On this page

Back to top

Best PhD and Doctoral Programs in Indiana: Online & Campus

Unlock your highest potential with the best PhD programs in Indiana. Here, you’ll find the top doctoral programs that will set you on the path toward academic excellence and career success.

Search hundreds of top schools for the doctorate YOU want.

Written By

Shannon Daigle

Last updated

Jan 31, 2024

Ready to take a transformative step in your life, academic journey, and career? Consider traditional or online doctoral programs in Indiana. We’ve crafted this guide as a resource for aspiring scholars and seasoned professionals. In it, we explore the best of the best doctoral and PhD programs in Indiana. Whether you envision your future as a pioneer of groundbreaking biological research or serving fellow Hoosiers as a physical therapist, our comprehensive guide can help you find the program that fits your needs. Keep reading to learn more about our top picks and your options regarding doctoral format, funding, and future careers.

Top-Ranked PhD and Doctoral Programs in Indiana for 2024

From bustling Indianapolis to the comfort of your living room, in-person and online doctoral programs in Indiana offer a wealth of higher education opportunities. Naming the “best” can be subjective, but these three universities set a high benchmark for doctoral and PhD programs in Indiana. We’ve chosen schools with a blend of quality, affordability, and flexibility that can benefit nearly any student. Even if they don’t align perfectly with your needs, these spotlight schools can be a reference point of what to look for when exploring doctoral and PhD programs in Indiana.

Indiana University, Bloomington

Indiana University, Bloomington, stands out with its many doctoral degrees. With over 150 professional, doctoral, and PhD programs in Indiana, IU Bloomington appeals to a wide range of academic interests and career aspirations. The school offers online doctoral programs in nine diverse fields encompassing education, technology, health, and sciences, and more. Tuition varies based on program, residency status, and course enrollment; find a comprehensive list of rates on the IU website. Full-time students can apply for student academic appointments that include tuition and fee waivers. For example, eligible doctoral candidates at Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs serve as research associates or associate instructors for 20 hours each week in exchange for funding.

Ball State University

Ball State University is renowned for its doctoral and PhD programs in Indiana, offering 15 distinct in-person and online degrees. Traditional students can choose from programs in several disciplines. For those interested in English, there are PhDs in literature or rhetoric and composition. Aspiring psychologists can choose from doctoral degrees in school psychology, counseling psychology, and educational psychology. Scientists may be interested in PhDs in environmental science or human bioenergetics. Students pursuing education-related doctoral degrees can choose from in-person or online programs, including the EdD in Educational Administration and Supervision and PhD in Elementary Education. Ball State also offers generous graduate assistantships; full-time students receive 30 credit hours of tuition remission, while part-timers get 15. Additionally, the university waives non-resident tuition for all graduate assistants, making it an attractive option.

Purdue University

Purdue University offers a wide array of traditional and online PhD programs in Indiana. With over 75 in-person doctoral and PhD programs in Indiana, Purdue’s range of degrees extends from the sciences to the education, technology, medical fields, and beyond. Plus, Purdue’s online doctoral programs include degrees in education, health and human sciences, law and legal studies, nursing, and computer science. Students of Purdue’s online PhD programs gain the advantage of accessing classes from the university’s outstanding broader educational system, encompassing the main campus, Purdue Fort Wayne, Purdue Global, and Purdue Northwest. Tuition varies by program and residency status; read full details here. The blend of online flexibility and a variety of on-campus programs makes Purdue a leading choice for students seeking online doctoral programs in Indiana.

There are many PhD programs in Indiana tailored to every type of student and ambition. From full-time to part-time, fully funded to GRE-free, there’s a fit for every academic style and journey. This section outlines the different program formats you might consider as you pursue your doctoral degree.

Full-Time PhD/Doctoral Programs

Full-time doctoral and PhD programs in Indiana offer immersive academic experiences. These programs, like the Doctor of Physical Therapy at Indiana State University and the Doctor of Occupational Therapy at The University of Indianapolis, cater to students dedicating themselves entirely to advanced study. As a full-time student, you can expect a heavier course load, plenty of hands-on research, and possible student teaching opportunities. This traditional pathway is ideal for those seeking deep specialization and a faster route to graduation.

Part-Time PhD/Doctoral Programs

Part-time traditional or online PhD programs in Indiana offer students the flexibility to balance work life and other commitments. Programs like the PhD in Technology Management from Indiana State University and the Doctor of Nursing Practice at The University of Southern Indiana spread the same rigorous study and research requirements over a more extended period of time. These programs usually take up to eight years to complete but are just as thorough as traditional PhD and doctoral programs in Indiana.

Fully Funded PhD/Doctoral Programs

There are several fully-funded doctoral and PhD programs in Indiana, especially at larger schools like Indiana University and Purdue. These programs typically cover tuition, fees, and additional stipends in exchange for teaching arrangements or research assistantships. Fully funded programs are competitive and attract students who can commit to full-time study and significant contributions to research projects. However, they’re ideal for students who need an economically feasible pathway to a doctorate without the burden of loans and educational expenses.

No-GRE PhD/Doctoral Programs

While many PhD programs in Indiana still require students to submit GRE test scores as proof of their academic eligibility for doctoral programs, others are adopting a modern trend of forgoing standardized test scores. Programs like Indiana Wesleyan’s Online PhD in Organizational Leadership and Purdue University Northwest’s Doctor of Psychology allow students with outstanding academic records and recommendations to skip the GRE prerequisite for admission. By removing this requirement, GRE-free programs open doors for a broader range of candidates.

Accelerated PhD/Doctoral Programs

Accelerated doctoral programs are designed for students who are eager to complete their doctorate in a shorter time frame, propelling them quickly into their chosen careers or advanced research opportunities in as little as one year. While true “accelerated” PhD programs in Indiana are rare, some disciplines offer a shorter path to graduation day. These include the online Post-Masters DNP at The University of Indianapolis and the online PhD in Educational Administration at Indiana State University.

No Dissertation PhD/Doctoral Programs in Indiana

While most doctoral and PhD programs in Indiana still require students to complete a dissertation as the capstone to their educational experience, certain universities offer no-dissertation degrees. These programs usually favor a focus on practical knowledge and skills over traditional research-based dissertations. Two such programs are the BSN to DNP at Indiana State University and the Doctor of Nursing Practice at the University of Southern Indiana, which replace a dissertation with mandatory nursing practice project courses.


Biology is an increasingly popular field for PhD programs in Indiana. These programs emphasize cutting-edge research in fields like molecular biology, ecology, and genetics. As such, they’re particularly well-suited for students who dream of pioneering independent research and discovery. These programs often collaborate with research facilities and independent corporations, providing students with hands-on experience in diverse biological fields. Graduates find employment in Indiana’s life science-related industries, contributing to research and development in academic and corporate settings.

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs


Whether students prefer to focus on innovative teaching methods, educational policy, or leadership, they’ll find plenty of traditional and online doctoral programs in Indiana. Indiana University Bloomington is just one example of this diversity of choice. Here, students can choose from multiple PhD and EdD programs. Education doctoral programs prepare graduates for roles in academic administration, policy development, and curriculum design, readying them to influence educational practice on the school-wide to statewide scale.

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs

Quality Examples of Hybrid/Online Programs


Whether a student wants to become a nurse practitioner, a nurse educator, or a nurse anesthetist, nursing doctoral programs in Indiana equip them for the highest level of nursing practice. There are numerous paths to a DNP degree depending on a student’s previous level of education and career ambitions. For example, The University of Indianapolis offers multiple pathways from a bachelor’s or master’s in nursing to a doctorate.

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs

Quality Example of Hybrid/Online Program


A PharmD is ideal for students aspiring to become practitioners who work toward better health and wellness in their communities. Indiana’s Doctor of Pharmacy programs focus on pharmaceutical sciences, clinical practice, and drug development. These programs offer extensive hands-on research and experiential learning opportunities in partnership with community pharmacies, hospitals, and laboratories. Graduates are equipped for jobs working with patients in medical care facilities, as pharmacists, or with pharmaceutical research and clinical trials.

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs

Quality Example of Hybrid/Online Program


Technology doctoral and PhD programs in Indiana inspire students to innovate and produce cutting-edge research in areas like artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and data science. These programs are closely aligned with up-to-the-moment developments and initiatives in the tech world, providing students with opportunities to participate in the latest research efforts and collaborate with leading companies. Graduates of these programs are well-positioned to become leaders at the forefront of the fast-growing tech industry in Indiana and beyond.

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs

Quality Example of Hybrid/Online Program

Getting Your PhD or Professional Doctorate Online in Indiana

Hybrid and online PhD and doctoral programs in Indiana are growing in popularity, offering flexibility and accessibility to students throughout the state. Major university systems with established traditional doctoral degree program offerings have begun to provide online and hybrid versions of these programs in recent years. Today, you’ll find top universities, like Indiana University Bloomington and Indiana State University, offering online doctoral programs in Indiana.

Online learning allows students to take classes outside of traditional hours, making room for professionals to study when it works best. While most coursework is available online, some programs require limited on-campus visits for orientation, workshops, or lab work, balancing virtual convenience with essential hands-on experiences.

Prospective students of online PhD programs in Indiana should prepare for challenges like managing self-disciplined study and navigating virtual communication. Despite these challenges, online learning provides a unique opportunity for doctoral students to tailor their educational journey to their personal and professional lives, making higher education more accessible and adaptable to individual needs. 

Getting Financial Aid for Your Doctoral Degree in Indiana

In Indiana, doctoral students have access to various financial aid options to alleviate the costs of their degrees. Scholarships and grants are available at most universities and through private and professional organizations. Some schools, like Indiana Tech, offer significant tuition discounts for returning students or other qualifying doctoral candidates. Fellowships and graduate assistantship programs can also provide substantial support. For example, Indiana State University offers departmentally based graduate research assistantships. One such program is the graduate assistantship for the Doctor of Athletic Training. These assistantships not only offer financial relief but also valuable research experience for doctoral candidates. Additionally, Ball State University provides generous full- and part-time graduate assistantships, depending on the student’s availability and needs.

Salary Expectations for Doctorate Holders in Indiana

Graduating from doctoral and PhD programs in Indiana can significantly enhance career prospects and earning potential. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, professionals with a doctorate experience a considerable pay bump, making about $650 more per week than those with a bachelor’s degree and $400 more per week than those with a master’s. And across the board, doctorate graduates earn significantly more than the state median salary of $55,500 per year. As shown in the table below, doctoral graduates often find opportunities in high-paying sectors, like academia, research, healthcare, and technology. Indiana’s in-demand and fast-growing industries, like tech and healthcare, value doctoral expertise, making it a lucrative investment for career advancement.

Job TitleRelated Doctoral Degree(s)Median Earnings90th Percentile Earnings
Chief ExecutivesDoctor of Business Administration (DBA) / Online PhD in Business$189,390$239,200+
Civil EngineersDoctorate in Engineering (DEng/PhD)$78,070$129,060
Clinical and Counseling PsychologistsDoctor of Psychology (PsyD) / PhD in Psychology$69,990$135,060
Computer and Information Research ScientistsPhD in Computer Science$93,930$165,760
EconomistsPhD in Economics$93,000$123,780
Education Administrators, PostsecondaryDoctor of Education (EdD)$79,350$168,570
Education Teachers, PostsecondaryPhD in Education / PhD in Special Education$65,000$105,600
EpidemiologistsDoctor of Public Health (DrPH)$65,020$89,740
Financial ManagersFinance Doctorate (PhD/DBA)$119,460$215,960
Instructional CoordinatorsDoctor of Education (EdD)$57,040$94,290
Nurse PractitionersDoctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)$119,160$142,860
PharmacistsDoctor of Pharmacy (PharmD)$129,870$155,630
Physical TherapistsDoctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)$95,110$114,400

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2022