Doctoral Degree FAQs

If you’re a working professional with a master’s degree who is seeking to gain an edge in your field, chances are you’ve looked into earning a doctoral degree. With your busy schedule, you may have identified a need for greater flexibility in your approach to education. That’s where an online degree program excels since it can provide flexible options. Some of the questions that NCU students have asked about doctoral degrees are highlighted below.

Can I get a doctoral degree online?

Yes. In fact, NCU’s doctoral graduates earned their degrees online through our doctoral programs, which are as rigorous and comprehensive as those of traditional universities. With the exception of clinical practicums in our Department of Marriage and Family Sciences, all of our degrees are earned 100% online. While this flexibility makes pursuing a doctoral degree possible for working professionals, at NCU it still comes with regional accreditation and, in some cases, programmatic accreditation. Online programs challenge self-starters to manage their schedules and motivate themselves while studying independently.


Can I have two doctoral degrees?

Yes. Many lifelong learners hold more than one doctoral degree. Some pair terminal degrees that complement one another, such as a PhD in marriage and family therapy with a PhD in business administration. Together, these degrees would qualify one for broader career options. Alternatively, others may earn a doctoral degree in one field only to decide to change career paths requiring a different PhD or doctorate. When you attain a PhD or doctoral degree, you become a subject matter expert in a specialized area of study. Earning multiple doctoral degrees is an incredible accomplishment.


Do all doctoral degrees require a dissertation?

Not all doctoral degrees require a dissertation, but most. While dissertations are still the norm for most fields, certain degree programs, such as JDs (law degrees) or DPTs (Doctor of Physical Therapy degrees), do not require dissertations. Northcentral University offers doctoral degrees in all three of its Schools and all require dissertations.

Students who are not interested in pursuing a doctoral degree, but want to acquire additional knowledge, might want to consider a specialist degree, such as NCU’s Education Specialist (EdS) degree. This degree offers students doctoral-level work without a dissertation requirement.


Can you get a doctoral degree in business online?

Absolutely! Given the proliferation of MBA degrees in today's workforce, standing out among business professionals is growing more challenging. In addition, the amount of knowledge needed to master your specific business area of interest is far deeper than what an MBA program covers.


What’s the difference between a DBA and a PhD-BA?

While both are terminal degrees, there are distinctions between these two doctorates. The main difference is that PhD candidates seek to develop new theories and DBA graduates focus on real-world application. Which degree path to choose is a function of what the student wants to accomplish. PhD graduates generally pursue research-centered careers in academia, while DBA graduates typically seek senior leadership positions in which they can use research to develop and implement strategies within their organizations.

If you have further questions about earning your doctoral degree, programs and specialization options at Northcentral University, we encourage you to speak with an NCU Enrollment Advisor. They would be happy to discuss your educational goals with you.


*Marriage and Family Sciences courses are primarily online, however practicum/internships/clinical supervision activities include traditional engagement in the communities in which our students live.