Online Ph.D. Programs is a comprehensive online guide to earning a Ph.D. online. In addition to reviews and profiles of the best online Ph.D. programs in a variety of disciplines, we offer expert guidance on getting into, paying for, and thriving in the degree program of your choice.

Ranking the Best Online Ph.D. Programs

While you’re on your way to earning your Ph.D. or Doctorate within your field, the editors at Online PhD Programs are already practicing doctors of their craft: ranking the best online Ph.D. programs. 

Ranking Qualifications


All degrees featured on Online PhD Programs are accredited and searchable through the United States Department of Education’s Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs (DAPIP).

Doctorate Degree Certification

While the primary purpose of our degree rankings is to provide the best online Ph.D. programs possible, we occasionally feature online programs providing higher research doctorates outside of the Ph.D. specification. Of course, we understand not all doctorates are actually doctorates– so our editors utilize distinctions made through the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

Our platform serves to provide information about online degree programs where students are awarded the highest degree possible in any field. Such certifications may include:

Research – Scholarship Doctorates

  • Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
  • Doctor of Arts (D.A.)
  • Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
  • Doctor of Public Health (Dr.P.H.)
  • Doctor of Social Science (D.S.Sc.)
  • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
  • Doctor of Engineering (D.Eng.)
  • Doctor of Science (D.Sc.)
  • Doctor of Professional Studies (D.P.S)

Institutional Associations with Peer-Reviewed Academic Journals

Since every doctorate awarded in the United States requires an academic research component, it only makes sense to ensure every online degree program is associated with student and faculty publications. All such programs are peer-reviewed and directly associated with the institution awarding degrees.

NSF Recognition

The third, most obvious distinction to check before recommending an online doctorate, is to be sure the degree and institution are internationally recognized by the National Science Foundation.

Ranking Categories

Online Program Quality: 20%

  • 55%: Student Engagement
  • 45%: Faculty credentials & training

Industry Salaries: 20%

Student Reviews: 15%

Online Presence: 15%

  • 80%: How many degrees you can earn entirely online
  • 20%: Number of individual online courses

Degree Exclusivity: 15%

Cost of Enrollment: 10%

Completion Rates: 5%

Earning your doctorate online is one of the most fantastic career opportunities possible in the 21st century, and Online Ph.D. Programs is dedicated to giving future PhDs the most accurate, most useful information possible. To do that, Online Ph.D. Programs has to make money, which we do by featuring sponsored schools in the Degree Finder on the side of most pages on the site.

If you’re interested in finding a program that will work for your needs, you can choose to share your contact information with sponsored schools, and Online Ph.D. Programs is paid for making that connection. We do not collect contact information except by your consent. Sponsored schools do not influence Online Ph.D. rankings, which are generated from verified data provided to the Department of Education and other independent entities. 

For more information, comments, or concerns please contact our site editor at contact@support.online-phd-programs.org