789–1792?
  • How do the themes of gender and inheritance intersect in Shakespeare’s Macbeth ?
  • How did Plato’s Republic and Thomas More’s Utopia influence nineteenth century utopian socialist thought?

The first steps in this type of dissertation are to decide on your topic and begin collecting your primary and secondary sources .

Primary sources are the direct objects of your research. They give you first-hand evidence about your subject. Examples of primary sources include novels, artworks and historical documents.

Secondary sources provide information that informs your analysis. They describe, interpret, or evaluate information from primary sources. For example, you might consider previous analyses of the novel or author you are working on, or theoretical texts that you plan to apply to your primary sources.

Dissertations are divided into chapters and sections. Empirical dissertations usually follow a standard structure, while non-empirical dissertations are more flexible.

Structure of an empirical dissertation

Empirical dissertations generally include these chapters:

  • Introduction : An explanation of your topic and the research question(s) you want to answer.
  • Literature review : A survey and evaluation of previous research on your topic.
  • Methodology : An explanation of how you collected and analysed your data.
  • Results : A brief description of what you found.
  • Discussion : Interpretation of what these results reveal.
  • Conclusion : Answers to your research question(s) and summary of what your findings contribute to knowledge in your field.

Sometimes the order or naming of chapters might be slightly different, but all of the above information must be included in order to produce thorough, valid scientific research.

Other dissertation structures

If your dissertation doesn’t involve data collection, your structure is more flexible. You can think of it like an extended essay – the text should be logically organised in a way that serves your argument:

  • Introduction: An explanation of your topic and the question(s) you want to answer.
  • Main body: The development of your analysis, usually divided into 2–4 chapters.
  • Conclusion: Answers to your research question(s) and summary of what your analysis contributes to knowledge in your field.

The chapters of the main body can be organised around different themes, time periods, or texts. Below you can see some example structures for dissertations in different subjects.

  • Political philosophy

This example, on the topic of the British press’s coverage of the French Revolution, shows how you might structure each chapter around a specific theme.

Example of a dissertation structure in history

This example, on the topic of Plato’s and More’s influences on utopian socialist thought, shows a different approach to dividing the chapters by theme.

Example of a dissertation structure in political philosophy

This example, a master’s dissertation on the topic of how writers respond to persecution, shows how you can also use section headings within each chapter. Each of the three chapters deals with a specific text, while the sections are organised thematically.

Example of a dissertation structure in literature

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Like other academic texts, it’s important that your dissertation follows the formatting guidelines set out by your university. You can lose marks unnecessarily over mistakes, so it’s worth taking the time to get all these elements right.

Formatting guidelines concern things like:

  • line spacing
  • page numbers
  • punctuation
  • title pages
  • presentation of tables and figures

If you’re unsure about the formatting requirements, check with your supervisor or department. You can lose marks unnecessarily over mistakes, so it’s worth taking the time to get all these elements right.

How will you reference your sources?

Referencing means properly listing the sources you cite and refer to in your dissertation, so that the reader can find them. This avoids plagiarism by acknowledging where you’ve used the work of others.

Keep track of everything you read as you prepare your dissertation. The key information to note down for a reference is:

  • The publication date
  • Page numbers for the parts you refer to (especially when using direct quotes)

Different referencing styles each have their own specific rules for how to reference. The most commonly used styles in UK universities are listed below.

You can use the free APA Reference Generator to automatically create and store your references.

APA Reference Generator

The words ‘ dissertation ’ and ‘thesis’ both refer to a large written research project undertaken to complete a degree, but they are used differently depending on the country:

  • In the UK, you write a dissertation at the end of a bachelor’s or master’s degree, and you write a thesis to complete a PhD.
  • In the US, it’s the other way around: you may write a thesis at the end of a bachelor’s or master’s degree, and you write a dissertation to complete a PhD.

The main difference is in terms of scale – a dissertation is usually much longer than the other essays you complete during your degree.

Another key difference is that you are given much more independence when working on a dissertation. You choose your own dissertation topic , and you have to conduct the research and write the dissertation yourself (with some assistance from your supervisor).

Dissertation word counts vary widely across different fields, institutions, and levels of education:

  • An undergraduate dissertation is typically 8,000–15,000 words
  • A master’s dissertation is typically 12,000–50,000 words
  • A PhD thesis is typically book-length: 70,000–100,000 words

However, none of these are strict guidelines – your word count may be lower or higher than the numbers stated here. Always check the guidelines provided by your university to determine how long your own dissertation should be.

At the bachelor’s and master’s levels, the dissertation is usually the main focus of your final year. You might work on it (alongside other classes) for the entirety of the final year, or for the last six months. This includes formulating an idea, doing the research, and writing up.

A PhD thesis takes a longer time, as the thesis is the main focus of the degree. A PhD thesis might be being formulated and worked on for the whole four years of the degree program. The writing process alone can take around 18 months.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the ‘Cite this Scribbr article’ button to automatically add the citation to our free Reference Generator.

Caulfield, J. (2022, May 05). What Is a Dissertation? | 5 Essential Questions to Get Started. Scribbr. Retrieved 21 May 2024, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/thesis-dissertation/what-is-a-dissertation/

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Dissertation – Format, Example and Template

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Dissertation

Dissertation

Definition:

Dissertation is a lengthy and detailed academic document that presents the results of original research on a specific topic or question. It is usually required as a final project for a doctoral degree or a master’s degree.

Dissertation Meaning in Research

In Research , a dissertation refers to a substantial research project that students undertake in order to obtain an advanced degree such as a Ph.D. or a Master’s degree.

Dissertation typically involves the exploration of a particular research question or topic in-depth, and it requires students to conduct original research, analyze data, and present their findings in a scholarly manner. It is often the culmination of years of study and represents a significant contribution to the academic field.

Types of Dissertation

Types of Dissertation are as follows:

Empirical Dissertation

An empirical dissertation is a research study that uses primary data collected through surveys, experiments, or observations. It typically follows a quantitative research approach and uses statistical methods to analyze the data.

Non-Empirical Dissertation

A non-empirical dissertation is based on secondary sources, such as books, articles, and online resources. It typically follows a qualitative research approach and uses methods such as content analysis or discourse analysis.

Narrative Dissertation

A narrative dissertation is a personal account of the researcher’s experience or journey. It typically follows a qualitative research approach and uses methods such as interviews, focus groups, or ethnography.

Systematic Literature Review

A systematic literature review is a comprehensive analysis of existing research on a specific topic. It typically follows a qualitative research approach and uses methods such as meta-analysis or thematic analysis.

Case Study Dissertation

A case study dissertation is an in-depth analysis of a specific individual, group, or organization. It typically follows a qualitative research approach and uses methods such as interviews, observations, or document analysis.

Mixed-Methods Dissertation

A mixed-methods dissertation combines both quantitative and qualitative research approaches to gather and analyze data. It typically uses methods such as surveys, interviews, and focus groups, as well as statistical analysis.

How to Write a Dissertation

Here are some general steps to help guide you through the process of writing a dissertation:

  • Choose a topic : Select a topic that you are passionate about and that is relevant to your field of study. It should be specific enough to allow for in-depth research but broad enough to be interesting and engaging.
  • Conduct research : Conduct thorough research on your chosen topic, utilizing a variety of sources, including books, academic journals, and online databases. Take detailed notes and organize your information in a way that makes sense to you.
  • Create an outline : Develop an outline that will serve as a roadmap for your dissertation. The outline should include the introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion.
  • Write the introduction: The introduction should provide a brief overview of your topic, the research questions, and the significance of the study. It should also include a clear thesis statement that states your main argument.
  • Write the literature review: The literature review should provide a comprehensive analysis of existing research on your topic. It should identify gaps in the research and explain how your study will fill those gaps.
  • Write the methodology: The methodology section should explain the research methods you used to collect and analyze data. It should also include a discussion of any limitations or weaknesses in your approach.
  • Write the results: The results section should present the findings of your research in a clear and organized manner. Use charts, graphs, and tables to help illustrate your data.
  • Write the discussion: The discussion section should interpret your results and explain their significance. It should also address any limitations of the study and suggest areas for future research.
  • Write the conclusion: The conclusion should summarize your main findings and restate your thesis statement. It should also provide recommendations for future research.
  • Edit and revise: Once you have completed a draft of your dissertation, review it carefully to ensure that it is well-organized, clear, and free of errors. Make any necessary revisions and edits before submitting it to your advisor for review.

Dissertation Format

The format of a dissertation may vary depending on the institution and field of study, but generally, it follows a similar structure:

  • Title Page: This includes the title of the dissertation, the author’s name, and the date of submission.
  • Abstract : A brief summary of the dissertation’s purpose, methods, and findings.
  • Table of Contents: A list of the main sections and subsections of the dissertation, along with their page numbers.
  • Introduction : A statement of the problem or research question, a brief overview of the literature, and an explanation of the significance of the study.
  • Literature Review : A comprehensive review of the literature relevant to the research question or problem.
  • Methodology : A description of the methods used to conduct the research, including data collection and analysis procedures.
  • Results : A presentation of the findings of the research, including tables, charts, and graphs.
  • Discussion : A discussion of the implications of the findings, their significance in the context of the literature, and limitations of the study.
  • Conclusion : A summary of the main points of the study and their implications for future research.
  • References : A list of all sources cited in the dissertation.
  • Appendices : Additional materials that support the research, such as data tables, charts, or transcripts.

Dissertation Outline

Dissertation Outline is as follows:

Title Page:

  • Title of dissertation
  • Author name
  • Institutional affiliation
  • Date of submission
  • Brief summary of the dissertation’s research problem, objectives, methods, findings, and implications
  • Usually around 250-300 words

Table of Contents:

  • List of chapters and sections in the dissertation, with page numbers for each

I. Introduction

  • Background and context of the research
  • Research problem and objectives
  • Significance of the research

II. Literature Review

  • Overview of existing literature on the research topic
  • Identification of gaps in the literature
  • Theoretical framework and concepts

III. Methodology

  • Research design and methods used
  • Data collection and analysis techniques
  • Ethical considerations

IV. Results

  • Presentation and analysis of data collected
  • Findings and outcomes of the research
  • Interpretation of the results

V. Discussion

  • Discussion of the results in relation to the research problem and objectives
  • Evaluation of the research outcomes and implications
  • Suggestions for future research

VI. Conclusion

  • Summary of the research findings and outcomes
  • Implications for the research topic and field
  • Limitations and recommendations for future research

VII. References

  • List of sources cited in the dissertation

VIII. Appendices

  • Additional materials that support the research, such as tables, figures, or questionnaires.

Example of Dissertation

Here is an example Dissertation for students:

Title : Exploring the Effects of Mindfulness Meditation on Academic Achievement and Well-being among College Students

This dissertation aims to investigate the impact of mindfulness meditation on the academic achievement and well-being of college students. Mindfulness meditation has gained popularity as a technique for reducing stress and enhancing mental health, but its effects on academic performance have not been extensively studied. Using a randomized controlled trial design, the study will compare the academic performance and well-being of college students who practice mindfulness meditation with those who do not. The study will also examine the moderating role of personality traits and demographic factors on the effects of mindfulness meditation.

Chapter Outline:

Chapter 1: Introduction

  • Background and rationale for the study
  • Research questions and objectives
  • Significance of the study
  • Overview of the dissertation structure

Chapter 2: Literature Review

  • Definition and conceptualization of mindfulness meditation
  • Theoretical framework of mindfulness meditation
  • Empirical research on mindfulness meditation and academic achievement
  • Empirical research on mindfulness meditation and well-being
  • The role of personality and demographic factors in the effects of mindfulness meditation

Chapter 3: Methodology

  • Research design and hypothesis
  • Participants and sampling method
  • Intervention and procedure
  • Measures and instruments
  • Data analysis method

Chapter 4: Results

  • Descriptive statistics and data screening
  • Analysis of main effects
  • Analysis of moderating effects
  • Post-hoc analyses and sensitivity tests

Chapter 5: Discussion

  • Summary of findings
  • Implications for theory and practice
  • Limitations and directions for future research
  • Conclusion and contribution to the literature

Chapter 6: Conclusion

  • Recap of the research questions and objectives
  • Summary of the key findings
  • Contribution to the literature and practice
  • Implications for policy and practice
  • Final thoughts and recommendations.

References :

List of all the sources cited in the dissertation

Appendices :

Additional materials such as the survey questionnaire, interview guide, and consent forms.

Note : This is just an example and the structure of a dissertation may vary depending on the specific requirements and guidelines provided by the institution or the supervisor.

How Long is a Dissertation

The length of a dissertation can vary depending on the field of study, the level of degree being pursued, and the specific requirements of the institution. Generally, a dissertation for a doctoral degree can range from 80,000 to 100,000 words, while a dissertation for a master’s degree may be shorter, typically ranging from 20,000 to 50,000 words. However, it is important to note that these are general guidelines and the actual length of a dissertation can vary widely depending on the specific requirements of the program and the research topic being studied. It is always best to consult with your academic advisor or the guidelines provided by your institution for more specific information on dissertation length.

Applications of Dissertation

Here are some applications of a dissertation:

  • Advancing the Field: Dissertations often include new research or a new perspective on existing research, which can help to advance the field. The results of a dissertation can be used by other researchers to build upon or challenge existing knowledge, leading to further advancements in the field.
  • Career Advancement: Completing a dissertation demonstrates a high level of expertise in a particular field, which can lead to career advancement opportunities. For example, having a PhD can open doors to higher-paying jobs in academia, research institutions, or the private sector.
  • Publishing Opportunities: Dissertations can be published as books or journal articles, which can help to increase the visibility and credibility of the author’s research.
  • Personal Growth: The process of writing a dissertation involves a significant amount of research, analysis, and critical thinking. This can help students to develop important skills, such as time management, problem-solving, and communication, which can be valuable in both their personal and professional lives.
  • Policy Implications: The findings of a dissertation can have policy implications, particularly in fields such as public health, education, and social sciences. Policymakers can use the research to inform decision-making and improve outcomes for the population.

When to Write a Dissertation

Here are some situations where writing a dissertation may be necessary:

  • Pursuing a Doctoral Degree: Writing a dissertation is usually a requirement for earning a doctoral degree, so if you are interested in pursuing a doctorate, you will likely need to write a dissertation.
  • Conducting Original Research : Dissertations require students to conduct original research on a specific topic. If you are interested in conducting original research on a topic, writing a dissertation may be the best way to do so.
  • Advancing Your Career: Some professions, such as academia and research, may require individuals to have a doctoral degree. Writing a dissertation can help you advance your career by demonstrating your expertise in a particular area.
  • Contributing to Knowledge: Dissertations are often based on original research that can contribute to the knowledge base of a field. If you are passionate about advancing knowledge in a particular area, writing a dissertation can help you achieve that goal.
  • Meeting Academic Requirements : If you are a graduate student, writing a dissertation may be a requirement for completing your program. Be sure to check with your academic advisor to determine if this is the case for you.

Purpose of Dissertation

some common purposes of a dissertation include:

  • To contribute to the knowledge in a particular field : A dissertation is often the culmination of years of research and study, and it should make a significant contribution to the existing body of knowledge in a particular field.
  • To demonstrate mastery of a subject: A dissertation requires extensive research, analysis, and writing, and completing one demonstrates a student’s mastery of their subject area.
  • To develop critical thinking and research skills : A dissertation requires students to think critically about their research question, analyze data, and draw conclusions based on evidence. These skills are valuable not only in academia but also in many professional fields.
  • To demonstrate academic integrity: A dissertation must be conducted and written in accordance with rigorous academic standards, including ethical considerations such as obtaining informed consent, protecting the privacy of participants, and avoiding plagiarism.
  • To prepare for an academic career: Completing a dissertation is often a requirement for obtaining a PhD and pursuing a career in academia. It can demonstrate to potential employers that the student has the necessary skills and experience to conduct original research and make meaningful contributions to their field.
  • To develop writing and communication skills: A dissertation requires a significant amount of writing and communication skills to convey complex ideas and research findings in a clear and concise manner. This skill set can be valuable in various professional fields.
  • To demonstrate independence and initiative: A dissertation requires students to work independently and take initiative in developing their research question, designing their study, collecting and analyzing data, and drawing conclusions. This demonstrates to potential employers or academic institutions that the student is capable of independent research and taking initiative in their work.
  • To contribute to policy or practice: Some dissertations may have a practical application, such as informing policy decisions or improving practices in a particular field. These dissertations can have a significant impact on society, and their findings may be used to improve the lives of individuals or communities.
  • To pursue personal interests: Some students may choose to pursue a dissertation topic that aligns with their personal interests or passions, providing them with the opportunity to delve deeper into a topic that they find personally meaningful.

Advantage of Dissertation

Some advantages of writing a dissertation include:

  • Developing research and analytical skills: The process of writing a dissertation involves conducting extensive research, analyzing data, and presenting findings in a clear and coherent manner. This process can help students develop important research and analytical skills that can be useful in their future careers.
  • Demonstrating expertise in a subject: Writing a dissertation allows students to demonstrate their expertise in a particular subject area. It can help establish their credibility as a knowledgeable and competent professional in their field.
  • Contributing to the academic community: A well-written dissertation can contribute new knowledge to the academic community and potentially inform future research in the field.
  • Improving writing and communication skills : Writing a dissertation requires students to write and present their research in a clear and concise manner. This can help improve their writing and communication skills, which are essential for success in many professions.
  • Increasing job opportunities: Completing a dissertation can increase job opportunities in certain fields, particularly in academia and research-based positions.

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