Best PhD and Doctoral Programs in New York: Online & Campus 

Ready to move into the top tier of your profession? You’ll need expert credentials to back you up. Take the next step by earning your doctorate from a top university in New York. 

Written By

Michael Hoffman

Last updated

Sep 22, 2022

Do you have a passion for research? A drive to be the best in your field? A desire to surround yourself with experts who are as engaged in your field of study as you are? Then it’s time to earn a PhD or other doctoral degree. However, finding the right degree program—one that’s affordable, that you can work into your busy life and, most importantly, that gets you where you want to go in your career—can seem next to impossible, no matter how much you look.

This guide has the help you need. We’ll introduce you to the best doctoral and PhD programs in New York state, both on campus and online. You’ll also find plenty of useful advice on what to look for in a great degree program, how to get help paying for your degree, what the current job market looks like for New York doctorate graduates, and much more.

Top-Rated PhD and Doctoral Programs in New York for 2022

Check out our spotlights of three of the best doctoral and PhD programs in New York state today. The selections are based on cost, study convenience and flexibility, and access to quality student support services. New York schools offer lots of excellent degree programs; these spotlights provide a good idea of what you should expect from any quality New York PhD or doctoral program you consider. 

University at Buffalo

With a staggering 97 PhD and doctoral degrees available, including 10 fully online and four offered in a hybrid format, you’re bound to find one that meets your needs at the State University of New York (SUNY) University at Buffalo (UB). As a public institution, the tuition for PhD and doctoral programs in New York at UB are quite competitive with other schools in the state. The total cost for full-time study (12 credits) for most on-campus PhD and doctoral programs is $7,194 per semester for New York residents and $13,089 for out-of-state residents. The total semester cost for full-time online students is $6,600 for New York residents and $7,730 for out-of-state residents. Different rates apply to some doctorates, including medicine, pharmacy, and law. To help you pay for your degree, UB offers a generous array of scholarship and fellowship opportunities. Assistantships and work study jobs are available as well.

New York PhD and doctoral students at UB have access to a full range of school-sponsored academic, health and wellness, and personal support services. For example, the PhD Excellence Initiative is designed to recruit the very best PhD students and provide exceptional educational and research training. 

University at Albany

The University at Albany is another SUNY campus offering quality PhD and doctoral degree programs at affordable prices. Most of the 39 doctoral-level degrees are offered in a traditional on-campus format; the exceptions are education-related PhDs in literacy and curriculum and instruction, both of which are available fully online as well as on-campus.

Current per-semester costs for full-time (12-credit) students in on-campus PhD and doctoral programs at SUNY Albany are $6,876 for New York residents and $12,771 for out-of-state residents. Semester costs for online programs are $6,426 for New York residents and $7,589.50 for out-of-state residents. Students enrolled in nine credits or less per semester pay a per-credit tuition rate. Visit the Funding Graduate Studies page for a rundown of scholarships, fellowships, and graduate and teaching assistantships. SUNY Albany also offers tuition waivers, partial tuition payments, and fellowship opportunities to encourage and support diversity in its graduate student population.

New York University

New York University (NYU) is a private research institution located in New York City. NYU has 15 graduate schools that offer over 100 different PhD and doctoral degrees. Like SUNY Albany, most doctoral programs at NYU are held entirely on campus. One exception is the online EdD in Innovation and Leadership offered by NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

Tuition rates and fees for PhD and doctoral programs vary by program. Scholarships, assistantships, and teaching fellowships are administered through the individual NYU colleges and schools. PhD and doctoral students may also be eligible for unsubsidized and Graduate PLUS loans and work-study. To learn more, visit the Overview of Graduate Aid page.

Types of PhD and Doctoral Programs Available in New York

Doctoral and PhD programs in New York come in all different shapes and sizes, which might make it difficult to decide on the one that’s right for you. To cut down on the confusion, below are descriptions of some of the most common types of doctoral programs in New York state.

Full-Time PhD/Doctoral Programs in New York

Full-time PhD programs in New York State are quite common—maybe surprisingly so given the high level of commitment to rigorous study required in a full-time doctoral program. Program lengths vary by degree type and major; four to six years is typical. Students in full-time PhD programs at NYU’s Stern School of Business normally take five years to complete degree requirements, while the PhD in sociology at Cornell University can be completed in four years. Some programs take even less time; for more on those see the section on accelerated PhD and doctoral programs below. 

Part-Time PhD/Doctoral Programs in New York

Part-time doctoral and PhD programs in New York are also common, possibly more so than full-time ones, particularly when it comes to fully online and hybrid programs.  That’s because a growing number of working professionals are looking to earn their degrees while maintaining full-time jobs. Part-time programs are typically generous with program lengths, often allowing six or seven years for students to complete their PhD or doctorate in New York.

Examples of part-time doctoral and PhD programs in New York include the PhD in economics at Fordham University and the post-master’s PhD in nursing at The City University of New York. For more on part-time doctoral degrees, be sure to check out Best Part-Time PhD and Doctoral Programs (Online & Campus).

Fully Funded PhD/Doctoral Programs in New York

In your PhD or doctorate search, you’re likely to come across programs that are designated as “fully funded.” Fully funded means that the degree program is paid for through a combination of sources, including in-house scholarships and grants, tuition discounts and waivers, and fellowship and assistantship jobs. While still in the minority, you might be surprised to find that fully funded doctoral and PhD programs in New York State are, in fact, not that unusual. 

Examples of fully funded New York doctoral programs include the six PhDs at Columbia Business School (fully funded for the first four years) and 12 PhD degrees offered by the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry.

No-GRE PhD/Doctoral Programs in New York

Another recent trend with graduate programs in the U.S. is eliminating Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test scores from admissions requirements. And while most PhD and doctoral programs in New York state still require either general or subject-specific GRE test scores, a small but growing number do not. Two examples of such no-GRE programs are the Clinical Doctorate of Social Work at Yeshiva University  and the PhD in urban education at The City University of New York.

To learn more about no-GRE doctoral programs, check out PhDs & Doctorates Without GRE Requirements.

Accelerated PhD/Doctoral Programs in New York

As mentioned earlier, the program lengths for most doctoral and PhD programs in New York state range from four to seven years, depending on if you’re studying full-time or part-time. However, you might be surprised to learn that there are accelerated degree programs that allow you to earn your doctorate in less time. In fact, a few online doctoral programs in the U.S. can be completed in as little as one year. Accelerated doctoral and PhD programs in New York more commonly take two to three years. Examples include the Online Accelerated Doctor of Nursing Practice at Pace University  (as few as two years) and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs at Columbia University (three years). 

No Dissertation PhD/Doctoral Programs in New York

It’s difficult but not impossible to earn a doctoral degree in New York without completing a dissertation. PhD and doctoral programs without a dissertation typically require an alternative culminating activity, most commonly a capstone project. Two examples of such programs in New York state include the EdD in Innovation and Leadership program at NYU and the Post-Professional Doctor of Physical Therapy online program at Utica University

Computer Science

The PhD in computer science is for professionals interested in top-level positions in computer science industrial research or college-level academia. The focus is on advanced science leading to important and innovative technical developments in the field, not on developing computer programming skills.

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs
Quality Examples of Hybrid/Online Programs

Education

The field of education has two basic types of doctoral degrees. The Doctorate in Education (EdD) is primarily for professionals seeking roles in education administration and leadership. The PhD in education is primarily for educators seeking advanced teaching positions (most often in postsecondary education) and roles in educational policy and research. Curricula for both often focus on specialized areas within the larger educational field.

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs
Quality Examples of Hybrid/Online Programs

Nursing

The field of healthcare is hot, and perhaps no area of healthcare is in greater need of leaders than nursing. As a result, Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs are among the most popular of all doctoral programs. The DNP degree is available for experienced nurses with a previously earned MSN degree who are interested in top-tier leadership positions without giving up direct practice with patients. Most nurses interested in pursuing careers in academia find a PhD in nursing to be a better match for their goals.

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs
Quality Examples of Hybrid/Online Programs

Physical Therapy

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree is designed for students with a bachelor’s degree who want to become licensed physical therapists. DPT programs are very popular and are offered by many New York colleges and universities. A DPT is also a good fit for students who want to pursue research in the field. 

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs
Quality Examples of Hybrid/Online Programs

Psychology

Doctoral degrees in psychology are popular offerings from New York colleges and universities. There are two primary doctoral-level psychology credentials. The PhD in psychology is the oldest and most common of the two and is designed for students interested in conducting scientific research and/or teaching on the postsecondary level. The Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree is geared toward professionals interested in providing psychological services directly to patients. Both the psychology PhD and PsyD degrees prepare graduates for state examinations to become licensed psychologists. 

Quality Examples of On-Campus Programs

Earning Your PhD or Professional Doctorate Online in New York

While the number of online PhD and doctoral programs in New York is growing, you’ll find far fewer of them than traditional on-campus programs. Still, if the degree you’re looking for is available in an online format, you’ll discover lots of good reasons to consider the online route. 

The specifics of how you will study online vary from program to program. For example, some programs, like the Online PhD in Literacy at St. John’s University, are 100% online with no campus visits required. Others, like the Doctor of Ministry program at Fordham University, are presented in a hybrid format combining both online and on-campus components. Also, online programs may feature fully asynchronous coursework or combine asynchronous and synchronous elements. For example, the University at Buffalo’s Online Doctor of Social Work is 100% online but requires students to attend some class sessions via livestream on specific dates and times.

Regardless of format, the most important thing to remember is that, apart from the convenience of online study, your online doctoral or PhD program in New York will be virtually identical to its on-campus counterpart. You’ll take on the same rigorous curriculum, complete the same coursework, be taught by the same faculty, and meet all the same degree requirements as students in a traditional on-campus program.

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

Students in doctoral and PhD programs in New York state have access to the full range of financial aid resources available to other graduate students. These include scholarships and grants (both in-house and external), assistantships, fellowships, work-study programs, tuition installment plans, and student loans, such as Direct Unsubsidized Loans and Grad PLUS Loans available through the U.S. Department of Education. 

For examples of financial aid opportunities for doctoral and PhD students in New York, check out the links below.

How Much You Could Make with a Doctorate in New York

Making more money is far from the only reward for getting a doctoral degree. But for most people, it’s one of the biggest. Graduates of PhD and other doctoral programs in New York can safely expect to see sizable boosts to their paychecks once they’ve earned their degrees. According to 2021 median earnings figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, doctoral degree holders earned 21% more each week than master’s degree holders and 41% more than employees with only a bachelor’s degree.

The chart below offers recent annual earnings figures in New York state for a number of occupations common to PhD and doctoral degree graduates. What you’ll actually earn, of course, will depend on your specific employer and job title, your geographic location, and your level of work experience.

Job TitleRelated Doctoral Degree(s)Median Earnings90th Percentile Earnings
Nurse PractitionerDoctor of Nursing Practice$120,680$163,350
College Business ProfessorPhD in Education$94,360$198,240
Clinical PsychologistDoctor of Psychology (PsyD)$82,510$167,460
Middle School PrincipalDoctor of Education (EdD)$98,420$153,520
Physical TherapistDoctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)$95,620$121,140
Human Resources DirectorDoctor of Business Administration (DBA)$163,360$208,000
Curriculum and Instruction DirectorDoctor of Education (EdD)$77,400$125,560
EpidemiologistDoctor of Public Health (DrPH)$92,040$208,000+

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021