List of PhD Programs Offered in the U.S.A.

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) is the highest academic degree graduate students can earn in most fields of study. Students who earn this degree often go on to teach at the college level or pursue research positions. Prospective doctoral candidates can search for lists of Ph.D. programs by specialty, school ranking or graduate student population. View article »

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  • 0:00 Professional…
  • 0:41 Grad School Rankings
  • 3:31 About PhD Programs

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Video Transcript

Professional Organization Lists

If you are looking for Ph.D. programs in the United States, you can find lists of schools from professional organizations and from U.S. News & World Report. It can also be helpful to get more information about the general requirements for this degree.

Organizations for professionals in a specific field sometimes list and rank Ph.D. programs in their discipline in order to help prospective students choose the best program. For instance, a student who wishes to find Ph.D. programs in social psychology may consult the list maintained at the Social Psychology Network, which also provides the psychology Ph.D. rankings from the National Research Council.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

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Grad School Rankings

U.S. News & World Report ranks graduate schools based on peer reputation surveys and several data-based criteria, including graduation rates. The publication's rankings of best graduate schools are divided by subject, which allows students to find highly ranked Ph.D. programs in their fields.

The report's graduate school rankings include all graduate-level programs, but the graduate schools in the rankings all offer at least one doctoral program. According to U.S. News & World Report's most recent rankings, here the top three graduate schools in a variety of subject areas.


Ph.D. programs in education are often intended for administrators and other educational leaders. Here are the top schools in the field as of 2017.

  1. Harvard University
  2. Stanford University
  3. University of California - Los Angeles and the University of Pennsylvania


Ph.D. degree programs in engineering can prepare graduates for academic or industry jobs. These are the top three schools for engineering in general for 2017. Specialty rankings are also available for a wide variety of engineering disciplines, including aerospace, civil, materials, and petroleum engineering.

  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  2. Stanford University
  3. University of California - Berkeley


For experienced lawyers who are interested in research, it is possible to pursue a Ph.D. in Law degree. These are the top-ranked law schools in the country as of 2017.

  1. Yale University
  2. Stanford University
  3. Harvard University


U.S. News & World Report ranks schools in the field of healthcare separately from medical schools offering professional doctoral degrees. These are the best schools for healthcare management for 2015, a field in which it is possible to earn a Ph.D.

  1. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
  2. University of Alabama - Birmingham
  3. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities and Virginia Commonwealth University


U.S. News & World Report ranks graduate-level science programs separately for fields like biological sciences, physics, mathematics, and earth sciences. These are the best schools for chemistry, which were most recently ranked in 2014. In a three-way tie for first: California Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California - Berkeley.

Social Sciences and Humanities

Ph.D. programs are available in many sub-fields of the social sciences and humanities, including English, history, psychology, and economics. These are the top-ranked schools for political science for 2017. Tied for first: Harvard University and Stanford University. Third: Princeton University.

About Ph.D. Programs

As demonstrated by the previous lists, it is possible to earn a Ph.D. in many different fields. These programs often start with advanced courses in the student's particular field of interest and, in some programs, students are required to pass a comprehensive test and/or a qualifying examination in order to advance to Ph.D. candidacy status. Undergraduate teaching requirements may also be included in the curriculum.

The later years of Ph.D. programs are usually dedicated to intensive research in a specific topic that the student is passionate about. Ph.D. students typically conduct their research under the guidance of a faculty member with expertise in the subject. Before they can graduate, Ph.D. students must write and defend a dissertation based on their research results.

For students who want to pursue a Ph.D., there are many schools in the United States to choose from, including those that have been ranked by professional organizations and by U.S. News & World Report.

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