A Ph.D. is a terminal degree that establishes the holder as an expert in his or her field. Learners in some areas of study can pursue a research-focused doctor of philosophy degree or a practice-based doctorate. Several accredited colleges and universities offer rigorous online Ph.D. programs.
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), professionals with a doctorate earn more than other workers. Doctoral degree-holders are also less likely to be unemployed compared to professionals with less education. Additionally, the BLS projects positive growth rates for most occupations requiring a doctoral degree, including postsecondary teaching positions.
|1||Azusa Pacific University||Azusa, CA||$27,868|
|2||Baker University||Baldwin City, KS||$18,591|
|3||Bradley University||Peoria, IL||$24,802|
|4||Concordia University — Irvine||Irvine, CA||$31,317|
|5||Concordia University — Saint Paul||Saint Paul, MN||$36,958|
|6||Creighton University||Omaha, NE||$26,084|
|7||Endicott College||Beverly, MA||$35,612|
|8||George Washington University||Washington, DC||$23,016|
|9||Georgia College & State University||Milledgeville, GA||$23,694|
|10||Gonzaga University||Spokane, WA||$26,540|
Popular Online Doctoral Programs
What is an Online Ph.D.?
Online doctoral programs usually follow the same curricula as their on-campus counterparts. Doctoral degrees typically require 60 credits beyond the master's level, which include coursework and dissertation research and writing.
Many doctoral programs require students to take a qualifying exam after two or three semesters of enrollment. Some schools also mandate that doctoral students take a comprehensive exam after completing coursework and before beginning their dissertation. Doctoral programs typically culminate in an oral dissertation defense before a panel of experts.
Why Get a Ph.D. Online?
Online Ph.D. programs offer several advantages over on-campus options. The list below includes five common benefits of completing a Ph.D. program online.
- Flexible Schedule: Many online doctoral programs feature an asynchronous format, allowing students to access class material at convenient times. However, most programs do set a deadline for the completion of course requirements.
- Higher Income Potential: Companies, federal agencies, and private institutions usually offer higher salaries to job applicants with a relevant doctoral degree.
- Lower Costs: Although most doctoral students receive institutional funding and awards from private or federal agencies, this funding may not cover all expenses. Online learning often reduces costs associated with transportation and living expenses.
- Minimal Disruption: Online doctoral students do not need to relocate to earn their degree. Additionally, many online learners work while pursuing their doctorate, especially those enrolled part time.
- Professional Requirement: Candidates typically need a doctorate to qualify for tenure-track positions in academia, leadership roles in industry, and top-level government jobs.
|What are Ph.D. requirements?||Doctoral degrees typically require at least 60 credits beyond a master's degree. Most doctoral programs require students to write and defend a dissertation.|
|Can you go into a Ph.D. program without a master's?||Although most Ph.D. programs require applicants to hold a master's degree, some programs accept applicants with only a bachelor's. Admitted students without a master's may need to complete preliminary courses prior to enrolling in doctoral-level classes.|
|How many years does it take to complete a Ph.D.?||Students typically need 4-6 years to complete a doctoral program. Degree completion time depends on the specific degree requirements, the field of study, and the student's educational background and work experience.|
|What is a Ph.D. program?||A Ph.D. program is a post-master's program. Doctoral programs are often research-intensive and focus on a specific academic field or professional arena.|
Accreditation for an Online Ph.D. Program
Accreditation is a voluntary process that colleges and universities undergo in order to receive recognition for the quality of their educational programs and their overall institutional soundness. TheU.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) oversee the accreditation process in the United States.
Academic-focused nonprofit institutions typically earn regional accreditation, while career-centered vocational or sectarian schools often receive national accreditation. Because regional accreditors generally apply more rigorous standards than national accrediting bodies, regional accreditation is considered the more prestigious type. However, national accreditors must meet ED and CHEA requirements for accreditation standards and processes.
ED and CHEA also oversee programmatic accreditors, which evaluate programs in certain fields. For example, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology accredits computer and engineering programs. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission accredits schools that offer at least 51% of their programs in an online format.
No accrediting body currently focuses on doctoral programs. Learners should ensure that any prospective institution holds regional accreditation.
Courses in an Online Ph.D. Program
In addition to specialization classes, most on-campus and online Ph.D. programs include coursework that covers general topics. These classes help students develop foundational skills they can apply throughout their doctoral studies and in their professional practice.
These classes cover basic skills such as research and writing, and doctoral students prepare to apply these concepts at an advanced level. Many schools require Ph.D. students to complete the following courses, regardless of their field.
Research comprises a major part of most doctoral programs. Even learners pursuing a practice-focused doctorate must complete a significant amount of in-depth research. Most programs require learners to complete a doctorate-level research course prior to beginning their dissertation. Doctoral degree-holders who enter positions in academia apply research skills throughout their career.
Doctoral-level courses on academic writing help students gain the tools and techniques they need to write their dissertation. Graduates of Ph.D. programs often contribute to their field's existing body of knowledge by authoring white papers and articles in industry journals, writing books, and drafting research proposals and reports. These activities require clear and concise writing skills.
Although doctoral degree-holders can secure high-level positions in industry and government, many pursue tenure-track positions in colleges and universities. For this reason, doctoral programs often include coursework in pedagogy. Students learn about various teaching methodologies, prepare to develop syllabi, and explore non-classroom learning activities. Some pedagogy classes include classroom teaching opportunities.
Communication and Presentation
Classes in communication and presentation skills are similar to teaching courses but typically have a wider scope. These classes prepare learners to defend their dissertation, which almost always involves an oral presentation. Since many doctoral degree-holders pursue leadership positions, strong communication skills are crucial to professional success.
Computer and Software
Regardless of their field or career aspirations, doctoral degree-holders need computer skills to succeed professionally. Some fields, such as engineering, require proficiency in industry-specific software. Doctoral students should master this software to complete research activities and to qualify for top-level positions. Doctoral programs often allow students to enroll in computer classes through another institution.
How Much Do Ph.D. Graduates Make?
Earning a Ph.D. can lead to personal, professional, and financial benefits. Ph.D. students gain comprehensive, advanced knowledge in their area, and many doctoral degree-holders enjoy positions of authority.
According to the BLS, professionals with a doctorate earned a median salary of $1,883 per week in 2019, more than individuals of any other education level. Master's degree-holders, on the other hand, earned a weekly median salary of $1,497. Professionals with a bachelor's degree earned a median of $1,248 per week.
The same data shows that doctoral degree-holders experience a 1.1% unemployment rate, the lowest of any workers. The unemployment rates for master's and bachelor's degree-holders in 2019 were 2% and 2.2%, respectively. Many graduates of Ph.D. programs enter occupations with faster-than-average growth rates. For example, the BLS projects employment for medical scientists to increase 6% from 2019 to 2029. The BLS projects a 9% growth for postsecondary teachers and 13% employment growth for audiologists during the same time frame.
Career and Salary Outlook for Ph.D. Graduates
Doctoral degree-holders often work in top-level positions in various industries, government agencies, nonprofit institutions, and academia. The rigorous training and discipline of a doctoral program makes graduates valuable and respected professionals. Doctoral degree-holders typically occupy positions with above-average job security and salaries. The four career options below require at least a postgraduate degree, preferably a doctorate.
- Postsecondary Teacher: College professors teach courses in their subject area. They typically lead lectures, class projects, and learning activities outside the classroom. These professionals track students' progress through tests, term papers, projects, and class participation. Postsecondary instructors often confer and collaborate with colleagues who teach other subjects.
- Instructional Coordinator: Also known as curriculum specialists, instructional coordinators evaluate schools' curricula and teaching techniques to ensure they adhere to federal regulations and district standards. These professionals review test data, observe teachers in the classroom and other educational settings, and conduct compliance training and information sessions.
- Elementary, Middle, and High School Principal: School principals often manage administrative staff, evaluate teacher performance, impose disciplinary action, meet with parents, and create safe learning environments. Principals also oversee expenses to make sure their school operates within budget. Principals may also work to maintain curriculum standards and provide career advancement opportunities for teachers.
- Postsecondary Education Administrator: Postsecondary education administrators at small institutions often perform several functions. They coordinate student services, oversee admissions and enrollment, manage budgets and expenses, and schedule classes. Large universities usually have administrators for specific sectors. For example, an academic provost may assist the university president with faculty appointments, educational policies, and curriculum issues.
|Career||Median Annual Salary||Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029)|
|Elementary, Middle, and High School Principal||$96,400||4%|
|Postsecondary Education Administrator||$95,410||4%|
Scholarships for an Online Ph.D. Program
Many universities offer fellowships and scholarships to support Ph.D. students. Learners can also apply for funding opportunities from nonprofit organizations and federal agencies. Fellowships and other doctoral funding options do not require repayment. However, recipients may need to fulfill research or teaching requirements.
American Educational Research Association Dissertation Grants
Who can Apply: AERA accepts applications from advanced doctoral students who need additional funding to conduct research and write their dissertation. Applicants must be enrolled in an education-related doctoral program in a field such as psychology, public policy, economics, or political science. Applicants must hold U.S. citizenship or be enrolled in a U.S. doctoral program.
American Marketing Association Valuing Diversity Ph.D. Scholarship
Who can Apply: This scholarship accepts applications from members of underrepresented ethnic groups pursuing a doctorate in marketing. Applicants must identify as African American, Hispanic American, or Native American and must have completed at least one year of doctoral studies.
Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship
Who can Apply: DOE accepts applications from master's and doctoral students whose studies focus on the use of advanced computing technology to solve complex engineering and science problems. Acceptable fields of study include applied mathematics, astrophysics, environmental science, and mechanical engineering. Applicants must hold U.S. citizenship or permanent residency status.
Amount: Full tuition and fees, plus a $38,000 annual stipend
Mellon International Dissertation Research Fellowship
Who can Apply: The Social Science Research Council awards this fellowship to doctoral students conducting research in the humanities and social sciences. Qualifying fields of study include art history, theater, literature, philosophy, and religion. The fellowship funds research that can only be completed onsite, where the researcher must be at a specific location for an extended period. The program accepts applications from U.S. citizens and doctoral students enrolled in an accredited U.S. institution.
Amount: Varies (projected average award for 2021 is $23,000)
NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program
Who can Apply: The National Science Foundation awards funding to students pursuing a research-based master's or doctorate in a STEM field at an accredited U.S. institution. The foundation encourages applications from members of underrepresented groups, such as persons with disabilities, minorities, veterans, and women.
Top 25 Ph.D. Programs Online
1. Azusa Pacific University
Azusa Pacific University offers online doctoral programs with low residency requirements in nursing, higher education, and rehabilitation and movement science.
APU offers a doctor of nursing practice degree accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The program offers an optional specialization in oncology. Learners must complete 1,000 hours of clinical residency and an evidence-based project.
Students can pursue a doctor of education in higher education leadership (51 credits) or a doctor of philosophy in higher education (60 credits). Both programs follow a cohort model of education and require enrollees to participate in on-campus learning activities at specific times during their enrollment.
The Ph.D. in rehabilitation and movement science offers courses online throughout the year but it requires students to participate in two one-week on-campus sessions each year. Applicants must have at least one year of work experience as licensed clinical health practitioners. Azusa Pacific University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
2. Baker University
The School of Education at Baker University offers an online doctor of education in instructional design and performance technology. The 59-credit program includes 27 core coursework credits, six credits for research and statistical analysis, four credits for directed field experience, and 20 credits of dissertation development. The remaining two credits are reserved for portfolio presentation.
Applicants need a master's degree in the field or a closely related area with a final GPA of at least 3.5. Master's degree-holders may transfer up to eight credits toward the Ed.D. Students with a specialist degree (Ed.S.) or credits from another doctoral program may transfer up to 12 credits. Transfer credits must undergo a transcript review by the program coordinator before they can be counted toward the Ed.D.
The program follows a cohort model of education, with each course lasting seven weeks. Students start their dissertation during the third year of the program and must complete all coursework requirements within two years. Baker University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
3. Bradley University
The online doctor of education in higher education administration at Bradley University offers two focus areas: higher education leadership and community college leadership. The program does not lead to licensure or certification. Students must first complete 18 credits of core coursework before enrolling in classes specific to their focus area.
The core curriculum includes three credits each in the following: boards and educational governance; ethical and political foundations of educational policy; learning in an era of technology; and national trends in assessment, data analysis, and accountability. A six-credit internship completes the core coursework credit requirements.
Degree-seekers must complete an action research capstone project prior to graduation. Students must complete 15 credits of doctoral research coursework, which begins with an introductory class in doctoral studies and annotated bibliography. The other classes include research planning and ethics, data collection and analysis, literature review, and project conclusions. Bradley University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
4. Concordia University-Irvine
The School of Education at Concordia University Irvine offers a 46-credit doctor of education program in leadership with specializations in educational administration, organizational change, and special education. The program follows a cohort model of education and takes three years to complete.
Applicants must submit a statement of intent containing 5-7 pages describing their educational and professional goals, academic and research background, and reasons for choosing the Ed.D. program. Applicants must also submit a writing sample of up to 10 pages that demonstrates their ability to integrate research and professional literature in their writing.
Students can pursue the Ed.D. as a hybrid program, which delivers courses on campus, through synchronous online video conferencing, and via self-paced learning modules. Learners can also enroll in a fully online Ed.D. program with synchronous and asynchronous components. Most courses last eight weeks. Doctoral students craft individualized learning plans with their dissertation advisor at the beginning of the program.
Concordia University Irvine is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
5. Concordia University-Saint Paul
Concordia University, St. Paul offers a 64-credit online doctor of education degree that learners can complete in three years. A cohort program, the Ed.D. consists of 17 three-credit courses and a one-week residency during the summer of a student's second and third year of enrollment.
The curriculum includes leadership and scholarship courses in topics such as organizational resource management, solutions-based leadership, influences and assessment of public policy, and data and quantitative analysis. Students can transfer a maximum of 23 credits from a master's or post-specialist program subject to a thorough review of the program director. The Ed.D. does not accept research methodology credits for transfer. Dissertation research and writing consists of a total of 14 credits.
Doctoral students who plan to apply for their administrative license after the program must complete a K-12 internship consisting of six credits, plus any additional courses determined by the program director. Concordia University, St. Paul is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
6. Creighton University
Creighton University offers online doctoral programs in interdisciplinary leadership and post-professional occupational therapy. Creighton also offers hybrid programs in business administration, nursing, occupational therapy, and pharmacy.
The doctor of education in interdisciplinary leadership comprises 60 credits that full-time learners can complete in four years. Students enroll in core courses in change theory and practice, administrative and policy leadership issues, strategic planning and management, and organizational theory and behavior. Degree-seekers can take all their classes online, but they must attend an on-campus residency during their first term. The university also requires doctoral candidates to return to campus to defend their dissertation.
The post-professional doctor of occupational therapy accepts applicants with either a bachelor's or master's degree in the field. The program allows enrollees to develop advanced clinical, teaching, and practice management skills. The program meets the educational requirements for occupational therapy licensure in the United States. Creighton University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
7. Endicott College
Endicott College offers online Ph.D. programs in nursing and applied behavior analysis. The programs follow a cohort model of education and do not require applicants to submit GRE scores. Doctoral students can transfer up to six credits toward their degree through prior learning assessment.
The Ph.D. in nursing comprises 45 credits, many of which learners can complete online. Applicants need a master's degree in nursing from an accredited institution and a valid and unencumbered RN license. The curriculum includes coursework in research methods, approaches to nursing knowledge and theory development, and analysis and evaluation of theories impacting client phenomena.
The applied behavior analysis doctorate from Endicott's School of Education consists of 60 credits with courses that run synchronously. Applicants need a master's degree in applied behavior analysis and are preferably certified by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board. Endicott College is regionally accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education.
8. The George Washington University
The George Washington University offers online Ph.D. programs in systems engineering and nursing. The School of Engineering and Applied Science offers a doctorate in systems engineering comprising 54 credits, 24 of which consists of coursework and 30 credits for dissertation research and writing.
Students progress as a cohort for the program's coursework portion. Courses run synchronously and cover subjects such as data analysis, discrete systems simulation, advanced systems engineering, and research methods. The school requires Ph.D. enrollees to receive a minimum 3.4 GPA to avoid being dropped from the program.
The Ph.D. in nursing comprises 57 credits. Classes run synchronously online with an on-campus orientation session during the summer before initial enrollment. Students must also participate in two weekend residencies per semester during their first two years in the program. Learners pursuing the Ph.D. in nursing receive full tuition remission and a living stipend for their first two years of enrollment.
The George Washington University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
9. Georgia College & State University
The School of Nursing at Georgia College and State University offers a 37-credit online doctor of nursing practice degree. Most students complete the program after five semesters of full-time enrollment. The program accepts part-time enrollees who typically earn the degree after eight semesters. Although an online program, the school requires doctoral candidates to attend an annual one-week onsite immersion experience.
Applicants need a master's degree in nursing or anesthesia with a minimum 3.2 GPA and a valid RN license. They must also show completion of at least 500 supervised clinical hours at the master's level. The curriculum includes coursework in epidemiology, evidence-based practice, informatics, and applied healthcare research.
Degree-seekers must complete an additional 540 clinical hours at the doctoral level prior to earning the degree. The program culminates with a capstone project in which students apply advanced theoretical constructs to address a challenge in their current work environment. Georgia College and State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
10. Gonzaga University
Gonzaga University offers online doctoral programs in nursing and leadership studies. Students accepted to the doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program with a bachelor's degree must enroll in 78 credits, which typically takes five years to complete. Bachelor's-trained doctoral candidates can follow a family nurse practitioner pathway or a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner pathway.
The DNP program also accepts master's-trained nurses who only need to complete 28-34 credits to earn the degree. Although an online program, the DNP requires master's-trained students to participate in two on-campus residencies. Most students with a master's degree take two years to complete the program.
The doctor of philosophy in leadership studies comprises 60 credits and typically takes 4-5 years to complete. All students start the program by enrolling in four foundation classes in leadership theory, global issues and policy analysis, ethics and leadership studies, and organizational theory. The program allows students to enroll in up to 12 credits of independent study and to transfer up to 12 Ph.D.-level credits from another accredited institution. Gonzaga University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
11. Gwynedd Mercy University
Gwynedd Mercy University offers online doctoral programs in nursing and educational leadership. The two-year doctor of nursing practice (DNP) comprises 39 credits (13 courses) and accepts applications from MSN-trained RNs. The curriculum includes coursework in organizational behavior and social policy, statistical analysis for evidence-based practice, healthcare ethics, and leadership as an advanced practical nurse. The DNP includes 400 hours of clinical internship and one onsite session toward the end of the program.
The online executive doctorate in educational leadership consists of 54 credits that takes learners less than three years. The program follows a cohort model of education and an accelerated course schedule. Students enroll in one class at a time, and each class lasts five or seven weeks. Learners can choose from four interest areas: leadership in pre-K to 12 schools, higher education, special education, and teaching and learning in higher education.
Gwynedd Mercy University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
12. Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University offers online doctoral programs in engineering, nursing, public health, and education. Students accepted to the doctor of nursing practice program can choose from nine tracks of study, including adult-gerontological acute care nurse practitioner and pediatric primary care nurse practitioner.
The doctor of public health degree from the Bloomberg School of Public Health comprises 64 credits and accepts applications from candidates with a master's degree in the field. Applicants must show a strong academic grasp of biostatistics and epidemiology. The program offers specializations in environmental health, implementation science, health policy and management, and health equity and social justice.
The Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at the Whiting School of Engineering does not maintain a formal course schedule for enrollees. Instead, students work closely with their advisor to develop an individual plan of study that includes courses relevant to their educational and career objectives. Based on their course of study, doctoral candidates must pass a departmental and graduate board exam. They must also write and defend their dissertation to earn the degree.
Johns Hopkins University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
13. Maryville University of Saint Louis
Maryville University offers online doctoral programs in nursing and higher education. Students can pursue both programs completely online.
MSN-trained students admitted to the online doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program typically graduate after just 20 months. Students who specialize in a nurse practitioner (NP) arena while pursuing the DNP usually graduate in 36 months. The DNP-to-NP program offers five specialization areas, including adult gerontology primary care, pediatric care, and psychiatric mental health.
The doctor of education accepts applications from master's degree-holders who already have an initial principal license. The program follows a cohort model of education that takes learners 32 months to complete. The curriculum prepares graduates for the state superintendent licensure exam. Prior to graduation, students must complete a capstone project that demonstrates their mastery of the field and directly benefits the school district. Maryville University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
14. Mount Carmel College of Nursing
The online doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program at Mount Carmel College of Nursing comprises 37 credits beyond a master's degree that takes students 18 months to complete. The DNP offers tracks in clinical practice leadership, executive healthcare leadership, and executive academic leadership.
Students must enroll in five foundation courses, including transformative leadership practices, evidence-based practice, and integrative structures of transformative practice. The program requires learners to participate in two onsite immersion experiences (4-5 days each) during the first and second semesters.
MSN-trained applicants with advanced practice certification can earn credits toward the degree through challenge exams. MSN-trained applicants without advanced practice certification may need to complete additional hours throughout the program. The program requires all applicants to hold a valid RN license. Students must complete 500 practice experience hours throughout their enrollment.
Mount Carmel College of Nursing is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
15. Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health
Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing and Allied Health offers online doctoral programs in nursing, education, and public health. The doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program accepts bachelor's and master's degree-holders as well as advanced practice RNs. The BSN-to-DNP program consists of 75 credits, which includes 57 credits of coursework and 18 credits of clinical practice (1,080 contact hours). Full-time students typically complete the program after 36 months of continuous enrollment. The program accepts part-time enrollees, many of whom earn the degree in 4-5 years.
The doctoral programs in education and leadership in healthcare and in public health require applicants to hold a master's degree in a healthcare-related field with at least a 3.0 GPA. Students pursuing either degree complete a scholarly capstone project instead of a dissertation as their culminating experience.
The curriculum for the Ed.D. in education and leadership in healthcare includes coursework in organization change and accountability; teaching, learning, and instructional methods; healthcare finance; and information technology in healthcare and education. The public health curriculum maintains a broader focus covering subjects like epidemiology, biostatistics, population health, and public health ethics.
Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing and Allied Health is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
16. Quinnipiac University
Quinnipiac University offers two online doctoral programs. Students can pursue a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) at the School of Nursing or a post-professional occupational therapy doctorate at the School of Health Sciences.
The DNP program comprises 30 credits and accepts applications from MSN-trained RNs. Coursework covers subjects such as epidemiology and population health, leadership and collaboration for change in healthcare, and health policy and organizational systems. Students must complete an experiential capstone project as the culminating experience of the program.
The occupational therapy doctorate consists of 32 credits that students can complete in five semesters. Although all courses are available online, the program requires enrollees to participate in an on-campus summer class for one week, and again on symposium day prior to graduation. The curriculum includes coursework in innovations and emerging issues in adult healthcare, leadership in higher education, and directed study in evidence-based practice.
Quinnipiac University is regionally accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education.
17. Regis College
Regis College offers an online doctoral program in nursing that accepts applications from BSN- and MSN-trained students. The doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program does not require applicants to submit GRE or GMAT scores. However, prospective students need an active RN license. Completing the DNP qualifies graduates to sit for certification exams from one of several certification boards such as the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and the National League for Nursing.
The BSN-to-DNP program consists of 73-76 credits that learners can complete in 3.5 years. Students can choose from six specialization areas, including pediatrics, women's health, and psychiatric mental health.
The MSN-to-DNP program includes four tracks for different types of students. The program accepts applications from RNs seeking their first NP specialization, doctorate-seeking NPs, RNs with a master's in a non-nursing field (bridge program), and RNs seeking a second NP specialization. How long it takes to complete the program and the total number of credits required for the degree depend on a student's chosen track. Most students graduate in 24-36 months.
Regis College is regionally accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education.
18. Regis University
Regis University offers online doctoral programs in nursing, occupational therapy, and dual programs in pharmacy and health informatics and pharmacy and health services administration. The doctor of nursing practice program comprises 31-36 credits and features two specialization areas: advanced leadership in healthcare and advanced practice registered nursing. Classes follow eight-week terms.
Regis offers the online doctoral program in occupational therapy in partnership with Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. Creighton faculty teach the online courses, while Regis faculty supervise the program's experiential aspects, including anatomy labs, simulation center, and service learning. The program consists of 125 credits.
The dual programs lead to a doctorate in pharmacy and an MS in either health informatics or health services administration. Each dual program comprises 165 credits. Classes follow eight-week delivery schedules. Students must complete the Pharm.D. portion of the program within four years after the MS. Regis University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
19. Samford University
Samford University offers online doctoral programs in public health, education, and nursing. The doctorate in educational leadership at Orlean Beeson School of Education accepts applicants with a master's or an education specialist degree. Master's degree-holders complete 66 credits, while education specialist degree-holders complete 36 credits. The curriculum includes core courses in organizational dynamics, ethical issues in education, negotiation and conflict resolution, and educational policy development and analysis.
Students admitted to the doctor of nursing practice at Moffett and Sanders School of Nursing can specialize in nursing administration or advanced practice RN. Both programs require learners to complete at least 1,000 clinical hours. MSN-trained RNs can transfer some clinical hours from their master's toward the doctorate with the approval of the program director.
The online doctoral in public health offers a concentration in health management and policy and in population health analytics and decision-making. The program welcomes full-time and part-time enrollees. Most students earn the degree after five semesters. Samford University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
20. The College of Saint Scholastica
The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Florida offers online Ph.D. programs in classical civilization and in Latin and Roman studies. The programs allow students to craft individual plans of study and require the completion of 60 credits beyond a master's degree. Doctoral candidates must pass written and oral comprehensive exams and write and defend their dissertation.
UF also offers online doctoral programs in education. Students can pursue a doctor of education degree in the fields of educational leadership, higher education administration, and curriculum and instruction. The doctorate in curriculum and instruction offers specializations in educational technology and in teachers, schools, and society. The programs follow a cohort model of education.
The doctor of nursing program at UF's College of Nursing accepts BSN- and MSN-trained nurses. The BSN-to-DNP program consists of 75-78 credits, while the MSN-to-DNP program requires 35 credits. The latter only accepts applications from advanced practice RNs with a valid APRN license. Both programs maintain minimal onsite requirements. The University of Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Popular Online Doctoral Programs
21. University of Southern California
University of Southern California offers online doctoral programs in the fields of social work, physical therapy, and education.
USC's Rossier School of Education offers online doctoral programs in educational leadership and in organizational change and leadership. Although students can complete coursework for either program online, the school requires doctoral candidates to attend onsite immersion experiences, which are scheduled in advance. The school also offers an online global executive doctorate specifically designed for senior education professionals seeking to shape educational policies and practice internationally.
Students accepted to USC's doctor of social work program can pursue an accelerated track that takes seven semesters or a regular track that takes nine semesters. The program comprises 42 credits and does not require applicants to submit GRE scores with their application. The doctorate in physical therapy follows a hybrid delivery format and includes coursework in musculoskeletal anatomy, clinical exercise physiology, life span motor control, and differential diagnosis in physical therapy.
The University of Southern California is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
22. University of St Francis
Students accepted to the online doctoral program in education at the University of St. Francis can pursue a concentration in superintendent endorsement or in leadership, learning, and stewardship. The Ed.D. comprises 60 credits. Although learners can complete most coursework online, the program requires some onsite presence.
The Ed.D. in superintendent endorsement accepts applications only from practitioners holding a professional educator license with a general administrative or principal endorsement. The program prepares these candidates for district-wide leadership. Students in this concentration work with their advisors to craft an individualized plan of study that supports their specific career and educational goals.
USF also offers a 40-credit doctor of nursing practice program with an optional concentration in nurse education. The curriculum includes courses in healthcare policy, politics, and practice; diversity and social justice in a global society; healthcare finance and practice management; and professional and organizational communication.
University of St. Francis is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
23. Villanova University
Villanova University offers online doctoral programs in nursing through the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing. Students can choose to pursue a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) or a doctor of philosophy degree.
The DNP allows students to choose a full-time, part-time, or flex track, which they can complete in five, eight, or 11 consecutive semesters, respectively. DNP courses run synchronously with some on-campus components scheduled ahead of time. The program follows a cohort model of education and accepts applications only from MSN-trained advanced practice RNs with a current APRN license.
The Ph.D. program offers online coursework during the fall and spring semesters and on-campus classes during summer terms. The program comprises 51 credits and includes courses in conceptual and theoretical foundations in nursing science; advocacy, policy, and ethics in healthcare; structure and philosophy in higher education; and curriculum design in nursing education. The length of time to complete the Ph.D. varies and depends on a student's educational background, progress in the program, and personal goals.
Villanova University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
24. Wilkes University
Wilkes University offers online doctoral programs in education and nursing. The doctorate in educational leadership follows a cohort model of education and requires students to attend only three residencies throughout their course of study. The curriculum comprises 60 post-master's credits and offers concentrations in educational technology, curriculum and instruction, and educational leadership studies. By enrolling in 12-18 credits each year, doctoral candidates can complete the coursework portion of the program in 3-4 years and begin writing their dissertation.
Nursing practitioners can choose to get a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) or a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.). The DNP comprises 35 credits and takes two years to complete. The Ph.D. consists of 47 credits and takes three years. Both programs accept applications from MSN-trained practitioners with a valid nursing license. Students complete all coursework online. However, Ph.D. candidates must attend one two-day on-campus residency prior to graduation. The DNP program requires candidates to complete clinical hours, the total number of which depends on their educational and practice background.
Wilkes University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
25. A.T. Still University of Health Sciences
The College of Graduate Health Studies at A.T. Still University of Health Sciences offers online doctoral programs in health administration, health professions, and health sciences. The programs only accept applications from practitioners holding a master's degree in the area of study they plan to pursue or a closely related field.
The health professions and health administration programs consist of 55 and 62 credits, respectively. The college offers both programs completely online. Students pursuing the health professions program complete a doctoral research project as their culminating activity. Doctoral candidates in the health administration program write a dissertation.
The doctoral program in health science comprises 70 post-master's credits and offers three concentration areas: global health, fundamentals of education, and leadership and organizational behavior. The curriculum includes coursework in population health and patient-centered care; health administration, law, and ethics; risk management for health professionals; and principles of management and decision analysis. An applied research project is the degree's culminating activity.
A.T. Still University of Health Sciences is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.