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Best PhD and Doctoral Programs in Michigan: Online & Campus

Advance into the highest ranks of your profession by earning your PhD or doctorate from one of the best on-campus, online, or hybrid doctoral programs in Michigan in 2024. Let us show you how.

Search hundreds of top schools for the doctorate YOU want.

Written By

Michael Hoffman

Last updated

Jan 31, 2024

What’s your reason for going after a PhD or professional doctorate? Are you a mid-career professional aware that the path to the top of your field passes directly through a doctoral degree program? Maybe you’re looking to make the transition into a career in advanced research or academia. Or maybe you just want to make more money and enjoy the other benefits that come with adding PhD, EdD, DNP, or a similar credential to your name.

Whatever the reason, if you’re in Michigan and seriously considering making the substantial commitment to earning your doctoral degree, we want to help. Below you’ll find tons of valuable information on doctoral and PhD programs available in Michigan today. Plus, we’ll introduce you to the variety of formats used by Michigan colleges and universities to deliver program content. We’ll also fill you in on the many benefits — financial and otherwise — that await you once your doctorate is in hand. Ready to take that first big step? Keep reading to discover how you can earn your degree through one of the best PhD or doctoral programs in Michigan for 2024.

Top-Rated PhD and Doctoral Programs in Michigan for 2024

To give you an idea of what to look for as you explore your degree options, we’ve spotlighted three of the very best Michigan schools offering doctoral degrees today. Our selections were made by weighing factors important to most graduate students, including quality academics and faculty, accreditation, affordability, and the availability of valuable student support services for both on-campus and online students. Here’s who’s leading the way in doctoral education in Michigan.

Western Michigan University

Located in the southern Michigan City of Kalamazoo, Western Michigan University (WMU) is one of the 15 campuses that make up the Michigan Association of State Universities system. WMU currently offers nearly three dozen doctoral programs in a wide range of liberal arts and science disciplines, including computer science, economics, education, engineering, chemistry, geological and environmental science, physics, political science, psychology, sociology, and more. Most doctoral programs at WMU are campus-based. However education professionals interested in earning their doctorates online can choose from eight degree options, including two degrees in education leadership and six science education PhDs in the areas of biology, chemistry, geology, and physics. All of the online doctorate programs are available in both fully online and partially online formats. Current graduate per-credit tuition rates are $764.76/credit (Michigan residents and all online students) and $1,147.14/credit (out-of-state residents).

Central Michigan University

Befitting its name, Central Michigan University (CMU) is located in the very center of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula in the community of Mount Pleasant. Seventeen doctoral degrees are offered currently at CMU, with multiple programs available in the education, healthcare, and psychology fields, among others. Science-related programs include PhDs in neuroscience, the science of advanced materials, and biochemistry, cell, and molecular biology. As with Western Michigan University, the bulk of doctoral programs at CMU are campus-based. Three online programs are available, however, in educational leadership, educational technology, and health administration. Central Michigan offers affordable tuition rates for doctorate programs: $858/credit for all U.S. residents and online students, and $1,040/credit for international students in campus-based programs. The school also offers a variety of graduate scholarships, tuition awards, and more to help doctoral students pay for their studies.

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

The University of Michigan (UM) is consistently ranked among the best postsecondary institutions in the United States, public or private. Its flagship campus in Ann Arbor is home to more than 140 doctoral degree programs encompassing practically every academic and professional field you can think of; most are offered through the Rackham Graduate School. Of particular note is UM’s highly regarded Ross School of Business, which offers PhD programs in seven areas of study. Regardless of academic discipline, you can be assured that earning your doctorate from UM-Ann Arbor will hold prestige within your profession.

Doctorate tuition rates vary by field of study, but you can expect costs in line with UM’s high level of academic quality. The good news is that practically all doctoral students are eligible for substantial financial aid support. For example, all business PhD students at Ross receive full funding for their doctoral program (five years’ tuition plus health insurance and stipend) through a combination of fellowship funding and a graduate assistantships. 

Types of PhD and Doctoral Programs Available in Michigan

Beyond your specific field of study, you’ll have lots of variables to consider when choosing the right doctoral program for you. We’ve listed several of the most important and provided examples of current doctoral and PhD programs in Michigan for each. See which best fit your academic needs and study preferences.

Full-Time PhD/Doctoral Programs in Michigan

Earning your doctorate in a full-time format is possible, but not as certain as it used to be. That’s because colleges have adapted to the changing needs of their students and developed more part-time formats that allow working professionals to continue in their jobs while completing their doctoral studies. Examples of PhD programs in Michigan that feature full-time study include the PhD in School Psychology at CMU and the PhD in Management at Michigan State University. Both of these programs require five years to complete. Other full-time doctoral programs require anywhere from two years (sometimes even less) to six years or more depending on the specific program and the time you take to complete a dissertation.

Part-Time PhD/Doctoral Programs in Michigan

With the popularity of part-time formats on the rise, the odds of finding a part-time doctoral program in Michigan in your discipline grow greater with each passing year. Like full-time programs, part-time doctorate program lengths vary substantially (anywhere from two to seven years or more) depending mostly on the field of study and the time you take to finish a dissertation. Doctoral and PhD programs in Michigan with part-time formats include the PhD in Social Work at Wayne State University and the PhD in Educational Leadership at WMU. To learn more about part-time doctoral degree options, be sure to check out the PhDs.me guide to the Best Part-Time PhD and Doctoral Programs (Online & Campus).

Fully Funded PhD/Doctoral Programs in Michigan

You might be surprised to learn that some PhD programs in Michigan provide full funding to their students. This typically includes tuition and a monthly stipend designed to cover the student’s housing and other basic living costs, including health insurance. In return, the student is required to work as a graduate research or teaching assistant and maintain good academic standing and adequate progress toward earning their degree. PhD programs in Michigan currently offering full funding include the PhD in Computing at the University of Michigan-Flint and the Michigan Ross PhD program at UM-Ann Arbor.

No-GRE PhD/Doctoral Programs in Michigan

Submittal of GRE or other admission exam scores used to be an absolute requirement for all doctoral programs, but lately it has begun to fall out of favor. While most doctoral programs in Michigan still require GRE scores, a growing number of programs don’t or have made those scores optional. Current doctoral programs in Michigan without a GRE requirement include the PhD in Physics at Michigan Tech and the PhD in Clinical Psychology at Eastern Michigan University. For more on no-GRE doctoral degree programs, visit the PhDs.me PhDs & Doctorates Without GRE Requirements guide.

Accelerated PhD/Doctoral Programs in Michigan

Accelerated doctoral programs in Michigan can be found in two forms. The first is a doctoral program that, simply put, allows students to complete all degree requirements in a shorter time than usual. An example is the PhD in Nursing at UM-Ann Arbor, which offers a three-year accelerated option. The second is a program that allows students to earn either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in combination with a doctorate in less time than earning them separately. For example, UM-Flint offers an accelerated pathway for earning both a BS in Health Sciences and Occupational Therapy Doctorate in six years, as opposed to the seven or more years needed to earn them separately. To find out more about accelerated doctoral programs, visit the PhDs.me 1-Year Online Doctoral Programs guide.

No Dissertation PhD/Doctoral Programs in Michigan

Most doctoral programs culminate in the writing and defense of a dissertation. There are exceptions, however, mostly for practice-based (i.e., nonresearch) degrees. For those degrees, it’s not uncommon for the student to complete comprehensive exams and/or a capstone project in place of a dissertation. Examples of doctoral programs in Michigan without a dissertation requirement include the Doctor of Leadership (DLead) at Andrews University and the Doctor of Education (EdD) program (with Applied Studies Project option) at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.


Doctorate degrees in business are growing in popularity in Michigan and throughout the U.S., due in part to the increasing competiveness of the business field. Simply put, excelling in the highest levels of the business field today, in some circumstances, requires advancing academically beyond an MBA or other business master’s degree. Prospective students choose from among a number of full-time and part-time online and campus-based doctoral programs in Michigan. These include both doctor of business administration (DBA) programs that focus on preparing leaders in business practice in the private and public sectors, and PhD in business programs designed for students intending careers in scholarship. 

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs

Quality Examples of Hybrid/Online Programs


Education is likely the single most common discipline in which you’ll find doctoral programs in Michigan, both overall and in terms of online programs. You’ll also find both administration- and leadership-focused doctor of education (EdD) programs and PhD in education programs focused on research and postsecondary education. Specialized areas of study include leadership, early childhood education, educational studies, special education, and more. WMU also offers its PhD in Science Education with a number of subject-specific concentrations (biological sciences, chemistry, geosciences, physical geography, and physics).

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs

Quality Examples of Hybrid/Online Programs


You’ll find two types of engineering doctoral degrees in Michigan: the doctor of engineering (DEng) and the PhD in engineering. The DEng programs are practice-focused and designed for students seeking leadership careers in private industry and the public sector. The PhD in engineering is an academic-focused degree for students interested in careers in industrial research and postsecondary academia. Engineering doctorates are available in a variety of specializations in areas such as mechanical, electrical, computer, industrial, and civil engineering. The vast majority of engineering doctoral programs in Michigan are campus-based, with the exception of the two Michigan Tech programs listed below.

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs

Quality Examples of Hybrid/Online Programs


Nursing doctoral programs in Michigan are popular and plentiful. That includes both clinical practice and administration-based doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degrees and academia- and research-based PhDs in nursing. The vast majority of DNP programs feature academic coursework delivered either fully online or in a hybrid format, while nursing PhD programs can be found in both campus-based and hybrid formats. Additionally, DNP programs are available in a number of specialized areas of practice, as well as BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP options.

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs

Quality Examples of Hybrid/Online Programs


As you might expect, psychology doctorates are offered in two basic types: the PhD in psychology and the doctor of psychology (PsyD). Psychology PhD programs focus primarily on disciplinary research to prepare graduates for positions in advanced research and postsecondary academics. The PsyD degree, on the other hand, is an applied clinical degree meant to prepare graduates for obtaining professional licensure and advanced clinical practice. Common specialized fields in which you can get a psychology doctoral degree in Michigan include counseling psychology, school psychology, and — most commonly — clinical psychology. 

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs

Quality Examples of Hybrid/Online Programs

Earning Your PhD or Professional Doctorate Online in Michigan

As graduate schools tailor their doctoral degree programs to better meet the needs of working students, the trend includes offering more doctoral programs either fully or partially online. The reason for this is obvious: study convenience. Online programs substantially reduce the extra time, effort, and expense of attending classes on a college’s physical campus. 

Online academics take a number of forms. For example, online classes may be delivered asynchronously or synchronously, with synchronous classes often scheduled in the evenings or weekends. Online doctoral students also find themselves regularly attending live-streamed meetings with instructors and faculty advisors. It’s also common for some online programs (such as the DNP at Northern Michigan University and Cornerstone University’s EdD in Organizational Leadership & Development) to include short-term on-campus residencies.

While most doctoral programs in Michigan remain campus-based, plenty of online and hybrid options are available, particularly in the fields of nursing and education. For a better idea of what’s out there, take a look at the college spotlights above, as well as these websites:

These aren’t the only schools offering online doctoral programs in Michigan, however, so be sure to check for additional online options in doctoral programs in your field. And for a deeper dive into the world of online doctorates, be sure to visit the PhDs.me Guide to Online PhD and Doctoral Programs.

Where to Get Help Paying for Your PhD or Doctoral Degree in Michigan

The costs associated with getting your doctorate can be discouraging. Fortunately, you’ll find that graduate schools today are bending over backward to provide their students with access to a full range of financial aid opportunities to help them afford their educations. These include scholarships and grantsfellowships, teaching and research assistantships, work-study programs, and, of course, student loans. All of these resources will help you lower — and maybe even eliminate — out-of-pocket costs for your degree. On top of that, some of these resources, particularly assistantships and work-study positions, offer you invaluable professional experience and networking opportunities that you can’t get anywhere else. 

A good place to start your funding search is on the graduate financial aid websites of the colleges and universities you’re considering. Here are a few examples:

Earnings for Doctorate Holders in Michigan

A bigger paycheck is a major incentive for most people pursuing their doctorate. So, let’s take a look at the bottom line, financially speaking, of earning your PhD or doctoral degree. And that bottom line looks pretty encouraging. According to talent.com data released in December 2023, for example, the average annual salary in Michigan for PhDs is $90,000, as compared with $73,996 for those with a master’s degree and $42,910 for those with a bachelor’s degree.

For a bit more detail, the chart below offers recent median annual earnings figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for several of the most popular careers filled by doctoral degree holders. Just remember that these figures are for the country overall. What you actually make will depend on several variables, including your specific employer and job title, your level of professional experience, and your geographic location.

Job TitleRelated Doctoral Degree(s)Median Earnings90th Percentile Earnings
Civil EngineersDoctorate in Engineering (DEng/PhD)$78,720$122,790
Clinical and Counseling PsychologistsDoctor of Psychology (PsyD) / PhD in Psychology$74,770$129,520
Computer and Information Research ScientistsPhD in Computer Science$121,140$172,040
Education Administrators, PostsecondaryDoctor of Education (EdD)$98,340$193,180
Education Teachers, PostsecondaryPhD in Education / PhD in Special Education$72,870$111,660
EpidemiologistsDoctor of Public Health (DrPH)$81,170$97,200
Financial ManagersFinance Doctorate (PhD/DBA)$128,010$217,010
Instructional CoordinatorsDoctor of Education (EdD)$73,320$104,040
Nurse PractitionersDoctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)$109,250$132,800
PharmacistsDoctor of Pharmacy (PharmD)$132,340$155,750
Physical TherapistsDoctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)$93,600$106,690

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2022