The state of Pennsylvania is well-known for its industrial and agricultural sectors, as a famous producer of steel, coal, and railroads, as well as agricultural produce like mushrooms.
Pennsylvania also boasts some of the best universities not only in the country but in the world, including the University of Pennsylvania and Carnegie Mellon University, making this a great place to earn your doctorate.
The University of Pennsylvania is a world-renowned private research university that is home to a number of medical and health science schools, including the Perelman School of Medicine, the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, and the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute. This PhD in PA aims to equip students with the hypothesis-based research skills necessary to define and investigate the causes and hallmarks of cancer.
Courses include: Concepts in cancer biology, the tumor microenvironment, the cell cycle, and genome integrity, and cancer.
Carnegie Mellon University is one of the world’s most famous private institutions. Its eminent faculty conduct specialist research in various fields of computer science, such as Artificial Intelligence, programming languages, security, and systems. This is one of the rare PhD programs in PA with a dual PhD option: you can choose to study in collaboration with the Information and Communication Technologies Institute in Portugal.
Courses include: Advanced algorithms, probabilistic combinatorics, and advanced integer programming.
Villanova University is a private institution that follows the Augustinian intellectual tradition and works collaboratively with a range of educational institutions as well as global organizations. This nursing doctoral program in Pennsylvania follows a teacher-scholar model to mold competent nurse scientists and educators.
Courses include: Advocacy, policy & ethics in healthcare, curriculum design in nursing education, and psychometrics & measurement.
Lehigh University’s College of Business is a world-renowned private college that offers business education with an emphasis on advanced concepts of disruptive technologies and data analytics. This PA doctoral program gives you the option to specialize in one of a range of diverse fields, such as health economics, empirical macroeconomics, applied econometrics, and labor economics.
Courses include: Advanced microeconomic analysis, econometrics, and labor economics.
The University of Pittsburgh’s Department of English offers a highly creative atmosphere for research and teaching, with award-winning faculty engaged in collaborative research across the globe. This interdisciplinary program is offered by the department of English Studies, and students can choose between concentrations in literature, composition, and film.
Courses include: Medieval and renaissance studies, children’s literature and childhood studies, and media and material practices.
Duration: 5-6 years
Tuition: Full funding to all students subject to performance
Financial aid: Fellowships, teaching assistantships, and grants.
Acceptance rate: 67%
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Bryn Mawr College, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Bryn Mawr College’s Department of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology is home to the award-winning Rhys Carpenter art and archeology library, with excellent research opportunities around Mediterranean and Near-Eastern culture and history. This PA PhD program prepares students for careers in research, academia, and publishing, as well as to work with institutions such as museums and foundations.
Courses include: History and memory, Greek tragedy in performance, and war and peace in the ancient world.
Penn State is a globally-recognized public university that spends $1 billion annually on research and has 740,000 alumni around the world. This PhD program focuses on modern environmental and plant science issues, such as the production of agronomic and horticultural crops, the soil-plant-animal complex, and food quality.
Courses include: Current issues in agricultural innovation, effective scientific communications, and professional development for plant sciences.
Thomas Jefferson University is a distinguished private university that has an experiential and collaborative approach to education to create professionals capable of meeting the current and future demands of the industry. This is one of the many online PhD programs Pennsylvania offers to professionals aspiring to become leaders in healthcare practice, policy, and education.
Courses include: Health systems science, healthcare law and ethics, and introduction to health policy.
Chatham University is a private institution based in Pittsburgh and is a leader in sustainability and environmental education. This online PhD program requires zero campus attendance and aims to train occupational therapy professionals to become leaders in healthcare, advocacy, and academia.
Courses include: Advanced practice concepts and skills, occupational therapist as entrepreneur, and leadership and professionalism.
Founded as a Jewish institution, this private, non-profit college offers leadership education to both Jewish and secular students. This online doctorate aims to generate professionals who can apply their knowledge to solve real-world challenges in a range of educational settings.
Courses include: Critical contexts in educational leadership, leading an educational organization, and school law and policy.
Once accepted into a PhD program in or near Pennsylvania, you’ll need to meet certain targets in order to earn your doctorate. Most programs involve a combination of coursework and a dissertation or research project, though not all PhDs require a dissertation.
PhD Programs in Pennsylvania with the Lowest Tuition
PhD tuition at Pennsylvania’s universities can vary significantly depending on the school. The colleges with the cheapest rates of tuition are:
Many of these universities also have more affordable fees compared to other schools – check each college’s website for more information.
PhD Programs in PA with the Highest Graduation Rates
When choosing the right school for you, it’s important to consider graduation rates, as this is often an indication of the program’s quality, as well as other critical factors such as support offered to students.
These are the Pennsylvania universities that offer PhDs and boast the highest graduation rates:
University of Pennsylvania (96%)
Lafayette College (90%)
Villanova University (90%)
Carnegie Mellon University (89%)
Lehigh University (88%)
The PhD programs Pennsylvania offers include a number of high-quality doctorates across a wide range of disciplines, so it’s not hard to find an option that suits your needs, whether you’re interested in pursuing a doctorate in finance, law, or nursing.
With some of the world’s best-regarded universities, Pennsylvania is a great place to pursue your doctorate. You’ll also find online PhD programs if on-campus study isn’t an option.
Lisa is a full-time writer specializing in career advice, further education, and personal development. She works from all over the world, and when not writing you'll find her hiking, practicing yoga, or enjoying a glass of Malbec.