A Ph.D., or doctoral degree, is a terminal degree which typically requires a dissertation and contribution of original research work. Previously, doctoral degrees were only obtainable through an on-campus program. As distance education becomes more popular, there are a handful of colleges which now offer online doctoral programs. The top rated programs offer students intensive coursework, research opportunities and outstanding student services such as graduate specific tutoring for online students, mentoring and exceptional career assistance.

Liberty University

Liberty University, ranked within the top 100 regional universities by "U.S. News & World Report" for 2014, offers several doctoral degrees available through distance education. Students may choose from the Doctor of Business Administration, Ph.D. in theology and apologetics, Ph.D. in counseling, and Doctor of Education. A major advantage to the programs at Liberty is the opportunity to use certain life and work experience as college credit toward a degree, shortening the duration of the program. Distance education students may take full advantage of the graduate level tutoring assistance available and participate in writing and business clubs. Students and alumni are offered career assistance which includes mock interview sessions, resume critiques, a number of job specific assessment tests and one-on-one assistance with a career counselor.

Capella University

Capella University was rated 4.5 out of 5 in student satisfaction by FindTheBest.com. Capella is also the recipient of over 30 awards in excellence ranging from outstanding instruction by the Council for Higher Education, to the best outcomes-based learning solution awarded by the Global Learning Consortium. Capella offers students an enormous range of doctoral degrees from business, technology, public service, healthcare and education. All programs are available completely online with several specialized scholarships available depending on the program chosen. Students are provided with several services such as anytime access to the library system, writing center, and mentor assistance. Alumni are provided with lifetime career assistance through the school's career system, iGuide. iGuide provides individualized help with counselors, job bank information and resources, forms, templates, assessment tests and much more.

Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern University, given a 4.4 out of 5 rating for student satisfaction by FindTheBest.com, offers students several doctorate degree options available completely online. Students may choose from a Ph.D. in occupational therapy, doctorate in speech-language pathology, Ph.D. in physical therapy and Ph.D. in health science. Students are provided with a wide range of research opportunities in high-tech facilities and opportunities to work with top notch researchers in the field. Exceptional assistance is provided to students with clubs, tutoring, research assistants and mentors. For alumni and students, NSU hosts numerous career fairs and provides job leads and networking between potential candidates and employers. NSU also provides meetings with career counselors in person and via Skype, resume writing workshops, mock interviews, job search assistance and weekly webinars.

Old Dominion University

Old Dominion University, ranked within the top 100 universities in the field of online graduate and undergraduate degrees by "U.S. News & World Report" for 2014, and best Southeastern college by Princeton Review, offers numerous doctorate degree options. Degrees range from behavioral science, computers, civil engineering, English, human development and more. All distance learning students must complete two-weeks of on-campus education each year. The remainder of the education is completed online. Students are provided full access to graduate tutoring and writing services and several research possibilities depending on the major chosen. ODU also offers an award winning cyber career center which provides live major-specific workshops each week, webinars, and individual career coaches for personalized assistance in interviewing, job searching and resume creation.