15 Easiest Online Ph.D. and Doctorate Degrees in 2022

15 Easiest Online Ph.D. and Doctorate Degrees - featured image

While graduate school has its fair share of challenges, some of the easiest online Ph.D. and doctorates feature easy fields of study that make the educational journey more enjoyable. But interested individuals – you, for example – will also find a field of study easy if and when you have a keen interest and abiding passion for it.

15 Easiest Online Ph.D. and Doctorate Degrees - fact

Easiest Online Ph.D. and Doctorate Degrees

Ph.D. in Homeland Security

Ph.D. in Homeland Security
Ph.D. in Homeland Security

The identification, prevention, and mitigation of domestic terrorism are students’ primary focus in Ph.D. in Homeland Security programs. Students gain advanced skill sets in conducting rigorous research in homeland security and the appropriate applications of their research in real-world settings. The theory and practices related to homeland security, including policy creation and leadership opportunities, are also discussed. 

The curriculum covers a broad variety of topics but still provides deeper insights. The common courses are in emergency management, terrorism strategy, including counterterrorism and intelligence, and issues in critical infrastructure security. Students must formulate solutions to homeland security issues, evaluate the relationships between their causes and effects, and defend their stand on these issues. 

While advanced math and science courses aren’t in the curriculum, the intellectual demands placed on students require exceptional critical thinking, analytical thinking, and problem-solving skills. These skills are vital in real-world situations where lives are at stake, perhaps even world peace. Students must have a keen understanding of national and international dynamics, adopt an interdisciplinary approach, and consider the issues from every possible angle. 

These approaches become evident in their dissertation or in other culminating projects, which showcase the students’ expert knowledge and skills in their specialization. The skill sets learned during post-graduate studies are valuable in the workplace, too, whether in academia, think tanks, or the Department of Homeland Security. 

Many jobs related to homeland security require top-level security clearance and, thus, current students must be careful about maintaining a spotless legal record. These include Secret Service agents, federal air marshals at TSA, and information security agents at the CIA. 

Median Pay: $103,590 per year

Job Outlook: 33% 

Job Opportunities:  Emergency management directors, information security analysts, and information technology specialists 

Best Schools: Colorado Technical University, Northcentral University, and Liberty University 

Easiest Online Ph.D. and Doctorate Degrees in 2022 - Divider Icon

Ph.D. in Theology/Theological Studies 

Ph.D. in Theology or Theological or Doctor of Theology (Th.D.)
Ph.D. in Theology or Theological or Doctor of Theology (Th.D.)

The Ph.D. in Theology or Theological Studies degree and the Doctor of Theology (Th.D.) are considered equal since both are advanced research degrees. Both also provide students with in-depth training in the Christian ministry including spiritual and professional formation, usually with a strong emphasis on cultural sensitivity. Students must possess graduate-level English language writing and speaking skills, leadership skills, robust faith, and Christian values. 

Many programs offer concentrations that provide more depth and breadth to the student’s body of knowledge. Common concentrations include Old Testament Studies, New Testament Studies, and Theology and Culture, each having specific electives to customize the degree. Programs may also give different names to the Ph.D. in Theology or Theological Studies, such as Ph.D. in Religion or Ph.D. in Theology and Apologetics, but these share significant similarities. 

For one thing, students train to become teachers and scholars through didactic coursework, research, and internship in faith-based organizations. For another thing, students must strengthen their faith while strengthening their pedagogical knowledge and skills in preparation for careers in academia, ministry, and community service. 

The Bible is obviously at the heart of their studies, but students must read diverse learning materials covering Christian theology in theory and practice. Many of these materials also discuss Christianity in less than favorable light and, thus, enable students to see both sides of the coin. 

Being accepted into a Ph.D. in Theology program is fairly easy, but you must have a master’s degree in a related field, such as religious studies, theology, and even ancient history. Many programs have less strict admissions criteria, even admitting people outside of the Christian faith. 

Median Pay: $90,160 per year 

Job Outlook: 2% 

Job Opportunities:  Post-secondary theology teachers, ministers and pastors, and religious education directors  

Best Schools: Regent University, and Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary

Easiest Online Ph.D. and Doctorate Degrees in 2022 - Divider Icon

Ph.D./Doctor of Education in Curriculum Development and Instruction

Ph.D. and Doctor of Education (EdD)
Ph.D. and Doctor of Education (EdD)

The Ph.D. and Doctor of Education (EdD) degrees are terminal degrees for education professionals with career advancement in their sights. Their advanced skill sets combined with their extensive work experience make them qualified for leadership positions, such as school administrators, dean of students, and principals. 

Curriculum theory and design, quantitative and qualitative methods in education research, instructional design, and technology integration are among the core courses. These courses are intended to enable students to deepen their understanding of the theories and practices, including their social, moral, and intellectual implications of curriculum development. Students also learn to design, develop, implement, evaluate, and modify curricula based on the changing needs in education. 

Since the dissertation is the ultimate graduate requirement, students must also take it to heart and apply various quantitative and qualitative methods in education research. These include multivariate data analysis, statistical inference, interview and case studies, document analysis, ethnography, data collection, analysis, and presentation techniques. In a globalized world, students must also develop their interest in the diversity of education, including its subcultures, perhaps incorporating it into their dissertation. 

These technical skills are all well and good, but the best education leaders also possess transferable skills that make them stand out! Patience, perseverance, and empathy are among the personal traits in effective teacher-leaders and effective communication and critical thinking skills. Charisma is a bonus if you have it! 

The challenge lies in the many reading materials students must complete to comply with the assignment and examination requirements. But if you’re into reading, it shouldn’t be a big deal, not to mention that you will learn a lot. 

Median Pay: $97,500 per year 

Job Outlook: 8% 

Job Opportunities:  Instructional designers, academic deans, and department chairs 

Best Schools: Texas Tech University, Texas A&M University, and Georgia Southern University 

Easiest Online Ph.D. and Doctorate Degrees in 2022 - Divider Icon

Ph.D. in Finance/Doctor of Business Administration in Finance

Ph.D. in Finance degree and DBA with a Finance concentration
Ph.D. in Finance degree and DBA with a Finance concentration

These doctorate degrees are the exception to the rule because students must possess a comprehensive understanding of advanced mathematics and economics. But for students who love solving math-based problems with real-world applications! Their relative ease is due to the absence of advanced science courses that, in many ways, make a doctorate in finance not exactly rocket science. 

There are several similarities between the Ph.D. in Finance degree and the DBA with a Finance concentration degree. Full-time students can take between four and five years to complete their academic requirements, including the dissertation. Both also tackle various finance-related subjects and qualitative and quantitative research methods. The coursework includes corporate finance, microeconomic theory, statistics, and international finance. 

But the Ph.D. in Finance degree has a more theoretical approach with an emphasis on research, including the development of business knowledge. Students push for cutting-edge theories in the ever-evolving marketplace while also learning pedagogy to educate tomorrow’s finance leaders. There’s a greater emphasis on the analytical perspective, not on the operational viewpoint that an MBA provides. Professionals who want to become university professors and researchers are more suitable for this degree. 

The DBA in Finance degree has a more hands-on practical perspective about finance in particular and business in general. The emphasis is on vocational training for effective applications in real-world settings, less on theory and research. Graduates are then qualified for leadership positions in the corporate world but are also accepted as faculty members in business schools. 

Median Pay: $83,660 per year

Job Outlook: 6%  

Job Opportunities:  College professors, monetary policy experts, and researchers at think tanks

Best Schools: University of Georgia, Liberty University, and Northcentral University 

Easiest Online Ph.D. and Doctorate Degrees in 2022 - Divider Icon

Ph.D. in Accounting

Ph.D. in Accounting
Ph.D. in Accounting

Accounting professionals pursue a Ph.D. in Accounting degree to increase their opportunities for career advancement, including their earning potential. Accountants with a doctorate are qualified for leadership positions in corporate management, finance, and academia, meaning that it’s a degree suitable for both career advancement and change. In general, it can take at least four years to earn the degree and cost more than $18,000 per year in prestigious universities. 

But there are silver linings, from the scholarships, employer waivers, and assistantships to the increase in competitiveness for plum positions. Ph.D. in Accounting programs also don’t have advanced math and science courses, so their programs of study are easier to manage than, say, doctorate degrees in aeronautics and engineering. A Ph.D. in Accounting degree is also a preparation for licensure as a certified fraud examiner, public accountant, and management accountant. 

But this isn’t to say that a Ph.D. in Accounting degree is easy-peasy either! Students must have a comprehensive background in accounting, including a master’s degree in accounting or a related field. Sufficient work experience in accounting is also a common admission requirement, aside from the GRE/GMAT scores, letters of recommendation, and personal statements. 

Students must also be keen on conducting independent and original research highlighted in an approved dissertation. Since it’s a Ph.D. degree, the dissertation is at the heart of the studies and its culmination. The curriculum includes courses in advanced statistics, accounting theory and research, corporate governance, and microeconomic theory. 

Many programs offer concentrations that allow students to become specialists. The popular concentrations are forensic accounting, public accounting, audit accounting, managerial accounting, and accounting information systems. 

Median Pay: $134,180 per year

Job Outlook: 17% 

Job Opportunities:  Chartered financial analysts, certified management accountants, and certified fraud examiner

Best Schools: Capella University, Florida Atlantic University, and Walden University 

Easiest Online Ph.D. and Doctorate Degrees in 2022 - Divider Icon

Ph.D. in Entrepreneurship/Doctor of Business Administration with Entrepreneurship Concentration

Ph.D. in Entrepreneurship/Doctor of Business Administration with Entrepreneurship Concentration
Ph.D. in Entrepreneurship/Doctor of Business Administration with Entrepreneurship Concentration

Students in doctorate in entrepreneurship degree programs are risk-takers whose willingness to find innovative solutions improves business performance. Their program of study covers topics on finding and exploiting business opportunities, development and control of business plans, and leadership of businesses. Intellectual property, market research and strategies, and networking are also emphasized due to their impact on business success. 

The Ph.D. program is the best preparation for students interested in careers as analysts, researchers, policymakers, and teachers. The curriculum emphasizes rigorous research that contributes to existing knowledge and advances entrepreneurship as a discipline. Their research and academic contributions make entrepreneurship an attractive option for many people. 

The DBA with Entrepreneurship concentration degree is a practitioner-based degree, meaning students prepare for careers in business. These include practicing entrepreneurs, venture analysts, and business consultants whose expert business knowledge and skills are evident in their body of work, including their businesses and portfolios. 

While their curricula don’t contain advanced math and science courses, these are demanding degree programs, too! You must be intellectually curious, possess excellent communication skills and a strong work ethic, and be willing to take risks. The rigorous academic training will also challenge your intellect and determination, open your eyes to the possibilities, and stimulate your creativity. 

Ph.D. students work with faculty advisors in generating excellent dissertations worthy of being published in entrepreneurship journals, such as Leadership Quarterly. DBA students may or may not have dissertation requirements to meet due to the practitioner focus of the degree. Instead, many programs require a capstone project that highlights their potential for success as entrepreneurs or consultants. 

Median Pay: $87,660 per year

Job Outlook: 14%

Job Opportunities: Management consultants, university professors, and think tank researchers  

Best Schools: Walden University, Regent University, and University of Oklahoma 

Easiest Online Ph.D. and Doctorate Degrees in 2022 - Divider Icon

Ph.D./Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Management

Ph.D. or an EdD in Educational Leadership and Management
Ph.D. or an EdD in Educational Leadership and Management

Many education leaders have either a Ph.D. or an EdD in Educational Leadership and Management because of its rigorous training! Their leadership positions include academic deans, provosts, presidents of universities, K-12 principals, and school superintendents. Their advanced education included leadership theory and practices, university and community relations, and curriculum design and management. 

Ph.D. students, however, are more adept at research and scholarly activities due to their programs’ emphasis on the dissertation as the culminating requirement. EdD students have more practitioner training that can be applied in the broad variety of issues encountered in the classrooms, faculty rooms, and boardrooms of schools. Nonetheless, both types of doctorate students may take between three and four years to earn the degree, although the number of credits will vary. 

Concentrations are offered in many programs, including K-12 schools or higher education. Aside from the electives, these concentrations share several common topics, including law, finance, and communication. Other topics include learning technologies, innovation, and international education, which provide students with useful insights into the emerging trends in education. 

Aside from the dissertation, students may also be required to complete an internship and a capstone project. If you want to have an easier time, you may consider non-dissertation programs that require a capstone project an internship instead. Nova Southeastern University’s EdD in Educational Leadership program with its Strategic Research Project (SRP) option instead of the traditional dissertation is a prime example. 

Median Pay: $97,500 per year

Job Outlook: 8% 

Job Opportunities:  College provosts, principals, and school superintendents or administrators 

Best Schools: Drexel University, Trident University, and Indiana State University 

Easiest Online Ph.D. and Doctorate Degrees in 2022 - Divider Icon

Ph.D./Doctor of Education in Human Services

Ph.D. and EdD in Human Services
Ph.D. and EdD in Human Services

Human services professionals are dedicated to providing useful and meaningful assistance to individuals in crises, such as homeless people and other people in need. Their assistance enables their clients to become self-sufficient individuals in the long term, usually through skills training and referrals to community services and resources. Indeed, theirs is a job that positively impacts 

Students in Ph.D. and EdD in Human Services programs work or are qualified to work in housing and employment agencies, public safety and emergency relief organizations, and educational institutions. Non-profit organizations are as popular as government agencies and private entities, too. 

The Ph.D. in Human Services programs have a more research-focused curriculum culminating in a dissertation. The EdD in Human Resources programs, in contrast, have a practice-based approach, a common thread in EdD programs in all fields of study. Both, however, emphasize effective leadership in contemporary human services, be it as researchers, teachers, or practitioners with hands-on exposure. 

Courses include organizational leadership, enabling students to make informed leadership decisions and learn advanced research methodology. Advanced Math and science courses are absent in the curriculum, but students have plenty of learning materials to read, summarize and present. Rote memorization isn’t encouraged since the ultimate learning outcome is leading human services-related research and projects – meaningful insights with practical applications are more appreciated. 

Concentrations may be offered, with common ones being gerontology (services for the elderly), family studies and intervention, crisis and intervention, mental health services, and emergency relief in crises and disasters. 

Median Pay: $107,680 per year

Job Outlook: 8% 

Job Opportunities: CEO and directors of non-profit organizations, post-secondary teachers, social and community service managers

Best Schools: Nova Southeastern University, University of Arizona, and Houston Baptist University 

Easiest Online Ph.D. and Doctorate Degrees in 2022 - Divider Icon

Ph.D. in Criminal Justice

Ph.D. in Criminal Justice
Ph.D. in Criminal Justice

The beauty of a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice degree lies in its expansive career options, with its holders being qualified for both theory-based and practice-based occupations. Students learn the ropes of the criminal justice system on the graduate level and, thus, become adept at addressing the current issues in the field. 

Many programs also offer concentrations intended to advance the knowledge and skills of professionals in a specific specialization. The popular choices are juvenile justice, criminal justice policy, and homeland security. All of these are considered useful for career advancement purposes. Online programs also make it easier for working professionals to balance their personal and professional commitments through asynchronous technologies. 

Regardless of concentration, these programs adopt a multidisciplinary approach since criminal justice has several disciplines from which it draws its body of knowledge. The typical curriculum includes sociology, public policy, behavioral psychology, and organizational leadership, their theories and practices. Relevant courses also include policy creation and analysis in criminal justice, homeland security policy, and emergency management. 

Again, there is no rocket science-level math and science coursework, but students must set aside time for reading voluminous learning materials. Students must have effective reading skills, including skimming and seeing the lessons in a new light, and gaining insights from them. Critical thinking and communication skills are a must since criminal justice issues are among the most complicated in our society. 

Most programs consist of 50-75 credits for completion, including coursework, capstone projects, and dissertation. The degree can be earned in five years, minimum, for full-time students. 

Median Pay: $103,590 per year

Job Outlook: 33%

Job Opportunities: Post-secondary teachers, police chiefs, and homeland security administrators/information security analysts  

Best Schools: Saint Leo University, California University of Pennsylvania, and Nova Southeastern University

Easiest Online Ph.D. and Doctorate Degrees in 2022 - Divider Icon

Ph.D. in Public Policy

Ph.D. in Public Policy
Ph.D. in Public Policy

Students in Ph.D. in Public Policy programs must possess strong critical thinking, analytical thinking, and communication skills because of the interdisciplinary curriculum. The social science-centric doctorate enables students to create positive social change through effective, responsive, inclusive political action. Public policy professionals are also in the right position to shape and influence regulatory policy, train policy advocates, and research the impact of public policies. 

With their formal education, Ph.D. in Public Policy degree holders are qualified for leadership positions in academia, research organizations, and public policy and administration entities. Keep in mind that since it’s a research-centric Ph.D. degree, its professionals are likely to be more effective at research and teaching than in practice-based positions. Then again, practice-based expertise in public policy can be learned with a Ph.D. degree and work experience. 

The core of a Ph.D. in Public Policy program is the dissertation, where each candidate becomes a capable, independent researcher by the end of the research project. The coursework won’t be a challenge to students with less than stellar skills in advanced math and science subjects – there are none of these subjects. But the coursework on globalization and development, social policy, environmental policy, and health policy, among others, is as challenging as it is stimulating for persons with considerable intellect. 

Concentrations further narrow the scope of study and enable candidates to become specialists in one of the areas of public policy. Examples include politics and institutions, economics, science, technology, and policy studies. 

Median Pay: $125,350 per year

Job Outlook: 9%

Job Opportunities:  Political scientists, university professors, and policy analysts 

Best Schools: University of Maryland, Old Dominion University, and Tennessee State University 

Easiest Online Ph.D. and Doctorate Degrees in 2022 - Divider Icon

Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology/Psychological Studies

Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology/Psychological Studies
Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology/Psychological Studies

Sixty-nine APA-accredited programs offer doctorate degrees in counseling psychology or psychological studies across the United States. Many of these programs offer a research-centric Ph.D. degree. Others offer the Professional Doctorate of Psychology (PsyD) degree, emphasizing clinical practice using applied psychology. 

Graduates in both types are eligible to apply for licensure as psychologists. Clinical supervisors, rehabilitation counselors, and marriage and family therapists are other possible licenses. 

The Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology is a terminal degree that aspiring and current counseling researchers, counseling educators, and clinical supervisors find suitable for career advancement. The program of study emphasizes the development of specialist knowledge through the completion of independent research, known as a dissertation. A faculty advisor typically guides the research project, but the candidate performs all the work toward its completion. 

Many programs require their candidates to become interns in clinical settings or other field experiences in addition to the dissertation and publishable paper. While the combination of academic coursework, comprehensive exam, dissertation and paper, and internship seems too much to handle, it doesn’t have to be! These are all typical aspects of Ph.D. programs in any field, and there are effective ways of successfully dealing with them while maintaining your overall health. 

Besides, students admitted to Ph.D. programs already have significant work experience in counseling psychology and other related fields! The rigorousness of Ph.D. training isn’t new, especially for students with a master’s degree, but the insights are new and, thus, challenging and stimulating. Students also choose to enroll part-time, meaning there are fewer courses to tackle and lesser demands on their time. 

Median Pay: $82,180 per year

Job Outlook: 8% 

Job Opportunities: Clinical supervisors, marriage and family therapists, and rehabilitation counselors 

Best Schools: Adams State University, Hampton University, and Texas A&M University 

Easiest Online Ph.D. and Doctorate Degrees in 2022 - Divider Icon

Ph.D./Doctor in Public Health

Ph.D./Doctor in Public Health
Ph.D./Doctor in Public Health

Community health workers, public health administrators, and public health advocates will benefit from the advanced Ph.D. and Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree programs! Students can perform graduate-level scientific research while also promoting public health. 

Graduates find many opportunities as medical and health services managers, epidemiologists, and public health professors. Combined with extensive work experience and leadership skills, these professionals have a profound influence in creating and changing the state of public health, too. 

Ph.D. and DrPH degree programs may have different approaches, but their time-to-completion ranges from three to seven years. The number of credits varies, too, between 40 and credits. In terms of approach, the Ph.D. degree emphasizes qualitative and quantitative research expertise, while the DrPH degree is for practitioners. In the case of DrPH professionals, their duties include promoting public health awareness in schools, organizations, and communities and developing, implementing, and evaluating public health practices. 

Core coursework covers epidemiology, preventive medicine, biostatistics, and health policy topics. The culminating requirements are a dissertation and publishable paper for Ph.D. candidates and a special project for DrPH candidates. In either case, the culminating requirement must pass rigorous standards, among the most challenging aspects of doctorate studies. The voluminous learning materials are also challenging, but students who love reading and learning will find it easier. 

Median Pay: $91,510 per year

Job Outlook: 17%

Job Opportunities:  Epidemiologists, medical and health services managers, biostatisticians, and medical scientists 

Best Schools: Johns Hopkins University, Walden University, and Pennsylvania State University

Easiest Online Ph.D. and Doctorate Degrees in 2022 - Divider Icon

Ph.D. in Public Administration

Ph.D. in Public Administration
Ph.D. in Public Administration

Most students in Ph.D. in Public Administration programs are already involved in public administration work in government agencies and non-profit organizations. But their desire for leadership positions and other career advancement purposes motivate them toward pursuing the graduate degree. The desire for influencing laws, policies and practices in public administration through impactful research is also a common reason. 

There’s a widely held view that it’s an easier degree because of the absence of advanced STEM courses, and it’s true, but it also has its academic challenges. The core coursework covers a broad range of financial management and budgeting in the government sector, strategic planning and management, and stakeholder relations. Ethics and social justice, performance management and evaluation, and networked governance are also common courses. 

Quantitative and qualitative research methods are also discussed in preparation for their application in the dissertation process. The dissertation typically explores a specific issue and offers solutions based on evidence gathered. 

Students may choose from concentrations, but not all programs offer them. Popular concentrations are in public management, ethical leadership, analytics, and non-profit management, and each concentration has its specific set of graduation requirements. The ethical leadership concentration, for example, enables candidates to address the most controversial and critical issues in public administration. The analytics concentration explores data as a resource and its environment, data modeling, and the database approach, all of which are crucial to more insightful expertise in data management. 

The beauty of a Ph.D. in Public Administration degree is in the abundance of career opportunities in public administration, from the local to the federal levels. 

Median Pay: $86,200 per year

Job Outlook: 25% 

Job Opportunities:  Operations research analysts, government affairs directors, and policy analysts 

Best Schools: Liberty University, University of Illinois Springfield, and Valdosta State University 

Easiest Online Ph.D. and Doctorate Degrees in 2022 - Divider Icon

Ph.D./Doctor of Education in Adult and Lifelong Education

Ph.D./Doctor of Education in Adult and Lifelong Education
Ph.D./Doctor of Education in Adult and Lifelong Education

Students in doctorate in adult and lifelong education programs prepare for career advancement in organizations that provide adult literacy programs. These organizations include community and non-profit entities, government agencies, colleges and universities, many of which provide for-free services to their clients. These wide-ranging services include post-secondary education, military education, and continuing professional education. 

The coursework varies between Ph.D. and EdD programs, with Ph.D. programs being more research-focused and EdD programs focused more on practitioner training. But these programs share core courses that include strategic planning and program evaluation, program planning, policy studies, supervision and professional development, and teaching and learning. Ph.D. candidates also dive deeper, so to speak, into graduate-level qualitative and quantitative research methods for their dissertation. 

Students learn various skills, too, including: 

  • Assessment of the educational needs of adult and lifelong learners in different types of environments 
  • Design, implementation and evaluation of instructional programs for adult learners 
  • Perform leadership and management functions in programs related to adult and lifelong learning 
  • Apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills in research projects 

Professionals with an EdD in Adult and Lifelong Education degree are passionate about these aspects, too! Adult education also plays a crucial role in our society’s advancement because it allows adults to gain new knowledge, skills, and values. As a result, adults become more productive citizens and enjoy a better quality of life. Research conducted into adult education contributes to improving adult education theories and practices.

Median Pay: $55,350 per year

Job Outlook: 5%

Job Opportunities:  Adult educator, community-based education and development worker, post-secondary professor 

Best Schools: Kansas State University, Michigan State University, and Ball State University 

Easiest Online Ph.D. and Doctorate Degrees in 2022 - Divider Icon

Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics

Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics
Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics

The Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics degree enables candidates to conduct high-level research into the structure and rules of languages. Note that candidates may be required to learn one or more foreign languages in addition to the academic coursework, seminars, and dissertation. The foreign language requirement boosts the candidates’ job prospects as interpreters/translators, ESL professors, and community development workers abroad. 

The foreign language requirement can be satisfied in many ways. For candidates whose first language isn’t English, proficiency in the language satisfied it. For native English speakers, demonstration of foreign language competency is typically required. 

Linguistics is considered a scientific subject but don’t worry as there are no rocket science-level math and science subjects in the Ph.D. programs. Instead, candidates ask critical questions about current issues and test hypotheses about the studied languages. The role of language in various settings, from the societal level to the growth of children and adults at the individual level, is also studied. Candidates also study the structural parts of languages, including grammar, semantics, and phonetics. 

While Ph.D. programs provide candidates with a comprehensive linguistics background, candidates are also provided with the opportunity for specialization. Concentrations are intended to enable candidates to gain specialist expertise in second language acquisition, linguistics theory, historical linguistics, language variation, and sociolinguistics. Candidates enroll in major and elective courses according to their chosen concentration, but their culminating requirement is an approved individual dissertation. 

Median Pay: $55,350 per year

Job Outlook: 5% 

Job Opportunities:  ESL teachers, interpreters and translators, and college professors 

Best Schools: University of Memphis and University of Mississippi

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What makes these easiest online doctorate degrees the easiest? 

Earning a doctorate in any field of study demands passion for the subject and perseverance against the challenges. But some factors make it less difficult to achieve! These 15 areas of study were chosen for the following reasons: 

  • The curriculum has fewer advanced math and science courses required for completion. Studies have shown that STEM subjects are considered more difficult among the population. 
  • The program of study emphasizes transferable skills, including critical thinking, analytical thinking and problem-solving skills, in addition to communication skills. Students are also evaluated based on independent and original research that introduces new ideas, interpretations, and solutions to current issues. 
  • Many programs have no GRE and GMAT requirements, aside from less selective admissions criteria. Most, if not all, programs still have typical application requirements, including letters of recommendation, personal statements and resumes. But these are common in the most challenging programs, too. 
  • The programs may have no dissertation and residency requirement, meaning students can focus more on learning advanced knowledge and skills. 
  • Thanks to self-paced courses and asynchronous design, the online learning method makes it easier to maintain a healthy work-life-studies balance. Many of these programs also have accelerated courses, such as eight-week courses that can be taken one at a time. 

Again, your choice in a doctorate program must be aligned with your personal and professional interests, career trajectory, and financial capability. 

What are the typical components of doctorate programs? 

While every program has its unique learning outcomes, curriculum, and graduation requirements, the typical doctorate program consists of four academic components: 

  • The major or focus courses are specific to the field of study or concentration, enabling students to gain deeper insights and more advanced skills. For example, a Ph.D. in Theological Studies degree will include courses in Biblical studies, comparative religion, and ministerial practices.  
  • The research courses establish the foundational knowledge and skills in conducting research at the graduate level. The courses cover qualitative and quantitative research methods, such as advanced writing, research methodology, and applied statistics. 
  • The elective courses customize your education and give it a well-rounded perspective so that you can find opportunities for real-world applications. 
  • The dissertation is usually the culminating requirement for Ph.D. students, while a portfolio, special project or presentation is common among professional doctorate students. 

Comprehensive exams are also a common requirement to advance to doctoral candidacy status. 

What is the typical cost of attendance for an online doctorate? 

Consider that doctorate programs generally require higher financial outlay due to the higher number of credit hours required for completion. There are also factors like the costs of the dissertation, particularly the research-related expenses, and the money spent in meeting technological requirements. Students usually buy their computers and required accessories, pay for their Internet connection, and shoulder other study-from-home expenses.  

The tuition cost is the most pressing issue when pursuing an online doctorate! Be sure to check the tuition per credit hour and determine its relative affordability in your case. But don’t forget to include the cost of e-books and textbooks, student fees, and other charges that make up the cost of attendance. 

There’s also the matter of tuition fees increasing yearly. Since a doctorate can take three and five years, it’s a substantial monetary investment. Scholarships, grants, and assistantships will lead to significant reductions in the financial burden, so be sure to check out every opportunity. 

In 2022, the average cost of a doctorate varies between $98,800 and $114,300, depending on the type of degree and school. Be aware that post-graduate students have an average student loan debt of $108,400 at the time of their graduation. 

What are your career options with a doctorate? 

With your doctorate, you must prove that, indeed, you’re an expert in your field of study! You may or may not call yourself a doctor, but you can put the appropriate abbreviation after your names, such as Ph.D. or EdD. You will find that these abbreviations are a ticket toward a wide range of careers, many of which only professionals with doctorate degrees can follow. 

Your career options include but aren’t limited to the following: 

  • Become a tenured or endowed professor in a college or university in your field of study 
  • Assume a leadership position in your organization, such as university president, academic dean, or principal 
  • Engage in research projects in public and private organizations, such as universities, laboratories and think tanks 
  • Provide consultancy services to public and private organizations as well as individuals in your field of study 

With your terminal degree, you should be able to forge a career that’s as unique as your educational achievements and professional skills! You also have many opportunities to impact your students positively, clients, and peers, perhaps even change the world. 

What are the specific careers requiring a doctorate? 

While only a handful of careers require a Ph.D. or a professional doctorate, these are among the most competitive! Since every applicant possesses a doctorate, the competition may boil down to whoever has the upper hand – and it can be subjective criteria, to boot. 

With that said, here are a few examples of careers where a doctorate is a must. 

  • Professors in colleges and universities teach undergraduate and graduate students and conduct their research.
  • Hospital directors, particularly in charge of pharmacies, nursing services, and human resources, have doctorate degrees that complement their work experiences in the wide range of roles they carry out. These include business management, budgeting and human resource management. 
  • Senior research scientists possess the advanced knowledge and skills in research that make them effective and efficient in their jobs. Many works in academic settings and the business sector and industry perform research and development work. The latter may include the design, creation and evaluation of products and processes and the creation of new objects and solutions. 

These are all well-paid positions, too, with career advancement opportunities that individuals with bachelor’s and master’s degrees can only dream of! 

Remember:

If you enjoy studying a subject, even when others find it challenging, it’s a pleasure and a privilege! It’s also a point of pride among the small percentage of adults who earn doctorate degrees! The prestige, opportunity for career advancement, and respect from others make the seemingly endless studying worth every minute, too.

For graduates of online Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and doctorate programs, the terminal degree is the pinnacle of their academic career! The financial benefits that come with it, particularly the higher median weekly pay ($1,743) and low unemployment rate (1.5%), are the cherry on top. Indeed, education pays with studies showing that the more you learn, the higher your earnings and the more secure your job can be! Furthermore, individuals with doctorate degrees are more likely to contribute more to society’s progress, from paying more taxes to more engagement in civic activities. Their effective access to health, housing, and education services also benefit their families, particularly quality of life and educational opportunities. 

Emphasis must be made on the differences between a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and a professional doctorate (e.g., EdD), and these differences will influence your decision. The Ph.D. degree is known as the “research degree” because of its emphasis on the dissertation independent and original research that students complete with the guidance of their faculty advisor.

Graduates of Ph.D. programs usually find employment as professors and researchers in universities, corporations, and think tanks. Professional doctorate degrees are “applied degrees” because their holders apply their knowledge and skills in real-world situations, although participation in research projects is also common. Like the Ph.D. programs, professional doctorate programs also require student-led research but with another culminating requirement (e.g., special project or portfolio). 

While every individual with a bachelor’s or master’s degree can pursue a doctorate, not everybody will thrive and benefit from it! You must have an enthusiastic interest in the promotion of advanced knowledge in whatever specific field of study you’re interested in studying. You must also be willing and able to perform graduate-level academic research to contribute new ideas and findings to the existing body of knowledge. Your time management skills, overall health, and financial health will also be tested in these 15 easiest doctorate degrees and, thus, you must plan and be ready for these challenges. In doing so, your journey toward earning a doctorate becomes easier! 

Dr. Jared Goff
Chief Editor