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Best PhD and Doctoral Programs in Connecticut: Online & Campus

Choosing a doctoral program is a big decision that requires careful consideration, so don’t go it alone. Relax and let us show you everything you need to know about PhD programs in Connecticut.

Search hundreds of top schools for the doctorate YOU want.

Written By

Emily Kelley

Last updated

Jan 31, 2024

If you’re considering earning a professional doctorate or PhD, you likely already know that undertaking this hefty academic task can help you reap some serious financial and personal rewards. Perhaps you’re drawn to the potential for a higher salary and advancement. Or maybe you are a person who simply loves constantly learning and developing your skills. It is also highly likely that you’re deeply passionate about your professional field and desire to contribute to it through research efforts.

Does any of this resonate with you? If so, we have excellent news: Connecticut is home to many quality PhD and doctoral programs — both on campus and online — that can help you reach your goals. We outline many of these excellent programs in the following guide, and we also give insights into program types, funding, and more. Keep reading to get started and find the right doctoral program in Connecticut for you.

Best PhD and Doctoral Programs in Connecticut for 2024

To give you an overview of what’s out there, we’ve spotlighted three of the best universities offering PhD programs in Connecticut. Although the term “best” is subjective, our selections are based on the variety of doctoral programs offered, the availability of flexible study options such as online and hybrid, and reasonable costs. Learn more about top-notch schools below, and if you don’t find the perfect fit here, use this information as a quality barometer when researching other schools. 

Southern Connecticut State University

Southern Connecticut State University offers doctoral degrees under the headings of education and social work. Specifically, you’ll find three EdD degrees — Doctor of Education in Counseling Education and Supervision, Educational Leadership, and Nursing Education — as well as a Doctor of Social Work (DSW). Students interested in the educational leadership degree have two options — intermediate administrator and general. Of these five degrees, two are offered online, and another two are offered in a hybrid format, so students can enjoy a great deal of flexibility as they pursue their chosen program.

All doctoral students at SCSU pay the same per-credit tuition fees, depending on their program, regardless of whether they’re in state or out of state: EdD students pay $717 per credit, while students of other doctoral programs pay $954 per credit. To help you afford your degree, the school offers financial help through graduate scholarships, the Connecticut State University Grant, and graduate assistantship opportunities.

Western Connecticut State University

The graduate programs at Western Connecticut State University include three doctoral degrees: a Doctor of Education in Instructional Leadership, Doctor of Education in Nursing Education, and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Two of these degrees (EdD in Nursing Education and DNP) are online programs that run synchronously through WebEx and Google Docs with certain in-person components, such as yearly intensives and clinicals. Doctoral students at WCSU also pay the same part-time, per-credit tuition, depending on their field of study: EdD students pay $712 per credit, while DNP students pay $954 per credit. Students can offset this cost by pursuing graduate assistantship and scholarship opportunities offered through the university.

To facilitate student success, WCSU provides many forms of academic support, including one-to-one research consultations with liaison librarians who specialize in various subjects and a writing center that serves students both in person and online.

Quinnipiac University

At Quinnipiac University, prospective students can choose from five healthcare-based doctoral degrees, including three DNP options (in Care of Populations, Nursing Leadership, and Nurse Anesthesia) and two Occupational Therapy Doctorates (OTD) (one post-professional, one post-baccalaureate). Three of these five programs are available online. The tuition for all DNP programs is $1,095 per credit, but tuition for the two OTD programs varies a little — $1,035 for the post-professional degree, and $1,105 for the post-baccalaureate.

Quinnipiac also boasts an impressive variety of financial and academic support for graduate students, including merit scholarships and grants for on-campus students and graduate student organizations, including the Occupational Therapy Graduate Student Advisory Board and the Graduate Student Nurses Association. There are also many available benefits for military and veterans.

Types of PhD and Doctoral Programs in Connecticut

Although all PhD programs in Connecticut are similar in their academic rigor, they vary quite a bit when it comes to specific requirements, such as whether you’ll attend full time or part time, the availability of accelerated formats, whether you’ll need a GRE for admission, and more. Keep reading below to learn about some of the nuances that differentiate doctoral programs in Connecticut. 

Full-Time PhD/Doctoral Programs in Connecticut

To achieve full-time status, most PhD programs in Connecticut require students to take at least nine credits per semester. On top of this, the actual workload of a full-time doctoral student is around 35 to 40 hours per week. Although this schedule is extremely demanding, full-time students do earn their degrees in fewer years than part-time students. Here are a few examples of full-time doctoral programs in Connecticut:

Part-Time PhD/Doctoral Programs in Connecticut

A part-time PhD or doctoral program allows students to complete their studies over a longer period of time by taking fewer than nine credits per semester. Although this option extends the number of years required for completing the degree, its flexibility enables students to balance their studies with other responsibilities, such as work and family. To learn more about how a part-time PhD program can fit your life, check out our guide to the best part-time PhD and doctoral programs. And then consider these part-time PhD programs in Connecticut:

Fully Funded PhD/Doctoral Programs in Connecticut

Generally, programs that bear the designation of “fully funded” offer students perks like waived tuition and fees, stipends, and sometimes extras like health insurance. However, although this financial help can make a PhD or doctoral program much more affordable, there are usually a few strings attached — requiring, for example, that recipients must work a specified number of hours per week through a graduate assistantship. To learn more, research these about fully funded PhD programs in Connecticut:

No-GRE PhD/Doctoral Programs in Connecticut

The GRE, or Graduate Record Exam, assesses reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills. Historically, it has been required for entry into graduate programs, but in light of research that casts doubt on the predictive value of the test, many programs are making it optional or eliminating this hurdle entirely. In fact, we have an entire guide devoted to no-GRE PhD and doctoral programs. Specific to Connecticut, you’ll find many no-GRE doctoral programs, including these:

Accelerated PhD/Doctoral Programs in Connecticut

Students who choose an accelerated PhD or doctoral program can typically finish their studies in about three years — or sometimes fewer — compared to the average completion time of about five to six years. In fact, you’ll find some programs (such as the ones we have included in this guide) that enable you to complete your degree in as little as one year. Check out this example of an accelerated doctoral program in Connecticut:

No Dissertation PhD/Doctoral Programs in Connecticut

Although the dissertation has traditionally been a central component of many PhD programs, it is not a practical undertaking for working adults who do not have the time to devote to original research. To accommodate students who are unable to complete this requirement, many programs are eschewing it in favor of other measures, such as capstone projects, comprehensive exams, and case studies — all of which can also demonstrate a student’s skills and depth of knowledge. Here are a few doctoral programs in Connecticut that do not require a dissertation:

Educational Leadership

Those who are passionate about education can use a doctoral degree in educational leadership to pursue several different roles, including elementary, middle, or high school principal, school superintendent, dean, college president, provost, or professor. Students in these programs learn about educational policy and the relationship between policy and school performance. In addition to these concepts, students also become skilled in qualitative and quantitative research, which enables them to lead effectively by employing evidence-based decision-making. Connecticut has many fantastic programs in this field, such as the ones listed below:

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs

Quality Examples of Hybrid/Online Programs

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

The DNP is a terminal degree that prepares established nursing professionals to focus on evidence-based practice to improve health and wellness outcomes for individuals, communities, and whole populations. Many DNP programs offer a variety of concentrations or study tracks to help students target specific career goals. For example, some of the specialized tracks available in doctoral nursing practice programs in Connecticut include education, executive leadership, nursing leadership, and care of populations. Here are some excellent doctoral programs in Connecticut specific to this field:

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs

Quality Examples of Hybrid/Online Programs

Clinical Psychology

There are two types of doctoral programs in clinical psychology available in Connecticut — PsyD and PhD. Although both degrees are suitable for seeking licensure as a clinical psychologist, a PsyD involves more hands-on clinical training, so it directly prepares graduates to provide psychological services to patients. PhD programs, on the other hand, focus more on the research aspects of the field; consequently, they are best for individuals who intend to pursue research or teaching positions. Take a look at these PhD and PsyD programs available in Connecticut:

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs

Doctor of Health Sciences (DHSc)

A DHSc degree is designed to elevate the leadership skills of medical practitioners such as nurses and physician assistants. These programs help develop students’ capabilities in research and data analysis so that they can pursue a variety of roles upon graduation, including medical and health services manager, health educator, and clinical researcher. On-campus options for this degree in Connecticut are rare, but these universities offer excellent online programs:

Quality Example of Hybrid/Online Program

Computer Science

Studying computer science at the PhD level is a logical step for students who are interested in pursuing advanced research opportunities or roles in higher education or product development. Typically, such programs cover topics such as computer systems, data visualization, algorithm design and analysis, and machine learning. Graduates are prepared to pursue many roles, including computer science professor, senior computer scientist, information research scientist, and computer systems engineer. Here are a few PhD programs in Connecticut that are specific to computer science:

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs

Can I Earn My Doctoral Degree Online in Connecticut?

Students looking for online or hybrid doctoral programs in Connecticut have many options. In fact, both public and private universities in Connecticut offer a generous variety of flexible options. For example, the University of Connecticut, Southern Connecticut State, and Western Connecticut State University feature both online and hybrid programs, while even more private universities, including the University of Bridgeport, the University of Saint Joseph, Sacred Heart University, and the University of New Haven also have online doctoral programs in Connecticut.

Compared to traditional, on-campus programs, online PhD and doctoral programs in Connecticut offer students a great degree of flexibility in when and where they complete their studies. Consider, for instance, the Doctor of Social Work (DSW) at Southern Connecticut State University. This 100% online program enables students to fit their academic work into any part of the day because there are no in-person meetings or scheduled online meetings required. Other programs, such as the hybrid Doctor of Education at the University of Bridgeport, enable students to complete most classes online with the exception of certain in-person components — in this case, two one-week doctoral residencies.

Paying for Your PhD or Professional Doctorate in Connecticut

Although earning a PhD or doctoral degree can be a worthwhile career strategy, it’s typically not an inexpensive endeavor. Fortunately, students can take advantage of a variety of financial aid opportunities to cover at least part of their degree. Graduate assistantships, for one, usually provide students with perks like waived tuition and fees and a stipend in return for working as a research or teaching assistant. One example — Central Connecticut State University’s assistantship program — provides opportunities to both part- and full-time students. Scholarships and grants, like those at Quinnipiac University, can also be a significant source of funding for students who meet specific merit- and need-based criteria. Additionally, students can pursue fellowships and stipends like the ones available at the University of Connecticut.

How Much You Could Earn with a Doctorate in Connecticut

Overall, professionals in the state of Connecticut who hold a PhD or professional doctorate earn significantly more than those with a bachelor’s or master’s. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Connecticut’s secondary school teachers earn an annual mean wage of $80,230, but postsecondary teachers (such as college professors) earn $97,460 annually. And ZipRecruiter finds quite a striking difference in average hourly earnings between Connecticut’s master’s- and doctorate-holders — $18.58 per hour versus $69.82 per hour. These trends bear out nationally, too. According to the BLS, median weekly earnings go from $1,432 for bachelor’s-holders to $2,083 for those who have a doctorate.

To get an even clearer picture of your potential pay with a doctorate, take a look at the table below that details potential earnings for careers that require a doctorate or enable doctorate-holders to climb to top positions. 

Job TitleRelated Doctoral Degree(s)Median Earnings90th Percentile Earnings
Aerospace EngineersDoctorate in Engineering (DEng/PhD)$105,360$158,960
Chief ExecutivesDoctor of Business Administration (DBA) / Online PhD in Business$206,870$239,200+
Clinical and Counseling PsychologistsDoctor of Psychology (PsyD) / PhD in Psychology$102,000$162,770
Computer and Information Research ScientistsPhD in Computer Science$116,120$169,590
EconomistsPhD in Economics$99,170$162,430
Education Administrators, PostsecondaryDoctor of Education (EdD)$107,950$212,550
Education Teachers, PostsecondaryPhD in Education / PhD in Special Education$78,330$122,460
EpidemiologistsDoctor of Public Health (DrPH)$84,550$138,610
Financial ManagersFinance Doctorate (PhD/DBA)$157,820$239,200
Instructional CoordinatorsDoctor of Education (EdD)$77,930$132,790
Nurse PractitionersDoctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)$130,090$163,900
PharmacistsDoctor of Pharmacy (PharmD)$132,630$158,370
Physical TherapistsDoctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)$103,290$136,130

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2022