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5 must-reads for doctoral students

January 11, 2016

The decision to pursue a doctoral degree can be exciting and scary at the same time.

Good preparation will ease the path to writing a great dissertation. Reading some expert guide books will expand your knowledge and pave the way for the rigorous work ahead.

Capella University faculty, doctoral students, and alumni recommend these five books for doctoral students in any discipline.

1. How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading  by Mortimer J. Adler

“One book fundamental to my doctoral education that my mentor had my entire cohort read, and which I still recommend to this day, is  How To Read a Book , which discusses different reading practices and different strategies for processing and retaining information from a variety of texts.” – Michael Franklin, PhD, Senior Dissertation Advisor, Capella School of Public Service and Education.

Originally published in 1940, and with half a million copies in print,  How to Read a Book  is the most successful guide to reading comprehension and a Capella favorite. The book introduces the various levels of reading and how to achieve them—including elementary reading, systematic skimming, inspectional reading, and speed-reading.

Adler also includes instructions on different techniques that work best for reading particular genres, such as practical books, imaginative literature, plays, poetry, history, science and mathematics, philosophy, and social science works.

2. Dissertations and Theses from Start to Finish  by John D. Cone, PhD and Sharon L. Foster, PhD

This book discusses the practical, logistical, and emotional stages of research and writing. The authors encourage students to dive deeper into defining topics, selecting faculty advisers, scheduling time to accommodate the project, and conducting research.

In clear language, the authors offer their advice, answer questions, and break down the overwhelming task of long-form writing into a series of steps.

3. Writing Your Dissertation in 15 Minutes a Day  by Joan Balker

This book is recommended for its tips on compartmentalizing a large project into actionable items, which can be helpful when working on a project as mammoth as a dissertation. Balker connects with the failure and frustration of writing (as she failed her first attempt at her doctorate), and gives encouragement to students who encounter the fear of a blank page.

She reminds dissertation writers that there are many people who face the same writing struggles and offers strong, practical advice to every graduate student.  Writing Your Dissertation in 15 Minutes a Day  can be applied to any stage of the writing process.

4. From Topic to Defense: Writing a Quality Social Science Dissertation in 18 Months or Less  by Ayn Embar-Seddon O’Reilly, Michael K Golebiewski, and Ellen Peterson Mink

As the authors of this book state, “Earning a doctorate degree requires commitment, perseverance, and personal sacrifice—placing some things in our lives on hold. It is, by no means, easy—and there really is nothing that can make it ‘easy.’”

This book provides support for the most common stumbling blocks students encounter on their road to finishing a dissertation. With a focus on a quick turnaround time for dissertations, this book also outlines the importance of preparation and is a good fit for any graduate student looking for support and guidance during his or her dissertation process.

From Topic to Defense  can be used to prepare for the challenges of starting a doctoral program with helpful tools for time management, structure, and diagnostics.

5. What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: A Short Guide to Making Over Your Mornings—and Life  by Laura Vanderkam

According to author and time management expert Laura Vanderkam, mornings are key to taking control of schedules, and if used wisely, can be the foundation for habits that allow for happier, more productive lives.

This practical guide will inspire doctoral students to rethink morning routines and jump-start the day before it’s even begun. Vanderkam draws on real-life anecdotes and research to show how the early hours of the day are so important.

Pursuing a doctoral degree is a big decision and long journey, but it also can be an exciting and positive experience. Learn more about Capella’s  online doctoral programs .

What's it like to be a doctoral student?

Learn more about the experience, explore each step of the journey, and read stories from students who have successfully earned their doctorate. 

Explore The Doctoral Journey >>

You may also like


Can I transfer credits into a doctoral program?

January 8, 2020


What are the steps in writing a dissertation?

December 11, 2019


The difference between a dissertation and doctoral capstone

November 25, 2019

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Should you be reading for pleasure in graduate school?

Think you only have time to read text books in grad school? That’s what I thought too. You have more time than you think. Your future self will tell you so (trust me). The 5-15 hours and $8-$35 it will take you to read any of these books will pay itself back in time and earnings many-fold throughout your student life and in your first job offer after graduation. Invest in yourself and reap the benefits later.

Don’t set out to read all these books at once. Order 2-3 to start and read them in small doses. Take the day to think about the pages you just read and how they can apply to your life. After you see the changes manifest, come back and find a few other books to continue your journey to becoming your best self.

Follow the links below to have these books in your hands in a few days with Amazon. These are referral links, which means that purchasing these items through these links results in a small percentage of the sale helping to support this blog at no cost to you. We appreciate your support so we can continue putting out helpful content and reviews to help you find the best tools for your research!

* Reminder: Prices on Amazon fluctuate and there are new, used and eBook versions. Follow the links to check the most current prices.

Books to improve your academic writing skills and research output:

How to write a lot: a practical guide to productive academic writing by paul silvia.

This book won’t make you a better writer. It’ll make you a more prolific one. By focusing on good writing habits and drawing clear boundaries between writing time and personal time, you’ll start to turn the excruciating blank page process into a series of small measured successes.

The 2 nd edition includes new sections for advice on grant writing and fellowship proposals, making it a favorite book of many post-docs and new faculty. He also deconstructs every excuse you could ever make for not writing, relying on binge-writing and otherwise procrastinating.

If you follow the advice in this book you should expect benefits to your mental health and work-life balance because you won’t always “feel like you should be writing.” Try it!

Check current price


Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

A bestselling classic about the writing process, writer’s block and the internal obstacles in the writer’s mind. Not specifically about graduate school or academia but is included in this list because it is so highly recommended in the writing community.

The title refers to a short story from her childhood about writing a paper about birds. Like the “How to write a lot” book above, this one encourages a steady and consistent process taking small tasks one at a time. You won’t find a lot of advice about how to write well in this book.

This is written for anyone who struggles with anxiety, perfectionism and paralysis when staring at the blank page and blinking cursor. It’s more of an introspection to ease your nerves with a few exercises to help you get started.


Several Short Sentences About Writing by Verlyn Klinkenborg

A unique book that can help snap you out of typical academic writing mode “…thus the present findings elucidate a novel method for exploring the behavior and interactions of…”

Almost poetic. Almost rhythmic. Straight to the point. The author explains in free form the fallacies and illusions of forming sentences and getting them onto the page. This will force you to re-think your mental process resulting in better sentences and better papers.

The end of the book covers examples of common sentences and calls out the superfluous wording, re-writing it with only the essentials.

Ever had trouble fitting a personal statement into two pages or a proposal into six pages? This is the book for concise and punchy writing. When you can convey more information than your competition, you gain the edge.


Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day: A Guide to Starting, Revising, and Finishing Your Doctoral Thesis by Joan Bolker

If you’re lacking motivation, struggling to get started every day or are completely overwhelmed by the massive task at hand, give this book a look. It doesn’t offer any real advice on the details of a dissertation but instead aims to instill confidence in the reader. The author guides you through setting daily page goals, storing ideas and getting something…anything down on the page each day. Essentially a personal confidence coach for writing, applicable to more than just a dissertation.


The Scientist's Guide to Writing: How to Write More Easily and Effectively throughout Your Scientific Career by Stephen B. Heard

A little-known but well-reviewed book on how to improve your science writing. This one also discusses the writing process but with a focus on structuring the story of your paper to clearly convey your experiments, results and conclusions. He often takes a whimsical tone that makes it a fun read. The author breaks down the structure of a scientific paper and the functions of each part. He also dives into the details on submitting, revising and coauthoring scientific papers. This is perhaps the most detailed guide to scientific writing in this list and the advice is reinforced with specific examples.

If you’ve ever written a critical literature review, you probably identified a handful of authors whose papers were just more enjoyable to read. This book can help you become that author. This book also makes for a great gift for a grad student about to dive into first-author writing.


Writing Science: How to Write Papers That Get Cited and Proposals That Get Funded by Joshua Schimel

Great technical writing tells a story. If you’re wondering how experiments and data can be framed as a story, then this book is a must-read for you. This is one of the best books for writing fellowship proposals, research proposals and research grants. Dr. Schimel comes from a biology background but his experience on major government funding agency panels has given him the insight to know what gets funded.

I thoroughly enjoyed the way the author breaks down classical story structure and relates it to the segments of a strong research proposal. Don’t skip the exercises; they are the most valuable part of this book. He’s exceptionally good at exploring these ideas at all levels, from the macro to the micro, and I came away with a much clearer picture of how to write a cohesive and multi-level proposal.

It’s an easy weekend read that you should approach with a highlighter a notepad ready. If this one book helps you land even one grant, it will be paying itself back roughly 1000-fold.

phd books online

The Literature Review: Six Steps to Success by Lawrence Machi

I took a chance on this book before writing my literature review for qualifiers. We eventually published the review to a major journal in my field and it’s gained over 600 citations in the first 4 years! There’s definitely some great advice in here that helped guide me toward writing a well-received paper.

Starting your literature review is the hardest part. It feels like a daunting task without a clear path to success. This book helps break down each step in the process into achievable goals supplemented by strategies for efficiently and effectively approaching each one. The few hours spent reading this book will be paid back to you in saving time researching and writing later.  It will help save your sanity and reduce anxiety approaching your first literature review.

I recommend this book specifically for graduate students in their first two years of a Masters’ or PhD. It can easily be read in an afternoon but should be used as a reference throughout the process!

phd books online

Books to more clearly convey your research data to the reader

These three books below by Edward R. Tufte completely revolutionized my approach to creating graphs, figures and tables in both journal articles and conference presentations. I attended one of his full-day seminar courses around the country where Dr. Tufte works through the failures of that status quo in data presentation and showed gorgeous and enlightening examples of how good it can be.

I strongly believe this book series is the key reason why some of my journal articles have been so highly cited. Authors tend to cite papers that clearly convey a point and are more likely to reproduce figures that can stand on their own without wordy descriptions. See for yourself the difference these can make in your research career!

Beautiful Evidence by Edward R. Tufte

This book highlights innovative examples of data visualization spanning hand-drawn 17 th century charts to computer-generated “big data” presentation that will open your mind to forms of data visualization outside of your standard color-coded X-Y plots. The author also details strategies for identifying cherry-picked data and being a keen observer fraudulent data presentation.

This book is also the best gift for graduate students and post-docs on this list, making for a perfect coffee table book after fully reading through it.

phd books online

Envisioning Information by Edward R. Tufte

This book walks the reader through a huge range of first-class graphical data representations and shows how each is well-suited to presenting the data at hand. Dr. Tufte makes you think about how different data types are structured and how those structures can guide you to the best methods of presentation.

The data visualization here is often layered so that your first glance gets the main point across but a closer examination unveils rich multi-dimensional data by cleverly using colors, shapes, sizes and alignments of objects and axes. These are the skills that create an ultimate, self-supporting figure for a journal cover or a winning poster that will hang for years on the walls of your institution without needing you there to explain it.

phd books online

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward R. Tufte

A timeless classic on data visualization that dives into the nitty gritty of optimizing your charts and figures. Tufte contrasts excellent charts with horrendous ones to point out bad habits that you may not know you have. He teaches you about efficient design and layout of plots, from the ratio of ink that makes up your data to how one should effectively use tick marks on the axes or box plots around your data groupings.

This book may at first seem outdated, but the principles inside do not change. If you want to truly master the art of effective data visualization, this book can’t be skipped over.

phd books online

Books to increase your productivity and focus in grad school:

The miracle morning.

I’m not exaggerating when I say this book thoroughly changed my life. I reached a point where I was physically and mentally exhausted halfway through each work day and realized I was not cognitively performing at the level I needed to be successful. Within a few days of implementing this, I felt a noticeable change in my energy, mood and motivation each day at work. I only wish I had picked it up in graduate school. My research output probably would have doubled simply from the changes to my mood.

The premise is fairly simple. Hal Elrod was recovering from a near-fatal car accident that left him physically and mentally impaired. He took the six most popular morning routine practices (exercise, reading, journaling, visualization, affirmations and meditation) and started doing all of them every single morning before starting work or any other responsibilities. Over time, he refined the timing and intentions around each practice and started sharing it with friends. It eventually exploded by word-of-mouth and he decided to write this book to share the technique with the world.

Yes, you’ll have to wake up a little earlier. Ideally you set aside one hour to do all six practices but with practice you can get most of the beneficial effects in less than 15 minutes. The book isn’t completely necessary to implement this – you can read enough about it online. But by all accounts, you’ll have a much higher chance of follow-through if you purchase and read the book as I did.

I started the practice a few months ago and used my “reading” time to read this book a few pages per day. Starting each morning with this book was essential to helping me refine the other five following practices and approach them with intention for maximum benefit.

Most days I squeeze in all six practices. Some days it’s only four and on some weekends only one or two. The key is to keep trying and don’t miss on two days in a row. The extra time spent in the morning comes back to me in productivity and focus throughout the day.

I can’t recommend this book enough for anyone whose workday is self-driven and self-structured like a typical grad student research life. Read it sooner rather than later and witness the profound effects it can have on every aspect of your life!

phd books online

The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future by Ryder Carroll

Have you heard of Bullet Journaling? It’s a method invented by Ryder Carroll to design your life and live intentionally that in a few short years has spawned a global movement and thriving community. It helps cut through the unnecessary “busy” tasks to focus on what matters. The technique can be done in any standard notebook but involves quite a bit of symbols and shorthand one must learn to truly gain the full benefit.

This book is the comprehensive how-to guide recently written by Ryder. For added effect, he includes how this method can help to de-clutter your life and bring you greater peace of mind. If you’re a “BuJo” newbie, this book will take you from novice to professional in a few weeks of practice.

The technique can have a profound effect on productivity and design of your research tasks to cut through to results you really need. Research has so many moving parts from experiments to data analysis to writing and publishing that this method is incredibly well-suited to keep track of. You might want to pair the book with this symbol stencil and journal bookmark if you’re not already familiar with the technique.

phd books online

Fun reads for any scientist or engineer:

Skunk works: a personal memoir of my years at lockheed by ben rich.

A popular and highly-rated classic about the top secret “Skunk Works” engineering projects at Lockheed Martin that helped win the Cold War, written by the head of the division for two decades. It covers the pinnacle of high-pressure, high-stakes ultra-secretive engineering projects and the technological game of chess that the USA was playing with the Soviet Union in the 1970’s and 1980’s. It includes anecdotes and testimonials from high-ranking government officials and pilots on revolutionary projects like the SR-71 Blackbird, F-116 Stealth Fighter and U-2 spy plane.

This book is an enjoyable and inspiring read for any grad student who has a true passion for problem solving and cutting-edge technology. The reader will also take away valuable lessons for managing technical projects and teams of scientists and engineers to achieve nearly impossible goals.

Check the price on Amazon

The Martian by Andy Weir

This is our all-time favorite book that any scientist or engineer will enjoy reading. For such a technical book, it’s got an incredible plot yet isn’t overly dramatized (except a little at the end). No other fiction book has captured this much popularity while running through exact calculations, estimations and scientific principles just to keep someone alive. You’ll be rooting for Mark Watney and inspired by the idea that your technical knowledge could one day save your life.


Looking for gift ideas for a grad student or researcher?

We've further curated several collections of our own inventions depending on the type of researcher you're looking for. See these more niche collections below for more ideas!

9 Unique Gift Ideas for Scientists

Gifts for Professors and Grad School PIs

Unique Gifts for Graduate and PhD Students

Gifts for Chemists and Chemistry Students

Gifts for Scientists and Engineers

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From PhD to Life

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Meaningful Careers for PhDs

Recommended Reading

phd books online

Note: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. In other words, I may earn a small commission if you click on a link on this page to purchase a book from Amazon.

This list is aimed at graduate students, postdocs, and other PhDs who are actively looking for paid employment or exploring career options. It includes both practical resources, books that combine advice with inspiration, ones that hope to advocate for better systems while also breaking things down for job seekers, as well as memoirs and novels. The focus here is on books written for graduate students and PhDs, but I’ve also included what I think as key or otherwise useful texts with a much broader intended audience.

What’s not on this list? Books that focus almost exclusively on graduate school itself are generally omitted (exception: Berdahl and Malloy, for its framing of the whole thing as part of your career). There are great ones in this category, including Jessica McCrory Calarco’s A Field Guide to Grad School , Malika Grayson’s Hooded: A Black Girl’s Guide to the Ph.D. , Robert L. Peters’s Getting What You Came For and Adam Ruben’s Surviving Your Stupid, Stupid Decision to go to Grad School . See also Gavin Brown’s How to Get Your PhD: A Handbook for the Journey , which features an essay by me! Similarly, books that focus on academic careers (once you’ve got one) aren’t included (example: Timothy M. Sibbald and Victoria Handford, eds., The Academic Gateway ), nor are books that focus on navigating a career beyond the ivory tower. There are lots of books about academic writing and publishing, conducting and producing research, doing a dissertation, and related stuff. These aren’t included either.

Something missing? I occasionally update this list, so let me know what you think I should add or change.

Books for PhDs

This list is in alphabetical order by author’s last name. Some of these books are inexpensive; others are not. Most should be available via your university or local library, or even from your institution’s career services centre.

Fawzi Abou-Chahine, A Jobseeker’s Diary: Unlocking Employment Secrets (2021).

The short guide is directly aimed at PhDs, especially folks from STEM disciplines. Folks in the UK seeking roles in the private sector will certainly benefit from this book.

Susan Basalla and Maggie Debelius, “ So What Are You Going to Do with That?” Finding Careers Outside Academia (3rd ed., 2014)

The best guide to figuring out your life post-PhD written by two humanities doctorates who’ve been there, done that. Includes many profiles of fellow (former) academics who’ve transitioned to careers beyond the tenure-track.

Loleen Berdahl and Jonathan Mallow, Work Your Career: Get What You Want from Your Social Sciences or Humanities PhD (2018).

I loved the authors’ emphasis on getting clear about what you want, and the advice to reflect at each stage of the graduate school process whether continuing on is the right one. It is refreshing to read a book on graduate school that neither presumes academia is the desired career outcome nor implies it ought to be. Instead, the authors encourage readers to keep their options open and rightly point out the benefits of varied work experience, training, and professionalism to careers within and beyond the Ivory Tower.

Natalia Bielczyk, What Is Out There for Me? The Landscape of Post-PhD Career Tracks (2nd ed., 2020).

A Europe-based computational scientist turned entrepreneur, Dr. Bielczyk offers an important perspective on PhD careers, one explicitly aimed at STEM folks. The book benefits from Bileczyk’s personal experiences, extensive research — including interviews with dozens of PhDs — and includes lots of specific advice and suggestions. You can subscribe to her YouTube channel and interact with her on social media.

Jenny Blake, Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One (2017)

From the description: “ What’s next? is a question we all have to ask and answer more frequently in an economy where the average job tenure is only four years, roles change constantly even within that time, and smart, motivated people find themselves hitting professional plateaus. But how do you evaluate options and move forward without getting stuck?”

Richard N. Bolles with Katharine Brooks, What Color is Your Parachute? 2021 : Your Guide to a Lifetime of Meaningful Work and Career Success (50th anniv. ed, 2020)

If you read only one book on how to get a job and change careers, make it this one. Bolles has an idiosyncratic writing style but his advice is spot-on. Read my review of the 2019 version here .

The 2021 edition was thoroughly updated by Katharine Brooks, EdD, who is the author of You Majored in What? (below). Great choice! An excellent way to bring a classic up to date, and at a time when good advice and guidance is particularly needed.

William Bridges, Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes  (40th anniv. ed., 2019)

Think you’re taking too long figuring out what’s next? You aren’t! In the pre-modern world, the transition—a psychological process as opposed to simply a change—was understood as a crucial part of life; not so nowadays. But to successfully navigate a transition, an individual has to experience an end, go through a period of nothingness or neutrality, and finally make a new beginning. No part of the process can be skipped or sped through. There are no shortcuts. (Bridges can relate to being post-PhD or on the alt-ac track: He’s got an ivy league PhD and was an English professor until going through an important transition of his own.)

Katharine Brooks, You Majored in What? Designing Your Path from College to Career (updated, 2017)

Dr. Brooks is a long-time career educator who (as of 2020) directs the career center at Vanderbilt University. This book is aimed at a broader audience of students, but don’t let that dissuade you from checking it out. Starting from the assumption that there are plenty of useful clues in what you’ve done and who you are, and filled with great exercises to help you parse them out, the book will take you through the career exploration process and set you up for a successful job search that is based on a sound understanding of what you want to do and how to make a strong case to employers.

Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-lived, Joyful Life (2016)

From the description: “In this book, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans show us how design thinking can help us create a life that is both meaningful and fulfilling, regardless of who or where we are, what we do or have done for a living, or how young or old we are. The same design thinking responsible for amazing technology, products, and spaces can be used to design and build your career and your life, a life of fulfillment and joy, constantly creative and productive, one that always holds the possibility of surprise.”

Christopher L. Caterine, Leaving Academia: A Practical Guide (2020)

Just published. Dr. Caterine is a classics PhD who transitioned into a career in strategic corporate communications. One thing that’s cool about this book is just that: He’s working in the private sector. Humanities PhDs are much less commonly found in the business world compared to academics with other backgrounds, and I think that’s a shame. Chris shows us it’s possible and how you can do it too. (But it’s fine if you’re looking elsewhere.)

Christopher Cornthwaite, Doctoring: Building a Life With a PhD (2020)

Dr. Cornthwaite is the Canadian religious studies PhD behind the blog and online community called Roostervane . He shares his story in hopes of inspiring those struggling to move forward with hope and strategies to build a career. Check out the online community too, useful for folks searching for non-academic positions as well as individuals launching side hustles or businesses as consultants of various kinds.

Leon F. Garcia Corona and Kathleen Wiens, eds., Voices of the Field: Pathways in Public Ethnomusicology (2021)

A friend of mine contributed a chapter to this. From the description: “These essays capture years of experience of fourteen scholars who have simultaneously navigated the worlds within and outside of academia, sharing valuable lessons often missing in ethnomusicological training. Power and organizational structures, marketing, content management and production are among the themes explored as an extension and re-evaluation of what constitutes the field of/in ethnomusicology. Many of the authors in this volume share how to successfully acquire funding for a project, while others illustrate how to navigate non-academic workplaces, and yet others share perspectives on reconciling business-like mindsets with humanistic goals.”

M.P. Fedunkiw, A Degree in Futility (2014)

I started to read this novel one day and just couldn’t stop until I finished. So many feelings! The main character defends her dissertation (history of science, U of T) at the beginning of the book, and the story ends a few years later. Fedunkiw has drawn on her own post-PhD experiences to write this wonderful book about a group of three friends navigating life, love, and work in and out of academia. Do read it.

Joseph Fruscione and Kelly J. Baker, eds., Succeeding Outside the Academy: Career Paths beyond the Humanities, Social Sciences, and STEM (2018)

Edited volume of contributions, primarily from women in humanities and social science fields. From the description: “Their accounts afford readers a firsthand view of what it takes to transition from professor to professional. They also give plenty of practical advice, along with hard-won insights into what making a move beyond the academy might entail—emotionally, intellectually, and, not least, financially. Imparting what they wish they’d known during their PhDs, these writers aim to spare those who follow in their uncertain footsteps. Together their essays point the way out of the ‘tenure track or bust’ mindset and toward a world of different but no less rewarding possibilities.”

Patrick Gallagher and Ashleigh Gallagher, The Portable PhD: Taking Your Psychology Career Beyond Academia (2020)

From the description: “Each chapter in this book offers tips and key terms for navigating various kinds of employment, as well as simple action steps for communicating your talents to hiring managers. Your ability to conduct research, to understand statistics and perform data analysis, and to perform technical or scientific writing are all highly valuable skills, as are the insights into human nature you’ve gained from your psychology studies, and your ability to think innovatively and work cooperatively in a variety of contexts.”

David M. Giltner, Turning Science into Things People Need (2017)

From the description: “In this book, ten respected scientists who have built successful careers in industry reveal new insights into how they made the transition from research scientist to industrial scientist or successful entrepreneur, serving as a guide to other scientists seeking to pursue a similar path. From the student preparing to transition into work in industry, to the scientist who is already working for a company, this book will show you how to sell your strengths and lead confidently.”

Alyssa Harad, Coming to My Senses: A Story of Perfume, Pleasure, and an Unlikely Bride (2012).

An English PhDs lovely memoir of discovering the wonders of perfume and embracing who she really is. A story of how one intellectual got back in touch with her feelings, a crucial step on the road to post-PhD happiness and fulfillment. Read an excerpt over at the Chronicle .

Leanne M. Horinko, Jordan M. Reed, James M. Van Wyck, The Reimagined PhD: Navigating 21st Century Humanities Education (2021).

This text appeals to both individual PhDs and graduate students figuring out their own pathway forward and faculty members and other university staff working to improve programs and professional development offerings at their campuses. I’m glad to see it out! (I was at the 2016 conference that inspired this book.)

Hillary Hutchinson and Mary Beth Averill, Scaling the Ivory Tower: Your Academic Job Search Workbook (2019)

Two long-time academic coaches wrote this fantastic guide and workbook for the academic job market. They take you step-by-step through the process of understanding how hiring works — and how it works differently for specific types of positions and kinds of institutions, getting sorted for your search, where to find job ads and other crucial information, staying organized, creating all your materials, prepping for interviews, and other considerations. The book also takes a clear-eyed view of academia and it’s challenges for job seekers, both in the US and around the world. This book is an essential companion to your academic job search. Buying the e-book version? Download and print the worksheets here .

Natalie Jackson, ed., Non-Academic Careers for Quantitative Social Scientists: A Practical Guide to Maximizing Your Skills and Opportunitie s (2023).

If you’re at an institution, check to see if you have free access to this ebook via Springer.

Kaaren Janssen and Richard Sever, eds., Career Options for Biomedical Scientists (2014).

From the description: “This book plugs the gap by providing information about a wide variety of different careers that individuals with a PhD in the life sciences can pursue. Covering everything from science writing and grant administration to patent law and management consultancy, the book includes firsthand accounts of what the jobs are like, the skills required, and advice on how to get a foot in the door. It will be a valuable resource for all life scientists considering their career options and laboratory heads who want to give career advice to their students and postdocs.”

Karen Kelsky, The Professor Is In: The Essential Guide to Turning Your Ph.D. Into A Job (2015)

Dr. Kelsky is dedicated to telling the truth about the academic job market. This book expands on and collects in one place her huge archive of advice and information for PhDs — particularly those aiming for tenure-track positions at US universities. There is advice and resources for “leaving the cult” (part X), a section heading that gives you a sense of where she’s coming from! Academic is its own beast, and its idiosyncracies and unwritten, untold norms and rules belie claims of meritocracy. If you’re going to aim for a tenure-track position, make sure you know what you’re going into and how to increase your chances of success where positions are scarce.

Peggy Klaus, Brag: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn without Blowing It (2004)

In my experience, PhDs are excellent at not tooting their own horns, for lots of reasons, good and less-good. Here’s how you can talk about yourself appropriately in hopes of moving forward in your career. Great book.

Kathryn E. Linder, Kevin Kelly, and Thomas J. Tobin, Going Alt-Ac: A Guide to Alternative Academic Careers (2020).

If you’re doing or have a doctorate and want to be meaningfully employed in or around higher education, you must read this book – and do what it says. It’s full of clear, practical advice and example jobs where PhDs excel. I was impressed with the depth of knowledge and wide-ranging, thoughtful advice presented, useful for career explorers and seasoned professionals both (and everyone in between). It it’s been a while since you’ve taken a long, hard look at your professional situation, this book will help you revisit your goals and provide smart strategies to move your career forward in just the right way for you.

Kathleen Miller et al. (eds), Moving On: Essays on the Aftermath of Leaving Academia (2014)

Featuring an essay by your truly and many other contributions. By the women behind the now-defunct site How to Leave Academia.

Rachel Neff, Chasing Chickens: When Life after Higher Education Doesn’t Go the Way You Planned (2019)

From the description: “So, you have your PhD, the academic world’s your oyster, but teaching jobs, it turns out, are as rare as pearls. Take it from someone who’s been there: your disappointment, approached from a different angle, becomes opportunity. Marshaling hard-earned wisdom tempered with a gentle wit, Rachel Neff brings her own experiences to bear on the problems facing so many frustrated exiles from the groves of academe: how to turn ‘This wasn’t the plan!’ into ‘Why not?'”

M. R. Nelson, Navigating the Path to Industry: A Hiring Manager’s Advice for Academics Looking for a Job in Industry (2014)

Melanie Nelson’s useful guide is aimed at STEM PhDs who already know where they’re headed. She earned a PhD in the biosciences and has worked as a hiring manager in industry for over a decade.

Rebecca Peabody,  The Unruly PhD: Doubts, Detours, Departures, and Other Success Stories   (2014)

A collection of first-hand accounts and interviews with people who’ve travelled in, through, and beyond graduate school. Read my review here .

Katie Rose Guest Pryal, The Freelance Academic: Transform Your Creative Life and Career (2019).

Read this book! Katie Pryal provides helpful advice for getting started with the practical stuff, as well as grounding yourself in the reality of the gig economy. It’s particularly good for arts and humanities PhDs and similar academically-focused folks who think business isn’t for them. Take it from Dr. Pryal (and me): You can do this.

Tom Rath, StrengthsFinder 2.0: Discover Your CliftonStrengths (2017)

Take this one out of your local library to read the descriptions and learn about the concept of (work) strengths. If you want to take the assessment, you can purchase the book outright or do that on Gallup’s website . If you’re newer to the world of work beyond the academy, this book and the description of strengths will give you all kinds of useful words and phrases to use to understand what you enjoy, what you bring to a workplace, and effectively communicate all that to potential employers and professional colleagues. Embracing strengths will give you a positive, forward-looking way of approaching career building, and it can change your life for the better.

Katine L. Rogers, Putting the Humanities PhD to Work: Thriving in and beyond the Classroom (2020)

From the introduction: “This book invites readers to consider ways that humanities graduate training can open unexpected doors that lead to meaningful careers with significant public impact, while also suggesting that an expanded understanding of scholarly success can foster more equitable and inclusive systems in and around the academy.” Good. Do read this one if you’re currently a student or if your work has anything to do with advising students or creating and maintaining the graduate training ecosystem within and beyond institutions.

Martin E. P. Seligman, Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being (2011)

An update to his bestselling book Authentic Happiness (also worth reading), this introduced me to the concept of PERMA: that to flourish in life and work, you need to consider and evaluate how frequently you experience have positive emotions (P), feel engaged (E), have positive relationships (R), feel what you’re doing is meaningful (M), and have a sense of accomplishment (A). This isn’t about careers specifically, but it might help you reframe what counts as success in your work life, and that’s particularly crucial for career changers.

Melanie V. Sinche, Next Gen PhD: A Guide to Career Paths in Science (2016)

From the description: “Next Gen PhD provides a frank and up-to-date assessment of the current career landscape facing science PhDs. Nonfaculty careers once considered Plan B are now preferred by the majority of degree holders, says Melanie Sinche. An upper-level science degree is a prized asset in the eyes of many employers, and a majority of science PhDs build rewarding careers both inside and outside the university. A certified career counselor with extensive experience working with graduate students and postdocs, Sinche offers step-by-step guidance through the career development process: identifying personal strengths and interests, building work experience and effective networks, assembling job applications, and learning tactics for interviewing and negotiating—all the essentials for making a successful career transition.”

Don. J. Snyder, The Cliff Walk: A Memoir of a Job Lost and a Life Found (1998)

A marvelous memoir written by a former tenure-track professor at Colgate University who was suddenly let go. This is the story of his journey through unemployment. You will relate. What’s neat is to look up what he does now — but do read the book before you do! I quote from the book in this post .

Matteo Tardelli, Beyond Academia: Stories and Strategies for PhDs Making the Leap to Industry (2023)

This book takes readers through a 4-step process to reflect on what they want, explore job options, apply for roles, and conduct job interviews and negotiate offers. This is Dr. Tardelli’s second book for PhDs moving to non-academic careers; his first one is partly a memoir about his own journey: The Salmon Leap for PhDs (2020).

Anna Marie Trester, Bringing Linguistics to Work: A Story Listening, Story Finding, and Story Telling Approach to Your Career (2017)

My friend and colleagues Dr. Anna Marie Trester is the expert on careers for linguists, and more broadly is a great resource for thinking creatively and expansively about the value of your social sciences and humanities education to the wider world of work and career development. Check out her website for more offerings, CareerLinguist.com .

Jennifer Brown Urban and Miriam R. Linver, eds., Building a Career Outside Academia: A Guide for Doctoral Students in the Behavioral and Social Sciences (2019)

From the description: “This career guide examines the rewarding opportunities that await social and behavioral science doctorates in nonacademic sectors, including government, consulting, think tanks, for-profit corporations, and nonprofit associations. Chapters offers tips for leveraging support from mentors, conducting job searches, marketing your degree and skill set, networking, and preparing for interviews. This expert guidance will help you decide what career is the best fit for you.”

Julia Miller Vick, Jennifer S. Furlong, and Rosanne Lurie, The Academic Job Search Handbook (5th ed., 2016)

Pick this one up for trustworthy job market advice and info — the first edition was published in 1992! — and the dozens of sample cover letters, CVs, and statements of various kinds. It covers an array of fields, from professionally-oriented doctorates to STEM and humanities. This book is a beast, and might be overwhelming. Tackle it bit by bit and keep it as a reference as you gear up for the job market, prepare and submit applications, and move along the hiring process toward negotiation and acceptance.

Susan Britton Whitcomb, Resume Magic: Trade Secrets of a Professional Resume Writer (4th ed., 2010)

This was the book I found most useful when I was researching how to write a good resume (as opposed to an academic CV).

Tom Bennett Lab

The 7 Books Every PhD Student Should Read

By alex wakeman.

Let’s be honest. If you’re nerdy enough to be doing a PhD, you probably love a good book. Whether you’re looking for entertainment or advice, distraction or comfort, the seven listed here can each, in their own way, help you through your frustrating but uniquely rewarding life of a PhD student.   

  • Isaac Asimov – I, Robot   

“1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

2) A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.  

3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.”  

The Three Laws of Robotics. Simple. Elegant. Watertight. What could go wrong? These three, now legendary rules are printed on the first page of ‘I, Robot’ then are immediately followed by a series of masterful short stories in which Asimov dismantles his seemingly perfect creation before your very eyes. With ‘I, Robot’ (and many of his other works) Asimov displays dozens of ways rules can be bent and circumvented. As it turns out, a lot can go wrong.   

In some ways, this collection of short stories about misbehaving robots acts as a training manual for one of the most essential skills any PhD student must develop: discerning truth. Has that experiment proved what you think it proves? To what extent does it prove that? Are you sure? You might be convinced, but will everyone else at the conference see it that way? At first glance, Asimov’s Three Laws seem like a pretty good crack at a clear and concise system to prevent anything from quirky, metallic shenanigans to an anti-organic apocalypse. Are you sure about that? Look at them again, have a think, test them as vigorously as you would any real-world proof. Then go and read ‘I, Robot’ and find out how wrong you were.  

  • Sayaka Murata – Convenience Store Woman   

You could probably be doing something better with your life, you know. Most people doing a PhD are a pretty effective combination of intelligent and driven. You almost certainly got a 1 st  or a 2:1 in a bachelor’s degree, probably a masters. Someone with this profile could certainly find a career with a starting salary above the RCUK minimum stipend level of £15,285 a year, likely one with a much more concrete future ahead of them as well. For most people it doesn’t make a lot of sense to do a PhD; it’s a huge investment of time and energy directed towards a very specialised end. But there are plenty of good reasons to do one as well and if you’re currently working on a PhD you are probably (I sincerely hope) aware of one of the main ones: it’s fun. It really can be fun, at least for a very peculiar type of person. But, of course, it’s not a particularly normal idea of fun. Most people have had their fill of learning by the end of school, or at most university, and it can sometimes be tough convincing a partner or family member that this genuinely is what you enjoy, despite the dark rings they’ve noticed forming under your eyes.   

Keiko would probably understand. She feels a very similar way. Not about PhDs or learning, making novel discoveries, or changing the world for the better; but she does feel a very similar way about her work in a convenience store. She enjoys everything about the convenience store, from the artificial 24/7 light to the starchy slightly ill-fitting uniforms, it provides her with enough money for rent and food and she wants for little else. Murata presents us with a tender and often hilarious portrait of a woman attempting to claim agency over her own, unique way of living, and convince others of the simple joy it brings her. If the average PhD student is twice as strange as your typical person, then as a PhD student you have twice as much reason to follow this proudly comforting story of an atypical person and her atypical interest.    

  • Viktor Frankl – Man’s Search for Meaning   

Suffering is relative. It is certain that I will struggle with my PhD. I am still in the early days of my studies, but I am aware that studying for a PhD is likely going to be the hardest thing I have done with my life so far.  In all the interviews I had for various funding schemes and DTPs, not one failed to ask a question that amounted to: “How will you cope?”. But at its worst my PhD still won’t cause me to suffer nearly as much as Viktor Frankl did. Don’t think I’m recommending this book to remind you to ‘count yourself lucky’, or any similar nonsense; Frankl isn’t concerned with pity, or one upping your struggles, he just wants you to feel fulfilled, even in the worst moments when nothing’s going right and you’re starting to doubt if you’re even capable of completing a PhD.   

The first half of ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ is a stark, sometimes unpleasant autobiographical account of Frankl’s time imprisoned in various Nazi concentration camps. But the difficulty of the subject matter is worth it for the fascinatingly unique perspective of the author: Viktor Frankl was one of the 20 th  Century’s foremost neurologists. The first-hand experience of one of Europe’s blackest events – viewed through the lens of a Jewish psychiatrist – could quite easily paint a rather bleak and hopeless image of humanity. This, however, is not the case. Instead, Frankl uses the second half of the book to explain in layman’s terms the psychological basis behind his biggest contribution to his field: Logotherapy. Frankl emerges from the immense suffering of the holocaust to clearly and kindly encourage us to find meaning and joy in all parts of life. Far from being a depressing read ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ is instead likely to leave you feeling inspired, cared for, and capable of getting through whatever nonsensical data, failed experiments, and frustrating failures your PhD might throw at you.   

  • John Ratey – Spark!   

We’ve all had times in our lives when we felt that we couldn’t afford to exercise, when life is just so overwhelmingly occupied, there’s too many important things going on. At some points in your PhD, when you feel too busy to take a break, see friends, or cook a proper dinner, having a go at the ‘Couch to 5k’ certainly doesn’t look like it’ll be getting any of your valuable hours any time soon. But after several decades of researching the human brain, Professor John Ratey is here to argue that you can’t afford  not  to exercise.  

I’m sure it isn’t a great revelation to you that exercise is vital for your physical health, but ‘Spark!’ instead implores us to think of exercise as an essential activity for our brain. With an abundance of examples from modern publications in psychiatry and neuroscience, Ratey explains the effects of regular exercise on the human brain. Better memory, improved problem solving, better pattern recognition, longer periods of focus, reduced procrastination and improved mood; I struggle to believe there’s a single human being who would not benefit from every one of these and the countless other benefits discussed throughout the book. But for PhD students, whose work is especially dependent on the functioning of their brain, the effects are potentially even more transformative. You wouldn’t dream of mistreating the expensive lab microscope. You’d never work with equipment that had been left dysfunctional due to lack of care: why treat your own brain any differently? 

  • Hermann Hesse – The Glass Bead Game  

 PhD students are students. Sometimes this is painfully clear, sometimes it is easy to forget. But nevertheless, learning is at the centre of a PhD and learning is a two way-street. There is no learning without teaching, even if the learner and the teacher are the same person. ‘The Glass Bead Game’ is a novel about learning and teaching, it is a realistic portrait of two sides of the same coin, simultaneously superimposed upon one another. 

The story takes place in an imaginary European province in which experts, scientists, scholars, and philosophers are allotted unlimited resources and are permitted to follow any interest or whim to their heart’s content. In many ways this place may sound utopian compared to the current state of academia, so ruthless in its limitation of funding, and so stringent in its selection processes. Yet this is not a utopian novel. But neither is it a dystopian one. Hesse somehow manages to create a world that feels genuine and authentic, despite its fantastical premise. Though he uses the extreme concept of a country entirely focused on pedagogy to explore the nature of learning, this extremity never becomes fanciful with regards to the positives and negatives of such a way of living. Rather than leaving the reader with a melancholic longing for a fantasy world where the streets are paved with postdoc positions, the realism of ‘The Glass Bead Game’ is more likely to help you find a balanced appreciation for life in academia, better able to accept it’s many blemishes, and in doing so more able to appreciate it’s many joys.  

  • Plato – The Last Days of Socrates   

A PhD is a doctor of philosophy. As PhD students we are all therefore philosophers-in-training. We are learning how to ask precise questions, and how to answer them in a convincing, conclusive manner. We are learning to fully understand the nature of evidence and proof, to recognise when something is proved and when it is not. The word itself comes from the Greek ‘philos’ (loving) and ‘sophia’ (wisdom), an apt description of anyone willing to spend several years of their life researching one extremely niche topic that few others know or care about.   

Although the Classical philosophers arrived long before any concept of scientific method, and they often came to some conclusions that now seem laughable, a small understanding of their world can do a lot for any 21st century philosopher. This book in itself won’t come to any ground breaking conclusions that haven’t been long since disproved, or better communicated, but it’s place in this list is earned as an essential introduction to the history of asking questions. At a time in which more and more people are recoiling from the influence of experts, this story of a man being put on trial for asking too many questions remains as relevant as it was 2,000 years ago. And ultimately, this book would still earn its spot on this list solely as the source of the famous scene in which Socrates insists that the only reason the Oracle named him the wisest of the Greeks, was because he alone amongst the Greeks knows that he knows nothing – a statement that may haunt and comfort any PhD student, depending on the day.  

  • Walt Whitman – Leaves of Grass   

Perhaps you’re wondering how a book of 19 th  Century poetry is going to help you be a better PhD student. Unlike the other entries on this list, I will make no claim to its ability to help you think better, nor will it help you ask better questions, nor make you feel more justified in your choice of career path. ‘Leaves of Grass’ will not help you be a better PhD student in any way, because you are not a PhD student, you are a human being, and that’s enough. Not only is that enough, that’s everything. To Walt Whitman there’s nothing more you can be. It is quite easy for your view of the world (and therefore your place in it) to become narrowed. You spend all day working on your PhD. All, or most of your colleagues are doing the same, perhaps many of your friends as well. But your PhD is not your life. The success or failure of your research is not you. The accumulation of three Latin characters at the end of your name is not an indication of value. If you are to read any of the books that I have recommended here make it this one and there will be no problem over the coming years that you will not be prepared for, not because it will guarantee your success, but because it will assure you that whilst there are trees and birds and stars and sunlight there doesn’t need to be anything more – anything else that comes out of each day is a welcome (but unnecessary) add-on. Whatever happens during your PhD, whether your thesis changes the world, or all your plans come to nothing, or you drop out halfway through, or you take ten years to finish. Just be you, be alive, be human, and know that that’s more than enough. 

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phd books online

PhD Book Depot

Book features.

PhD Book Depot offers books specifically designed for research scholars. These books have been developed keeping in mind the limited guidance available these days to PhD candidates.

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The PhD Start Up Guide

  • Publisher : Jononi Publication
  • Publish Date : October 18, 2016
  • ISBN-10 : 0236547851
  • ISBN-13 : 2547810321560

There are many sites where you can order your favorite book quote printed on a poster, mug, t-shirt, and tens of other products.Below you’ll find our recommendations – the sites that offer high-quality book quote designs on a large selection of items.....

We list of books is growing every month. Keep coming back to check for the latest titles.

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I opted for the PhD Start Up Guide Initially and liked the practical usage of the book. Slowly I ordered four more titles from PhD Book Depot and I found all them useful for my PhD. I recommend these books to all PhD candidates as they help you in understand research and build your confidence.

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Mastering Your PhD

Survival and Success in the Doctoral Years and Beyond

  • Patricia Gosling 0 ,
  • Lambertus D. Noordam 1

European Neuromuscular Centre, Baarn, Netherlands

You can also search for this author in PubMed   Google Scholar

Physics (AMOLF), FOM Institute for Atomic & Molecular, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Packed with highly-valuable insights for doing or considering a PhD, especially in natural sciences

Enriched and expanded with new chapters on choosing the right team, interpersonal relations, group dynamics, and a hospitable work environment

Includes supplementary material: sn.pub/extras

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  • Table of contents

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Table of contents (24 chapters)

Front matter, choosing a research group: pluses and pitfalls.

  • Patricia Gosling, Bart Noordam

Getting Started

Setting goals and objectives, how to think like a scientist, designing good experiments, charting your progress month by month, dealing with setbacks, mentors, leadership, and community, how to get along with your lab mates, et al., group dynamics: dealing with difficult colleagues, the art of good communication, mastering presentations and group meetings, searching the scientific literature, your first international conference, from data to manuscript: writing scientific papers that shine, celebrate your success, how to make the best of your annual evaluation, the final year: countdown to your thesis defence, writing your doctoral thesis with style.

  • Graduate school
  • Graduate student guide
  • Organizing PhD work
  • PhD student
  • Planning a PhD thesis
  • Social networking

Patricia Gosling

Physics (AMOLF), FOM Institute for Atomic & Molecular, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Lambertus D. Noordam

Book Title : Mastering Your PhD

Book Subtitle : Survival and Success in the Doctoral Years and Beyond

Authors : Patricia Gosling, Lambertus D. Noordam

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-15847-6

Publisher : Springer Berlin, Heidelberg

eBook Packages : Humanities, Social Sciences and Law , History (R0)

Copyright Information : Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

eBook ISBN : 978-3-642-15847-6 Published: 19 November 2010

Edition Number : 2

Number of Pages : XII, 240

Topics : Popular Science, general , Popular Science in Astronomy , Popular Science in Medicine and Health , Popular Science in Nature and Environment , Science, Humanities and Social Sciences, multidisciplinary

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30 Best Online PhD Programs [2024 Ultimate Guide]

Explore Online PhD Programs from accredited colleges offering online PhD, DBA, EdD, PsyD, DNP – 100% online. Accelerated classes are available.

Online PhD Programs

With millions of Americans now pursuing and completing graduate degrees, employers have their pick of the most qualified and trained employees in their field.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that in the last decade, about one million Americans earned a PhD. Many fields, like education and the humanities, value doctoral degrees. A person who holds a PhD is almost guaranteed to have higher level critical thinking and problem solving skills.

If you currently have a bachelor’s degree or even a master’s degree and are considering pursuing a doctoral degree, consider accelerated PhD programs online if they are available in your field.

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Types of Online PhD Programs

There are as many PhD Programs as there are fields of knowledge. Here are the most popular. Click on one you’re interested in to jump to that section of the page.

Business Administration

Criminal justice, curriculum & instruction, educational leadership, healthcare management, higher education, homeland security, human resources, information technology, management information systems, nurse practitioner (rn required), nursing education (rn required), organizational leadership, project management, public administration, public health, public policy, special education, supply chain and logistics.

A growing number of universities now offer a wide-range of doctoral programs online.

accountant working in the office

A PhD in Accounting focuses on developing skills to complete specialized and original research that can directly contribute or, ultimately, affect the accounting industry.

This degree focuses on giving students advanced knowledge in applied research and accounting theory to make them capable of working in specialized research organizations and higher academic institutions.

A PhD in Accounting is the highest degree in this field, and it usually takes four to seven years to complete. Most online programs for accounting have 60 to 120 credit hours or 20 to 40 classes. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the positions in specialized consulting and government agencies will grow by 4% in over the next 10 years.

business consultants working together on a laptop

Programs for a PhD in Business Administration are designed to prepare students for academic and business careers by developing their knowledge in management, consulting, economics, public administration, and several business-related career paths.

This doctoral degree aims to provide students with a deeper understanding of different business practices, both in theory and application. Having this set of skills can unlock various opportunities in academic institutions, government agencies, and private businesses.

The majority of people who take up this degree usually have years of experience in business and are interested in acquiring advanced knowledge. Younger students can take advantage of this and get a head start in building their network and connection while still studying.

counselor talking to a young couple

People face different challenges that can affect their mental health, which makes the PhD in Counseling one of the most popular doctoral degrees today. Earning this degree can help qualify students to practice clinical counseling and conduct research that can directly affect mental health care services.

It may take up to 10 years to earn a doctoral degree in counseling, but it will depend on the course load, and whether a student is taking up the degree part-time or full-time.

Upon completion, opportunities in both the public and private sectors will be available, and it is expected to steadily grow at 8-25%, depending on the field of specialization, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

female detective working on documents for a case

A PhD in Criminal Justice aims to expose students to rigorous training in criminological research methods, theory, and application.

This program focuses on providing students with a better understanding of research methods and data-driven metrics that they can use to evaluate and develop criminal justice policies.

Programs for PhD in Criminal Justice typically include classes in juvenile justice, social psychology, law enforcement, criminal behavior risk factors, homeland security, and technical leadership. This set of acquired knowledge can help open up different opportunities both in public service and specialized private consultation. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that positions for this field will increase by 8% in private service and 5% in protective service.

education curriculum planners having a meeting

A PhD in Curriculum and Instruction is a program that focuses on teaching the dynamics within the educational system.

Students can choose from four concentrations in this field, including Early Childhood Education, Science Education, Mathematics Education, and Social Studies. The concentrations are designed to give students the skills needed to make significant research and contribution to the enhancement of knowledge in their specialized field.

This degree aims to shape students to become highly efficient in discovering, integrating, applying, communicating, and disseminating knowledge. Earning a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction can help students become critically reflective and dedicated to providing practical and theoretical training. This set of skills can open up different opportunities for academic and leadership positions that are available in educational institutions.

education teacher teaching in a university

Earning a PhD in Education is the highest academic achievement that students can get in the field of education.

These programs are designed to provide students with the expertise, skills, and credentials needed to conduct and publish high-level research that can affect college education, classrooms, institutions, and communities.

There are online programs that allow students to earn their doctoral degrees in education, but on-campus learning often offers better networking opportunities that can broaden their connection. Pursuing a PhD in Education requires students to have a master’s degree. This path usually takes at least three years to complete, depending on the course load and transfer credits.

training and development manager having a meeting with colleagues

Excellent education lies in the people who develop the system and the leaders that implement it. A PhD in Educational Leadership can help put scholars in a position that can directly contribute to it.

This degree focuses on providing students with the skills to solve problems and create a positive change in different learning settings and educational institutions.

Instead of practicing hands-on teaching, PhD in Educational Leadership focuses on developing the education system.

It is designed to help students conduct and publish research that can positively affect all learning environments, including pre-K-12, higher education, and even in the corporate sector. This doctoral degree can help make scholars viable candidates for high-paying positions in the academic sector, such as chief academic officer, training and development manager, and chief learning officer.

financial manager talking to a couple

A PhD in Finance is a program for students who want to develop a deeper understanding of behavioral finance, economics, statistics, econometrics, and corporate finance.

Taking up this degree can help equip students with better mathematics skills, analytical thinking, and a deeper foundation in all facets of finance and economics.

Although a bachelor’s or master’s degree will suffice in some positions, getting a PhD in this field can help solidify a student’s position for higher-paying jobs. Armed with a set of highly specialized skills in corporate finance, asset pricing, and portfolio management, students who earn their PhD in Finance have the opportunity to increase their skills in this field.

Healthcare Manager talking to doctors

PhD in Healthcare Management focuses on a wide range of research that can directly affect healthcare services, management, and administration.

Students may tackle subjects regarding the impact of insurance status and policies on medical expenditure, sources of discrepancies in cardiovascular care, and diffusion and adoption of innovations in healthcare.

Doctoral students in the field of healthcare management may have the opportunity to work closely with degree holders and notable professionals in the healthcare sector. There is also usually great exposure to other students with hands-on experience in business, math, social science, and clinically trained professionals. This privilege can help make them more efficient as academic researchers and open up different long-term positions in the education and healthcare sectors.

male professor teaching in a university

A PhD in Higher Education is a program that aims to develop scholars who are capable of conducting original research and have the necessary skills to interpret and communicate it through writing, teaching, and practice.

The research includes theoretical and empirical inputs that can affect post-secondary education policies and practices.

Students who are taking up a PhD in Higher Education need to complete a program that usually includes 60-100 credit hours.

The classes that they tackled in this doctoral degree typically include economics, politics, policies, governance, organization, student affairs, and social foundations of higher education. Students can often complete this degree within four to five years, depending on their course load, and attendance to off-campus classes.

Homeland Security officer standing on his post

A PhD in Homeland Security focuses on classes that provide better understanding and expertise in different research methods, strategic and critical thinking, data analysis, and policies on domestic and international security issues.

Aside from government agencies, these skills are also viable for high-paying jobs in private corporations that deal with security and emergency management.

Professionals who are working in the security service, criminal justice, and emergency preparedness sectors can pursue better career paths by earning their doctoral degree in Homeland Security. This degree can help open up different opportunities in government agencies, and the majority of degree holders find comfortable positions within the Department of Homeland Security.

Human Resources Manager talking to company's employees

PhD in Human Resources is a research-based degree that is designed to allow students to conduct and publish their original work, which can directly affect human resources.

It is a degree that helps students learn advanced skills that they need in the theoretical and empirical application on leadership, management, and administration.

Students who decide to pursue their careers in human resources will usually take four to five years before they can earn a doctoral degree. Throughout their studies, scholars may have the chance to work closely with the faculty while conducting their research, together with professionals in different fields. The coursework usually involves hands-on activities in advanced human resources, helping students solidify their chosen career path.

web developer working on his laptop

A PhD in Information Technology often attracts students who are keen on acquiring advanced knowledge in corporate, economic, business, and organizational implications of information technology. This degree is the highest academic achievement in the field.

It can help provide students with the opportunity to take academic positions in the future. Earning their PhD in IT allows them to pursue teaching jobs at the university-level in information technology subjects, including economics, psychology, management science, organizational behavior, and computer science.

A PhD in Information Technology is a multidisciplinary program that offers concentrations in information science and technology, information systems, software engineering, information security, and digital forensics. This acquired knowledge and skillset can help students become viable candidates in almost every private and public sector.

manager meeting her team

A PhD in management is a research-based specialization that includes advanced learning in accounting, decision theory and analysis, IT and operations management, entrepreneurship, finance, economics, leadership, and marketing.

This degree is one of the two terminal degrees that students often take if they want to pursue an academic career at business schools.

Due to the broad spectrum of study and advanced foundation in fields that are in high demand, both in the private and public sectors, PhD in Management became one of the most popular doctoral degrees. Being exposed to different research on advanced management can help students’ skills and knowledge remain current in their chosen fields.

network administrators checking the data room

Earning a PhD in Management Information Systems is often vital for students who want to pursue a career in economic and organizational management and technical aspects of information systems.

It focuses on research that can help students develop a deeper understanding of the economic and social contexts, together with the impacts of information technology.

This doctoral degree is in the list of STEM Designated Degree Program, which is a list of degrees that are in high demand and receives the utmost attention from academic institutions and the government. Taking up a doctoral degree in Management Information Systems has endless potential and secured positions, with an estimated 1.2 million job openings.

nurse checking patient's vital signs during operation

A doctoral degree is one of the two terminal degrees for nurse practitioners. It is a research-based degree that covers nursing methodologies and faculty development, including theoretical and empirical applications in nursing science.

This degree usually involves minimal clinical work, and students typically work closely with faculty to conduct their research.

A PhD in Nurse Practitioner requires a master’s degree and usually requires about 60 to 80 credit hours. It typically takes four to six years to complete and can be affected by the student’s course load. Upon completion of this doctoral degree, students often take positions as nursing researchers, nursing faculty, and health policy development officers.

healthcare professionals in a meeting

PhD in Nursing Education is a degree that aims to create scholars who are responsible for improving and innovating education for nurses.

It is designed to provide students with a deeper understanding of educational development, strategies, and research to continuously innovate nursing science and leadership to be efficient in practicing the discipline of nursing.

It also covers other curricular and research resources from various disciplines that can have an impact on nursing science. This vast acquired knowledge in different fields can help students tackle positions in nursing faculties in both the education and healthcare sectors. It usually takes at least three years for students to earn their PhD in Nursing Education.

team of professionals in a meeting

The effectiveness of any organization lies in the leadership that manages it. Students who want to gain a better understanding of the theoretical and empirical applications of leadership should consider taking a PhD in Organizational Leadership.

This degree is often taken by professionals who are already familiar with their industry but lack leadership skills to lead a team and execute strategic plans on different projects.

Earning a PhD in Organizational Leadership can help amplify students’ current skill set and allow them to make an impact on their organization. This degree is designed to teach them how they can effectively build and manage teams for corporate and nonprofit organizations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that job positions for leadership roles will grow by 7% for the next 10 years.

Project Manager collaborating with her team for a project

A PhD in Project Management is a program that focuses on creating scholars who deeply understand different subjects related to organizational efficiency and business management.

This degree is designed to provide students with skills that can help them manage teams, plan, coordinate, and create budgets for different projects.

Students who are taking up a PhD in Project Management typically select their concentration from program and portfolio management, project-based strategic leadership, risk and quality management, and life-cycle and performance management. Acquired knowledge in these concentrations can help students become viable candidates for different high paying positions, both in corporate organizations and government agencies.

psychologist talking to a patient in her office

PhD in Psychology is a program that focuses on the study and research of the entire mental health spectrum. It covers a wide range of research and practice areas, which includes counseling, therapy, social work, and even education.

It is the ultimate pursuit of academic excellence in the field of Psychology and can help students pursue careers that allow them to practice the profession or provide specialized consulting services.

Earning a PhD in Psychology usually takes four to eight years, and it depends on whether the students take the course part-time or full-time. The programs often have at least three full academic years and one year of internship for APA accreditation.

administrative assistant working on her computer

A PhD in Public Administration is the highest applied-research degree that students can take in the field. Scholars in this field are typically required to complete a dissertation, which can contribute, improve, or innovate the practice of public administration, both theoretically and empirically.

The goal of the program is to expose scholars to significant research in their careers, whether in academic, government or other work settings.

This degree can help students acquire advanced knowledge in the legal, political, and ethical practices in public administration. It can also help students develop a deeper understanding of the administrative functions of government agencies, together with the expertise in strategic planning, program implementation, advanced management techniques, and result-based leadership.

medical professor teaching in a university

A PhD in Public Health is a program that aims to provide scholars with advanced critical thinking and assessment skills. These skills can help them learn how to assess needs, analyze barriers, and create a positive impact on the practice of public health.

Pursuing this degree can help scholars acquire a better understanding of population-based theoretical research that can lead to the prevention of diseases and disabilities.

Students earning their doctoral degrees in public health can work on the skills they need to be efficient in biostatistics, epidemiology, or public health research.

Most of these fields require students to lead and use professional communication to inform and educate the public regarding critical issues in health. Faculty member, professor, and post-doctoral fellow are other high-demand positions that students can pursue as a degree holder in public health.

policy analysts working together in a laptop

A PhD in Public Policy is a degree that focuses on developing leaders equipped with a deeper understanding of research, ethics, public policy theory, and global practice.

In essence, it is a career path that students often take if they want to develop sustainable solutions that can have a positive impact on the quality of life.

Taking up a doctoral degree in Public Policy can help students tackle leadership concepts and theories, analysis of evidence-based research, and develop methods that streamline the processes of public and nonprofit policies. These skills can help them become viable candidates for positions such as senior public executives, policy analysts, or offer specialized consulting services.

school principal checking student's attendance for a field trip

The PhD in Special Education is the highest level of research-based degree in the field. This degree is designed to help students develop new pedagogical approaches and concepts that can improve the quality of education for differently-abled children.

Earning a doctoral degree in special education can also expose students to various educational courses that can help them become efficient in providing quality education to tomorrow’s teachers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the positions available for doctoral degree holders in special education will grow by as much as 6% over the next 10 years. These positions include education directors, curriculum developers, school principals, childcare administrators, and superintendents.

Logistics manager checking inventory in a warehouse

PhD in Logistics is a program designed to expose students to extensive study in theories, logistics, strategies, and application of supply chain management. It can help students learn all aspects of managing and operating the supply chain, which affects the production and distribution of a product.

The courses that students typically tackle in this degree include the concepts of demand and relationship management, forecasting, inventory, purchasing, and assembly.

This degree can help students develop a deeper understanding of the logistical systems, supply chain technology, research methods, and transportation economics. Being knowledgeable in the development, manufacturing, and logistics of products can help open up different high paying positions in product-based corporations. It is potentially one of the highest paying doctoral degrees and usually provides much room for growth and development.

What Are the Highest Paying Doctoral Degrees?

Highest Paying Doctoral Degrees

Earning a doctoral degree can help scholars build a deeper foundation in their chosen field and open up better career paths. Although getting a PhD almost guarantees a better position, some doctoral degrees are more rewarding.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following careers and average salaries represent the top 10% of wage earners in their respective fields:

Factors that may raise or lower your salary, besides your level of education, include your experience, the industry in which you work, and your location.

Salary Increase

One of the most rewarding benefits of earning a graduate degree is the potential to increase your salary. The U.S. Census Bureau found that over the course of a person’s lifetime, someone with a doctoral degree earns $3.4 million on average.

Compare that with someone with a bachelor’s degree, who earns $2.1 million on average over the course of their lifetime. Earning an accelerated PhD could mean earning more than $1 million more.

Not all doctorates will bring in the same salary increase. LinkedIn indicates that people with PhD’s who work in the fields of Science and Engineering usually see the best pay overall. For example, the top 10% of medical scientists make, on average, close to $160,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bottom 10% make just over $40,000 per year.

The primary difference between the top 10% and the bottom 10% is education level and experience. PhD holders in the sciences typically make much more money than those who only hold their bachelor’s or master’s degree.

What Are the Most Popular Doctorate Degrees?

Most Popular Doctorate Degrees

The highest paying doctoral degrees are not always the most rewarding path. Taking up a popular degree, for example, can expose students to more people, and some of them may have years of experience in their chosen field.

Having this academic setting may help students to improve their existing network and might unlock several high-paying positions that seek the specialization that they have.

Which PhD program you choose should depend on your interests and overall job satisfaction, not the potential salary level alone.

Intellectual Curiosity

Many people pursue their PhD because of their intellectual curiosity and desire to learn. For fields that don’t report a significant pay increase over a master’s or bachelor’s degree (like the humanities), PhD holders often spend the years it takes earning their degree for personal fulfillment and ambition. Sometimes that payoff is enough.

If you’re interested in pursuing your PhD for these reasons, there are many accelerated PhD programs available online to help your dream of being called “Doctor” one day come true. Some people even earn a PhD in a field unrelated to their primary career because of their love for learning and their desire to pursue other topics and subjects.

Careers that Require a PhD

Careers that Require a PhD

There are a handful of careers that require a PhD before you’ll even be considered for the job. This is because the training required to perform well at these jobs is only available through doctoral level programs. Most people obtain their PhD because they have their eye on these specific jobs. The following careers are usually only attainable to people who hold PhD’s:

  • Psychologist
  • Higher Education Administration (President, Dean, etc.)
  • Prestigious Appointments on Corporate and Federal Boards

Many careers and fields, however, still highly value someone who holds a PhD even if it’s not required to perform the job. These are common career fields that look to doctorate holders to lead and innovate:

  • Healthcare (Nursing and Public Health/Policy)
  • Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Neuroscience)
  • Engineering

The reality is that most people who hold a doctorate often automatically receive more respect and reverence than those who don’t. It’s a prestigious degree that only about one percent of the population holds. Many of the most respected intellectuals and leaders of corporations and organizations have a doctoral degree because of this reason.

Some universities even offer a doctorate degree online no dissertation requirement for students who prefer not to spend the extra time required to complete a dissertation.

Even if your field doesn’t require a doctorate, it may be beneficial to your advancement in your field, a potential salary increase, and your own personal ambitions of holding one of the most prestigious degrees available.

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Doctorate Degree?

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Doctorate Degree

There are two major types of doctoral degrees that students can earn; research-based and professional application. Both degrees require them to have a master’s degree, and if they already have one, it usually takes four to six years on average to earn their PhD.

On the other hand, students who are pursuing doctoral degrees part-time may take up to 10 years.

The time they need to complete a doctoral degree will depend on the program design and the area of specialization that they are taking. PhD programs usually require students to take 60 to 120 credit hours or about 20 to 40 classes.

However, some programs are streamlined and accelerated to help them earn their doctoral degree faster. If you have a tight schedule, then part time PhD programs are another option instead of accelerated programs.

Those who are pursuing a doctoral degree full-time can look for programs that have creative credit transfers, which can help them get their PhD within three years. These programs typically offer minimal on-campus obligations, giving scholars better flexibility in earning their degrees.

How to Accelerate Your Online PhD

PhD student studying on her laptop

Whether you’re searching for 1 year online doctoral programs or for a way to finish in 2 years, you may be able to accelerate the path to your doctorate.

Since you’ll already be expected to have completed a good amount of previous college training, there aren’t as many ways to accelerate a PhD as there are an associate, bachelor, or master’s degree. There are many accelerated PhD programs, however, that can help you move straight through a bachelor’s degree to a PhD.

In other words, you can apply to begin a bachelor’s degree with a program with the commitment and intention of following all the way through to a PhD as the final earned degree. These programs are designed so that you can earn your bachelor’s degree along the way and complete your PhD in as little as six years (including all the work you had to do towards the bachelor’s degree).

Most PhD programs take much longer than this, so this can be a great way to accelerate your degree. Alternatively, some programs award a terminal master’s degree as part of the PhD program.

If you don’t finish all the requirements for your PhD, you may still walk away with a master’s degree in your field, all of your work not having gone to waste.

Some accelerated PhD options online include accelerated courses as well. These courses can help you complete more credit hours in less amount of time and are great when you have some extra time to spare in your schedule.

They might not be as prevalent as accelerated courses at the undergraduate level, but many graduate programs online offer them as well. They are worth looking into if you’re itching to complete your degree quickly.

Advantages of Accelerated PhD Programs

Advantages of Accelerated PhD Programs

Many traditional PhD programs can take a long time to complete. In fact, many programs allow students upwards of 10 years or more to complete all requirements of their degree, knowing that some students get stalled in the research and writing process.

Sometimes, having too much time to complete a degree can be detrimental to your progress and completion of that degree, especially when it comes to such an advanced degree like a PhD. Enrolling in an accelerated PhD program can encourage you to stay on track with your studies and finish within a reasonable time.

Just because you’ll be completing your doctorate online and in an accelerated format doesn’t mean the rigor or intensity of the program will be less. In fact, because you’ll probably be doing it in less time, it may be more. Most programs require a dissertation or large research project as a capstone to fulfilling the degree requirements.

Many PhD programs also require lengthy and difficult tests before they will allow students to advance to candidacy. Online degrees are not much different in regards to these expectations.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the attrition rate for PhD programs is only 50%, which means that only one out of two people who begin a PhD program actually finish their degree.

It’s a sobering statistic, but it attests to the fact that a PhD is not a degree you can earn overnight. Even in an accelerated format, a doctorate takes time, effort, and dedication.

Since many people go back for their PhD’s after having already started a career in their field, choosing an accelerated PhD format might allow you to remain in your career while completing your degree. This is another benefit to completing a degree online rather than having to commute somewhere each week to complete coursework.

Finally and perhaps an overlooked advantage of these programs is that you’ll have the opportunity to network with people from across the nation. If getting a PhD means a potential climb up the ladder in your field, the rewards of moving for a job are probably worth it to you.

What better way to learn about job openings and potentials than in your online classes? Most jobs are advertised through word of mouth, so working with people from different regions and locations from where you are might open your eyes to an opportunity you never knew was there.

Getting a PhD is a serious commitment and not something you should decide on a whim to do. It can be tiring and stressful, but so very rewarding. If you complete your PhD, you’ll be one of only a small percentage of Americans who have one, and the job opportunities for you to do what you really love will most likely increase.

Accelerated PhD’s are convenient and can help you actualize your goals of earning the highest degree you can earn in your field.

Accreditation for an Online PhD Program

logos of six regional boards

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation or CHEA reviews regional accrediting bodies to ensure that students receive the highest standard of education that meets local demands. In turn, these accrediting bodies evaluate academic institutions or online programs within the institution.

This process aims to regulate and ensure that the quality of education is current, practical, and is following the curriculum requirements in PhD programs.

Regional accreditation evaluates the learning process in different online programs, ensuring that students are spending money on education that employers will recognize. Look for accreditation from one of these regional boards:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

Regional accreditation of a program act as a guarantee of the value of the diploma that students receive upon completion of their course.

Financial Aid for PhD Students

screenshot of the FAFSA pdf

On average, a PhD program costs $18,000, and taking up a five-year plan will cost at least $90,000. This amount is on top of the living expenses that students need to tank when pursuing their doctoral degrees.

However, there are different financial aids that they can pursue to fund their studies and earn their postgraduate degrees without going into debt.

Here are the types of financial aids that may be available for PhD students:

  • Scholarships are the most common merit-based financial aid that students can receive. These programs can help in covering the cost of tuition and other fees that are related to earning their doctoral degrees.
  • Grants are similar to scholarships, but it is for students with the need for financial assistance. Students who want to apply for grants will have to go through different evaluations to be eligible for it.
  • Fellowships are programs that can provide financial aid to students who are pursuing doctoral degrees. These aids often cover the full tuition, together with a yearly stipend that students can use to cover other expenses related to earning their degrees.

You can find out what you qualify for at the federal level by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) .

Questions Related to Earning a PhD Online

Here are our answers to a few more questions you might have.

Can I Get My PhD Online?

Yes, it is possible to get a PhD from online programs. These programs receive regular innovations up to the point that it became the most attractive method of earning a PhD.

Today, there are 205 accredited academic institutions in the United States offering thousands of online programs that help students get their doctoral degrees.

Are Online PhD Programs Credible?

Yes, earning a PhD from online programs is a recognized achievement by employers. However, the credibility of this degree depends on the accreditation of the institution where students received it.

Regional accreditation is the process of evaluating academic institutions to ensure that students will complete a program that follows the strict guidelines and curriculum requirements of CHEA.

How Much Do Online PhD Programs Cost?

The cost of taking up online PhD programs will vary on the specialization that students want to take. On average, earning a PhD from online programs costs $4,000 to $20,000, and this amount includes the expenses for registration, books, and online coaching.

Taking a five-year plan, which is the average for most PhD courses, typically costs $20,000 to $100,000.

What Are the Best Online PhD Programs?

The best online PhD programs are those that lead you to a balance of a career you enjoy and the salary you’re comfortable with. This balance will depend on your interests.

Online learning offers a wide range of benefits, including flexibility in scheduling and defining the learning pace that is comfortable for students. However, not all online programs are made equal.

Scholars can find the PhD courses best suited for them by checking the rates, courses that they will take, the size of the classes, and regional accreditation from organizations that CHEA recognizes in evaluating PhD programs.

List of 30 Online PhD Programs (and related doctoral programs)

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Andrews University campus

Located in Berrin Springs, Michigan, Andrews University was established in 1874. It is affiliated with the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

The university offers PhD programs in Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Leadership, Higher Education Administration, and various concentrations in Leadership. These programs have various credit requirements ranging between 61 and 94. The programs can be completed in 5-6 years on a full-time basis.

  • PhD Curriculum and Instruction
  • PhD Educational Leadership
  • PhD Higher Education Administration
  • PhD Leadership

Andrews is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Catholic University of America campus

Established in 1887, the Catholic University of America is located in Washington, DC.

The PhD in Nursing program is offered by the university’s Conway School of Nursing and requires 79 credit hours. Students can transfer in 24 credit hours from graduate course-work if they have been successful in comprehensive exams.

  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Nursing

CUA is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Central Michigan University campus

Located in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, Central Michigan University was established in 1892. It has more than 60 other locations worldwide.

The online PhD program in Educational Technology requires 54 credits and consists of 12 courses followed by a dissertation. The program is in an online cohort format with no face-to-face requirements.

  • Doctor of Educational Technology

CMU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Clemson University campus

Consisting of 7 colleges, Clemson University was established in 1889 and located in Clemson, South Carolina.

The online PhD programs are offered in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management (60 credit hours), Rhetoric, Communication & Information Design (on-campus to defend dissertation), and in Healthcare Genetics (70 credit hours).

Out-of-state applicants must check whether the program is available in their states.

  • Ph.D. in Healthcare Genetics (HCG)
  • Ph.D. in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management (PRTM)
  • Ph.D. in Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design

Clemson is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Colorado State University campus

Located in Fort Collins, Colorado, Colorado State University was established in 1870.

The online PhD programs offered by the university are the 60-credit PhD in Higher Education Leadership (can be completed in 5 years) and the 72-credit PhD in Systems Engineering (varies based on previous coursework and intensity of study).

  • Higher Education Leadership Ph.D.
  • Systems Engineering Ph.D.

Colorado State is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Concordia University Chicago campus

Founded in the Lutheran tradition, Concordia University Chicago was established in 1863 and is located in River Forest, Illinois.

The 100% online PhD in Leadership: Gerontology program has a course length of 8 weeks. Students must complete 58 credit hours. The application deadline is rolling and is in a synchronous format with 3 or 4-year tracts being available.

  • PhD in Leadership: Gerontology

Concordia University Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

George Fox University campus

Located in Newburg, Oregon, George Fox University is a Christian institution that was originally founded in 1891 as a school for Quakers.

The Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership program is delivered in the online format with an annual residency of one week on campus. There is a 56-credit-hour requirement to complete the course, and it takes 3 years to complete.

  • Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership

George Fox is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

George Washington University campus

Established in 1821, George Washington University is located in Washington, DC.

The online PhD in Nursing program consists of 57 credit hours with some on-campus requirements and is delivered in a synchronous format.

The online PhD in Systems Engineering program consists of 54 credit hours and must be completed within 5 years.

  • Online Ph.D. in Nursing
  • Online Ph.D. in Systems Engineering

George Washington is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Hampton University campus

Located in Hampton, Virginia, Hampton University is a historically black university established in 1888.

The university offers PhD programs in Business Administration (61 credit hours), Counselor Education & Supervision (61 credit hours), Educational Management (66 credits), and Nursing (54-60 credit hours).

A DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) program (33 credit hours) is also available.

  • PhD in Business Administration
  • PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision
  • PhD in Educational Management

Hampton U is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Indiana University Bloomington campus

Established in 1820, Indiana University is located in Bloomington, Indiana.

The PhD in Nursing Science program (90 credit hours) is delivered 80-99% online in a hybrid, distance-accessible format, with synchronous video-conferencing to provide classroom interaction and two on-campus intensives to interact with peers and faculty.

  • Ph.D. in Nursing Science

Indiana U is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Iowa State University campus

As the largest university in the state of Iowa, Iowa State University is located in Ames, Iowa and was established in 1856.

The PhD program in Apparel Merchandising and Design is delivered in a hybrid format. It features 1-2 on-campus summer coursework sessions and has a 72-credit-hour requirement to complete the degree.

  • Apparel, Merchandising, and Design – Doctor of Philosophy

Iowa State University  is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Keiser University - Fort Lauderdale campus

Located in West Palm Beach, Florida, Keiser University was established in 1977.

The university offers a flexibly designed Doctor of Business Administration program that is delivered 100% online. Students can benefit from being able to pursue their careers, along with enhancing their educational qualifications. The program is offered at multiple locations in Florida.

  • Business Administration, DBA

Keiser is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

liberty university campus1

Established in 1971, Liberty University is an Evangelical Christian university located in Lynchburg, Virginia.

The university offers a range of PhD programs in Bible Exposition, Communication, Counselor Education and Supervision, Criminal Justice, Education, Higher Education Administration, History, Nursing-Nursing Education, Psychology, Public Policy, Strategic Media Online.

Most are 100% online, delivered in an 8-week course format.

  • Ph.D. in Bible Exposition
  • Ph.D. in Communication
  • Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision
  • Ph.D. in Criminal Justice
  • Ph.D. in Education
  • Ph.D. in Higher Education Admin
  • Ph.D. in History
  • Ph.D. in Nursing – Nursing Education
  • Ph.D. in Psychology
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy
  • Ph.D. in Strategic Media Online

Liberty is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Medical University of South Carolina campus

Located in Charleston, South Carolina, the Medical University of South Carolina was established in 1824.

The university’s College of Nursing offers both full-time and part-time PhD in Nursing programs. Both have 52 semester hours of coursework and 9 semester-hours for dissertation requirement and a 3-4-year plan of study. Only 10-12 students are accepted per year.

  • PhD Nursing Science

MUSC is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Mississippi State University campus

Chartered in 1878, Mississippi State University is located adjacent to Starkville, Mississippi.

The university offers PhD programs in Aerospace/Civil Engineering, Community College Leadership, Computational Engineering, Electrical, and Computer Engineering, Industrial and Systems Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering.

Students must complete at least 50 hours of coursework beyond the master’s degree, of which at least 20 are allotted to dissertation research.

  • Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering
  • Ph.D. in Civil Engineering
  • Ph.D. in Community College Leadership
  • Ph.D. in Computational Engineering
  • Ph.D. in Electrical & Computer Engineering
  • Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering
  • Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering

Mississippi State University  is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Nova Southeastern University campus

With its main campus located in Davie, Florida, Nova Southeastern University was established in 1964.

The university offers online PhD programs in Conflict Analysis and Resolution (76 credit hours), Criminal Justice (60 credit hours), Nursing (60 credit hours), and Occupational Therapy (61 credit hours).

The university has 18 schools and colleges that offer 150 different programs, and students can select the appropriate one.

  • Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis & Resolution
  • Ph.D. in Nursing
  • Ph.D. in Occupational Therapy

Nova Southeastern is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Texas Tech University campus

Established in 1923, Texas Tech University is located in Lubbock, Texas.

The university offers several online PhD programs across its different schools and colleges, in Curriculum and Instruction (63 credit hours) in three different tracks, Educational Leadership Policy (60 credit hours), Family and Consumer Science Education (72 credit hours), Special Education (90 credit hours), Systems Engineering and Management (72 credit hours), and Technical Communication and Rhetoric (60 credit hours).

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction (Track in Curriculum Studies and Teacher Education)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction (Track in Language, Diversity & Literacy Studies)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction (Track in STEM)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership Policy
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Family and Consumer Science Education
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Special Education

Texas Tech is accredited with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University at Buffalo campus

The State University of New York at Buffalo has campuses in Amherst and Buffalo and was founded in 1846. It had several notable alumni on its rolls.

The university offers an online PhD in Information Science (72 credits) with the requirement of a one-week residency per year. Students can complete the course in 4-5 years.

  • Curriculum, Instruction and the Science of Learning, PhD
  • Information Science, PhD

UB – SUNY is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education,

University of Alabama campus

Established in 1820, the University of Alabama is located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

The Bama By Distance online learning program offers a PhD in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics. The 72-credit-hour programs are designed for aerospace engineers with 5+ years’ experience in the field.

It is delivered primarily online with a campus visit requirement once each semester to meet faculty adviser.

  • PhD in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics

UA is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

University of Arkansas campus

Located in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the University of Arkansas was established in 1871.

It has been judged to have one of the Best Online Programs in Grad Education by U.S. News & World Report . Online doctoral programs offered are Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership, Doctor of Education in Human Resource & Workforce Education, Doctor of Education Adult & Lifelong Learning, and Doctor of Nursing Practice.

  • Online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership
  • Online Doctor of Education in Human Resource and Workforce Development Education
  • Online Doctor of Nursing Practice

UArk is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Florida campus

Founded in 1893, it is located in Gainesville, Florida.

Online PhD programs offered are in Latin & Roman Studies (60 credit hours, with 30 hours of doctoral work on-campus) and Classical Civilization (60 credit-hours with 30 hours of doctoral work on-campus). Written examinations and public defense of the dissertation are required.

  • Classical Civilization (Ph.D.)
  • Latin and Roman Studies (Ph.D.)

UFL is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

University of Louisiana Monroe campus

Located in Monroe, Louisiana, the University of Louisiana at Monroe was established in 1931.

The university offers an online PhD program in Marriage and Family Therapy with a concentration in Systemic Studies. It consists of 60 semester-units, two years of full-time course-work, and dissertation.

  • PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy with a concentration in Systemic Studies

ULM is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Missouri campus

Located in Columbia, Missouri, the University of Missouri was founded in 1893.

Online PhD programs include a PhD in Agricultural Education & Leadership (72 credit hours, blended delivery mode) and aPhD in Human Environmental Sciences (emphasis architectural studies, 30 credit hours, delivery 100% online).

  • Doctor of philosophy in agricultural education and leadership (PhD)
  • Doctor of philosophy in human environmental sciences with an emphasis in architectural studies (PhD)

Mizzou is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Nebraska - Lincoln campus

The state’s oldest university, it is located in Lincoln, Nebraska and was founded in 1869.

The online blended/hybrid Doctor of Education degree in Educational Studies (specialization: Higher Education & Educational Leadership) has a 90-credit-hour and a short residency requirement.

  • PhD in Educational Studies (90 cr) with a specialization in Educational Leadership and Higher Education

UN – Lincoln is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

University of North Dakota campus

Established in 1883, the University of North Dakota is located in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Online PhD programs are offered in Aerospace Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Energy Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Petroleum Engineering, and Nursing, all requiring 90 credit-hours. Indigenous Health requires 30 credit hours.

  • Aerospace Sciences (Ph.D.)
  • Biomedical Engineering (Ph.D.)
  • Chemical Engineering (Ph.D.)
  • Electrical Engineering (Ph.D.)
  • Energy Engineering (Ph.D.)
  • Environmental Engineering (Ph.D.)
  • Indigenous Health (Ph.D.)
  • Nursing (Ph.D.)
  • Petroleum Engineering (Ph.D.)

UND is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

University of South Dakota campus

Located in Vermilion, South Dakota, the university was founded in 1862.

The online PhD in Health Sciences program is designed for working professionals. It has a 72-credit-hour requirement and is delivered in an online format with limited expectations for face-to-face contact. The residency includes orientation, dissertation boot-camp, and dissertation defense.

  • Online Doctor of Philosophy in Health Sciences

USD is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Southern California campus

The oldest research university in California, established in 1880, the university is located in Los Angeles, California.

Online doctoral programs include a Doctorate of Social Work, Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership, and Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership.

  • Doctorate of Social Work Online
  • Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership online
  • Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership online

The University of Southern California  is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

University of Texas at Tyler campus

Established in 1971, the University of Texas at Tyler is located in Tyler, Texas on a park-like campus on Harvey Lake.

The university offers online PhD programs in Clinical Psychology (99 credit hours), Nursing (60 credit hours), and Human Resource Development (hybrid, 60 credit hours). Scholarships and financial support are available based on eligibility.

  • PhD in Clinical Psychology
  • PhD in Nursing

UTT is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

University of the Cumberlands campus

Established in 1888, this Baptist Christian university is located in Williamsburg, Kentucky.

The online programs include a PhD in Business (66 credit hours), Counselor Education and Supervision (66 credit hours), and Leadership Studies (66 credit hours). Some courses may have online meeting times.

  • online PhD in Business
  • online PhD in Counselor Education & Supervision
  • online PhD in Leadership Studies

UCumberlands is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Virginia Commonwealth University campus

Located in Richmond, Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University was established in 1838.

The 100% online PhD in Nursing can be taken either on a full or part-time basis. There is a 61 minimum credit hour requirement, and the program is delivered 100% online.

VCU  is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Is PhD Worth It?

graduating PhD student

Yes, a PhD is worth it for many students. A PhD is the highest academic achievement that any student can get, and may give a significant boost in the career path that they choose. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some careers “with an advanced degree, particularly a Ph.D., are expected to have the best opportunities.”

Acquiring advanced knowledge and highly-specialized skills in their field can help students become viable candidates in different high-paying positions. The unemployment rate for doctoral degree holders is only 1.1%, as opposed to 2% for master’s degree holders.

Universities are continuously innovating their PhD programs, making it easier for students to earn their diplomas without compromising the quality of education. With these programs, students can apply to an online PhD program and start pursuing a better career path with minimal on-campus obligations.

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Purdue University

  • Doctorate Degrees

Online Doctoral Degrees

Didn't find what you were looking for.

An online doctoral degree can help you gain advanced knowledge and specialized expertise to further your career. Earning an online doctoral degree from an institution within the Purdue University system provides you access to a world-class education, with the flexibility and convenience of anytime, anywhere learning. Prepare to perform at the highest levels of your profession with an online doctorate from a prestigious institution within the Purdue University system.

Choose a degree level below to see the programs we have to offer.

  • All Programs
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Doctoral Degree Programs

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Purdue University West Lafayette is a Top 10 public university with online and hybrid programs.

The PhD program in educational leadership develops leaders for the schools of Indiana and the nation. The West Lafayette program offers preparation in educational leadership for PK-12 schools and school districts.

  • Total Credits:  90
  • Aug 19, 2024

Gain an understanding of the administrative, political, financial, legal and sociocultural aspects of higher education and prepare to become a change agent in institutions of postsecondary education.

The Doctor of Technology will help you apply heightened technical and conceptual understandings of technology, research and development as you work to develop strategies to advance within your career.

  • Apr 29, 2024
  • Jan 13, 2025

Purdue Global Logo

Purdue Global is Purdue’s online university for working adults, offering 175+ programs, including degrees, concentrations, certificates, and micro-credentials.

Develop educational leadership and research skills to become a changemaker in the field of education. Explore innovative instruction, education policy, diversity, equity, inclusion, and more.

  • Apr 17, 2024
  • Jul 3, 2024
  • Sep 18, 2024
  • Dec 4, 2024

Prepare to drive change and address challenges in fields related to health, health care, and public health. The program focuses on professional practice and allows you to personalize your degree with health science micro-credentials.

  • Total Credits:  88

Want the advanced knowledge and skills of a lawyer but don't want to practice law? Build the legal expertise needed to make an impact in health care, IT, business, finance, criminal justice, education, and other professions.

  • Total Credits:  72
  • May 1, 2024
  • Aug 28, 2024

If your goal is to become a licensed attorney, consider Purdue Global Law School's Juris Doctor (JD) program. JD graduates meet the legal education requirement of the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California.

  • Total Credits:  92

Complete the DNP online and earn a valuable health care credential while you continue to work. Deepen your specialty practice through practicums focused on quality improvement and population health.

  • Total Credits:  50

Purdue University Northwest

Purdue University Northwest offers nationally ranked online programs through the College of Nursing and an MS in Technology degree.

Graduates from the Doctor of Nursing Practice program will acquire the knowledge to allow them to plan, manage and deliver cost-effective, evidence based care to improve evidence-based healthcare.

  • Total Credits:  38 - 43

J. David Stark

Great Books-Based Distance PhD

Earlier today, the program director, Robert Woods , announced that the Christian Institute for the Study of Liberal Arts would begin offering a SACS-accredited, fully distance-based PhD program:

This PhD is literally one-of-a-kind in that it is fully accredited (SACS), offered fully distance with the dissertation being defended via conference call with a designated Research Fellow, and the student’s full committee having guided the research. This PhD is uniquely interdisciplinary in structure and practice. A number of the highly qualified faculty are generalists and encourage the kind of readings, research, and writing that reflects an interdisciplinary drive. Last, but most important, this Great Books based PhD is completely informed by the Christian faith. All courses are led by people who have proven that Christianity assists in scholarship and is not a stumbling block to matters of the mind. Building on our very successful MLitt degree, we use the Great Books and select, highly interactive online tools to provide the best distance education available. If you have any questions or need any assistance, please feel free to contact us through our website.

I’ve been working with the Institute in different capacities from shortly before the initial MLitt degree kicked off. The involvement there has proven immensely enriching. One of our MLitt graduates has already had his thesis published , and we are eagerly looking forward to extending the conversation in the new doctoral program. For more information about the new PhD program, please see here , and send further inquiries to [email protected] .

Related Articles

  • Jason Jewell, “New Ph.D. With Great Books Focus Is Here!”
  • Robert Woods, “Fully Accredited Great Books Based PhD is Here!”
  • Steven Hunter, “Faulkner University’s New Accredited PhD Program”

Update: Since this post’s original publication, the PhD program continues strong and thriving and is now housed under the Department of Humanities .

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Faulkner University Home Page

Online Doctorate of Philosophy in Humanities - Faulkner University

Faulkner University

A Christian University

Doctor of Philosophy in Humanities

Faulkner University’s Honors College offers a fully online Doctor of Philosophy for professionals hoping to enrich their higher education experience.

Program Objectives

The fully online Doctor of Philosophy provides an academic path to a career in Christian education and offers a challenging opportunity to expand your mind and experiences through a worldly perspective. Diverse students bring new perspectives to program coursework, helping to facilitate engaging and challenging discussions.

Program Design

Rooted in the Great Tradition of the Western World, the curriculum for the fully online Doctor of Philosophy program follows teachings from the Great Books of the Western Tradition to facilitate intellectual and spiritual engagement from students. Faulkner’s instructors are thought leaders who have proven credentials in the classroom, society and their field of research. Their Christian interpretation of philosophical studies and ideas help to facilitate collaborative and engaging discussion threads and conference calls.

The program includes:

  • A fully online platform
  • A foundation course that examines the history and philosophy of humane learning.
  • Seven core courses providing an in-depth look at complex ideas and thoughts.
  • Three independent tutorials focused in your area of interest, including an author, idea(s), problem, theme, specific topic or historical era.
  • Two dissertation courses that are the pinnacle of this academic program.
  • Two interdisciplinary seminar courses.

The PhD program typically takes three to five years to complete, depending on students’ status (full-time or part-time) and the time taken to complete the dissertation.

Up to six hours of post-master’s coursework may be transferred pending the director’s approval.

Degree Plan

Admission Requirements

Offering schedule.

Prospective students who wish to enroll in the Doctor of Philosophy program must meet the following admission requirements:

  • A completed graduate application
  • A master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. You must provide transcripts from all institutions attended.
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Acceptable graduate test score on graduate admissions exams, including the GRE (a combined verbal and quantitative score of 297 or above) or MAT (400 or above) taken within the last 5 years. This requirement may be waived for students holding master’s degrees in related fields.
  • Three letters of recommendation  with specific comments regarding the applicant’s academic work, professional experience and ability to successfully complete graduate study. These letters are typically from the applicant’s previous instructors or supervisory personnel.
  • A statement of personal goals that identifies how the Doctor of Philosophy program will contribute to those goals (400-500 words).
  • A scholarly postgraduate writing sample
  • Approval by the director of the Doctor of Philosophy program.
  • Submit a completed  online application.
  • Complete and print the  Official Transcript Request   form and submit it to all previously attended schools with the appropriate fee.
  • Send all additional items via mail to your enrollment counselor.
  • FNA 8317 Examining Fine Arts: Great Ideas Readings
  • HU 7311 Introduction to Humane Letters and Learning
  • HU 8326 Understanding Humane Letters: Great Ideas, Authors, and Writings
  • HY 8315 Historical Investigations: Great Ideas, Authors, and Writings
  • IDS 7301 Scholarly Inquiry and Writing in the Humanities
  • IDS 7310 Constitution and American Civic Identity
  • IDS 7310/8310 Religion and Culture
  • IDS 7310/8310 Religious Humanism
  • IDS 7310/8310 Justice
  • IDS 8310 Community and Culture
  • LIT 7324 Literary Analysis: Great Ideas, Authors, and Writings
  • PHL 7313 Great Ideas Readings: Philosophical Inquiries
  • SSC 7319 Great Ideas Readings: Reflection on Social Scientific Thought
  • NMS 8328 Mathematical Scientific Reasoning: Great Ideas and Readings

Tuition and Fees

2023-2024 Financial Information

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  • Print length 210 pages
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Best Accredited Online Ph.D. Programs 2024

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Erin Treder

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Rachel Miller

Updated January 2, 2024

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AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org is committed to delivering content that is objective and actionable. To that end, we have built a network of industry professionals across higher education to review our content and ensure we are providing the most helpful information to our readers.

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AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Turn Your Dreams Into Reality

Take our quiz and we'll do the homework for you! Compare your school matches and apply to your top choice today.

A Ph.D., or doctor of philosophy, is the highest level of academic degree that you can attain. Consisting primarily of research, a Ph.D. prepares you for a career in academia or research in the field you study.

Students who choose to pursue a Ph.D. online will find it can be completed in less time. Online students also get the added benefit of being able to complete their work from the comfort of home. The overall cost may also be less compared to an in-person program.

We've compiled a list of the best accredited online Ph.D. programs to help you start your search.

Are Online Ph.D. Programs Worth It?

An online Ph.D. program is an ideal choice if you want to balance your career and family responsibilities along with your education.

While there are some preconceived notions that online programs aren't legitimate, as long as the program you choose is accredited, the degree is the same as one earned in person.

While the annual tuition cost to earn a Ph.D. online averages $12,394 for a public institution and $26,621 for a private university, doctoral graduates enjoy a lower unemployment rate and higher weekly salary than those with less education, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Did You Know...

  • According to the BLS , workers with a doctoral degree earned a median of $651 more per week than workers with a bachelor's degree in 2022.
  • Doctorate-holders boast some of the lowest unemployment rates at 1%.
  • In 2019, research found that 39.8% of graduate students were enrolled in online learning.
  • The number of doctorates awarded between 2020 and 2021 dropped by 5.4%.
  • Not all Ph.D.-holders end up working in academia.

Explore Our Featured Online Doctoral Programs

Jump to top schools with online ph.d. programs, top schools for online accredited ph.d. programs.

We use datasets from sources like the National Center for Education Statistics to inform the data for these schools. AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site. from our partners appear among these rankings and are indicated as such. All data is current as of the date this article was published. Program-specific information may vary.

Capitol Technology University

  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit: In-State | $950 Out-of-State | $950

Credits to Graduate: 60

Founded in 1927, Capitol Technology University features 40 doctoral programs, which you can complete online. Majors include aeronautical science, artificial intelligence, computer science, cybersecurity, military leadership, occupation risk management, and supply chain management. 

Programs require about 60 credits, but you can choose from a doctoral degree without any research requirements. Coursework focuses on doctoral research, proposal writing, and oral defense. Capitol also offers a dual master's and Ph.D. in technology combination program. 

Admission requirements vary, but generally you need a master's degree in a related major and five years of work experience.

Clemson University

  • Clemson, SC

Cost per Credit: In-State | $515-$1,319 Out-of-State | $515-$1,319

Clemson's graduate catalog features 52 doctoral programs with the flexibility to study on campus, online, or in a hybrid format. Fields like digital history, entomology, genetics, or business administration offer on-campus programs for traditional doctoral students. You have the opportunity to study virtually in nine doctoral programs, including nursing, educational leadership, and parks, recreation and tourism management.

To obtain a doctoral degree, candidates must complete approximately 60 credits over a span of 3-5 years and successfully defend their dissertation.

Keiser University

  • Fort Lauderdale, FL

Total Cost: In-State | $31,712 Out-of-State | $31,712

Keiser University , which was established in 1977, offers 19 flexible doctoral degrees. You can attend classes on the 100-acre main campus or study at one of 23 satellite campuses. Programs offer evening, online, and daytime courses. Keiser's “student first” policy lets you take 1-2 classes at a time, depending on your availability. It takes about 2-5 years to earn your doctoral degree.

To apply for a doctoral program, you need to submit your master's or doctoral transcripts, a resume, personal statement, and an application with a fee.

Mississippi State University

  • Mississippi State, MS

Cost per Credit: In-State | $537 Out-of-State | $1,074-$1,468

Credits to Graduate: 60-65

The public research university MSU , which began admitting students in 1880 as an Agricultural and Mechanical College, now boasts 71 doctoral degrees, including 15 virtual programs. Ph.D. programs include engineering, computer science, agricultural sciences, mathematical sciences, and educational leadership. In addition to coursework, you'll need to complete a dissertation and defense on an independent research topic.

As a doctoral candidate, you can access ample research opportunities. The Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station runs 16 stations throughout the state. Applicants need a recommended 3.4 GPA for their master's-level coursework.

Nova Southeastern University

Cost per Credit: In-State | $969-$1,386 Out-of-State | $969-$1,386

Credits to Graduate: 51-64

Nova Southeastern University , the largest private research university in Florida, boasts 14 colleges and 11 campuses. NSU offers 37 doctoral programs, with 19 of them available online. Earn a doctoral degree online in subjects such as criminal justice, computer science, nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech-language pathology. 

Departments such as the NSU Fischler College of Education and the School of Criminal Justice offer dissertation resources, including templates and mentor support. Each program sets distinct admission requirements, but you generally need a master's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Old Dominion University

  • Norfolk, VA

Cost per Credit: In-State | $599 Out-of-State | $1,439

Credits to Graduate: 31-60 

Old Dominion University offers 10 online doctoral programs through its seven colleges and three schools. The program covers a range of subjects such as nursing, community college leadership, educational leadership, engineering management, English, instruction design and technology, and workforce and organizational development. 

Admission requirements vary across programs. For instance, the Ph.D. in business administration requires GMAT or GRE scores, while the Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction asks applicants to submit master's transcripts, an essay, and three references.

Saybrook University

  • Pasadena, CA

Cost per Credit: In-State | $1,416-$1,590 Out-of-State | $1,416-$1,590

Credits to Graduate: 54-76

Offering hybrid online degrees since 1970, Saybrook University now delivers 11 online doctoral degrees. You can earn a doctoral degree completely online or in a hybrid format with a low-residency option.

Doctoral students can pursue studies in counseling, integrative social work, organizational systems, mind-body medicine, integrative and functional nutrition, psychology, and wellness. To get admitted, you need at least a master's degree. And you complete up to 76 credits over about 4-5 years.

Texas Tech University

  • Lubbock, TX

Cost per Semester: In-State | $2,107-$6,877 Out-of-State | $2,107-$6,877

Credits to Graduate: 60-96

Created in 1923, Texas Tech's 13 colleges and schools offer 98 doctoral degrees. Texas Tech offers doctoral degrees in agricultural and applied economics, animal science, computer science, curriculum and instruction, and special education. 

Many of the doctoral programs, such as the Ph.D. in psychology and Ph.D. in wind science and engineering, offer STEM OPT Extension eligibility to extend your F-1 visa for up to two years. Programs require about 60 credits on average and a dissertation. Depending on the program, you may need to submit GRE scores to apply.

How We Rank Schools

Accredited Schools Online uses a custom ranking system to evaluate schools on their quality, affordability, and reputation.

We rank schools using factors like graduation rate, admission rate, tuition costs, financial aid, and program offerings. All our ranked schools hold institutional accreditation .

For this page, we created a directory of online accredited Ph.D. programs that meet our criteria. The list is organized alphabetically rather than ranked.

Learn more about how we create school rankings on our methodology page .

Does Accreditation Matter for Online Ph.D. Programs?

A college is accredited after being recognized by an independent institution that verifies the school's courses and programs meet set quality standards.

The school you choose must be accredited in order for your Ph.D. to be recognized by employers , earn professional licensures, and qualify you for federal financial aid.

Legitimate accreditors are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and/or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

How Much Does an Online Ph.D. Cost?

In general, you can expect to pay around $13,000-$30,000 per year in tuition and fees for your online Ph.D.

Several factors affect how much your Ph.D. program will cost, including:

  • Whether the program is fully funded
  • Whether your school is public or private
  • Whether you're an in-state or out-of-state student
  • How long your program lasts (most Ph.D. programs take 5-7 years to complete)
  • How much financial aid you get

While many in-person and online doctoral programs in the U.S. are fully funded, these tend to be highly competitive.

One way to save money on your online Ph.D. is to attend a program that offers in-state tuition to residents. Make sure you submit the FAFSA each year so you can secure federal financial aid .

You may also need to budget for occasional travel to and from campus and research sites, especially as you work on your dissertation.

What's the Difference Between a Ph.D. and a Doctorate?

While a Ph.D. and a doctoral degree, or doctorate, both signify the same level of education completed, their uses are different.

Doctorate is the broader term — a Ph.D. is a type of doctorate. Specifically, a Ph.D. is an academic degree that prepares you for a career in research or teaching in your field of study (such as science, English, or economics).

Besides a Ph.D., other types of doctorates include a doctor of medicine (MD), a doctor of education (Ed.D.), and a doctor of psychology (Psy.D.). These degrees are typically used in either an academic or professional setting.

Online Ph.D. Programs That Don't Require a Dissertation

A dissertation is a final written project culminating in a student's original research at the end of their Ph.D. program. A dissertation is typically presented and defended by its author. It's typically required for degrees with an academic or research focus.

Not all Ph.D. programs require a dissertation. For example, some Ph.D. programs in humanities, education, business administration, and criminal justice require simple or no dissertations for a quicker completion time .

What Jobs Can You Get After Earning an Online Ph.D.?

Once you finish your online doctoral program, you can explore a variety of career paths both within and outside academia.

Many Ph.D. graduates, especially those who studied the humanities, go on to become professors. Other popular roles include administrator, scientist, and psychologist.

Graduates of online Ph.D. programs earn a relatively high average base salary of $105,000 a year, according to Payscale .

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Ph.D. Programs

  • Collapse All

What is the quickest Ph.D. to get?

The quickest Ph.D. to earn are those that award professional degrees and don't require extensive research projects or dissertations at completion. These Ph.D. programs can include accounting, business, education, and media.

To finish your degree faster, you can also look for accelerated programs that quicken the pace of a program and shorten the time it takes to complete.

Are online doctoral programs legit?

If the online doctoral program is accredited, it is legitimate. Accreditation ensures that the program meets the rigorous educational standards of other comparative doctoral programs.

With accreditation, employers and other institutions of higher learning will recognize your degree. As more universities turn toward online programs to serve a more diverse student population, there are a growing number of legitimate, accredited online Ph.D. programs.

How long are online Ph.D. programs?

Online Ph.D. programs, like any other doctoral program, can vary in length but typically take 5-7 years to complete. A doctoral degree balances coursework with research. Usually, students must meet a certain number of course requirements before they can start original research.

While coursework may take only a year or two, writing a dissertation that meets the program requirements varies from candidate to candidate.

Can I earn my Ph.D. entirely online?

Yes, many accredited colleges and universities offer 100% online Ph.D. programs. That said, some programs may require on-campus experiences, such as library research and a dissertation defense.

What do employers think of online doctoral programs?

It takes a high level of discipline and persistence to obtain a graduate degree, no matter the context. Most employers will recognize and value the hard work it takes to get a Ph.D., whether you completed your doctorate online or in person.

Make sure you research potential programs. If you're attending an accredited, well-regarded school, employers will value your online Ph.D. just as much as a traditional one.

Note: The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by Accredited Schools Online. Page last reviewed November 20, 2023.

Popular Resources

Whether you’re looking to earn your online degree or you’re a parent looking for answers, you can find all of your questions covered here. Explore these resources to help you make informed decisions and prepare for whatever is thrown your way.

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PhD Science ® Curriculum Overview

Wonder, Investigate, Know.

PhD Science ® is a hands-on K–5 science program that sparks wonder as students build enduring knowledge of how the scientific world works.

PhD Science students think and act like real scientists as they ask questions, gather evidence, develop models, and construct explanations while investigating authentic phenomena.

All students deserve the opportunity to build an unshakeable knowledge of the scientific world. That’s why we offer PhD Science for Levels K–2 as an open educational resource (OER) .

PhD Science Level 3 Module 2 Science Logbook

PhD Science Receives High Marks from WestEd

Read how PhD Science was evaluated on the EQuIP rubric in the categories of:

  • NGSS 3D Design,
  • NGSS Instructional Supports,
  • and Monitoring NGSS Student Progress.

Inspiring students to wonder about the world and empowering them to make sense of it.

Fostering curiosity to build enduring knowledge.

Children are curious and observant and need the opportunity to make sense of the world around them. And yet, when it comes to science instruction, students are too often left reading about scientific discoveries of the past and memorizing scientific facts instead of experiencing science. PhD Science was crafted to change that, leveraging students’ curiosity to build a deep and lasting understanding of science.


PhD Science students acquire deep and lasting comprehension through hands-on activities and evidence-based learning. Students are actively doing science to build knowledge, rather than memorizing and quickly forgetting.

Learn How Materials Kits Support Hands-On Learning.


Teachers facilitate the learning, but students own it. Like real scientists, they ask questions, synthesize information, and apply their understanding to new contexts. 

Get Access to the Curriculum.


Each lesson builds on the lessons before it, so students develop their understanding of science concepts in the context of each module's anchor phenomenon.

Explore the Module Map.

Through this knowledge-building approach, PhD Science students develop problem-solving and critical-thinking skills that extend well beyond a science lesson.

Watch a guided walk-through of the curriculum. Access our state alignment studies to see how PhD Science supports your science standards.

Interested in piloting PhD Science ? Learn more.


Building Science Knowledge Through Fine Art

Art and science both begin with a sense of wonder that invites students to observe, question, and make sense of the world around them. Artists often highlight specific aspects of a phenomenon, sparking students’ curiosity about it and providing them with a new access point into the learning. See how PhD Science weaves art into science content, allowing students to practice the scientific skills of making observations, asking questions, and noticing patterns while they share what they notice and wonder.

Everything Needed to Teach and Do  Science

PhD Science includes print, digital, and hands-on materials kits designed to spark student curiosity and provide teachers with high-quality instructional materials to lead every science lesson with confidence.


For Teachers

A Teacher Edition for four module topics covered in a school year includes all lessons and teacher support items .

Facilitation slides are available through PhD Projected for each day’s lesson.

Formative and summative assessments are embedded in every module.

phd-throughthedoor V1

For Students

The Science Logbook is where students will synthesize the information and reflect on what they’re learning.

Hands-on materials kits include most of the materials needed to conduct the investigations in each module.

Knowledge Deck™ cards help Levels K–2 students build knowledge on the module topic with engaging images and informational text.

Trade books have been carefully selected to support each module’s anchor phenomenon and provide students with additional literacy practice.

Family Tip Sheets provide caregivers with guidance on how to best support their scientists at home.

Supporting Teachers Before , During , and After Implementation

Couple students conducting a hands-on investigation

Guidance and Coaching Built into Every Lesson

Our teacher–writers crafted the curriculum to help teachers make that transition from a lecture-based classroom to one where they guide student exploration. The Teacher Edition includes a Launch, Learn, Land lesson plan structure and additional support in every module to facilitate the learning.

English language development guidance

Differentiation and Extension notes

Spotlights on three-dimensional learning

The Teacher Resource Pack

Teacher Edition appendices resources

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Professional Learning from a Trusted Colleague

Our science team members have crafted a series of professional development sessions and personalized coaching bundles to support both teachers new to PhD Science and experienced implementers.

View all of the Professional Learning options.

Science is a dynamic and intriguing field of study. Here’s the curriculum that proves it.


Do you have any questions you would want to ask our experts? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions for answers to our most-received queries. Are there other questions you have? We’re here to help.

PhD Science components

See how our curricula leverage a similar learning design to help students build enduring knowledge.

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  1. The How to PhD book is LIVE on Amazon!

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  2. Read Starting Your PhD: What You Need To Know Online by Helen Kara

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  1. PhD advice for PhD students 😍😋🥰

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  1. Phd Books

    Wayne C. Booth. (shelved 30 times as phd) avg rating 3.91 — 4,042 ratings — published 1995. Want to Read. Rate this book. 1 of 5 stars 2 of 5 stars 3 of 5 stars 4 of 5 stars 5 of 5 stars. The Professor Is In: The Essential Guide To Turning Your Ph.D. Into a Job (Paperback) by. Karen Kelsky.

  2. 5 must-reads for doctoral students

    Reading some expert guide books will expand your knowledge and pave the way for the rigorous work ahead. Capella University faculty, doctoral students, and alumni recommend these five books for doctoral students in any discipline. 1. How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J. Adler.

  3. 11 books to help get you through grad school (in 2024)

    Here's what I did to overcome it. 11 books between $8 and $35 that will boost your productivity, writing output and decision-making throughout your grad school and research career. This is the start of your journey in becoming your best self and improving your chances of landing that dream job after graduation.

  4. Recommended Reading

    A Europe-based computational scientist turned entrepreneur, Dr. Bielczyk offers an important perspective on PhD careers, one explicitly aimed at STEM folks. The book benefits from Bileczyk's personal experiences, extensive research — including interviews with dozens of PhDs — and includes lots of specific advice and suggestions.

  5. How to Get a Phd: A Handbook for Students and Their Supervisors

    A fantastic book that has completely changed how I view the PhD process: lots of clear guidance from the authors on how, and how not to get a PhD. Being a part-time PhD student means you miss out on so much of the networking and other help you would otherwise get (it's no surprise that 70% of part-time students fail to submit).

  6. 16 Best PhD Degree Books of All Time

    The 16 best phd degree books, such as By Degrees, Engineering Your PhD, Journey to the Ph.D. and Tomorrow's Professor.

  7. The Ph.D. Process: A Student's Guide to Graduate School in the Sciences

    The Ph.D. Process offers the essential guidance that students in the biological and physical sciences need to get the most out of their years in graduate school. Drawing upon the insights of numerous current and former graduate students, this book presents a rich portrayal of the intellectual and emotional challenges inherent in becoming a scientist, and offers the informed, practical advice a ...

  8. The 7 Books Every PhD Student Should Read

    By Alex Wakeman. Let's be honest. If you're nerdy enough to be doing a PhD, you probably love a good book. Whether you're looking for entertainment or advice, distraction or comfort, the seven listed here can each, in their own way, help you through your frustrating but uniquely rewarding life of a PhD student. Isaac Asimov - I, Robot.

  9. Open Research Library

    The Open Research Library (ORL) is planned to include all Open Access book content worldwide on one platform for user-friendly discovery, offering a seamless experience navigating more than 20,000 Open Access books.

  10. Order PhD research books online

    The PhD Start Up Guide. Publisher : Jononi Publication. Publish Date : October 18, 2016. ISBN-10 : 0236547851. ISBN-13 : 2547810321560. There are many sites where you can order your favorite book quote printed on a poster, mug, t-shirt, and tens of other products.Below you'll find our recommendations - the sites that offer high-quality book ...

  11. Mastering Your PhD: Survival and Success in the Doctoral ...

    About this book. "Mastering Your PhD: Survival and Success in the Doctoral Years and Beyond" helps guide PhD students through their graduate student years. Filled with practical advice on getting started, communicating with your supervisor, staying the course, and planning for the future, this book is a handy guide for graduate students who ...

  12. Our Top Books for PhD Students

    Take a look at The PhD Viva: How to Prepare for Your Oral Examination by Peter Smith. There are lots of great books out there about the viva. However, Peter Smith's extensive experience puts his at the top of our list. Having sat in over 100 viva examinations as a chair, examiner and supervisor in a range of subjects it's safe to say that ...

  13. 30 Best Online PhD Programs [2024 Ultimate Guide]

    On average, earning a PhD from online programs costs $4,000 to $20,000, and this amount includes the expenses for registration, books, and online coaching. Taking a five-year plan, which is the average for most PhD courses, typically costs $20,000 to $100,000.

  14. PhD by Publication

    PhD by Publication. A PhD by publication is a degree awarded in recognition of an extensive amount of research published in numerous formats or journals. Unlike a conventional doctorate, you are not expected to undertake a new research project. This page will give a simple overview of what a PhD by publication is, and how to get one.

  15. Online Doctorates From Purdue University Institutions

    Doctoral Degree Programs. Purdue University West Lafayette is a Top 10 public university with online and hybrid programs. Purdue Global is Purdue's online university for working adults, offering 175+ programs, including degrees, concentrations, certificates, and micro-credentials. Want the advanced knowledge and skills of a lawyer but don't ...

  16. Great Books-Based Distance PhD

    Posted. 2 November 2012. by. J. David Stark. Tags: Earlier today, the program director, Robert Woods, announced that the Christian Institute for the Study of Liberal Arts would begin offering a SACS-accredited, fully distance-based PhD program: This PhD is literally one-of-a-kind in that it is fully accredited (SACS), offered fully distance ...

  17. Online Doctorate of Philosophy in Humanities

    Approval by the director of the Doctor of Philosophy program. Tuition. $650 per semester hour. General Fee. $350 per semester ($200 if 11 hours or less) Online Course Fee. $75 per semester hour. Applicable Course Fees. see full tuition and fee schedule.

  18. PHD Programs Online: Doctoral Degrees

    Continuing Your Career with an Online PhD/PsyD. The innovative online format at UAGC makes doctoral degrees more accessible than ever before. Your online course schedule is flexible, and you'll take courses one at a time. Most courses are offered in an accelerated six-week format, with doctoral capstone, planning and project courses being ...

  19. Welcome to Open Library

    About the Project. Open Library is an open, editable library catalog, building towards a web page for every book ever published. More. Just like Wikipedia, you can contribute new information or corrections to the catalog. You can browse by subjects, authors or lists members have created.

  20. Amazon.com: PhD: Books

    Online shopping from a great selection at Books Store. ... Netter Basic Science Coloring Book (3 books) | by John T. Hansen PhD | Jan 10, 2022. 4.7 out of 5 stars 524. Paperback. $19.30 $ 19. 30. List: $23.99 $23.99. FREE delivery Sep 22 - 26 . Only 13 left in stock - order soon.

  21. Best Affordable Online Ph.D. Programs And Doctorates

    Out-of-State | $1005. Credits to Graduate: 64-69. Texas A&M University College Station offers online Ph.D. programs in educational administration, interdisciplinary engineering, and plant breeding. Additionally, it offers online Ed.D. programs in educational administration, and curriculum and instruction.

  22. PhD by James Hayton

    If the aim of a PhD is to develop the skills of a professional academic researcher, how should you go about it? Using the principles of skill development as a foundation, this book provides a unique approach to the most common challenges of PhD research, including: - getting to know the literature in your field - developing your research ideas - becoming a better academic writer - coping with ...

  23. Accredited Online Ph.D. Programs

    Out-of-State | $515-$1,319. Credits to Graduate: 60. Clemson's graduate catalog features 52 doctoral programs with the flexibility to study on campus, online, or in a hybrid format. Fields like digital history, entomology, genetics, or business administration offer on-campus programs for traditional doctoral students.

  24. PhD Science®

    Read about PhD Science®, a phenomenon-based, inquiry-driven, and three-dimensional elementary science curriculum from Great Minds® available as OER for grades K-2. ... Trade books have been carefully selected to support each module's anchor phenomenon and provide students with additional literacy practice.