The 30 Best Online PhD Degrees
Texas Tech University (94 points)
Texas Tech University has been offering distance education for decades. The school’s eLearning and Academic Partnerships offers online bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, including six fully online PhD degrees. The school’s online PhD programs are in special education, family and consumer science education, educational leadership policy, curriculum and instruction (STEM track), curriculum and instruction (language, diversity, & literacy studies track), and curriculum and instruction (curriculum studies and teacher education track).
University of the Cumberlands (91 points)
The University of the Cumberlands has a mission to train students to be servant leaders while providing quality higher education. The school is dedicated to making sure that every student succeeds, regardless of whether they are attending the school straight out of high school or working full-time while working to advance their education. The school believes in hands-on education as well as classroom training.
Regent University (90 points)
Regent University was established to prepare leaders who would excel in their professions and have a positive impact on the world. The school was founded in 1978 and now has over 11,000 students. Regents is dedicated to academic excellence and is frequently ranked highly by US News & World Report.
Indiana State Online (89 points)
Indiana State University’s core values are learning, discovery, engagement, and inclusiveness. The school seeks to prepare leaders by providing transformative educational experiences. ISU encourages intellectual curiosity and seeks to forge long-term connections within the global and local communities. The school genuinely values and recognizes the importance of diversity, both of individuals and of ideas and expressions. ISU provides challenging experiences and a high-quality education.
Liberty University (87 points)
Liberty University trains students to be the best at whatever they do. The university is made up of 15 schools and colleges and has more than 100,000 students all over the world. It offers more than 450 online programs and trains pastors, law enforcement officers, artists, teachers, nurses, CEOs, counselors, pilots, and many other professionals. Liberty University graduates excel in their careers and serve their communities.
Concordia University Chicago (85 points)
An online doctoral program through Concordia University Chicago positions students as experts at the top of their fields. It isn’t easy to go back to school and earn a doctorate or PhD after years in the workforce, but the advantages make doing so worthwhile. Doctoral graduates earn an average of $1,743 per week, which is significantly more than master’s level graduates.
The University of Southern Mississippi (81 points)
The University of Southern Mississippi has pride in its students, pride in its traditions and history, and pride in its vision. The school’s students have earned Truman scholarships, National Science Foundation graduate research fellowships, Goldwater scholarships, and other awards and honors. The school is one of just 130 universities in the United States to earn an R1 classification from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.
Trident University International (78 points)
Trident University offers a dynamic learning environment where students improve their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. Trident offers 100% online courses without daily check-ins, allowing their students the flexibility to fit their schoolwork into their schedules on their own terms. The school tries to keep its tuition low so that students receive great value for their educational dollars.
Adams State University Colorado (78 points)
Adams State University Colorado provides a framework for learning that includes relationships with peers, interdisciplinary and collaborative projects, original research, and writing-intensive courses. Students gain real-world experience through volunteer opportunities and internships and develop relationships with mentors. The school offers an online PhD in Counselor Education & Supervision that prepares students for work as practitioners, researchers, supervisors, and educators.
University of North Dakota Online (77 points)
The University of North Dakota was founded before North Dakota was even a state. It remains the largest university in the state to this day. It has small class sizes and is known for being military-friendly. The school is a leader in unmanned aircraft systems, aviation, medicine, and engineering. UND offers online PhD degrees in aerospace science, biomedical engineering, electrical engineering, energy engineering, environmental engineering, indigenous health, nursing, and petroleum engineering.
University of Florida (77 points)
The University of Florida offers over 200 fully online programs and certificates, including two PhD degree programs. The school is dedicated to challenging itself as well as conventional wisdom. UF strives to see things as they could be in order to have a greater impact. The school has space, sea, and land grants that allow it to perform research that makes a difference in Florida and around the world.
University of South Dakota Online (77 points)
The University of South Dakota Online offers affordable and flexible online graduate and undergraduate programs, including one online PhD program. The school is dedicated to giving students the flexibility of being able to learn online so they can benefit from a quality education no matter where they live. USD Online offers the same tuition for out-of-state students, making the school’s programs accessible for students from all around the world.
Northcentral University (76 points)
If you’re looking for variety, look no further than Northcentral University. With 55 online PhD degrees to choose from, the school has something for just about everyone. Earning your doctoral degree online with Northcentral puts you in the top 3% in the country based on level of education. This makes you stand out to prospective employers.
University of Colorado Online (76 points)
The University of Colorado Online is an affordable and flexible way to earn your degree. The school offers online programs that are designed to be flexible enough to allow students to earn their degrees while working full-time. The University of Colorado Online offers a PhD in Nursing with three concentrations to choose from: biobehavioral sciences, caring science, and healthcare systems research.
University at Albany (76 points)
The University of Albany has been offering online education for 20 years. The school’s online programs offer flexibility and convenience for working adults. Students benefit from top-notch educational programs that help them meet their personal and career goals. The University of Albany tries to integrate its students into their classes so they develop personal relationships with their peers and faculty.
Clemson University (75 points)
Clemson University is one of the leading public universities in the United States. The school takes advantage of high-tech solutions to provide a quality online learning experience. Clemson’s online programs are flexible enough to allow students to work around their schedules. The school has over 25,000 students and an 83.7% six-year graduation rate.
University of North Carolina Greensboro (75 points)
The University of North Carolina Greensboro Online offers a first-class education with many exceptional academic programs to choose from, including one online PhD program, a PhD in Business Administration. Students gain a strong foundation in all areas of business. The four-year program requires 60 credit hours of instruction, which includes a dissertation. Students must visit the campus for orientation, exams, and for their dissertation defense.
Nova Southeastern University Florida (74 points)
Nova Southeastern University Florida is determined to provide ways for students from all over the world to earn their degrees with the school. The school was the first in the US to offer a doctoral program via distance education. That was in 1972, and today, the school offers nine online PhD programs. The school’s online curriculum includes opportunities for students to communicate with their faculty and peers.
Johns Hopkins University (74 points)
Johns Hopkins University has a long history of research. The school’s first president felt that research and teaching go hand in hand. To this day, Johns Hopkins is heavy on research. The school is a leader in both research and education. Its outstanding professors mentor students in health professions, business, education, international studies, engineering, natural and social sciences, the humanities, and more.
University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (73 points)
The College of Nursing at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee has a collaborate, competitive nursing program that is known for producing compassionate nurses with a foundation in science. The school conducts research that benefits patients of all ages and recruits students for nursing training at every level from first-year nursing students to the PhD level.
University of Louisiana at Monroe Online (69 points)
The University of Louisiana at Monroe has been preparing students for successful careers for more than 80 years, and now the school is offering the same quality education online. ULM Online offers more than 35 online degree programs, including one online PhD degree. The school provides a supportive and caring community with many resources to help students succeed. The courses are eight weeks long to help students reach their goals more quickly.
Andrews University (68 points)
Andrews University has been focused on research and scholarship from the beginning. The school believes in giving students choices. It offers a variety of programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels, including several online programs. Andrews offers four online PhD programs, in education, curriculum, and instruction; higher education administration; educational leadership; and leadership.
Johnson University (67 points)
Johnson University offers a community-oriented, affordable education that is rooted in excellence. The school offers quality educational programs, including an online PhD in Leadership Studies. The program requires 60 credits and is designed for working adults. Students who complete the program will be able to explain the ethical and philosophical foundations of leadership and demonstrate effective leadership within their organizations.
Concordia University Irvine (62 points)
Concordia University Irvine offers quality online programs for today’s educational market. The school offers programs that provide results to help improve students’ lives. The programs prepare students to succeed at whatever they set out to do. CUI has been ranked by US News & World Report as one of the best regional universities and offers the same quality programs online as it offers in its on-campus courses.
Duquesne University (61 points)
Duquesne University provides a challenging and well-rounded education that helps students become their best selves. The school is dedicated to excellence in education, strong moral values, diversity, and a spirit of service. The faculty members provide an outstanding educational experience and the faculty-student ratio is 1:14, so students can get individualized attention from their professors. In fact, many classes have fewer than 20 students.
Colorado State University Online (61 points)
Colorado State University Online offers programs taught by faculty members who are recognized for their industry experience. Online students receive the same education and the same degree as their on-campus peers. The school offers one online PhD, a PhD in Systems Engineering that prepares students to be able to solve complicated problems while working with multi-disciplinary teams.
George Washington Online (60 points)
George Washington Online offers online programs in nursing, medicine, education, business, liberal arts, and more. The school understands the importance of a quality education, and it delivers. GW is well known for its world-class education, and online students benefit from the same quality instruction. GW Online offers two online PhD degrees, in Systems Engineering and in Nursing. The nursing programs requires a short on-campus presence each term.
Rush University (60 points)
Rush University conducts important research and provides exceptional health sciences education. The school is focused on transforming healthcare by providing quality education and research. Its core values are excellence, respect, accountability, collaboration, and innovation. Rush employees are dedicated to upholding these core values. The school offers an online PhD in Health Sciences that prepares students to become leaders in the health sciences.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute (54 points)
Worcester Polytechnic Institute takes a project-based approach to education that it believes is essential to preparing students for their careers. Students learn by completing projects, gaining real-world experience as they do. They have the opportunity to apply the concepts and skills they have learned to real-world problems. The school offers an online PhD program in Systems Engineering.
Baylor University (53 points)
Baylor University offers rigorous academic programs in an online format. Its flexible online programs incorporate the school’s 175 years of educational experience. Baylor’s online programs require both project work and field work as well as strategic immersions. They are taught by outstanding faculty members with experience in their fields. The Diana R. Garland School of Social Work offers an online PhD in Social Work that creates skilled educators and leaders.
Our Ranking Methodology
We made a list of schools that offer online PhD degrees and checked to see how many online PhD programs each school offered. For programs with multiple specializations, we counted each specialization as a separate program.
For tuition cost, we used the in-state graduate tuition as stated on the school’s website. We looked for a cost per semester first. If the cost was given per credit, we multiplied by 12 for a full-time credit load. If the cost was given per year, we divided by two to get the per-semester cost.
After sorting first by the tuition cost and then by the number of online PhD degrees, we assigned points to each school, with a maximum of 50 points for tuition cost (lowest is best) and 50 points for the number of programs (highest is best). We added these two scores to get a final score for ranking.
Problems with Your Ranking?
If you work for one of the schools we ranked and you notice an error in the information we used to rank you, please feel free to contact us and let us know so we can make a correction.