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Earn a Doctorate Online With No Dissertation

Posted by Marc Costanzo, revised by Sara Giboney Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024

A graduate student taking classes online works on his laptop.As you’ve been researching doctoral programs, you’ve probably noticed that more colleges and universities are requiring scholarly research projects instead of the traditional doctoral dissertation. 

These research projects allow students to influence policy and practice changes by conducting research with a narrow focus that solves a problem.

Nebraska Methodist College (NMC) offers doctoral degrees, including a Doctor of Education and Leadership in Healthcare (Ed.D.), with no dissertation requirements. 

Because NMC has adopted the scholarly research project, students are making a difference in healthcare, academia and communities.

The online doctorate for healthcare professionals gives students the opportunity to integrate the guiding values of NMC - caring, excellence, holism, learning and respect - at the upper echelons of both academic and healthcare institutions. 

Here’s what makes this online Ed.D. program with no dissertation stand out in a competitive field.

Online Doctorate in Healthcare Leadership: Beyond the Dissertation


Revolutionizing Ed.D: The Scholarly Research Advantage over Dissertation

The doctoral dissertation has been a common requirement of doctoral programs, but many colleges and universities are taking a more modern approach. 

Debate in academic circles about the value of a doctoral research project has led to a change in philosophy about what is most beneficial for students.

The Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) Consortium issued a statement that called for a transformation of the doctoral candidate’s culminating academic work. 

The call for change resulted in the scholarly research project, which acts as an exemplar of the student taking all that they’ve learned and demonstrating the impact of their knowledge with real, concrete results.

The difference between a dissertation and a scholarly project is the type of research being conducted.

While a dissertation is original research with a goal to generate new knowledge, the doctoral scholarly project is translational research, which ‘translates’ the research into practice through quality improvement or evidence-based practice initiatives.

Our emphasis on the doctoral research project represents a modern approach to a candidate’s final demonstration of expertise in the subject matter, allowing students to apply theory to solve problems in a real-world practical setting.  

All of this is accomplished without losing any of the academic rigor that one would expect of a doctoral program.

NMC is a leader in putting forth this new academic ideal, with students whose breadth of knowledge encompasses the most innovative practices in the modern world. 

The doctoral scholarly research project is a showcase of their work and the core knowledge they’ve gained through the academic process.

Read more: Why NMC’s Online Doctorate Has No Dissertation

Merging Healthcare and Education

While NMC may be known for our nursing programs, including our Doctor of Nursing Practice, we’ve recognized a need for non-nursing doctorates online.

NMC’s Doctor of Education and Leadership in Healthcare is for leaders who want to develop effective management solutions in healthcare, education or the community.

Healthcare and education are industries that are in the midst of upheaval. 

The healthcare industry is managing the organization-wide changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act and an aging population while successfully making the transition to a preventive healthcare model that emphasizes value over volume. 

Higher education is coping with a mounting student debt dilemma, substantial shifts in financial aid and demographic patterns, and ongoing accreditation considerations.

Education and leadership doctoral programs, like the one at NMC, prepares students to meet the demands of healthcare and education.

Career Impact of an Online Healthcare Leadership Ed.D.

A Doctor of Education can open up leadership opportunities and advance your career.

“An Ed.D. provides a competitive advantage in attaining leadership roles in healthcare, community-based and private organizations, and education,” said Dr. Alice Kindschuh, director of doctoral studies at Nebraska Methodist College (NMC).

“It also demonstrates a commitment to your profession to employers and strengthens your skill-set as an innovative change agent.”

NMC’s education doctorate program has two tracks:

You can choose to study education and leadership to become a college or university professor, researcher, program director or administrator. 

A doctorate in public health policy will allow you to work as a public health consultant, health policy advisor, health and safety engineer, public health program specialist or an executive director of a public health non-profit.

Read more: Getting a Doctor of Education in Public Health Policy Online

We understand the management skills it takes to successfully run enterprises as wide-ranging and ever-evolving as healthcare and education. The Ed.D. program allows us to pass those skills on to the next generation of leaders, who will be ready to meet challenges that are only beginning to take shape.

Read more: What Job Can I Get With a Doctor of Education?

Online Doctoral Programs with No DissertationEvolving Higher Education: Introducing the Streamlined Online Ed.D.

With just 24 months of full-time study, you’ll be able to add “Dr.” to your name.

We thought long and hard about how to make this program convenient for the modern professional without losing any of the scholarly rigor that defines the doctoral degree. 

Other programs require a longer time commitment, due to a dissertation process that has stymied even the best candidates.

We came to the conclusion that two years is the perfect amount of time to provide this education. It’s long enough to attain the ultimate expertise in a given subject matter while still creating a viable timeframe that won’t have you feeling like you’ll never be done with school.

What’s more, a flexible doctoral degree online allows students to balance coursework with their professional lives more than would be possible with an on-campus degree. 

While you still have assignments on a regular basis, you choose when and where to complete them. 

Read more: Steps to Succeed in Online Learning as a Graduate Student

Support and Resources for Online Ed.D. Students

As an online student at NMC, you have access to academic and technical support to help you succeed during your program.

  • On-staff writing coach and statistician to assist in planning and evaluating scholarly research projects. 
  • Networking and community building through online discussion boards.
  • Digital library and on-staff librarian to help with research.
  • Faculty office hours.

Testimonials: Success Stories from our Online Ed.D. Graduates

Graduates of NMC’s doctoral degree programs take on leadership positions in healthcare systems and education. Here’s what some of our graduates had to say about their experience in the education and leadership doctoral programs:

Josey Harris, Education and Leadership in Healthcare

“The Ed.D. program is very well designed, which facilitated my ability to manage the competing priorities of my home life, my career and my schooling simultaneously. 

“Larger assignments in one course are balanced by having smaller assignments in your other courses, which helps to minimize feelings of being overwhelmed. 

“In addition, the one-week break after every five weeks of class is a lifesaver. It allowed me to decompress a little and start back refreshed every time!”

Lacey Petersen, Education and Leadership in Healthcare

"I am so proud of completing my doctoral research project and earning the distinction of being able to say that I have earned a Doctor of Education.

“The NMC faculty are truly some of the most diverse, compassionate and educated individuals that I have ever been blessed to meet. I am humbled by the variety of backgrounds, level of experience, and expertise that my professors at NMC had. 

“I will forever be grateful how they shared this knowledge with us as they facilitated our education. I am most definitely a more well-rounded individual for the insight and perspectives that they shared with us throughout this program. 

“From the first day to the last day, I was always made to feel cared for, important, and valued as a student!”

Vanessa Humphreys, Education and Leadership in Healthcare

“Through the Ed.D. program, I am most proud of expanding my knowledge in the fields of education, public policy, healthcare and community needs. 

“The online discussion forums with fellow students, projects and activities throughout the program not only made me more aware of the various challenges presented in our communities, but the steps we can take to work towards effective change. 

“The coursework also allowed me to reflect more on my personal goals, professional aspirations, workplace environment and the community I live and work in. The online Ed.D. program allowed me time to celebrate all that we have accomplished so far, and critically think about the role I would like to take in my community moving forward.

"Interacting with faculty, staff and students was also such a humbling and inspiring experience. To learn about what each member of the program was working on has motivated me to connect with local organizations in order to continue the scholarly research work I started in the Ed.D. program."

Embracing Change: How Our Online Ed.D. Makes a Real Difference

In creating the healthcare and leadership doctorate online, we sought to make a program that offered an exceptional academic experience while still being flexible enough to accommodate the needs of the modern professional.

Earning your terminal degree will be a challenge, but we want to make sure that challenge comes from the pedigree of the coursework, not the unreasonable criteria of a dissertation, technological hurdles or the prospect of having to come to campus.

Ready to advance your career with a flexible, innovative online EdD program? Learn more about our no-dissertation Doctor of Education and Leadership in Healthcare, and take the first step towards educational excellence and professional growth. Apply now and transform your future in healthcare leadership!

Topics: new programs, online education, graduate programs, EdD, Doctor of Education in Healthcare