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Best PhD and Doctoral Programs in Louisiana: Online & Campus

Ready to kick things up a notch? Hone your skills and develop new expertise by earning your doctoral degree. This guide to the top PhD programs in Louisiana has everything you need to get started.

Search hundreds of top schools for the doctorate YOU want.

Written By

Quinn Dannies

Last updated

Jan 31, 2024


From Shreveport to New Orleans, Louisiana is home to dozens of world-class graduate schools. As each of the state’s 64 parishes offers something special and unique, so do the numerous PhD programs in Louisiana. Whether you’re looking to move your career to the next level or embark on an entirely new one, doctoral programs in Louisiana offer a variety of learning structures, including full-time, part-time, online, and on-campus – and you can bet that there’s at least one that’s a good fit for you. 

Learn everything you need to know about PhD programs in Louisiana as we highlight top programs, break down the logistics of finding and paying for a program, and explore what earning a doctorate can do for your career. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll have all the information you need to move forward with your program search. 

Ranking the Best Doctoral Programs in Louisiana for 2024

People considering a doctoral program are concerned about academic quality, cost, opportunities for specialization, and student support. We’ve evaluated PhD programs in Louisiana based on these factors and more. Each university on our list stands out for its diverse and high-quality doctoral programs, availability of study preferences such as online, hybrid, and on-campus formats, and affordability. Whether these align perfectly with your goals or serve as a benchmark, our spotlights provide valuable insights to aid your research and ensure you make informed decisions about your academic journey.

University of Louisiana at Monroe


If caring for others is your calling, the graduate school at the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM) could be a perfect fit. ULM offers five doctoral programs in health sciences and education, including multiple degree options in pharmacology, a Doctor of Physical Therapy, two psychology tracks, and a Doctor of Education program.

We particularly appreciate that ULM offers online options for their Doctor of Education and PhD in marriage and family therapy programs. The EdD program is a particularly flexible option. This accelerated degree is a no-dissertation program that can be completed in as few as two years, and the GRE is not required for admission.

Online and in-person students alike benefit from top-tier instruction and the chance to build close relationships with their cohorts. Students in most programs can also apply for graduate assistantships to cover their tuition fees and earn a stipend during their studies. 

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Doctoral programs at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (ULL) cover an astonishing breadth of subjects. Whether you’re in the humanities, STEM, education, or healthcare, you’ll find multiple programs that might work for you. In total, ULL offers 11 doctoral programs. Alongside traditional topics like English, mathematics, and education, future PhDs may also be interested in options like Francophone Studies that are unique to Cajun country generally and ULL in particular.

Nurses statewide may be drawn to ULL’s online DNP program that allows working healthcare professionals the opportunity to earn new credentials while continuing to work. This program has tracks for everyone, including recently graduated BSN nurses and nurses who have already earned their MSN.

ULL boasts extremely reasonable tuition costs, especially given the school’s quality. To make its programs accessible for all scholars, the university has gone one step further. ULL offers an array of funding opportunities, including graduate assistantships, fellowships, and a robust scholarship program. 

Louisiana State University

The doctoral programs at Louisiana State University (LSU) have a lot going for them. For starters, LSU is one of the largest graduate programs in the state, with the funding, resources, and diversity to match. LSU is extremely research oriented and encourages its PhD students to participate in groundbreaking work throughout their programs. Students looking to generate and use new knowledge will be right at home at LSU.

LSU offers over 50 doctoral programs ranging from accounting to theater, including the only veterinary medicine PhD in the state. The sheer size of LSU’s graduate school ensures you’ll have access to an incredible community of intellectuals among your faculty and cohorts.

The chance to live and study in Baton Rouge is another selling point for LSU, but even if the Red Stick City isn’t for you and you’re focused on advancing your career, LSU still has you covered. The school’s online doctorate in leadership studies is a dynamic, affordable opportunity for up-and-comers across industries and across the nation.

Types of PhD and Doctoral Programs Offered in Louisiana

Every PhD student has their own unique set of circumstances. Maybe you’re fresh out of undergrad and want to get right into the next phase of your studies. Perhaps you’ve been out of school for a while and want an advanced degree to give your career a major bump. Maybe you’re wrangling kids and a career but want to go back to school. Wherever you’re at, there PhD programs in Louisiana for you. Here, we’ve outlined six popular PhD formats. Read on to see which one is right for you. 

Full-Time PhD/Doctoral Programs

Although many programs are branching out and trying new structures, full-time PhD programs still reign supreme. There are good reasons for this. Full-time study reduces distractions, so you can stay laser focused on your studies. On the financial side, full-time study is a requirement for many funding opportunities including assistantships, fellowships, and scholarships. If you’re ready to commit fully to your studies, Louisiana PhD programs have you covered. Every school in the state offers full-time programs, but here are a few of our favorites.

Part-Time PhD/Doctoral Programs

Sure, we’d all love to lock ourselves in a library or laboratory for a few years to focus on our studies, but that’s not always possible. For the rest of us, a part-time doctoral program might be just the ticket. These PhD programs in Louisiana offer you more time to complete your coursework or write your dissertation. This means you can earn your PhD while working or managing other responsibilities. If a part-time PhD sounds appealing, check out our guide to part-time PhD programs. In the meantime, here are two top Louisiana doctoral programs that offer part time options.

Fully Funded PhD/Doctoral Programs

The best doctoral degree is the one you don’t have to pay for. Fortunately, many great PhD programs have established funding programs to cover your costs. The most common form of funding for PhD students is a graduate assistantship. These positions cover your tuition and pay a stipend in exchange for teaching, grading, or working in a lab each week. Most schools offer at least a few of these positions in each program each year, but we’ve called out two graduate schools with particularly expansive funding programs below. 

No-GRE PhD/Doctoral Programs 

Earning a PhD is hard enough. There’s no reason you should have to prepare for a grueling, often irrelevant, standardized test before you even apply. You’ll be happy to know that many Louisiana schools are no longer requiring GRE scores on their PhD applications. You can learn more about that in our guide on no-degree doctorates. The bottom line is, seeking out Louisiana’s no-GRE doctoral programs can save you time and money during the application process. Here are a few schools that have done away with the test entirely. 

Accelerated PhD/Doctoral Programs

If you don’t have time or aren’t interested in spending the next five to seven years earning your doctorate, that’s ok. Plenty of students have career goals or other responsibilities that make a traditional PhD program impractical or impossible. Many Louisiana PhD programs recognize this fact and have been designed with people like you in mind. If you’re looking for a graduate degree in a hurry, these schools are a great place to start. And if you’re considering an accelerated degree but have questions, consider reviewing our guide to one year doctoral programs

No Dissertation PhD/Doctoral Programs in Louisiana

Being an incredible researcher or intellectual doesn’t necessarily mean that you are an enthusiastic writer. If spending a few years writing a dissertation doesn’t spark joy, you are not alone. No-dissertation PhD programs in Louisiana are becoming more common, especially in professional doctoral programs. These are just a few no-dissertation programs that can save you hours of typing. 

Education

EdDs and PhDs in education programs are some of the more common doctoral programs in Louisiana. Part of the reason is that they aren’t just for teachers. Educators can certainly focus on specific topics like curriculum development or early childhood education. However, many schools also include leadership degrees under the umbrella of their education programs. These degrees are valuable across industries and can benefit anyone who aspires to high-responsibility roles in their career. 

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs

Quality Examples of Hybrid/Online Programs

Nursing

Earning a DNP gives nurses the opportunity to develop specialized knowledge, become educators, and move into leadership roles. An advanced degree means that you’ll have more options for how you’d like to develop your career. As a DNP, you’ll demonstrate a unique combination of medical knowledge, administrative expertise, and communication skills. Because many DNP students opt to continue working during their studies, DNP programs in Louisiana typically offer online options and flexible course scheduling. 

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs

Quality Examples of Hybrid/Online Programs

Counseling and Psychology

As someone interested in mental health, you probably want to help as many people as possible. Earning a PhD is one of the best ways to expand your skillset and impact. Doctoral degrees in counseling give you the opportunity to expand the scope of your practice and stay on top of new research and techniques. If you aspire to a career in clinical psychology, earning your PhD is a mandatory step in the licensing process. 

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs

Public Health

Public health careers are unique and exciting because they offer opportunities in a wide range of skillsets from microbiology to communication. Louisiana’s wide range of public health doctoral programs have a multitude of options for scholars of either the social or scientific sides of public health. Earning a PhD or DrPH is an excellent choice for people who wish to advance research, take on leadership roles, or contribute to policy making projects.

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs

Justice

Louisiana’s JD programs offer students the opportunity to develop and demonstrate their knowledge of the legal system, legal practice, and working with clients. This degree is an essential step in your law career that prepares you to sit for the bar and begin practicing law professionally. Juris Doctoral programs are a broad umbrella where students can specialize in a range of topics including environmental, civil, international, and sports law. 

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs

Earning Your Doctorate Online in Louisiana: What to Expect

Earning your PhD or doctoral degree online is a relatively new concept, but it offers some distinct benefits. Most importantly, online degrees let you study from wherever you are, so you won’t have to uproot your life to attend a specific program. You can select from any number of online PhD programs in Louisiana without ever leaving your house and study on your own schedule. Many schools offer asynchronous class options, so you can schedule your coursework around work or other obligations. This can be a lifesaver if you are trying to work full time while earning your degree on the side. 

Online degrees are most common in fields like nursing and education that require professionals to undertake continuing education to maintain their licenses. Incidentally, these fields also benefit from in-person experience. Most online programs manage this by coordinating with programs in your area to oversee clinical or field hours. However, some PhD programs in Louisiana will require you to visit campus from time to time. Before you commit to an online program, be sure you know what your school expects.

If you’re considering an online program but still have questions, you are not alone. We’ve put together an overview of what to expect from your online PhD to help you get oriented. 

Where to Get Financial Aid for Your PhD in Louisiana

When it comes to tuition, less is more, right? Students of PhD programs in Louisiana have tons of options when it comes to paying for their degrees. Because doctoral-level students come to the program with a high level of expertise, many schools are happy to cover their tuition and offer a stipend in exchange for part-time work teaching or doing research. These assistantships are one of the most common ways that PhD students cover their tuition costs. Southern University’s assistantship program is a great example of this setup. Depending on the school, assistantships are awarded by individual departments. Or at places like University of Louisiana, Monroe, students can apply for school-wide positions.

You can also consider applying for grants and fellowships, and LSU Health has a great database to help you start your search. If you plan to work during your degree, check with your employer to see if they offer tuition reimbursement.

Funding can be confusing, but it is worth your time and energy to explore all your options. We’ve put together a few great guides to help you out. Start with our general guide on financial aid, then continue your research with our guides to grants and fellowships.

How Much You Could Earn with a Doctorate in Louisiana

Some people pursue their PhD out of a deep interest in their field and the desire to explore specific research. A love of learning is an essential element of a successful PhD experience, but if you’re going to commit to a degree, the math must make sense too. 

No matter your industry, a diploma and a few extra letters after your name come with a significant pay increase. The average PhD holder in Louisiana earns between $82,000 and $153,000 annually. When you consider that the median per capita income in Louisiana sits at $30,340 per year, you can see that earning your doctoral degree has a huge impact on your earning potential.

But let’s get specific. In the table below, we’ve looked at the earnings of professionals in various positions that require a doctoral degree. Take a look and see where you fit in. 

Job TitleRelated Doctoral Degree(s)Median Earnings90th Percentile Earnings
Civil EngineersDoctorate in Engineering (DEng/PhD)$99,940$144,180
Education Administrators, PostsecondaryDoctor of Education (EdD)$95,570$169,030
Education Teachers, PostsecondaryPhD in Education / PhD in Special Education$64,450$102,260
EpidemiologistsDoctor of Public Health (DrPH)$58,700$85,510
Financial ManagersFinance Doctorate (PhD/DBA)$105,010$206,640
Instructional CoordinatorsDoctor of Education (EdD)$59,510$85,820
Nurse PractitionersDoctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)$115,620$152,730
Nursing Instructors and Teachers, PostsecondaryPhD in Nursing$75,610$117,240
PharmacistsDoctor of Pharmacy (PharmD)$127,730$148,860
Physical TherapistsDoctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)$97,960$128,690
Software DeveloperPhD in Computer Science$102,670$158,920

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2022