Jan 31, 2024
Whether you’re an undergraduate thinking about your next steps or a mid-life professional looking to move into a leadership role, enrolling in a PhD or doctoral program in Kansas is a smart way to take your career to the next level. Some of the top industries in the state include manufacturing, wholesale business, and healthcare, making doctorates in areas like business administration and nursing particularly valuable.
This page identifies some standout doctoral and PhD programs in Kansas along with the many high-quality schools offering a good mix of affordability, flexibility, and first-rate instruction. It also outlines the different types of PhD and doctoral programs in Kansas, including those completely online, part-time programs, and fully funded options. Information on earnings potential is also included, so you can see the tangible financial benefits of getting an advanced degree.
Best Doctoral Programs in Kansas: 2024 Rankings
When it comes to choosing professional doctoral and PhD programs in Kansas, everyone’s situation is unique. However, the following three universities are examples of quality schools that tell you what to look for in a program. They offer respected doctoral programs that are affordable and flexible. Whether you’re looking for a program associated with a state-of-the-art lab or are seeking a 100% online degree, these standout schools have the options you need.
Kansas State University
Kansas State University offers a range of doctoral degrees in both common (e.g., Computer Science) and unique (e.g., Entomology and Apparel and Textiles) areas of study. There are 49 doctoral programs, including eight offered online. Most programs require about 90 credit hours, though this varies a bit depending on the specific program. Kansas State University is known for its high quality of life and exceptional job placement rate (98%) for master’s and doctoral program graduates. Cost per credit hour varies, but online programs are generally cheaper at $539/credit hour. In-person and hybrid programs cost between $450 and $1,007 depending on residency. The school offers a bevy of assistantships, fellowships, and scholarships from a number of its academic departments to help fund your education.
University of Kansas
With 70 doctoral programs, the University of Kansas has the most extensive offerings of doctoral and PhD programs in Kansas, including Doctor of Education (EdD), Doctor of Music Arts (DMA), Doctor of Audiology (AuD), Juris Doctor (JD), and several medical degrees. The main campus is in the vibrant city of Lawrence where events and professional opportunities abound.
The university also has standout student services, including an exceptional resource hub with information on everything from where to buy groceries to mental health advice. The school does a fantastic job helping students find funding for degrees, too. Notably, all business PhD students attend tuition-free and receive subsidized health insurance in addition to opportunities for fellowships and assistantships. For other programs, costs vary. Online courses in the EdD program, for example, are $595/credit while Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students can expect to pay $442 to $1,039 per credit.
Wichita State University
Wichita State University offers 12 doctoral programs, including a fully online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) to DNP program. Doctoral options range from Audiology to Aerospace Engineering, and the school emphasizes applied learning and research. Wichita State works hard to provide opportunities for mentorships, practicum and clinical placements, and volunteer work for their students. This applied learning approach bridges the gap between school and the real world. The school also uses other unique approaches to learning, such as in the EdD in Educational Leadership program where, rather than a lecture format, students and faculty have discussions as equals. The cost for online courses is $326 per credit hour, and the cost for in-person classes is $326 to $801 per credit hour.
What Types of Doctoral Programs Are in Kansas?
There are many options when it comes to earning a PhD or doctorate in Kansas. Whether you’re looking to continue working and need a part-time program or want to skip the GRE, you’ll find something that fits your needs. Read about the options below for doctoral and PhD programs in Kansas to help find the one that works best for you.
Popular Degree Fields in Kansas for PhD and Doctoral Students
Can You Earn a PhD or Professional Doctorate Online in Kansas?
Over the last decade or so, online and hybrid doctoral and PhD programs in Kansas and nationwide have become more common. There are even some areas (e.g., nursing and education) where online options are more prevalent. Other types of programs, such as psychology, are still primarily in person.
Remote learning can be a big time and cost saver for students. Online classes mean you can often learn when and where is best for you and your schedule. This is particularly helpful for students earning degrees while they work. Since you won’t be commuting or living on campus, expenses are often much lower than for an on-campus program. Online students typically attend lectures remotely but may be required to be in person for certain portions of the program, such as research projects or a dissertation defense. The details are specific to each program.
Nearly all of the major universities in Kansas offer at least one online option. Kansas State University, for example, has eight hybrid or 100% online doctorates, while Pittsburg State University offers a completely online DNP program, and the University of Kansas offers several online doctoral programs.
Paying for Your Doctoral Degree in Kansas: Financial Aid Options
Earning an advanced degree can be expensive, but there are many financial aid opportunities available to doctoral students in Kansas to help offset the cost of their degree. These include scholarships/grants, fellowships, work-study programs, and graduate research assistantships. Doctoral students at Kansas State University, for example, have access to school-based fellowships and grants as well as external funding opportunities, and about 1/3 of full-time graduate students at Wichita State hold assistantships or fellowships with stipends, tuition waivers, and more. Some PhD programs are even fully funded, meaning students attend tuition-free and receive a living stipend. At the University of Kansas, for instance, all business school PhDs are fully funded, while doctoral students in other departments are eligible for school-based fellowships and grants.
Earnings Potential in Kansas After Finishing Your Doctorate
While a PhD or doctorate is a significant time and financial investment, it can lead to a lifetime of higher earnings. Whether you live in Salina or Topeka, holding a doctorate is a smart financial move. For example, the salary range for a nurse practitioner in Kansas is $108,544 to $127,078. Many nurse practitioners hold a DNP, and those who do can expect to earn towards the top of the salary range. Comparatively, a registered nurse in Kansas with a BSN typically earns between $59,159 and $75,387 annually.
If you’re curious about the earnings potential for popular careers that require a doctorate to allow professionals to move to the very top of the profession, the following table is a good resource. With a doctoral degree, you’ll have the best chance of moving into the 90th percentile of earnings. For most professions, that means a six-figure or higher salary.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2022