6 Best 1 Year PhD Programs Online In Europe

Online programs are the trend these days across various degrees and if you are looking for one, you are at the right place. In this blog post, I have curated a list of 1 year PhD programs online in Europe to give you options on where to get a doctorate program.

A doctorate degree helps professionals to advance their careers. The programs equip them with advanced skills and knowledge of a specific field and prepare them for higher positions in an organization. The benefit of this includes higher pay, bigger and better opportunities, advanced expertise in your field, and respect from the people around you.

There are more benefits that come with earning a doctorate degree but very few people go for it and the reason is obvious. Firstly, it takes a long period of time to earn a PhD we’re talking 3 to 8 years for the traditional pathway but if you get an accelerated one like the 2-year DPT programs , you can earn PhD in 24 months or less.

Secondly, due to the length of doctorate programs, it tends to cost a lot of money. In a nutshell, a PhD degree is expensive. But you can tackle this either by applying for a fully-funded PhD program or enrolling for a free honorary doctorate degree online and never worry about the cost.

And even with these issues tackled, there is the time factor.

What does this mean?

To consider earning a PhD, means you are a working professional with a life too. So, that means you have to go to work, spend time with your family and friends, and still manage other responsibilities. All of these are choking enough, there’s little to no time to start studying for a degree that’d take 7 years to complete.

And this is where online programs come in.

Online programs are offered across various degree programs. They are typically faster to complete, cheaper in cost, and offer flexibility allowing you to achieve great professional, study, and life balance. Online programs are particularly common among bachelor’s and master’s degrees, for PhD there is a handful and they recently started coming up. They are not as popular as the others.

If you want to earn a PhD degree, but you are considering things like time, cost, and flexibility good news is you now have an option which is completing the program online. An online PhD program will help make your study just the way you want. You do not have to stop working because you want to get a doctorate degree, rather, you can work and study for your degree at the same time.

In a previous blog post, I discussed some of the best doctorate without dissertation that you can complete in 18 months or less. In this article, I have outlined and discussed online PhD programs in Europe that you can complete in as little as 12 months or less.

Europe has a number of online PhD programs offered by top institutions like the University of London, the Universitat de Barcelona, the University of Glasgow, the University College Dublin, and many others. You can enroll in online PhD programs in Europe at any of these universities whether you are in the US, Africa, or any part of the world, after all, the programs do not require an in-person presence.

1 year PhD programs online in Europe

Best 1 Year PhD Programs Online In Europe

You want to earn a PhD degree that takes 12 months or less to complete, offers flexibility allows you to combine your work and personal life with studies, and still doesn’t cost much the what you need is to enroll in one of the 1 year PhD programs online in Europe.

Programs like these are very rare but we have managed to gather them all in one place for you and without any further ado, let’s get into them.

The best 1 year PhD programs online in Europe are:

  • Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)
  • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in Mobile & Digital Marketing
  • Doctor of Business Administration
  • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in Tourism
  • Doctor of Public Health (DPH)
  • Doctor of Laws (LLD)

1.     Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)

The Doctor of Public Administration (DBA) is a 1 year online PhD program offered by Nobel Business School Switzerland and Collegium Humanum Warsaw Management School. This is an online doctorate degree program designed for business people who want to gain advanced managerial, administrative, and leadership skills.  

To apply for the program, you will provide an application form, a copy of your qualification, CV or resume, a certificate of your workplace, and a privacy statement. The program is 100% online and requires no on-campus presence.

Link to Program

2.     Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in Mobile & Digital Marketing

If you are a digital marketer who wants to become a specialist in the field or advance to the highest level of a digital marketer, the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in Mobile & Digital Marketing is a program you should consider going for. And you may want to consider it because it takes only 1 year to complete and earn your doctorate degree and you don’t have to give up your current job to study for the degree.

The program covers the ideas, instruments, and methods required to organize and combine consumer communications as well as to design successful marketing campaigns. You will gain advanced skills in social media marketing, analytics, email marketing, and many more.

3.     Doctor of Business Administration

One of the most popular business degrees is the MBA degree but there is an even more advanced one which is the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree. This program is jointly run by Alfred Nobel Open Business School Switzerland and Collegium Humanum Warsaw Management School. It is offered online and can be completed in as little as 12 months.

This DBA degree equips business professionals to learn skills based on the latest theories, research, and trends and become specialists in the business world.

4.     Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in Tourism

If you are a business person seeking to explore the business aspect of another field like tourism or you are in the tourism field and want to expand your career, then the DBA in tourism degree should be top of your list. You can get this degree completely online in under 12 months and be on your way to becoming a leader in no time.

Professionals in this program will be equipped with skills and knowledge on the latest trend in tourism and equip you with advanced managerial and leadership qualities.

5.     Doctor of Public Health (DPH)

If you are in the public health sector or practicing in one of the healthcare fields, or a social worker, earning a DPH degree will transform your career. The moment you complete and earn this degree, you will be placed among the elites in the public health sector and you become qualified to take top roles in the field.

It is one of the best 1 year online PhD programs in Europe jointly offered by Alfred Nobel Open Business School Switzerland and Collegium Humanum Warsaw Management School. Students in this program will gain cutting-edge managerial skills and problem-solving abilities.

6.     Doctor of Laws (LLD)

This is, of course, for professionals in the legal field who want to become partners of a law firm or attain higher positions in the workplace. Business professionals who want to understand the legal procedures in domestic and foreign dealings can also take this program. It provides students with practical knowledge, assisting managers in making corporate decisions and conducting effective management operations.

Application into the program requires a privacy statement, CV or resume, proof of qualification, application form, and workplace certification. Professionals in this program will gain an advanced understanding of labor law, EU law, international law, and case study analysis.

Link to Profile

  Online PhD programs are not common and even 1 year online PhD programs are much harder to find. From this list, you should be able to make a decision on your next move.


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PhD programs in Europe

Become a world-class expert with a european phd.

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  • Stockholms Län
  • Utbildare/Skola
  • Stockholm BarAkademi
  • Stockholm College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Stockholms Dramatiska Högskola
  • Stockholms fria Universitet
  • Stockholms Hotell- och restaurangskola
  • Stockholms Musikpedagogiska Institut
  • Grillska Komvux
  • Stockholms tillskärarakademi
  • Stockholms universitet

Programs (3021)

Schools (175), phd – doctor of philosophy in management.

  • Doctorate / PhD
  • Multiple (9)
  • Blended learning

Doctorate in Design

  • Aveiro, Portugal

Doctorate in Biotechnology

Doctorate in psychology, doctorate in biochemistry, doctorate in biomedicine, doctor of health studies (research).

  • Cardiff, Wales

Doctorate in Music

Doctorate in political science, professional doctorate in healthcare practice.

  • Limerick, Ireland

Doctorate in Business Innovation

Doctor of business administration, doctorate in applied mathematics.

  • 8 semesters

Doctorate in Biorefineries

  • 6 semesters

Doctorate of Business Administration

  • Lincoln, England

Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering

Doctorate in accounting, doctorate in chemistry, doctorate in public policies, doctorate in mathematics.


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Explore a range of online doctoral programs, including Ph.D. degrees, that offer accelerated paths, reduced residency requirements, and flexible online learning options.

Many degree programs fall under the title of doctorate, including Doctor of Philosophy degrees or Ph.D.

These Ph.D. degree programs are available in a variety of subjects and are intended to help students understand their specialty in the abstract and as a school of thought and theory rather than strictly as a practice.

Institutions that offer the best programs typically have exceptional funding, prestigious reputations, top-of-the-line research facilities, and abundant academic resources.

When selecting one of the shortest online doctoral programs or easiest online Ph.D. programs, you can access more info by visiting the links provided in each school description to ensure that you find the best program for you!

The easiest isn't always the shortest nor the shortest the easiest.

Doctorate Programs That Might Interest You

1-year Online Doctoral Programs | 18 Month Doctorate Programs Without Dissertation | Shortest Doctoral Programs Online and On-campus | Easiest Ph.D. to Get Online | Easiest PhD to Get (Traditional) | Free PhD Programs Online

Doctorate Degree vs PhD

Ph.D. programs focus more on the theoretical and abstract aspects of their respective fields of study to understand it as a school of thought rather than just a practical application.

Usual doctorate programs tend to be more practical in their study and focus on the application of knowledge rather than understanding more abstract perspectives.

Ph.D. degrees are often offered in the same fields that have standard doctoral degrees available usually offered in fields such as engineering, mathematics, natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities.

Doctorate programs are made up of advanced coursework, research projects, or thesis work almost strictly for practical application. Such degrees will get you ready to teach at the university level or help you advance to the leading edge of your field researching, serving, and creating.

Ph.D. and Doctorate degrees can often achieve the same ends and should be considered more or less equal in weight.

1 Year Ph.D. Programs Online

Chatham university.

Chatham offers a 1-year online DNP program for working nurses seeking advanced leadership roles. The intensive curriculum covers care delivery models, quality improvement, evidence-based practice, and informational systems. The program features synchronous online classes and immersive clinicals at sites nationwide. Students collaborate virtually with renowned faculty.

Within 12 months, students complete 36 credits and 1,000 clinical hours. Graduates can sit for Family Nurse Practitioner certification. Nurses with a BSN can enter the accelerated program. Applicants need an active RN license. This online DNP empowers nurses to rapidly earn doctoral credentials while working. It prepares graduates to advance as clinical, executive, research, and teaching leaders.

Breyer State Theology University

Breyer State Theology University offers a 1-year online PhD in Grief Counseling through its Department of Ethereal Studies. This accelerated program is tailored for working professionals seeking to advance their bereavement therapy career. The curriculum covers advanced grief counseling theories and interventions for diverse populations. Students gain expertise in areas like trauma-informed care, healing rituals, afterlife philosophies, and continuing bonds.

The online format combines asynchronous learning with live classes in an intimate cohort overseen by esteemed faculty. Students complete their dissertation in just one year. Graduates earn a PhD from BSU's pioneering metaphysical psychology department. This flexible doctoral program prepares students to progress their counseling practice or pursue academic research roles.

American International Theism University

American International Theism University (AITU) offers one-year online doctoral degrees for working professionals. Accelerated PhD tracks include Philosophy of Islamic Studies, Business Administration, Education, Finance, and Grief Counseling. Professional doctorates prepare leaders in Divinity, Sacred Music, Spiritual Psychotherapy, and more. The online programs blend video lectures, discussions, and immersive retreats. Curricula explore metaphysics, ethics, and wisdom traditions across faiths.

Within 12 months, students complete doctoral coursework, exams, and a dissertation overseen by distinguished faculty. Applicants should hold a relevant master's degree and background in theological studies or social sciences. These intensive online doctoral programs allow students to rapidly earn advanced credentials through flexible study with global peers. Graduates pursue roles driving innovation in spiritual care, research, and leadership.

Online Doctorate Programs That Might Interest You

15-18 month doctorate programs without dissertation, boston university.

Boston University offers a Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree program that can be completed in 18 months. The program consists of 10 courses, which are about 33 to 37 credits. Students may concentrate on various areas and can then choose what else they would prefer to learn to complete their credit requirements.

This is a fully online degree program that accelerates each semester’s worth of class to take only seven weeks to complete with new courses starting every September, January, and May. The program is available to doctoral students who have completed an accredited occupational therapy program. There are foundation courses, which include evidence-based practice and health care management, but no dissertation is necessary whereas a doctoral project is still required.

Frontier Nursing University

The Maryville University of St. Louis offers a Doctor of Nursing (DNP) program that is available online. The DNP program requires students to complete a total of 33 credit hours, including 18 to 20 months for completion. Many students in the online DNP program are working as nurses in the field, and this affords them a flexible program that allows many students to achieve their academic goals while active in the healthcare industry.

This course is an online program that does not require a GMAT or GRE. It may have a waiting list, but unlike other programs, it does not require clinical hours. The Doctorate in Higher Education Leadership is an online program that offers personal coaching throughout the process. It is a cohort learning method with online education, and students might need a bit more time to complete it.

Maryville University

Maryville University offers online doctoral degrees tailored for working professionals. Programs available fully online include Doctorates in Higher Education Leadership, Educational Leadership, Nursing Practice, Health Administration, Physical Therapy, and Occupational Therapy. The EdD programs prepare graduates for leadership and faculty roles in education. The DNP equips nurses for advanced clinical and executive practice.

Health Administration focuses on healthcare organizational development, quality, and finance. Licensed PTs and OTs can pursue clinical doctorates while working. Courses blend live online classes and self-paced learning. Programs leverage cutting-edge virtual labs and simulations. With a relevant master's degree, students can earn an accredited doctorate from Maryville University online to advance their careers.

24 Month Doctorate Programs

University of north carolina – chapel hill.

One option is to earn an online Ph.D. in Nursing, while another option is to earn their Medical Degree at the same time as their  Master of Business Administration , but the Transitional Doctoral Program in Physical therapy may be earned in 24 months fully online. This part-time program provides online learning courses to help licensed physical therapists enhance their skills and gain access to higher career options. Some credits can be earned through workplace applications.

Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University offers over a dozen online doctoral degrees tailored for working professionals. GCU provides online EdD tracks in Organizational Leadership, Higher Education Leadership, and K-12 Leadership. Other doctorates cover psychology, nursing, business, and more. Programs blend asynchronous and live virtual classes focused on applying concepts. Specialized tracks allow customization.

Online students get personalized faculty support and access to robust digital resources. Within 2 years (or less), learners complete coursework, residencies, exams, and a dissertation to earn an accredited doctoral degree from GCU. With flexible and practical curricula, GCU enables busy professionals to obtain doctorates fully online and further their careers.

Liberty University

Liberty University offers a Doctor of Education degree program that can be completed fully online. The minimum time to earn the degree is about 30 months for completion of all 54 credits. The courses are each 8 weeks long and no dissertation is required. The Doctor of Education degree program provides a curriculum that focuses on developing innovative programs, as well as a capstone project.

University of West Georgia

The University of West Georgia offers several online doctoral degree options for working professionals seeking advanced training. UWG provides online doctorates in School Improvement, Nursing Education, Professional Counseling and Supervision, and Higher Education Administration. The EdD programs focus on data-driven leadership strategies and developing administrative expertise.

The DNP prepares nurses to improve care systems and patient outcomes. Coursework blends synchronous evening classes and self-paced learning for flexibility. Experiential projects allow application to careers. With a relevant master's degree, students can earn an accredited doctorate fully online from UWG to advance as leaders in their field.

Shortest Ph.D. Programs Online and On-campus

Obtaining a Ph.D. can be a long-term commitment and many doctoral programs can take over five years to complete. To help busy working professionals looking to jumpstart their careers and those looking to begin their careers at a high level, this list serves as a simple reference guide, compiling information on some of the shortest doctoral programs in the country.

These online degree programs operate in full-time, part-time, fully online, or hybrid formats.

  • Baylor University - online EdD in Learning and Organizational Change, 54 credits, 36 months
  • Maryville University - online Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online DNP), 20 months, no GRE or no GMAT requirement
  • University of Dayton - online Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Leadership for Organizations, 36 months, 60 credits
  • Capella University - online Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision, 0 max transfer credits, 60 credits, CACREP accredited
  • Franklin University - online Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), 58 credit hours, transfer up to 24 hours of previously earned credit, 36 months + 1 year for dissertation
  • Walden University - online Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology, up to 53 credits, fast-track option, earn MPhil at the same time
  • Frontier Nursing University - online Doctor of Nursing Practice, MSN with DNP, 675 clinical hours for MSN plus 360 additional for DNP
  • Boston University - Online Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy, PP-OTD, 33-37 credits
  • University of Florida - online MSN to DNP, 35 credits, five semesters
  • Gwynedd Mercy University - Accelerated Executive Doctorate of Education ABD (All But Dissertation) Completion Program, online EdD , 27 credit hours, 18 months
  • Duquesne University - Online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), 35 credit hours
  • The College of St. Scholastica - Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy, online tDPT, 16 credits
  • Liberty Univesity - Doctor of Ministry, online DMin, 30 credit hours, 24 months
  • University of Florida - Doctor of Nursing Practice, MSN to DNP, 35 credits, 5 semesters
  • University of North Dakota - Post-Master's Doctor of Nursing Practice, online DNP, 36 credit hours, 5 semesters
  • Seton Hall University - Doctor of Nursing Practice, online DNP, 31+ credits for post-MSN students, 73-79 credits for post-BSN students
  • Regis University - Doctor of Nursing Practice, online DNP , 28-33 credit hours, 8-week terms
  • Georgia State University - Curriculum and Instruction EdD, Educational Leadership EdD, on-campus EdD, 54 credit hours
  • Bowling Green State University   - Technology Management, web-based Ph.D., 66 credit hours
  • Hampton University - Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Management, online Ph.D., 60 credit hours
  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania - Safety Sciences, online Ph.D., 54 credit hours
  • East Carolina University   - Doctor of Nursing Practice, hybrid online DNP

Easiest Ph.D. Programs Online & On-Campus

To be sure, at the Ph.D. level, no program could be considered "easy," but there are certain programs designed to be "easier" than others. Generally, education, humanities, and the social sciences are considered the easiest fields in which to pursue degrees.

With that in mind, our list of the easiest Ph.D. programs includes schools and programs that offer significantly reduced residency requirements, accelerated courses, credit transfers, and integrated dissertation colloquia.

The rankings below display schools with accreditation from at least one of the six regional accrediting agencies , and all offer at least one virtual Ph.D. degree. Accredited online Ph.D. programs are also organized according to the U.S. News and World Report and Forbes Magazine rankings.

Easiest Online Ph.D. Programs & Online Doctoral Programs

  • WALDEN UNIVERSITY - 156 Online Doctoral Programs
  • REGENT UNIVERSITY - 81 online doctorate degrees, 6 Ph.D. programs online
  • HAMPTON UNIVERSITY - 5 online doctoral degree programs
  • UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA - 8 online doctoral degree programs
  • UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI - 4 online doctorate programs
  • COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY - 3 online Ph.D. programs, 1 online doctoral program
  • UNIVERSITY OF NORTH DAKOTA - 12 online Ph.D. programs, 3 online doctoral programs
  • NOVA SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY -  10 online doctorate programs, 8 online Ph.D. programs
  • LIBERTY UNIVERSITY -  19 online Ph.D. programs, 16 online doctorate programs

Easiest Ph.D. to Get (Traditional)

The easiest doctorate degree can vary depending on your interests, skills, and strengths. However, here is a list of doctorate degrees that are mentioned as potentially less difficult to obtain:

  • Business Administration: This program focuses on business development, design, methods, tools, and professional ethics. A Ph.D. in Business Administration can be a good choice for professionals looking to advance their careers in business.
  • Counseling: A doctorate in counseling allows you to specialize in areas such as human behavior, social psychology, counseling supervision, or specific therapy approaches. This degree can lead to advanced career opportunities in healthcare and social services.
  • Criminal Justice: This program equips you with research skills and the ability to analyze data in the field of criminal justice. It can open doors to various career paths, including emergency management, forensic departments, and information security sectors.
  • Education: A doctorate in education focuses on enhancing educational research skills and preparing for leadership roles in educational institutions. It can lead to administrative positions in universities, professional departments, or elementary and secondary schools.
  • Healthcare Administration: This program prepares you for leadership roles in the business aspect of the medical industry. It covers topics such as policies, ethics, group management, hospital administration, and advanced patient care.
  • Human Services: A doctorate in human services prepares you for leadership positions within organizations that help underserved populations. It focuses on policies, legislation, rights, ethics, and protocols for serving within human services organizations.
  • Management: This program provides practical skills applicable to various industry settings. It covers areas such as financial management, system management, conflict management, and human resources management.
  • Public Administration: A doctorate in public administration develops managerial and strategic planning skills for administrative roles in different industries. It offers coursework in ethics of management, public policy, strategic planning, performance management, employee evaluation, and economics of administration.
  • Public Health: This program equips you with advanced training and research skills for the healthcare industry. It focuses on leadership and management roles in public health, emphasizing innovative thinking and communication mastery.
  • Public Policy: A doctorate in public policy focuses on theory, ethics, research, and practice in public service programs. It prepares you to analyze and propose policies to improve communities and societies.
  • Psychology: A doctorate in psychology combines research skills with professional practice. It can lead to careers as addictions counselors, applied researchers, professional consultants, or clinical psychologists.
  • Theology: A doctorate in theology explores divine and spiritual traditions through academics, research, and religious studies. It can lead to careers as professors, social service managers, private school teachers, or directors of religious education.

Please note that the difficulty of a doctorate degree can vary depending on individual circumstances, personal strengths, and the specific requirements of each program. It's important to thoroughly research and consider your own interests, skills, and career goals before deciding on a doctorate program.

Free Ph.D. Programs Online (Fully Funded)

According to Best-Universities.net .

  • Brown University - Fully-funded Ph.D. program in computer science
  • University of Houston-Downtown - Full scholarship program for online doctorate
  • Devry University - Comprehensive scholarship program for online degrees
  • University of Maryland-Baltimore County - Full scholarship program for online undergraduate and graduate degrees
  • Wilson Community College - Full scholarship program for community college students
  • University of Leeds - Up to 30 fully-funded online Ph.D. programs
  • University of the Witwatersrand - Comprehensive scholarship program for online bachelor's or master's degrees
  • The University of Texas at Dallas - Full scholarship program for online bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degrees
  • University of Strathclyde - Full scholarship program for online undergraduate or master's degrees
  • Emory University - Fully-funded online Ph.D. program in economics
  • New York University - Fully-funded Ph.D. program in childhood education
  • University of Pennsylvania - Fully-funded online Ph.D. program in educational leadership and policy

If you're not looking for an accelerated program , the list below displays some of the best traditional Ph.D. programs in the country, according to Study.com.

Best Ph.D. Programs in the U.S.

Guide to online doctorate degrees.

Fewer positions requiring this advanced level qualification and reduced competition for such job opportunities among job seekers are some of the reasons behind the few doctoral graduates.

With technological advancements in almost all areas of life, acquiring education, a significantly advanced level of education has become more accessible.

Graduate students now do not have to attend physical classes to pursue their dreams of developing and advancing their skills.

You can pursue your doctorate in the comfort of your home or even your office. There was a 20% growth in students granted doctorate degrees between the 2009/2010 and 2019/2020 academic years, according to NCES. This growth has been attributed in part to online Ph.D. programs and the streamlining of modern universities.

Online Ph.D. programs are a relatively newer idea and online schooling in general has greatly increased access, flexibility, and convenience.

Students typically complete these degrees soon after completing a Master’s degree in the same area. As such, and with bachelor's degrees being necessary stepping stones, students can expect their journey from primary school to a Ph.D. to take about nine years, barring any accelerated tracks and failed classes.

Cost of an Online Doctoral Degree Program

When choosing any doctoral degree program, it is crucial to evaluate the costs and salary after attending. Even though online Ph.D. courses may usually be cheaper than on-campus learning, secondary schooling is rarely cheap and not every field will allow you to make back the cost in a reasonable amount of time.

Tuition, materials, technology, transportation, housing, and groceries should all be factors brought into account when deciding whether or where to attend, and in what field you can find the most success and fulfillment.

Below are the annual tuition rates of different institutions as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

  • Private-For profit institutions- $18,200
  • Private-Not for-profit institutions- $37,600
  • Public institutions- $9,400

Choosing an Online Doctoral Degree Program

Since doctoral programs require considerable investments of money and time, it is important to consider every factor before deciding on a school or program. Take some time to consider the marketability, cost, and difficulty of each program and your own interest in the subject. To reach your career and educational goals, do your best research.

How Long Does it Take to Get a PhD

The length of a Ph.D. program can vary, but it typically takes 3 to 6 years to complete.

  • A Ph.D. program typically takes 5 to 6 years in the United States.
  • A Ph.D. program typically takes 3 to 4 years in the UK and many other European countries.

The actual length of a Ph.D. program can be influenced by many factors, including the nature of the research, the student's progress, the advisor's availability, and funding considerations.

  • Some students may finish in less time, while others may take longer.
  • Part-time Ph.D. programs are also available, which can take longer to complete.

Here is a table summarizing the length of Ph.D. programs in different countries:

Top 50 doctorate-granting institutions ranked by the total number of doctorate recipients, by sex: 2020

Tied institutions are listed alphabetically.

National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, Survey of Earned Doctorates.

Doctorate recipients from U.S. colleges and universities: 1958–2020

(Number and percent) * = value < |0.05%|.

State or location of doctorate institution ranked by the total number of doctorate recipients, by sex: 2020

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Study PhD in Europe - A Comprehensive Guide

Study PhD in Europe

Table of Contents

Why pursue phd in europe, top universities to study phd in europe, best phd programs in europe, best countries for phd in europe, phd opportunities in europe, eligibility criteria to pursue phd in europe.


21 June 2023

When we talk about European countries, the first word that comes to our minds is “beautiful.” Every country in Europe, be it Germany, Italy or France, all are associated with pristine locations, mouthwatering food and excellent educational prospects. Whether it's the academic prowess of Germany or the intellectual heritage of France, European countries offer an educational experience that is unparalleled.

Every year students from different countries choose to study in Europe , given the excellency of the institutes. From bachelor's to PhD, Europe is the students' all-time favourite. Being research-intensive universities, European universities are gaining momentum for their PhD specialisations. If you are also interested in pursuing PhD in Europe , this blog is for you. We have compiled all the information starting with why Europe is the ideal place for PhD to universities, programs, eligibility, etc., just for you. So, sit back and enjoy the blog!

There are several reasons why pursuing PhD programs in Europe can be a great choice. Let us take a look at some of the top reasons. 

For international PhD students, many European nations offer grants for research and the ability to pay for living expenses and tuition. This financial assistance can lessen the hardship of attaining a Ph.D., allowing you to concentrate on research.

Several research institutions and ce ntres of excellence throughout Europe represent many different academic topics and specialisations. There are many chances for conducting research in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, engineering, and technology throughout Europe. Due to the diversity, you can select a programme and research area that fits your interests and professional objectives. 

European universities and research institutions frequently foster strong partnerships between industry partners and research institutions. This allows PhD students to participate in group projects, attend conferences, workshops, and develop professional networks. These relationships may also benefit future employment opportunities and team research projects. 

A PhD from a reputable European university can improve your job opportunities within Europe and internationally. European institutions are renowned for conducting top-notch research and developing gifted students. Your employability in academia, industry, research organisations, and even entrepreneurship might be improved by the skills and knowledge you learn during your PhD and exposure to a global market.

Europe, a continent associated with majestic architecture, pristine locations, exotic food and academic excellence, holds a reputation for academic excellence and research projects. European institutions focus heavily on research and innovation while providing high-quality education. As an international PhD research candidate in Europe, you have access to top-notch academics, cutting-edge facilities, and a dynamic academic atmosphere. 

While the list of good institutes for PhD in Europe is long, we have compiled the best ones below. Let’s check them out! 

ETH Zurich 

Utrecht University 

The University of Kent 

Copenhagen University

Heidelberg University 

The Technical University of Munich 

The Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich 

The University of St. Gallen

The Free University of Berlin 

Leiden University

PSL Research University 

Erasmus University Rotterdam

The University of Paris 

The University of Potsdam

The University of Cologne 

The University of Mannheim 

The University of Bonn 

Many other universities are popular for their research-intensive curriculum and PhD specialisations apart from the ones mentioned above. As a research candidate, you must research thoroughly according to your needs and subject area, check research outcomes, get familiar with the faculties and then decide on the institutions. We know you’ll go with the best of the choices!

While PhD candidates are particular about what they wish to research about, yet, when it comes to pursuing a PhD in Europe , they might need clarification as to which programs are the best there within different specialisations. Universities in Europe are research-intensive and are highly distinguished for their education at various study levels. They have a wide range of programs and research specialisations that students can look forward to while considering to study in Europe . Some of these programs are listed below. 

European Politics and Area Studies  


Sustainable Energy and Technologies 

Doctor of Philosophy

Mountain Environment and Agriculture 

Food Engineering and Biotechnology 

Economics and Finance 

Computer Science 

Doctor of Business Administration


Business Administration

Aerospace Engineering

Doctor of Juridical Science 

Mathematical Sciences 

Architecture - History and Project 

Artificial Intelligence Technologies for Enhancing Online Customer

While the list of the best PhD programs in Europe is almost endless, but the ones mentioned above are the top choices for many international and domestic students alike. Make sure to browse the courses thoroughly and then decide.

The beauty of European countries is simply awe-inspiring, enchanting the soul with its captivating landscapes and cultural richness. Europe is a treasure trove of visual delights, but its allure goes beyond its physical attributes. Europe also stands tall in academic standards and is renowned for nurturing the minds of countless scholars and thinkers. Its renowned universities and educational institutions are bastions of knowledge, where passionate educators ignite the flames of curiosity and intellectual exploration. Whatever you wish to study, European universities have something that feels like it is built just for you. 

While there are many countries that are student favourites to give wings to their study in Europe dreams, the below mentioned are some of the top ones. Check them out. You can also take help from our country counsellors to know more about the countries or apply to universities there. 







Europe attracts a large number of international students, creating a multicultural and diverse academic environment. Engaging with peers from different countries and cultures can broaden your perspective, foster cross-cultural collaboration, and enhance your intercultural skills. Exposure to different research methodologies and approaches can enrich your academic experience. PhD candidates can later work with universities on certain researchers or open their practice or can go on to work with big organisations using their skills at hand. The average salary after completing PhD programs in Europe is around €49,802 per year, which can increase depending on various factors.

Universities worldwide have different eligibility criteria based on their curriculum, industry and academic standards. European universities consider every application carefully and look for unique points in each of them. This gives every type of student an edge to get admitted to the university of their choice. Although, it is mandatory to fulfil the set eligibility requirements in order to have a smooth application process. While the exact requirements vary, here are some of them to keep in mind.

Having a master’s or any other equivalent degree is a must to apply.

Research proposals are needed to assess your application.

A set criteria of minimum scores in PG studies.

  Q. Which country is best for PhD in Europe?

A. Among all the European countries , Germany has the best programs and prospects for PhD in Europe and is the favourite in the list. 

Q. How long does a PhD take in Europe?

A. PhD programs in Europe generally take around four years to complete. 

Q. What is the criteria for PhD in Europe?

A. Several colleges typically require a master's degree in the candidate's field of study. However, colleges occasionally will also admit students with a highly regarded bachelor's degree.

Q. Is IELTS required for PhD in Europe?

A. To pursue PhD in Europe, IELTS and other language proficiency tests are often required to gain admission, but still, some European universities allow international Indian students to study without them.

To conclude, PhD in Europe is one of the most sought-after academic degrees with various specialisations. Pursuing PhD programs in Europe can provide you with access to top-notch education, diverse research opportunities, financial support, and a multicultural environment. It can be a rewarding and transformative experience that opens up exciting career prospects while broadening your horizons. Browse programs carefully and then decide based on your learning and future prospects. We wish you luck in your studies!

We hope you enjoyed learning about PhD in Europe . If you would like to get a deeper insight into how to study in Europe, we encourage you to have a word with our team of expert counsellors at Meridean Overseas Education Consultants (MOEC) . Our counsellors will provide you with guidance throughout your study abroad journey. Get help with the application process, SOPs and filing for a visa. Visit us and get one-to-one counselling or avail yourself of free video counselling via our website. We will be happy to help you, so please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected] or 1800-1230-00011 .

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shortest phd programs in europe

Top 11 Best Online Doctoral Programs In Europe, Requirements & Fees

What are the best online Doctoral Programs In Europe? An online Doctoral Program is an option that you can choose from. It may seem like the campus is not the only place to learn what you need, but visiting those places can expensive hence the introduction of Distance Learning that offers students the opportunity to learn online at the comfort of their home. This is why online education is becoming popular due to it’s accessibility for people who want to study remain in their homes or offices..

Many people, however, lack the time and resources to return to school full-time. This is why it is vital to comprehend the numerous benefits of obtaining a doctorate degree online .

What is a PhD or Doctorate program?

PhD is known as the “Doctor of “Philosophy is research programmes that allow you to learn as you work through the issues associated with solving a particular problem.  This higher academic or professional degree takes 3 to 8 years to complete and qualifies the degree holder to teach their chosen subject at the university level or to work in a specialized position in their chosen field in most countries.

Best Online Doctoral Programs in Europe:

Distance or Online learning are becoming increasingly popular with the advancement of technology. Many universities now offer online courses that enables students acquire degrees without leaving their home country.  Students can now acquire degrees from reputable universities and colleges in the world  without having to live in a specific city or country. Online programs can be very cost-effective for those who are unable to relocate for an extended period of time or who want to pursue their degrees from a distance.

If you are planning to apply or study a Doctoral Program online, at the comfort of your home country, then this article is specially for you. We have outlined some online doctoral Programs that will allow you to continue working or doing anything while you attend classes and complete your degree. Many online doctoral programs offer flexible class schedules and the opportunity to earn a doctorate via correspondence learning program.

Below are our list of Online Doctoral Programs In Europe and other handy informations.

1. Professional Doctorate in Health offered by University of Bath:

Program Overview :

  • Duration: 4 Years
  • Tuition Fee: €9,148
  • Delivery Mode: Online / Distance Learning

First on our list of best universities for Online Doctoral Programs In Europe is the University of Bath in United kingdom.

The University of Bath is a public research university located in Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom. It received its royal charter in 1966, along with a number of other institutions following the Robbins Report. The University has over 19,000 students Is one of the best institution in Europe.

Is the University of Bath a good University?

University of Bath  received her Royal Charter in 1966 and are now established as a top 10 UK university with a reputation for research and teaching excellence. University of Bath is highly ranked in independent league tables for overall performance, student satisfaction and graduate employment. They currently offered a PhD Doctorate program in Health.

About the Program:

The Professional Doctorate in Health offered by the University of Bath is designed for a range of health and social care professionals who are interested in furthering their development as expert practitioners and researchers in practice. This program is delivered online and covers areas such as Public Health, Health Administration and Health Sciences.

The program utilizes the web-based delivery blended with Summer Schools (typically five days in length), the  Professional Doctorate in Health at the  University of Bath aims to meet the learning needs of busy health and social care practitioners.

During the first two years of study, students will be mandated to complete a series of units covering research methods, evidence based practice, comparative health policy and other topics relevant to research in practice. Also, throughout the first two years of the program, students will also be tasked with developing a protocol for their doctoral research project. Unlike the PhD programme, this particular program does not expect you to have a well-developed research protocol before commencing your studies. Your Personal Development Adviser (PDA) will work with you to develop your research plans, before handing over to an academic and practice-based supervisor during the second year.

Programme features :

  • Carry out independent research and understand research methods whilst remaining in your practice area.
  • Choose your learning style within a flexible environment amongst a multi-professional community.
  • Expand your understanding of policy and practice in the context of international healthcare systems and service.

More information, enquires and detailed information can be seen on the program application portals here .

2.  Doctorate of Education (Research) in University of Glasgow:

Program Overview:

  • Duration: 5 years
  • Tuition fee:  for 2023/24 UK: £3,765 International & EU: £8,180
  • EdD (online): 5 years part-time; Thesis of 50,000-60,000 words

University of Glasgow is one of the best universities for Online Doctoral Programs In Europe.  The University of Glasgow is a public research university in Glasgow, Scotland. The University was founded by papal bull in 1451 and is  the fourth-oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland’s four ancient universities. The University has over 26,000 students enjoying high quality education from this prestigious institution.

About the program:

The University of Glasgow offers a Doctoral Program on Education (Doctorate of Education (Research). This  online distance learning programme offers a professionally relevant and academically rigorous opportunity for advanced study in education. The programme at University of Glasgow is designed for professionals at all levels in education, training and development, and in education-related fields.

The Doctorate of Education offered by University of Glasgow is comparable to a PhD in terms of scale and rigour. It differs in that it provides a structured programme of advanced study that is relevant to your profession and focused on the inter-relationship of research, policy and practice. The good thing about the program is that it focuses deep  on the collaborative learning, drawing on your own experiences and those of your academic colleagues.

The program is designed to help students benefits from the activities of the Program’s five knowledge and research groups:

  • Creativity, culture and faith;
  • Interdisciplinary science education, technologies and learning;
  • Professional learning and leadership;
  • Pedagogy, policy and practice;
  • Social justice, place and lifelong education.

This Doctorate program at University of Glasgow has lucrative career prospect as it gives you the skills and confidence to further advance your career to the highest levels in education and education-related fields.

Requirements for this programme :

  • GPA – Upper Second Class
  • English requirements – IELTS 7
  • Masters level qualification in education or a cognate subject area. As well as two academic references, you also need to submit samples of recent academic writing, such as assignments and a dissertation, as part of your application.

More information, enquires and detailed information can be seen on the University of Glasgow website.

3. PhD – Doctor of Philosophy in Communication Studies offered by European College for Liberal Studies, Zurich Switzerland (ECLS)

Program Overview

  • Length – 2+ years
  • Study pace – Part time
  • Education level – Doctorate / PhD
  • Tuition fee: 36,000 CHF / 36,776.15 Euros

The European College for Liberal Studies (ECLS)  is one of the best colleges for Online Doctoral Programs In Europe.  European College for Liberal Studies offers an Online PhD – Doctor of Philosophy in Communication Studies.

This postgraduate programs provides a structured programme of advanced study that is relevant to your profession and focused on the inter-relationship of research in communication. The Program has its requirements and are fully compatible with the established European and American educational systems.

The programs are advanced academic programs for college and university graduates, as well as working professionals wishing to pursue a progressive career in the field of communication and liberal arts. The college is truly global community provides ample opportunities for students to pursue academic topics of interest and research with an emphasis on globalization, communication and higher education.

Admission requirements:

Master degree (or equivalent, or higher), more information can be found on the program’s website .

4.  Story Foundry PhD by Publication (Distance Learning) offered by Bath Spa University:

  • Length: 1-2 years
  • Study pace: Full time
  • Education level:Doctorate / PhD
  • Study Type: Online
  • Tuition Fee: £17,510

Bath Spa University is one of the best universities for Online Doctoral Programs In Europe. Bath Spa University is a public university in Bath, England, with its main campus at Newton Park, about 3+1⁄2 miles west of the centre of the city. The university has other campuses in the city of Bath, and has over 8,450 enjoying quality education in the Institution.

About The Program:

The Story Foundry PhD by Publication is an international liberal arts PhD for established practitioners to integrate innovative forms of practice into critical narrative investigation. This doctoral programme is hosted by leading industry experts within Bath Spa University’s Research Centre for Transcultural Creativity and Education (TRACE).

The program will give you the ability to articulate your practice and career within specialist contexts, such as situating your work within literary and storytelling traditions or within the context of social, economical and digital transformations.

Rather than focusing narrowly on the discipline or subject, we’ll support you to focus on the purpose of your research and we’ll help you to produce a thesis that aligns with your career goals.

This course is only available as a full-time PhD. However, highly focused candidates will be able to fit their programme of study around existing commitments. Apply Here .

5. Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) offered by Geneva Business School – Geneva:

  • Length: 3 years
  • Education level: Doctorate / PhD
  • Intakes: February and September
  • Degree Awarded: Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA)
  • Credits: 240 ECTS:

Fees: Application Fee – EUR 150 (non-refundable, paid upon application) Administration Fee: €1,900. Tuition per Term: EUR 3,900 (3-year / 9-term program) * One year = 3 terms

Geneva Business School is one of the best colleges for Online Doctoral Programs In Europe.  Geneva Business School offers an Online PhD Doctorate programs and they are the leading educational institution that provides cutting-edge Swiss Quality Education.

Geneva Business School offers a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) which is taught exclusively in English online. During the first and second year of this Doctoral Program, you will undertake six self-study courses through our innovative online learning platform. These are designed to equip you with the skills you will need for your business research project during your third and final year.

Throughout the program year, you will be given a DBA Program Manager who still direct and support you in the program while in the final year will receive direct support from an experienced professional from your field of interest.  Once the project is complete, you will present it to a panel of experts in your field.

Admission requirements

  • Master’s degree or equivalent, preferably in a related field
  • English Requirement – IELTS 7.0 / TOEFL 85 / DET 115-120 (official English exam results) or proof of studying previously in an English-speaking environment for a minimum of 3 years
  • Scanned copy of all required academic diplomas, transcripts, certificates Extensive previous business/professional experience
  • Photocopy of valid passport/national ID
  • Reference letters from a former academic institution and from current employer (if applicable)
  • Completion of the Thesis Proposal Form.

More Information about this program can be found on the School website .

6. Doctorate Of Business Administration (DBA) offered by International French University

  • Length: 24-36 months (2-3 years)
  • Study pace: Part time
  • Tuition fee:  €5,990 per year

I nternational French University is one of the best colleges for Online Doctoral Programs In Europe.  International French University (IFU) is an international business school that provides Executive Masters of Business Administration (EMBA) and Doctorate of Business Administration programs (DBA) with 3 specializations: Finance & Accounting Management. They are affiliated to Groupe Paris Ecole de Management (Groupe PEM).

International French University offers a Doctorate Of Business Administration (DBA) program which aims at training students on becoming better leaders of tomorrow. This program is taught and accessed 100% online + Live Webinars Video lessons accessible 24/7 + Webinars with renowned professionals in your field.

The Program objectives are stated below ;

  • The Programs teaches you the working knowledge of the latest research, theories and business market trends.
  • Demonstrate a sharp mastery of the business world and your personal commitment to scientific research Become experienced managers, and have a higher level of intelligibility of practices
  • Demonstrate your analytical skills and ability to solve problems and seek solutions Open doors to professional opportunities in a variety of industries and environments.

More information about this program can be accessed on the official website .

7. Doctorate of Art and Design (Research) offered by Birmingham City University:

  • Length: 4 years
  • Level: Postgraduate Research
  • Study mode: Distance Learning
  • Start dates: September 2023, February 2024
  • School: Birmingham School of Art
  • Faculty: Faculty of Arts, Design and MMedia
  • Tuition fees: UK – £2,875 | International- £8,500

About this program:

Birmingham City University offers a PhD Doctorate program in Art and Design which aims are helping students creating the opportunities to develop research skills that support professional practice, research and/or academic careers within the fields of art, design and the creative industries.

In this program, students will study in a world-class research environment which enables both practice-led and/or entirely text based PhD research to be developed to the highest level.


  • To apply for this Art and Design PhD research degree, you should have, or expect to be awarded, a Masters degree in a relevant subject area from a British or overseas university.
  • Also, Exceptional candidates without a Masters degree, but holding a first class Bachelors degree in a relevant subject area, may be considered.

8. Doctorate Of Business Administration by Birmingham City University:

  • Length: 4 Years
  • School: Birmingham City Business School
  • Faculty: Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences
  • Tuition fee: £7,100 in 2022/23

About This Program:

The Online Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) offered by Birmingham City University is intended to assist career professionals who wish to enhance, contribute to and transform practice.

This  professional doctorate completed on a part-time (Executive) basis. An internationally established highest level qualification, the course enables you to earn the title of Doctor without putting your career on hold.

The DBA is designed to help you apply action research-based thinking to ideas in practice and work, or practice based problems whilst deepening and broadening your understanding of application to professional practice.

Entry requirements

  • To join the DBA programme, you must have completed an MA, MSc or MBA degree in a particular area of business-related professional practice and have at least five years related professional practice experience, as well as being employed in the professional capacity that you propose to study.
  • You must have the formal agreement and active co-operation of the organisation where the DBA studies are to take place.

Visit here to apply and for more information

9. PhD in English Research by Birmingham City University:

  • Length: 4-7 years
  • Start dates: September 2022, February 2023
  • School: School of English
  • Faculty: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media
  • Tuition fee:  £2,875

Birmingham City University offers a PhD in English program which aims In helping students develop good research skills which further support their professional practice, research and/or academic careers.

In this program, you will work closely with a team of specialist academics in your chosen field, and receive excellent support tailored to your individual needs.

  • To apply for our English PhD research degree you should have, or expect to be awarded, a Masters degree in a relevant English literary or linguistic field from a British or overseas university.
  • Exceptional applicants without a Master’s degree, but holding a first class Bachelors degree in English, may be considered dependent upon the academic coherence and promise of their research proposal, and its consonance with the academic expertise of the School.
  • Apply Here :

10. The Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) offered by Teesside University:

  • Length: 4-5 years
  • Attendance: Distance Learning
  • Tuition fees: UK – £6,100, International Students – £14,000

Teesside University is a public university with its main campus in Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire in North East England. Teesside University is one of the best colleges for Online Doctoral Programs In Europe with over  21,000 students studying in the UK, according to the 2020/21 HESA student record.

Teesside University Doctoral Program on Public Health is a unique course that offers an enhanced opportunities for students wishing to pursue studies in the academic and applied world of public health. Teesside University is keen to share its vision by reaching out to students worldwide – either as attendees or distance learners with full support and interactive resources with experienced team members.

The course Moffers a distinguished broader-based learning programme aligned with the growing worldwide interest in public health development. This Course is accessed online through the distance learning rules, And the teaching methods include use of the VLE where written learning materials, narrated PowerPoint presentations, webinars, interactive structured learning materials and activities are put. As a distance learning student you are encouraged to participate in a range of discussion forums using VLE platforms such as the discussion board, wikis and blogs.


  • You must have completed the equivalent of 120 Level 7 (L7) credits, relevant to public health: this can be from a postgraduate diploma or master’s or MPhil course normally within the last five years
  • Applicants who completed a postgraduate diploma or master’s qualification outside of five years will normally need to demonstrate currency of the qualification through two years professional experience in a relevant field supported by an employer’s letter confirming the applicant uses the learning regularly in practice, or provide modules of equivalent learning.
  • Visit School | Apply

11 Doctorate of Social Science (Research) by University of Leicester:

  • Education level
  • Delivery method: Online / Distance
  • Tuition fees: £25,000

About this Program:

University of Leicester is one of the best colleges for Online Doctoral Programs In Europe. The University of Leicester offers a Doctoral Program on Social Science which is a study of research techniques available for enhancing professional knowledge and the ability to utilise appropriate research techniques to produce research of publishable quality;

The DSocSci is equivalent to a PhD – and like the PhD holders are allowed to use the title ‘Doctor’. The DSocSci is available for study by distance learning only and can be completed in a minimum of 48 months to a maximum of 72 months. You can start your degree in February, May or October.

  • Standard academic entry requirements and English language entry requirements apply.
  •   Evidence of a relevant Masters degree, preferably at distinction level, together with a detailed outline of your initial research proposal. The validity and quality of the proposal will be of crucial significance in determining eligibility for entry.
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What’s the difference between PhD and doctorate?

PhD is known as the Doctor of Philosophy and this is part of doctorate degree programs. Many people sometimes thinks a PhD Degree is higher than a doctorate, but this is not the case as both are on the same level and PhD lies within the doctorate category, which means none is better or higher than the other.

If you are planning to get into a doctorate or PhD program, it is important to understand that while both are doctoral degrees, the educational goals and typical career paths for each type of degree differ. Both PhD and Doctorate are the highest level of academic qualification and they have their strengths. Your decision should be based on what you want to study and how you want to use your degree.

The bottom line is that PhD focuses more on academic, researches and heavy on theory while doctorate degree is intended for you to master a subject in both theory and practice.

Professional doctoral degree examples include:

  • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA),
  •   Doctor of Education (EdD),
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), and
  • Doctor of Public Health (DrPH). Or you could earn a PhD in Management, PhD in Education, PhD in Nursing, or PhD in Public Health. All of these degrees are doctoral degrees, even though some are professional doctorates and some are PhDs.

What qualifications are needed for PhD?

PhD/Doctorate are the highest academic level one can attained and only those those that meet the needed qualifications or requirements can successfully enroll for a PhD/Doctorate program.

To apply for a PhD/Doctorate you will need to hold a Master’s Degree with high academic standing, along with a Bachelor’s Degree with at least upper second-class honors.However, in some situation or some schools can allow you to apply for PhD/Doctorate even without a master’s degree.

Can I apply for PhD without a masters degree?

Although, majority of universities requires a Masters Degree while application for a PhD or Doctorate program, but in some case, you can apply for PhD without a masters degree. If you are planning to apply for a PhD program without a masters degree, you are free to do so as some universities offer direct entry to PhD programs from undergraduate or bachelor degree studies if you meet the school’s and program’s admission criteria. Also, some schools may offer dual programs, which allows you to obtain a Master’s Degree while you complete the coursework for a PhD.

However, a growing number of universities now offer one year masters programs that may be beneficial to you and some of the highest paying masters degrees may be worth exploring before considering direct-entry PhD programs.

The availability of direct entry bachelor’s to PhD programs and dual master-PhD programs may vary from school to school. So, it can be helpful to research specific schools and fields of interest before applying.

There are a lots of Doctorate programs in Europe that offer a great opportunity for students to gain invaluable experience working with world-class academics in an academic setting. Not only will you be able to build up your research skills, but you will also learn how to operate within a professional environment. There are hundreds of other doctoral programs available across Europe, that is not listed in our article, so if one isn’t right for you, keep exploring until you find the perfect.

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5 Countries That Offer Free or Very Cheap PhD Programmes

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  • Updated on  
  • May 11, 2023

shortest phd programs in europe

Do you currently hold a degree or a master’s degree and desire to advance your education by pursuing a PhD abroad? The good news is that those with graduate degrees, like master’s or doctoral degrees, had the best salaries and lowest unemployment rates in several countries. Is that terrible news? A PhD program overseas might be quite expensive. When studying overseas, you would have to take tuition, living fees, and other extra costs into account. However, there is a solution to this. The next step would be researching the nations with the most affordable PhD programs. Fortunately, there are quite a few nations where the cost of attending a PhD program is either zero or extremely low. This enables you to enrol in a prestigious university overseas and learn what it’s like to live in a foreign nation and adjust to other customs. You can concentrate on your studies and any other personal or professional goals when you study for a PhD abroad with little concern for your financial situation. Having said that, the following are the 5 countries that offer free or very cheap PhD programmes in the world.

This Blog Includes:

Swedish doctoral degrees, fees and funding, admissions requirements, norwegian phd fees, admission requirements, entry requirements, types of phd in germany, phd programmes, programme length, phd fees .

A Ph.D. in Economics normally includes coursework in both macroeconomics and microeconomics. However, if you intend to teach or conduct formal research in economic subjects, this is a beneficial degree. Once the proposal is approved and the oral exam is passed, the final years of enrollment are devoted to dissertation research, writing, and defence.

Sweden is the greatest option if you want to pursue a PhD in renewable energy or a field that is closely related to it. According to data, about 56 per cent of the energy utilized in Sweden in 2019 originates from renewable sources. What is the nicest thing about obtaining a PhD in Sweden? Everyone can use it for free, even students from other countries. (Note that students seeking bachelor’s or master’s degrees who are not EU/EEA citizens are not eligible for free tuition.)

Seven of Sweden’s universities are included in the top 350 universities in the world according to the QS World University Rankings 2023, making it the home to some of the most highly regarded universities in the world. The KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Lund University, the two top universities in Sweden, are 89th and 95th, respectively.

Key details-

For students in Swedish universities, a PhD signifies the pinnacle of academic success. Similar to other nations, the focus is on your independent study leading to an original thesis that adds new knowledge to the topic.

countries that offer free or very cheap PhD programmes

Must Read: Best Countries for PhD

In Sweden, a doctoral study might take one of two forms:

A typical Ph.D. confers a full doctorate (together with the crucial title of “doctor”) after a minimum of four years of full-time work (240 ECTS credits).

As an alternative, you might decide to pursue a licentiate degree. Typically, this only necessitates two years of full-time work toward a more condensed and modest thesis (equivalent to 120 ECTS credits). Some students first enroll for the Swedish licentiate before upgrading to full Ph.D. candidates since it is comparable to the Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree provided in the UK or other countries.

In Sweden, there are two teaching terms (August to January and January to June), which are separated by summer and winter breaks. You will often have more flexibility throughout the year as a PhD student, but some additional courses and other activities can be connected to particular teaching periods.

There are no tuition fees for PhD study at state-funded Swedish universities (note that this does not apply to Master’s or Bachelor’s degrees). Doctoral programs are free for students from the EU, EEA, and other countries.

The same is true of application costs; there are none to be paid for a PhD in Sweden.

Although you will need to pay for your housing and living expenses, your university might be able to provide assistance.

Universities in Sweden are permitted to establish their own admittance standards for PhD programs. A bachelor’s degree in an applicable area is typically the required minimum, but a master’s degree is also preferable, especially if you’re asking for funding.

Your capacity to exhibit prior research experience will be as crucial as your previous qualifications. It is crucial that you can demonstrate some preparation for the independent research you will conduct on your PhD, even if this is just the dissertation project for one or both of your previous degrees.

Also Read: PhD in USA

Norway is another Nordic nation that ranks among the 5 countries that offer free or very cheap PhD programs. All students, regardless of nationality, are not charged tuition at Norway’s public universities. Norway’s cost of living is comparable to that of Sweden, therefore you may want to look into ways to reduce your out-of-pocket spending. Other than that, you will just need to pay a nominal semester student union charge to cover expenses like tests or sports facilities, which would only cost you between 300 and 600 Norwegian kroner (approximately INR 2353.24 to INR 4706.49). You can try your luck by submitting an application to the University of Oslo , the top-ranked institution in Norway, which is currently placed 101st in the most recent QS World University Rankings.

Following the Bologna approach, Norwegian PhD programs are third-cycle degrees. As a result, conducting research and creating a PhD thesis will be needed for you.

In Norway, PhDs frequently adhere to a standardized format. Before beginning your PhD research and thesis writing, this usually entails a training component. You might also be regarded as an employee of the university, complete with benefits. In this situation, you will need to uphold your teaching and administrative duties.

The fact that all PhD students in Norway get free tuition is a significant and alluring feature of the program. The cost of living is high in the nation. As a result, maintenance financing of some kind is typically required.

Universities in Norway do not charge tuition for their PhD programs. However, in order to join and receive a student card at many Norwegian universities, you must pay a charge of INR 4149.5 to INR 8299 to the student union each semester.

In Norway, candidates for a PhD are required to hold a master’s degree in a related field. You can check your qualifications’ eligibility at the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education. A similar degree may be approved (NOKUT).

Each research organization has a different set of conditions for applications. Always double-check with your desired university.

Typically, PhD candidates must submit a strong research proposal or project description together with the necessary application materials. Other standard materials for PhD applications may also be requested from you. These are some extra materials that might be needed:

  • certified copies of all the documents that are pertinent to your education
  • a strategy for financing your studies (for the full 3-4 years of full-time study, plus information about the funding source and type)
  • An explanation of any significant scholarly or material resource needs
  • a minimum of one proposed academic supervisor’s name (unless stipulated otherwise)

Also Read: PhD in Netherlands

Another Nordic nation, Finland , is at the top of our list of 5 countries that offer free or very cheap PhD programs. In Finland, pursuing a PhD is entirely free, even for those who are not citizens, similar to Norway and Sweden. According to QS, Finland is home to two of the top 150 institutions. This includes the 106th-ranked University of Helsinki and the 116th-ranked Aalto University . It is distinguished as a top-tier study destination by more than just its educational features. Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is ranked 66th in the most recent QS study of “Best Student Cities.” The midnight sun and the Northern lights (aurora borealis), which fill the sky with a breathtaking vista for anywhere between 10 and 20 nights a year, are only two of the most magnificent natural phenomena that can be seen in Finland’s vast, open areas.

Finland is a very economical alternative for your PhD study abroad because of its generous higher education policy. Any student, regardless of country, is not now required to pay doctoral fees.

In contrast, fees are often charged to non-EU students for Finnish Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.

A master’s degree (or its equivalent) from a recognized institution is necessary for admission to a PhD program in Finland.

Other prerequisites will be determined by the area of study you are applying for and the particular procedures followed by your university. If unsure, consult your department.

Germany is famous for having a top-notch educational system and for being an innovative nation. According to QS, three of its universities are among the top 100. This includes Heidelberg University, which is ranked 65th, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, which is ranked 59th, and the Technical University of Munich , which is ranked 49th. According to the most recent Best Student Cities rankings by QS, two of its cities, Munich and Berlin, are among the top 10.

Germans invented the doctoral degree, which is based on independent study leading to the submission and review of a thesis. Most colleges continue to offer this style, although some others provide more “organized” programs:

The traditional PhD requires you to choose a research project and conduct it on your own under the supervision of a qualified supervisor (Doktorvater/Doktomutter). The candidate selects the setting for their research, whether it be in a university, non-university organization, or German corporation.

Structured doctoral programs are conducted mostly in English and are focused on the global market. Along with writing your thesis, you will complete extra training, which may entail partnerships and job placements with outside research organizations.

Doctoral degrees are typically free in Germany for all students, regardless of nationality, due to the generous governmental investment in education. You might, however, have to pay additional costs while you are a student.

All public institutions in Germany offer free tuition for doctoral-level studies for up to three years (six semesters). For any additional time beyond the term of your PhD, you might have to pay tuition.

Despite not having to pay tuition, you will still need to pay a semester contribution (Semesterbeitrag), which typically ranges from INR 8k to INR 29k. This pays for office expenses, student government, and student services (Studentenwerk).

In general, you must have completed at least eight semesters of college work before enrolling in a PhD program in Germany. Your final certification must be on par with a German master’s degree.

Additionally, the Dean’s Office (Dekanat) or Board of Examiners (Promotionsausschuss) at your university must acknowledge your prior higher education degree(s).

International students with exceptional qualifications may be admitted to a PhD program with a Bachelor’s degree (fast-track program), albeit you will normally need to pass an entrance exam.

France , which has four universities ranked among the top 100 by QS, is another nation that makes it to our list of 5 countries that offer free or very cheap PhD programmes. French institutions demand comparatively little tuition. A typical annual cost at a public university, for instance, is around 380 euros (INR 31k at the time of writing). Three French cities—Lyon, Toulouse, and of course, the nation’s capital Paris, which is placed ninth by QS—are included in the top 100 Best Student Cities list as a result of their high academic standing and affordable tuition.

The bulk of PhDs is completed as part of a program inside doctoral schools, although French universities occasionally do offer specific doctoral research programs.

The number is 266 in total. In order to provide doctorate training for PhD candidates and foster the growth of early career researchers, they are affiliated with universities and work in partnership with related research laboratories and other centres.

For a typical three-year PhD, a “doctorate” consists of six semesters, yielding two teachings (or research) semesters annually:

  • late September to early January, with a break between Christmas and New Year
  • early February to early June, with a spring break at Easter for several colleges

Exams are normally held at the conclusion of each semester, and institutions take a three-month summer break from July to September. As a full-time student, you will typically complete your PhD in France in 3–4 years.

The current French PhD tuition is the same for all students, regardless of nationality. But costs can differ greatly depending on whether you attend a public or private school (such a Grandes École).

Must Read: PhD in Switzerland

Public institutions charge substantially lower tuition since the State invests an average of INR 11,62,147.82 per student, per year.

The following fees may apply depending on your institution:

  • Fees for PhD students at public institutions are €380 annually.
  • Private institutions – Tuition at private institutions, particularly business schools, range from INR 2.49 Lakh to INR 8.30 Lakh per year.
  • Administrative fees (frais de dossier), which universities may impose, are normally modest—a few tens of euros.

In France, each institution is permitted to establish its own standards and conduct personalized evaluations. However, in order to enroll as a PhD student, you will normally need to hold a Master’s degree (or equivalent) in a suitable field.

If you are pursuing your master’s degree and expect to graduate before the PhD program begins, you may apply.

Additionally, you could be accepted based on your performance on entrance tests and in pre-college courses like the ‘Classe préparatoire aux grandes écoles’ (CPGE), which is a frequent practice among French Grandes Écoles.

Pursuing PhD in Finland is entirely free.

The average cost of PhD in the UK is GBP 40,000 (INR 40.67 Lakh)

One of the top countries to pursue an MBA abroad is the United States of America.

Hope now you know 5 countries that offer free or very cheap PhD programmes. Not sure which country to choose for your PhD? Don’t worry! Our Leverage Edu experts will provide you with end-to-end assistance starting from your university application to the time you reach your university and commence your studies. Call us at 1800 57 2000 to book a FREE 30-minute counselling session today.

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Nikita Puri

Nikita is a creative writer and editor, who is always ready to learn new skills. She has great knowledge about study abroad universities, researching and writing blogs about them. Being a perfectionist, she has a habit of keeping her tasks complete on time before the OCD hits her. When Nikita is not busy working, you can find her eating while binge-watching The office. Also, she breathes music. She has done her bachelor's from Delhi University and her master's from Jamia Millia Islamia.

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Free PhD Program in Europe for international students -cheapest programs

shortest phd programs in europe

Europe is the first destinations to study abroad for international students. It is also well-known for its quality education and low tuition cost. Thus, The “ free PhD program in Europe ” provides a great opportunity for aspiring students to pursue advanced education without the burden of tuition fees and other expenses. In Today’s article,  we will discuss “how to get a free PhD program in Europe” and mention complete guidelines about it.

Which Countries Gives Free Phd for International Students?

Many Countries that offer free PhD programs for international students. Some of the most popular ones include Finland, Germany, Norway, and Sweden.  Finland is one of the top-notch of our list of top 10 countries that also offer affordable or free PhD programs. These programs are usually fully funded, meaning that you will not have to pay any tuition or other fees. In addition, they often come with a number of benefits such as a stipend to help cover living expenses. However, Are you interested in pursuing a PhD in one of these countries? So be sure to research each program carefully to ensure that it is a perfect fit for you.

How Can I Get a Free Phd in Europe?

Usually You will not get a free PhD program in Europe .  You will have to pay for your own tuition, living expenses, and other associated costs.  Below we will mention some ways to reduce the cost of a PhD Program in Europe. One way is to apply for scholarships and grants. There are many organizations that offer financial assistance for students studying in Europe. 

Another way to reduce the cost of a PhD program is to choose a less expensive country to study in. For example, you may be able to find cheaper programs in Eastern European countries than you would in Western European countries. Finally, you can also look into part-time or online programs which may be cheaper than traditional full-time programs.

Is Phd Free in Switzerland for International Students?

No, a PhD is not free in Switzerland for international students. While Swiss universities do not charge tuition fees for doctoral studies, international students are still responsible for other costs associated with their education, such as living expenses and health insurance. 

However, many Swiss universities offer competitive fellowships. The fellowships program can help offset the cost of a PhD program for international students. Additionally, there are a number of scholarships and grants available to help finance doctoral studies in Switzerland. A number of scholarships and grants are also available to help finance doctoral studies in Switzerland.

Is Phd Free in Uk for International Students?

No, a PhD is usually not free in the UK for international students. The average cost of a PhD program in the UK is between £14,000 USD – £20,000 USD in a year . There are some scholarships available to international students, but they are typically very competitive and do not cover the full cost of tuition.


Fully Funded Phd Programs in Europe for International Students

Europe has a number of fully funded PhD programs for international students. These programs offer an opportunity to study at some of the most prestigious universities in the world. On the other hand, it also receives a full funding package that covers tuition and living expenses.  Here are just a few of the many fully funded PhD programs available for international students in Europe: The University of Oxford offers a number of fully funded scholarships for international students, including the Clarendon Scholarships and Rhodes Scholarships. Both of these scholarship programs cover tuition and living expenses for up to four years of study at Oxford. 

The University of Cambridge also offers various  fully funded scholarships for international students.   Such as the Gates Cambridge Scholarship program. This program provides full funding for up to three years of study at Cambridge. Other top universities in Europe that offer fully funded PhD programs include the ETH Zurich, Imperial College London, and King’s College London. These institutions all have highly competitive scholarship programs that provide full funding for international students.

Free Phd Programs for International Students

There are a few reasons why Students might want to pursue a PhD.  the desire to contribute to knowledge in their field, the opportunity to teach, and the challenge of conducting original research, at the university level. Whatever the motivation, a few of the free PhD programs available for home and international students.  One option for financing your PhD is through fully-funded scholarships. These scholarships cover tuition and living expenses, so they can be a great way to finance your studies.  Many financial aid Organizations offer fully-funded scholarships for international students, including governments, universities, and private foundations. 

Free PhD Program in Europe for international students -cheapest programs

Another way to finance your PhD is through teaching assistantships or research assistantships. These positions usually involve working 20 hours per week in exchange for a tuition waiver and a stipend. You are interested in pursuing a PhD but don’t have the financial resources to do so, there are still options available. 

You can get many ways to finance your studies, whether through scholarships, assistantships, or other means. And with so many free PhD programs available for international students, there’s no reason not to pursue your dreams of earning a doctorate degree!

Free Online Phd Programs for International Students

Online platform is a great way to study for remote students all over the world. So many reasons why international students might want to pursue a PhD online. Perhaps they have family obligations that make it difficult to travel, or maybe they simply prefer the flexibility and convenience of online learning. Whatever the reason, there are now more options than ever for earning a PhD entirely online.

In today’s Blog post, we will take a look at some of the best free online PhD programs for international students. Most traditional universities offer at least some degree programs that can be completed online. However, not all of these schools offer full doctoral programs in an online format. The schools on this list are all accredited and recognized institutions that offer high-quality PhD programs that can be completed entirely online. 

1. Walden University: Walden offers over 50 different specialisations within its online PhD program, making it one of the most comprehensive options out there. All courses are taught by expert faculty members, and students have the option to complete their degree. There is also ample support available for students, with 24/7 technical assistance and career services available. International students should note that Walden is authorised to enrol non-immigrant students in distance learning programs by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). 

2 . Liberty University: Liberty University’s Online Doctoral Programs are designed for working professionals who need flexible scheduling options. Courses are delivered through an asynchronous format, meaning that students can log in and complete coursework on their own schedule. The average completion time for Liberty’s online PhD programs is just four years, making it one of the quickest options out there. Additionally, Liberty offers numerous scholarships and financial aid opportunities specifically for international students enrolled in its distance learning programs. 

3 .Capella University: Capella University is another great option for international students looking to earn an accredited PhD online. Its FlexPath format allows students to move through courses at their own pace, which means that you could potentially finish your degree faster than you would at a traditional university (although there is no set time limit).

Easiest Country to Get PhD Admission

It is not easy to definitively answer this question as each country has different requirements for PhD admission. However, some countries may be easier to get into than others. For example, the United States generally requires a higher GPA for admission into a PhD program than other countries. Additionally, the United States may also require standardized test scores (such as the GRE) and letters of recommendation. Other countries may have different or less stringent requirements. Therefore, it is important to research the specific requirements for PhD programs in the country of interest.

Europe has a number of free PhD programs for international students. These programs are typically funded by the European Union. They also offer a ton of benefits to those who participate. In most cases, these programs will cover the cost of tuition, living expenses, and travel costs associated with attending the program. Additionally, many of these programs offer a stipend to help you

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35 Shortest Doctoral Program Online & Accelerated PhD Programs [2023 Guide]

We’ve ranked 35 Shortest Doctoral Program Online for 2023. Explore Accelerated PhD Programs & Doctorates for the fastest online degree programs.

shortest doctoral program online

Online accelerated PhD programs are growing in popularity as students are searching for the shortest PhD programs with the smallest number of requirements.

Online doctoral programs vary widely in their graduation requirements which is why we put together this guide showcasing universities that require less than 60 credits hours to get your online doctorate degree.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that lifetime earnings for doctorate degree holders is $900,000 more than those holding a master’s degree only. That’s almost $1 million more!!

And because a doctoral degree is the highest level of academic achievement, you will also receive the accompanying scholarly respect as you make valuable contributions to your field and society as a whole.

Shortest Doctoral Programs Online

The following doctoral programs have accelerated online courses which can help you finish your doctorate at a faster pace:

  • Business Administration
  • Counseling & Therapy
  • Criminal Justice / Homeland Security
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Human Services
  • Information Systems / Technology
  • Ministry / Theology
  • Public Administration
  • Public Health
  • Public Policy

By earning an accelerated doctoral program online, you will also be contributing to your field’s body of knowledge, which can be deeply rewarding and satisfying.

Online PhD in Accounting

2 year PhD program course

If you enjoy working with numbers and financial concepts, then consider delving deep into that field with a doctorate in accounting. This degree can prepare you for a position as the chief financial officer of an organization, serve as an auditor, teach accounting at the college level, or oversee a team of accountants.

During your studies, you’ll take classes in statistical analysis, financial research methods, and accounting theories. Available concentrations may include Public Accounting and Forensic Accounting.

Another possible option if you’re looking for the shortest completion time is earning a DBA with a concentration in Accounting.

Online Doctorate in Business Administration – DBA & PhD

fastest PhD programs

A doctorate in business administration is a degree program that will prepare you for leadership at various companies and skillful operation within global markets.

People with a DBA often hold leadership positions in a variety of fields, including for-profit companies, non-profit organizations, and government groups. They can also work in education, whether in an administrative role or as a professor.

In preparation for such positions, coursework may cover topics like quantitative research methods, qualitative research methods, statistics, economics, management theories, and organizational behavior.

As a more exclusive degree than an MBA, a DBA can set you apart and help you land top leadership positions. Plus, the number of courses required is often less, making it one of the shortest doctoral options.

Slightly different than the DBA degree, a PhD in Business Administration is geared more toward academia.

If you’d rather conduct original research and teach students about your specific field in business rather than take on a demanding and rigorous role as a company’s CEO, a PhD in Business might be right up your alley.

Online PhD in Counseling

doctorate in one year

A doctoral degree in counseling or therapy can equip you to help others work through their mental health or interpersonal struggles, and it can prepare you for leadership in a counseling organization.

Potential career paths include social work, private practice, and program administration. You may also tailor your education with concentrations like Counselor Education and Supervision, Art Therapy, Marriage and Family Therapy, and Addiction Counseling.

Coursework often covers topics like group and individual counseling, trauma response, ethical behavior, and diversity. Some universities require that you already be licensed as a counselor in your state before beginning their programs.

A PhD in Counseling is designed for counselors looking to ramp up their careers by becoming college and university educators, advanced counselors who train and lead others, or primary researchers on innovative studies.

If you’re currently a counselor and training other counselors, or if managing counseling programs are career goals of yours, then a PhD in Counseling online can make those goals a reality.

Online PhD in Criminal Justice & Homeland Security

accelerated doctoral programs online

When you hold a doctorate in criminal justice or homeland security, you may find work in law enforcement, government, or private practice. Your chosen career may provide opportunities to protect your community, conduct investigations, work with criminals, or collect intelligence. Often, doctoral graduates gain leadership positions, such as serving as a chief of police.

In pursuit of your doctoral degree, you may take classes in psychology, emergency and disaster situations, the justice system, and victimology.

Your program may offer concentrations like Terrorism, Criminology, Information Assurance, Security or Emergency Management.

Online Doctorate in Education – EdD & PhD

accelerated doctoral programs in education online

Whether you want to teach in a classroom, serve in school administration, support teachers through an outside organization, or equip the next generation of instructors, a doctoral degree in education can help you achieve those goals.

Many graduates remain in the classroom and take on leadership roles, such as becoming a headteacher. Others choose positions such as principals, superintendents, professors, policymakers, curriculum specialists, or educational consultants.

While earning your doctoral degree, you may take classes in curriculum, organizational leadership, student assessment, and education research. You could select an EdD concentration in an area like Special Education, Administration, Curriculum and Instruction, or Early Childhood Education.

A PhD in Education and an EdD are quite similar degrees. Both programs focus on education and prepare you for leadership roles. PhD programs, however, are more research-based.

A PhD is typically more research-based and might be a better match for someone looking for a career in research, publishing, and teaching at the university level. It focuses less on application than an Ed.D., but the same types of careers would be possible with either of these two degrees.

In terms of time to completion, the shortest program option is likely the EdD as there’s often no dissertation required.

Online PhD in Finance

doctorate in 2 years

People with strong math and money skills are good candidates for pursuing a doctoral degree in finance. Many doctoral graduates take leadership positions with investment firms, large banks, hedge funds, universities, or government agencies. Some earn CEO or other C-suite roles.

A doctorate in finance can even prepare you for an international career. As you study for your degree, your classes may cover subjects like market analysis, global markets, financial planning, theories of finance, taxation, and leadership.

Some students choose to prepare for leadership roles in this field by pursuing a DBA with a concentration in Finance.

Online Doctorate in Healthcare Administration

fastest online doctorate

When you hold a doctoral degree in the field of healthcare administration, you will be well-suited for a leadership position in a healthcare or medical setting. Potential places of employment include hospitals, nursing homes, medical records companies, political think tanks, government agencies, and universities.

Students of this discipline take classes on global health, business, law and policies, finance, and organizational leadership. Many DHA programs offer concentrations like Public Health, Leadership, and Health Policy.

An alternative academic path that is available at some colleges and universities is earning a DBA with a concentration Healthcare Administration which can offer the shortest path to a doctorate when no dissertation is required.

Online PhD in Human Services

Human services doctor

A doctorate in human services can prepare you for a leadership position in an organization or program that provides services or assistance for various groups of people. Work settings may include schools, clinics, community outreach programs, or non-profit organizations.

Some people who pursue this degree are licensed counselors who want to serve in a leadership capacity in a mental health practice. Others desire teaching positions in human services at the university level.

Courses in a doctoral program may include grant writing, leadership, communication, financial management, and ethics. Some of the concentration options are Mental Health, Gerontology, Marriage and Family, and Leadership and Management.

A PhD in Human Services prepares graduates for leadership and as policymakers in the public and human services fields.

A PhD in Human Services is quite flexible. Students with a variety of undergraduate and master’s degrees in public service, including social services, child welfare, criminal justice, and healthcare, may find this degree interesting.

Online PhD in Information Systems or Technology

MIS and CIS professionals

Companies and organizations rely on systems to keep their data and records safe and accessible; to be at the forefront of that field, consider a doctorate in information technology .

With this degree, you might be qualify for work as a C-suite executive, a director in a tech department, a consultant, a leader in a government agency, or a strategist. You might also be well-poised for opening your own company.

Your classes will equip you with knowledge about data collection and analysis, threat and risk management, policy-making, strategic planning, and research.

Online PhD in Management

1 year phd programs online

If you want to hold one of the highest roles in an organization, then earning a doctoral degree in management may be in order. Some people who hold this degree become C-suite executives, such as chief operating officers. Others take the helm of school districts or universities, or they accept teaching or research roles in higher education.

To earn this doctorate, you will take classes on leadership, ethics, consulting, decision-making, innovation, and research. Many students pursue concentrations like Technology, Homeland Security, Non-Profit Organizations, or Healthcare.

Alternatively, some schools offer a DBA program with a Management concentration. This often adds more flexibility to the program and can make it the shortest option when compared to the PhD which usually requires a dissertation.

Online Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) or Theology

Dmin student with Bible

You can take your religious education to the next level with a doctorate in ministry or theology. After earning this degree, you may choose to put your education into practice in church, parachurch, counseling, or chaplaincy positions.

Coursework often helps students grow not only academically, but also spiritually. Topics covered may include leadership, spiritual disciplines, evangelism, social justice, and teaching methods.

Some doctoral candidates pursue a specialization; options may include Counseling, Worship, Chaplaincy, Spiritual Disciplines, and Urban Ministry.

A career as a professor is a possibility with this degree as well as a missionary leader or lead pastor at a church.

Many universities require students to hold professional ministry positions before admitting them into their programs.

Online Doctoral Nursing Programs – PhD & DNP

DNP students school

The top-educated nurses have their doctoral degrees in nursing practice. If you have this degree, you may continue offering direct patient care; for example, you may work as a specialty nurse in a healthcare clinic. You could also use your degree as a care coordinator, a manager of a nursing team, a policymaker, or a nurse educator.

For RNs (Registered Nurses) who want to teach and train other nurses in an academic setting, a PhD in Nursing is the best doctorate-level nursing degree to pursue. A PhD in Nursing also prepares graduates for a career in research as nursing scientists who can contribute to the advancement of knowledge.

Coursework may include classes on information technology, finance, organizational leadership, safety, and healthcare law. Keep in mind that a doctoral degree in nursing is a terminal degree in the field does not qualify for a position as a physician.

DNP programs have gained a lot of popularity over the years and are designed for RNs who seek advancement while remaining practicing nurses.

A DNP prepares graduates for leadership in the nursing industry by advocating for and making policy, managing and directing nursing programs at health facilities, and ensuring that their communities offer the best healthcare to citizens who need it most.

Online Doctor of Public Administration

Doctor of Public Administration

Whether you want to work in a government agency or would prefer a position with a related organization, a doctorate in public administration can help you achieve your goals.

People with this doctoral degree often serve as politicians, lobbyists, non-profit directors, grant writers, administrators, or government affairs directors. If you want to go into government or politics, you could work at the local, state, or national level.

Students in this field study human resources, public policy, budgeting, ethics, organizational leadership, and decision-making.

As a professional doctorate, the DNP may be one of the shortest paths to a doctorate when compared to the PhD which generally requires a lengthy dissertation.

Online PhD in Public Health

Public Health Doctorate

Many people who earn a doctoral degree in public health conduct research in the fields of epidemiology, environmental science, clinical trials, or academia.

Others choose leadership roles in public health organizations that work to better the health outcomes for populations or groups of people. For example, you could become a safety engineer, a clinic manager, or an executive of a hospital system.

Classes for this degree program often cover health equity, data analysis, biostatistics, and healthcare policy. Concentrations are available at many universities; options may include Health Education, Leadership and Laboratory Science.

Online PhD in Public Policy

Public Policy Doctoral Students

If you want to have a hand in creating or modifying the policies that shape people’s lives and communities, then a doctoral program in public policy can provide the education that you need. Graduates often work for government agencies, universities, think tanks, and various institutions.

Doctoral programs often prepare students through the study of ethics, decision-making, research, leadership, and cultural diversity. Students identify problems, gather valuable data, and create effective solutions.

Doctoral candidates may focus on Urban Policy, Health Policy, Financial Management, or other areas of specialization.

Online PhD in Psychology Programs

Psychology PhD Programs

A doctoral degree in psychology can help you understand how people think and the influence that thought has on behavior. Many people pursue this degree because they want to work as licensed clinical psychologists in schools, private practices, hospitals, or organizational settings.

The doctoral curriculum often covers counseling theories, psychopathology, culture, motivation and behavior, and cognition.

Programs leading to licensure typically require students to engage in a lengthy supervised practicum.

What is the Difference Between a PhD and Doctorate?

A PhD, or Doctor of Philosophy, is just one type of doctorate degree, of which there are many.

Here’s a list of common doctorate degrees:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
  • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
  • Doctor of Education (EdD)
  • Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
  • Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

Although the PhD is just one type of doctorate, it does have one distinguishing feature: the dissertation requirement. Nearly every PhD program requires adding to your field’s body of knowledge by performing original research on an approved topic of interest.

So, if you’re looking for the shortest doctoral programs, then professional doctorates are generally a better choice.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Doctorate?

someone walking in a long but picturesque trail

The length of time it takes to complete your doctorate depends on the university and type of doctoral program.

On average, it takes 3-5 years.

Here are a few things that significantly impact completion time:

  • Does the doctorate require a dissertation?
  • How many classes can you take at one time?
  • Are you transferring any credits into the program?
  • How many weeks are classes?
  • Is there a residency requirement?
  • Is there a professional internship requirement?

As you can see, the best answer we can give you is: it depends.

To give you a ballpark, if you are working toward a professional doctorate (DBA, EdD, PsyD, etc.) and there is no dissertation requirement, you should be able to complete your program in about 3 years. Some people may be able to complete the degree in less time, of course. This is simply an average.

For those of you pursuing a PhD, the dissertation requirement significantly impacts your completion time. Generally speaking, it takes most students 3 years to 5 years for degree completion.

What is the Shortest Doctoral Program Online?

What are the shortest doctoral programs?

The shortest path to a doctorate varies depending on your background, the program selected, and the university’s requirements.

The time it takes to complete a doctoral program online varies widely by the university. For some universities, 3 year PhD programs are the norm. One common question we hear asked is if there are any 1 year online doctoral programs. For most students, the answer is somewhere in the middle if you already hold a master’s degree.

The official timeline given on most university websites is about 3 – 5 years to complete your degree, but that’s just a general guideline.

If you are looking for the shortest PhD programs, you’ll want to select a program that does not require a dissertation. Dissertations are notorious for taking 2+ years to complete beyond the actual course requirements.

The following doctoral programs often do not always require a dissertation: EdD, PsyD, DBA, DPA, and similar professional degrees. Most PhD programs require a dissertation (which means it’ll take you longer to complete).

Another way to speed up your degree is by enrolling at a university that offers accelerated doctoral courses (8 weeks long). Since the courses take half the time to complete, you can finish your doctoral studies in the shortest possible timeframe.

And finally, you’ll want to pick a program that requires fewer credit hours. For example, one university may require 64 credit hours for an EdD while another may only require 42 credits. When looking for the shortest doctorate programs, you’ll want to examine the credit hour requirements closely. Plus, this is a great way to find the cheapest online PhD, EdD, DBA, and other doctoral programs. Generally, you’ll pay less tuition if you don’t need as many credit hours for program completion.

Are There Any 1 Year Online Doctoral Programs?

1 year online doctoral programs

Although a number of universities offer accelerated doctoral programs online, there are no accredited universities that advertise the shortest 1 year PhD programs online. That being said, there are quite a few universities with 30-credit doctorate degrees which could possibly be completed within a year if you have no dissertation requirement.

You can earn your doctorate online at a fairly fast pace if you enroll in accelerated classes, have transfer credits, choose one of the shortest doctoral programs in terms of credit hours, and select 100% online doctoral programs that do not require a dissertation (which is time-consuming).

Instead, go for a program that offers a capstone project. Although research is still required, it takes far less time to complete a capstone project than it does a dissertation.

Do All the Shortest PhD Programs Require a Dissertation?

Shortest PhD Programs student

An accelerated PhD program usually requires a dissertation, but professional doctorates such as a Doctor of Business Administration or Doctor of Education generally do not require a dissertation. Instead, you complete a capstone project.

We’ve assembled a list of doctorate degrees that don’t require a dissertation here.

Are there any 1 year PhD programs online?

In most cases, a PhD will take 3 to 5 years to complete unless you select a program without a dissertation, though there may be an occasional 2 year PhD program available. Very few doctorates do not require a dissertation and they tend to be professional doctorates like the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), Doctor of Psychology (PsyD), Doctor of Education (EdD), and similar professionally-oriented programs.

If your aim is to find the fastest PhD program, you can complete one in less than 3 years if you opt for a short program (fewer credit hours), accelerated doctoral courses, and no dissertation requirement.

Together, these three factors will go a long way in helping you find the fastest online PhD program and speeding up your time to completion.

What is the fastest PhD program available?

fastest PhD program

The fastest PhD programs available will be those that require 30 credit hours or less to complete. As noted in the guide, we selected a number of fast PhD programs which meet this requirement. Once you’ve selected a PhD that requires fewer credit hours than the norm, try to narrow your list further by selecting a university with accelerated PhD classes which generally only take 8 weeks to complete.

If you don’t absolutely have to have a PhD, you will likely find it easier to locate a professional doctorate program that meets all of these criteria with the added benefit of no dissertation requirement. For example, it will likely take you longer to complete a PhD in Business Administration with 36 credit hours and a dissertation than it will to complete a Doctor of Business Administration of the same length without the dissertation requirement.

If speed is the most important factor for you, than a professional doctorate such as a DBA, PsyD, or EdD will likely be the fastest online doctorate you can find.

a clock image with years

The shortest doctoral program online is an accelerated program that caters to professional students who are seeking to expand their career opportunities into research and higher education teaching fields while still working full-time.

The primary way in which a doctorate program is accelerated is through 8-week online courses.

Some programs even allow you to begin with only a bachelor’s degree, allowing you to complete a master’s degree as part of your doctorate course work.

This can potentially shave off as much as 2 years from your completion time because you won’t have to complete a master’s degree before even considering applying for a doctorate program. It also helps if you enroll in a PhD program without a GRE requirement.

To explore typical salary ranges and career opportunities for a wide range of doctoral programs, check out our in-depth look at all the top online PhD programs.

35 Shortest Doctoral Programs Online


For universities to be included in our guide, we looked at a number of criteria including number of credit hours required, accreditation, programs offered, and quality of online programs. Each of these universities offer accredited online doctoral and graduate programs . Some universities offer both campus and online programs as noted below.

Check each university’s tuition costs, graduation requirements, and course offerings before applying.

Boston University campus

  • Doctor of Occupational Therapy (Online) – 33 to 37 credit hours

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

Colorado Christian University campus

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 30 credit hours (MSN to DNP)

Colorado Christian University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Concordia University Chicago campus

  • PhD in Leadership – Gerontology (Online) – 30 credit hours
  • PhD in Leadership – Health & Human Performance (Online) – 30

Concordia University Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Duquesne University campus

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 35 credit hours

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

Drexel University campus

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 45 credit hours

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

East Carolina University campus

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 36 credit hours

East Carolina University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Frontier Nursing University campus

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 28 credit hours

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

Grand Canyon University campus

  • DNP in Educational Leadership (Online) – 45

Grand Canyon University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Gwynedd Mercy University campus

  • EdD in Educational Leadership (Online) – 54 credit hours

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

Hampton University campus

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 33 credit hours
  • PhD in Nursing (Online) – 48 (with Masters)

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

Indiana State University campus

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Campus) – 39 credit hours

Indiana State University has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1915.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania campus

  • PhD in Safety Sciences (Hybrid) – 54 credit hours
  • PhD in Criminology (Campus) – 42

Indiana University of Pennsylvania is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Liberty University campus

  • Doctor of Ministry (Online) – 30 credit hours
  • Doctor of Public Administration (Online) – 48
  • Doctor of Education (Online) – 54
  • Doctor of Strategic Leadership (Online) – 51
  • Doctor of Worship Studies (Online) – 45
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 41
  • EdD in Community Care Counseling (Online) – 57
  • EdD in Educational Leadership (Online) – 54
  • PhD in Theology and Apologetics (Online) – 57

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

Monmouth University campus

  • EdD in Educational Leadership (Hybrid) – 54

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

National University campus

  • DNP in Executive Leadership (Online) – 46 credit hours
  • Doctor of Public Administration (Online) – 54
  • EdD in Instructional Design (Online) – 54
  • Doctor of Criminal Justice (Online) – 54
  • Doctor of Education (Online) – 48
  • Doctor of Business Administration (Online) – 48

National University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Nova Southeastern University campus

  • EdD in Curriculum and Teaching (Hybrid) – 57 credit hours
  • EdD in Higher Education Leadership (Hybrid) – 54
  • EdD in Human Services Administration (Hybrid) – 54
  • EdD in Instructional Technology and Distance Education (Hybrid) – 54
  • EdD in Organizational Leadership (Hybrid) – 54
  • EdD in Reading Education (Hybrid) – 54
  • EdD in Special Education (Hybrid) – 54
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 38-40
  • Doctor of Occupational Therapy (Hybrid) – 39

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

Penn State World campus

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 38-46 credit hours(with Masters)

The Pennsylvania State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Regent University campus

  • PhD in Communication (Online w/Residency) – 56-64 credit hours
  • Doctor of Strategic Communication (Online w/Residency) – 49
  • Doctor of Ministry in Christian Leadership & Renewal (Online) – 36

Regent University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission.

Seton Hall University campus

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 73 – 79 credit hours(BSN)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 31 (MSN)
  • EdD in K-12 Administration (Campus) – 54 – 57
  • Executive EdD in K-12 Administration (Campus) – 54

Seton Hall and its online programs are accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

University at Buffalo campus

  • DNP in Child Health Nurse Practitioner (Online) – 36 credit hours
  • DNP in Family Nurse Practitioner (Online) – 36
  • DNP in Nurse Anesthesia (Online) – 36
  • DNP in Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Online) – 36
  • DNP in Women’s Health Practitioner (Online) – 36
  • PhD in Nursing (Online) – 57

The University at Buffalo is accredited by Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

University of Alabama Huntsville campus

  • PhD in Applied Mathematics (Campus) – 54 credit hours
  • PhD in Atmospheric Science (Campus) – 48
  • PhD in Biotechnology Science and Engineering (Campus) – 48
  • PhD in Physics (Campus) – 48

UAH is officially accredited and/or recognized by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Arkansas campus

  • EdD in Educational Leadership (Online) – 42 credit hours

The U of A has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission without interruption since 1924.

University of Bridgeport campus

  • EdD in Educational Leadership (Hybrid) – 42 credit hours

The University of Bridgeport is fully accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

University of Colorado Denver campus

  • PhD in Applied Mathematics (Campus) – 42 credit hours

Since 1913, the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) has accredited all institutions in the CU system.

University of Florida campus

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 75-78 credit hours(BSN to DNP)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 35 (MSN to DNP)
  • EdD in Higher Education Administration (Online) – 39

The University of Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

University of Michigan - Flint campus

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice – Executive Leadership (Online) – 43 credit hours

University of Michigan-Flint is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Minnesota campus

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 41 credit hours
  • Dozens of PhD programs are also available on campus with less than 50 credit hours required

All campuses of the University of Minnesota operate with the accreditation of the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Missouri campus

  • EdD in Educational Leadership (Online) – 46 credit hours
  • PhD in Nursing (Online) – 77 credit hours (BSN)
  • PhD in Nursing (Online) – 56 (MSN)
  • PhD in Nursing (Online) – 48 (Post Clinical)
  • DNP in Nursing Leadership and Innovations in Health (Online) – 40

The University of Missouri is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Montana campus

  • PhD in Counseling – Counselor Education and Supervision (Campus) – 48 credit hours(with Master’s)

The University of Montana-Missoula is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

University of North Carolina at Greensboro campus

  • PhD in Economics (Campus) – 45-57 credit hours

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of North Dakota campus

  • PhD in Nursing (Online) – 30 credit hours

The University of North Dakota as a whole is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

University of Northern Colorado campus

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 44 credit hours (with Masters)

Since 1916, the University of Northern Colorado has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

University of Tennessee - Knoxville campus

University of Tennessee – Knoxville received accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Texas at Tyler campus

The University of Texas at Tyler is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Wilmington University campus

  • Doctor of Business Administration (Online) – 54 credit hours
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online) – 33
  • Doctor in Prevention Science (Online) – 39-48
  • EdD in Educational Leadership (Online) – 49-51
  • EdD in Higher Education (Online) – 51
  • EdD in Organizational Leadership (Online) – 51

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

What’s next?

Accelerated PhD Programs

Whether you’re trying to get your doctorate in one year or you’re just looking for the shortest PhD programs available from accredited universities, the first step is decide how much you’re willing to compromise in the name of speed.

Yes, there are accredited online doctoral programs that can be completed in less time than traditional campus-based programs. The key is finding the one that’s offering the exact program you’re seeking.

This guide is a good place to start:

  • We only included accredited universities with the shortest doctoral and Ph.D. requirements (measured by the smallest number of classes required)
  • Accelerated doctorate courses are available online
  • A growing number of online doctoral degree programs don’t require a dissertation (especially professional doctorate degree programs)

When you select a fast track online Ph.D. or doctorate program with the smallest number of required courses, accelerated online classes, and no dissertation requirements, you’re on the right track.

You’ll soon discover that these factors make for the shortest doctoral programs online and offer the most flexibility with the smallest number of requirements.

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PhD in Europe vs US – Key Differences

A PhD is the last level of education you can achieve in a particular field. To earn a PhD, a student must show academic and research mastery in their subject. If you are considering pursuing a PhD program, you should explore all your options. Renowned institutions are offering prestigious PhD programs all over the world. Generally, you have hundreds of options to pick from, but choosing a single program within so many can be overwhelming. This article compares PhD programs in Europe vs the US. Both locations offer competitive programs. However, the doctorate programs in such different locations vary significantly in terms of length, structure, minimum requirements, etc. The section below expands on the key differences:

Comparison: PhD Europe vs US

Program structure and minimum requirements.

In the US, a student with just a bachelor’s degree can get accepted into a PhD program. The PhD program consists of a combined master’s plus PhD degree. First, the students complete coursework for 2 to 3 years. Then, they must pass qualifying exams to prove knowledge in their field and readiness to conduct research. Once they have passed the qualifying exams, they can continue to the last part of the program: their own research. If a student fails a qualifying exam twice, the university won’t let them proceed and earn a PhD. Yet, they can still graduate with a master’s.

It is possible to shorten the length of a PhD program in the US if the student has a master’s degree in their field of study. Then, some courses can be credited to as completed to shorten the coursework portion of their program. However, this is not a general rule. Each university has its own procedures regarding this matter. A factor to keep in mind is that universities are more likely to credit courses if the degree was awarded recently.

In Europe, the structure of PhDs is different. The vast majority of programs require a master’s degree. And the master’s degree must align with the field of study the student wishes to pursue during their program. PhD candidates are already familiar with research and start working on their thesis from the very beginning. In most cases, there is no need to complete any coursework or take qualifying examinations.

Length: Time to Degree

According to the  2018 Doctorate Recipients from US Universities Report [1], the average PhD candidate takes 8.6 years to complete their degree. Doctorate programs in Physical Sciences such as biology or physics, are the shortest with an average completion time of 6.9 years. Similarly, Engineering PhDs took an average of 7.3 years. On the other hand, PhDs in Education took the longest to complete with an average time to degree of 14.7 years. In the US, the research advisor decides when the student has made enough research contributions to graduate.

In Europe, PhDs tend to be a lot shorter. The average time to degree is four years[2]. Many programs have predefined set lengths. The students must put enough effort into their thesis to obtain meaningful results within the timeframe. Four years might seem short compared to the 8.6 years in the US, but incoming students already have a master’s degree in their field of interest.

Thesis and Thesis Advisor

PhD applicants in Europe have a clear idea of their research interest. They chose their research advisor and thesis topic during their application. During admissions, they are asked to pitch their research topic not only to sell their idea but also to prove their expertise in research methods.

Since, in the US, many students start their PhD right after their bachelor’s, they might not have much experience in research yet. They are not expected to choose an advisor or thesis topic right from the start. Most admitted students are still learning about their interests. Because the program includes at least two years of coursework, they have a few years to explore different subfields and figure out which one to pursue.

Top US institutions offer fully-funded PhD programs with a stipend for living expenses. Others offer fully-funded programs to only a limited number of fields of study. However, the vast majority of students in the US must search for funding through other channels such as grants, scholarships, and their research advisor. Also, some students fund their studies through Graduate Assistantship (GA) and Research Assistantship (RA) positions at the university. This positions include several duties, such as grading homework and tests, assisting during classes, and performing research.

The government supports many PhD programs in Europe. Yet, this funding might be limited to only tuition costs or might have a maximum term limit depending in the country. Students in Europe must also search for other funding opportunities to secure their financial situation. Again, students can apply for grants and scholarships, and perform work for the university.

The main drawback of taking a TA or RA position is the additional work students must perform. PhD programs are very demanding and take many years to complete regardless of the location. When students are loaded with extra responsibilities, they are more likely to get delayed on their research and even quit the program.

Other Considerations

Studying abroad can allow you to explore a different part of the world and widen your options for PhD programs. However, moving to another country is a challenge. For example, you need to research about student visas, funding, and language barriers. PhDs in the US are entirely in English. In Europe, many universities offer English based doctorate programs, and others offer programs based on their local language. In regards to visas, visas are required when studying abroad. US applicants will need to apply for a student Schengen visa . And European applicants will need to apply for a student F-1 visa .

Final Comparison: PhD Europe vs US

PhD Europe vs US: Explore study abroad programs

  • Minimum requirements: Bachelor’s degree in the US vs. Master’s degree in Europe
  • Thesis topic: Students in Europe must know their research topic from the start
  • Funding: Funding options vary across institutions and countries
  • Language: PhD programs in the US are in English. European universities offer programs in different languages.
  • Visa: Required in most cases

Related Articles

The first step towards earning a PhD is finding the right PhD program. Read more .

Find the Right Ph.D. Program: Main Considerations (including funding)

[1]  https://ncses.nsf.gov/pubs/nsf20301/report

[2] https://www.phdstudies.com/PhD/Europe/

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French, UK and Spanish institutions top new ranking of European business schools

 HEC Paris campus, a top European business school

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French, British and Spanish institutions dominate the top of the FT’s latest overall European Business Schools Ranking , the 20th annual assessment of the state of business education across the continent.

HEC Paris is ranked number one, ahead of London Business School in second place, while another three French schools — ESCP , Edhec and Essec — are also in the leading tier of nine institutions. Iese is third, with another Spanish school, IE , also in the highest group, along with Bocconi in Italy and St Gallen in Switzerland.

The evaluation is derived from performance across the range of individual 2023 FT rankings of MBAs, Executive MBAs (EMBA) and Masters in Management (MiM) degrees, and open and custom non-degree executive education programmes.

A total of 90 schools are included, reflecting the number and strength of academic institutions in Europe providing business education. They have continued to do so amid competition from rivals in North America and Asia, and despite significant recent disruptions in demand and changes in format and content.

The ranking comes at a time when applications to postgraduate business courses are stagnating in Europe, according to the latest survey of students and schools around the world by the Global Management Admission Council, which administers the GMAT admissions test. However, the strengths of Europe’s business schools — the quality of life in the cities in which most are located and the relatively low tuition fees and costs in many — continue to attract students from within and beyond the continent.

FT European Business Schools Ranking 2023

shortest phd programs in europe

Read the ranking and report

While the MBA was born in the US, Europe pioneered the alternative Masters in Management programme, usually studied immediately after a first degree, which has since gained ground in other regions. Its schools remain distinctive, with their focus on topics such as international business, sustainability and the United Nations’ sustainable development goals. Just under three-fifths of European schools have committed to net zero emissions targets on their campus by 2030, compared with 30 per cent for the rest of the world.

Other shifts in business education include growing student demand for a preparation for careers with societal purpose and advice on creating start-ups or working in the tech sector — rather than more traditionally in banking, investment and consulting.

Ron Tuninga, vice-president for Europe, Middle East and Africa at AACSB, the US-based business school accreditation agency, notes: “Multidisciplinarity is becoming more critical and a distinctive feature of European business schools in dealing with the complex issues of our time. [They] are rapidly moving to work outside the silos in both research and education.”

Ron Tuninga of AACSB

The Covid-19 pandemic and changes to working patterns pushed schools to increase the amount of hybrid and online learning, although there has been widespread demand for a return to in-person, on-campus components to courses.

Changes to exchange rates, the effects of Brexit on mobility and employment between the UK and the EU, and evolving career aspirations have also shifted outcomes including salary levels. HEC Paris alumni report the top average salaries in Europe for MiM and are fourth for solo EMBA pay, though they are sixth for post-MBA pay. The French school also ranked second overall in Europe for both open and custom executive education.

Alumni’s reported salaries from European business schools are consistently lower than their counterparts from schools in North America and Asia-Pacific, although on average they began their studies in more senior positions.

Just four of the ranked business schools reported male-female gender parity among their faculty: IE in Spain, Koç in Turkey, and Institut Mines-Télécom and ESC Clermont in France. On average, across all 90 schools, 38 per cent of faculty were women, dropping as low as 19 per cent for Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.

IMD in Switzerland had the highest proportion of non-domestic faculty at 98 per cent, compared with an average of 50 per cent across all ranked schools. The lowest, at just 2 per cent, was the University of Porto — FEP | PBS .

Multidisciplinarity is becoming more critical and a distinctive feature of European business schools Ron Tuninga, AACSB

Participation in the FT rankings is voluntary, with data provided by the schools themselves as well as the statistically significant responses from the alumni who provided insights into metrics including salaries three years after completing the course. The ranking measures factors including career progression, salary increase, the diversity of faculty and students by gender and citizenship, as well as measures of the integration of climate change topics into teaching and operations.

In a sign of the efforts being made to draw in students and expertise from different parts of the world, the rankings capture joint programmes, and include schools with multiple campuses such as ESCP, which operates in France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK. Some operate outside as well as within Europe, including London Business School, with a branch in the United Arab Emirates, Iese in the US and Essec in Singapore and Morocco.

MBA, EMBA and MiM rankings account for 25 per cent of each school’s total performance, with the remaining quarter coming jointly from custom and open executive education programmes. The calculation adjusts for schools that do not offer the full range of qualifications and training.

France has the most ranked schools, at 23, and there are 15 in the UK, eight in Germany and five each in Spain and Portugal. Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Turkey, Denmark, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia and the Czech Republic are also represented.

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