Best PhD programs in California in 2021 - Best Value Schools

Best PhD programs in California in 2021

February 12, 2021 | Staff Writers

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Why Choose PhD Programs in California?

Like in any state, choosing a PhD is done because you are passionate about your field and a specific subject. PhD students use research time to make discoveries in their field and to focus on their own research. Programs in California are available online, in hybrid formats and in person, so students choose to learn the way they learn best.

Choosing PhD Programs in California

There are many excellent schools in California that offer PhD programs. Most PhD programs can be completed in between two and six years, and graduates earn around 26% more than others who did not attend college or university at all. Depending on the PhD, it could be highly lucrative to complete a post-graduate program.

The following are 15 schools that offer PhD programs in California. These schools are among the best in the state and offer excellent PhD options for students looking to move forward with their post-graduate studies.

The Top 15 Schools for a PhD Programs in California

1. Concordia University Irvine

Concordia University Irvine offers online doctorate programs as well as in-person programs. Synchronous program styles allow online learners to work at the same time as in-class classmates. Students have the option of meeting in-person in Irvine or at satellite campuses.

  • Tuition (in-state): $7,953
  • Enrollment: 3,911

2. Trident University International

Trident University International offers completely online courses for doctorate programs. Students still need to complete dissertations and oral defenses of their doctoral degrees. The school offers the Higher One TuitionPay program, so tuition rates are broken down into smaller payments without interest.

  • Tuition (in-state): $6,120
  • Enrollment: 7,298

3. Southern California Seminary

Southern California Seminary has eight post-graduate programs available online, one of which includes the Doctor of Ministry, which is a hybrid program. The courses are flexible and start every seven weeks for new students.

  • Tuition (in-state): $15,588
  • Enrollment: 176

4. Point Loma Nazarene University

At Point Loma Nazarene University, students can take graduate programs online and through hybrid program options. The school offers a unique doctorate of nursing in a hybrid format as well as others. The school is a Christian faith-based university with a small 14-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio.

  • Tuition (in-state): $11,880
  • Enrollment: 4,567

5. California Institute of Integral Studies

Located in San Francisco, the California Institute of Integral Studies offers a doctoral program in Transformative Studies or in Integral and Transpersonal Psychology. Programs are available online, while residential intensives are located in the Bay Area.

  • Tuition (in-state): $21,708
  • Enrollment: 1,476

6. Brandman University

Brandman University is a private school with programs aimed at professionals who are already working. On-campus and online programs are both offered. The majority of students are around 36 years old, making this a good school choice for older learners. Doctorate students use the cohort process.

  • Tuition (in-state): $11,880
  • Enrollment: 10,231

7. Cal State East Bay

Cal State East Bay offers a variety of graduate programs in social justice, education and more. Around 20% of the programs are available through online or hybrid formats, while other courses require in-person coursework to be completed.

  • Tuition (in-state): $7,176
  • Enrollment: 16,064

8. California State University, Fullerton

California State University, Fullerton, offers online post-graduate programs in a variety of fields. Programs are available online, in a hybrid format or even in person, depending on the preferences. The university has nine colleges and departments.

  • Tuition (in-state): $7,176
  • Enrollment: 40,445

9. Loma Linda University

Loma Linda University offers doctoral degrees online and in hybrid forms. For some programs, such as those in the medical field, students will still need to participate in clinicals. Some programs are available in off-campus locations, as well.

  • Tuition (in-state): $26,880
  • Enrollment: 4,462

10. Samuel Merritt University

Samuel Merritt University has three campuses in Oakland, Sacramento and San Francisco. It offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree online, but students may also attend the different campuses for their work. Students have access to clinical experiences in over 1,000 health care facilities through the university’s programs.

  • Tuition (in-state): $51,313
  • Enrollment: 2,029

11. Azusa Pacific University

Azusa Pacific University has over 200 programs that it offers, including online doctoral degrees. On-campus courses are available, so students can choose to come to class or work online as needed. Online courses allow faculty and students to talk in real-time with online chat features.

  • Tuition (in-state): $17,592
  • Enrollment: 9,297

12. California Baptist University

California Baptist University offers 40 different degree programs including online doctoral degrees and hybrid programs. Many programs can be completed in just 16 months, making it easier to graduate in less time.

  • Tuition (in-state): $12,830
  • Enrollment: 11,045

13. Loyola Marymount University

Loyola Marymount University is located in Los Angeles and has 2,200 graduate students, on average. It offers three doctoral degree programs and has been recognized as being a top producer of Fulbright student scholars.

  • Tuition (in-state): $18,606
  • Enrollment: 9,822

14. Pepperdine University

Pepperdine University is a Christian institution that offers online doctoral degree options. The majority of the time, these programs offer a hybrid experience, requiring at least some in-person coursework. The school has six campuses across California.

  • Tuition (in-state): $34,900
  • Enrollment: 8,824

15. University of Southern California

The University of Southern California has online professional and graduate programs as well as those on campus. Students can select from hundreds of programs online or on campus, making it easy to get the right degree program. The majority of courses have flexible scheduling for working professionals.

  • Tuition (in-state): $46,272
  • Enrollment: 48,321

Ranking Specifications

The schools listed in this article were ranked based on total tuition costs and enrollment. Lower tuition and enrollment rates were scored higher, while high tuition or high enrollment resulted in lower scores. The two scores were added and then ranked from best to worst, creating the list above.

The list contains information that is subject to change. It is not guaranteed.

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