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Best Online Doctorates in Artificial Intelligence: Top PhD Programs, Career Paths, and Salary

Jose Salgado - June 05, 2022


The best online PhD in Artificial Intelligence (AI) can get you a high-paying job at a tech company or an exciting position in a research institution. You don’t have to go to college on-campus to earn an online PhD in Artificial Intelligence. All you need is a laptop and a stable Internet connection.

Getting an artificial intelligence PhD online opens the door to many career options and improves your qualifications in the job market. Artificial intelligence jobs are well-paid and will continue to grow in importance in the years to come. Continue reading to learn more about the best PhD programs to help you narrow your school search and begin your doctoral studies.

Can You Get a PhD in Artificial Intelligence Online?

Yes, you can get a PhD in Artificial Intelligence online. However, there aren’t many educational programs offering this online degree since AI is most commonly offered as a specialization area in doctoral programs in computer and data science. Additionally, many universities offer PhD degrees only on campus.

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There are many online graduate degrees in machine learning, a subset of artificial intelligence. Additionally, there are several doctoral degrees available in big data, a fundamental tool for applied artificial intelligence technologies. You may want to consider including PhD Degrees in Data Science in your school search, as they offer well-structured curricula geared toward AI.

Is an Online PhD Respected?

Yes, an online PhD is respected. It’s a doctoral degree with academic equivalence to in-campus programs. Degree holders can access the same career opportunities and research positions in AI as on-campus graduates.

The respect from employers and research institutions for online PhD programs is mainly related to the reputation of the school, regardless of whether it’s an on-campus or online degree. Be sure to apply only to online PhD degrees from schools with official accreditation and that host relevant artificial intelligence research projects.

What Is the Best Online PhD Program in Artificial Intelligence?

The best online PhD program in artificial intelligence is the Doctor of Science in Computer Science from Aspen University. This entirely online doctoral program offers an excellent education in AI and is flexible and affordable for busy professionals and part-time students.

Why Aspen University Has the Best Online PhD Program in Artificial Intelligence

Aspen University has the best PhD program in artificial intelligence because it allows students to focus on their passion by choosing a capstone project of their interest within the branch of AI. With a total cost of $30,500, the Doctor of Science in Computer Science is the most affordable online doctoral program.

Students enrolled at Aspen University have up to ten years to complete the program at their own pace. Graduates from this program can join research teams in the public or private sectors to find and develop new applications for artificial intelligence and software engineering.

Best Online Master’s Degrees

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Online PhD in Artificial Intelligence Admission Requirements

The admission requirements for an online PhD in Artificial Intelligence vary considerably depending on the institution. For example, Capitol Technology University requires a master’s degree in a relevant field, two letters of recommendation, and a resume that shows five years of related work experience.

On the other hand, the PhD in Computer Science from Northcentral University only requires a master’s degree from an accredited institution. The online Doctor of Science in Computer Science from Aspen University requires applicants to be competent object oriented programming (OOP) developers, or they can take prerequisite courses to fulfill the requirement.

Some universities require GRE exam scores and personal statement essays, and all programs will require official transcripts of previous academic work. Prospective English as a second language (ESL) and international students will need to provide proof of English proficiency in the form of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam scores.

Online PhD in Artificial Intelligence Admission Requirements

  • Master’s degree in fields relevant to AI, computer science, or machine learning
  • Resume showing relevant work experience
  • GRE exam scores, depending on the school
  • TOEFL exam or equivalent for ESL and international students
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Entrance essay or personal statement describing your research interests
  • Interview by phone or in-person with a representative of the doctoral program, depending on the school

Best Online PhDs in Artificial Intelligence: Top Degree Program Details

School Program Estimated Length
Aspen University Doctor of Science in Computer Science 2 to 10 years
Capitol Technology University PhD in Artificial Intelligence 3 years
Colorado Technical University Doctorate in Big Data Analytics Online 3 years
Northcentral University PhD in Computer Science 4 years
University of North Dakota PhD in Computer Science 4 to 5 years

Best Online PhDs in Artificial Intelligence: Top University Programs to Get a PhD in Artificial Intelligence Online

The top university programs to get a PhD in Artificial Intelligence online include Aspen University, Capitol Technology University, Colorado Technical University, Northcentral University, and the University of North Dakota.

These schools offer the best online AI PhDs, which include PhDs in Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Analysis doctoral programs. Some online educational programs in computer science offer specialization courses in artificial intelligence and machine learning as part of their curricula.

1

Aspen University

Denver, CO

Aspen University is a modern private institution with broad academic programs for distance learning. It has four schools offering online bachelor’s degrees and master’s and doctoral programs. Aspen has an open admission policy, and courses begin every two weeks. The university provides a self-paced approach to studying, and students have between two and ten years to complete any graduate degree.

Doctor of Science in Computer Science

The Doctor of Science in Computer Science program from the School of Business and Technology at Aspen University includes courses in artificial intelligence, the automata complexity theory, and computer ethics. Graduate students of this program will also have the opportunity to work on a research dissertation of their interest.

Doctor of Science in Computer Science Overview

  • Accreditation: Distance Education Accrediting Commission
  • Program Length: 2 to 10 years (self-paced)
  • Acceptance Rate: 100% (open admission policy)
  • Tuition and Fees: $30,500

Doctor of Science in Computer Science Admission Requirements

  • Demonstrate professional object oriented programming (OOP) skills
  • Master’s degree
  • Official transcripts with a GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Resume
  • Statement of goals, indicating academic, professional, and personal goals

2

Capitol Technology University

Laurel, MD

Capitol Technology University is a private university that was originally founded in 1927 to educate radio and electronics technicians. The university is home to the Space Operation Institute, which partners with NASA to train astronautical engineers. The university has just over 740 students in undergraduate and graduate STEM programs.

PhD in Artificial Intelligence

The PhD in Artificial Intelligence degree program aims to engineer computer systems that match the human brain’s decision-making processes. Students conduct unique research with the guidance of skilled academic supervisors. Students can graduate with a thesis or by publishing three articles in high-impact journals. Sixty credit hours are required to earn the degree.

PhD in Artificial Intelligence Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Program Length: 3 years
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Tuition: $933/credit

PhD in Artificial Intelligence Admission Requirements

  • A master’s degree in a field relevant to artificial intelligence
  • Official transcripts
  • Online application and non-refundable application fee of $100
  • A resume that demonstrates 5 years of related work experience
  • Two recommendation forms
  • Personal essay on your technological expertise and how you are prepared to succeed in the program

3

Colorado Technical University

Colorado Springs, CO

Colorado Technical University (CTU) is a private university founded in 1965 to help veterans transition into civilian life. CTU is tech-oriented and offers over 80 undergraduate and graduate programs. The university prides itself on enabling US military personnel stationed overseas to take part in CTU’s numerous online learning options.

Doctorate in Big Data Analytics Online

This comprehensive program focuses on the fundamental theoretical, research, and field applications of AI. You will need 100 credit hours to complete this doctoral program , four of which correspond to participation in two in-campus symposia. The cost of the entire program is $64,640.

Doctorate in Big Data Analytics Online Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Program Length: 3 years
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Tuition and Fees: $64,640 total

Doctorate in Big Data Analytics Online Admission Requirements

  • Conversation with an admissions advisor to discuss your academic goals
  • Interview by phone or in-person with a department representative
  • Entrance essay
  • Accredited bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts

4

Northcentral University

San Diego, CA

Northcentral University is an accredited, private online school founded in 1996 and based in San Diego, California. All of NCU’s programs are offered online, and the school has over 10,000 online students. The school does not require GRE, GMAT, or any standardized test scores for admission, and the doctoral faculty offers one-to-one career counseling.

PhD in Computer Science

You’ll need 60 credit hours to complete the PhD in Computer Science program online at NCU. The total estimated cost of the program is $68,560 and can be completed in 3 years. The curriculum is designed for graduate students to explore theoretical concepts and gain relevant skills in their preferred areas of expertise, including AI, data mining , and cyber security.

PhD in Computer Science Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Program Length: 3 years
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Tuition and Fees: $68,560 total or $3,282/credit

PhD in Computer Science Admission Requirements

  • Master’s degree from a regionally or nationally accredited academic institution
  • Official transcripts
  • Online application
  • Resume

5

University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, ND

The University of North Dakota (UND) is a public research university that was founded in 1883 and enrolls over 13,000 graduate and undergraduate students. UND is a leading school in aviation, space, and unmanned aircraft education and offers more than 140 graduate degree programs.

PhD in Computer Science

Students enrolled in the PhD in Computer Science program can take specialization courses in AI and machine learning. The comprehensive program requires 90 credits and explores topics such as bioinformatics, compiler design, software engineering , and the practical and theoretical frameworks of computer science.

PhD in Computer Science Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Program Length: 4 to 5 years
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Tuition and Fees: $869/credit

PhD in Computer Science Admission Requirements

  • Master's Degree in Science or Engineering with an overall minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Expertise in high-level programming languages and basic knowledge of data structures
  • Basic skills in calculus, statistics, and linear algebra
  • Online application and non-refundable application fee of $35
  • Official transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Statement of goals

Online Artificial Intelligence PhD Graduation Rates: How Hard Is It to Complete an Online PhD Program in Artificial Intelligence?

It can be quite hard to complete an online PhD program in artificial intelligence. According to a study conducted by researchers from Nova Southeastern University, doctoral programs have average attrition rates of over 50 percent and up to 70 percent for online doctoral programs . PhD coursework can be demanding and highly time-consuming for nearly all programs.

Working closely with your academic advisor increases your chances of success and prevents disengagement, especially in online degree programs. An academic advisor will offer career counseling to help you tackle defeatist attitudes. To ensure completion, you should stay in communication with your advisor to make a plan with achievable milestones.

How Long Does It Take to Get a PhD in Artificial Intelligence Online?

It takes about three to five years to get a PhD in Artificial Intelligence online. Some programs take more than five years to complete the credit requirements and the doctoral thesis. Most online programs offer a flexible timeline to complete the degree requirements and are designed for people who are holding a job while they study.

Most programs offer one-to-one career counseling from the doctoral faculty to find solutions for students to allocate time and design strategies to complete the program. Students can pause their studies for set periods of time and resume their studies at a more convenient time for them.

How Hard Is an Online Doctorate in Artificial Intelligence?

An online doctorate in artificial intelligence can be quite hard. It requires good learning skills to complete three to four years of coursework. There is also a considerable financial commitment and long hours of doctoral-level readings and thesis work.

Not all the online PhD programs in artificial intelligence require a high-level education in computer science theory, math, or engineering. Some programs welcome students from any field because nearly every industry is finding new practical applications for AI.

Best PhD Programs

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What Courses Are in an Online Artificial Intelligence PhD Program?

The common courses in an online artificial intelligence PhD program include artificial intelligence research backgrounds, artificial intelligence research methodologies, and artificial intelligence future trends . Some programs also include machine learning, deep learning, and computer vision courses.

Main Areas of Study in an Artificial Intelligence PhD Program

  1. Machine learning
  2. Deep learning
  3. Machine vision
  4. Natural language processing

How Much Does Getting an Online Artificial Intelligence PhD Cost?

It costs $19,314 on average to get a PhD in Artificial Intelligence, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The exact costs of the program vary according to the institution. However, this is an average figure, and tuition costs will vary significantly.

Some schools, like the University of North Dakota, allow you to transfer up to 30 credits from approved master’s degree programs. Private schools are typically more expensive than public universities, and some schools will charge more for out-of-state tuition. There are many private and public grants available for students in STEM doctoral programs.

How to Pay for an Online PhD Program in Artificial Intelligence

You can pay for an online PhD in Artificial Intelligence by getting scholarships, grants, loans, and employment or internship opportunities. The University of North Dakota offers positions with remote capabilities that don’t require an on-campus presence. You can also apply for a Direct PLUS Loan from the US Department of Education.

The Federal Student Aid office also offers several types of financial aid for students in graduate programs. Use the Federal Student Aid Estimator to learn how much financial aid you can get from the federal government.

How to Get an Online PhD for Free

You can’t get an online PhD for free. Some online colleges, like Northcentral University, offer a few full-tuition scholarships every semester for online master’s degrees and doctoral programs. The US military also offers full and partial scholarships for service members, their spouses, and children. It’s best to research the financial support options offered by the school.

What Is the Most Affordable Online PhD in Artificial Intelligence Degree Program?

The most affordable online PhD in Artificial Intelligence degree program is the Doctor of Science in Computer Science from Aspen University. The total cost for this doctoral degree is $30,500, consisting of $27,000 in tuition and $3,500 in fees.

Most Affordable Online PhD Programs in Artificial Intelligence: In Brief

School Program Tuition
Aspen University Doctor of Science in Computer Science $27,000
Capitol Technology University PhD in Artificial Intelligence $933 per credit for 60 credits
Colorado Technical University Doctorate in Big Data Analytics Online $598 per credit for 100 credits
Northcentral University PhD in Computer Science with directed research course in Artificial Intelligence $1,094 per credit for 60 credits
University of North Dakota PhD in Computer Science with courses in Applications In AI and Machine Learning $798 per credit for 90 credits

Why You Should Get an Online PhD in Artificial Intelligence

You should get an online PhD in Artificial Intelligence because it is a great way to access better-paid positions and improve your relevance in the job market. With a PhD in AI, you can join skilled teams at companies that are developing new AI applications for every industry or choose to teach and do research in academia.

Top Reasons for Getting a PhD in Artificial Intelligence

  • Job opportunities. With a PhD in Artificial Intelligence, you have greater opportunities in the job market. Many companies are creating new positions to integrate AI into their products and services. The demand for specialists in artificial intelligence is increasing, particularly for machine learning analysts and programmers.
  • Higher salaries. Employees with expertise in AI are very valuable for employers, regardless of the type of industry. A doctoral degree in artificial intelligence shows that you have the highest level of education in AI and are qualified for positions that pay higher salaries.
  • Research opportunities. A doctoral degree in artificial intelligence opens doors to postdoctoral programs and internships in the best AI research centers in the US. There is an increasing demand for AI researchers in public and private institutions, and the research skills gained in a PhD program will highly qualify you for these roles.
  • New skills. During your academic journey in a doctoral program in artificial intelligence, you will develop technical skills that will be essential in the emerging AI workforce. These skills include the management of large data sets, natural language processing , and machine learning to improve process precision.

Best Master’s Degree Programs

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What Is the Difference Between an On-Campus Artificial Intelligence PhD and an Online PhD in Artificial Intelligence?

The difference between an on-campus artificial intelligence PhD and an online PhD in Artificial Intelligence is how the schools deliver the courses and the way you interact with faculty. The cost of online PhD programs in artificial intelligence is usually the same as on-campus programs. Online students don’t need to commute or pay campus-related fees.

On-campus programs enforce in-person learning, and students work with faculty and other students on campus to do relevant coursework and research. In an online program, all the relevant learning materials, like digital books, research articles, interactive activities, virtual labs, and discussion forums, are located on the school’s online learning platform.

Online PhD vs On-Campus PhD: Key Differences

  • Convenience. With an online PhD program, you don’t need to waste time commuting. You can study from the comfort of your home at the time of your convenience. All the materials, including digital books, lectures, and readings, are located on the online learning platform.
  • Affordability. Tuition costs are typically the same for both online and on-campus programs. However, with an online PhD program, you don’t have to pay on-campus related fees, like access to athletic facilities or parking.
  • Flexible timelines. Most online PhD programs are designed for students who also hold jobs. Faculty and academic advisors will help you create a program timeline that doesn’t overwhelm you. Additionally, online PhD programs allow you to pause your studies and resume them according to your time availability.
  • Location. All you need to complete an online PhD program is a computer and an Internet connection. You can bring your laptop to your workplace or complete your assignments while traveling the world. Many students of online PhD programs are military personnel stationed overseas.

How to Get a PhD in Artificial Intelligence Online: A Step-by-Step Guide

Man studying on his laptop with a view of a city skyline at dusk. 
All you need to earn an online PhD in Artificial Intelligence is a computer and an Internet connection.

To get a PhD in Artificial Intelligence online, you’ll need to meet the degree requirements of your doctoral program. Your academic advisor can provide career counseling to create a strategy according to your time availability. You will earn your PhD degree after completing all the required credit hours and defending your dissertation.

1

Step 1: Apply Online

The first step to obtaining your PhD degree is to prepare your documentation for the application process. This includes official transcripts, a resume, and the contact information of your references. Let your references know the admissions office will write or call them to validate their recommendation and prepare yourself for an interview with the program’s coordinator.

2

Step 2: Establish a Timeline

The program faculty will assign you an academic advisor who will provide you with academic counseling during your learning journey. You should work closely with them to set realistic and achievable benchmarks for your coursework.

3

Step 3: Choose Your Research Area

Your academic advisor will let you know when it's time to choose an area of specialization. You will then select the elective courses according to that specialization. Choose a specialization area according to your job interests after graduation.

4

Step 4: Cover All Credits

Most online PhD programs in artificial intelligence require you to complete between 60 and 100 credits. Some of the final credits correspond to your dissertation research. You will have to complete the coursework and write a doctoral dissertation with an original contribution.

5

Step 5: Defend Your Dissertation

The last step to earning your PhD in Artificial Intelligence is to present your final oral examination or dissertation defense. If your research represents an original contribution, and the school approves your publishable dissertation, the PhD degree will be yours.

Online PhD in Artificial Intelligence Salary and Job Outlook

The salary and job outlook for professionals with a doctoral degree in artificial intelligence are higher than average, with most salaries above $100,000 per year. There are several well-paid jobs in industries that are increasing the number of AI projects to develop new products and services.

What Can You Do With an Online Doctorate in Artificial Intelligence?

With an online doctorate in artificial intelligence, you can get a job in AI , a rapidly growing field with new applications in nearly all industries. Tech and software companies include AI components in their programs and online services to gain a competitive advantage over traditional services.

There are many ways to learn artificial intelligence , but a doctoral degree makes you an expert in AI. With an online doctorate in artificial intelligence, you can apply for internships in AI-leading companies and participate in their algorithm development.

Best Jobs with a PhD in Artificial Intelligence

  • Artificial Intelligence Specialist
  • Machine Learning Engineer
  • Research Engineer
  • Technical Architect
  • Data Scientist

Potential Careers With an Artificial Intelligence Degree

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What Is the Average Salary for an Online PhD Holder in Artificial Intelligence?

The average salary for someone with a PhD in Artificial Intelligence is $115,000 per year , according to PayScale. A machine learning engineer has an average annual salary of $112,709 , while a lecturer will earn an average yearly salary of $77,910 . Continue reading below for some of the top-paying jobs available in the field after graduation.

Highest-Paying Artificial Intelligence Jobs for PhD Grads

Online Artificial Intelligence PhD Jobs Average Salary
Artificial Intelligence Specialist $132,995
Machine Learning Engineer $124,800
Technical Architect $118,808
Data Scientist $111,250
Software Developer $110,140

Best Artificial Intelligence Jobs for Online PhD Holders

The best artificial intelligence jobs for PhD holders include AI specialist and machine learning engineer. Those that work in this field usually deploy AI models to improve the accuracy and performance of information processes. These jobs require the use of deep learning, machine learning, and natural language processing methods.

1

Artificial Intelligence Specialist

PhD Salary: $132,995

Artificial intelligence specialists apply AI principles to find solutions to real-world problems that traditional computing approaches can’t solve. They work in interdisciplinary teams to apply AI components that improve the overall system performance.

2

Machine Learning Engineer

PhD Salary: $124,800

Machine learning engineers create and improve engines for processing vast amounts of data, also known as big data. By improving how machine learning models integrate additional sets of data, they increase the predictive capacities of an engine, for example.

3

Technical Architect

PhD Salary: $118,808

Technical architects with AI expertise design computer networks that follow an AI-centered architecture. They incorporate cloud services into corporate networks, thereby increasing security and reducing costs associated with on-premises computing systems. They also design migration strategies to AI-based computer networks.

4

Data Scientist

PhD Salary: $111,250

Data scientists develop models for data management and processing. They use deep learning techniques to understand customers better and improve products and services with that insight. Algorithm development is one of the most important daily tasks of data scientists.

5

Software Developer

PhD Salary: $110,140

Software developers implement artificial intelligent components into programs and online services. These AI components require software development for natural language processing, which is used for voice recognition. Software developers also code programs that use big data to provide accurate search results.

Is It Worth It to Do a PhD in Artificial Intelligence Online?

Yes, it is worth it to pursue a PhD in Artificial Intelligence online. While a doctoral degree program entails an important investment of time and money, the outcome is worth the effort. A PhD substantially improves your chances of increasing your income with a broader career potential.

Artificial intelligence is a fast-growing field for which all industries are finding new applications every day. An online PhD in Artificial Intelligence shows that you are an expert in AI and that you are qualified to apply for jobs that use artificial intelligence .

Additional Reading About Artificial Intelligence

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Online PhD in Artificial Intelligence FAQ

Who studies artificial intelligence?

Anyone who wants to start a career in AI or machine learning can study artificial intelligence. Jobs for artificial intelligence specialists are well-paid and in high demand. You can earn an online degree in artificial intelligence or take an artificial intelligence bootcamp .

Where is artificial intelligence used today?

Today, artificial intelligence is used in most software-as-a-service (SAAS) applications. It is used in systems that create predictions using big data. AI applications are also found in voice recognition applications, navigation systems, and chatbot assistants.

Why does artificial intelligence matter?

Artificial intelligence matters because it is increasingly used to improve processes across all domains. Scientists use AI to find new drugs and create new materials. Companies use deep learning to understand their customers better and provide more accurate solutions.

Will artificial intelligence create new jobs?

Yes, artificial intelligence will create new jobs. Artificial intelligence engines are increasing their number of cognitive functions to solve problems faster than humans. Meanwhile, there is a growing demand for specialists to find new applications for AI.

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Jose Salgado

About the author: Jose is an experienced content writer and online tutor. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Oceanography and a Master’s Degree in Technology Applied to Education, both from Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Mexico. As well, he holds many certificates and certifications, such as the Content Marketing Certification from Hubspot Academy.

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