2019 Best Online Colleges for Doctoral Programs

Online doctoral degrees are offered by 247 accredited schools in a variety of subjects ranging from computer science to educational leadership. Browse our list of 1,517 doctoral degree programs, categorized by academic discipline, or check out the best online colleges that offer doctoral programs.

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Doctoral Degrees--2019-Badge

Offering multiple online programs and high research expenditures, these 25 universities represent the best options for obtaining online doctoral programs. Roughly half of the schools devote at least $100 million to research per year. Johns Hopkins University has the highest research expenditures, totaling over $1 billion. The online doctoral programs offered at these schools are diverse, ranging from a Doctor of Education to a Doctor of Public Health. Other available online programs include a Doctor of Nurse Practice (DNP) and a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT).

Read more about our ranked schools below, view our methodology, or learn more about SR Education Group.

Rank School Annual Tuition R&D Expenditure
#1 #1 Johns Hopkins University $18,048 $1,425M
#2 #2 Texas A & M University-College Station $14,035 $745M
#3 #3 Mississippi State University $7,117 $167M
#4 #4 University of Southern California $26,703 $371M
#5 #5 The George Washington University $20,100 $180M
#6 #6 University of Arkansas $12,605 $147M
#7 #7 University of Wyoming $11,700 $80M
#8 #8 The University of Tennessee - Knoxville $10,515 $226M
#9 #9 Texas Tech University $10,140 $174M
#10 #10 Colorado State University-Fort Collins $13,890 $194M
#11 #11 Hampton University $11,120 $17M
#12 #12 Drexel University $22,586 $144M
#13 #13 University at Buffalo $9,990 $148M
#14 #14 Arizona State University $10,575 $261M
#15 #15 University of Missouri $6,602 $157M
#16 #16 North Carolina A&T State University $12,795 $29M
#17 #17 University of North Dakota $5,656 $54M
#18 #18 University of Massachusetts-Lowell $8,050 $59M
#19 #19 Indiana University - Bloomington $9,273 $97M
#20 #20 Idaho State University $22,940 $25M
#21 #21 University of Louisiana-Monroe $15,000 $6M
#22 #22 Boise State University $9,304 $24M
#23 #23 Andrews University $18,720 $2M
#24 #24 Nova Southeastern University $16,524 $18M
#25 #25 Central Michigan University $10,185 $15M
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Jump to a Program: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | L | M | N | O | P | R | S | T | V
A Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
Accounting 5 7 $119,114 AACSB, ACBSP
Aerospace Engineering 3 3 $133,178 ABET
Agriculture 2 3 Not Reported Institutional
Architecture 1 1 $80,108 NAAB
Aviation 1 1 $106,359 AABI
B Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
Biology 3 5 $115,707 Institutional
Business 11 108 $104,303 AACSB, ACBSP, IACBE
C Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
Child Development 2 4 $92,298 APA
Christian Counseling 3 7 $58,144 ACPE
Civil Engineering 3 3 $116,659 ABET
Communications 8 8 $100,485 ACEJMC
Computer Engineering 2 3 $130,397 ABET
Computer Science 8 20 $131,290 ABET
Conflict Resolution 4 11 $91,181 Institutional
Construction Management 2 3 $99,379 ACCE, ATMAE
Counseling 14 66 $81,236 CACREP
Counseling Psychology 4 17 Not Reported Institutional
Criminal Justice 7 36 $88,253 Institutional
Criminology 1 1 Not Reported Institutional
Cyber Security 6 9 $88,155 Institutional
D Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
Data Science 4 5 Not Reported Institutional
E Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
Early Childhood Education 3 8 $85,125 CAEP, NAEYC
Economics 1 1 $134,678 AACSB
Education 15 146 $80,393 CAEP, CEA
Educational Leadership 79 229 $77,054 Institutional
Electrical Engineering 4 4 $139,024 ABET
Elementary Education 9 17 $71,167 CAEP, TEAC
Emergency Management 6 21 Not Reported Institutional
Engineering 19 57 $128,618 ABET
Engineering Management 5 8 Not Reported Institutional
English 2 7 $85,973 Institutional
Environmental Science 5 5 $108,544 Institutional
ESL 3 5 $74,106 CEA
Exercise Science 1 2 Not Reported Institutional
F Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
Finance 3 6 $135,697 AACSB
Forensic Psychology 1 30 $89,003 APA
G Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
Geographic Information Systems 1 2 $89,964 Institutional
H Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
Health Education 7 28 Not Reported Institutional
Healthcare Administration 5 16 $100,202 CAHME
Healthcare Management 6 12 $94,940 CAHME
Holistic Medicine 1 1 $87,185 CNME
Homeland Security 4 10 $88,155 Institutional
Human Resources 13 19 $90,137 AACSB, ACBSP
Human Services 4 125 $81,645 Institutional
I Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
Industrial Engineering 2 2 $117,386 ABET
Information Technology 3 21 $92,932 ABET
L Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
Law 5 8 $127,214 ABA
Law Enforcement 1 1 $88,155 Institutional
Liberal Studies 1 1 $91,175 Institutional
Library Science 1 4 Not Reported ALA
M Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
Management 42 193 $96,859 AACSB
Marketing 5 10 $100,626 AACSB
Marriage & Family Therapy 5 26 $80,522 COAMFTE
MBA 3 4 Not Reported AACSB, ACBSP, IACBE
Mechanical Engineering 5 5 $123,939 ABET
Medical Office Administration 1 1 $101,824 Institutional
Music 1 1 $66,879 NASM
N Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
Nurse Practitioner (NP) 75 183 $111,705 ACEN, CCNE
Nursing 19 35 $106,158 ACEN, CCNE
O Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
Occupational Therapy 18 27 Not Reported Institutional
Organizational Leadership 46 125 $99,643 AACSB
P Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
Pharmacy 4 4 $119,260 ACPE
Philosophy 8 12 $83,804 Institutional
Physical Education 2 4 $76,697 Institutional
Physical Therapy 9 12 $85,558 APTA
Physician Assistant 1 1 $94,763 ARC-PA
Project Management 5 10 $99,505 AACSB, PMI-GAC
Psychology 13 141 $92,412 APA
Public Administration 10 63 $74,542 NASPAA
Public Health 13 41 $88,169 CEPH
R Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
Religious Studies 2 20 $73,036 ACPE
Respiratory Therapy 1 1 $99,930 CoARC
S Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
School Counseling 3 4 Not Reported CACREP
Secondary Education 11 14 $72,334 CAEP, TEAC
Social Work 7 58 $76,430 CSWE
Software Engineering 1 2 $131,006 ABET
Special Education 14 24 $85,464 CAA, CAEP
Sports Management 1 3 $74,335 Institutional
Statistics 1 1 Not Reported Institutional
Substance Abuse Counseling 4 5 $80,522 CACREP
Supply Chain Management 3 3 Not Reported Institutional
Systems Engineering 6 6 $125,793 ABET
T Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
Teaching 28 57 $79,307 CAEP, TEAC
Theology 5 10 Not Reported Institutional
V Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
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2019 Best Online Colleges for Doctoral Degrees - Ranking Details

The following colleges and universities offer the best online doctoral programs, based on their high research expenditures and low student-to-faculty ratios. Johns Hopkins University is ranked #1, offering 24 online doctoral programs in fields such education, nursing, and engineering. Tuition for Johns Hopkins' doctoral programs starts at $18,048 per year. The George Washington University, ranked #5, also offers a deep catalog of online doctoral programs. These 13 programs include a PhD in System Engineering and a DNP with several concentrations.

  • Annual Tuition: $18,048
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
  • R&D Expenditure: $1,425 million
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Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore is the country's first research university, offering academic programs for over 140 years. The university offers a number of online doctoral degrees, including a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and a Doctor of Education (EdD). The Doctor of Nursing Practice program currently offers eight specializations, such as Pediatric Primary Care, Executive Track, Health Systems Management, Adult-Gerontological Care Clinical, and Pediatric Critical Care. The Doctor of Education program has three specializations: Mind, Brain, & Teaching, Instructional Design in Online Teaching & Learning, and Entrepreneurial Leadership in Education.

  • Annual Tuition: $14,035
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
  • R&D Expenditure: $745 million
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Texas A & M University-College Station offers online doctoral degrees in Agricultural Education, Plant Breeding, and Curriculum and Instruction. For Texas residents, their Doctor of Education in Agricultural Education costs $1,060 per credit hour, or $2,110 per three credit hours. Out-of-state tuition is $1,485 per credit hour or $3,380 per three credit hours. The Ph.D in Plant Breeding requires 64 credit hours to complete and costs between $1,400 and $1,600 per three-credit course for in-state students and $2,500-$2,700 for out-of-state students. Their online Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction also requires 64 hours to complete, making it a great option for busy distance learners.

  • Annual Tuition: $7,117
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
  • R&D Expenditure: $167 million
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Mississippi State University offers eight online doctoral degrees, including a Doctor of Philosophy in Community College Leadership, Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial and Systems Engineering, and Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering with a concentration in Aerospace Engineering. The Doctor of Philosophy in Community College Leadership requires that applicants already have a master's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.40 out of a 4.00. These programs cost $699.50 per credit hour or $2,098.50 per three-credit course.

  • Annual Tuition: $26,703
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • R&D Expenditure: $371 million
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The University of Southern California offers a number of online doctoral degrees, including a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), Doctor of Social Work (DSW), and Ed.D.s in Global Executive and Organizational Change and Leadership. Students in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program can take courses in Mechanics of Human Gait, Clinical Exercise Physiology, Life Span Motor Control, Fundamentals of Neuroscience, and more. Students in the Doctor of Social Work program must complete 42 units to graduate and can take courses in Leading and Managing Complex Systems, Financial Management for Social Change, the Science of Social Work, and Evaluating Innovation and Change.

  • Annual Tuition: $20,100
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
  • R&D Expenditure: $180 million
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George Washington University offers seven online doctoral degrees in engineering and nursing. Their engineering degrees are a Doctor of Engineering in Engineering Management and Doctor of Philosophy in Systems Engineering. Their nursing degrees include Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Executive Leadership, and Nursing Practice. The Doctor of Philosophy in Systems Engineering takes most students three years and 54 credits to complete. Students in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program can take courses in Research and Policy for Nursing, Concepts in Population Health, Health Care Quality Improvement, and Knowledge Management in Nursing.

  • Annual Tuition: $12,605
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • R&D Expenditure: $147 million
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The University of Arkansas designed its online degree programs specifically for non-traditional students. The university's 12-week, self-paced virtual courses provide a different path to degree acquisition that allows for more flexibility. This public research university also charges all distance learning students in-state tuition. Doctoral program offerings, all developed by a team of top-tier educators, include adult and lifelong learning, educational leadership, human resource development and nursing practice.

  • Annual Tuition: $11,700
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • R&D Expenditure: $80 million
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Situated on the Laramie Plains of southern Wyoming, the University of Wyoming serves a student body of over 12,000, who are enrolled in both traditional and online degree programs. Distance learning students can take advantage of this land-grant university's seven colleges, which each offer combination, site-based and fully online accredited programs. For doctoral students, the University of Wyoming offers fully online programs for educational leadership, educational administration and instructional technology.

  • Annual Tuition: $10,515
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
  • R&D Expenditure: $226 million
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Through Vols Online, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville offers fully online and hybrid programs at the doctoral level for students who are unable to attend regular classes at the Knoxville campus. As of the of fall of 2018, out-of-state distance learning students will benefit from decreased tuition rates for online degree plans, including doctoral degrees in nursing and social work, making them some of the most accessible online doctoral programs in the country.

  • Annual Tuition: $10,140
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
  • R&D Expenditure: $174 million
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Texas Tech University offers a unique commitment to online and distance learning students. Through the Office of the Provost, this Division I university offers flexible solutions for working students, which include eLearning courses, specific programs for students over the age of 50, and regional teaching sites in select parts of Texas. Routinely ranked among the best online institutions in the nation, Texas Tech University offers a 100% online doctoral program in educational leadership and as well as hybrid programs in engineering, education, agriculture and human sciences.

  • Annual Tuition: $13,890
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • R&D Expenditure: $194 million
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This premier public research institution offers distance learning students access to mechanical and agricultural arts programs. Colorado State University-Fort Collins provides regionally accredited online doctoral programs to help working adults and career professionals. This university offers fully online doctoral degrees in systems engineering and higher education leadership, and tuition is the same for all online students regardless of residency. Without sacrificing quality, the affordable online programs at Colorado State University-Fort Collins provide students with all the resources they need to achieve the education and career they want.

  • Annual Tuition: $11,120
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
  • R&D Expenditure: $17 million
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For over 150 years, Hampton University has prepared students to meet the demands of the next generation. With roots grounded in the African American experience, Hampton University now extends its programming online to provide even more students with access to quality education. With Hampton University Online, students can now obtain online doctoral degrees in Business Administration (hybrid residential and online), Counselor Education and Supervision, Educational Management, and Nursing. Hampton University Online provides academic, technological and financial assistance in order to create a collaborative, personalized and successful academic journey.

  • Annual Tuition: $22,586
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
  • R&D Expenditure: $144 million
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Drexel University provides online doctoral degrees in nursing, education, and healthcare, allowing students to advance their career regardless of location. Drexel s online programs provide the quality of a top-ranked institution, complete with financial support and resources. Additionally, online students receive 24/7 tech support and access to the award-winning W.W. Hagerty Library and associated learning resources. Drexel also provides online students with unique opportunities such as study abroad programs to allow them to gain a competitive advantage in today s globalized world.

  • Annual Tuition: $9,990
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
  • R&D Expenditure: $148 million
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The University at Buffalo has earned a longstanding reputation for expertise and quality, and their online programs are no exception. The university offers an online PhD in Curriculum, Instruction and the Science of Learning, with concentrations in elementary education, English education, mathematics education, reading education and science education, as well as an interdisciplinary general track. The University at Buffalo also provides ways to receive an affordable online education, including a 40% tuition reduction for non-residents of New York state.

  • Annual Tuition: $10,575
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • R&D Expenditure: $261 million
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At Arizona State University, online courses are taught by the same faculty members who teach on campus, some of whom are Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, and Guggenheim Fellows. Online degrees at this university require no out-of-state fees, and more than 70% of students utilize a financial aid program or assistance. Arizona State s online doctoral programs include a Doctorate of Behavioral Health (DBH) with Clinical and Management tracks and a Doctorate of Education (EdD) in Leadership and Innovation

  • Annual Tuition: $6,602
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • R&D Expenditure: $157 million
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The University of Missouri offers online programs to students from around the United States and over 50 countries. Online doctoral degrees from the University of Missouri include a number of degrees in nursing, art education, educational leadership, architectural studies, and agricultural education and leadership. Online courses are taught by the same faculty members who teach on campus. With financial, technical, and academic resources available for online students, seeks to extend the same quality and affordable education to all distance learners.

  • Annual Tuition: $12,795
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
  • R&D Expenditure: $29 million
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Through its A&T Online portal, North Carolina A&T State University allows distance learning students to take advantage of its educational facilities through fully online degree programs. With two online doctoral programs available, this historically black university has a Preeminence 2020 plan, which hopes to make it a dominant choice for distance learning students through enrollment initiatives. With 10 percent of its student population consisting of fully online students, North Carolina A&T State University is one of the most dedicated on-campus institutions offering online programs. Prospective online students can attain their doctoral degrees in leadership studies and technology management through the College of Education and College of Science and Technology, respectively.

  • Annual Tuition: $5,656
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • R&D Expenditure: $54 million
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Boasting an endowment of $268 million per academic school year, the University of North Dakota has specific funds dedicated to meeting the needs of prospective doctoral students through the Division of Continuing Education. UND began distance learning programs in 1911 with correspondence-by-mail courses, and now offers 11 fully online doctoral programs for students across the world including programs in educational leadership, teaching, learning and nursing. In addition, UND provides non-credit, professional and personal development courses for working adults and self-paced programs for students who desire a more independent educational experience. With UND online, degree-seeking students get a program that takes their educational and professional needs into account.

  • Annual Tuition: $8,050
  • Accreditation: NECHE
  • R&D Expenditure: $59 million
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The University of Massachusetts-Lowell is a public research institution just northwest of Boston that offers over 200 degree options, including programs in criminal justice, education and engineering. UMass Lowell also offers top-tier education programs for distance learning students including doctoral programs in leadership in schooling through the renowned college of education. In total, this university offers 50 accredited, online programs for degree-seeking students. This university's online program has helped thousands of students receive degrees through fully online courses and remains be one of the largest virtual institutions in the country, accepting prospective students across the nation with affordable tuition rates.

  • Annual Tuition: $9,273
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • R&D Expenditure: $97 million
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Regardless of location, Indiana University-Bloomington offers students across the country an opportunity to earn a degree or enroll in individual courses with a top-of-the-line online degree platform. From licensure verification exams to doctoral programs, Indiana University-Bloomington offers fully online alternatives for otherwise busy students. Doctoral hopefuls can attain degrees through fully accredited online courses. Available programs include DNP and an EdD in Instructional Systems Technology. Indiana University-Bloomington gives all distance learning students opportunities without having to sacrifice the quality associated with traditional degree programs.

  • Annual Tuition: $22,940
  • Accreditation: NWCCU
  • R&D Expenditure: $25 million
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Founded 117 years ago, Idaho State University prides itself on being one of the most cost-effective research institutions with a focus on health education services. ISU remains one of best choices for doctoral degree-seeking health and medical students. The university offers some of these programs to degree-seeking non-traditional students through its virtual program, eISU. Fully online doctoral programs are available in subjects such as instructional design, nursing practice and general nursing. Currently, under State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements, ISU accepts distance learning students from every state in the nation except for Massachusetts, which is not authorized under SARA.

  • Annual Tuition: $15,000
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
  • R&D Expenditure: $6 million
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ULM offers three online doctoral programs in Education, Curriculum and Instruction and Marriage and Family Therapy. All three are 100% online, and are offered in eight-week blocks. Tuition is $500 per credit hour, with 60 credit hours required. Students in either program typically graduate in three to five years. The Education (Ed.D.) program is accelerated, and admission to the program requires a master s degree in any field, with a GPA of 3.25. ULM's online programs are accredited by SACSCOC, and online students have full access to ULM resources.

  • Annual Tuition: $9,304
  • Accreditation: NWCCU
  • R&D Expenditure: $24 million
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BSU offers two 100% online doctoral programs: Educational Technology (Ed.D.) and Nursing Practice (D.N.P.). Costs for three-credit courses vary slightly depending on the program, but are generally between $1,350 and $1,700. Each program requires 33 credits to complete. Students typically finish the program in three to five years. Prerequisites for the the Ed.D. include a master s in education or a related field and a 3.0 graduate GPA. The D.N.P. requires a valid nursing license and a master s from a school of nursing.

  • Annual Tuition: $18,720
  • Accreditation: HLC and DEAC
  • R&D Expenditure: $2 million
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Both regionally and nationally accredited, Andrews University is a Seventh Day Adventist university that was founded in 1874. Andrews offers 11 online doctoral programs in the fields of education and health sciences. Entrance requirements vary by doctoral program, but usually require students to hold a master's degree. Costs are $1,248 per credit, and programs must be completed in seven years. The online doctoral programs in the health field include Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Physical Therapy (DScPT), whereas education programs include an EdD and PhD in Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Leadership and Higher Education Administration. The EdD focuses on career and professional aspects, whereas the PhD is more research oriented.

  • Annual Tuition: $16,524
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
  • R&D Expenditure: $18 million
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Nova Southeastern University offers 21 different online doctoral programs in a variety of disciplines. Nova Southeastern University offers an EdD in several areas: Educational Leadership, Higher Education Leadership, Organizational Leadership, Instructional Technology and Distance Education and Special Education. The EdD focuses on career and professional aspects rather than research. Nova also offers PhD programs in Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Health Sciences and Nursing. Admission to most programs requires an MA, but this requirement may be flexible. The cost for Nova Southeastern's online doctoral programs starts at $918 per credit hour and varies by program.

  • Annual Tuition: $10,185
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • R&D Expenditure: $15 million
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Founded in 1892, Central Michigan University is a non-profit university that is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. The university offers seven online doctoral programs for distance learners. Prospective students should hold a master s degree, have a graduate GPA of at least 3.5, and have at least three years of professional experience. Costs vary slightly by program, ranging from $679 to $850 per credit hour. The degrees offered include a Doctorate of Education Technology (DET), an Education Doctorate in Educational Leadership (EdD), and a Doctorate of Health Administration (DHA). Courses are offered in both asynchronous and synchronous formats, giving students flexibility.

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