Schools Offering Online PhD, Doctorate, & Doctoral Degree Programs

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Our list of the best online PhD programs is designed to help students become more familiar with the entire process of receiving a higher degree online. This list should not only help a prospective student consider their academic field, but also consider the time and money they must invest in achieving this degree. Please use our list below to help you answer questions about your potential higher degree.

Whether you wish to enhance your career prospects or better your education, an online PhD allows students a great deal of flexibility in their time commitments and, sometimes, requirements. In order to provide you with the best selection of PhD and Doctorate programs online, we have examined the cost, time commitment, national and international rankings, availability of financial aid, and special, unique offerings from the college that might make a student’s time there worthwhile. All of these colleges and universities have institutional accreditation by respected organizations, and therefore will help students advance their employment and academic prospects. Additionally, earning a terminal degree drastically increases the degree holder’s prospects of finding a well-paying job, which helps pay off any remaining student loans not covered or reduced by financial assistance.

Table of Contents:

  1. 10 Best Online PhD Programs of 2016
  2. Methodology
  3. Top Sponsored Online PhD Programs 2016
  4. Capella University Online PhD Programs
  5. Walden University Online PhD Programs
  6. The Need for an Online PhD


10 Best Online PhD Programs of 2016


To rank the Best Online PhD Programs for 2016, we started by researching the nearly 1,000 schools in our directory to find the ones which offered online doctoral degrees. From there, we took each school’s PhD programs and applied a strict methodology that measured objective data in the areas most important to advanced degree-seekers. We grouped those data points into three core metric categories:

  1. Value
    • Tuition cost
    • Average Student Debt
    • Average salary of program graduates
  2. Reputation
  3. Curriculum
    • Prerequisite requirements
    • Credits needed for completion
    • Number of concentrations
    • Schedule flexibility

We assigned scores for each data point and averaged them to come up with a core metric score. Finally, we averaged the core metric scores to calculate the overall grade, which we used to rank every online PhD program.

Top Sponsored Online PhD Programs 2016

When you earn a degree you want to make sure that it’s from an accredited university or program. Not only does this speak to the quality of the education you receive, but when reviewing your education employers will check that your PhD meets this requirement. This is a sponsored list and we are affiliated with these institutions, and all of the programs are accredited.

northcentral-university.364x100Northcentral University: Every doctoral student at Northcentral University will be provided with a special level of advisor as well as faculty support and guidance. While they prepare students to teach, perform research, or land a consulting position,Northcentral University will train their students with the best teachers in their respective fields. Performing original research, comprehensive examinations, field experiences, residential colloquia, and a dissertation will provide students with the building blocks of becoming the future’s next professionals.

Walden University Walden University: In order to teach, consult, publish, or lead, you will need to gain confidence and credentials, and that’s what Walden’s doctoral degree programs will provide. They are designed to help you pursue your passion, fulfill lifelong goals, and make original contributions by allowing you to focus on your own interests and not those of a faculty member. A PhD program is a huge commitment, and they understand that your studies are aimed at preparing you for delivering game-changing results in your field.

Northcentral University Online PhD Programs 

Business & Technology

Prepare yourself for corporate leadership, teaching opportunities, or business consulting with a business and technology doctor of philosophy PhD.

  • PhD – Leadership: Centered around leadership, research, strategy, technology, and ethics, the PhD in leadership will teach students how to draw from multiple leadership approaches. Students will be able to fortify the viability of an organization and lead it onto a better path through their enhanced leadership abilities.

  • PhD – Information Assurance and Security: By advancing your skill development and research abilities in information confidentiality, integrity, governance, compliance, and risk management, students will be on their way to career paths in teaching and consulting in healthcare and global technology.

  • PhD – Project Management: Learn how to formulate new theoretical constructs with this degree and become a “leadership track” employee. Be on your way to develop advanced IT, learn the skills for project management, and become a knowledgeable leader of a business.

  • PhD – Finance: This program is for those that want to finely tune their skills in research, scholarly writing, ethical theory, global perspective, financial technology, and a systems-thinking approach in the world of finance. Upon completing the degree you will  be qualified to be a business researcher, chief executive/financial officer, vice president of business analysis and planning, or a senior finance manager.

  • PhD – Marketing: Learning research, strategy, and leadership in marketing will prepare you for a career as a marketing officer, director of marketing, vice president in product management, or senior marketing manager.

  • PhD – Human Resource Management: After you learn about diverse demographic and cultural perspectives, the influence of new technologies on the workplace, and the impact of the dynamic external work environment on human resource management practices, you’ll be ready to take on a career as a business researcher, vice president of compensation and benefits, vice president of human resources, human capital manager, human resource manager, or an independent agent consultant.

  • PhD – General Business Management: For those that want to master research concepts by concentrating on your abilities to manage a business, this program will prepare you for a leadership role as a business professional.

  • PhD – Accounting: Grow your understanding of an advanced knowledge in the research, practice, and education of accounting. After earning the degree you’ll understand functions within business organization and interrelated issues that will prepare you for a career as a senior auditor or senior accountant.

Walden University Online PhD Programs

Health & Public Health

The health science and public health fields are always expanding. In order to be a leader in this field you need an advanced degree. With research, theory, and practice you will be able to impact the change that is constantly needed in these fields.

  • PhD – Health Education and Promotion: Not only is the healthcare field expanding but the need for professionals has never been greater. Healthcare education will focus not only on proper practice, but also the preventative measures that people can take in order to stay healthy throughout their lives.

  • PhD – Health Services: Prepare yourself for leadership positions in health services with this online PhD program. Meet the challenges of healthcare head-on and be able to create positive change in the health of those entrusted into your care.

  • PhD – Nursing: Learn how to bring about change to local, national, or global healthcare as you train to be a leader in the nursing field.

  • PhD – Public Health: As you conduct research in public health area of your choice you will learn about disease and injury prevention, health informatics, and marketing in order to help promote social change in the health of those around you.

Social Work & Human Services

Communities need leaders with skills that can help it’s members. Whether it’s social work or human services that you’re interested in, an online PhD program will provide you with the means the effect the change you want to see in your community.

  • PhD – Human and Social Services: The need for leaders in this field has never been greater. Underserved populations need leaders in human and social services to help them live more productive, fulfilling, and independent lives.

  • PhD – Criminal Justice: Explore contemporary theory and practice as you learn the skills needed to become a better criminal justice professional. The teachers of this program are veterans of the criminal justice field and will teach you criminal behavior, leadership theory, human services, technology and law enforcement, homeland security, and public management.

Counseling & Psychology

Whether it’s counseling or psychology that you’re interested in the people you help will greatly appreciate the education you received. From performing research to practicing professionally you will learn the skills needed to help people on a small or large scale.

  • PhD – Psychology: Learn how to help individuals and groups with family, career, mental health, and educational problems.

  • PhD – Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Coursework that focuses on theories and principles concerning scientific research will sharpen your understanding of employee and organization behavior. Improve employee productivity and performance as a leader in the field after you’ve completed this degree.

Business & Public Administration

Businesses and public administrations need the leaders of tomorrow to bring about change. Their institutions are looking for people that will help build productivity and promote organization.

  • PhD – Public Policy and Administration: Learn how to meet the challenges of governance and public service with this online PhD program. As you acquire knowledge through research and theory you will learn how to create change within your profession.

  • PhD – Management: Through deepening your management and research aptitude you will learn the skills of expertise and credibility. After completing the program you will be better able to bring positive change to your institution.


Schools, students, and organizations are waiting for people to play a vital role in the future. The way students learn is changing now more than ever, and they need people with advanced degrees to lead them in a direction that will make them more educated members of society.

  • PhD – Education: With this online PhD program you will be able to focus your learning on a field that meets your own career goals. When you’ve completed the program you will make a deeper impact on the institution you work for and help the field move in a beneficial direction.

The Need for an Online PhD

We hope you’ve joined the thousands of others we have helped and found this list of online PhD programs useful. While earning your online PhD from an accredited program you will become the master of your field, and upon completing the degree you’ll find that a broad spectrum of career paths are open to you.

Whether you want your future to be focused on research, teaching, consulting, or helping your community, an online PhD program will help those dreams be realized. An advanced education not only shows employers that you can work hard toward a goal, but it speaks to the expertise of knowledge that you’ve acquired in the process. When employers look at the candidates for a position they not only look for dedication, but also for a master in the field. An online PhD program will give you that background and credentials.

If you’re worried about the expense of a program then take comfort in the fact that there are a lot of options at your disposal. Depending on where you work and how relevant the PhD program is for your background and experience employers will sometimes offer financial assistance. Your education will benefit their institution. If this isn’t an option then most people qualify for student loans after they fill out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). There are also Pell Grants, scholarships, fellowships, teaching assistantships, and other college programs that help relieve some of the burden of tuition.

Before you pick an online PhD program be sure that the degree and institution is right for you. Look into the professors you’ll be working with, the courses that are offered, course structure, and determine if this is the program that will help advance your future. We know how big of a commitment getting a PhD is, but not only will you be able to advance your career in the direction of your choosing, but you’ll also have a better chance at making more money over the course of your career with this advanced degree.

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