2020 Best Online Colleges for Doctoral Programs

Online doctoral degrees are offered by 285 accredited schools in a variety of subjects ranging from computer science to educational leadership. Browse a comprehensive list of 1,978 online doctoral degree programs, categorized by academic discipline, or learn more about the best online colleges that offer doctoral programs.

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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 $2 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 Nursing 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 $31,896 $2,911M
#2 #2 University of Florida $8,110 $710M
#3 #3 New York University $32,310 $1,106M
#4 #4 Mississippi State University $8,802 $181M
#5 #5 Clemson University $10,425 $182M
#6 #6 New Mexico State University $7,191 $103M
#7 #7 University of Arkansas $6,029 $151M
#8 #8 Texas A&M University-College Station $15,300 $746M
#9 #9 University of Southern California $28,920 $416M
#10 #10 Virginia Commonwealth University $11,200 $206M
#11 #11 Loma Linda University $16,800 $24M
#12 #12 Hampton University $9,383 $18M
#13 #13 Boston University $12,375 $175M
#14 #14 University of Missouri $5,518 $159M
#15 #15 Northeastern University $36,296 $123M
#16 #16 The University of Tennessee - Knoxville $10,710 $228M
#17 #17 Drexel University $23,253 $157M
#18 #18 University of Rhode Island $26,512 $93M
#19 #19 University of Southern Mississippi $7,186 $57M
#20 #20 The George Washington University $20,925 $193M
#21 #21 University of North Dakota $9,932 $52M
#22 #22 Auburn University $9,450 $162M
#23 #23 University at Buffalo $8,475 $125M
#24 #24 Creighton University $21,000 $19M
#25 #25 North Carolina A&T State University $12,900 $31M
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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
A Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
Accounting 5 9 $119,114 AACSB, ACBSP
Aerospace Engineering 2 2 $133,178 ABET
Agriculture 1 1 Not Reported Institutional
Architecture 1 1 $80,108 NAAB
Aviation 2 2 $106,359 AABI
B Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
Biology 1 1 $115,707 Institutional
Business 12 111 $104,303 AACSB, ACBSP, IACBE
C Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
Chemical Engineering 2 2 $132,444 ABET
Child Development 3 5 $92,298 APA
Christian Counseling 3 9 $58,144 ACPE
Civil Engineering 4 21 $116,659 ABET
Communications 8 10 $100,485 ACEJMC
Computer Engineering 2 3 $130,397 ABET
Computer Science 8 20 $131,290 ABET
Conflict Resolution 4 12 $91,181 Institutional
Construction Management 4 6 $99,379 ACCE, ATMAE
Counseling 10 73 $81,236 CACREP
Counseling Psychology 2 13 Not Reported Institutional
Criminal Justice 10 44 $88,253 Institutional
Criminology 2 2 Not Reported Institutional
Cyber Security 7 13 $88,155 Institutional
D Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
Data Science 2 2 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 16 179 $80,393 CAEP, CEA
Educational Leadership 92 245 $77,054 Institutional
Electrical Engineering 3 4 $139,024 ABET
Elementary Education 8 15 $71,167 CAEP, TEAC
Emergency Management 7 23 Not Reported Institutional
Engineering 16 69 $128,618 ABET
Engineering Management 3 5 Not Reported Institutional
English 4 9 $85,973 Institutional
Environmental Science 11 28 $108,544 Institutional
ESL 2 4 $74,106 CEA
Exercise Science 1 1 Not Reported Institutional
F Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
Finance 4 7 $135,697 AACSB
Fire Science 1 1 $88,155 Institutional
Forensic Psychology 1 31 $89,003 APA
Forensic Science 2 32 $88,155 AAFS
G Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
Geographic Information Systems 1 2 $89,964 Institutional
H Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
Health Education 3 20 Not Reported Institutional
Healthcare Administration 4 15 $100,202 CAHME
Healthcare Management 5 12 $94,940 CAHME
History 1 1 $98,775 Institutional
Holistic Medicine 1 1 $87,185 CNME
Homeland Security 6 13 $88,155 Institutional
Human Resources 13 22 $90,137 AACSB, ACBSP
Human Services 6 128 $81,645 Institutional
I Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
Industrial Engineering 3 4 $117,386 ABET
Information Technology 2 15 $92,932 ABET
L Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
Law 3 6 $127,214 ABA
Law Enforcement 1 1 $88,155 Institutional
Liberal Studies 2 2 $91,175 Institutional
Library Science 1 4 Not Reported ALA
M Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
Management 39 194 $96,859 AACSB
Marketing 3 5 $100,626 AACSB
Marriage & Family Therapy 6 28 $80,522 COAMFTE
Mathematics 2 3 $118,636 Institutional
MBA 7 13 Not Reported AACSB, ACBSP, IACBE
Mechanical Engineering 4 4 $123,939 ABET
Music 1 1 $66,879 NASM
N Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
Nurse Practitioner (NP) 58 178 $111,705 ACEN, CCNE
Nursing 13 27 $106,158 ACEN, CCNE
O Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
Occupational Safety 1 1 Not Reported ABET
Occupational Therapy 19 28 Not Reported Institutional
Organizational Leadership 51 145 $99,643 AACSB
P Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
Pharmacy 5 7 $119,260 ACPE
Philosophy 7 11 $83,804 Institutional
Physical Education 2 4 $76,697 Institutional
Physical Therapy 8 11 $85,558 APTA
Physician Assistant 1 4 $94,763 ARC-PA
Project Management 6 14 $99,505 AACSB, PMI-GAC
Psychology 11 153 $92,412 APA
Public Administration 12 67 $74,542 NASPAA
Public Health 14 45 $88,169 CEPH
R Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
Real Estate 1 1 $105,729 Institutional
Religious Studies 2 46 $73,036 ACPE
S Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
School Counseling 2 4 Not Reported CACREP
Secondary Education 7 9 $72,334 CAEP, TEAC
Social Work 8 61 $76,430 CSWE
Special Education 14 26 $85,464 CAA, CAEP
Sports Management 1 3 $74,335 Institutional
Statistics 1 1 Not Reported Institutional
Substance Abuse Counseling 5 7 $80,522 CACREP
Supply Chain Management 3 3 Not Reported Institutional
Systems Engineering 5 6 $125,793 ABET
T Online Schools Programs Annual Salary Accreditation
Teaching 22 53 $79,307 CAEP, TEAC
Theology 6 12 Not Reported Institutional
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2020 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 23 online doctoral programs in fields such education, nursing, and public health. Tuition for Johns Hopkins' doctoral programs starts at $31,896 per year. Mississippi State University, ranked #4, also offers a deep catalog of online doctoral programs. These 18 programs include a PhD in Community College Leadership and a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering with several concentrations.

  • Annual Tuition: $31,896
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
  • R&D Expenditure: $2,911 million
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Johns Hopkins University offers 23 online doctoral programs across several academic areas, including education, public health, and nursing. Courses are accessed through the Blackboard online learning platform. Johns Hopkins hosts its own dedicated web portal, JHED, which gives distance learners access to the campus directory as well as other information and materials. Additional student support resources include access to the university’s libraries and career services.

Online Doctoral Degrees (23)

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  • Annual Tuition: $8,110
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
  • R&D Expenditure: $710 million
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The University of Florida (UF) offers 12 online doctoral programs across three academic areas: liberal arts and sciences, education, and nursing. Courses are accessed through the e-Learning online learning platform. UF hosts its own dedicated web portal, Gatorlink, which gives distance learners access to the school’s Integrated Student Information System (ONE.UF). The ONE.UF system provides students with the ability to access financial aid, register for courses, pay tuition, view grades, request transcripts, and view degree audits. Additional student support resources include career counseling, financial planning, and technical support.

  • Annual Tuition: $32,310
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
  • R&D Expenditure: $1,106 million
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New York University (NYU) offers two online doctoral programs in the areas of education and occupational therapy. Courses are accessed through NYU Classes, the school’s own dedicated online learning platform. Additional student support resources include access to NYU’s Center for Student Life, One Zone Trainings, and the StudentLink center, which provides tuition, financial aid, and registration information among other services.

  • Annual Tuition: $8,802
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
  • R&D Expenditure: $181 million
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Mississippi State University offers 18 online doctoral programs in the fields of higher education and engineering. Some engineering degrees include specializations in aerospace, computational, civil, mechanical, and industrial engineering. Courses are accessed through the Canvas online learning platform. Mississippi State University hosts its own web portal, myState, which gives distance learners access to grades, transcripts, tuition information, and other materials. Additional student support resources include online tutoring and technical support. Prospective distance learners can take the SmarterMeasure Learning Readiness Assessment to determine if online learning at Mississippi State University suits them.

  • Annual Tuition: $10,425
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
  • R&D Expenditure: $182 million
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Clemson University offers two online doctoral programs: a PhD in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management and a PhD in Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design. Courses are accessed through the Blackboard online learning platform. Student support resources include access to the school’s web portal, iROAR, its libraries, its writing center, academic advising, financial aid services, and tech support.

  • Annual Tuition: $7,191
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • R&D Expenditure: $103 million
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New Mexico State University (NMSU) offers six online doctoral programs, four in nursing and two in education. Courses are accessed through the Canvas online learning platform. Student support resources include access to the My NMSU web portal, where distance learners can access grades, transcripts, and other enrollment information, as well as access to academic advising, career services, the school library, and technical support.

  • Annual Tuition: $6,029
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • R&D Expenditure: $151 million
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The University of Arkansas offers six online doctoral programs in the areas of education and nursing. Courses are accessed through the Blackboard Learn online learning platform. Student support resources include access to the university’s libraries, its Centers for Research and Outreach, career counseling, financial planning, and technical support. A free online orientation and readiness assessment are available to prospective distance learners.

  • Annual Tuition: $15,300
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
  • R&D Expenditure: $746 million
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Texas A&M University offers two online doctoral programs in plant breeding and education. Courses are accessed through the Blackboard eCampus online learning platform. Student support resources include access to the Academic Success Center, the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies, career center, writing center, TAMU’s libraries, and technical support through the university’s IT department.

  • Annual Tuition: $28,920
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • R&D Expenditure: $416 million
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The University of Southern California offers four online doctoral programs across two academic areas: education and social work. Courses are accessed through the Blackboard online learning platform. Student support resources include access to the USC’s Online Academic Student Information System (OASIS), which lets distance learners access grades and other information, a career center, the university’s libraries, and technical support.

  • Annual Tuition: $11,200
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
  • R&D Expenditure: $206 million
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Virginia Commonwealth University offers five online doctoral programs across two academic areas: nursing and education. Courses are accessed through the Blackboard eLearning online learning platform. VCU hosts its own dedicated web portal, myVCU, which gives distance learners access to their grades, transcripts, and other information. Additional student support resources include access to the campus learning center, tutoring, career counseling, financial planning, and technical support.

  • Annual Tuition: $16,800
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • R&D Expenditure: $24 million
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Loma Linda University offers 14 online doctoral programs in nursing, marital and family therapy, public health, speech-language pathology, and occupational therapy. These programs are specifically designed for those hoping to meet the news of working professionals. Courses are accessed through the Blackboard online learning platform. LLU hosts its own dedicated web portal, which gives distance learners access to student webmail, grades, transcripts, and other materials. Additional student support resources include access to the Student Affairs office, financial aid planning, and technical support.

  • Annual Tuition: $9,383
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
  • R&D Expenditure: $18 million
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Hampton University offers six online doctoral programs across two academic areas: education and nursing. Courses are accessed through the Blackboard online learning platform. Student support resources include academic advising and course scheduling, access to the writing center and the counseling center, library services, and access to the university’s web portal, HUNet. The university offers a new student orientation guide that includes technological aspects of the learning experience.

  • Annual Tuition: $12,375
  • Accreditation: NECHE
  • R&D Expenditure: $175 million
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Boston University offers two online doctoral programs in music education and occupational therapy. Courses are accessed through the Blackboard Learn online learning platform. Student support resources at BU include access to the school’s bookstore, its 23 libraries, free online tutoring through Smarthinking, and career development services. Distance learners also have access to a team of distance education staff who provide technical assistance.

  • Annual Tuition: $5,518
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • R&D Expenditure: $159 million
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The University of Missouri offers 17 online doctoral programs in architectural studies and nursing. Courses are accessed through the Canvas online learning platform. Student support resources include a student webmail account, academic advising, access to the career counseling center and the library, technical support, and online tutoring in math and writing through the school’s Learning Center.

  • Annual Tuition: $36,296
  • Accreditation: NECHE
  • R&D Expenditure: $123 million
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Northeastern University offers eight online doctoral programs in education, physical therapy, and nursing, all designed to advance professionals into leadership positions within their respective fields. Courses are accessed through the Blackboard online learning platform. Student support resources include access to the university’s web portal, myNortheastern, which gives distance learners access to information such as grades and transcripts. Additional support resources include career counseling, financial aid planning, and technical support.

  • Annual Tuition: $10,710
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
  • R&D Expenditure: $228 million
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The University of Tennessee - Knoxville offers 10 online doctoral programs across three academic areas: nursing, social work, and engineering. Courses are accessed through the Canvas online learning platform. Student support resources include access to UT Knoxville’s web portal, myUTK, which gives distance learners access to registration, course schedules, weekly schedules, academic links, and other information. Additional resources include advising, financial aid planning, and technical support.

  • Annual Tuition: $23,253
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
  • R&D Expenditure: $157 million
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Drexel University offers 13 online doctoral programs in three academic areas: education, nursing, and health sciences. Courses are accessed through the Blackboard Learn online learning platform. Student support resources include access to the university web portal, Discover Drexel, which gives distance learners access to grades, transcripts, and other information, career counseling, financial planning, and technical support.

  • Annual Tuition: $26,512
  • Accreditation: NECHE
  • R&D Expenditure: $93 million
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The University of Rhode Island offers seven online doctoral programs across several academic areas, including engineering, computer science, and education. Courses are accessed through the e-Campus online learning platform and social media accounts are available for distance learners to connect with the school. Student support resources include academic advising, access to the Academic Enhancement Center, weekly tutoring groups, and access to the writing support center.

  • Annual Tuition: $7,186
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
  • R&D Expenditure: $57 million
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The University of Southern Mississippi offers seven online doctoral programs in education, nursing, and nursing leadership. Courses are accessed through the Canvas online learning platform. Student support resources include access to the university’s web portal, SOAR, as well as the university’s libraries and its Office of Online Learning. Financial aid planning and technical support are also available.

  • Annual Tuition: $20,925
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
  • R&D Expenditure: $193 million
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The George Washington University (GW) offers online doctoral programs across three academic areas: engineering, occupational therapy, and nursing. Courses are accessed through the Blackboard online learning platform. Student support resources include access to the GW libraries and the university’s writing center, tutoring, career services, the campus bookstore, the student association, and technical support.

  • Annual Tuition: $9,932
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • R&D Expenditure: $52 million
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The University of North Dakota offers 13 online doctoral programs across four academic areas: aerospace sciences, engineering, education, and nursing. Courses are accessed through the Blackboard online learning platform. UND hosts its own dedicated web portal, Starfish, which gives distance learners access to campus resources and information, like grades and transcripts. Additional student support resources include academic advising, tutoring services, financial aid planning, and technical support.

  • Annual Tuition: $9,450
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
  • R&D Expenditure: $162 million
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Auburn University offers online doctoral programs in nursing, education, and engineering. Courses are accessed through the Blackboard online learning platform. In addition to hosting several social media accounts to help foster an online community, the university offers several academic and student service resources to distance learners, including student webmail accounts, access to AU’s libraries and career services center, and access to its web portal, myAccount.

  • Annual Tuition: $8,475
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
  • R&D Expenditure: $125 million
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The University at Buffalo offers three online doctoral programs in education and nursing. Courses are accessed through the Blackboard online learning platform. UB has several social media accounts for distance learners looking to connect with the school. Distance learners also have access to myUB, the university’s web portal, as well as student support resources such as career counseling, financial aid planning, and technical support.

  • Annual Tuition: $21,000
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • R&D Expenditure: $19 million
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Creighton University offers 11 online doctoral programs in the areas of leadership, nursing, occupational therapy, and pharmacy. Courses are accessed through BlueLine, the university’s own online learning platform. Student support resources include access to the university’s web portal, myIT, career counseling, financial aid planning, and technical support. Creighton offers a free online-study readiness assessment for prospective students to take. It also holds a new student orientation session that introduces distance learners to BlueLine.

  • Annual Tuition: $12,900
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
  • R&D Expenditure: $31 million
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North Carolina A&T State University offers seven online doctoral programs in leadership studies and technology management. Courses are accessed through the Blackboard online learning platform. Student support resources include access to the university’s web portal, GET, a student webmail account, academic advising, career counseling, financial aid planning, and technical support.

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