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Dissertation Completion
Pathway

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Complete Your Dissertation and Earn Your Degree

Break free from ABD. You’ve already put so much time, energy and effort into earning your doctoral degree, why stop now? At NU, an ABD status doesn’t prevent you from moving forward in your studies. In fact, we understand the challenges you’ve faced and have designed a program to help you break free from ABD.

Our Dissertation Completion Pathway (DCP) is an innovative way to get back into class, complete your dissertation and graduate with the degree you’ve been working toward.

How it Works

DCP is a structured pathway that recognizes your past academic coursework while providing the guidance you need to complete your dissertation. This approach provides ABD students the individual support and attention they deserve, including uniquely designed bridge courses and a faculty-led approach that features weekly objectives and deliverables.

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What is Dissertation Completion Pathway?

  • Dissertation Completion Pathway (DCP) is a pathway to completing a doctoral degree.
  • DCP serves students who come to NU as “All But Dissertation” (ABD).
  • The pathway consists of 3 required “bridge” courses. Successful completion of these DCP courses is required before entering a doctoral program.
    • DCP-8001: 12-weeks (online)
    • DCP-8002: 12 weeks (online)
    • DCP-8003: 6 weeks (online, required Intensive component).
      • DCP-8003 is typically taken along with DCP-8001 or DCP-8002.

Successful completion of these 3 DCP courses leads to entry into one of the following traditional or applied doctoral programs:

  • Current PhD program for DCP students:
    • PhD-Education
    • PhD-Educational Leadership
    • PhD-Psychology
    • PhD-Technology Management
    • PhD-Cyber Security
    • PhD-Data Science
    • PhD-Business Administration
    • PhD-Instructional Design
    • PhD-Organizational Leadership
    • PhD-Human Resource Management
  • Current applied program for DCP students:
    • Doctor of Education (EdD)
    • Doctor of Educational Leadership (EdD-EdL)
    • Doctor of Education in Instructional Design (EdD-ID)Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
    • Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)
    • Doctor of Criminal Justice (DCJ)
    • Doctor of Health Administration (DHA)
    • Doctor of Marriage and Family Therapy (DMFT)*Coming Soon

Degree and Course Requirements

If you’re an All But Dissertation student that has completed your coursework, achieved doctoral candidacy and left your program in good academic standing, we can help you finish what you started.

DCP Eligibility Criteria

  • Dissertation Completion Pathway application.
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 in previous doctoral program.
  • Must have completed all required doctoral program coursework and/or achieved candidacy at another institution.
  • Cannot be academically dismissed from previous doctoral program.
  • Previous doctoral program must academically align with a doctoral degree program and specialization offered by National University.
  • 7-year maximum for transfer credit from a regionally accredited institution. An exception by the dean may be granted for credits aged between 8-15 years.

*Additional admissions requirements may apply

Learn how we can help you finish your dissertation.

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  • The main difference between theoretical/traditional research (PhD) and applied research (e.g., EdD, DPA, etc.) lies in their focus.
  • While a traditional dissertation strives to produce new knowledge about an existing problem, an applied doctoral project will typically address a specific practical or professional problem within a field.
  • Theoretical/traditional (PhD) research: aimed at developing new, fundamental knowledge and a theoretical understanding of humans in the broad disciplinary context without a particular application in mind.
    • All PhD programs are considered theoretical/traditional.
    • Current PhD program options for DCP students:
      • PhD-Education
      • PhD-Educational Leadership
      • PhD-Psychology
      • PhD-Technology Management
      • PhD-Cyber Security
      • PhD-Data Science
      • PhD-Business Administration
      • PhD-Instructional Design
      • PhD-Organizational Leadership
      • PhD-Human Resource Management
    • The culminating deliverable is a 5-chapter dissertation
  • Applied research: practice-based investigation to acquire new knowledge to address practical and professional objectives.
    • Current applied programs for DCP students:
      • Doctor of Education (EdD)
      • Doctor of Educational Leadership (EdD-EdL)
      • Doctor of Education in Instructional Design (EdD-ID)
      • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
      • Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)
      • Doctor of Criminal Justice (DCJ)
      • Doctor of Health Administration (DHA)*Coming Soon
      • Doctor of Marriage and Family Therapy (DMFT)*Coming Soon
    • The culminating project for applied programs depends on the specific program.
      • The following applied programs have a 5-chapter dissertation as the final deliverable:
        • Doctor in Business Administration (DBA)
        • Doctor in Public Administration (DPA)
        • Doctor of Criminal Justice (DCJ)
      • The following applied programs have a 3-section applied doctoral project as the final deliverable:
        • Doctor of Education (EdD)
        • Doctor of Educational Leadership (EdD-EdL)
        • Doctor of Education in Instructional Design (EdD-ID)
        • Doctor of Health Administration (DHA)*Coming Soon
        • Doctor of Marriage and Family Therapy (DMFT)*Coming Soon

For a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Dissertation Completion Pathway (DCP) download a detailed PDF with information here or please contact the Office of Graduate Studies at [email protected].

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Successful completion and attainment of National University degrees do not lead to automatic or immediate licensure, employment, or certification in any state/country. The University cannot guarantee that any professional organization or business will accept a graduate’s application to sit for any certification, licensure, or related exam for the purpose of professional certification.

Program availability varies by state. Many disciplines, professions, and jobs require disclosure of an individual’s criminal history, and a variety of states require background checks to apply to, or be eligible for, certain certificates, registrations, and licenses. Existence of a criminal history may also subject an individual to denial of an initial application for a certificate, registration, or license and/or result in the revocation or suspension of an existing certificate, registration, or license. Requirements can vary by state, occupation, and/or licensing authority.

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