We rank the most affordable online PhD programs in sociology.
Sociology is an essential social science discipline. Sociology PhD programs are geared toward students who plan to conduct research or provide post-secondary education in the social sciences.
This means that prospective students considering a doctorate in sociology degree program have access to a great deal of opportunity. However, a traditional PhD in sociology can also be expensive.
Fortunately, some online doctoral degrees now make it possible for graduate students to earn an affordable doctoral degree in sociology. The online sociology PhD program is still relatively rare compared to on-campus programs so we’ve included both for your consideration.
Online PhDs in this field cost an average of $96,800. Per credit hour costs for these degrees can be as low as $280 and go as high as $2,500. Several factors can affect a doctoral program’s cost, including institution type, program delivery, length, location, and residency.
Private colleges have an average graduate tuition fee of $26,597, whereas public colleges and universities have an average tuition of only $11,673.
The type of school matters if you are interested in keeping costs as low as possible!
However, there may be instances when a private college can end up being cheaper than a public university. Private colleges can have substantial endowment assets, and may have more opportunities to offer grants and scholarships and may even provide larger tuition discounts to qualifying students.
Traditional colleges can be more expensive than online education for several reasons.
Graduate students pursuing their degree online can usually bypass some of the on-campus fees that traditional students pay including costs to live on campus, commuting costs, costs for parking, etc.
On-campus students may also pay more for physical course materials whereas online students may access materials through online libraries and databases.
That said, many accredited online college programs do charge a premium for access to the Learning Management Systems that facilitate online learning.
One way to ensure the affordability of your sociology program is to complete your degree in the minimum time allotted. This is typically a period of 2-3 years.
Graduate students who complete degree requirements beyond the program’s expected time frame experience a substantial tuition fee increase. Many colleges also charge students higher per credit costs if they enroll in fewer courses each semester.
State taxes, not federal ones, are used to pay for higher education. This means that tuition varies depending on where one is located and affects how much it costs to attend college.
Colleges in bustling cities tend to cost more than colleges in suburban and rural areas due to the generally higher cost of living in these settings.
A public, four-year university’s average in-state student tuition and fees for 2021–2022 were $10,740. An out-of-state student’s average tuition and fees at a public university were $27,560, nearly three times the in-state sticker price.
If affordability is a particular concern, and it is making you reluctant to pursue a PhD in sociology program, you may be able to take advantage of financial aid, including grants, scholarships, and loans.
For more information on financial aid, visit the Federal Student Aid website. It is especially important that you choose an online program that is accredited in order to qualify for financial aid.
Many schools offering an online PhD in sociology also have assistantship opportunities for their graduate students. Assistantships may give teaching opportunities in exchange for tuition waivers and a stipend. Each school is different, so you will need to check into the online sociology doctoral degrees programs you are interested in.
Bottom Line: Affordable online doctoral degree programs in sociology are possible when you factor in things like the type of school you attend, in-state tuition, financial aid, grants, and assistantships.
The affordable doctoral degrees in sociology in our ranking range between $280 and $1,200 per credit hour.
The following graph depicts the average salaries of Sociologists for each percentile in the U.S.
Source: U.S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
SVG Attribution: Wikipedia
Tuition + fees
University of North Texas’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
UNT is one of the most prominent public research universities in the US. The university offers hundreds of online and traditional degree programs at very affordable costs.
The online Sociology PhD at UNT costs $4,226.08 per 9 credit hours.
Students use applied sociological research methods and viewpoints of human relationships and human behavior as core parts of social science to solve global issues. Students can focus on social stratification, comparative and global sociology, health, sickness, and aging.
Their renowned faculty, culture and diversity, as well as a top-notch curriculum.
The University of North Texas is great for students who:
Want to have a high-quality education and live in a small town.
The University of North Texas might not be the best fit for students who:
Want training for a simple technical job.
Tuition + fees
Louisiana State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Louisiana State University is a flagship university with a rich culture and a large educational community. LSU is committed to positively impacting lives through education, research, and involvement in the community.
LSU offers an affordable traditional PhD in Sociology, costing only $4,370.30 per 9 credit hours. The program prepares sociology students for careers that combine research methods and teaching in one or more sociology subfields. Students are expected to produce their own research.
It’s the only university in the state identified as an R1: Doctoral University for its Very High Research Activity.
Louisiana State University is great for students who:
Are willing to put in extra work for extracurricular activities.
Louisiana State University might not be the best fit for students who:
Do not thrive in a fast-paced environment.
Tuition + fees
University at Albany, SUNY’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
The University at Albany has a reputation for excellence, and a track record for preparing its graduates to create positive change in the real world.
Students gain access to internships and career training in dozens of sectors, including many Fortune 500 companies.
University of Albany’s traditional PhD in Sociology has a per credit hour cost of $608.72 for in-state students and $1,100.72 for out-of-state students. This degree helps students learn more about social theory, as well as the structure of human society using quantitative and qualitative data analysis and methods. Sociology graduates can work in academia, research, government, or business.
The University of Albany provides its students with excellent research facilities and resources.
The University at Albany is great for students who:
Are seeking a diverse community, welcoming campus, and a ton of school spirit.
The University at Albany might not be the best fit for students who:
Lack motivation and are unprepared for a demanding academic program.
Tuition + fees
University at Buffalo’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
The University at Buffalo is a large campus with a great deal of opportunity for academic and extracurricular involvement. It’s also one of the cheapest universities in the U.S., delivering high-quality education at an affordable cost. The University at Buffalo is also a member of the Association of American Universities.
At only $471.00 per credit hour, students can enroll in a traditional PhD in Sociology and benefit from intimate, collaborative interactions with faculty. This sociology online doctorate presents a special mix of rigorous academics and faculty guidance, providing students with opportunities to conduct meaningful independent research.
The diverse student populations and longstanding traditions.
The University at Buffalo is great for students who:
Thrive in a big city and a large campus.
The University at Buffalo might not be the best fit for students who:
Are very conservative and prefer small class sizes.
Tuition + fees
Arizona State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
ASU is one of the country’s top-ranking universities, offering hundreds of degrees for students in every conceivable discipline. On top of providing cutting-edge degree programs, ASU also offers some of the best and most generous financial aid packages.
ASU’s traditional PhD in Sociology has a base tuition fee of $12,014. This online doctoral program offers advanced training in theory and research techniques. It focuses on topics related to inequality, law, and society.
The countless majors available in nearly every academic discipline.
Arizona State University is great for students who:
Can study independently and are willing to attend lectures with over 500 students.
Arizona State University might not be the best fit for students who:
Prefer a more centralized or tight-knit college community.
Tuition + fees
Utah State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Utah State University is a thriving, multi-campus research institution renowned worldwide for its intellectual and technological leadership. Additionally, USU offers some of the most affordable degree programs.
USU’s Doctorate of Sociology costs only $827.32 per credit hour, which makes it very affordable for many working professionals.
Candidates must focus on one primary specialist area and pass a comprehensive written examination to be admitted to this sociology degree program. Students will typically also complete additional coursework in a second topic as well as training in sociological theory and techniques as part of their core courses.
The great academic programs, dedicated faculty, and renowned professors.
Utah State University is great for students who:
Appreciate living in small towns.
Utah State University might not be the best fit for students who:
Want to party. USU is a dry campus.
Tuition + fees
Purdue University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Purdue University is renowned for its contributions to STEM and other technical fields. The university focuses its attention on creating enriching educational experiences, offering affordable traditional and non-traditional degree programs.
Purdue’s PhD in Sociology costs only $347.85 per credit hour in-state and $948.30 out-of-state. This is one of the most cost-effective programs for students who want tailored learning in the sociology discipline.
Students can choose courses from the program’s seven areas of concentration, including Sociology of Religion, Social Inequality: Class, Gender, Race/Ethnicity, and Sexuality, Social Movements and Political Science/Sociology, and many more.
The rigorous academic programs and vast array of majors to choose from for a fraction of the price of attending a prestigious private university.
Purdue University is great for students who:
Are academically aggressive, involved, passionate about a cause or pastime, and open-minded.
Purdue University might not be the best fit for students who:
Aren’t interested in attending a culturally diverse university.
Tuition + fees
Colorado State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Colorado State University is a growing school built on an increasingly diverse student body and a highly productive faculty. CSU is recognized as one of the country’s best public research universities, especially at its highly affordable cost.
CSU’s PhD in Sociology has in-state and out-of-state per credit hour costs of $601.90 and $1,475.80 respectively.
This degree program equips candidates with professional competence in sociological theory, research techniques, social change, and other topics relating to the social sciences. Faculty of the program do practical work and policy research on the causes and effects of social change on people, communities, and countries on a national and worldwide level.
A tradition of close interaction and collaboration between students and faculty.
Colorado State University is great for students who:
Can handle the stress of a highly competitive academic environment.
Colorado State University might not be the best fit for students who:
Prefer small class sizes and need constant individualized attention from their professors.
Tuition + fees
University of Iowa’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
The University of Iowa is the oldest higher education institution in the state and a member of the Association of American Universities. University of Iowa provides top-notch undergraduate, graduate, and professional in-person and online doctoral degrees in various subjects and is renowned for its excellence in the arts and sciences.
University of Iowa’s PhD in Sociology is among the cheapest, with base tuition and fees of $12,013 for residents and $31,511 for non-residents. The degree comes with a well-rounded bundle of courses, including research training, writing improvement, and internships aimed at equipping graduates with the qualifications for employment in social service, criminal justice, and other fields.
The chance it gives undergraduates to participate in research and creative endeavors from the Iowa Center for Research.
The University of Iowa is best for students who:
Are friendly and eager to network to meet new people and form friendships.
The University of Iowa might not be the best fit for students who:
Do not enjoy large classes or a school with a lively party culture.
Tuition + fees
University of Arizona’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
The University of Arizona is one of the largest land-grant universities in the U.S., offering a top-notch education at an affordable price. In addition to being one of the best-value universities, University of Arizona also provides one of the most vibrant campus scenes.
University of Arizona’s PhD in Sociology has base tuition costs of $14,000 and $34,000 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. This professional degree prepares students for careers in sociology research, post-secondary education, and organizational leadership. Students will develop professional experience outside of the classroom by participating in research on their own and in collaboration with professors.
The endless recreational activities at the University of Arizona.
The University of Arizona is great for students who:
Want to be involved in Greek life.
The University of Arizona might not be the best fit for students who:
Thrive in small class sizes.
Tuition + fees
University of Missouri’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
University of Missouri plays a special and significant role in the state’s economic development through teaching, research, service, and other activities. The university system includes a comprehensive network of business and technology development centers and more.
Mizzou’s PhD in Sociology costs $435.30 per credit hour. The program equips researchers with theoretical, methodological, and practical expertise. Graduates can undertake research, discuss findings, and publish their own work.
The vibrant Greek life.
The University of Missouri is great for students who:
Want to have an active social life.
The University of Missouri might not be the best fit for students who:
May struggle to balance social life and studies.
Tuition + fees
Texas Woman's University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Texas Woman’s University, despite its name, accepts male students. TWU has expanded from a tiny institution to a large university with broad academic programs available.
TWU’s PhD in Sociology is among the cheapest of its kind, with per credit hour costs of $284.00 and $692.00 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. This is also one of the most flexible traditional campus degrees. The program focuses on sociology theory and research methods.
The beautiful and well-kept campus.
Texas Woman’s University is great for students who:
Thrive in diversity.
Texas Woman’s University might not be the best fit for students who:
Are not accepting of cultural differences.
Tuition + fees
University of Georgia’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
The University of Georgia, the biggest public research university in the state, offers state-of-the-art research, cultural, and athletic buildings. Occupying a significant portion of Athens-Clarke County’s terrain, the University of Georgia has been identified as an R1 Doctoral University for its very high research activity.
UGA’s affordable PhD in Sociology has in-state and out-of-state per credit hour costs of $363 and $1,029 respectively. Unlike other PhDs, this degree program is for a bachelor’s degree graduate yet to earn an MA in sociology degree. The program offers rigorous research methodology, theory, and analytical tools training.
The pool of opportunities to network and party.
The University of Georgia is great for students who:
Want a rigorous, worthwhile educational experience.
The University of Georgia might not be the best fit for students who:
Prefer a small and quiet environment.
Tuition + fees
Northeastern University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Northeastern University is a renowned research institution and is extremely difficult and demanding. It boasts illustrious faculty members who are recognized experts in their professions. Before graduating, students accumulate a significant amount of work experience.
NEU’s PhD in Sociology is one of the cheapest sociology doctorates from a private university. It only costs 1,300 per credit hour. NEU hosts various annual events for sociology doctorates to help enhance their teaching, academic and grant writing, and media relations. Additionally, students have higher chances of landing funded research through faculty and partner institutions.
The small-sized cohort classes that give students a chance to develop close working ties with instructors.
Northeastern University is great for students who:
Wish to attend college in the heart of a big city.
Northeastern University might not be the best fit for students who:
Want a peaceful and quiet campus.