Most Affordable Online PhD Programs Ranked for Students in 2022

Most Affordable Online PhD Programs Ranked for Students in 2022

Earning a PhD will typically place you at the highest academic tier in your field. The doctoral degree will qualify you as an expert in your chosen subject and give you access to opportunities like professorship, research leadership, and more. But earning the PhD is also a very lengthy and potentially costly undertaking. Fortunately, there are affordable online doctorate programs that make it possible to reach this elite academic status while still working directly in your field.

Key Takeaways

  • The PhD is a terminal degree in most fields, and can provide access to high-ranking leadership opportunities as well as professorship and research roles. The online doctoral program may offer an affordable alternative to the traditional brick-and-mortar experience.

  • The cost of a PhD can vary widely depending on school and length of time to completion. Annual tuition can range from $30,000 for in-state public universities to $100,000 a year at a private graduate school.

  • A growing number of highly respected graduate schools are offering access to affordable online doctoral programs, which can help to reduce costs like housing, transportation, and certain campus fees.

An Overview of the Doctorate Degree

Why get an online doctorate degree?

Many doctoral candidates have already reached more advanced stages in their career. The online doctorate is a great way to continue in your education while remaining active in your career. Online doctoral degree programs are often tailored to the scheduling needs of working professionals. This means that you may be able to complete your online doctorate while still earning a living. This can help offset your dependence on financial aid options and, ultimately, reduce your student loan debt.

What kinds of online doctoral degree programs are there?

Online doctoral degree programs are offered in a variety of disciplines including business administration, health sciences, computer science, and more. Some doctoral degree programs do not naturally lend themselves to online learning, but for those that do, it may be possible to choose from a variety of affordable online doctorate degrees.

What can you do with a doctoral degree?

Earning a doctorate qualifies you to work at the highest levels in your field including executive leadership business, consultation in public affairs, work as a university professor, or a career spent in research. Depending on your area of concentration, your online doctoral program could allow you to contribute to important economic research, participate in major long-term public health surveys, or provide R&D leadership to a major consumer brand.

What are the admission requirements for an online doctorate degree program?

The admission requirements for online doctoral degree programs are the same as those for a traditional doctorate degree. The bachelor’s degree is typically the basic threshold for entry into a doctoral program. Most reputable online doctoral degree programs will also require a strong academic track record and a minimum undergraduate GPA. You are not required to earn a master’s degree before gaining entry into a doctoral degree program. However, some doctoral programs may recognize these graduate credits. Starting with some credits earned could reduce the time and money you’ll spend on your PhD. In other words, if you already have a master’s degree, you could choose from an array of more affordable online doctorate degree programs.

How much does a doctoral degree cost?

The cost of a doctoral degree is extremely variant. Most online doctoral programs fall on the higher end of the cost spectrum and can range from roughly $30-$40K per year for in-state students to upwards of $60,000 to $100,000 per year for out of state students. That said, the most affordable online doctoral programs actually offer online learning opportunities for as little as $5,000 to $9,000 per year.

Can I get an affordable online doctorate degree?

Yes, you can absolutely get an affordable online doctorate degree. A growing number of highly reputable universities now provide partially or fully online doctoral programs. For many doctoral students, one of the biggest challenges is balancing the enormous commitment of time spent on research and coursework with work, family and home-life demands.

Earning an online doctorate makes it possible to save money on expenses like housing, transportation, and certain campus fees. Online doctoral programs also make it possible to continue working in your field, which means you can complete your degree program while still earning a living. This can ultimately reduce your dependence on student loan debt.

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How We Rank the Most Affordable Online PhD Programs

In most cases, the most affordable online doctoral degree programs will be those offered by universities in your state. Online students who attend public universities enjoy access to in-state tuition rates just like traditional on-campus doctoral candidates.

That’s why we’ve ranked these online doctorate programs by placing the highest weight on in-state tuition rates. The tuition price listed below may not reflect the lower rate extended to in-state residents. Click on each school to learn more about in state tuition discounts. Other factors included in our ranking are Influence–the measure of a school’s excellence based on the real-world impact of its professors, students, and alumni; and the percentage of full-time students enrolled in online degree programs at each institution.

Below is a mix of both public and private universities offering the most affordable online doctoral degree programs on the higher education landscape.

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Most Affordable Online PhD Programs for In-State Students

  1. Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    5K

  2. Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    19%

    Student body

    8K

  3. Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    47%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    <1K

  4. Tuition + fees

    $26K

    Acceptance

    46%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1045/20

  5. Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    1K

  6. #17

    Carson–Newman University

    Jefferson City , TN

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1040/22

  7. Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    970/20

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More on the Cost of a PhD

How much does an online doctoral degree cost on average?

The average cost of a year in an online doctoral degree program is somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000 per year for both private and public grad schools. However, you can pay as much as $100,000 per year to attend some of the nation’s most prestigious private schools. The most affordable online doctorate degree programs may cost as little as $5,000 to $9,000 per year of tuition and fees.

How can I lower the cost of my online doctoral degree?

Financial aid, scholarships, and geographical considerations all offer ways to offset the sticker price of an online doctoral degree. Financial aid and scholarships are both central considerations as you look for ways to cut your PhD program costs. Finding a grad school in state can also offer various opportunities for state-specific financial aid and tuition discounts.

Why get a doctoral degree online?

You may also be able to offset some of the expenses of the doctoral degree by earning your PhD online. While tuition for online doctoral degree programs is generally in line with tuition for the traditional PhD experience, you may be able to saving on housing, transportation, and certain campus fees.

For more tips on getting an affordable online education, check out our Guide to Financial Aid in Higher Education