Doctoral Studies via the Internet

1.0 Introduction

Over the past year I have been thinking about possibly attempting an online Doctoral program. I am almost finished with my M.S. in Information Systems through Capella University and have been interested in continuing my education. Online programs give you the ability to work full time, but also expand your future possibilities. Whether I continue on, or if I leave it at this web page, I thought that someone else should benefit from what I've found.

2.0 Stigma?

One of the things that I worried about when starting an online education, was the possible stigma attached to non-traditional learning. The exposure that many people have to places that aren't "brick and mortar" institutions vary from person to person, but often times the idea of a "degree mill" is brought up. What is the point of spending time studying and doing academic research if it will not be accepted? While working on my Master's degree, I found that people are very accepting of the idea of online education when large organizations such as the military or big companies use these institutions to train their management staff. As the world becomes more connected and the "traditional" campus based universities become part of this market, it will finally blend together. If the venerable Harvard University has gotten into the game, the online degree is becoming more acceptable than ever.

3.0 The Basics

I don't have a solid target of the exact subject that I would like to study, but these are programs that I'm going to exclude from the beginning:

Programs in:
Beyond that, the schools need to hold a regional accreditation from one of these agencies:
There are several online schools that are accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), but the company that I work for will not recognize a degree unless it comes from the "Big Six", so I'll stick to those for accreditation. To check on the accreditation of schools, I've found that the US Department of Education's website ( is one of the best sources to find generic information, then I drill down to get the specifics from the regional accreditation agency.

I am going to be excluding a few schools from my research for these reasons, but otherwise they look like wonderful places to study.

These schools are excluded because they don't have regional accreditation, but several of them have students that have become licensed Lawyers and Psychologists.

I am going to be focussing on these schools:

4.0 The Degrees

Depending on the program and the type of research required to complete the program institutions award different types of doctoral degrees. Some of these are "Terminal Doctorates" which denote a profession (which is usally licensed), or others are more research oriented.

5.0 Residency

This is where I will put information on the amount of residency required for different programs.

6.0 Program Cost / Comparison

This table shows the costs of attending these programs. I don't attest that these numbers are current, but they are current as of the info I had on 1/4/2006.

School Name
Degree Program
Explanation Accreditation
Office Location
Capella University Ph.D. in Organization and Management / IT Management $3,975 Quarter $1,350 Residential Week NCA Minneapolis, MN
Fielding Gratuate University Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Systems $17,820 Year N/A N/A WASC Santa Barbara, CA
Fielding Gratuate University Ed.D. in Media Studies $15,975 Year N/A N/A WASC Santa Barbara, CA
Northcentral University DBA $475 Unit $1,600 Dissertation Fee NCA Prescott, AZ
Northcentral University Ph.D. in Business Administration $475 Unit $1,600 Dissertation Fee NCA Prescott, AZ
Nova Southeastern Ph.D. in Information Systems $500 Credit Hour $5,400 Dissertation SACS Fort Lauderdale, FL
Touro University International Ph.D. in Business Administration $375 Unit N/A N/A WASC Cypress, CA
Walden University Ph.D. in Applied Management and Decision Systems $4,050 Quarter $1,200 12 Day Residency Fee NCA Minneapolis, MN

7.0 Academic Output

This table shows the amount of doctoral dissertations coming out of each institutions as of 1/22/2006, during the 2005/2006 academic year. At the end of the table, traditional academic institutions are included for comparison.

Academic Output according to
School Number of Published
Dissertations in 2005/2006
PACE University 2
University of Maryland, University College 8
Golden Gate University 8
Touro University International 11
Northcentral University 14
University of Phoenix 24
Union Institute and University 54
Fielding Graduate University 54
Nova Southeastern University 54
Walden University 95
Capella University 273
- -
George Washington University 164
Yale University 184
Rutgers University 247
Princeton University 230
Harvard University 367
Stanford University 463