ACCREDITED ONLINE PHD PROGRAMS GUIDE

2017’s Best Online Schools with PhD Programs

Earning a doctorate in your program of choice is a convenient and achievable goal when studying in one of the country’s top online PhD programs. Online learning offers a variety of benefits for students, including flexibility in their scheduling, working at their own pace, and even saving the money that would be put towards commuting to class if they were studying on-campus. We’ve compiled data that has allowed us to put together a list of the best online PhD programs available based on factors such as graduation rates, class size and availability of student services. Check it out below, and find the school that will help you meet you complete your online doctoral degree this 2017 school year.

1 Nova Southeastern University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
94%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
16
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
42%
Ranking SCORE 99.80
Read more

The numbers of majors at Nova Southeastern University surpasses 250. Location for the private, nonprofit school is Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Popular doctorate programs at Nova Southeastern center around subjects like clinical psychology, cancer therapy and pharmacology. At the doctorate degree level, the school's coral reef science program is one of the school's more widely known programs in the nation. Instruction delivery options include in-person, online and hybrid. Flexibility and the chance to engage with faculty and classmates on campus is gained through the hybrid option. The school's Center for Collaborative Research broke ground in 2016.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
2 Texas A & M University-College Station
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
54%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
16
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
80%
Ranking SCORE 99.64
Read more

Students who attend Texas A&M University-College Station come from College Station, Texas, the city that the school is located in, and other parts of America. The school also enrolls doctorate majors from other countries. For top performing students majoring in subjects like medicine, engineering, law and agriculture, there is a honors program and the Fulbright program. Another networking opportunity for top performing students is through the school's national scholars programs. Before they enroll in an online doctorate degree program, students should confirm that the university has a state authorization to teach the online program in the state that the student resides in.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
3 Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
37%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
13
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
86%
Ranking SCORE 97.50
Read more

As a land grant school, Pennsylvania State University, operates several campuses. Three main missions at the university focus on public service, research and teaching. Research work that the university has developed or assisted with deal with agriculture, manufacturing and pollination. Education, American studies, agriculture, women's studies and psychology are some of the areas that doctoral degrees are awarded in. Getting into the school's doctoral degree programs is a rigorous process. In addition to applying for a doctoral major, prospective students may be required to meet with faculty or administrators. They must also pass two exams.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
4 Andrews University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
98%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
59%
Ranking SCORE 93.81
Read more

Andrews University has partnerships and agreements with other states and countries which allows international students as well as adults who live beyond Michigan to enroll in its undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Medicine, education, leadership and physical therapy are study areas that online doctoral degrees are awarded in. On campus doctoral degrees are awarded in fields like educational psychology, religion, religious education and physical therapy. Entrance exam scores play an important role in the admissions process. A resume, essay, recommendation letters and transcripts are other documents that admissions team members review to determine whether or not to admit a graduate student.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
5 Concordia University-Chicago
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
49%
Ranking SCORE 93.74
Read more

Concordia University-Chicago is about 10 miles from Chicago. It is a private, liberal arts school that was founded in 1864. Doctoral programs are in business administration and leadership. Within the leadership major there are more than a dozen concentrations. Many of the concentrations are in education, health and organizational leadership. There is also a sports leadership concentration. The Center for Literacy and the Center for Gerontology offers opportunities for students to interact with the community. At the Center for Gerontology, graduate healthcare majors conduct faith based research that benefits aging adults.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
6 University of South Carolina-Columbia
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
47%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
8
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
72%
Ranking SCORE 93.43
Read more

Two online doctoral degrees are awarded at the University of South Carolina, a dominant research school. Both of these online degrees are in education curriculum and instruction. The differences are in the degree specializations, as one degree focuses on curriculum studies while the other degree focuses on educational technology. Campus doctoral programs are in fields like anthropology, the sciences, literature, engineering, social sciences. Domestic students have an option to either submit GRE or GMAT scores as part of their admissions documents. International students should be prepared to submit their TOEFL or IELTS scores.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
7 University of Northern Colorado
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
79%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
45%
Ranking SCORE 92.76
Read more

The University of Northern Colorado is a public university that teaches classes at campuses in Denver, Colorado Springs and Loveland. Its main campus in Greeley, Colorado is expansive, covering more than 12,000 acres. Most of the school's students are enrolled in undergraduate courses. Popular graduate degrees are in music, language pathology, sports and education. In addition to graduate licensure, the university awards doctorate degrees in subjects like applied statistics, audiology, educational leadership, nursing, rehabilitation sciences, school psychology and sports and exercise science. A virtual tour and new student orientation support adults who are attending the university for the first time.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
8 University of St Francis
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
56%
Ranking SCORE 92.41
Read more

The University of St. Francis is a small Roman Catholic school that enrolls about 3,900 students. Although most of the university's students attend class on campus, the school's online student population is a significant part of its total student body. Class sizes are generally small. Of the school's more than 100 majors, two are at the doctorate level. There's the Doctor of Education and the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. To meet graduate admissions requirements, adults seeking to declare a graduate major at the school must submit an admissions essay, transcripts and two recommendation letters.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
9 Mercer University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
63%
Ranking SCORE 92.34
Read more

Mercer University is Georgia's oldest private postsecondary school. Throughout the year, the school regularly host community discussions on leadership, international relations and social experiences. Academic programs fall under 12 colleges. Major campuses at the school are located in Savannah, Macon, Columbus and Atlanta. Service, community leadership and community support are hallmarks at Mercer University. Adults who currently have a master's degree could declare for a doctorate degree in fields like clinical medical psychology, counselor education and supervision, medicine, pharmacy, educational leadership and secondary education. Evening and weekend classes are offered through online doctoral programs.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
10 Allen College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
82%
Ranking SCORE 92.13
Read more

Allen College is a Waterloo, Iowa school that specializes in healthcare. The school has been known for its healthcare education for more than 90 years. Regional accreditation is from the Higher Learning Commission. At its inception in 1925, Allen College was known as the Allen Memorial Hospital School of Nursing. Hands on training is still provided at Allen Hospital, also referred to as UnityPoint Health. The college started awarding doctorate nursing degrees years after it was founded. In 2010 the school was approved to award the Doctor of Nursing Practice graduate credential. Allen College also awards the Doctor of Education in Health Professions degree.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
11 Duquesne University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
74%
Ranking SCORE 92.05
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
12 University of Florida
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
29%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
7
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
85%
Ranking SCORE 92.02
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
13 Hampton University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
47%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
59%
Ranking SCORE 91.95
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
14 University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
54%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
73%
Ranking SCORE 91.90
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
15 Creighton University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
98%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
75%
Ranking SCORE 91.89
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
16 Shenandoah University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
96%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
37%
Ranking SCORE 91.87
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
17 Gardner-Webb University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
96%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
45%
Ranking SCORE 91.83
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
18 Liberty University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
78%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
46%
Ranking SCORE 91.68
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
19 University of Alabama in Huntsville
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
66%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
47%
Ranking SCORE 91.60
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
20 University of Southern California
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
59%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
90%
Ranking SCORE 91.53
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
21 Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
77%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
60%
Ranking SCORE 91.47
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
22 University of New England
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
58%
Ranking SCORE 91.43
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
23 Fordham University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
89%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
81%
Ranking SCORE 91.32
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
24 Drexel University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
93%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
65%
Ranking SCORE 91.31
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
25 University at Buffalo
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
61%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
71%
Ranking SCORE 91.25
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
26 Temple University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
76%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
66%
Ranking SCORE 91.22
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
27 University of Mississippi
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
61%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
60%
Ranking SCORE 91.21
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
28 Mississippi State University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
68%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
58%
Ranking SCORE 91.16
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
29 University of Colorado Denver
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
48%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
45%
Ranking SCORE 91.13
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
30 Indiana State University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
75%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
43%
Ranking SCORE 90.98
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
31 Harding University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
91%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
61%
Ranking SCORE 90.67
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
32 University of Arkansas
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
38%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
60%
Ranking SCORE 90.65
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
33 The University of Alabama
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
53%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
67%
Ranking SCORE 90.64
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
34 Western Connecticut State University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
69%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
42%
Ranking SCORE 90.47
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
35 The University of Montana
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
67%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
49%
Ranking SCORE 90.44
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
36 Northern Arizona University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
66%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
49%
Ranking SCORE 90.39
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
37 University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
69%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
65%
Ranking SCORE 90.27
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
38 University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
60%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
70%
Ranking SCORE 90.27
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
39 New England College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
78%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
43%
Ranking SCORE 90.22
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
40 University of Arizona
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
77%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
61%
Ranking SCORE 90.18
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
41 University of Delaware
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
54%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
80%
Ranking SCORE 90.11
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
42 Texas Tech University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
39%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
62%
Ranking SCORE 89.96
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
43 Clemson University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
59%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
82%
Ranking SCORE 89.95
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
44 University of California-Berkeley
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
53%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
91%
Ranking SCORE 89.94
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
45 Boston University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
51%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
84%
Ranking SCORE 89.91
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
46 University of the Cumberlands
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
45%
Ranking SCORE 89.84
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
47 Colorado State University-Fort Collins
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
48%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
63%
Ranking SCORE 89.80
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
48 The University of Tennessee-Knoxville
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
53%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
66%
Ranking SCORE 89.79
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
49 University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
49%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
54%
Ranking SCORE 89.78
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
50 Union Institute & University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
15%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
27%
Ranking SCORE 89.78
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) represents the mastery of research and advancement of scholarship in higher education. Academic and professional doctoral degrees confer distinction on graduates for completing the highest level of education offered in their field. An academic PhD qualifies graduates for university-level professorships, education administration careers, and postgraduate research fellowships. Professional doctorates represent the highest educational attainment in a specialized career field. Students can enter doctoral studies directly from a master’s degree program, or they can enroll in professional/terminal PhD degree programs to advance in careers that require a doctorate. It typically takes four years following completion of a bachelor’s degree to earn a doctorate. A doctoral program is typically made up of expert-level coursework in a major field (or a niche within a major field), along with extensive research projects and a formal dissertation. Online colleges and universities offer distance degree programs leading to academic and professional doctorates for students who cannot attend campus-based courses. This guide is designed to assist prospective doctoral students in navigating their PhD degree options. It provides examples of PhD-level courses and a discussion on the importance of college accreditation.

Earnings Boosts with PhDs

Over the course of a working lifetime, PhD holders enjoy greater earning power and career stability than counterparts who have associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that median weekly earnings across the nation are highest for graduates of academic and professional PhD programs. At the same time, doctoral degree holders have the lowest rates of unemployment among all employees. Median 2013 weekly earnings for PhD holders were $1,623, compared to weekly earnings for bachelor’s degree holders ($1,108) and those with only an associate degree ($777). Meanwhile, the 2013 unemployment of PhD earners was 2.2 percent, compared to the 6.1 percent average unemployment rate for all workers. In academia, PhD holders with college or university tenure enjoy perhaps the greatest job security of all professions.

An Intro to Doctorates

Professional doctoral degrees are offered across a broad spectrum, with a majority of major studies undertaken in business and management, education, law, engineering, dental science, healthcare, medicine, and counseling/psychology. Academic PhD fields are extensive and diverse. Here are but a few of the doctoral degrees available:

Master’s degree coursework is more strenuous and advanced in academic depth and focus than classes at the undergraduate level. The following table shows the complexity and range of courses master’s students take toward completing their graduate degree:

  • Acupuncture (D.Ac.)
  • Advanced Nursing Practice (D.N.P.)
  • Architecture (D.Arch.)
  • Business Administration (D.B.A.)
  • Chiropractic (D.C.)
  • Computer Science (D.C.S.)
  • Education (Ed.D.)
  • Engineering (D.Eng.)
  • Health Administration (D.H.A.)
  • Law and Policy (L.P.D., D.L.P.)
  • Medicine (M.D.)
  • Physical Therapy (D.P.T.)
  • Psychology (Psy.D)
  • Science (D.Sc., Sc. D.)
  • Theology (D.Th., Th.D)
  • Social Work (D.S.W.)
  • Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.)

Below, this guide lists a selection of courses that demonstrate the advanced nature of doctoral studies:

Course Name Description
Education District Budget, Finance and Resources Topics in finance administration for public school districts. Includes forecasting, strategic planning, resource allocation, state and federal regulations, and tax impacts.
Independent Study in Nursing Science Renewable 1-6 credit hours in an approved research project in nursing practice. Development of a scholarly article, proposal, or similar documentation.
Accounting and Management Workshop Evaluation of current pertinent literature/studies in financial management and accounting. Directed research and seminar paper required for completion.
Social Welfare Policy Theoretical, political and economic aspects of the design, implementation and monitoring of social service programming using policy analysis frameworks.
Leadership in the Faith Community An assessment of challenges in North American Church leadership, including pastoral planning, interpersonal communications, facilitation of groups and proficiency in leading services.

When Does a PhD Make Sense?

In many cases, students will need a PhD in order to work in careers in the fields of higher education, healthcare, and medicine. Earning a doctoral degree can also benefit mid-level, mid-career professionals seeking advancement to top management roles in technology, finance, engineering, and law.

Culturally and professionally, the PhD carries with it an unmatched level of educational attainment and reverence. Economic Modeling Specialists International reports that most of the best-paying/best-performing/fastest-growing jobs in 2012 requiring a PhD went to postsecondary teachers, physicians, veterinarians, surgeons, astronomers, psychiatrists, and anesthesiologists.

Online Doctoral Degree Programs

Accredited online PhD degree programs are designed for scholars who cannot compromise their obligations to family and career in order to attend a campus-based program. The programs offer the same academic curriculum as traditional degrees, but provide the added advantage of self-paced studies with flexible schedules.

Online PhD programs combine all the traditional doctoral components including lectures, seminars, comprehensive research, examinations, colloquia, fieldwork, and the creation and defense of a scholarly thesis. Candidates log into the college dashboard or interface to conduct all required and optional interactions, including registration, mentoring, exams, research, and class attendance. As with traditional PhD programs, online doctoral courses depend greatly upon student self-discipline, motivation, and systematic participation. Communication and instruction is facilitated through email, bulletin boards, multi-media presentations, group chat sessions, conference calls, instant messaging, and video conferencing.

Distance Learning Q&A

Are online PhD programs easier to complete?

Very little is easy about completing a PhD, online or otherwise. The course, research, and thesis requirements are often identical between the traditional and online programs. However, online students that are dedicated and disciplined may complete their PhDs in a shorter amount of time than those who commute to college.

How do I evaluate online PhD faculty?

All students considering a school for earning a PhD should review the academic performance (publications, advancements, awards, appointments, conference presentations) by prospective faculty members. It can prove especially advantageous to work with faculty that share similar research and scholarly interests and have memberships in professional associations.

How do I apply to an online PhD program?

Entry requirements at a doctorate-conferring institution are identical for traditional and online applicants. But each school maintains its own set of pre-requisites and application materials. The distinction is that you can submit your application, test scores, prior grades, and required essays via the internet. Academic counseling can be done by telephone or video conference software like Skype.

Do online universities offer financial aid to PhD students?

The U.S. Department of Education offers qualified students at accredited institutions federal Perkins and Ford loans. There are federal TEACH Grants for students preparing for education careers. Individual schools and departments may also offer scholarships or fellowships.

Are doctoral course credits transferable?

While left up to each institution to determine, it is general policy to require students to complete their own entire course-matrix and dissertation requirements rather than to allow substitutions. On some occasions, prior master’s or doctorate courses can be counted as electives if directly applicable to the major.

Doctoral Program Accreditation

College accreditation is a voluntary process by which institutions measure the quality of their degree programs against nationally recognized academic standards. In many cases, traditional and online PhD schools may be accredited at the institutional level by regional accreditation agencies. Six regional accreditation agencies approved by the Department of Education confer institutional accreditation to schools in New England, the mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Southern, Western, and Northwest states.

Colleges and Universities with institution-wide accreditation commonly seek special accreditation for departments that offer doctoral degree programs. For example, a department offering a PhD in Education will seek special accreditation from the National Council on Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Departments or college divisions offering advanced nursing PhDs may seek special accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Online schools often add to institution-wide accreditation with special accreditation from organizations such as the National Distance Learning Association. The accreditation process begins when the institution performs an internal assessment based on standards held by accreditation agencies. The agency follows up with an on-campus visit and evaluation. In some cases, the institution may be required to upgrade its programs in order to receive accreditation. Accreditation renewals are subject to monitoring and approval by the agency.

The value of attending an accredited school, college, or university is multifold. Many employers will not recognize a degree earned at a non-accredited institution. For students seeking financial aid, accreditation is required by the U.S. Department of Education for school participation in federal grants, loans and fellowship programs.