Top 10 Most Affordable English PhD Programs (Doctorates) 2024


We rank the most affordable online PhD doctorate programs in English. It is possible to find a highly reputable program that is also affordable.

Key Takeaways

  • Students in English doctoral programs become proficient in literary analysis, cultural understanding, and research techniques.

  • Students may enroll in a PhD in English degree program to pursue literary education, teaching, or research-focused careers.

  • To make online English PhD programs even more affordable, schools offer generous financial aid packages, grants, scholarships, and assistantships.

Featured Programs

What is an online PhD in English?

The greatest degree a person with a master’s degree in English Language and Literature can receive is a doctorate of philosophy or simply a PhD in English. It’s a broad-based doctoral degree that gives students the tools they need to conduct in-depth research.

An English doctoral degree not only helps professionals get familiar with the subtleties of different writing styles but also gives them a thorough understanding of how literature and language affect how people react to the outside world.

An online PhD in English doctorate degree program provides a solid grounding in literary works and regional cultures. Because it emphasizes expertise in one of the world’s most commonly spoken language, a PhD is an impressive credential.

Woman studying English at home

What To Expect from an Online Doctorate Degree in English

Admission Requirements for Online PhD in English Degree Programs

Prospective doctoral students will typically be required to submit the following in order to qualify for admission into an online doctoral program in English:

  • A completed online application
  • Official undergraduate college transcripts
  • A cumulative GPA of at least 3.0
  • GRE scores
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal interviews
  • Personal statement or essay
  • Plan of study

Key Point: In most cases, prospective doctoral students will be required to have earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in English or a related field as well. Be sure you’ve completed all required undergraduate and graduate coursework before applying to your doctoral degree program.

Duration of an Online Doctoral Program in English

Online PhD in English degree programs can be pursued either full- or part-time. A part-time course takes 4-5 years to finish, whereas a full-time program typically lasts three years. Online English PhD programs include a thesis of between 60,000 and 100,000 words that must be submitted during the last year of study to be awarded the degree.

Doctoral Student Dissertations

In most cases, the central component of your online PhD program will be the completion of your dissertation. After being accepted as an online PhD candidate, most doctorate students will develop an original research question.

This research question forms the basis of the dissertation—an ongoing project designed to address this research question through applied research. A doctoral student will work closely with an advisor or mentor, although much of the dissertation will be rooted in independent research. This is especially true for students pursuing an online PhD.

Oral Defense

Upon completion of the written portion of the dissertation the student will be expected to defend their findings. This “oral defense” will typically be conducted by a commission of professors and experts in the field of English. PhD candidates in some online degree programs may be able to conduct this defense via teleconferencing.

Teaching Requirements

Some PhD online degree programs will also include a teaching component, which will require the student to work as an adjunct professor or teacher’s assistant in an undergraduate or graduate school. It may be possible for students in the online doctoral degree program to also serve teaching requirements by instructing online students.

Bottom Line: The main component of affordable online doctorate degrees in English is the dissertation. It will be a central part of your online doctoral degree program.

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Areas of Study and Research in Online Doctor of English Programs

Literature and Culture

Students pursuing English PhD online degrees focusing on international literature or the confluence of literature and history will develop critical theory skills by analyzing works of topics such as feminism or post-colonialism. Additionally, they will use these approaches to analyze broad media and literary works.

Rhetoric and Communication

All doctoral candidates will learn to do critical research, effectively organize arguments and facts, and communicate both orally and in writing.

Common courses in rhetoric and communication include:

  • The administration of writing programs
  • The history and philosophy of rhetoric
  • The impact of language and rhetoric on individuals, society, culture, and politics

Technology Resources

Students in these programs learn to study the importance of technology and media related to the scholarship. Online PhD programs in English use technology to teach and do research. Students get practical knowledge for roles in academia and business where they may apply the research and strategic skills they obtained while pursuing their doctorates in English.

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Are there affordable online PhD in English degree programs?

Yes, finding an accredited and affordable quality online PhD in English degree program is possible.

Luckily there are many affordable online doctoral programs to choose from, especially in English.

A growing number of highly reputable universities have hybrid or fully online doctoral programs in English. These programs are perfect for busy graduate students trying to manage their time and balancing coursework, career, and family demands. This makes an affordable online PhD program especially attractive.

Take a look at our affordable degree guide for even more tips on making a doctorate degree as affordable as possible.

Here are some ways to ensure that an online doctoral programs in English are as affordable as possible.

In-state Tuition

The cost of online doctorate degree programs in English vary based on several factors. Most colleges and universities charge more for out-of-state students. However, there are some schools that offer flat-rate tuition, which means that in-state and out-of-state students pay the same per credit cost.

Other Expenses

Earning an online PhD in English degree as opposed to a traditional on-campus doctorate degree makes it possible to save money on expenses like housing, transportation, and certain campus fees.

Continue Working

Online learning also makes it possible to continue working in your field, which means you can complete your doctorate program while still earning a living. This can ultimately reduce your dependence on student loan debt.

Doctoral programs in English are a great option for busy professionals who want to continue their education while juggling work and family life.

Financial Aid, Scholarships, Grants, and Loans

If affordability is a particular concern, and it is making you reluctant to pursue a PhD in English online doctorate degree, you may be able to take advantage of financial aid, including grants, scholarships, and loans.

For more information, visit the Federal Student Aid website. It is especially important that you only consider online programs that are accredited in order to qualify.


Many schools offering PhD in English online programs 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 check into the online program in English doctorate degree that you are interested in.

Bottom Line: Affordable online PhD in English programs are possible when you factor in things like in-state tuition, financial aid, grants, and assistantships.

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The Most Affordable Online PhD in English Doctorates

  1. #1

    Texas A&M University

    College Station , TX
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    Career Outlook for English degree at Texas A&M University

    Cost of Degree: $10,687
    Expenses: $19,014
    Starting Salary: $65,804
    Salary after 4 years: $74,257
    Cost Recoup Time: 9 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    Texas A&M University is the first public institution in Texas. The university is now considered a research-intensive flagship university committed to graduating leaders of several sectors who are ready to face future challenges and change the world. TAMU is also a world leader in online education and affordable degree programs.

    One of TAMU’s affordable degrees is the PhD in English, designed for academic professionals seeking expertise and a specialized post-secondary position teaching English and literacy.

    The program costs $758 per credit hour. Students can further customize their English online doctorate by choosing one of the program’s concentrations: linguistics, composition and rhetoric, and American, British, and children’s literature.

    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 4-5 years
    • Format: Online

    What we love about Texas A&M University

    The traditions. Everyone looking for a top-notch education and a connected network after graduation should consider attending this school because it strongly emphasizes traditions and school spirit.

    Texas A&M University is great for students who:

    Value knowledge, heritage, and community. TAMU is strong in creating campus events that develop students’ sense of community.

    Texas A&M University might not be the best fit for students who:

    Prefer to have less diversity in the classroom.

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    Career Outlook for English degree at Old Dominion University

    Cost of Degree: $13,704
    Expenses: $17,780
    Starting Salary: $47,267
    Salary after 4 years: $53,338
    Cost Recoup Time: 11 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    Old Dominion University is a forward-focused public doctoral research university that offers rigorous academics, a vibrant residential community, and projects that boost Virginia’s economy by $2.6 billion annually. Through ODUGlobal, Old Dominion University offers more than 120 online programs to help working professionals fit their studies into busy work and life schedules.

    The online PhD in English at ODU is one of the most affordable online doctorates, with in-state and out-of-state tuition of $571 and $595 per credit hour. It combines textual studies, rhetoric, discourse, and writing designed for academic and non-academic professionals. This online program offers Literary and Cultural studies; Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse Studies; and Technology and Media Studies as concentrations. Students can also design their emphasis based on their future goals.

    • Required Credits: 48
    • Completion time: 3 years
    • Format: Online

    What we love about Old Dominion University

    The diversity and medium-sized classes are two of ODU’s strongest features. Students here interact with professors and peers worldwide, much as in the real world.

    Old Dominion University is great for students who:

    Seek engagement with other cultural and ethnic groupings.

    Old Dominion University might not be the best fit for students who:

    Lack of self-confidence and is unable to work independently.

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    Career Outlook for English degree at Murray State University

    Cost of Degree: $10,071
    Expenses: $15,655
    Starting Salary: $41,055
    Salary after 4 years: $46,329
    Cost Recoup Time: 11 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    Murray State University offers a top-notch education that includes experiential learning, academic and personal growth, and the chance to secure a lifetime of success. MSU has been dedicated to fostering leaders in the community, the nation, and the world since 1922. Murray State University has expanded its online offerings to keep up with the current demand for flexible learning.

    Murray State University’s online Doctor of Arts in English Pedagogy caters to secondary and post-secondary teachers looking to specialize in English.

    The program offers affordable online tuition of $559.50 per credit hour. The program is linked to the aspects of work that teachers and other professionals do, and it encourages students to use their professional environments as sites of reflection and imaginative inquiry.

    Students can specialize in writing, language, literacy, or literature.

    • Required Credits: 48
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online

    What we love about Murray State University

    The rigorous academics, faculty support, the combination of large-university educational opportunities and the small student-to-faculty ratio of small universities.

    Murray State University is great for students who:

    Are academically driven, goal-oriented, and accepting of variety and different civilizations.

    Murray State University might not be the best fit for students who:

    Are unwilling to study or participate on campus and dislike the small-town atmosphere of the college.

  5. What is Anaheim University known for?

    Anaheim University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Anaheim University is a leader in higher learning. The university offers students the chance to interact with the most famous specialists in their fields in a user-friendly and interactive environment through its cutting-edge online, face-to-face learning environment. This allows students to develop both their knowledge and professional abilities. One of the school’s strengths is its English majors.

    Anaheim offers one of the most affordable online doctoral programs for students interested in gaining the technical and professional knowledge and the research skills necessary to hold leadership positions in the TESOL industry.

    The online Doctor of Education in TESOL prepares online students to work as directors of programs where English is taught as a second or foreign language and contributes to programs that prepare English language teachers. Students will also learn how to research language teaching and testing and create language curricula and teaching resources, among other careers.

    With an affordable tuition fee of $500 per credit hour, this online doctoral degree is vastly considered by working professionals.

    • Required Credits: 76
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online

    What we love about Anaheim University

    The school’s commitment to its students. Anaheim gives students worldwide a chance to further their careers while receiving a top-notch education without taking any loans or incurring any debt.

    Anaheim University is great for students who:

    Thrive in a tight-knit community.

    Anaheim University might not be the best fit for students who:

    Prefer to learn in a diverse environment and want to have vast options of degree majors.

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    Career Outlook for English degree at Indiana University Bloomington

    Cost of Degree: $11,468
    Expenses: $16,010
    Starting Salary: $56,099
    Salary after 4 years: $63,305
    Cost Recoup Time: 9 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    Indiana University Bloomington is one of the university’s eight campuses spread around the state. IU Bloomington makes top-tier contributions to science and the arts, distinguished by their originality, innovation, and commitment to academic freedom. Concerning economic, social, and cultural development and providing leadership in innovative answers to problems unique to the twenty-first century, IU aims to forge vibrant connections with the nation’s capital and local communities.

    The affordable online EdD in Literacy, Culture and Language Education at IU Bloomington offers a high caliber of education that advances the knowledge of literacy and language education of students.

    This program provides comprehensive coursework that equips students with the skills and knowledge necessary to comprehend and manage the problems and challenges of the twenty-first century. Students enrolled will study in a cohort model that encourages collaboration.

    In-state and out-of-state per credit hour are an affordable $519.93 and $615.45, respectively.

    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 3 years
    • Format: Online

    What we love about Indiana University Bloomington

    The school’s engaging and colorful traditions and spirit create a sense of belonging for all students.

    Indiana University Bloomington is great for students who:

    Don’t mind being around people of many backgrounds who want to further their education in a sizable but welcoming community.

    Indiana University Bloomington might not be the best fit for students who:

    Have trouble making new acquaintances and feel awkward participating in extracurricular activities.

  7. Two students working together
  8. #6

    Northcentral University

    San Diego , CA
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    What is Northcentral University known for?

    Northcentral University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Northcentral University is one of the cheapest Christian-based universities in the nation and a pioneer in online education. Northcentral provides more than 60 majors and minors, allowing students to explore their interests and work toward their objectives while getting ready to serve God in many capacities.

    Northcentral University’s EdD in English Language Learning online is a specialization that works beyond the master’s degree of students, focuses on English language acquisition, and features an optional track for completing a dissertation.

    Students can enroll in specialty courses like Second Language, Curriculum Development for ESL Students, and Evaluation of Diverse Students. Those who want further hands-on learning can participate in optional practicum assignments.

    The degree is not a guarantee of ELL/ESL certification. Students must research their particular state requirements.

    • Required Credits: 48
    • Completion time: 33 months
    • Format: Online

    What we love about Northcentral University

    Northcentral University offers some of the best mentors and advisors that help students carefully select their majors, maximize their college experience, and find internship opportunities.

    Northcentral University is great for students who:

    Have a close relationship with God and are looking for a place where they can develop spiritually and academically.

    Northcentral University might not be the best fit for students who:

    Do not practice religion. All students must minor in the Bible because this school is an assembly of God institution.

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    Career Outlook for English degree at University of Central Florida

    Cost of Degree: $8,872
    Expenses: $17,668
    Starting Salary: $49,693
    Salary after 4 years: $56,076
    Cost Recoup Time: 10 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    The University of Central Florida is a public urban research university with multiple campuses committed to serving the diverse and growing people of its surrounding towns and its technological corridors and international partners. The university provides excellent undergraduate and graduate education, student development, continuing education, research, creative activities, and services that support the metropolitan area’s intellectual, cultural, environmental, and economic development. It also includes addressing important national and international issues and establishing UCF as a significant global presence.

    UCF’s online Curriculum and Instruction, EdD, offers an English Language Arts specialization designed for students who want to study literacy, literature, and diversity. This specialization comprises reading, writing, listening, speaking, seeing, and producing texts. These texts cover a range of narrative, informative, and literary genres and visual content that can be accessed digitally and on paper.

    In-state students pay an astoundingly affordable $327.32 per credit hour, while out-of-state students pay $1,151.72 per credit hour.

    • Required Credits: 54-57
    • Completion time: 3 years
    • Format: Online

    What we love about the University of Central Florida

    The endless opportunities are UCF’s strongest point. Every major at UCF is extremely challenging but also incredibly rewarding. This school offers countless internship possibilities that can be obtained at any stage of education.

    The University of Central Florida is great for students who:

    Are ambitious and can learn independently.

    The University of Central Florida might not be the best fit for students who:

    Prefer to have individualized attention from their advisors.

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    What is Kennesaw State University known for?

    Kennesaw State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

    Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia. It is dedicated to developing into a top-tier academic institution that can broaden its educational and research missions and increase its local, regional, and national scope.

    Kennesaw State was designated a comprehensive university by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. Today, Kennesaw State has fully adapted online degree programs to give non-traditional students further access to affordable and accessible higher learning education.

    The online EdD in Secondary Education English at Kennesaw State University caters to Master of Education graduates or a related field. This online English doctorate equips students with the necessary knowledge, abilities, and attitudes to function as learner-centered experts engaged in scholarly investigation and research. Students pay an affordable per credit hour of $383.

    • Required Credits: 66
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online

    What we love about Kennesaw State University

    The world-class faculty and academic support from the school’s in-the-know advisors.

    Kennesaw State University is great for students who:

    Want to have the experience of a small school.

    Kennesaw State University might not be the best fit for students who:

    Dislike interacting with others from diverse origins and points of view.

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  12. #9

    Columbia University

    New York , NY
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    Columbia University, an Ivy League institution, is one of the most renowned colleges and universities worldwide. The school uses its setting to offer students various resources and educational opportunities. The Columbia core curriculum, which includes literature, writing, art, and science courses, benefits students aiming for a comprehensive liberal arts education. Each year, Columbia invests around $1 billion in research.

    Columbia’s Teachers College offers an affordable, Ivy League EdD in English program. While the $1,913 per credit hour may seem heavy on some students, this is one of the cheapest degrees from a private Ivy League institution.

    This online EdD in English degree program emphasizes educational practice and allows students to choose courses that support their academic and career objectives. This English language learning degree also includes a dissertation tackling a more practical research topic.

    • Required Credits: 90
    • Completion time: 5 years
    • Format: Online

    What we love about Columbia University

    The ground-breaking research and strong undergraduate programs. The school is also known for providing a core curriculum that exposes students to a wide range of subjects to broaden their academic horizons.

    Columbia University is great for students who:

    Are self-sufficient, independent, and academically driven but also eager to experience city life and participate in various social activities.

    Columbia University might not be the best fit for students who:

    Want to have a party atmosphere because Columbia University is not a party school.

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    St. John’s University is one of the oldest and top Catholic universities in the United States. The university is renowned for its exceptional academic offerings, which include over 100 majors leading to certification, bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees. St. John’s is also a top choice for Catholic students earning their degrees online at a more affordable tuition rate.

    St. John’s University offers an affordable $1,265 per credit hour online PhD in Literacy: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). The International TESOL Association has designated the courses of this specialization to satisfy the highest professional TESOL requirements.

    The program allows students to learn from a comprehensive English language curriculum that offers authentic, collaborative learning opportunities and undertakes in-depth linguistic and cultural disparities analyses. Graduates can work in non-teaching fields, such as curriculum and materials creation, program management, and teacher training.

    • Required Credits: 42
    • Completion time: 3-4 years
    • Format: Online

    What we love about St. John’s University

    The school’s endless activities. There is never “nothing to do” at St. John’s because there are over 180 student clubs and organizations on campus. St John’s hosts an Activities Fair every year to teach students about the many opportunities for involvement in academics, sports, the arts, social life, and the community.

    St. John’s University is great for students who:

    Enjoy a small campus and like intimate classroom settings.

    St. John’s University might not be the best fit for students who:

    Are shy and afraid to voice out. St. John’s is always looking for students who want to speak up and make a difference.

Career Outlook for Students with English Degree

Go to Degree Finder tool

English Language And Literature

Degree Level: Doctorate

  • Location: The U.S. (Private Schools)
  • Avg. Starting Salary*: $54,937
  • Avg. Salary after 4 Years*: $61,994
  • * denotes ‘annually’

Career Salaries

CareerJob GrowthAvg. Salary
English Language and Literature Teachers, Postsecondary1.14%$69,035
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education1.03%$61,619
Proofreaders and Copy Markers-4.17%$45,885

Average Career Salaries

Bottom 10%MedianTop 10%

Promising Job Markets

StateCost of LivingAvg. Salary
#2 New York5% higher than average$80,873
#3 Oregon11% higher than average$85,325
#4 Utah4% higher than average$69,470
#5 Connecticut18% higher than average$84,385
#6 Vermont13% higher than average$79,130

Top Industries

IndustryAvg. Salary
English Language and Literature Teachers, Postsecondary$69,035
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education$61,619
Proofreaders and Copy Markers$45,885
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