Accredited Online PHD Programs Guide

Find a Program for You

Best Online 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.

RankSchool Title Net Price Financial Aid Total Programs Student-Teacher ratioRanking Score School Description Additional Benefits: Placement Services Counseling Services Credit for Experience
1 Nova Southeastern University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
94%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
16
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
42%
Ranking SCORE 99.80
Read more

Nova Southeastern University is a research university that offers doctoral degrees in a variety of fields, from clinical psychology to criminal justice and education to nursing. Doctoral degrees are offered on-campus as well as online, with some College of Engineering and Computing programs offered in a hybrid format. Most online programs can be completed almost entirely online except for required internships or practicums that need to be finished at off-campus locations. Specific graduation requirements vary by degree. As an example, the online Doctorate in Computer Science requires at least 64 credit hours for graduation and two dissertation defenses. NSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and prospective students can verify specific program accreditation through each program’s website.

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

Texas A & M University-College Station offers three online doctorates in Curriculum and Instruction, Agricultural Education, and Plant Breeding. However, on-campus options for PhD-seekers are much more abundant, with programs such as neuroscience, animal breeding, entomology, architecture and kinesiology. Distance education students can take advantage of online library resources, advisement, IT support and the school bookstore. Graduation requirements will be different for each program, but a Doctorate in Plant Breeding, for example, requires a dissertation and 64 grad credit hours beyond those completed for a master’s degree. Those pursuing a PhD can expect to work closely with faculty members throughout their program. The financial aid office connects grad students to options such as loans, scholarships, fellowships and grants to help offset the education cost.

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

Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus lists only one online doctoral program -- nursing. Coursework is conducted online, but certain evaluations, such as exams, projects or oral presentations, must be completed in person. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Two tracks are available: a master’s-to-doctorate track that requires 38-46 credits or a bachelor’s-to-doctorate track with 61 credits. To apply, applicants must have a current nursing license, a 3.5 or better cumulative GPA and maintain a B+ or above on subsequent coursework. Students more interested in on-campus learning can choose from a range of PhD programs in fields ranging from aerospace engineering to chemistry to rural sociology. Admission and graduation requirements will vary by program. Several online-oriented scholarships are available for distance education students.

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

At Andrews University, online PhD programs are offered through the School of Education and School of Health Professions. Current education professionals can choose to pursue PhD in Educational Leadership, Leadership or Higher Education Administration, while those in nursing can work towards a DNP in Nursing. Although admissions requirements for specific online PhD programs will vary, prospective students can typically expect to submit a statement of purpose, a resume, professional recommendations, scores from applicable entrance exams and transcripts for previously earned degrees. The graduate scholarship offered through the university calculates a tuition discount based on GRE or GMAT scores.

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

Through Concordia University-Chicago, students can choose to earn an online PhD in business administration or in one of several leadership programs, such as early childhood education, gerontology, special education and sports education. Graduate admissions typically require a master’s degree with a 3.0 or better, current GRE or Miller Analogies Test score from the past three years, letters of recommendation, a writing sample and possible past experience. Once admitted, students can generally expect to complete the 60 or more credits needed for graduation in about three years. Loans, grants and scholarships are available for grad students through the financial aid office. Concordia University is a Yellow Ribbon school, meaning veterans can attend for free or reduced tuition based on the post-9/11 GI Bill.

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

The University of South Carolina-Columbia currently provides an online Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction in two concentrations: Curriculum Studies and Educational Technology. Both concentrations require 60 credits to be completed within 36 months to graduate. Curriculum Studies students must pass a qualifying exam to confirm dissertation research strengths and a comprehensive exam that allows continued dissertation research. Graduates of this concentration should be prepared for roles such as professorships, district-level administration and school-level instruction. Educational Technology students are required to attend an initial in-person orientation, but other than that, all courses are available online. Both doctoral concentrations offer a reduced tuition to South Carolina certified teachers.

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

Online students at the University of Northern Colorado can choose from PhD programs in education and nursing with specializations in areas like special education, educational leadership and nursing education. Many of the doctorate programs are conducted in a hybrid format, meaning all courses are available online but several in-person requirements, such as orientations and practicums, must also be completed. Others programs, such as the educational leadership degree, are offered mostly face-to-face with supplemental online courses. Some programs are also offered completely online, such as the Doctorate in Special Education. Colorado residents can take advantage of lower tuition compared to out-of-state residents, and the Western Undergraduate Exchange provides reduced tuition to students residing in 16 participating Western states and territories.

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

Students at the University of St. Francis can choose one of two online doctoral degrees: Nursing DNP and Educational Leadership EdD, which has two concentrations in Stewardship, Leadership, and Learning and Superintendent Certification. The Nursing DNP can be completed online except for an in-person orientation, College of Nursing Scholarship Day and a requirement of 1,000 nursing practice hours. Students can complete the program’s 40 credits at either a full-time or part-time pace. DNP grads are prepared for nursing leadership roles, particularly roles that serve vulnerable citizens like the poor, elderly, working families and uninsured. The two EdD concentrations can be completed in three-and-a-half years or more, if the students needs more flexibility. The Stewardship, Leadership and Learning concentration readies graduates for high-level positions in service-oriented organizations. The Superintendent Certification concentration prepares endorsed professionals for district-level leadership. The university’s education doctoral completion rate is 88 percent, much higher than the national average. The education doctorate is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

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 offers four hybrid PhD programs: Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Leadership: P-12 Track, Educational Leadership: Higher Education Track and a PhD in Nursing. All programs require students to attend classes, meetings or weekend seminars on-campus. For example, the PhD in Curriculum and Instruction is a 16-week session where classes are delivered both synchronously and asynchronously via WebEx, with three in-person weekend meetings required each semester at the Atlanta campus. In addition an interest in transformative education, applicants must have at least three years of relevant work experience and a master’s level certification. Mercer University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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’s two doctoral degrees, Doctorate of Nursing Practice and Doctorate of Education in Health Professions Education, are provided in a hybrid format. The nursing practice degree consists of 33 credit hours and 400 Clinical Scholarship hours, or 1,000 post-bachelor’s hours. To apply, students must have a master’s in nursing with at least a 3.25 GPA and a current nursing license. For the education degree, classes are mostly online, but students are required to attend an in-person single-day orientation and a four-day summer residency. To graduate, education students must have 60 credit hours, including a dissertation, and must be finished within seven years. For this program, applicants must have a master’s or equivalent, a 3.25 GPA, minimum one year relevant teaching experience and an admissions statement.

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

Duquesne University’s education and nursing schools provide four online doctorate programs: Ed.D in Instructional Technology and Leadership, Ph.D. in Nursing, Ph.D. in Nursing Ethics and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). The instructional technology and leadership courses are taught online, with the exception of a two-week residency during the first summer and a one-week residency for completion of the first year. Online classes are scheduled. The program is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. Nursing Ph.D. students have several required in-person meetings on campus and possibly a study-abroad experience, but otherwise degree can be completed online in three or four years. The school also offers a DNP to Ph.D. program. The four-year Nursing Ethics plan is similar in delivery format and may include a study-abroad opportunity. The DNP degree may be completed entirely online and offers three concentrations: Nursing Education, Forensic Nursing and Transcultural Nursing. Doctoral nursing students who are registered nurses and working for a partner facility may be eligible for a 30 percent tuition discount. To qualify for a 55 percent discount, the student must be graduate adjunct clinical faculty. Other financial aid opportunities are available online.

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

University of Florida's nine online doctorates are taught through the schools of Education, Nursing, Pharmacy, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Public Health and Health Professions. Degree programs range from Latin and Roman Studies to Audiology to Higher Education Administration. Each degree program has its own admission and graduation requirements and delivery methods. The Doctorate of Audiology curriculum, for example, can be completed totally online, while the Doctorate of Pharmacy requires on-campus study with optional online classes available for added convenience. The university bookstore’s online shopping resource provides access to a search tool that helps find textbooks and supplies for each course. Students can find assistance with the distance-learning e-Learning tool through the Computing Help Desk. The financial aid office can help students find the best options to pay for school, whether through grants, loans, scholarships or student employment. The scholarship search tool connects students with school- or graduate-specific scholarship opportunities.

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

Hampton University provides a number of online degrees, including four doctorates, which are delivered almost entirely online. The Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration is geared toward grad students with a goal of becoming a consultant or professor or toward professionals who are focused on administrative leadership roles. The courses can be completed fully online, aside from a four-week residency in the program’s first and second years. Six minor credits can be accepted for relevant experience. The Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision, which is 100 percent online, is an accelerated 64-credit program that can be finished within 3.5 years. Licensed counselors add clinical and supervisory skills to their counseling abilities. The accelerated 66-credit Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Management program can be completed online in 2.5 years. Students can choose from four specializations: Higher Education, Pre-K-12 Education, STEM Leadership and Special Education. Students striving for a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing will find this flexible degree schedule fitting to their lifestyle since the 48 credits can be completed online. The degree’s emphasis is on family and family-related research. Specific admissions requirements are listed on the school’s website.

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

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities students have a host of options for earning a doctorate in health-related fields. Thirteen doctoral degrees are offered partially or mostly online, including Integrative Health and Healing DNP, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner DNP and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner DNP. Requirements and program details vary by degree, but most are designed for four-year study with a three-year choice for added flexibility. The Post-Master's Doctor of Nursing Practice offers a shortened time frame for doctoral completion; its 37-38 credits allow graduation within one year. While online learning may require extra fees, most distance learners qualify for in-state tuition. The university provides resources aimed at the success of its online students. Students have access to the university’s online library, free online trainings and tutorials and a support center with online specialists. The financial aid office connects students with a cost calculator and details on how to apply for assistance.

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

Creighton University's distance-learning program caters to students who work full-time, providing convenience to their education. Five doctoral degrees are offered online: Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), Doctor of Occupational Therapy (Entry Level), Doctor of Occupational Therapy (Post Professional), Doctor of Pharmacy and Doctorate of Business Administration. The DNP supplies four concentrations of advanced health promotion, diagnostic, medication and therapeutic care. DNP students will be subject to hybrid learning, with most coursework online and several on-campus required visits. The occupational therapy (entry level) program requires fieldwork and clinical experience before graduation. The program boasts 100 percent employment six months post-graduation. The occupational therapy (post professional) program is for current occupational therapists who strive for high-level management positions. The post-professional track’s classes are available online 24/7, and experiential on-site learning is coordinated locally for the student. The pharmacy degree has coursework available online with required clinical rotations, and the business administration degree requires eight-week residencies in the first and second years, with degree completion within three years of this hybrid program. Students interested in financial aid should contact the university directly for assistance.

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

Shenandoah University prepares its students for professional opportunities in a variety of fields. Higher-education learners can earn doctorates in fields such as pharmacy, nursing practice, physical therapy and musical arts. Students are equipped with even more options through accelerated or combination programs like PharmD/MBA, Doctor of Physical Therapy/Master of Science in Athletic Training, Post-BSN to DNP and Post-MSN to DNP, through which learners can commit to earning their bachelor’s and doctorate or master’s and doctorate together in a concentrated, overlapping program. The doctorates may be offered in online or hybrid formats, but interested students should contact the university directly for current information. The university has in place an Off-Campus and Distance Education Support resource that connects distance learners to digital library collections, Interlibrary loans (ILL) and a designated contact for online learning assistance. Financial aid specifically geared toward graduate students is available for application online.

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

Gardner-Webb University hosts two hybrid-learning doctoral programs tailored for working professionals and their busy schedules. The Doctorate of Business Administration has four concentrations: accounting, finance, international business and marketing. The application process requires, among other factors, an interview with the director and committee. Applicants must have a Master’s in Business with at least a 3.0 GPA. The degree program has both on-campus and online elements. The Doctor of Nursing Practice is a 36-credit program. On-campus presence is required for 20-23 hours per course in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, each semester. The face-to-face portion consists of presentations, student-faculty collaboration and theoretical content clarification. Graduate-specific financial aid options include the Forgivable Education Loan for Service, which provides assistance to students who will work in one of North Carolina’s critically understaffed areas, the Graduate Residence Director positions and deferred payment plans. Additional fees may be required for online courses.

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

Liberty University provides 12 online doctorates with numerous concentrations so its students can hone in on their professional goals while working around their busy schedules. In the School of Behavioral Sciences, the Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling focuses on marriage and family counseling, pastoral care and counseling, and traumatology. Also in behavioral sciences, students can earn a Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision. The business school has a Doctor of Business Administration with 12 concentrations, including accounting, information systems, and project management, and a brand-new Doctor of Strategic Leadership beginning fall 2018; both are available fully online. The divinity school has three doctoral programs, including a Doctor of Ministry that lists 10 concentrations. Students can also find multiple available doctorates in the education, music and nursing schools. Those interested in online learning should contact their desired program directly to inquire about specific requirements and online versus on-campus delivery methods. Qualified military and their spouses can receive reduced tuition for the Doctor of Education and Educational Specialist programs. Other forms of financial aid are offered to all qualified students.

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

University of Alabama in Huntsville students benefit from the flexibility of three online and hybrid doctoral programs in the nursing and engineering schools. Coursework for the Doctor of Nursing Practice can be completed fully online, with a required two-day on-campus intensive, which can be completed at any time during the program. Full-time students can graduate within 28 months, and part-timers can complete the degree in 52 months. The DNP prepares graduates for a variety of nursing leadership positions. The Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering program provides three concentrations: engineering management, industrial engineering and systems engineering. The doctoral degree requires 78 credits for graduation. The Civil Engineering Ph.D. is a research-oriented degree that requires students to pass a preliminary exam and qualifying exam and provide a dissertation. Graduate financial aid is presented in the forms of scholarships, assistantships, fellowships, loans, summer financial aid and veteran benefits.

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

University of Southern California hosts a variety of online doctoral programs in varying fields, including social work, physical therapy, global executive, and organizational change and leadership. The Doctor of Social Work, available in a hybrid-style learning with live online classes in addition to two in-person residencies, prepares its students for careers in research or as professors. The online classes use tools like breakout rooms, live chat and document sharing. The Doctor of Physical Therapy program can be completed by full-time students in three years and combines in-person practices with live, online courses for a hybrid learning format. The global executive program, designed for full-time working professionals who have earned a master’s and have extensive leadership experience, provides its students with a Doctorate of Education upon degree completion. Graduates will be prepared to make large-scale, sweeping improvements to educational systems. Distance-learners enrolled in the three-year organizational change and leadership program learn how to make large changes within organizations and encourage continued education within the workplace. The Net Price Calculator can help estimate the cost of online education. Grants, scholarships, athletic awards, student employment and loans can help offset the cost of schooling.

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

Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale offers 11 doctoral degrees and one specialized degree, the Doctor of Business Administration, which has an option that allows for degree completion totally online and in Spanish. Students pursuing a DBA can choose from one of two concentrations: global organizational leadership and global business. Applicants should have a master’s in business administration or related field, among other requirements. To earn the doctorate, students must have earned 60 credit hours at the postgraduate level and must complete the dissertation process. Two residencies are required for this degree. Other doctoral degrees are offered in fields such as health science, chiropractic, nursing and psychology. Prospective students can find specific admissions requirements for their desired doctoral program online, but most students can expect to need a resume, letters of recommendation, applicable exam scores and transcripts. Find more information about the cost of schooling and financial assistance, including scholarships, grants and loans, on the Financial Services website.

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

Earn a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership through the University of New England. The university’s program is unique in that, unlike many other doctoral programs, the Doctorate in Educational Leadership can be completed totally online without any visits to campus. This includes an online presentation of a student’s dissertation. The three-year, 51-credit program is formatted so students attend online classes in spring, summer and fall. Transformative leadership is the focus of the study, which prepares students to build relationships and collaborate on educational, organizational or public agency issues. The program is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. Students can pay for their education in a variety of ways, including scholarships, loans and an interest-free payment plan. In addition, veterans may benefit from the university’s designation as a Yellow Ribbon school, which provides a limited number of matched scholarships each year, or through the GI Bill.

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

Fordham University, a Jesuit university based in New York, strives to provide an education with a blend of Christian and Catholic religious tradition. The Doctor of Ministry program is a hybrid of online and on-campus learning. Students who prefer online learning may complete as few as four credits on campus, and these can be condensed in a January intersession. Any on-campus courses are offered in the evening or condensed formats. Ministry students can choose from four concentrations: spirituality, pastoral ministry, Latino ministry and generalist. Graduates of the program will be prepared for religious ministry leadership through research, theory and practice, and the curriculum pays special attention to how religious ministry affects issues like ecology, feminism, spirituality, and peace and justice. Students of this specialized school can access financial cost and assistance information online. Grad students may qualify for special assistance based on need or status as a church worker, international priest or religious worker.

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

Drexel University provides its students accredited education in pursuit of two online doctoral degrees: Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Educational Leadership and Management (EdD). The DNP is designed for nurses who want to further their careers with roles as executives or practitioners. Applicants must have experience as an advanced practice nurse, hold a current nursing license and have a master’s degree. If the master’s is not in nursing, the applicant must have earned a bachelor’s in nursing. The DNP hybrid program offers its courses online, but also requires in-person meet-ups in the formats of orientation, a one-week Global Immersion practice, graduation week residency and 500 clinical hours, which are built into the coursework of four classes. The EdD program can be taken 100 percent online, or if the student prefers, in a hybrid of online and on-campus classes. The degree is set up in three-year or five-year formats to best suit students’ needs. The five-year format can be especially helpful if the learner receives employer tuition reimbursement. Nine concentrations include athletic administration, human resource development and learning technologies. Financial aid is offered in various formats, including reduced tuition for military, partners and alumni.

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

University at Buffalo boasts a flexible, accredited, fully online doctoral program. Students of the Curriculum, Instruction and the Science of Learning program through the Learning and Instruction department earn a Ph.D. upon graduation. The curriculum focuses on creating evidence-based practices through design research, which implements change in practice, studies the effects and works on improvements for additional study. Students may follow a general track or pick from five concentrations; English education, math education and science education are concentrations available online, and elementary education and reading education are campus-based. To graduate, distance-learners must have 72 credits. The program takes four years, but it can be completed on a part-time basis in five or more years. Degree-holders will be prepared for variety of careers, including that of corporate trainers, curriculum specialists and online program coordinators. The program is accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council. Students can find information on available financial aid, including scholarships, fellowships, jobs and assistantships, online.

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

Temple University brings two advanced clinical doctorates to the table for distance-learners. The 36-credit Doctor of Athletic Training (DAT) program is designed for certified athletic trainers with a master’s degree who strive to strengthen their clinical assessments. The fully online program’s courses are offered in both synchronous and asynchronous methods, for which some classes have specific meeting times and others can be accessed 24/7 on the student’s preferred schedule. Online courses, which include both six- and 15-week sessions, are hosted in spring, summer and fall, and on this schedule, the degree is earned in two years. DAT students benefit from the program’s unique focus on advanced concussion education and evidence-based exercise. The Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (OTD) program, geared toward leadership-focused licensed occupational therapists, can be completed in as little as two years. The coursework is fully online; however, two face-to-face meetings per year are required for orientation and networking, along with 160 hours of clinical field study. The College of Public Health is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education, the National Council on Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Online tuition is a flat rate regardless of residency.

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

The University of Mississippi boasts a large array of doctorates on its docket. These degrees include subjects like accounting, nutrition and hospitality management, math education and pharmacy administration. While no doctorates are available fully online, each degree has varying levels of online accessibility depending on the current availability of web-based courses. Students interested in the flexibility of distance-learning should contact their desired program’s department for more information on availability. Online learners can access the university’s online library databases with their Ole Miss Web ID and password. The distance learning librarian is available for research assistance. Students can calculate the cost of attendance and pay for college through scholarships, grants, loans and work-study programs. Students can also access graduate loan resources, including repayment calculators, loan applications and money management resources, through the university’s Office of Financial Aid. Ole Miss is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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

Mississippi State University provides its students the opportunity for advanced learning through its seven online doctoral programs. These doctorates are in subjects of community college leadership, computational engineering, electrical and computer engineering, industrial and systems engineering and three engineering degrees with concentrations in aerospace, civil and mechanical engineering. The Community College Leadership program, designed to create the next generation of college leaders, is presented in a hybrid format, so most classes are online but specific courses must be attended on the main campus. The engineering doctorates can be completed fully online without any required on-campus visits. The distance-learning programs are offered both synchronously and asynchronously, meaning some have scheduled class times and may require interaction, while others can be taken 24/7 at the student’s convenience. The engineering degrees require either a 3.0 or 3.5 GPA on all master’s courses, depending on the specific degree program. A net price calculator and searchable scholarship database allow students to take command of their financial obligations. Several engineering-specific scholarships are also available to those who qualify.

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
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University of Colorado Denver provides access to one hybrid and three fully online doctoral programs. The Doctor of Education in Leadership for Educational Equity is the hybrid degree, which requires some on-campus classes and other online classes. The program is geared toward professionals with more than five years of experience and teaches them research and problem-solving skills they can apply to P-20 schools, community colleges, universities and nonprofits. The Doctor of Pharmacy online degree is built around working pharmacists’ needs. The courses include access to live online interactions, discussion boards and videos and require no campus visits. The DNP program prepares students for jobs such as clinical nurse educator, clinician-scholar, healthcare program developer, healthcare entrepreneur and care manager. The curriculum may include some time on campus. The nursing degree requires one campus visit per semester and is otherwise completed totally online. Grads with this degree will be prepared for positions such as a health care policy analyst and nurse-scientist researcher. DNP and nursing students residing in one of the Western Regional Graduate Program’s 14 states may be eligible for in-state tuition. Students can calculate tuition and apply for assistance on the financial aid website.

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

Indiana State University's five online doctoral programs provide added flexibility to professionals’ education. The Doctor of Nursing Practice is designed for working professionals and is offered completely online. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing Inc. Graduates of the DNP program will be ready for nursing leadership positions in medical centers, physicians’ offices, public health offices and research facilities. The Doctorate in Athletic Training is delivered in a hybrid format, requiring students to be on campus 12-15 days out of the year. Full-time students can graduate in two years. The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. Two hybrid educational administration doctorates are available with concentrations in higher education leadership and school administration. The higher education leadership program requires on-campus workshops and an internship. The school administration degree requires four in-person regional meetings but otherwise is fully online. Graduates will be ready for K-12 leadership roles like a principal or curriculum coordinator. Technology management students can choose from five specializations, will complete a dissertation and must attend two weekend-long seminars on campus. Find graduate-level scholarships in specific fields such as nursing and education on the financial aid website.

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

Harding University incorporates on-campus, online and hybrid courses to give its students freedom in their education. Students must check with the university’s course schedule to see which of their classes may be available online. The university, which incorporates Christian values in its education, offers four doctoral programs. The Doctor of Physical Therapy, a three-year program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy, combines spiritual and physical elements to create a well-rounded therapy program for patients. Physical therapy students have the option of a two-week medical mission to Zambia, Africa. The 39-credit educational leadership degree offers two concentrations in either P-20 education leadership or in higher education. Students must provide a proposal defense, written dissertation and dissertation defense. A four-year program leads pharmacy students to a Doctor of Pharmacy through instruction and early pharmacy practice with the fourth year focused on advanced practices. The Doctor of Ministry is a 34-hour seminary degree with a focus on applied research. The courses are delivered in one-week intensive seminars during the fall, spring and summer for the first two years, and the full degree can be completed in as little as three years. Students can calculate costs and apply for scholarships online.

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

Four primarily online doctoral programs through the University of Arkansas span the departments of education and nursing. For the Adult and Lifelong Learning doctorate, students choose one of two concentrations, the adult education leadership cohort or the community college leadership cohort, both of which require 96 credits and can be completed in 2.5 years. The program is 75 percent online with six face-to-face courses required per year. The 42-credit educational leadership degree serves students seeking careers as principals, local school administrators and government agency officials and can be earned in three years. Coursework is entirely online, but three weekend, on-campus seminars are required. The human resource and workforce development education program is completed totally online and can be completed in no more than seven years. Applicants must take the GRE and pass a candidacy exam and dissertation. The nursing practice doctorate provides its classes online and requires its students to attend local practicums. Students can choose from a family nurse practitioner or adult-geriatric acute care nurse practitioner concentrations. In addition, two fast-track programs are available for qualifying students: the BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP. Students can explore their financial assistance options through the financial aid office.

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

The University of Alabama offers eight online- or hybrid-format doctoral degrees through the schools of education, engineering and nursing. The requirements and delivery format vary greatly by degree, which include education administration, aerospace engineering and mechanics, and nursing practice. The nursing practice program, for example, is completed entirely online with the exception of a practicum and one spring intensive, while the engineering degree requires one campus visit per semester in addition to online learning. Others are primarily on-campus with online elements. Out-of-state distance learners should check their state’s eligibility for online learning before applying. Active-duty military and veterans may qualify for reduced tuition or scholarships. Other students may apply for financial aid in the form of federal assistance and distance learners can take advantage of the university’s scholarships geared specifically for them as well.

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

Western Connecticut State University touts its unique Doctor of Education in Nursing Education program, which is the only of its kind in Connecticut and one of only a few across the U.S. that prepares students for academic faculty roles. The nursing education program is offered primarily online through synchronous and asynchronous methods, meaning some online courses have specific class times and others can be taken 24/7 on the student’s schedule. Three sets of three-day, on-campus residencies are required at designated times during the program, which consists of 51 credits, two years of study and a dissertation process. The online Ed.D. may not be available in all states, so prospective students should check for eligibility before applying. The university supports veterans’ benefits, including veteran-supported housing on campus. The financial aid office connects students to other sources of assistance, including FAFSA forms, scholarships and loans.

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

The University of Montana delivers an abundance of doctoral programs in various subjects, including anthropology, neuroscience, and forest and conservation science. While no doctorate program is available for online completion, students can use the online course search or speak to a department contact to see if their courses may be delivered electronically. Although admissions requirements will vary by department, prospective students can expect to need a completed application, letters of recommendation and transcripts, among other things. UM Online gives students access to a host of resources for online learning, including the Mansfield Library’s digital collections for research purposes, the writing center’s online tutoring, academic calendar, veterans links and online applications. Students can use the scholarship portal to search a database of relevant funds. The net price calculator, also available through the online financial aid office, helps determine the full cost of university attendance.

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

Obtaining a Doctor of Nursing Practice, Northern Arizona University's sole online-based doctoral degree, requires a combination of online courses and on-campus experiences, as well as 1,000 hours of clinical experience. The DNP prepares students for nursing and health care administrative leadership roles, such as chief nursing officer, clinical research director and nurse administrator. Applicants will need to have a master’s degree in nursing, a current nursing license and a minimum 3.0 GPA, in addition to other factors, to be considered. To graduate, students must have at least 74 credits, meet the clinical hour requirement and pass an oral defense of their dissertation. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Local students can also earn a Doctor of Educational Leadership, which is available in a blended format, with a minimum of 63 credits. This degree prepares grads for careers such as a university president, K-12 administrator and K-12 superintendent. Students may search the available tuition discounts and scholarships through the financial aid office to see if they qualify for assistance.

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

University of Nebraska-Lincoln provides an online learning experience for three doctoral degrees in education. The educational leadership and higher education program offers both an Ed.D. and Ph.D. degree option. Prospective students can learn more about the difference between Ed.D. and Ph.D. programs on the university’s website to see which degree is a better fit for their needs. While most of the programs are available online, the Ph.D. requires six hours of on-campus research seminars, and all doctoral students will present their dissertation proposal and final defense in person. The programs offer specializations in educational leadership or higher education. Courses are offered through fall, spring and summer semesters. Additionally, the P-12 School Leadership Ed.D. in Educational Administration is available for hybrid study, with summer-session on-campus seminars required. This is a 96-credit program. Students can access the cost estimator tool online to calculate their individualized tuition and search for relevant financial aid, assistantships and fellowships.

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

University of Massachusetts-Amherst owns the distinction of being the one of the first universities in the U.S. to introduce the Doctor of Nursing Practice program online. The DNP, offered through the highly ranked research university, employs published and renowned professors to teach its courses. Students can choose from four post-bachelor’s concentrations of family nurse practitioner, adult/gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner and public health nurse leader or a post-MS DNP completion. The program coursework is 100 percent online, with clinical internships arranged within the student’s community. Applicants must have a current nursing license, a 3.0 or higher GPA, and either a bachelor’s or master’s in nursing or both an associate in nursing and bachelor’s degree in any field. Students may apply for the Nurse Faculty Loan Program, through which partial loan forgiveness is granted for graduates who serve in full-time nursing positions for a specified amount of time. Recipients could cancel up to 85 percent of their loan over four years if they serve as full-time nursing faculty at an accredited school.

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

New England College, which offers a doctoral degree with two concentrations, is accredited by New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Its Doctorate of Education program allows students to concentrate on PreK-12 leadership or higher education administration. The 60-credit program is cohort-based and completed in three years after a dissertation. The Doctor of Education focuses on applied research in its seven-week terms. Students meet for coursework and dissertation progress once a month at the Henniker, New Hampshire, campus in addition to a week residency in August. In addition to the dissertation, students will develop a capstone project before graduation. The college is a participant of the Yellow Ribbon Program, which allows GI Bill recipients to avoid or reduce out-of-pocket tuition expenses that exceed the bill’s allotment. Transfer students may be accepted into the education program, and up to eight credits could be credited toward the graduation requirement. Graduate students can apply for financial aid, learn about scholarships and estimate the cost attendance online using the student financial aid services.

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

The University of Arizona, a leading public research university, provides online, on-campus and hybrid learning for students of all levels. Its Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) offers a generalized degree or five concentration options in the areas of Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Anesthesia, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner or Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. Graduates of the DNP program are prepared to become advanced practice nurses. Applicants must have a bachelor’s or master’s in nursing. Students may attend classes on a full-time or part-time basis, and the hybrid program is formatted to be primarily online. All nursing doctoral students must attend the Resident Intensive Summer Experience in Tucson, Ariz., annually, where they conduct research, meet faculty and peers, learn about funding opportunities and collaborate on classwork or projects. Students can search graduate financial aid options online and are considered for scholarships within the nursing school on a rolling basis.

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
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University of Delaware, established in 1743, boasts enrollment of more than 23,000 students, 100 study abroad programs and a host of traditional and online courses. Of the doctoral degrees offered by the university, there is one Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, one DPT in Physical Therapy and 44 Ph.D. programs across fields such as applied physiology, art history, oceanography and psychology. Both on-campus and online students have access to the University of Delaware Library's online research guides, eJournals and online databases for research purposes. In addition, ImaginePhD is a free online tool for Ph.D. students and postdoctoral scholars in humanities and social sciences to explore their career options. The tool helps individuals map out their career path based on their skill set and interests and aims to create professional success in the fields. Students can also calculate graduate tuition and find financial aid options like departmental funding, grants and loans online.

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

Texas Tech University, home to more than 5,800 graduate students, provides a myriad of high-level degrees, including a number of online and hybrid style degrees. Courses for the Doctor of Education in Agricultural Education, Educational Leadership and Higher Education as well as courses for the Doctor of Philosophy in Family and Consumer Science Education, Special Education, Systems and Engineering Management, and Technical Communication and Rhetoric can be taken fully online. In addition, the two hybrid Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction degrees have two concentrations available: curriculum studies and teacher education and also STEM education. Students can calculate their educational costs through the Tuition Estimator and find financial assistance that meets their needs. Military and veterans may qualify for special benefits like reduced tuition and other education benefits.

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

Among Clemson University's science- and engineering-focused degrees, three Ph.D. programs offered partially online stand out. The Ph.D in Healthcare Genetics is a blended, or hybrid, research program for which there are three tracks: interventionists, translational bench science, and ethics and health policy. Degree graduates are prepared to develop research programs in genetics and enter jobs such as genetics educator, industry research scientist and genetics policy/bioethics expert. The Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management–Recreation Therapy hybrid program is designed for students with obligations that make them unable to attend traditional on-campus classes. While the curriculum hosts most classes online, a trio of five-day residencies are required in addition to the dissertation process, and online courses happen at specific times. Applicants to the Rhetorics, Communication and Information Design blended program must have a master’s in a specified related field and a 3.5 GPA on previous grad work. Students will have on-campus obligations such as dissertations and an exam defense. Degree graduates are readied for consultancy jobs in industry, government or nonprofit organizations or in academia. The Office of Student Financial Aid connects grad students with information on applicable assistance.

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

University of California-Berkeley students can earn one of the more than 100 graduate degrees or concurrent degrees that the school offers. The numerous Ph.D. programs vary by subject, from anthropology and biophysics to public policy and urban design. All learners can benefit from the free online tool UC BerkeleyX, which provides credit and non-credit courses and degree programs online. In addition, Graduate Professional Development tools offer support in areas such as writing, mentoring and career planning. Specific admission requirements may vary by program but in most cases, basic requirements include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college, a minimum GPA of 3.0 and enough undergraduate training to complete graduate-level work in the student’s chosen field.

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

Students at Boston University seeking flexible, non-traditional degrees in high-level subjects can choose from five online or hybrid doctoral selections. The Doctor of Musical Arts in Music Education prepares students for music education policy leadership roles. Applicants must pass a proficiency exam before classes begin. A five-day, on-campus residency is required as well as a dissertation defense. The Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. program is designed for both bachelor’s and master’s applicants, and research can be conducted in areas such as biomechanics and MEMS and nanotechnology. The entry-level Occupational Therapy Doctorate is geared toward students with a bachelor’s degree who wish to become a qualified occupational therapist. The program requires four on-campus semesters and summer-month online courses. The Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy is designed for occupational therapists who seek leadership positions in the field. Students are paired one-to-one with an adviser for the duration of this program. The Social Work Ph.D. program provides training in theory, values and research methods that can be applied by graduates, the next generation of scholars and leaders in the field. Social work students must meet residency requirements of four consecutive semesters of full-time study. Financial aid options and veteran services are available online.

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

University of the Cumberlands, a Kentucky institution that educates more than 3,000 graduate students per year, hosts three online and two hybrid doctoral programs. Clinical psychology students of the hybrid programs can choose from a Ph.D. or Psy.D. The Educational Leadership Ed.D., a 60-credit program, prepares students to develop advanced skills from research. The program can be completed in three years and is totally online. The Counselor Education and Supervision Ed.D. program, accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, focuses on imparting skills needed for higher education instruction. The Ph.D. in Leadership teaches instruction and administrative methods and politics of program planning. Each of the degrees requires a different set of admissions and graduation criteria, and students wishing to pursue one of these programs should contact the department directly. Financing options, including the university’s payment plan, can be accessed through the financial aid office online.

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

Colorado State University-Fort Collins offers two online Ph.D. hybrid programs, which are completed mostly online but contain on-campus elements. The Higher Education Leadership Ph.D., which requires two campus visits, readies graduates for higher education leadership opportunities. The program maintains a 95 percent retention rate because of the setup, which includes an online format that suits full-time workers and the cohort process that bands the same group of students from beginning to degree completion. Higher education leadership requires written and oral comprehensive exams, juried publication or presentation and a dissertation. The courses for the Systems Engineering Ph.D. are delivered synchronously or asynchronously, with specific online course times or flexible classes available 24/7. The program teaches students how to problem-solve using a variety of tools from fields like control systems, risk analysis and software engineering in order to develop systematic design and management processes. Students with a related master’s degree can shave time off their schooling with application of those credits. The FAQs page can answer many questions about financial aid, tuition, accreditation and 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

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville is an advantageous center of learning as it is a top U.S. research institution. Vols Online, the university’s site for online education, lists three doctorates that can be earned in a hybrid format. The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), which has five tracks, and the Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing require on-campus attendance twice but otherwise can be completed through a combination of live online courses, asynchronous classes available for independent pursuit 24/7 and possible clinical courses. Graduate nursing students can apply for admissions online. Doctoral students are required to take the GRE and submit a writing sample among other factors. Students seeking a DNP do not have to take the GRE if their GPA is 3.3 or higher. The Doctor of Social Work in Clinical Practice and Leadership is designed for students working full-time to avoid professional disruption. The accelerated program can be completed within three years, and students are required to attend campus annually for one week in the summer. Find detailed tuition and fees and financial aid options through the university’s online resources.

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

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, which has been awarding doctorates since 1891, is a nationally ranking institution within UNC’s 17-campus system. The university currently offers one doctoral degree, the Doctor of Education in Kinesiology, in an online format with required attendance at just three on-campus events. The 54-hour credit program, including a dissertation, can be completed in four years. The degree, designed for professionals with at least three years of experience, focuses instruction on leadership, advocacy and teaching practice. Out-of-state residents should check their state’s licensure requirements as the university cannot guarantee that its programs will grant professional licensure in a state other than North Carolina. UNCG’s online graduate classes are cheaper than its on-campus counterparts, and students can check out the cost per credit hour broken down online for in-state, out-of-state and outside-N.C. students.

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

Union Institute & University, established in 1964, is a non-profit, accredited higher education institution. The university’s four online or hybrid doctoral programs, each of which require 66 credit hours, can be completed within three years or in no more than seven years. The Educational Studies Ph.D. centers its instruction on social justice factors in pre-K-12 and higher education. In the Ethical & Creative Leadership Ph.D. program, students hone in on their creativity, innovation and ethical intelligence and learn to apply it to leadership styles. The Humanities & Culture Ph.D. focuses on social justice changes, and students learn about social and political philosophy, history, literature and other fields. Through the Public Policy & Social Change Ph.D. program, distance learners find out how to enact social change through problem-solving. This interdisciplinary program is delivered in hybrid format. The university strives to accommodate its military veteran students through its status as a Yellow Ribbon school, VA benefits, scholarships and stipends, and credit for military experience. The Financial Resources page breaks down the tuition cost by degree and links students to applicable assistance methods.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
Explore online degree programs Search Programs

An Intro to Doctorates

Academic and professional doctoral degrees give distinction to 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 PhD programs 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 after completing a bachelor’s degree to earn a PhD.

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 can’t attend campus-based courses.

There are a wide variety of professional doctoral degrees, with the 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 a few of the many doctoral degrees available:

  • 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:

Explore online degree programs Search Programs
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.

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.

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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.

How Online Doctoral Degree Programs Work

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.