20 Best Online Schools for Doctorate Degrees 2017

In this article, we highlight the 20 best online schools for doctorate degrees in 2017.

A professional doctorate degree program is focused on providing advanced knowledge and practice of a specific area of interest. Popularity in doctoral programs has led to the 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 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 was placed higher on our list.

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

Methodology:

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.

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

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 number of available doctoral programs earns ASU a stop on our list of best online doctorate degrees. ASU is ranked 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) are ranked #40 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#19 – University of Nebraska

Lincoln, Nebraska

University of Nebraska - 20 Best Online Schools for Doctorate Degrees

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

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

University of Nebraska is one of our picks for best online doctorate schools based on the number of programs offered and the affordable graduate tuition. Three online doctoral degrees are offered in EdD and PhD 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 is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a top national university and public school. Also, the online graduate education programs, including the PhD, are ranked #4 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News.

#18 – University of Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin - 20 Best Online Schools for Doctorate Degrees

University of Wisconsin offers two online doctoral degrees in nursing.

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

One of our top online schools for doctorate degrees is the University of Wisconsin, which offers two nursing programs. Professional nurses can earn a PhD 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 PhD 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 is also recognized as among the best in the country, ranking #47 for best nursing schools to earn a DNP.

#17 – University of South Carolina

Columbia, South Carolina

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

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

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

One of the best online doctorate schools on our list is 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. University of South Carolina is a nationally ranked institution. The online graduate education programs are ranked #40 out of more than 1,200, and the graduate education school is ranked #78 in the nation.

#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.

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

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.

#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.

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

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 is ranked #36 among other universities that offer a DNP.

#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.

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

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, the graduate health schools have earned recognition. The physical therapy doctoral degree is ranked #53, and the occupational therapy degree is ranked #32.

#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.

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

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: PhD 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 PhD) are ranked #10 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#12 – University of Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

University of Alabama - 20 Best Online Schools for Doctorate Degrees

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

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

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 PhD 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 ranks the university as a top national institution. Also, several of the graduate programs, including the DNP, have been ranked. In fact, nursing graduate school is ranked #29 among other schools that offer a doctoral degree in nursing practice.

#11 – University of Kansas

Lawrence, Kansas

University of Kansas - 20 Best Online Schools for Doctorate Degrees

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

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

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 (PhD), and occupational therapy (OTD). While these programs are considered to be online, minimal face-to-face meetings may be required, especially for the PhD in nursing program. The institution is ranked 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.

#10 – University of Missouri

Columbia, Missouri

University of Missouri - 20 Best Online Schools for Doctorate Degrees

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

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

The University of Missouri is one of our top online doctorate degrees schools. While the school offers several doctoral programs, only one is considered to be 100% online. The College of Human Environmental Sciences offers a PhD 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 PhD students. The institution is ranked 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.

#9 – Clemson University

Clemson, South Carolina

Clemson University - 20 Best Online Schools for Doctorate Degrees

Clemson University has three doctoral programs available online, including a PhD in Recreational Therapy.

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

Clemson University is one of our top picks for online doctorate schools due to the number of programs available, low acceptance rate, and affordable graduate tuition. Three doctoral programs are available, including a PhD in healthcare genetics, a PhD in recreational therapy, and a PhD in rhetoric, communication, and information design. Most courses are delivered online, but students are required to be on campus to defend exams and dissertation. 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 have been ranked among the top institutions.

#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.

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

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 PhD 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 is also ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 111th best national university in the country.

#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.

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

Texas Tech University is one of our top online doctorate degrees schools due in part to the low tuition and 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 is ranked #107.

#6 – University of Arkansas

Fayetteville, Arkansas

University of Arkansas - 20 Best Online Schools for Doctorate Degrees

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

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

Low graduate tuition, moderately low student-to-faculty-ratio, and number of available doctoral programs make 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 offered. The DNP offers courses entirely online and locally arranged clinical practicum hours. All programs are designed for those holding a bachelor’s or master’s degree. U.S. News and World Report ranks University of Arkansas as the 135th best national university. Also, the education school and nursing school have both earned recognition.

#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.

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

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 is 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 is ranked among the top 105 engineering schools in the nation.

#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.

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

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 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 ranks the school as the 56th best national university and 64th best value school. The nursing school ranks 30th among those that offer DNP programs.

#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.

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

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 is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 30th best national university and 12th best value school.

#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!

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

University of Florida is one of our top online doctorate degrees schools due to the 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.

#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.

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

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 is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 74th best national university and 21st best value school.

BCS Staff
March 2017

This concludes our list of 20 best online schools for doctorate degrees in 2017.