Educators looking for a career boost may consider a PhD in education. We rank the most affordable online PhD degree programs in education.
If you’ve ever wanted to teach in a more advanced field, you’ve probably thought about getting a PhD in education. Online doctoral degree programs could be the opportunity you are looking for.
Professionals with this esteemed degree have become college presidents, superintendents of schools, academic deans, professors, and many other positions. People pick this job path because of the progress and sense of fulfillment it offers.
However, online learning opportunities that result in a fully online PhD of education are difficult to find. Luckily, several Doctor of Education (EdD) online programs are available for working professionals who still want to obtain a doctorate degree for career advancement. Below we’ve listed 20 of the most affordable online doctoral degree programs in PhD and EdD.
Doctoral students gain essential skills that will enable them to effect good change in various educational settings.
The Doctor of Philosophy, or PhD, an academic title/degree, focuses on field research and strategies for helping working teachers improve their performance in the classroom. PhD degrees often allow online students to choose a focus, such as a curriculum and education, design, leadership, or administration.
An online doctor of education is a valuable professional qualification. This degree is for experienced teachers serious about advancing into leadership and administrative positions. Programs may contain broad-based academic research applications but typically center on leadership theory and practice.
The intriguing aspect of this degree is that students might discover similar employment options. Although most doctoral programs have quite particular curricula, academics and practitioners sometimes overlap in education.
Bottom Line: An online PhD in education focuses on academia and research, while an online EdD focuses on graduates moving into leadership positions within a school.
Although each school has a specific curriculum for affordable online doctoral programs in education, most address the same fundamental ideas. Research, writing, and critical-thinking skills are often improved by students seeking an education doctorate. However, specific courses frequently differ by specialization or emphasis.
Qualitative and quantitative research, diversity, and educational leadership and management are a few of the most common courses of online doctorate programs in education. The program’s conclusion can be a capstone project or a traditional dissertation.
Some institutions provide a certain educational specialization. Others offer a wide range of options for students who want to match their specialization to their professional aspirations.
Aspiring college instructors could find interest in doctoral programs with specializations in adult education, curriculum studies, or urban and multicultural education. Leadership in organizations, leadership in education, and global executive are additional popular specializations.
A requirement of many doctoral programs is an internship. Although most education doctoral applicants already have work experience in the field, doctoral internships assist students in getting ready for prestigious leadership positions in education administration or research.
A DIP or capstone requirement is frequently the final step in a doctor of education degree. The dissertation and capstone allow students to demonstrate the breadth of knowledge they received throughout a program and their critical thinking and problem-solving skills, even though they may differ in structure and delivery.
Both capstone projects and dissertations demand protracted planning and preparation over several semesters. The most typical output of a dissertation is a written research paper, which students must defend in front of an advisor panel. A capstone often consists of a final project demonstrating the student’s practical expertise in their field of study.Back to Top
The cost of earning a PhD in education is significant. Luckily, there are affordable online doctorate degrees in education and there are ways to make sure they are as affordable as possible.
Most colleges and universities charge more for out-of-state students, so attending college in your own state will almost always be a cheaper option. There are even some schools that offer a flat-rate tuition, which means that in-state and out-of-state students pay the same per credit cost.
Earning an online doctorate in education degree as opposed to an on-campus doctorate degree can be more affordable because you will save money on expenses like housing, transportation, and certain campus fees.
It is common for online doctoral students in education to continue working while completing their degree program. Earning a living while going to school can ultimately reduce your dependence on student loan debt.
Affordable online doctorate degrees in education are possible if you are able to take advantage of financial aid, including grants, scholarships, and loans.
Check out the Federal Student Aid website for more information.
Bottom Line: An affordable online PhD in education doctoral degree or an online EdD degree is possible when you factor in things like in-state tuition, financial aid, grants, and scholarships.
Tuition + fees
University of Virginia’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
The University of Virginia is one of the top and most respected public institutions of higher learning, thanks to its long history as a top research university.
The online Doctorate in Education in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Virginia costs only $585. Students who gain admission to this online doctorate become competent to solve educational issues in communities and become educational leaders in curriculum, instruction, and evaluation.
This online Education doctorate is open for professionals with at least four years of work experience.
The vast range of courses, their high academic rigor, and the numerous opportunities for work or volunteerism outside the classroom are among the school’s best features.
The University of Virginia is great for students who:
Are motivated and can compete. Students at the University of Virginia are incredibly goal-oriented and committed to achieving their goals, and competition here is very strong among students.
The University of Virginia might not be the best fit for students who:
Prefer to learn in a quiet and slow-paced environment.
Tuition + fees
Indiana University Bloomington’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Indiana University Bloomington, a flagship institution and the largest one of the Indiana University system, offers high-quality education designed for people who want to obtain a degree and become more competent in the job market.
Contrary to popular belief, Indiana University Bloomington is a very affordable institution. One of its affordable and accessible degree programs is the online Doctor of Education in Literacy, Culture, and Language Education, with in-state and out-of-state tuition fees of $480.93 and $576.45, respectively. This doctoral program has a holistic and integrative focus that aims to help students get ready for various leadership positions in the 21st century.
The academic programs and faculty. IU Bloomington understands that online learning students feel very pressured by the school’s rigorous academics, let alone having no personal support from the faculty.
Indiana University Bloomington is great for students who:
Thrive under pressure.
Indiana University Bloomington might not be the best fit for students who:
Want personalized degree programs.
Tuition + fees
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Since its founding, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has been fulfilling its duty to generate new information and fresh thinking, then translate them into improved approaches to working, living, and learning for the state, the country, and worldwide.
Tuition costs $500 per credit hour for the Online Doctorate of Education (EdD) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. This EdD is one of the most customizable programs.
Upon online program completion, students will earn the online Doctorate in Education degree focusing on Education Policy, and Organization & Educational Leadership programs.
UIUC has the most students of color because they believe that diversity is important for learning and daily life. Students at UIUC come from more than 100 different nations worldwide, in addition to the 50 states in the United States.
The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is great for students who:
Enjoy diversity and willing to embrace changes. Regardless of where a student is from, the UIUC will transform them.
The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign might not be the best fit for students who:
Prefer small class sizes. UIUC is a very large school, and class sizes can reach up to a hundred.
Tuition + fees
University of Florida’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
The University of Florida, one of the greatest universities in the country overall, promotes future-shaping learning, paradigm-shifting discoveries, life-saving medical care, and collaboration that strengthens all communities.
One of its top online degree programs is surprisingly very affordable. The online Leadership in Educational Administration Doctorate (LEAD) EdD program offers very low in-state and out-of-state tuition fees of $518.24 and $656.77. Online students will explore various topics that will help them land research, leadership, and policy positions.
The small class sizes. Despite being a public institution, UFL maintains a very low student-to-teacher ratio. UFL’s small class sizes allow students to talk more with their teachers and benefit from the possibility of individualized attention.
The University of Florida is great for students who:
Want a large university where they can explore vast amounts of majors and degree programs.
The University of Florida might not be the best fit for students who:
Have a hard time socializing. Greek Life is highly valued at UF, and most students belong to a Greek house. A person who refuses to participate in Greek Life may find it challenging to make friends.
Tuition + fees
University of Colorado Denver’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
The University of Colorado at Denver, a top-tier public research university, provides a modern, research and evidence-based education that focuses on creating awareness among citizens and encouraging them to change the world..
With in-state and out-of-state tuition fees of $429 and $515, the online Doctor of Leadership for Education & Equity – Higher Education at UC Denver made it to our list of the most affordable education doctorates. This online degree program was carefully designed to cater to the needs of people passionate about social justice, educational access, and equity in higher education. Students in this online EdD will have the capability to obtain a PhD and participate in leadership discussions on topics involving equity in higher education.
The ongoing efforts of sustainability. Several students and citizens support the University of Colorado system due to its extensive efforts to create a more sustainable campus and help the earth recover from global warming.
The University of Colorado is great for students who:
Value close contact with instructors and are prepared to go above and beyond in their pursuit of higher education.
The University of Colorado might not be the best fit for students who:
Who either dislikes huge campuses or struggles to arrive on time for classes.
Tuition + fees
University of Missouri’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
The University of Missouri, or Mizzou, is a comprehensive public research university ranked as a top value school among the SEC flagship and Midwest. In addition to being popular in several fields, such as business, marketing, management, medicine, and journalism, Mizzou is also regarded for having distinguished professors teach on-campus and online courses.
Mizzou’s online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership only costs $590.80 per credit hour and an estimated $31,903.20 total program cost, making it one of the most budget-friendly doctoral programs. Designed to help students prepare for certification and licensure in academia, this online EdD covers topics that enhance a student’s skills in leadership, such as organizational analysis, content and context of learning educational policy, and leadership theory and practice.
The learning while networking initiative. Mizzou ensures that students have the opportunity to network during their first few months in college.
The University of Missouri is great for students who:
Are open to the idea of a large and diverse campus.
The University of Missouri might not be the best fit for students who:
Lack a strong sense of school spirit.
Tuition + fees
University of Kentucky’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
The University of Kentucky set the standard for new approaches to fulfilling its obligations to its students, faculty, staff, alums, and friends, as well as the citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The University of Kentucky does not only offer top-notch academic programs, but it also offers affordable tuition fees. UK’s affordable tuition fee is the school’s way to help underprivileged students obtain a degree and become competent in the job market.
One of its affordable online degree programs is the Interdisciplinary PhD with strands in educational science and educational leadership. Students enrolled in this affordable online PhD only pay $526.50 per credit hour.
The abundance of possibilities available to students at the University of Kentucky, including study abroad and research internships, are its finest feature. All of these opportunities aid students in standing out as they begin their future employment.
The University of Kentucky is great for students who:
Are hyper-focused on success. Additionally, students with a strong sense of school pride will thrive in this institution since UK is very big on school spirit.
The University of Kentucky might not be the best fit for students who:
Would give in to the party atmosphere.
Tuition + fees
Baylor University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Baylor University allows students to combine a major university’s rich traditions and growth opportunities with individualized learning experiences of a small one, thanks to its dedication to quality and diversity. Baylor is more prevalent in graduate and professional studies, especially in healthcare and healthcare-related fields.
The online Doctor of Education in Learning and Organizational Change at Baylor University costs $5,355 per 3 credit hours, which is substantially cheaper than other private Christian universities that cost up to $2,000 per credit hour. This online EdD was created to train students to use fundamental teaching and learning concepts to control the dynamics of organizational change.
The sense of belonging and its affordable courses. Despite being a Christian school, Baylor University admits students with different beliefs. And unlike other Christian universities, Baylor offers low and affordable tuition fees.
Baylor University is great for students who:
Want a solid education and a strong feeling of community. The university maintains a high standard for academics while also boasting a variety of social clubs.
Baylor University might not be the best fit for students who:
Are really liberal and don’t take their education seriously.
Tuition + fees
University of Arkansas’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Before becoming one of the largest land and space grant universities in the United States, the University of Arkansas only had eight students and three faculty members when it first started. With the school’s effort to enhance academics and research, the University of Arkansas was named a very high research university by the Carnegie Foundation. In addition to its high-caliber and diverse major offerings, the University of Arkansas offers affordable degrees from associate to doctoral-level degrees.
Priced at $437.54 per credit hour, UArks’s online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership is one of the cheapest online doctoral programs. This degree helps students land upper-level positions requiring strong leadership skills, such as administrators or supervisors in academia, superintendents and other central office staff, and representatives of federal and state governmental agencies.
The research and scholarship opportunities. The Carnegie Foundation has rated the university as having excellent research activity and offers more than $85 million in financial aid and scholarships each year. Its endowment is nearly $1 billion in value, spending about $133 million on research each year.
The University of Arkansas is great for students who:
Want to enroll in a university that is big on Greek Life and values diversity.
The University of Arkansas might not be the best fit for students who:
Prefer to enroll in universities with less diversity and small class sizes.
University of Massachusetts’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
The University of Massachusetts is a public research university dedicated to promoting knowledge and improving lives through offering rigorous academic programs with a revolutionary spirit to provide students with an unmatched educational experience. The school is the second-largest employer in the state and the largest contributor to the Massachusetts workforce.
UMass offers an affordable online Doctor of Education in Leadership in Schooling, EdD that costs only $495 per credit hour. Online doctoral students become prepared for leadership positions in K–12 administrations or higher education.
What we love about the University of Massachusetts:
The relentless drive for innovation, growth, and advancement, a willingness to try things that have never been done before to accomplish the “impossible.” UMass’ spirit has solidified this state’s place in history and ensured its enduring leadership and success.
The University of Massachusetts is great for students who:
Are self-motivated and determined to succeed personally. UMass is a very large school, so students will have minimal attention from their instructors. UMass is best for students who thrive without needing constant personalized attention.
The University of Massachusetts might not be the best fit for students who:
Lack self-assurance. Those who don’t feel comfortable with the large populations and are not independent-minded should avoid UMass.
Tuition + fees
West Virginia University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
West Virginia University, a land-grant university, has faculty, staff, and students dedicated to fostering a diverse and inclusive culture that advances access to opportunities, high-impact research, and transformation in West Virginia and the world through local, state, and international engagement.
One of its affordable programs is the online Doctor of Education in Higher Education Administration, which only costs $652 per credit hour. Students in this online EdD will have plenty of research and academic opportunities to help them fine-tune their skills and knowledge for upper-level job positions. EdD students can have a specialty in higher education, such as academic affairs, college student development, curriculum and evaluation, administration, organizations, or policy.
The Center for World University Rankings placed West Virginia University in the top 3% of the world’s 19,000 universities and is home to the first institute dedicated to studying human memory.
West Virginia University is great for students who:
Are committed to their studies, enthusiastic about their school, and like to interact and collaborate with others. WVU is great for students who can balance fun and academics.
West Virginia University might not be the best fit for students who:
Enjoy demanding workload, small class sizes, and a tight-knit campus.
Tuition + fees
Texas Tech University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Texas Tech University is pioneering in addressing the current and upcoming global challenges by focusing on advancing higher education, healthcare, research, and outreach. Despite having more than 30,000 students enrolled, Texas Tech students boast one-on-one interactions with excellent teachers and a setting that prioritizes student achievement.
Students looking for an affordable doctoral education to advance their careers can consider Texas Tech’s online Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education. This doctorate equips students with the necessary abilities in locating, evaluating, and applying critical research to address problems in higher education related to various sociocultural contexts both domestically and overseas.
The Center for World University Rankings ranks Texas Tech University among the top 1.7% of universities worldwide. Any prospective student wishing to join a prestigious research institution, earn a doctorate, or enter various fields, including healthcare and law, should consider TTU.
Texas Tech University is great for students who:
Are independent and extroverts. One will have a difficult time adjusting to the change and making friends if they do not fall into one of these categories.
Texas Tech University might not be the best fit for students who:
Have no self-direction and dislike constant interaction with students.
Tuition + fees
University of Wyoming’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
The University of Wyoming, established in 1886, is a nationally renowned land-grant research institution with skilled faculty, top-ranked academics, and top-notch facilities. UW works to dismantle obstacles and investigate fresh teaching and learning avenues as the Equality State university.
One of its affordable programs is the online Educational Leadership, Ed, which has in-state and out-of-state per credit hours tuition fees of $311 and $930, respectively. This online EdD offers training and experiences in problem-based research, curriculum, and field experiences that you can tailor to your goals with a focus on Curriculum and Instruction and Mathematics Education.
UW’s online EdD explores ideas about modern education in a research setting and introduces students to academics working on cutting-edge projects in fields like literacy, special education, science, and math education.
The hands-on faculty. While it’s quite rare for large public universities’ faculty to offer personalized attention, faculty at UW ensure that students get the assistance to succeed in their degree programs.
The University of Wyoming is great for students who:
Want to enroll in a university where they can feel less pressure on obtaining high grades.
The University of Wyoming might not be the best fit for students who:
Only thrive in small class sizes.
Tuition + fees
University of Memphis’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
The University of Memphis, a public coeducational university, is a university that exudes happiness. UofM is a member of the State University and Community College System of Tennessee that runs research facilities in various fields, including earthquakes, business and economics, education, Egyptian art and archaeology, electron microscopy, and ecology.
The online Doctorate of Education is one of the best EdD degrees for students who want a top-tier education at a very low cost. For only $606 per credit hour, students can enroll in a doctoral program with maximum adaptability designed to help them pursue various leadership positions in higher education. Students can decide whether they’ll focus on Higher Education or Adult Education.
Unlike other EdD degrees, this degree enrolls students with academic and professional backgrounds in business, education, health, law, counseling, and liberal arts.
The University of Minnesota offers a link to the community that other college campuses do not, such as their close ties to FedEx and St. Jude, while still being diverse and comfortable.
The University of Memphis is great for students who:
Are independent, upbeat, and eager to become part of student organizations. UofM offers hundreds of clubs and organizations.
The University of Memphis might not be the best fit for students who:
Want a personalized learning experience.
Tuition + fees
Northern Illinois University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Northern Illinois University, established in 1895, was a training ground for teachers. Since then, NIU has developed into a top-tier, publicly funded research institution that draws students from all around Illinois, the nation, and the globe. NIU aims to improve social mobility, foster intellectual, professional, and personal growth, and transform the world via research, the arts, education, and outreach.
NIU is also one of the most affordable universities offering an online Doctorate in Education with emphasis on Community College Leadership, costing only $583.60 per credit hour.
The vast financial aid opportunities. Over 80% of our undergraduate students get financial aid. NIU aims to give everyone an access to an education that can change their lives but will not break their bank accounts.
Northern Illinois University is great for students who:
Are serious about their education and have self-control. NIU is a party school, which means that students should know how to balance studies and parties.
Northern Illinois University might not be the best fit for students who:
Want to live on a huge campus or are searching for a quiet neighborhood.
Tuition + fees
University of Dayton’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
The University of Dayton is a leading yet affordable private Catholic research universities offering undergraduate and doctorate programs. UD is a multicultural community dedicated to educating students and fusing learning and scholarship with leadership and service in the Marianist tradition. Students at UD are pushed to broaden their horizons and get first-hand knowledge.
One of its doctoral offerings is the online EdD in Leadership for Organizations, which costs only $1,425 per credit hour and an estimated total cost of $72,675. There are 60 credits in the curriculum, but only 51 counts toward tuition.
The EdD curriculum educates students to become leaders in mission-driven organizations and positive change. Graduates of the program will have the necessary abilities to manage and implement change in healthcare institutions, nonprofits, governmental organizations, and more with the service-based leadership skills they acquire.
The sense of community. Most individuals at UD get along because the school encourages its students to respect others’ beliefs and opinions. And because most people are content here, UD has a very upbeat vibe.
The University of Dayton is great for students who:
Want to study in a tight-knit campus community.
The University of Dayton might not be the best fit for students who:
Dislike interaction and teamwork. UD places a lot of emphasis on its community, students who want to be left alone may not survive here.
Tuition + fees
Marshall University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Marshall University, a comprehensive research university, supports personal development by promoting academic success, skill development, and personality development. There are professional, technical, and industrial career studies accessible through the university’s many departments.
Marshall University offers an affordable online EdD in Leadership Studies designed specifically for administrators in colleges, universities, governmental agencies, nonprofits, the military, and other fields. Students may start the program in any term, as admissions are on a rolling basis. This EdD emphasizes the study of moral, legal and financial challenges, as well as current policymaking, and is supported by a core curriculum based on fundamental leadership concepts and practices.
The program charges in-state students $418 per credit hour and out-of-state $1,115.25 per credit hour.
The location. Because Marshall lies in the heart of Huntington, West Virginia, students may easily access the city’s attractions.
Marshall University is great for students who:
Want the best of both worlds: cozy small-town warmth, bustling city life, and vibrant campus life.
Marshall University might not be the best fit for students who:
Strongly disagree with traditional, religiously conservative values.
Tuition + fees
Liberty University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
A Liberty education ought to be affordable and available to everyone. As a result, Liberty has frozen tuition for a fifth consecutive year through the 2023–24 academic year and removed the test-score requirement for admission.
Liberty University offers a low-cost online Doctorate in Education with no residency requirements. With this degree, students can choose one of four specializations: curriculum and instruction, organizational leadership, special education, or instructional design and technology.
The school’s broad and accepting vision. Liberty University helps their students obtain a better grasp of who they are and the world around them. They think that this provides students the ability to define who they are, rather than just what they do, as their identity.
Liberty University is great for students who:
Want to enroll in a Christ-centered college education.
Liberty University might not be the best fit for students who:
Are unwilling to follow a few rules. There are regulations that forbid doing things like drinking as well as strict dress codes.
Tuition + fees
University of Southern Mississippi’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
The University of Southern Mississippi is an R1 research institution and one of the country’s leading public research universities. As one of the biggest doctoral-granting research institutions, USM is dedicated to scholarship and learning, including students at all levels in discovering and applying knowledge via excellence in teaching, research, creative endeavors, outreach, and service. The University of Southern Mississippi offers some of the most affordable online programs.
USM’s affordable online doctorate of Higher Education EdD, costing only $519.12 per credit hour, is one of the cheapest doctorates in the United States. Instead of requiring a dissertation, this program offers a capstone project, allowing students to work on problems that exist in the real world. Students will learn about various topics in the Higher Ed program, including the community college environment, higher education leadership, legal concerns, and social justice.
The combination of rigorous academics, hands-on learning, community engagement, and networking opportunities.
The University of Southern Mississippi is great for students who:
Prefer a competitive campus with a small-town feel.
The University of Southern Mississippi might not be the best fit for students who:
Lack strong work ethic. USM is a lively campus that is also quite competitive.
Tuition + fees
University of West Georgia’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
The University of West Georgia was originally established as an agricultural and mechanical university in response to a need for more realistic educational programs for rural youngsters. Today, UWG has over 87 programs of study in several majors. UWG is also recognized as one of the most affordable and dynamic universities in the United States.
The University of West Georgia offers an affordable online EdD in Higher Education Administration enhances students’ critical analysis and reflective thought to correctly and successfully address pressing challenges in higher education administration. Additionally, EdD students will be able to recognize legal concerns and modifications that influence practice in higher education. They will also be able to see how their own personal ethics and values affect their professional behavior.
The accessibility and hundreds of majors and degree programs that allow students to easily pursue their passion.
Indiana University is great for students who:
Desire to be pushed to reach their full potential.
Indiana University might not be the best fit for students who:
Prefer a small- to medium-sized school.