Best Online Doctoral Programs in Texas

By N. Susan Emeagwali

Updated on March 5, 2024

Edited by Jennifer Lee • Reviewed by Stephanie DeBord, MA

A doctorate is the pinnacle of educational achievement and can help pave the way for your career success. Online doctoral programs in Texas provide a flexible and affordable way for you to earn this terminal degree. But is an online doctorate for you?

Beyond academia, many careers require a doctorate and quite a few fall in the well-paying STEM sectors. A doctoral degree may also give you employment advantages in careers that don’t require one. It may also help you stay employed during economic downturns.

Education pays, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which highlights a direct link between higher educational attainment and earnings. In 2022, workers with a bachelor’s degree earned $1,432 in average weekly earnings and had a 2.2% unemployment rate. Comparatively, employees with a doctorate earned $2,083 per week and had just a 1% unemployment rate.

Learning online has really taken off in the Lonestar State. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 54% of college students in Texas were enrolled in distance education in the fall of 2022, about the same as the nationwide rate of 53.3% nationwide.

The key to ensuring you earn a legitimate doctorate is to pursue accredited Ph.D. programs in Texas.

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Best Online Doctoral Programs in Texas

Sam Houston State University

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $320
Out-of-State | $320

Credits to Graduate: 60

At Sam Houston State University, you can earn a fully online doctoral degree in two education specializations: higher education leadership and instructional systems design and technology. Both programs lead to an Ed.D. designation.

The instructional systems design and technology program offers concentrations in administration and academic support programs. Only the academic support programs track is available online.

As an online SHSU student, you’ll benefit from small class sizes and 24/7 technical support. You’ll also be able to schedule remote advisory meetings with faculty members as needed.

Texas A&M University

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $718-$853
Out-of-State | $1,259-$1,612

Credits to Graduate: 64-96

Texas A&M University features online doctoral programs in multiple exciting disciplines. You can earn doctorates in biomedical science, botany, education, engineering, or nursing practice. Specific areas of focus include plant breeding, educational curriculum and instruction, and interdisciplinary engineering.

TAMU’s online experience emphasizes flexibility and academic rigor. You’ll have full access to campus resources, faculty members, and program directors. Asynchronous courses put you in charge of your own learning schedule. TAMU accepts online students from anywhere in the world.

Texas Tech University

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $263-$369
Out-of-State | $263-$369

Credits to Graduate: 60-90

Texas Tech University offers a diverse lineup of online doctoral programs. Options include 100% online Ph.D. degrees in personal financial planning and education specializations, including curriculum development, leadership, and educational technology. If you’re open to hybrid or blended formats, your options include doctorates in agricultural education, educational psychology, communication, and systems engineering.

As an online student at Texas Tech, you’ll benefit from the school’s strong reputation, national profile, and comprehensive support resources.

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $265
Out-of-State | $685

Credits to Graduate: 27-45

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center specializes in medicine, nursing, pharmacy science, public health, and biomedicine. Its lineup of distance education programs includes doctorates in occupational therapy, physical therapy, and nursing practice. Nursing programs include a BSN-to-DNP completion program and a post-master’s nurse practitioner degree.

The school offers an enriched online learning experience with all standard National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) approvals. TTUHSC posts excellent student achievement data: In 2022, each of the institution’s six member schools exceeded its target on-time graduation rate.

How We Rank Ph.D. Programs

For our directory-style ranking lists, we only consider schools that are accredited and offer academically rigorous, high-quality online doctoral programs, including Ph.D. programs. Schools are listed in alphabetical order. Learn more about our methodology.

What Is the Difference Between a Ph.D. and a Doctorate?

It’s easy to confuse a Ph.D. and professional doctorate, but the credentials do differ. Most doctoral programs require a master’s degree for admission, but the doctor of philosophy, also known as the Ph.D., requires that doctoral candidates develop and test theories, conduct research, and write dissertations that contribute to their field’s body of knowledge. A Ph.D. is more academic than practice-based.

Professional doctorates also require advanced studies and research but focus on the application of knowledge and research in professional settings. These degrees, such as medical doctor (MD), doctor of education (Ed.D.), and doctor of business administration (DBA), develop scholar-practitioners with advanced leadership and managerial skills.

Benefits of an Online Doctoral Program

Earning a doctorate requires a significant investment in time and money. Enter online Ph.D. programs in Texas! You receive the same rigorous education as on-campus peers, but online programs allow you to pursue a doctorate from anywhere on your own schedule.

The virtual classroom facilitates your employment while you save money on relocation, transportation, and other expenses incurred by on-campus students. Some online doctoral programs in Texas may cost less than on-campus degrees, so do your research.

One thing students need to bear in mind is that it takes even more commitment, time-management skills, and discipline to learn online. Hybrid learning gives many students the best of both worlds: on-campus and online learning wrapped in one.

Cost of Online Ph.D. Programs in Texas

The cost of doctoral programs in Texas varies depending on the school, discipline, duration of the program, and mode of delivery. NCES data shows that doctoral students paid an average of $20,555 in tuition and fees in 2020-21. Non-tuition expenses were $20,343 that same year.

How do you pay for your degree? You can always turn to student loans. Alternatively, Ph.D. students often receive fellowships and other assistance that cover some or all of their tuition and other educational costs.

Why Choose Online Doctoral Programs in Texas?

Getting a doctorate in a state full of employment prospects enhances your odds of landing a great job opportunity. Texas added 369,600 jobs from December 2022 to December 2023, the most in the nation, according to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).

TWC’s latest report on Texas growth occupations shows that employment in the professional services industry will continue to grow 26.8% between 2020-2030. Most of the occupations in this group require at least a bachelor’s degree, like lawyers, general and operations managers, and management analysts.

The lower cost of living in Texas is also a big draw. No state income tax and low business taxes add to the allure. In 2022, Texas had six of the nation’s 15 fastest-growing cities, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.


Austin has a population of about 974,000 people and enjoys stellar economic growth. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, as of November 2023, Austin’s unemployment rate stood at 3.4% compared to the national rate of 3.7%. While employment grew in most sectors, the growth rate was largest in professional and business services (21.9%); trade, transportation, and utilities (15.7%); government (14.3%); and health and education services (11.7%).

Dallas-Fort Worth

Dallas is home to almost 1.3 million residents, as well as an abundance of companies and their headquarters. In December 2023, Dallas-Fort Worth’s unemployment rate stood at 3.3%, according to the Dallas Regional Chamber. DFW saw the most employment gains in professional and business services; financial services; and trade, transportation, and utilities. Plus, the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex ranks as one of the nation’s most affordable big metropolitan areas.


Houston has 2.3 million residents and is Texas’ second-largest metro area. The unemployment rate stood at 3.8% in December 2023, according to BLS. Although Houston’s job growth slowed in late 2023, employment still modestly grew, with education and health services creating the most jobs. The city’s top industries include advanced manufacturing, aerospace and aviation, energy, and life sciences and biotechnology.

San Antonio

About 1.5 million people reside in San Antonio, home to the historic Alamo. The city had a 3.1% unemployment rate in December 2023, among the lowest in the region. San Antonio has four major industries: healthcare and bioscience, aerospace, IT and cybersecurity, and new energy. An international gateway, San Antonio attracts business with a slew of financial incentives such as tax abatements and grants.

16 High-Paying Jobs Requiring a Doctorate or Ph.D. in Texas

Job-seekers with a doctorate qualify for high-paying jobs in diverse industries, but the healthcare professions come out with the highest earnings. Cardiologists earned the most, with an average mean wage of $413,510 based on 2022 BLS data, followed by anesthesiologists ($298,710) and psychiatrists ($198,250). High-income earners outside of healthcare include lawyers ($166,620) and judges ($114,440).

High-Paying Jobs in Texas Requiring a Doctorate or Ph.D.
JobAverage Mean Wage in Texas (May 2022)National Median Annual Wage (May 2022)
Clinical and counseling psychologist$84,860$85,330
Medical scientist$112,840$99,930
Anesthesiologist$298,710$239,200 (or more)
Cardiologist$413,510$239,200 (or more)
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Ph.D. Programs in Texas

Is it possible to get an online doctorate in Texas in one year?

Working professionals with extensive experience in fields such as nursing and education may qualify for accelerated online doctoral programs in Texas. The fast-track degrees typically require a two- to three-year commitment. The dissertation process is a key factor that lengthens a doctorate, and some programs may not require one or allow you to finish the dissertation faster.

Does Texas have a free online Ph.D. program?

Yes, some colleges in Texas do offer fully funded Ph.D. or doctoral programs. Students receive funding for tuition, fees, and stipends in exchange for research or teaching work as graduate assistants. Online programs may offer scholarships in lieu of the on-campus work requirement. Always consider financial aid options such as scholarships and student loans to help pay for your education.

Can I apply for online Ph.D. programs in Texas without a GRE?

Many graduate schools no longer require GRE scores. Doctoral programs may waive GRE scores depending on factors such as an applicant’s GPA or professional experience. Some programs may require no GRE scores or give applicants the option to supply other supplemental materials. Explore each program’s admissions page to establish application requirements.

How long does it take to finish an online doctoral program in Texas?

Based on a sampling of schools, you typically complete online doctoral programs in Texas in 2-4 years. The dissertation is often a necessary but time-consuming process. Many programs require practicum experiences and/or culminating projects instead of a dissertation. Doctoral programs with generous transfer policies also help you finish the degree faster.

Does it matter where you get your doctoral degree?

Institutional accreditation is central to ensuring you enroll in high-quality online doctoral programs in Texas. Schools undergo a rigorous evaluation process conducted by regional accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). You can only receive federal student aid if you attend an accredited college, and employers will expect that your degree is earned from a credible institution.

Find More Online Doctoral Programs

Note: The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by Online Ph.D. Programs. Page last reviewed February 27, 2024.