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Most Affordable Online PhD in Psychology

Affordable Paths to a Ph.D. in Psychology – Top 5 Cheapest Accredited Online Programs

Psychology continues to be a popular field of study, with over 195,000 degrees awarded in 2021 alone. This represents a 6.4% increase in recent years.

For those considering a Ph.D. in psychology, it helps to know the top degree-granting schools, career paths, and earning potential with this advanced degree. Best-Universities’ ranking highlights schools that offer affordable programs.


The top psychology Ph.D. programs in the United States by volume are Liberty University, Southern New Hampshire University, and Capella University. In 2021, Liberty awarded the most doctorates at 2,445. Interestingly, the top employers of PhD psychologists are actually elementary and secondary schools, with over 280,000 working in K-12 education. The second largest employer is colleges, universities and professional schools.

The average salary for those with a psychology Ph.D. is nearly $70,000, with the highest salaries in pipeline transportation and petroleum refining. Common occupations include therapists, psychologists, professors, school psychologists, and counselors. Key skills needed are social perceptiveness, science, and service orientation.

While clinical and counseling psychologists earn over $80,000 on average, salary potential varies greatly by role. For example, high-paying jobs like surgeons and physicians average over $200,000, while early career roles like social workers and therapist assistants average $40,000-50,000.

Overall, a Ph.D. in psychology is a versatile and in-demand degree that can lead to clinical, research, academic and leadership careers. Examining key program providers, employers, salaries and skills can help prospective students evaluate if a doctorate in psychology is the right next step.


All schools considered for these rankings

  • Are regionally or nationally accredited
  • Offer at least one fully online Ph.D. in psychology (with no more than two weeks of required in-person work)
  • Were collected from official accrediting agency websites.

Schools are ranked solely by the average net price as released in the most recent IPEDs database collected in July of 2023.

2024 Most Affordable Online Colleges for a Ph.D. in Psychology

RankSchoolAverage Net Price
#1Regent University Online$17,120
#2Capella UniversityTuition and Fees
#3Touro University Worldwide$19,104
#4Ashford University$23,380
#5Liberty University$28,561

5 Best Affordable Colleges for Online Ph.D. in Psychology

1. Regent University Online

Average Net Price: $17,120

School Type: Non-Profit
School Accreditation: SACS COC
Acceptance Rate: 50%

At Regent University-Online, the faculty and community are actively transforming the world through higher education. The university makes learning accessible for all individuals, no matter their demographic or social status. Regent University was rated #1 Best Accredited Online School in 2020, proving its dedication to offering top-tier schooling.

Individuals seeking a doctorate degree will appreciate the multitude of doctoral programs in psychology offered at Regent University Online. With so many different choices to choose from, students feel self-assured they’re on the right path to starting their forensic psychology, educational psychology, school psychology, and more types of mental health careers. Depending on the area of study chosen, you’ll take courses in addictive behavior, ethics/legal issues, indigenous mental health, and listening skills. You’ll learn all the valuable skills needed to be successful.

2. Capella University

Average Net Price: Tuition and Fees

School Type: For-Profit
School Accreditation: HLC
Acceptance Rate: Open Admissions

Capella University was established in 1993 to help individuals gain an education while handling life’s many responsibilities. They want to meet your everyday needs, which is why it’s home to more than 41,000 students worldwide. Students have endless opportunities for advancement both socially and educationally. At Capella University, you’ll be driven to achieve more and become your best self.

Earning an online Ph.D. at Capella University offers an array of different career choices. A few of the online psychology programs that individuals can participate in are PhD in Behavior Analsyis, PhD in Psychology – General Psychology, PhD in Psychology – Educational Psychology, PhD in Psychology – Developmental Psychology, and PhD in Psychology – Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Each psychology program teaches students how to lead and teach in professional settings, do proper research, or consult with others. This rigorous and research-based doctorate program brings confidence in students to finish their online doctorate degree dissertations.

3. Touro University Worldwide

Average Net Price: $19,104

School Type: Non-Profit
School Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
Acceptance Rate: Open Admissions

Touro University Worldwide is an advanced higher learning institution that strives to educate world leaders. As well as being a 100% online college, TUW has highly trained faculty, the newest technology, and a supportive community. Touro University prides itself on preparing graduates to enter the workforce and be diligent citizens in society. The university keeps an open admissions policy, so all students get an opportunity for excellence.

Touro University Worldwide has many different online doctorate degrees for students to earn. A few of graduates’ favorite programs include a Doctor of Psychology in Human and Organizational Psychology and a Doctorate of Physician Assistant. Each online Ph.D. in psychology program is designed specifically for students to gain the most relevant information and skills. Graduates go on to be hard workers who excel in their careers.

4. Ashford University

Average Net Price: $23,380

School Type: For-Profit
School Accreditation: HLC
Acceptance Rate: Open Admissions

Ashford University holds values of equity, empowerment, quality, and guidance. These values are what carry the university holding high recognition. At AU, the faculty is dedicated to each student’s success; this is shown in their student-centered classroom model. Graduates go on to use their psychology degrees in a diverse amount of careers and positions. Ashford University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

When earning an online doctoral degree, students choose Ashford University for its flexibility and upstanding programs. The university offers many different online doctoral programs in psychology so individuals can follow any passion. Not only are all the psychology programs advanced, but the classes keep students intrigued. A few of the courses you’ll participate in are school psychology, general psychology, counseling psychology, advanced topics in organizational counseling, and psychology of leadership. Students learn critical skills that carry them into leadership roles.

5. Liberty University

Average Net Price: $28,561

School Type: Non-Profit
School Accreditation: SACS COC
Acceptance Rate: 50%

At Liberty University, their focus is on excellence in both teaching and learning. Students at Liberty University contribute to research and are taught professional communication skills. Along with its high reputation, Liberty University is a Christian-centered institution that teaches personal integrity and love to one another. Although the school has higher tuition, students recommend attending because of the soaring success rate.

Earning an online doctorate or Ph.D. degree from Liberty University is guaranteed to advance you in any career you want to pursue. With online psychology programs such as a Ph.D. in General Psychology, Ph.D. in Theology, Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology, and Social Psychology, students have a multitude of choices. Individuals enjoy the rigorous coursework that brings endless opportunities for internships and hands-on experience. Graduates go on to be confident professionals in an array of different fields.

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