30 Best Online PhD Programs for 2020

Home ยป 30 Best Online PhD Programs for 2020

If you’re interested in pursuing online PhD programs, now’s the time. There are more PhD programs available as online courses now than ever before.

Best Online PhD Programs

These courses can either be 100% online or blended. This means they may mostly be online but may require you to take exams on campus or at a designated testing location.

You can get an online PhD degree in the same amount of time you would on campus. Online PhD programs come in various subjects so you can focus on the field of your choice.

Types of Online PhD Programs

We’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular online PhD programs below. Click on the area you’re interested in to learn more about that program.

  1. Accounting
  2. Business Administration
  3. Counseling
  4. Criminal Justice
  5. Curriculum & Instruction
  6. Education
  7. Educational Leadership
  8. Finance
  9. Healthcare Management
  10. Higher Education
  11. Homeland Security
  12. Human Resources
  13. Information Technology
  14. Management
  15. Management Information Systems
  16. Nurse Practitioner (RN Required)
  17. Nursing Education (RN Required)
  18. Organizational Leadership
  19. Project Management
  20. Psychology
  21. Public Administration
  22. Public Health
  23. Public Policy
  24. Special Education
  25. Supply Chain and Logistics

Many of these degree programs have concentrations that you can choose to further narrow your studies.

Accounting

accountant working in office

Online PhD programs for accounting are some of the most popular online PhD programs in business. These degrees are usually pursued by people with undergrad and master’s degrees in accounting and business management fields.

If you’re analytical and good with numbers, this may be a good degree path for you to pursue.

These degrees are primarily research-based. The course requirements should include several higher-level accounting classes and classes in research and theory. Such as empirical research methods, behavioral research methods, research in taxation, capital markets research, and more.


Quantitative research tools and economics courses may also be a part of the curriculum. Receiving your PhD in Accounting can lead to potential jobs such as a senior accountant, owner of an accounting firm, college professor of accounting or business finance, consultant, researcher, financial analyst, and more.

Business Administration

accounting consultant checking the report of his colleague

This is another top-rated online business PhD program. It’s the highest possible degree you can attain in business administration. Not only in the U.S. but in several other countries as well.

This degree program usually consists of coursework, independent research and study, and the passing of a comprehensive final exam.

If you’re trying to enter the doctoral program for business administration, you should have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant business field at a minimum to apply. Master’s degrees in business administration or another business-related field are, of course, preferred.


Most programs also require you to have a particular score on either the GRE or GMAT. If you’re enrolled in the program, you may take higher-level courses in business-related classes, such as strategy and innovation. As well as leadership, project management, human resource management, accounting, business intelligence, and more.

Potential jobs after earning your PhD degree include private or government consultant, college professor, and more.

Counseling

counselor listening to her client during counseling session

Online PhD programs in the field of counseling are specifically designed to give you the knowledge you’ll need to practice counseling in many different settings. Including in private practices, various educational institutions, or an agency of some sort.

The course focus is placed on providing students with a well-rounded education that includes overall health and wellness. As well as upper-level psychology theories, advanced counseling techniques, and understanding patients defined by race, culture, gender, and class differences.


Courses are taught using a variety of seminars, coursework, and research. Towards the program’s end, it’s possible you may have internships or teaching assistance followed by a final dissertation.

By the end of the program, you should have a deep understanding of the importance of research, research skills, and clinical theory. In addition to a full comprehension of the complexities of the human psyche and knowledge of the American Psychological Association (APA) code of conduct and ethics.

Criminal Justice

lawyer reviewing documents in her office

In addition to general coursework and electives, a PhD program in criminal justice puts a strong focus on courses such as:

  • Criminal justice
  • Criminology
  • Qualitative empirical methods
  • Quantitative empirical methods
  • Justice policy

Coursework is broken into online lectures and seminars, but most of your work may be done through research and practical casework.


The program is designed to provide you with the knowledge you need to staff various criminal justice agencies at the local, state, and federal levels. While also covering how to help improve the safety of your area through advanced criminology techniques.

You should also have some experience establishing research partnerships with various agencies. Your criminal justice PhD degree could qualify you for potential jobs in both criminal justice fields and institutions of higher education.

Curriculum & Instruction

teacher reviewing documents in his office

If you’re applying for a doctoral program in curriculum and instruction, chances are you’re already an educator. Most online PhD programs in education are almost exclusively designed for certified teachers.

However, it’s possible you’re a graduate student moving straight from certification into the doctoral program.

Either way, if you’re seeking your PhD in Curriculum and Instruction, you’re likely looking to increase your knowledge of the educational field. This degree program is meant for people interested in pursuing careers in curriculum development, leadership development, advanced teaching, or pure research.


If you’re already a certified teacher, you can usually earn this degree in three or four years if you’re taking a full class load each semester.

Courses are heavily focused on designing curriculums, educational administration and leadership, curriculum instruction, research methods, qualitative and quantitative design, and analysis and advanced education studies. You’ll be required to give a dissertation at the end of the program.

Education

university professor teaching in a classroom

A PhD in Education is one of only three different doctoral degrees available in education. The other two are a Doctor of Education (EdD) and a Doctor in Education (DEd). All three degrees are potential paths for you if you’re hoping to gain employment in a clinical, administrative, or academic research position.


Speaking specifically of the PhD in Education, courses are most often taught as a mixture of coursework, online lectures, and seminars. Plenty of research and a final dissertation is also required before you can officially earn your doctorate in this field.

Once you’ve earned your PhD degree in the education field, you have the potential to teach as a professor at the university level. You could also use this degree to become a school administrator or superintendent.

Educational Leadership

training manager conducting a seminar to various professionals

A PhD in Educational Leadership is geared towards helping those in education gain the skills they need to become effective leaders.

Coursework for education leadership focuses on critical thinking, higher reasoning, and learning to solve problems effectively. These aspects can help you make positive changes at all levels of the educational spectrum.

This includes elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as institutions of higher learning, corporate training facilities, and even military educational institutions.


Some popular careers that could be available to you after receiving your education leadership PhD degree are:

  • Educational Administrator
  • University Professor
  • Survey Researcher
  • Social/Community Service Manager
  • Training and Development Manager
  • Superintendent
  • Dean

Obtaining your PhD in Education Leadership can extend your dream career further. This can bring lucrative prospects to you, helping you live the life you dream of.

financial managers reviewing their work on laptop

An online PhD program in finance should focus on a vast array of financial topics and courses. Such as pricing and the valuation of assets, practical decision-making by financial intermediaries, and the behavior of finance on a global marketing scale.

Most coursework is handled through a series of online seminars and lectures, developing theoretical models and testing them empirically.

By the end of the program, if you’ve completed all the coursework and graduation requirements to earn your degree, you should have an excellent grasp of all areas of finance. Most notably as it relates to the empirical testing of theoretical modeling.


If you earn your PhD in Finance, there are several job opportunities that could be available to you.

Some of the most common of these are chief financial officer, budget analyst, compensation and benefits manager, financial manager, or a sales agent in either financial service, commodities, or securities.

Healthcare Management

healthcare managers working on laptop in the office

PhD programs in healthcare management are open almost exclusively to students with a master’s degree in healthcare management or a similar, related field from accredited universities.

A few online PhD programs in this field, however, are even more selective. They require applicants to have some experience working in healthcare management or management in a closely related field.

The coursework for an online PhD in Healthcare Management consists mostly of organizational strategies, communication skills, and research. The goal of the program is to ready you for an upper-level leadership role in healthcare administration.


Other courses focus on the politics of healthcare and healthcare reform, including economic factors that drive specific policies and legislation.

There are generally some courses in accounting, finance, and economics, as well.

Higher Education

administrative officers researching on their laptop

Everything you need to know about a PhD in Higher Education is pretty much right there in the name. This degree will help prepare you for a career in higher education, particularly in higher education administration.

Taking this course of study online is a little different from taking it on campus.

Online coursework primarily centers around one-on-one virtual time with professors and a lot of research. The research component is particularly important because it helps you learn the research skills you’ll need for a job in higher education dealing with grants, statistics, and many other components.


To this end, a research-based dissertation is almost always required before your degree is conferred.

This field is ideal for people who love to learn, are research-oriented and incredibly focused. This degree can prepare you for advanced leadership roles or senior administrative roles within higher education institutions.

Homeland Security

Homeland security control room staff

If you have excellent critical thinking and decision-making skills and a master’s degree in a field related to homeland security, getting a PhD in Homeland Security might be the perfect choice for you.

Also, if you have an interest in what’s going on in our country today and think you might be able to find creative solutions to problems in domestic security, you could be perfect for this degree program.


Some courses taught in an online homeland security program include:

  • Advanced critical reasoning
  • Decision-making skills
  • Communications
  • Media communications
  • Legal statutes and regulations
  • Intelligence operations
  • Cyber security
  • Government
  • Global relations
  • Effective defense tactics

After earning your degree in this field, you have the potential to go on to work for the government at the local, state, or federal level, homeland security, or in national defense.

Human Resources

human resource manager assisting an employee

A career in human resources could take you into a lot of places because just about every industry and business requires a human resources person to work on-site.

A PhD in Human Resources could lead you to a job in human resource management, which is the upper-level tier of human resources.


As a human resource manager, you might be required to perform any of the following job duties:

  • Recruit/hire new employees
  • Be the link between employees and management
  • Plan and coordinate administrative functions
  • Educate new employees about company policies and current employees about new or changing company policies
  • Assist employees with understanding their benefits and tax information

A PhD in human resources can teach you all the skills necessary to do these things. It can also lead to other, higher-level jobs, such as compensation manager, employee manager, staffing director, or a higher-level executive.

Information Technology

IT engineer fixing cables on data room

Information technology (IT) is one of the fastest-growing career fields available. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the information technology field has a 12% job growth.

Every business needs the services of an IT person at some point. This means the potential to have a lucrative career is high for you in the information technology industry. The degree plan consists of coursework, research, and a dissertation which you typically start working on early on in the program.


Earning your PhD in Information Technology can lead you to several potential high-level jobs, including a professor of IT, chief information officer, Vice President or President of IT, senior IT manager, IT director, lead systems analyst, senior consultant, systems administrator and others.

Management

management consultant talking to colleague in his office

If you’re interested in joining an online PhD program for management, there are a few options you can choose from.

Many of these have very comprehensive course curriculums that incorporate facets of the social sciences, research skills, strategy, human resource management, organizational behavior, and more.

Some potential classes include:

  • Various levels of economics classes
  • Human resources research
  • Family business research
  • Network theory

To be successful in this program, it helps if you are a hard worker and very driven. Most programs are fast-paced and appeal to those who are both excellent leaders and multitaskers.

A management degree program can prepare you to work in management fields in different industries. It can give you access to many potential jobs, such as corporate entrepreneurship, professor of business, upper-level executive, policy analyst, management consultant, and more.

Management Information Systems

computer and information systems managers working in data center

If computers, research, or science is your thing, you might be looking to work towards your PhD in Management Information Systems. This degree program focuses heavily on methodology, research, and conceptual skills. All while incorporating technology into every aspect of the program.

If you’re into statistical analysis and designing complex programs, this could be the degree for you.


Potential jobs for which you could be eligible after earning your management information systems degree include a professor of business or information systems at the secondary or post-secondary level.

It also includes computer network architect, computer hardware engineer, computer and information systems manager, or computer and information research scientist.

Your management information systems degree can bring potential careers that are sustaining and lucrative.

Nurse Practitioner (RN Required)

nurse looking after a young patient

If you are looking to further your nursing education, there are two avenues you can take depending on your career goals. One is to work towards your Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or your doctor of philosophy in nursing (PhD).

Although both doctorate degrees give you the extended education in nursing you need to excel in your chosen career, their main focus can take you on different paths.

PhD

A doctor of philosophy in nursing (PhD) focuses on research in health services. This degree takes more scientific research and an academic approach to nursing.

Some of your nursing PhD coursework will concentrate heavily on healthcare policy, data analysis and statistics, education, and research. A dissertation is required to complete your PhD degree.

DNP

A doctor of nursing practice (DNP) focuses on nursing practices in health care. Your DNP can take your down an academic path but it concentrates more on clinical practice and leadership.

Your DNP coursework will focus on medical research and how it applies to patient care. You will continue to learn to excel at nursing and managing teams. You will gain knowledge that will help you improve hospital and clinic administration and use the latest technology. A scholarly project is required to complete your DNP degree.

If you are looking to conduct independent research, help improve healthcare policies, or would love to teach, earning your nursing PhD may be the avenue to take.

If you are looking to continue your clinical work or become a nurse practitioner and hope to improve organizing healthcare systems and the way people are cared for, earning your DNP would be a great option.

Nursing Education (RN Required)

head nurse helping another nurse with her assignments

A PhD in Nursing Education is actually quite similar to the PhD in Nursing listed above. Both these fields appeal to a very similar set of people. Usually, nurses who have been in the nursing field for a long time and want to move into the research, theory, and educational fields of nursing apply for this program.

If you’re interested in becoming a professor of nursing or someone who trains other nurses, then a PhD in Nursing Education is perfect for you.


This degree program has particular goals, namely to prepare nurses for new careers in clinical research, education, health administration, and sometimes for advanced clinical practice.

In short, this degree should prepare nurses to transition out of pure nursing and move into leadership roles instead.

Organizational Leadership

team of professionals meeting in a conference room

This particular degree program is quite similar in layout to the degree program for a PhD in Business Administration.

It usually appeals to people who already work in supervisory, management, or leadership positions but want to update their skills and become better leaders within their organizations.

This is a coursework-heavy degree, focusing on a wide variety of subjects including, but not limited to:

  • Systems design
  • Ethics
  • Technology
  • Strategy
  • Organizational behavior
  • Statistics
  • Sociology and/or Psychology

Part of the reason the classes are so varied is that it takes a well-rounded individual with many different attributes to become a good leader.

This particular degree can help improve the leadership skills of managers, supervisors, or leaders in almost any field. There is no one single career path that lends itself to this course. It can be implemented in virtually any business.

Project Management

project manager discussing a project with her team

In certain ways, earning a PhD in Project Management is like receiving a PhD in Organizational Leadership.

Both degrees appeal to similar types of people working in supervisory or leadership positions, and both degrees have a wide range of required courses in several different subjects and disciplines.

The difference is this: With a PhD in Project Management, you’ll be focusing more on how to become a better leader within a team setting, whereas, with the PhD in Organizational Leadership, you’re learning to work more independently.


In addition to some of the same classes required for an organizational leadership degree, the curriculum for project management could also include such courses as cost control, budget management, bid negotiation, and risk assessment.

Potential jobs include project or program director, construction manager, general operation manager, and more.

Psychology

psychologist listening to a young patient during therapy session

There are a ton of online PhD programs in psychology. It’s probably one of the most popular choices for receiving an online doctoral degree. To succeed in this degree, you need to be more than just hardworking and dedicated.

You also need a curious mind, a love of research, an empathetic personality, and the ability to listen to some of the most horrible stories imaginable without judgment.

A PhD in Psychology is, like most PhDs, a research-based doctoral degree. You’ll do a lot of independent research and case studies.


There may be some online lectures and seminars, but much of this program generally requires you to work independently of your professors and other PhD candidates.

Once you’ve earned this degree, you should be equipped to work as a psychologist, counselor, mental health specialist, substance abuse counselor, and more in a variety of different settings, including a private practice, hospitals, schools and/or universities, prisons and more.

Public Administration

budget analyst working on her laptop

To apply for an online PhD program in public administration, you need to have at least your bachelor’s degree in either public administration or public policy. It’s better to have your master’s degree in either of those two fields, as you might have a better chance of being accepted into the doctoral program.

A public administration PhD program has quite a bit of lee-way in its course curriculum, and for that reason, very few programs are exactly alike. However, at their cores, they’re all determined to teach students the best ways to oversee public assets.


Some potential courses could include advanced communications (particularly between disparate groups), policy making, public budgeting, and more. A dissertation is usually required before you can graduate, and potential jobs include budget analyst, auditor, financial or human resources manager and purchasing agent.

Public Health

biologist looking into a microscope in a laboratory

The main focus of a PhD program in public health is the successful education of students so that they can help improve public health in the United States.

Upon completion of the program, you should have the skills, background, and research-savvy necessary to further our collective knowledge of how to best keep ourselves healthy and live longer. You should also have the capability to help avert or mitigate crises affecting public health.


Public health PhD programs usually have a few different areas of specific concentration. These can include health policy and management, epidemiology of microbial diseases, environmental health, biostatistics, social science, and chronic diseases.

Some things that will help you in this program are a love of biology, chemistry, research, and medicine. A healthy curiosity and a natural inclination towards the scientific method are also pluses. Many students earning this degree go on to work for the CDC.

Public Policy

politician talking during a conference

A PhD in Public Policy usually goes hand-in-hand with a PhD in public administration. In fact, in many cases, the two fields are combined into one degree simply called a PhD in Public Policy and Administration.

This means that most of the classes and goals listed above in the public administration section are the same ones that should be listed for this degree.


The two degrees also appeal to the same type of person, which is someone who is driven, outspoken, outgoing, and unafraid to make waves. Many of the same attributes that make people good politicians also make for good public policy and administration degree seekers.

In fact, many politicians start out as public administrators or policy makers. Other potential career fields include civil service, urban/strategic planning, and social justice.

Special Education

special education teacher teaching a child with down syndrome in his house

Receiving your online PhD in Special Education can be one of the most rewarding decisions you ever make. It takes an exceptional kind of person to be a teacher, but to be a teacher in special education, you have to almost have a vocation for it.

Special education attracts people who are kind, loving, patient, empathetic, warm-hearted, and full of guidance.


If you’re seeking a doctorate in special education, though, you’ve probably been teaching special education for a while and are looking to move into a leadership position on the special education team or into a research field in which you could learn more about and possibly improve the methods used in educating students with special needs.

As far as the curriculum goes, you’ll have a mixture of courses in teaching, administration, and other education-related fields. You’ll also likely do a lot of research and a dissertation at the end of the course.

Supply Chain Logistics

logistics manager checking stocks for delivery

The final PhD on our list is the PhD in Supply Chain Logistics. Courses for this degree program will include such classes as:

  • Advanced research tools, skills, and methods
  • Transportation and supply chain economics
  • Industrial organization
  • Logistics modeling
  • Supply chain and information technology
  • Supply chain research
  • Logistics research
  • Analytics

You’ll probably be required to do a mixture of coursework and multiple research papers during the degree program. Towards the end, you’ll likely take both written and oral exams and deliver and defend a dissertation.

After earning your degree, you could potentially get a job in supply chain logistics in just about any industry that sells goods. Whether it’s marshmallows or microphones, someone has to transport them.

How Do Online Doctoral Programs Work?

PhD student studying in library with his laptop and books

If you work a full-time job all day and have a family to take care of on top of that, don’t worry. Online doctoral programs were practically tailor-made for people just like you.

Online degree programs are specifically set up so that working professionals can earn their doctorates in their free time. There are two methods of online degree programs, hybrid programs and those that are 100% online.

Hybrid or Blended Programs

The first type of online degree program is known as a blended or hybrid program. In this program, almost everything you do towards your degree will be done online. However, there are a few things that must be done face-to-face.

For example, some programs may require you to test at a physical testing location either on- or off-campus. With others, you may have to do hands-on case work at a designated location.

Finally, for almost all doctoral programs, you may do all your coursework online but still have to present your final dissertation in person to a panel of professors in person.

However, if your class is blended, you should be notified immediately after enrolling – or even before enrolling – how many times you’ll be required to visit physical locations, why you must visit them and where they are.

100% Online

The other type of online doctoral program is one that is 100% online. If your degree program is 100% online – and most are – then you won’t have to worry about any of that. Every single bit of this degree – aside from perhaps the dissertation – is taken care of online.

There may be a few telephone calls thrown in every now and then, but in a 100% online degree program, you never meet anyone face-to-face, again with the possible exception of your dissertation.

Online Programs: The Set-Up

Online Programs

Other than being taken online using your computer and mobile devices, online PhD programs are actually very similar to regular, on-campus PhD programs.

You’ll have some courses that require you to attend lectures, which will be on your computer – sometimes live, sometimes prerecorded. You’ll likely have online discussions and group chats, as well.

You may even be required to complete assignments in forums to encourage “classroom discussion.”

Between the lectures and the online discussions, one thing that’s absolutely essential for you to have is high-speed, reliable internet. Without it, you could find yourself in trouble very quickly.

Mostly, you’ll be doing a lot of research and independent study. This isn’t much different from an on-campus doctoral program. Once you hit the doctoral level, it’s mostly up to you alone to do what needs to be done.

PhD student working on her dissertation

Dissertation

One of those things that needs to be done is your dissertation, which is one of the most essential parts of your doctoral program. Your dissertation must be a unique, original project on a topic that correlates with your chosen field of study.

It usually must be approved by your advisor before you can start, but once approved, you’ll be working on it pretty much throughout the entire program.

At the program’s close, you may then be required to deliver and defend your dissertation orally in front of a panel of professors.

Although there are one or two colleges that are exceptions to the rule, almost all colleges require that you travel to the university and do this in person.

Earning the Degree

If your dissertation passes scrutiny and is approved by the board, you may be granted your PhD. However, be aware that in some fields, a final exam is given and must be passed before your degree is conferred upon you.

Accreditation for Online PhD Programs

Accreditation for Online PhD Programs

Accreditation for online PhD programs is quite similar to accreditation for on-campus PhD programs. You should look for regional accreditation of your school. Each particular program may have a different association that accredits it, but if you do a little research, you’ll be able to find which accreditations are best for each program.

It’s best if your school and program are both regionally and programmatically accredited. There’s also such a thing as national accreditation, but regional is the gold standard.

Financial Aid Opportunities for PhD Students

Financial Aid Opportunities for PhD Students

You cannot get federal Pell Grants when working towards your PhD, but you can get federal loans, which have the best repayment options if you fall within a certain income bracket.

Apply for those loans by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). One of these is the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program.

However, the best option is to apply for grants or fellowships. There are usually plenty of these to be found in every field of study. Once you’ve decided on a school, you should also look on that school’s website to find any fellowships or grants they may be offering to doctoral students.

Another critical thing doctoral students often overlook is assistance from their employers. If you are hoping to earn your PhD in the same field in which you’re already working, you may be entitled to financial aid or tuition reimbursement from the company for which you work.

Finally, there is one last option, although it doesn’t really apply to online students. However, if you’re still on the fence about online vs. on-campus PhD programs, this is useful information to have.

If you’re an on-campus PhD student, you can apply for an assistantship, which allows you to work as a research assistant, a teacher’s assistant, or some other on-campus job that usually involves teaching or working with the undergrads in some capacity.

PhD student studying on his laptop at a cafe

Can You Get a PhD Online?

Yes, you can get a PhD online in many different fields. In fact, because the average age of doctoral students is rising, most PhD candidates are working professionals who don’t have the time to earn a degree any other way.

For this reason, more and more programs are providing students with the option to earn their PhDs online. If you want to receive your PhD in any of the above fields – and in some areas not listed here – you have the option to do so online.

Are Online PhD Programs Respected

Are Online PhD Programs Respected?

Yes, online PhD programs are respected. As long as the online PhD program in which you’re enrolled has accreditation, then your PhD should be respected.

If your program is only accredited nationally, it may only be recognized in specific areas, which is why it’s better to enroll in programs with regional accreditation.

Degrees earned through programs with regional accreditation should be accepted anywhere in the U.S., and they should hold just as much gravity as regionally-accredited degrees earned from on-campus universities.

PhD student studying on her laptop

How Long Does It Take to Get a PhD Online?

The average is 4-7 years, but it’s nearly impossible to put a time limit in years on earning a PhD.

There are simply too many factors to consider, such as the program of study in which you’re seeking to earn your degree, how many courses you’re taking each semester, whether you take courses year-round or take summers off, etc. In addition, it also depends on whether you enroll in a full time or part time PhD program.

If you’re looking for a more precise answer, look up your specific field of study and see how many course credits are required to earn a PhD in that field.

How Much Does Online PhD Cost?

Online PhD programs are quite varied when it comes to price. The cost per year will depend on the university, the program of study, and how many classes you’re taking at a time.

Some colleges advertise PhD programs for as little as $4,000 a semester. Other programs can cost upwards of $30,000 a semester. This extreme cost is rare, though. Usually, online PhD programs run between $5,000 and $8,000 per semester.

businessman working on his computer in the office

What Are the Cheapest Online PhD Programs?

Although no PhD program is going to be “cheap,” there are some that are less expensive than others. As the job market fluctuates, so, too, does the price of online degree programs. However, as of right now, the cheapest online PhD programs are in the fields of business.

This includes a PhD in business administration, human resources, and marketing. One of the main reasons business doctoral programs are the least expensive is because there are so many of them. Most universities, both online and on-campus, offer PhD’s in business. Therefore, the programs have to be inexpensive to remain competitive.

Universities Offering Online PhD Programs

Methodology: Each of the universities below is regionally accredited and offers one or more doctoral programs online.

#1  Andrews University

Andrews University

As the first school for higher education opened by the Seventh-day Adventists, Andrews University commenced in 1874 as a private postsecondary school.

Giving students a choice of about two-hundred undergraduate, graduate, and Ph.D. programs, Andrews University has eight schools of discipline that include technology, science, education, and business.

  • PhD in Curriculum and Instruction
  • PhD in Educational Leadership
  • PhD in Higher Education Administration
  • PhD in Leadership

Andrews is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

#2  Catholic University of America

Catholic University of America

The Catholic University of America was established in 1887 by the Catholic Church and is located in the heart of Washington, D.C. This private institution is known for its extensive research centers and its acclaimed undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programs.

Students looking to receive a faith-based, liberal arts education turn to CUA for their educational needs.

  • PhD in Nursing

CUA is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#3  Clemson University

Clemson University

Clemson University began as a military school, which only accepted male students in 1889. Today, thousands of men and women enroll in Clemson University’s world-renowned public school to gain an undergraduate, graduate, or Ph.D. in a variety of academic majors.

Located in SC, Clemson University serves students throughout the world with online and campus programs.

  • PhD in Healthcare Genetics
  • PhD in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management
  • PhD in Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design

Clemson is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#4  Colorado State University

Colorado State University

Colorado State University is well known throughout the world for its revolutionary research developments. CSU first opened in 1870, and through growth and development, it has expanded internationally to offer undergraduate, graduate, professional degrees in many academic areas.

Students attending Colorado State University gain a valuable first-rate public education.

  • PhD in Higher Education Leadership
  • PhD in Systems Engineering

Colorado State is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

#5  Concordia University – Chicago

Concordia University - Chicago

Taking private education to the next level, Concordia University-Chicago incorporates practical learning with cultural experiences to assist students in gaining a world-class learning experience.

Opening in 1864, this faith-based institution offers undergraduate, graduate, and Ph.D. programs as well as co-op, internships, and study abroad opportunities. Students can choose to explore online or traditional learning options.

  • PhD in Leadership – Curriculum and Instruction
  • PhD in Leadership – Early Childhood Education
  • PhD in Leadership – Education Technology
  • PhD in Leadership – Educational Leadership
  • PhD in Leadership – Gerontology
  • PhD in Leadership – Health and Human Performance
  • PhD in Leadership – Higher Education
  • PhD in Leadership – Organizational Leadership
  • PhD in Leadership – Reading, Language and Literacy
  • PhD in Leadership – Special Education
  • PhD in Leadership – Sports Leadership
  • PhD in Leadership – Teacher Leadership

Concordia University Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#6  George Washington University

George Washington University

As a notable private school located in Washington DC, George Washington University first began in 1821. With a reputation of educating have prominent leaders, authors, in other significant figures throughout history, George Washington University offers numerous undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees in many academic areas.

Students attending GWU can enroll in virtual or face-to-face classes.

  • PhD in Nursing
  • PhD in Systems Engineering

GW is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#7  Hampton University

Hampton University

Classified as a historically black school, Hampton University commenced in 1868. Hampton University provides thousands of students with a first-rate private education that blends culture with practical learning applications.

Offering an array of undergraduate, graduate, and Ph.D. programs, HU has online and in-person learning options to meet each student’s needs.

  • PhD in Business Administration
  • PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision
  • PhD in Educational Management
  • PhD in Nursing

Hampton U is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#8  Indiana University

Indiana University

Indiana University was first launched in 1820 and has excelled to the top of the educational world. Providing public education to students seeking an associate, bachelor’s, graduate, or professional degree over one-hundred academic areas.

Indiana University blends research and technology in each of its programs to help students become leaders in their respective fields.

  • PhD in Nursing Science

Indiana U is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

#9  Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University

John Hopkins University was the first private school to offer research as an integrated part of its curriculums when it opened in 1876. Students who study at JHU graduate with essential industry skills that include innovation and technology.

John Hopkins University has hundreds of academic programs that allow students to obtain an undergraduate, graduate, Ph. D.

  • PhD in Education

Johns Hopkins University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#10  Liberty University

Liberty University

As a private school that enrolls more than 100,000 students annually, Liberty University opened in 1971 and took education to the next level. LU strives to meet all learner’s needs by offering a large number of degree programs that can be obtained through online, hybrid, or campus-based learning.

Students at LU can receive an associate, bachelor’s graduate, or higher degree.

  • PhD in Bible Exposition
  • PhD in Communication
  • PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision
  • PhD in Criminal Justice
  • PhD in Education
  • PhD in Higher Education Admin
  • PhD in History
  • PhD in Nursing โ€“ Nursing Education
  • PhD in Psychology
  • PhD in Public Policy
  • PhD in Strategic Media Online

Liberty is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#11  Medical University of South Carolina

 Medical University of South Carolina

The Medical University of South Carolina is a public school of medicine that opened in 1824. MUSC operates six colleges, a research center, and a public hospital. MUSC has a variety of medical programs that allow students to earn a master’s, doctoral, Ph.D., M.D, or other professional degrees in the medical field.

  • PhD in Nursing Science

MUSC is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#12  Mercer University

Mercer University

Established in 1833, Mercer University has an array of opportunities for students to find success in their educational and professional goals. Allowing online and campus-based learning, this private school has degree options that range from undergraduate to the Ph.D. level. Students at Mercer University has access to a diverse academic catalog.

  • PhD in Nursing

Mercer University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#13  Mississippi State University

Mississippi State University

As one of the world’s most renowned public educational institutions, Mississippi State University began in 1878. Through distance learning and study abroad programs, Mississippi State University reaches students worldwide to offer academic studies that lead to an undergraduate, graduate, or professional degree.

Research, technology, and innovation are all valuable assets of students enrolled at MSU.

  • PhD in Community College Leadership
  • PhD in Computational Engineering
  • PhD in Electrical & Computer Engineering
  • PhD in Engineering – Aerospace Engineering
  • PhD in Engineering – Civil Engineering
  • PhD in Engineering – Mechanical Engineering
  • PhD in Industrial & Systems Engineering

Mississippi State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#14  Northcentral University

Northcentral University

Northcentral University breaks down the walls of traditional education by providing advanced degrees through distance learning platforms.

Beginning in 1996 as a private learning institution, Northcentral University has an array of undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs to help students gaining knowledge and experience to flourish in their academic field.

  • PhD in Business Administration
  • PhD in Computer Science
  • PhD in Data Science
  • PhD in Education
  • PhD in Educational Leadership
  • PhD in Human Resource Management
  • PhD in Instructional Design
  • PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy
  • PhD in Organizational Leadership
  • PhD in Psychology
  • PhD in Technology and Innovation Management

Northcentral is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

#15  Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern University is a private learning facility that offers more than one-hundred academic programs to students seeking an undergraduate, graduate, or professional degree.

Opening in 1964, NSU allows students to take fewer classes at a time and accelerated classes to improve focus, learning ability, and decrease the time needed to gain a degree.

  • PhD in Computer Science
  • PhD in Conflict Analysis and Resolution
  • PhD in Criminal Justice
  • PhD in Cybersecurity Management
  • PhD in Health Sciences
  • PhD in Information Systems
  • PhD in Nursing
  • PhD in Occupational Therapy

NSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#16  Robert Morris University

Robert Morris University

Known for its outstanding academic programs, Robert Morris University opened in 1921 and has excelled in academia ever since. This private learning institution provides over eighty academic majors that allow students to attain an undergraduate, graduate, or Ph.D.

Popular programs offered at Robert Morris University include business, math, science, and engineering.

  • PhD in Instructional Management and Leadership

Robert Morris University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#17  Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University

Offering hundreds of academic programs for students interested in gaining an undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, Ph.D., or J.D. Texas Tech University opened its doors in 1923. This public school gives students have a renowned education that can be accessed through online or campus-based platforms.

Students at Texas Tech University gain hands-on experience and critical thinking skills.

  • PhD in Curriculum and Instruction – Curriculum Studies and Teacher Education
  • PhD in Curriculum and Instruction – Language, Diversity & Literacy Studies
  • PhD in Curriculum and Instruction – STEM
  • PhD in Educational Leadership Policy
  • PhD in Family and Consumer Science Education
  • PhD in Special Education

Texas Tech is accredited with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#18  University at Buffalo

University at Buffalo

As one of the most respected public schools in the nation, the University at Buffalo commenced in 1846 and now serves more students than most schools in the SUNYS. The University at Buffalo has thirteen colleges that award bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and professional degrees in hundreds of academic areas.

  • PhD in Information Science

University at Buffalo is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#19  University of Alabama

University of Alabama

Changing the way education looks since 1820, the University of Alabama uses research and technology to emphasize key program areas for better student understanding. Awarding thousands of bachelor’s, master’s, and professional degrees every year, the University of Alabama is the only public school in Alabama to operate a law school.

  • PhD in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics

The University of Alabama is accredited and/or recognized by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#20  University of Florida

University of Florida

Marking the beginning of an educational era, the University of Florida commenced in 1853 as a public school that caters to traditional and nontraditional students.

Using hands-on learning and critical thinking skills, students enrolled in one of the many undergraduate, graduate, or professional degree programs offered at UF have access to top-notch facilities and curricula.

  • PhD in Classical Civilization
  • PhD in Latin and Roman Studies

The University of Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#21  University of Louisiana – Monroe

University of Louisiana Monroe

The University of Louisiana โ€“ Monroe is a public learning facility that opened in 1931. Students enrolled at ULM have access to a dynamic campus and an extensive distance learning platform.

Offering an array of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees, some of the popular programs at the University of Louisiana- Monroe include Science, business, theater arts, and pharmacy.

  • PhD in Systemic Studies

ULM is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#22  University of Missouri

University of Missouri

The University of Missouri has a vibrant campus life with a diverse community that started in 1839. This public educational facility houses thousands of students each year who are pursuing undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees.

With a large assortment of academic fields to choose from, UM has academic counselors available to assist have students in determining their path.

  • PhD in Architectural Studies

Mizzou is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#23  University of Nebraska – Lincoln

University of Nebraska Lincoln

The University of Nebraska -Lincoln First started offering public education in 1869. With eight academic schools and a variety of research facilities, UNL helps students obtain Undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees in their academic field.

With hands-on experiences and applied applications, students at UNL gain the comprehensive education needed to be competitive in their industry.

  • PhD in Educational Studies – Educational Leadership and Higher Education
  • PhD in Educational Studies – Innovative Learning Technologies
  • PhD in Educational Studies – Special Education
  • PhD in Educational Studies – Teaching, Curriculum and Teaching

UN โ€“ Lincoln is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

#24  University of North Dakota

University of North Dakota

Opening in 1883, the University of North Dakota has shown its ability to adapt to a growing society. Offering a comprehensive public education, the University of North Dakota has a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree options in various academic fields. Popular programs include education, business, and engineering.

  • PhD in Aerospace Sciences
  • PhD in Biomedical Engineering

UND is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

#25  University of South Dakota

University of South Dakota

Commencing in 1862, the University of South Dakota is a renowned public Education Center that provides valuable research opportunities to students and faculty looking to grow academically.

Providing students, it means of earning an undergraduate, graduate, or professional degree, the University of South Dakota has both online in campus programs available.

  • PhD in Health Sciences

USD is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#26  University of Texas at Tyler

University of Texas at Tyler

Located beside the beautiful Harvey Lake, the University of Texas at Tyler enrolls more than 10,000 students annually who are interested in gaining an undergraduate, graduate, or professional degree.

With more than ninety academic areas to choose from, UTT is divided among six colleges, each offering first-rate academia to help students become leaders in their field.

  • PhD in Clinical Psychology
  • PhD in Nursing

UTT is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#27  University of the Cumberlands

University of the Cumberlands

The University of the Cumberlands open as a private school in 1888. Providing economic stability to the area, The University of the Cumberlands offers job opportunities for the community and students.

Offering an array of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees, UC encourages students to become involved in community projects and apprenticeships.

  • Executive PhD in Business
  • Executive PhD in Leadership
  • PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision
  • PhD in Leadership

UCumberlands is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#28  Villanova University

Villanova University

Villanova University is a private school that started in 1842 by the Catholic Church to help serve the community and teach students to become global citizens.

Students attending Villanova University have access to online in campus space learning formats that allow them to earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or professional degree in many academic areas.

  • PhD in Nursing

Villanova University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#29  Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth University

Veering off from another College in 1838, Virginia Commonwealth University began to thrive as its own entity. This public educational facility has expanded its ability to provide research and education worldwide.

Students who attend Virginia Commonwealth University seek to obtain an undergraduate, graduate, or professional degree in various academic areas.

  • PhD in Health Related Sciences
  • PhD in Nursing

VCU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#30  Walden University

Walden University

Allowing students flexible options for obtaining higher education has been Walden University’s expectation since opening in 1970. Today, Walden University is made up of five academic schools that allow students to attain their undergraduate, graduate, or professional degree through distance learning platforms.

Classes at Walden can be completed quicker, lessening the time it takes to graduate.

  • PhD in Clinical Psychology
  • PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision
  • PhD in Criminal Justice
  • PhD in Developmental Psychology
  • PhD in Education
  • PhD in Forensic Psychology
  • PhD in Health Education and Promotion
  • PhD in Health Services
  • PhD in Human and Health Services
  • PhD in Industrial and Organizational Psychology
  • PhD in Management
  • PhD in Nursing
  • PhD in Psychology
  • PhD in Public Health
  • PhD in Public Policy and Administration
  • PhD in Social Work

Walden is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Is a PhD Worth It?

university professor teaching in a classroom

Yes, a PhD is worth it. After graduation, you could be earning $100,000 or more. Now that more and more PhD programs are being offered online, there’s really never been a better time to earn yours.

Being able to take most, if not all, of your coursework online as your schedule permits means you shouldn’t have to worry about taking off work, missing your children’s basketball games or dance recitals, or feel rushed and overwhelmed.

There are also more options out there now, allowing you a wide variety of programs at competitive prices. Additionally, there are fellowships, grants, and other means of financial aid available to you, perhaps even within your own organization.

With a PhD, you could have access to higher-level jobs, the ability to teach others, and better paychecks.

With all these potential benefits and very few downsides, you should seriously consider checking out some online PhD programs in your career field and enrolling. Who knows? In a few short years, you could have a Dr. in front of your name.

Conner Thomas
WRITTEN BY
Conner Thomas