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TimJun 19, 2024 5:05:36 PM6 min read

Best 5 Day 1 CPT Universities for PhD Programs

The declining selection rate of the H-1B visa lottery has led many international students to choose Day 1 CPT. As an international student seeking Day 1 CPT, choosing the right program is crucial. It is important to select a Day 1 CPT program that differs from your previous degrees in terms of discipline or educational level. If you already have multiple master’s degrees, it is highly recommended to pursue a doctoral program, as it can avoid raising suspicions from the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). This article introduces the top 5 Day 1 CPT Universities offering doctoral programs.

How to Select a Day 1 CPT School by Program?

Table of Contents

Pros and Cons of Day 1 CPT PhD Programs

1. Westcliff University

2. Sofia University

3. University of the Potomac

4. Ottawa University

5. National Louis University

 

Pros and Cons of Day 1 CPT PhD Programs

 

Pros

  • Longer Duration: doctoral programs typically last 3-4 years, providing more opportunities to enter the H-1B visa lottery.
  • Logical Educational Progression: Pursuing a doctoral degree is a natural step forward in your education, reducing the likelihood of receiving an RFE (Request for Evidence).
  • Professional Training: A doctoral program offers advanced training, enhancing your competitiveness in the job market.

Cons

  • Higher Tuition Cost: Doctoral programs often come with significant tuition expenses.
  • Academic Pressure: The demands of a doctoral program may be intense, requiring more time and effort.

 

1. Westcliff University

Doctoral Programs: Doctor of Business Administration (DBA); Doctor of Education (EdD)

Intakes: Jan / Mar / May / Jun / Aug / Oct                             

Onsite Frequency: 1 per semester

On-Site Campus: Irvine, CA; Miami, FL; Santa Monica, CA

Annual Tuition (doctoral programs): $14,100/year

Westcliff University, a renowned CPT school on the West Coast, offers DBA and EdD programs. Both are 60-credit, 3-year programs. The DBA program integrates business theories with industrial practices, while the EdD program encourages students to apply educational theories and leadership strategies to teaching.

Westcliff has three campuses: two in California and one in Florida. The DBA program is available at all three campuses, whereas its EdD program is offered only at the Irvine campus. Moreover, the EdD program adopts a weekly format, which means students need to attend an on-site class once per week. 

In addition to its convenient locations, Westcliff is known for its strong advisor support and low RFE rate, making it an ideal choice for those seeking Day 1 CPT. The university is accredited by the WSCUC (WASC Senior College and University Commission).

Westcliff University also offers plenty of scholarship opportunities. For more information, see Cost & Scholarships.

 

2. Sofia University

Doctoral Program: Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

Intakes: Jan | Apr | Jul | Oct

Onsite Frequency: 1 per month

On-Site Campus: Palo Alto, CA; Costa Mesa, CA                  

Annual Tuition (doctoral program): $17,100/year       

Sofia University, with campuses near SF and LA, is another excellent choice for Day 1 CPT in California. Accredited by the WSCUC (WASC Senior College and University Commission), it offers a 54-credit, 3-year DBA program that focuses on integrating business theory with practical application. With Day 1 CPT, students are able to gain hands-on experience from the first day of the program.

While the tuition of its DBA program is relatively high, Sofia University provides students with many scholarships, including a $2,500 scholarship specifically for international students to apply. It also offers the Leadership Accelerated Scholarship exclusive to DBA students, offering a 30% tuition deduction for the first year and a 10% deduction for the following two years. For more information, see Cost & Scholarships.          

For more information, see: Sofia University's DBA Program: A New Day 1 CPT Option


3. University of the Potomac

Doctoral Programs: Doctor of Business Administration (DBA); PhD in Computer Science; Doctor of Education (EdD)

Intakes: Jan / Mar / Apr / Jul / Sep / Oct

Onsite Frequency: 1 every 2 weeks        

On-Site Campus: Washington, D.C.; Falls Church, VA                       

Annual Tuition (doctoral programs): $88,80/year                                     

The University of the Potomac, with campuses in Washington, D.C., and Virginia, is an exciting new option for international students in the east coast. Its D.C. campus is merely three blocks from the White House, offering easy commuting for students, immersing them in the heart of the nation’s capital.

Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Potomac offers DBA, EdD, and PhD in Computer Science programs. Its PhD in CS is the only doctoral Day 1 CPT program in this field of study, making it a unique choice for tech professionals.

Potomac stands out for its affordability. The tuition fee of Potomac’s doctoral programs is lowest among Day 1 CPT universities, which is less than $9,000 per year. Therefore, it is a very affordable option for international students.

 

4. Ottawa University

Doctoral Program: Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

Intakes (for DBA): Jan/ May / July       

Onsite Frequency: 2 per semester

On-Site Campus (for DBA): Ottawa, Kansas

Annual Tuition (doctoral program): $16,670/year

Ottawa University, located in Ottawa, Kansas, is a great option for students living in the middle states such as Kansas, Texas, Iowa, Illinois, and Colorado. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, Ottawa University offers a 56-credit DBA program that can be completed in 3-4 years. This DBA program, by combining academic training with evidence-based decision making, aims to help students develop data-driven strategies for their business. 

One of the standout features of Ottawa University’s DBA program is its flexible schedule. Students are required to attend on-site classes only twice per semester, making it ideal for those who need to balance their studies with work and personal life.

 

5. National Louis University (NLU)

Doctoral Program: Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

Intakes (for DBA): Jan / May / Aug            

Onsite Frequency: 1 per semester

On-Site Campus (for DBA): Tampa, Florida   

Annual Tuition (doctoral program): $14,976/year                                     

National Louis University, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, is one of the few Day 1 CPT universities in the southern U.S. NLU provides a 60-credit DBA program that emphasizes practical business solutions and leadership development. It is noteworthy that NLU is one of the only two Day 1 CPT universities in the east coast that offer a DBA program (the other is Potomac). 

One of the key advantages of NLU’s DBA program is its flexible on-site requirement. Students are only required to attend a 3-day on-site session once per semester. If you find Potomac's on-site frequency too demanding, NLU could be the perfect choice for you.

 

Conclusion

When choosing a Day 1 CPT program, it is significant to consider not only the location, cost, and on-site requirement, but also its potential influence on your future visa and immigration applications. Choosing a doctoral-level Day 1 CPT program is effective in reducing the potential risks associated with Day 1 CPT. 

If you have further questions about Day 1 CPT PhD programs, book a free consultation with us. We are dedicated to helping you advance your career and education in the U.S. 

 

Relevant Readings:

Full List of Day 1 CPT Universities

What is Day 1 CPT?

Selecting a Day 1 CPT School by Location

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Tim

Senior educational consultant with 10+ years experience

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