Best Online Doctorate Degree Programs

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Contributor, Benzinga
April 8, 2020

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Is earning a doctorate degree at the top of your list of education goals? You don’t have to wait until you have the perfect schedule to continue your education. 

Consider an online doctorate degree that allows you to complete coursework when you have downtime. There are several viable options to choose from. 

Benzinga is here to help you find a program that fits your needs, budget and lifestyle. 

Why Choose an Online Doctorate Degree?

If you’re up for the challenge, you can derive several benefits from earning an online doctorate degree. You’ll enjoy career flexibility as doctoral degree holders are in high demand across many industries.

Another major perk is the earning potential. With a bachelor’s or master’s degree, you can position yourself for career growth and well-paying roles in the industries you serve. A doctorate degree can open the door to even more lucrative opportunities. 

Most importantly, you’ll be viewed as a subject-matter expert in your field. Employers know that doctoral degree programs require a large volume of rigorous coursework and research and you’ll garner respect right out the gate. 

How to Choose an Online Doctorate Degree Program

Wondering how to choose the best online doctorate degree for you? Start by evaluating a program’s accreditation, support and affordability. 


It’s pointless to spend years of your life working toward an online doctorate degree if it won’t be recognized in the field. For this reason, you want to check the accreditation status of the university you’re considering. 

Student Support 

Online doctorate degree programs are lengthy, in-depth and require a ton of dedication on your part. You’ll complete assignments and navigate the admission, course selection and financial aid processes online. 

You want an institution that offers technical support if you encounter issues while using the online student portal or accessing resources. Academic support is equally essential to help you stay on track and graduate on time.


Online doctorate degrees are a bit more pricey as they’re at the top of the higher education hierarchy. However, this doesn’t mean you should settle for an institution that charges far more in tuition and fees for the same outcome. 

As you evaluate your options, compare the costs for at least 3 comparable programs. If you notice that some are far more expensive than others, considering taking them off your list. Also, look at the tuition and fee schedules for the past 5 years. Drastic increases may be another sign to choose another option that won’t completely break the bank. 

Jobs Waiting for You with a Doctorate Degree

Below, we’ve included some of the most sought-after career opportunities for doctoral degree recipients. 

Chemical Engineer

Chemical engineers design and develop chemical processes for manufacturing. Chemical engineers establish procedures for segregating liquid and gas components and generating electrical currents. 

They also devise equipment layouts, create safety procedures for individuals who work with toxic chemicals, conduct tests, identify issues with manufacturing methods, project production costs for management and so much more. 

Chemical engineers earn $104,910 annually on average. 

Physical Therapist

Physical therapists cater to those who are ill or injured. Their primary role is to help individuals manage pain and improve their daily movements through stretching, exercise and specialized therapy. 

In this role, you will also devise treatment plans and monitor your patient’s progress as they go through therapy sessions. You’ll advise them on concerns and effective techniques that can be implemented to expedite the healing process. 

The median pay for physical therapists was $87,930, or $42.47 per hour, in 2018. 


Lawyers provide guidance to individuals, businesses and governmental entities and help them resolve legal disputes. They also file legal documents on their client’s behalf, interpret laws and regulations and so much more. 

As a lawyer, you have many career options. You can work as an environmental, family, intellectual property, securities or tax lawyer. You can also pursue a career as a corporate counselor, government counselor, prosecutor or public-interest lawyer. 

The average salary for lawyers is $120,910, or $58.13 per hour. 

Best Online Colleges for a Doctorate Degree

It can be overwhelming to sort through the hundreds of online doctorate degree programs, so take a look at Benzinga’s top picks from some of the leading universities in the nation. We’ve also included a list of programs for each college and the cost per credit hour to help you make a sound decision. 

1. Texas A&M University 


Become a member of the Aggie Nation by earning an online doctoral degree from Texas A&M University. It’s accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC). 

Texas A&M University offers the following doctoral degrees through its Distance Learning program: 

  • Doctor of Education in agricultural education 
  • Doctor of Education in curriculum and instruction 
  • Doctor of Philosophy in interdisciplinary engineering
  • Doctor of Philosophy in plant breeding 

You’ll receive the same world-class learning experience as your peers who choose to further their education in the classroom and you’ll get the resources to help you stay on track so you can meet your educational goals and graduate on time. 

Tuition and fees vary by program. 

2. University of Florida


Continue your education from your home or while traveling the globe with UF Distance Learning. You can enroll with confidence, knowing you’ll receive a high-quality education from one of the top SACS-accredited universities in the world. 

Choose from these online doctorate programs:

  • Classical civilization 
  • Educational leadership
  • Educational technology
  • Higher education administration
  • Latin and Roman studies 
  • Nursing practice 
  • Pharmacy 
  • Teachers, schools and society 

Instruction is delivered by the same faculty members that serve students in the classroom. And when you walk across the state, you can do so with pride knowing you’re now a member of a highly-respected and sought after group of alumni. 

Tuition and fees are $129.18 per credit hour for Florida residents and $552.62 for non-residents. 

3. George Washington University 


Accredited by the Middle State Commission on Higher Education, GW Online features online doctoral degrees that cater to engineers, occupational therapists and aspiring nurse practitioners. You’ll have the opportunity to learn from accomplished faculty and build relationships with national and international partners. 

Class sizes are small so students can receive faster responses and more one-on-one interaction with peers and instructors. 

George Washington University offers doctoral degrees in engineering management, Doctor of Philosophy in systems engineering and a Clinical Doctorate in occupational therapy. You can also choose from many online doctoral degrees, including Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees in: 

  • Adult gerontology as an acute care nurse practitioner 
  • Adult gerontology as a primary care nurse practitioner 
  • Executive leadership
  • Family nurse practitioner 
  • Health policy 
  • Nursing practice

The tuition per credit hour varies by program and active-duty service members receive a discounted rate. 

4. Mississippi State University 


Mississippi State University is accredited by SACS and features doctoral degree programs if you’re interested in engineering and community college leadership. Choose from 1 of the following continuing education options: 

  • Community college leadership
  • Computational engineering
  • Electrical and computer engineering
  • Engineering with a concentration in aerospace engineering
  • Engineering with a concentration in civil engineering 
  • Engineering with a concentration in mechanical engineering
  • Industrial and systems engineering 

Tuition is $300 per credit hour for online education. An instructional support fee of $25 per credit hour also applies. 

5. University of Arkansas


Want to earn an online doctorate from a well-respected public research institution? Consider the University of Arkansas’s Global Campus. You’ll be taught by an accomplished group of instructors. Tuition is the same for both in-state and out-of-state students. 

Its highly sought-after doctoral program offerings include: 

  • Doctor of Education in adult and lifelong learning: This program is 75% online and requires 6 face-to-face campus sessions per year. The cost per credit hour is $430.69, and you need 96 hours to complete the program. Expect to reach the finish line in 2.5 years. 
  • Doctor of Education in educational leadership: Complete this program in just 3 years. You’re required to attend an on-campus seminar every semester, and it takes 42 credit hours to reach the finish line. It’s $430.69 per credit hour. 
  • Doctor of Education in human resource and workforce development education: You’ll also pay $430.69 per credit hour for this program, and all coursework is completed online. 
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice is offered entirely online, and tuition is $573.99 per credit hour. 

6. Liberty University 


Liberty University offers many online doctoral programs at a rate that beats out many of its competitors. It is also SACS-accredited, and the business, education, behavioral science and music schools hold some of the highest accreditations available to universities. 

If you have varying interests or are unsure about your next career move, it’s worthwhile to explore your options. Choose from one of the following doctoral degrees: 

  • Business administration
  • Education
  • Ministry 
  • Music education
  • Nursing practice 
  • Public administration 
  • Strategic leadership
  • Worship studies

As a student, you’ll have access to knowledgeable professors with real-world experience and student support. 

Tuition per credit hour is $595 per credit hour for full-time students and $650 part-time students. 

7. University of Southern California 


USC Online has doctoral degree options for educators, physical therapists and social workers. It is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Educators can choose from the following online programs offered by the USC Rossier School of Education: 

  • Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership: This is a 3-year program designed for working professionals who seek a leadership role in an elementary, middle or high school. 
  • Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership: This program is designed for industry leaders who want to learn effective strategies to facilitate learning to make their organizations more effective. 
  • Global Executive Doctor of Education: This program caters to experienced leaders looking for ways to foster change in educational systems. 

The Doctor of Social Work program will prepare you for a rewarding career as a social worker. You can complete the program in as little as 24 months. It’s offered by the USC Suzanne Dvorak-Peck School of Social Work. 

Tuition and fees vary by program. 

8. Hampton University 


Accredited by SACS, Hampton U Online brings an exceptional learning experience to you. Courses are by industry leaders and distinguished faculty, and you’ll have access to support services to facilitate your success. 

You can earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice or pursue a Doctor of Philosophy degree in: 

  • Business Administration, accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE)
  • Counselor Education and Supervisor, accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)
  • Educational Management, also accredited by the NCATE
  • Nursing, accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

The cost per credit is $695.

9. Boston University 


Boston University offers distance learning opportunities for nontraditional students. It currently features 2 options for music enthusiasts and occupational therapists looking to earn their doctorate. 

The Doctor of Musical Arts in Music Education is offered by the College of Fine Arts and will help you advance in the field of music education. Expect to spend 6 to 7 years in the program. The cost per credit hour for tuition and fees is $889 and $60, respectively, and  you’ll need 48 credit hours to graduate.

If you’re an occupational therapist, a doctorate degree can be yours in just 18 months. You will complete 10 online courses, including a capstone and doctoral project. It’s $895 per credit hour for tuition and $60 for fees. 

Find the Best Online Doctorate Degree Program for You 

An online doctorate degree program is just a few clicks away. Check out our top schools to find suitable programs and pick the best option to begin your journey. It’s a worthwhile investment and will help you become a distinguished expert in your field. 

Southern New Hampshire University Online

SNHU Online Offers:

  1. Flexible schedules
  2. Affordable tuition
  3. Online tutoring
  4. Access to electronic research materials
  5. Specialized academic advising
  6. Supportive online community