Online Schools for Doctorate Degrees

In this article, we highlight the 20 best online schools for doctorate degrees in 2019-2020.

A professional doctorate degree program focused on providing advanced knowledge and practice of a specific area of interest. Popularity in doctoral programs has led to an increase in available online schools for doctorate degrees. Professionals no longer have to give up their careers to return to school. These online degree programs allow industry specialists a way to earn an advanced degree without having to attend on-campus classes.

We looked at over 70 accredited colleges and universities offering online doctorate degrees in any discipline. To determine our list of 20 schools, we applied a specific methodology listed below. We examined the number of available doctoral programs, the percentage of applicants admitted (selectivity rate), the student-to-faculty ratios, and graduate tuition and fees. We collected data from the most recent information published by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) College Navigator. We synthesized the collected information to develop our list of the 20 best online schools for doctorate degrees. In the event of a tie, the school with the lower graduate tuition rank higher on our list.

The methodology we used to determine this list of the 20 best online schools for doctorate degrees is below.

Methodology:

The student to Faculty Ratio
15:1 and under- 3 Points
16:1 to 20:1- 2 Points
More than 20:1- 1 Point

Graduate Tuition/Fees
Less than $10,000/year- 3 Points
$10,001-$20,000/year- 2 Points
More than $20,000/year- 1 Point

Applicants Admitted
Less than 50%- 3 Points
More than 50%- 1 Point

Number of Available Doctoral Programs
More than 7 – 3 Points
4 to 7 – 2 Points
1 to 3 – 1 Point

Below is our list of the top 20 best online schools for doctorate degrees (2017).

#20 – Arizona State University

Tempe, Arizona

Arizona State University - 20 Best Online Schools for Doctorate Degrees

The online education doctorate at Arizona State University is top-ranked.

Arizona State University is one of our top 20 online schools for doctorate degrees. This nationally ranked institution offers three online doctoral degrees, including a clinical and management behavior health DBH and a doctor of education in leadership and innovation. Affordable graduate tuition and a number of available doctoral programs earn ASU a stop on our list of best online doctorate degrees. ASU ranks as the 129th best national university by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. Also, the online graduate education programs (including the EdD) ranked #40 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,304
Points: 5

#19 – University of Nebraska

Lincoln, Nebraska

University of Nebraska - 20 Best Online Schools for Doctorate Degrees

The University of Nebraska is recognized for its online education doctorate degree programs.

The University of Nebraska is one of our picks for best online doctorate schools based on the number of programs offered and affordable graduate tuition. Three online doctoral degrees are offered in EdD and Ph.D. degrees in educational leadership and higher education as well as a doctorate in space, cyber, and telecommunications. Doctoral programs offered online are designed for working professionals who are unable to step away from their current careers in order to attend classes. The university ranks in U.S. News and World Report as a top national university and public school. Also, the online graduate education programs, including the Ph.D., ranked #4 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,556
Points: 6

#18 – University of Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin - 20 Best Online Schools for Doctorate Degrees

The University of Wisconsin offers two online doctoral degrees in nursing.

One of our top online schools for doctorate degrees is the University of Wisconsin, which offers two nursing programs. Professional nurses can earn a Ph.D. in Nursing or DNP in Nursing Practice entirely online. Both programs offer small class sizes along with direct communication and side-by-side research opportunities with professors and peers. Affordable tuition, even for Ph.D. candidates, helps place the University of Wisconsin on our list. Also, the institution is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a top national university. The graduate nursing school also recognized among the best in the country, ranking #47 for best nursing schools to earn a DNP.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,725
Points: 6

#17 – University of South Carolina

Columbia, South Carolina

University of South Carolina - 20 Best Online Schools for Doctorate Degrees

The University of South Carolina is one of our top online schools for doctorate degrees.

One of the best online doctorate schools on our list is the University of South Carolina. This accredited institution offers two doctoral degree programs in education: doctor of education in curriculum and instruction – curriculum studies and doctor of education in curriculum and instruction – educational technology. Both programs required 60 credit hours and take approximately 36 months to complete. Degree completion requires courses within the selected concentration, research courses, cognate courses, and dissertation. The University of South Carolina is a nationally ranked institution. The online graduate education programs rank #40 out of more than 1,200, and the graduate education school is ranked #78 in the nation.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,784
Points: 6

#16 – Pennsylvania State University

University Park, Pennsylvania

Penn State - 20 Best Online Schools for Doctorate Degrees

Penn State University has an online DNP program designed for working students.

Top-ranked and affordable doctorate schools online include Pennsylvania State University’s World Campus. The school offers one doctoral degree program in nursing: the online doctor of nursing practice (DNP). This professional degree is designed for working and practice-focused nurses who want to become advanced practice nurses and leaders within healthcare organizations. BS to DNP tracks and MSN to DNP tracks are available, and the programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Both tracks require the completion of online courses, advanced practice clinical, and a research project. Penn State is a nationally ranked university. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report have ranked the graduate nursing school #40 in the nation.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $19,832
Points: 7

#15 – Loyola University

Chicago, Illinois

Loyola University - 20 Best Online Schools for Doctorate Degrees

Loyola University has three online doctorate degree programs and is a top-ranked institution.

Loyola University is one of our top online doctorate degrees schools. Three-degree offerings are available, including bioethics and health policy, nursing practice (DNP), and education (EdD) in school psychology. Most courses from all degree tracks are delivered online, although the doctor of bioethics is considered a hybrid program. A low student-to-faculty ratio and relatively affordable tuition costs help place Loyola on our list of top online schools for doctorate degrees. Also, Loyola is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 99th best national university and 47th best value school. The nursing school ranks #36 among other universities that offer a DNP.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,886
Points: 7

#14 – Temple University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Temple University - 20 Best Online Schools for Doctorate Degrees

Temple University’s three doctorate degree options earn it a spot on our list of best online schools for doctorate degrees.

Temple University is one of our choices for best online doctorate degree schools due to the number of doctoral programs offered, low university admittance rate, and low student-to-faculty ratio (14:1). Three doctoral programs are available, including the Clinical Doctorate of Athletic Training (DAT), Clinical Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (DOT), and Doctorate in Physical Therapy (Transitional DPT). Temple is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News ranks the school #118. Also, graduate health schools have earned recognition. The physical therapy doctoral degree ranks #53 and the occupational therapy degree ranks #32.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,144
Points: 7

#13 – University at Buffalo

Buffalo, New York

University at Buffalo - 20 Best Online Schools for Doctorate Degrees

University at Buffalo is a top pick for online schools for doctorate degrees.

Accredited and nationally recognized doctorate schools online can be difficult to locate. University at Buffalo earned a top spot on our list of best online doctorate degree schools for its low graduate tuition and low student-to-faculty ratio (13:1). The university offers one doctoral degree: a Ph.D. in curriculum, instruction and the science of learning. This multidisciplinary degree program is designed for education professionals who want to succeed as industry experts. All courses are delivered online and, according to the program, students can expect to spend 9 to 12 hours each week of dedicated study time outside of class. The institution is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 99th best national university, and the online graduate education programs (including the Ph.D.) are ranked #10 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,165
Points: 7

#12 – University of Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

University of Alabama - 20 Best Online Schools for Doctorate Degrees

Affordability and 16 online doctoral degree options put the University of Alabama on our list of best choice schools.

The University of Alabama earned a spot on our list of online doctorate schools primarily due to the sheer number of available programs and low graduate tuition. The school offers 16 doctoral degree options, including the doctor of nursing practice (DNP) and Ph.D. in aerospace engineering and mechanics. Several education-related doctoral degrees are also offered. Courses are delivered online, and most degree programs are designed for working professionals with little to no time to attend on-campus classes. U.S. News and World Report rank the university as a top national institution. Also, several of the graduate programs, including the DNP, have been ranked. In fact, the nursing graduate school ranks #29 among other schools that offer a doctoral degree in nursing practice.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,170
Points: 7

#11 – University of Kansas

Lawrence, Kansas

University of Kansas - 20 Best Online Schools for Doctorate Degrees

The University of Kansas is a top online doctorate degree school with three doctoral degrees.

The University of Kansas is among our top picks for online schools for doctorate degrees. The nationally-ranked institution offers three doctoral degrees, including nursing (DNP), nursing (Ph.D.), and occupational therapy (OTD). While these programs are considered to be online, minimal face-to-face meetings may be required, especially for the Ph.D. in a nursing program. The institution ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a top national university. Several online graduate programs, including nursing, have earned recognition. In fact, U.S. News ranks the online graduate nursing programs #19 and the graduate nursing school #42 among other institutions that offer DNP degrees.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,958
Points: 7

#10 – University of Missouri

Columbia, Missouri

University of Missouri - 20 Best Online Schools for Doctorate Degrees

The University of Missouri offers various online doctoral degrees that are 100% online.

The University of Missouri is one of our top online doctorate degrees schools. While the school offers several doctoral programs, only one is 100% online. The College of Human Environmental Sciences offers a Ph.D. in architectural studies for those seeking careers in research, consulting, or teaching an environmental design discipline. The school offers a reasonably low student-to-faculty ratio of 20:1 and affordable tuition for graduate and Ph.D. students. The institution ranks by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks the school as the 111th best national university. Also, several of the graduate schools have earned recognition.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,506
Points: 7

#9 – Clemson University

Clemson, South Carolina

Clemson University - 20 Best Online Schools for Doctorate Degrees

There are three doctoral programs available online at Clemson University, including a Ph.D. in Recreational Therapy.

Clemson University is one of our top picks for online doctorate schools due to the number of programs available, low acceptance rates, and affordable graduate tuition. Three doctoral programs are available, including a Ph.D. in healthcare genetics, a Ph.D. in recreational therapy, and a Ph.D. in rhetoric, communication, and information design. Most courses are delivered online, but students are required to be on campus to defend exams and dissertations. Clemson is a nationally ranked institution. According to U.S. News and World Report, Clemson ranks #66 among the best national universities. Also, several of the graduate schools rank among the top institutions.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,220
Points: 7

#8 – Iowa State University

Ames, Iowa

Iowa State University - 20 Best Online Schools for Doctorate Degrees

Iowa State University offers two online doctoral degree programs.

Iowa State University offers two doctoral programs and lands a stop on our list of best doctorate schools online. Professional and working students may earn a Ph.D. in apparel, merchandising, and design (doctor of philosophy) or hospitality management (doctor of philosophy). Both are hybrid programs, which means that one or two on-campus summer coursework sessions may be required. All other credits are completed via distance learning. Iowa State offers affordable graduate tuition and a relatively low student-to-faculty ratio of 19:1. Iowa State also ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 111th best national university in the country.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,172
Points: 7

#7 – Texas Tech University

Lubbock, Texas

Texas Tech University - 20 Best Online Schools for Doctorate Degrees

Texas Tech University is one of our top schools for online doctorate degrees.

Texas Tech University is one of our top online doctorate degrees schools due in part to the low tuition and a large number of available doctoral degrees. Seven programs are available, including four completely online and three hybrid or blended programs. Students can earn doctorates in agricultural education, educational leadership, higher education, curriculum and instruction with various specializations, systems, and engineering management, and technical communication and rhetoric. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank the university as among the top national institutions and best public schools. Also, the education school ranks #107.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,390
Points: 7

#6 – University of Arkansas

Fayetteville, Arkansas

University of Arkansas - 20 Best Online Schools for Doctorate Degrees

The University of Arkansas has four options for earning an online doctorate degree.

Low graduate tuition, moderately low student-to-faculty ratio and a number of available doctoral programs make the University of Arkansas one of the best online doctorate degree schools on our list. Four options are available for earning a doctorate, including three Doctor of Education degrees in Adult and Lifelong Learning, Educational Leadership, and Human Resource and Workforce Development Education. A Doctor of Nursing Practice is also available. The DNP offers courses entirely online and locally arranged clinical practicum hours. All programs are available for those holding a bachelor’s or master’s degree. U.S. News and World Report ranked the University of Arkansas as the 135th best national university. Also, the education school and the nursing school have both earned recognition.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,096
Points: 8

#5 – Mississippi State University

Mississippi State, Mississippi

Mississippi State University - 20 Best Online Schools for Doctorate Degrees

Affordability is one of the reasons Mississippi State University is on our list for best online schools for doctorate degrees.

One of the best online doctorate degree schools on our list is Mississippi State University. This nationally ranked institution offers seven doctoral degree programs, including doctors of philosophy in community college leadership, computational engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and industrial and systems engineering. Three engineering doctorates offer concentrations in aerospace engineering, civil engineering, and mechanical engineering. The school offers low tuition prices for graduate and doctoral candidates and a reasonably low student-to-faculty ratio. The school also ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 176th best national university and 93rd top public school. The Bagley School of Engineering ranks among the top 105 engineering schools in the nation.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,502
Points: 8

#4 – George Washington University

Washington, DC

George Washington University - 20 Best Online Schools for Doctorate Degrees

George Washington University is a top-ranked school for earning an online DNP.

Finding reputable doctorate schools online can be challenging. George Washington University made our list of best online doctorate degree schools due to its low student-to-faculty ratio of 13:1, low admittance rate, and a number of available doctoral programs. Students may choose from various nursing and engineering doctorate degrees, including nursing practice and engineering management. All programs are designed for working professionals with employment experience in their field of study. The university is ranked and accredited. In fact, U.S. News and World Report rank the school as the 56th best national university and 64th best value school. The nursing school ranks 30th among those that offer DNP programs.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $27,851
Points: 9

#3 – University of North Carolina

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

University of North Carolina - 20 Best Online Schools for Doctorate Degrees

UNC is a top-ranked school that offers two online doctoral programs.

One of the most affordable online schools for doctorate degrees on our list is the University of North Carolina. The school offers two online doctoral programs, including the doctor of physical therapy and the executive doctorate in health leadership. Programs are designed for industry professionals who want to become experts in their fields. Adequate work experience is required for admission to the programs. The school offers low in-state tuition, a low student-to-faculty ratio (14:1), and a 31% acceptance rate. These factors played a part in placing UNC on our list of best online schools for doctorate degrees. Also, UNC ranks in major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 30th best national university and 12th best value school.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,074
Points: 9

#2 – University of Florida

Gainesville, Florida

University of Florida - 20 Best Online Schools for Doctorate Degrees

The University of Florida offers one of the largest selections of online doctorate degrees on our list!

The University of Florida is one of our top online doctorate degrees schools due to a large number of available programs. Eleven doctoral degrees are offered, including audiology, classical civilization, educational leadership, educational technology, nursing practice, and pharmacy. The doctor of nursing practice (DNP) ranks #32 among best nursing schools that offer similar programs, according to U.S. News and World Report’s most recent publication of Best Colleges. Also, U.S. News ranks the University of Florida as the 50th best national university and 14th top public school. Other factors that earned the institution a top spot on our list include the low graduate tuition costs and low acceptance rate.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,737
Points: 10

#1 – Texas A&M University

Commerce, Texas

Texas A&M University - 20 Best Online Schools for Doctorate Degrees

Texas A&M University is our #1 pick for best online schools for doctorate degrees.

Texas A&M University is our #1 pick for online schools for doctorate degrees. The school offers four online programs, including the 100% online doctor of education in educational administration. Three of the four programs are considered to be over 50% online but do require some campus visits. These hybrid programs include the doctor of education in higher education, doctor of philosophy in educational psychology, and doctor of philosophy in English. Texas A&M offers a low graduate tuition price–the lowest on our list–and a low admittance rate of 47%. The institution ranks in U.S. News and World Report as the 74th best national university and 21st best value school.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,500
Points: 10

This concludes our list of 20 best online schools for doctorate degrees in 2019-2020.

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