Liberty University Doctoral Program Reviews

Last Updated on December 16, 2022 by Omoyeni Adeniyi

My experience at Liberty University has been exceptional. The professors are truly invested in student’s education and their growth as learners. Adjustments are made as needed to meet the needs of the student. Small class sizes and leveled learning have enabled the student to gain confidence in their learning abilities. The school also have a great infrastructure and amenities like academic building, laboratories and great programs to help students.

  • Doctoral Student
  • 24 hours ago
  • Overall Experience

ReportRating 5 out of 5 The overall curriculum is modern and challenging. The curriculum keeps the student engage and prepares the student for a great future after graduation. Good faculty-student relationship is maintained. Most of the faculty members are well qualified with a doctoral degree. They are excellent in their own field. The syllabus is updated regularly with all the recent technologies in the respective fields.

  • Doctoral Student
  • 24 hours ago
  • Academics

ReportRating 5 out of 5 I have had many friends in different fields of study tell me they enjoyed their experience with the academics at Liberty University, and I am enjoying them as well. What a great school and a great experience.

  • Master’s Student
  • 10 days ago
  • Academics

ReportStart Your Review of Liberty UniversityRate It!Rating 5 out of 5 At Liberty University, they go above and beyond to make you feel important. I never felt like I was just another student or like anyone there did not like their job, and I spoke to SEVERAL different divisions over the phone and through Chat Online. Everyone was able to answer my questions or did research to find an answer for me. I also had several people offer to pray for me, which is sadly unusual, even for a Christian School. They truly care about their students success.

  • Master’s Student
  • 10 days ago
  • Overall Experience

ReportRating 4 out of 5 The course I am taking is a dual masters program. A masters in nursing science and master in business. The courses I have taken are very interesting and informative. The course work is manageable. I currently work as a full time nurse 4-5 days a week since the COVID19 pandemic has occurred. I am also a father of 2 and happily married. The instructors create a clear and organized program that set students up for success. Even though my home life is very busy Liberty University makes it easy to attend school.
The program is designed to help students that are motivated in becoming a chief nursing officer at a hospital. The programs information is realistic and relatable to my current work. Since being in the program I have taken the education I learned and implemented it into my current hospital. I was able to implement updates on policies that improved nursing care to clients. The policies also improved the working environment and improved the culture at my hospital.

  • Master’s Student
  • 28 days ago
  • Overall Experience

ReportRating 4 out of 5 Liberty University makes each class 8 week long. This allows students to focus on one subject at a time. This streamlines their educational process. This process help focus students on providing the best course work they can offer. The instructors are always available to help. They also have an online student section where fellow students can help with simple questions.
If anyone is interested in a dual master program Liberty University is the ideal place to take it. They take school work and make it practical for easy implementation.

  • Master’s Student
  • 28 days ago
  • Academics

ReportRating 5 out of 5 I am enrolling for the fall 2021 graduate program of applied developmental psychology. I am excited to find out all that liberty University has to offer me through academics and other opportunities.

  • Master’s Student
  • 1 month ago
  • Overall Experience

ReportRating 5 out of 5 I am enrolling for the fall 2021 graduate program of applied developmental psychology. I am excited to find out all Liberty University has to offer.

  • Master’s Student
  • 1 month ago
  • Academics

ReportRating 5 out of 5 The quality of education is excellent, the curriculum is Christian-based, all Professors have been exceptional and the content is relevant in today’s business world.

  • Master’s Student
  • 2 months ago
  • Overall Experience

ReportRating 5 out of 5 Course work is demanding, start and stop times are flexible within the confounds of the due dates for each class. The Professors have all had real-world experience in addition to robust academic credentials.

  • Master’s Student
  • 2 months ago
  • Academics

ReportRating 5 out of 5 The current class I am taking is very interesting and is only making me more interested in knowing more about history and learn from it.

  • Master’s Student
  • 3 months ago
  • Academics

ReportRating 5 out of 5 Very military friendly and always willing to assist you. I have a very friendly and intellectual people in my class who make the class even better.

  • Master’s Student
  • 3 months ago
  • Overall Experience

doctorate programs

Doctorate degrees are considered “terminal degrees” in most fields, reflecting the fact that they are the highest education level you can achieve. Students who decide to pursue these degrees are committed to developing advanced knowledge in a specific topic area, and to becoming skilled researchers. Research doctorate degree programs (i.e., Ph.D.) focus on academic research and subject matter expertise, while professional doctorate degree programs (e.g., D.N.P., Pharm.D., Ed.D.) are designed to prepare students for action-based research and work in an applied setting.

A relatively small percentage of people complete this advanced degree. Why are there so few doctoral graduates compared to other degrees? In part because there are fewer positions that require this level of education. Fewer opportunities lead to increased competition among job seekers when there are more applicants than positions available.

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Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

However, there is an upward trend in students pursuing doctoral level education. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), “Between academic years 2000–01 and 2015–16, the total number of postsecondary degrees conferred increased at all degree levels: doctor’s degrees by 49 percent (from 120,000 to 178,000.)” This increase may be due to the access now available through online doctoral programs.


The Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) may be the most recognized doctoral degree, but there are others at this level (e.g., Ed.D., D.B.A., D.N.P., Pharm.D.). The Ph.D. is sometimes referred to as a “research degree” since one of the primary components of the curriculum includes designing and conducting original research through the dissertation process. The Ph.D. is also focused on preparing students for work in academia as professors, conducting research to add to the existing knowledge base in their field, and serving as consultants in a range of settings, such as think tanks and corporations.

Professional doctorate degrees are found in a variety of fields from Education (Ed.D.) and Business (D.B.A.) to Nursing (D.N.P.) and Pharmacy (Pharm.D.). These programs prepare students to apply what they’ve learned in their respective industries. Graduates typically take positions that allow them to practice these skills in the workplace, although they may also participate in research activities.

Professional doctorate degree programs require student research, similar to Ph.D. programs, but may also include the development of a portfolio or special project. There are no clear-cut divisions between the roles Ph.D. and professional doctorate graduates can hold, however. There are Ph.D. graduates working in the industry, and professional doctorates teaching at the college level.

Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and Ph.D. programs provide a good comparison of the differences in program experiences. M.D. programs typically include two years of coursework followed by two years of advanced courses that include clinical components. Graduates then move into supervised residency positions to further their education and prepare them for independent practice as physicians in their chosen specialty area and professional licensure to practice medicine.

Ph.D. programs typically include 2-3 years of coursework followed by supervised research and teaching, culminating in the completion of an original research project or dissertation. The time required can vary depending on the research project and topic. Most Ph.D. programs expect students to graduate in 4-6 years. Graduates may choose to pursue a “postdoc” program to gain more advanced research experience and training before moving into academic positions.

You can find both online Ph.D. and professional doctoral degrees, including the M.D. These programs may be shorter in duration, particularly for students who have advanced relevant working experience and related graduate degrees at the master’s level.

Students interested in online professional degrees or the M.D. should look closely at curriculum requirements, which may include on-site clinical experience and fieldwork. These programs are not always designed to prepare students for licensure or certification required to work in the field, so talk with admissions and academic advisors to find out more about what you can expect, how the program will help you meet your goals, and where alumni are employed.

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Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.


On-Campus Full Time

Evening/Weekend Classes




Time to completion can be affected by your field of study, research focus, faculty and student services support, and your motivation and availability to complete the degree requirements. The general curriculum includes coursework, followed by comprehensive exams, and completion of an original research project. The time it takes to design, execute, and analyze the dissertation project, as well as work through the process of approval by a faculty committee, varies by project and student.

Total number of courses, core and elective, and other learning requirements, such as internships, apprenticeships, clinical experiences, and teaching, also vary by discipline and whether or not you pursue a research or professional doctorate degree. You’ll find a range of credits from 36 to 90 or more, plus credits earned as part of the dissertation process. Having completed a related master’s degree before enrolling in the doctorate may reduce the total number of course credits required.

Among traditional campus-based doctoral programs, the average time to completion is 5.8 years. Online doctoral programs feature similar degree requirements – coursework, exams, dissertation research. But many advertise slightly shorter completion times, ranging from 3 to 5 years.

Accelerated tracks rely on transferring graduate-level credits related to the doctoral program of study, prior related work experience for professional programs, and ideas about a research agenda. Some online doctorate programs use a cohort learning approach in which small groups of students who enter the program at the same time progress through their courses and other degree requirements together as a group, often graduating as a group. Other programs allow each student to enroll and proceed with his or her online program requirements at an individual pace.

How Much Does An Online Doctoral Degree Cost?

Cost is a factor that should always be considered when choosing any online degree program. Doctoral programs are usually more expensive than master’s programs since they require completion of more credit hours. Students who rely on college loans to pay for school should be careful to calculate payback amounts that include interest rates. Consider living expenses and school expenses in your budget as you plan your financial future as an online student.

In addition to tuition, students should anticipate additional costs and fees related to academic work, such as textbooks, software, hardware, and Internet access required for participating in online classes. Doctoral programs can also include costs related to residency requirements (i.e., fees plus travel and lodging) and prior learning assessment. When researching options, compare cost-per-credit, which varies by school and can also vary by program and type of course.

Annual tuition rates are reported below. Keep in mind that the average time to complete a doctorate degree is approximately 5 years, and that tuition rates can increase every year.

Average Cost for Graduate Degrees

Public Institutions$12,171
Private Non-Profit Institutions$27,776
Private For-Profit Institutions$14,208


The differences between online program and on-campus program costs are becoming more narrow as more traditional schools offer online programs at the same tuition rates as their campus-based equivalents. Being an online student can still be an advantage financially, however, since costs for commuting to campus and parking are reduced. Similar costs include textbooks, hardware, and software. Online learners also need reliable Internet service and may have costs related to attending in-person residencies or seminars at a campus or other regional location determined by the institution.

Paying for a doctoral program often means relying on multiple sources. On-campus students at this level can apply for research, teaching, and graduate assistantships, which provide a stipend plus tuition waivers in return for work related to the field of study as directed by faculty and the academic department.

These opportunities are also available in some online programs but are not as widespread. Institutional grants in the form of fellowships or scholarships may also be an option, and vary by school and program. Students who work for companies that encourage graduate-level degrees may also find financial incentives available through their employers for attending specific programs that are relevant to their employment.

Total graduate student (master’s and doctoral)
aid by source and type for the 2015-2016 school year

Federal Loans64%
Institutional Grants22%
Private and Employer Grants8%
Federal Grants2%
State GrantsLess than 1%
Federal Work StudyLess than 1%

Almost all graduate students rely on some type of financial assistance to reach their educational goals. A combination of resources are available, including federal financial aid as well as federal and private loans. If you are interested in federal funding, submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step. Other financial aid resources include grants and scholarships offered through your state, school, and private lenders. Our guide to a debt-free degree includes savings strategies and budgeting tips to consider before you enroll and while you are a student.

Who Should Consider an Online Doctoral Degree?

Students who pursue a doctoral degree are interested in developing advanced knowledge in a specific area of study, as well as learning how to conduct academic research. This level of academic work goes beyond what you’ll find in a master’s degree program, to include the opportunity to develop expertise in the area of interest and contribute original research to other professionals in your field.

Most students who complete an online Ph.D. or research doctorate degree are interested in finding positions at colleges and universities or research centers. Students who pursue professional doctorate programs (e.g., D.B.A., Ed.D., D.N.P., Pharm.D.) are usually interested in working in senior-level clinical or practical application positions after graduation, often in business and industry settings.

Completing a doctorate degree can help further your career if you are on a path that requires this level of preparation. Earning a doctoral degree can also increase your salary. However, there are fewer positions of this type available and increasing competition among applicants, particularly those with Ph.Ds. According to the BLS, in 2019, the median weekly earnings for full-time workers ages 25 and over whose highest level of education was a doctoral degree was $1,883, compared with $1,246 for those whose highest level was a bachelor’s degree.


The primary reason to pursue a doctoral degree is because it is a requirement to get hired in your career of interest, and at the level of work you want to perform. In addition to becoming an expert in a specific field, doctoral students develop advanced skills in the following areas: problem-solving and critical thinking; project management; data collection, analysis, and reporting; research design; and oral and written communication.

  • Professor, Postsecondary / Higher Education: A doctorate is typically required to become a college or university professor. Faculty members at this level teach in graduate programs (master’s and doctorate), conduct ongoing research in their field of expertise, and supervise student research. See our guide on the Best Online Doctorate in Higher Education Programs.
  • Senior Research Scientist: These professionals are highly trained in research methods and are subject matter experts in their field of research. They may work in academic settings as well as in business and industry developing products and evaluating processes. Online doctorate programs prepare them for this level of expertise, as well as positions as program managers and facility directors.
  • Psychiatrist: Psychiatrists work with patients to assess, diagnose, and treat mental disorders. This role includes tasks such as counseling, prescribing medicine, and treatment coordination with other medical professionals and organizations. Practicing psychiatrists, working in a healthcare facility or in private practice, must complete medical school (M.D.) and meet licensing requirements.
  • Hospital Pharmacy Director: This is a leadership position that requires a wide skill set including budgeting, business management, and pharmacology. Directors are responsible for ensuring that a pharmacy complies with laws and regulations, is staffed and managed properly as a business, and meets customer needs. A doctoral degree, the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.), and licensure are required.
  • Veterinarian: Providing medical services to animals involves advanced training and licensure. The Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) degree is required, and prepares students to pass state-level testing. Many veterinarians also specialize in a type of medicine and/or type of animal (e.g., small pets, large farm animals), and they are employed in a range of settings from private medical offices to larger hospital facilities and zoos.

How to Choose an Online Doctoral Degree

Doctoral programs require a significant investment from students in terms of time, commitment, and money. If you are sure an online doctorate program is right for you, take some time to compare multiple options in your field of interest. Each program is unique in terms of its curriculum, faculty, and specialization options. Finding the right match is essential to helping you reach your career and education goals at this advanced level. In addition to cost and subject area, here are a few considerations to explore:

How flexible are class schedules?

Will the program fulfill licensure or certification requirements?

Are there in-person attendance requirements?

What are faculty members’ specialties?

How is the program organized?


What are your professional goals? What kind of work do you want to pursue? These are just a few of the questions that can help you determine which type of doctoral degree you want to pursue. Students who are primarily interested in an academic career, as a professor or senior administrator, typically choose a Ph.D. program. Ph.D. programs are designed to help students become experts in a specific area of study and develop advanced research skills.

Students who are more interested in applied careers related to business and industry can choose from a range of professional doctorate degrees, such as the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) and Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.). Some professional doctorates are highly specialized for a particular industry (e.g., Doctor of Pharmacy – Pharm.D., Doctor of Nursing Practice – D.N.P., Doctor of Medicine – M.D., Doctor of Social Work – D.S.W.). These programs offer a combination of research training and preparation for professional practice.

These popular doctoral degree programs can lead to a wide variety of career options. Each school may also provide students with a choice of concentration or specialization.

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.): Ed.D. students complete coursework, research, and practical experience requirements focused on meeting current challenges in education. Graduates pursue administrative careers in higher education and K-12 settings, as well as in related organizations and companies. Popular concentrations include: Educational Administration, Organizational Leadership, Special Education, Educational Technology, Curriculum and Instruction, and Community College Leadership.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D): The Ph.D. curriculum focuses on research theory and design, as well as a specific academic discipline (e.g. Biology, Psychology, Engineering, Computer Science, Math, Sociology, History). Students can further specialize their programs with concentrations related to their primary area of study. Many Ph.D. students are pursuing careers in academia and research, although graduates also work in business and industry.

Doctor of Theology (Th.D.): The Th.D. is similar to the Ph.D., focused on research, but within theological topics, such as denominational history, hermeneutics, theological practices, mission studies, liturgy, and ethical values. Some programs offer students additional academic concentrations (e.g., pastoral counseling, world religions, peace studies, Old Testament). Graduates may pursue academic teaching and research jobs, as well as positions in ministry and nonprofit leadership.

M.D. (Medical Doctorate): M.D. students typically pursue careers as practicing physicians. After completing medical school, they serve as residents to continue their clinical training and specialize in a wide range of medical fields from anesthesiology to vascular surgery. Many schools provide joint degree options (e.g., M.D./M.B.A., M.D./Ph.D., MD/J.D., MD/M.Div.) for students who also want advanced skills to work in a broader setting.


Your state of residency is part of your application process, and you may be unsure about in-state and out-of-state tuition rates in an online program. In recent years, college tuition and fees vary by school – some schools charged more for online courses, while others charged less. This is changing, however, and now you’ll find that many schools charge the same per-credit tuition rate for online and on-campus courses. This is not the case at every school, and tuition can even vary by program within an institution, so it is critical to understand specific costs and compare these among the schools you are considering before you enroll.

It’s also important to understand that not all online programs enroll students from any state without prior approval, due to complex federal and state regulations. In response to work by the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, many schools offering online programs work with their states to participate in the agreement. This process was designed with students and schools in mind, to streamline processes, ensure quality, and minimize costs. Check with each school you are interested in applying to for more information about how they enroll students from the state where you live. In addition to tuition and fee charges, there are other considerations when deciding to attend an online program in- or out-of-state.

Several recent research reports found that online students are increasingly choosing institutions in their local area. Why do students choose to go to schools within their home state? These schools already have name recognition in their communities and with local employers. Being near a physical campus also means that online students can take full advantage of services ranging from libraries and career counseling to advisors and fitness centers.

This is particularly beneficial for doctoral students who want to interact more directly with faculty mentors, participate in research center activities, access specialized libraries, and serve as teaching or research assistants on campus. Students who are also working toward state licensure should check with their state licensing office for more information about enrolling in an out-of-state and online program.


You’ll find similar doctoral programs offered online through public and private universities. The primary difference lies in the fact that public institutions rely on state and federal funding, while private non-profit institutions rely on tuition, fees, and private donations.

Private for-profit institutions are more focused on a business model concerned with financial return for stockholders. Public institutions can typically offer lower tuition rates than private schools, but this isn’t always the case – public schools may have separate in-state and out-of-state rates to compare. Public schools also usually have larger student enrollments, and many offer a wider range of degree programs.

At the doctorate level, each school will offer a unique set of advantages and disadvantages. Depending on your area of study, there may be a small number of programs that are considered more prestigious, whether they are public or private. In addition to comparing tuition and fees, research other resources that may impact your learning experience, such as the ability to be a teaching or graduate assistant (with a stipend and tuition waiver). Non-financial considerations are also important: faculty qualifications, student research opportunities, and graduation rates.


The differences between “online” and “on campus” are primarily related to the format of delivery. Is one format better than the other? A better question is which format is best for you. Students at undergraduate and graduate levels are reporting a high-level of satisfaction with online learning, and institutions are seeing an increasing demand for more online learning options. Prospective doctoral students should weigh the flexibility and convenience of online access and class participation with the opportunities for faculty mentorship and access to resources and support for research in their area of interest when comparing online and on-campus options.

As more traditional, campus-based institutions offer online access to their programs, including online Ph.D. programs, the more accepted they become across higher education. As the academic quality and student services related to online education improve, graduates are more prepared for their lives after graduation and employers gain respect for online learning through the experience of hiring qualified alumni.

Why Accreditation is Key

Accreditation is the basic process higher education relies on to ensure academic quality. It involves an external review of curriculum, faculty, facilities, finances, student support services, learning objectives, student satisfaction, and a range of administrative practices (e.g., admissions, recruiting) by a private organization. Once accreditation has been achieved, periodic reviews keep it up to date. Online and on-campus programs go through the same accreditation process, although there are some agencies that specialize in online education.

At the graduate level, look for both institutional accreditation and program accreditation. All schools you consider should have current accreditation status from either a regional or national accrediting agency. While the review process is essentially the same, regional accreditation is still considered by some to be more prestigious. Some subject areas also have specialized accreditation. Accredited online doctoral programs in psychology, for example, may be accredited by the American Psychological Association. If your doctoral program helps you prepare for licensure, be sure to check with your state office for guidance on accreditation.

How can you ensure that you are considering accredited online doctoral programs? There are two groups currently monitoring accrediting agencies and the schools they have accredited. The goal of these efforts is to inform students and employers about the status of schools and programs. Accreditation can also affect the ability of a school to receive federal financial aid. The U.S. Department of Education, a government agency, maintains lists of recognized accreditors and a database of currently accredited schools. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) is an association of colleges and universities that serves as an advocate for students and academic quality. CHEA maintains a directory of recognized accreditors and a database of schools and programs.

Applying to a Doctoral Degree Program

Each school and program has different requirements for admission and a separate application process. Check with each school you are interested in attending to make sure you have current information about what to prepare and submit. Review our checklist of items to consider as you compare online doctoral programs and prepare to submit your applications.

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