Best PhD and Doctoral Programs in Texas: Online & Campus 

Looking for quality, affordable doctoral programs in Texas? Look no further. This guide outlines the best online, on-campus, and hybrid options for reaching the pinnacle of your field.

Written By

Angela Myers

Last updated

Sep 22, 2022

If you live in Texas and want to get your PhD or doctorate, you’re in the right place. Texas has a wide variety of programs for those looking to advance their education to the highest levels. Many doctoral programs in Texas are affordable, provide high-quality education, and offer online or hybrid instruction. In this guide, we’ll show you the top-rated PhD and doctoral programs in Texas, the most popular PhD and professional doctorate degrees in the state, and what a typical online program looks like. 

So whether you want to be a psychologist in Corpus Christi or an engineer in El Paso, by the end of this guide you’ll be ready to start your search for the on-campus or online PhD or doctoral program in Texas that’s perfect for you.

Top-Rated PhD and Doctoral Programs in Texas for 2022

While everyone’s definition of “best” will be different, the following three universities all offer a variety of quality on-campus and online doctoral programs in Texas. The programs we chose to highlight also have flexible study options and reasonable tuition costs. Even if these aren’t the perfect pick for you, you can use these spotlights as a quality metric when researching other doctoral and PhD programs in Texas. 

Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University provides a variety of high-quality doctoral programs with the option to take some courses online. While tuition is about $20,000 per year in-state, programs at Texas Tech offer many opportunities to be fully funded, especially for in-person students who can hold teaching or research assistantships alongside their coursework. Another option for funding is doctoral fellowships, which cover tuition and provide a stipend for students. The school also offers top-notch grad student resources, from the graduate student writing center to leadership training programs. Nine of Texas Tech’s doctoral degrees are fully online and five are hybrid. 

University of Texas at Tyler

The University of Texas at Tyler (UT Tyler) offers six doctoral programs, including a Doctorate in Nursing and a PhD in Human Resource Development. Each program boasts not only a rigorous curriculum but also access to resources available throughout the University of Texas system. UT Tyler also offers generous fellowships and assistantships to help offset the cost of tuition. Currently, the school has three on-campus programs, two online PhDs, and one hybrid program. Most programs don’t require a dissertation and directly correlate to a career outside of academia, including as a pharmacist, nurse, or HR director.

Texas Woman’s University

Texas Woman’s University (TWU) offers over 25 programs at the doctoral level across a variety of disciplines – and many are offered in either a fully-online or in a hybrid format. TWU was one of the pioneers of online and hybrid research and has many resources available to help online students with their dissertations. Additionally, TWU allows doctoral students to customize their learning experiences to their specific goals through flexible curricula and research opportunities. Because the university is overwhelmingly female, many programs, including the PhD in Psychology, offer a uniquely female-focused perspective. To offset the cost of tuition, TWU offers graduate assistantships both as research assistants and as teaching assistants. 

Types of PhD and Doctoral Programs Available in Texas

Not all PhD and doctoral programs in Texas are created the same. To make sure you enroll in the right program for your needs, check out the following six different types of programs, what they require, and who they are a good fit for.

Full-Time PhD/Doctoral Programs in Texas

The most traditional kind of PhD or doctoral program in Texas is a full-time program. Often, this includes three years in PhD-level courses and two years completing a dissertation. Because of the academic rigor of these programs, students typically don’t work full-time while completing their full-time PhDs. Two full-time PhD programs in Texas to check out include the University of Texas at Austin’s full-time PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology and the Psychological and Brain Sciences PhD from Texas A&M.

Part-Time PhD/Doctoral Programs in Texas

Similar to a full-time PhD, a part-time PhD program in Texas is available in a variety of disciplines and often requires a dissertation. Unlike a full-time program, which can be completed in four to five years, a part-time program typically takes five to eight years. Some popular part-time programs in Texas include the Doctoral Degree in Developmental Education from Texas State and Texila American University’s PhD in Management.

Fully Funded PhD/Doctoral Programs in Texas

If finances are a concern you’ll want to consider a fully funded PhD or doctoral program in Texas, which means the cost of your PhD is covered by the university. Often, this funding is in exchange for being a research or teaching assistant. The good news is fully funded PhD programs are quite common, especially in the sciences and liberal arts. For example, both the PhD in Biology from Texas A&M and University of Texas at Austin PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology are fully funded.

No-GRE PhD/Doctoral Programs in Texas

The GRE is an entrance exam required by some in-person and online PhD/doctoral programs in Texas. If you don’t want to take the GRE, you’re in luck—some PhD and doctoral programs don’t require it. No-GRE programs are diverse in discipline, course requirements, and format (online, hybrid, or in person). They range from the PhD in Counseling Psychology at Texas Woman’s University to Texas A&M Commerce’s PhD in Educational Administration.

Accelerated PhD/Doctoral Programs in Texas

If you want to fast-track your PhD and get it done in three to four years, consider an accelerated PhD program in Texas. While these programs usually require a dissertation, they require less PhD coursework. They’re most popular in education and business and are sometimes offered in an online format. Two accelerated PhD programs in Texas include the University of Texas at Austin’s PhD in Management and Texas Fort University’s PhD in Education

No Dissertation PhD/Doctoral Programs in Texas

The dissertation is often the scariest part of completing a PhD. While a dissertation can be rewarding to write, authoring and defending it can take two years or longer. Luckily, some doctoral programs in Texas don’t require dissertations. Take a look at the Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Texas Tech and Baylor University’s Doctorate of Physical Therapy.

Universities in Texas offer doctoral degrees in nearly every field. Check out some of the most common options below, along with a list of quality online and on-campus programs for each.

Counseling/Psychology

If you’re interested in advancing a career in counseling or psychology, you most likely will need to complete a PhD program in Texas. Often a PhD in Psychology or PsyD degree is needed to act as a licensed therapist or psychologist. Having your doctoral degree can also lead to a variety of opportunities in research or teaching. 

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

Education

Earning a PhD in education or Doctor of Education (EdD) can open doors to a variety of opportunities, from becoming a school administrator to working as a curriculum designer to conducting educational research for a university. This is the perfect doctorate for you if you already have experience in the educational field and want to deepen that knowledge. 

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

Business

If you’re an experienced business professional looking to become an expert in your field, consider a PhD in Business or Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) through a program in Texas. Many of these programs are specialized by business discipline (management, marketing, business analytics, etc.) and require both educational and professional experience in the field to apply.

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

Physical Therapy

To become a physical therapist, you must get a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. This hands-on degree is the perfect fit for anyone with an undergraduate degree in a related health science field and a passion for helping others recover from injuries and other mobility issues. Most programs are in person, with Baylor University offering the only hybrid program in the state.

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

Biology

If you want to conduct scientific research in the field of biology, you most likely will need to complete a PhD program in Texas. This is especially true if you want to be a research lead. Because this degree requires so much time in a lab, it’s difficult to find online programs, though some hybrid programs exist.

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

Earning Your PhD or Professional Doctorate Online in Texas

If you find it difficult to get to campus every day and are looking for a more flexible option, a hybrid or online PhD or doctoral program in Texas might be for you. But hybrid or online programs look different than in-person ones. Some online programs, such as the Texila American University’s PhD in Management, offer all classes online and require very few campus visits, other than graduation. Courses are offered both during the day and after work hours or on weekends to accommodate all learners. Additionally, they also have online dissertation resources available to students and work with students to scaffold a high-quality dissertation online. 

Other programs, such as Baylor University’s Doctorate of Physical Therapy, are hybrid programs. In Baylor’s program, students can take their first year of classes online. In the second year, students must take their courses on campus. During the second year, students must also complete field experiences in a physical therapy office.

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

To help offset the cost of tuition, a variety of financial aid opportunities are available to on-campus and online doctoral students in Texas. These include scholarships and grants, fellowships, work-study programs, and graduate research assistantships. Scholarships can come from your university or other organizations, such as PEO, which offers scholarships to women. Fellowships are usually offered through your school, and work-study programs involve working on campus in exchange for money toward tuition. 

For most PhD and doctoral candidates in Texas, the most popular type of financial assistance is graduate assistantships. Assistantships can involve teaching undergraduate courses, such as the assistantships offered at Texas A&M Commerce. They can also involve helping with research in a lab, such as the University of Texas at Austin research assistantship from the biology department.

Earnings for Doctorate Holders in Texas

Getting your doctorate not only allows you to become an expert in a topic you’re passionate about, but it also can lead to a bump in your paycheck. For some professions, such as psychology or physical therapy, a doctoral degree is required to enter the field above the assistant level. For other fields, such as education and finance, you can expect to make $18,000-$30,000 more annually compared to those with a master’s or bachelor’s in the field. If you’re interested in how much you can earn with popular on-campus and online doctoral programs in Texas, check out the chart below.

Job TitleRelated Doctoral Degree(s)Median Earnings90th Percentile Earnings
Clinical/Counseling PsychologistDoctor of Psychology (PsyD) / PhD in Psychology$78,000$126,870
Curriculum and Instruction DirectorDoctor of Education (EdD)$63,740$97,360
Physical TherapistDoctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)$99,040$136,870
Financial OfficerDoctor of Business Administration (DBA)$133,900$208,000
Public Health DirectorDoctor of Public Health (DrPH)$102,110$171,180
Adult Gerontology Nurse PractitionerDoctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)$121,010$154,080

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021