Now that you have completed your undergraduate degree and possibly a Master’s, it is time to set your sights on a doctorate degree. There is a common misconception that doctorate degrees take between four and eight years to complete. Thanks to changes in the educational industry including universities that have enhanced their flexibility and efficiency for those pursuing advanced degrees, it is now possible to earn a doctorate in a surprisingly short period of time. The length of time it takes for you to complete the doctorate degree you have in mind hinges on the specific course of study, the universities you are open to studying at and the flexibility of those institutions. Let’s take a look at the fastest doctorate degree programs in the country to give you a better idea of just how quickly you can earn a doctorate in 2020-2021 and beyond.
1. Clemson University
Clemson University is shooting up the college rankings as well as the college football rankings. This is an affordable, respected and rapidly evolving postsecondary educational institution. Clemson was ranked quite high on the regional rankings in years past yet the university has recently made its way to the top tier or two of national universities. Clemon provides students with the opportunity to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees. The university’s PhD in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management can be earned much faster than most other doctorates. This program attracts more than 60 doctoral candidates every single year. Dr. Wayne Freimund created the doctorate degree’s three-year plan. This doctorate degree requires the completion of 60 credits along with a dissertation. As long as you have a GPA higher than 3.0, NCTRC certification and a minimum of 2,000 hours of experience in recreation therapy you have a chance to be admitted to Clemson’s Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management PhD program.
Tuition: $15,558 / Doctoral Tuition of $721 per credit
2. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
If you are considering a doctorate degree in aviation, look no further than Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. The university created the country’s first-ever doctorate degree in aviation four years ago. In short, this is your opportunity to become a scholar of the sky in little time. Dr. Bruce Conway has spearheaded the College of Aeronautics’ three unique tracks to this SACS-accredited degree. Those tracks are Interdisciplinary, Operations and Aviation Safety & Human Factors. All in all, the doctorate consists of 60 credits. The program lasts 12 weeks, requiring students to partake in a three separate visits to Daytona Beach.
Tuition: $36,868 / Doctoral Tuition of $1,130 per credit
3. Columbia University
Graduate from Columbia University with a doctorate degree in computer science and employers will be knocking on your door. Consistently listed at the top of the rankings, Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering & Applied Science will put you on the fast track to a doctorate in Computer Science. As long as you are a MS graduate with a GPA of 3.3 or better, you have a chance for admission into the doctorate program consisting of 30 credits. The program, chaired by the one and only Rocco Servedia, begins each Fall or Spring. The program is highlighted by one-on-one research along with Columbia Video Network courses at the 4000 level. Specializations such as Computational Biology, Robotics, Network Security and Machine Learning take merely two years to complete.
Tuition: $61,788 / Doctoral Tuition of $2,018 per credit
4. University of South Carolina
Pursue a PhD in Nuclear Engineering at the University of South Carolina’s College of Engineering & Computing in Swearingen Center and you will be on the fast track to success. The ABET-accredited curriculum consists of 48 credits. This degree can be completed in three years as many of the courses such as Thermal Hydraulic Design and Radiation Shielding can be completed online.
Tuition: $12,688 / Doctoral Tuition of $576 per credit
5. Mississippi State University
If time is your primary concern and you are interested in earning a doctorate related to education, consider Mississippi State University’s Community College Leadership doctorate program. This expedited program is available to those who have already earned a Master’s degree and have a cumulative grade point average in excess of 3.3. The CAEP-accredited curriculum run by Dr. Richard Blackbourn consists of 61 credits. Much of the material is taught via Blackboard Learn 9.1 on the internet. The program is highlighted by courses such as Educational Data and Personnel Diversity. Apply by 10/1 or 3/1 and you just might have the opportunity to segue into junior institution positions in three years’ time.
Tuition: $8,910 / Doctoral Tuition of $499 per credit
6. American University
American University is certainly a hotbed for politics. Perfectly positioned in the “Beltway” of Washington D.C., American University offers a widely revered three-year doctorate in Communication. This fast track PhD program was first offered in 2011. The program is offered in the university’s School of Communication which is fully accredited by the ACEJMC. The program, led by Dr. Kathryn Montgomery, consists of 54 credits, some of which are completed on campus and others that are completed on Blackboard across a period of 11 months. Just be sure to apply well before the December 15th acceptance deadline to secure your spot.
Tuition: $49,889 / Doctoral Tuition of $1,708 per credit
7. University of Missouri
Are you interested in earning a doctorate in nursing? If so, look no further than the University of Missouri. This university’s Sinclair School of Nursing was founded all the way back in 1901. Its PhD in Nursing arms students with essential clinical research skills. The program consists of 56 credits that take two years of full-time study to complete. Examples of the program’s courses include Symptom & Behavior Science, Health Systems Innovation and Population Wellness.
Tuition: $10,477 / Doctoral Tuition of $440 per credit
8. PhD in Educational Management
Hampton University’s School of Liberal Arts & Education provides a fast track doctorate in Education Management. This quick PhD takes merely two and a half years to complete, consisting of 66 total credits. The curriculum is accredited by CAEP. Partake in this intensive program and you will choose between four unique concentrations ranging from PreK through Grade 12 Education, Special Education, Higher Education and STEM Leadership. As long as your GRE score is above 150 and you apply prior to the January 15 deadline, you stand a good chance of being accepted.
Tuition: $28,024 / Doctoral Tuition of $695 per credit
9. Liberty University
Liberty University has quickly emerged as one of the country’s most promising academic institutions, particularly for those who prefer online learning. The program’s uber-fast doctorate program in Public Policy is available through the Helms School of Government. This program consists of 60 credits, 15 of which can be transferred in. All in all, the program consist of several 8-week courses typically completed across three years’ time.
Tuition: $22,747 / Doctoral Tuition of $595 per credit
10. Colorado State University
Earn your doctorate in Systems Engineering from Colorado State University and you will have no shortage of employment opportunities. This field of study is one of the hottest around. Colorado State University at Fort Collins awards just under 50 doctorates in Systems Engineering each year. There is even an online doctorate degree program available for those who want to learn on the web. The degree program consists of 72 credits. Nearly 700 industry leaders provide input into the program’s IT Project Management and Energy Networks lectures.
Tuition: $11,901 / Doctoral Tuition of $1,085 per credit
11. Indiana State University
Indiana State’s ABET-accredited College of Technology provides more than half a dozen graduate degree options including a PhD in Technology Management. The degree consists of 66 credits, setting the stage for students to enter the workforce after merely three years of study. Opt for part-time study and you can complete the program in four years.
Tuition: $9,236 / Doctoral Tuition of $527 per credit
12. University of North Dakota
The University of North Dakota’s College of Engineering & Mines is gradually ascending the rankings of postsecondary academic institutions. The college offers a hastened doctorate program in Biomedical Engineering open until May 1, December 1 or August 1. This 60 credit program is available to those who have already earned their Master’s. The program meets the stringent ABET requirements for medical device innovation.
Tuition: $9,736 / Doctoral Tuition of $915 per credit
13. Lesley University
Lesley University’s Graduate School of Arts & Social Sciences launched the Low-Residency doctorate in Expressive Therapies for those who would like to implement the arts while providing mental health services. The program consists of 45 credits that take around three years to complete. If you have three years of professional experience, apply to the program and you just might win a seat. The majority of the program’s courses are web-based on Blackboard though there is a summer trip to Cambridge that lasts nearly a full month.
Tuition: $28,875 / Doctoral Tuition of $1,000 per credit
14. The University of Louisiana Monroe
This state institution has been around for nearly an entire century. Nowadays, ULM provides myriad online learning programs including a fast Doctor of Education, Curriculum & Instruction program. Enroll in this program and you might be able to complete it in as few as two years. The program is accelerated with the use of 8-week terms. This is your opportunity to learn about the practice and theory of education problem solving from the comfort of home, paving the path to a lucrative career without going deep into debt.
15. Old Dominion University
Seize the opportunity to earn your PhD in Instructional Design & Technology from Old Dominion University and your skills will be coveted by employers far and wide. ODU’s doctorate in Instructional Design & Technology consists of 60 credits. The program is completed online through the Darden College of Education. All in all, 580 students are enrolled in this college. The program is led by the ’08 Pennsylvania teacher of the Year, Dr. Jane Bray. Give it your all and you will be able to earn your PhD in Instructional Design & Technology from ODU in a mere three years.
Tuition: $10,680 / Doctoral tuition of $568 per credit
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