North Carolina is the state with the 9th largest population in the US and has a knowledge-based economy that largely centers around banking, technology, and pharmaceuticals. Charlotte, NC is the second largest-banking hub of the country and the state currently has the 17th-largest economy, but is number seven for fiscal stability.
North Carolina was also named as the 13th best state for college education by the US News & World Report. The state is home to two of the country’s most prestigious institutions, Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The two schools are known for their rivalry, especially in basketball, with other North Carolina universities also well-known for sports, as well as excellence in higher education.
The Fuqua School of Business is part of the Duke Graduate School, which has around 2,500 doctorate students. The school has a research-based approach and aims to develop future leaders with exceptional analytical skills. This NC PhD program is offered in collaboration with other schools, including UNC-Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University.
The School of Nursing at UNC-Chapel Hill is well-regarded in the field of nursing and healthcare leadership, with particular expertise in elder care, mental/behavioral health, global health, as well as maternal, child, and family care. Their DNP in Healthcare Leadership & Administration is one of the best online doctoral programs in North Carolina, offering a high degree of flexibility by combining synchronous and asynchronous learning approaches. Though the default program has a BSN to DNP track for students with an undergraduate degree, there is also an MSN to DNP track for nursing professionals who have a graduate qualification such as an APRN, MHA, MPH, or MBA.
Courses include: Evidence-based practice and research, public policy and advocacy in health care, and pathophysiology for advanced nursing practice.
The highly-collaborative Department of Biochemistry at Wake Forest University works hand-in-hand with a range of centers for research, including the Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Center for Molecular Communication and Signaling, and the Center for Human Genomics and Personalized Medicine Research. This is one of the few PhD programs in NC boasting faculty with expertise in cancer research, including in areas such as nucleic acid metabolism and signal transduction in cancer and inflammation.
Courses include: Advanced biochemistry, epigenetics, and genomics.
East Carolina University ranks high in terms of ‘educate to career’, a measure of the economic value of its education. In short, this means that the school’s degrees equip you to build a successful career by providing you with valuable skills and making you more attractive to potential employers, encompassing high-quality education, affordability, and employability. While most doctoral programs in NC have a fixed number of credits and courses, this PhD in Nursing program allows interested students to pick up extra credits to study subjects outside of the basic course requirements.
Courses include: Theory for the practice of advanced nursing, translational nursing sciences, and statistical methods for nursing research.
Credits: 72-84 (54 for MSN to PhD and DNP to PhD tracks)
NC State is a public university that was been highly ranked by the US News & World Report for various factors, including being named #7 of the best value schools and #26 for best engineering schools in the USA. This is one of the few doctoral programs in NC in the field of aerodynamics or aerospace engineering, and offers specialized research areas covering aerodynamics, space exploration, vibrations & controls, structural mechanics, and thermal sciences.
Courses include: Fluid dynamics of combustion, advanced solid mechanics, and principles of structural vibration.
Appalachian State University is one of the 17 schools that sit under the University of North Carolina System and is known for its inclusion and diversity. This is one of the few online PhD programs in NC in educational leadership, and offers a choice of five concentrations: educational administration, higher education, interdisciplinary studies, literacy in exceptionalities, and instructional technology leadership.
Courses include: Educational organizations & technology, writing for the professional educator, and applied quantitative methods in education.
The University of North Carolina Charlotte’s prestigious Department of Geography and Earth Sciences focuses on the theoretical and applied study of the earth’s physical, natural, and human aspects. A doctorate in geography is one of the least common PhD programs in North Carolina and this program is run by award-winning faculty who are expert in multi-disciplinary research.
Courses include: Geographic information science, the restructuring city, and landscape assessment.
The US News & World Report ranked Elon #6 on its list of the most innovative schools in the country. Elon’s School of Health Sciences follows a highly inclusive approach to education and health services. It has a range on innovative projects such as its Anatomical Gift Program, Health Outreach Program at Elon (HOPE) Clinic, the Open-Door Clinic of Alamance County, as well as global learning opportunities. Their Doctor of Physical Therapy program is built around a unique modular curriculum, with each module consisting of several related courses.
Courses include: PT profession in healthcare, neurosciences & neuromuscular P-problems, and prosthetics & orthotics.
Carolina Christian College is a private, not-for-profit institution that aims to provide education based on biblical principles, and to prepare a diverse student population to serve the ministry and community. The university’s Doctor of Ministry program has a hybrid format that combines online and on-campus education.
Courses include: Old Testament survey, dynamics of Christian leadership, and communication of Biblical truths.
Financial aid: Scholarships, loans, and veteran benefits
Acceptance rate: 100%
Location: Salem, North Carolina
Popular Majors for PhD Programs in NC
North Carolina’s universities offer a range of doctorate programs, so you’re unlikely to struggle to find a school offering your concentration of choice. Having said that, some doctorate majors are in more demand than others.
The most popular majors for PhDs in North Carolina include:
Nursing & Healthcare Leadership
Though not all of North Carolina’s universities offer each of these majors, many of its institutions offer doctorates in most if not all of the fields on the list. Some, such as aerodynamics and biochemistry, are only offered by a limited number of institutions. However, the schools that do offer these rare PhDs are typically leaders in their fields with award-winning faculty and a track record of excellence.
North Carolina has a number of noteworthy universities, offering valuable opportunities for independent research, eminent mentorship, and excellent networking while earning a doctorate in their field of choice.
If you can’t afford to commit to a full-time, on-campus PhD program in North Carolina, you should consider one of the many online PhD programs offered by the state’s renowned universities. Regardless of whether you are looking for an on-campus or online PhD, North Carolina has a range of excellent programs across various fields.