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Universities Offering Ph.D. Distance Education Degree Programs

Online Ph.D. programs are available in many academic and professional areas, including management, psychology, and business. Distance education Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs typically combine online course offerings with required residencies, seminars, research projects, and internships. View article »

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  • 0:04 Online Ph.D. Programs
  • 1:01 School Examples
  • 1:27 Program Requirements
  • 2:23 Sample Program

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Video Transcript

Online Ph.D. Programs

When considering earning a Ph.D. in an online format, it's important to determine the possible subject areas, school options, and program requirements. There are a variety of nonprofit and for-profit colleges and universities that offer Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs in online formats. A Ph.D. is the highest academic degree awarded for many fields of study. Online programs are available in a number of academic areas, including:

  • Business
  • Information technology
  • Higher education leadership
  • General psychology
  • Nursing
  • Management
  • Public health
  • Classical studies

It's important to note that a Ph.D. and a doctoral degree are not the same degree. A Ph.D. is a type of doctoral degree, but there are other kinds of doctoral degrees besides the Ph.D., such as a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or a Juris Doctor (J.D.).

School Examples

Online Ph.D. programs can be found at for-profit universities as well as nonprofit public and private schools. Some examples include:

  • Colorado State University
  • University of Florida
  • University of Nebraska - Lincoln
  • Oregon State University
  • Old Dominion University
  • Duquesne University
  • Capella University
  • Walden University

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Agriculture
  • Architecture
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Business
  • Communications and Journalism
  • Computer Sciences
  • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Legal
  • Liberal Arts and Humanities
  • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
  • Medical and Health Professions
  • Physical Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Transportation and Distribution
  • Visual and Performing Arts

Program Requirements

Like on-campus Ph.D. programs, online Ph.D. programs consist of a mixture of advanced coursework and specialized research. Based on their classes, students may be required to pass written and/or oral examinations over the course of the degree. They may also be required to publish work in academic journals and present in seminars or at conferences. Ph.D. programs culminate in the submission and defense of a final research-based dissertation.

While most of the courses and requirements for distance learning Ph.D. programs can be completed remotely, many programs require students to complete lab work, research, internships, residencies, or clinical work on campus or at third party locations. Typically, students complete some courses online and make arrangements with the school to fulfill other program requirements on site. Check with the school's admissions department for more details.

Sample Program

The following is an example of the requirements for a distance education Ph.D. in Business Management, with an emphasis in information technology (IT) management.

  • Foundation and core courses: 44 quarter credits
  • IT management specialization courses: 20 quarter credits
  • Elective courses: 32 quarter credits
  • Comprehensive exam and dissertation courses: 24 quarter credits
  • 12 days in residency (in-person opportunities to interact with staff, faculty, advisers, and other students)


Online Ph.D. programs require students to meet the same strict academic requirements as on-campus programs, but there may be more flexibility in course formats, on-campus requirements, and research locations.

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