Are you ambitious and driven, determined to expand your field and contribute new ideas to established practice, or maybe even invent a new one altogether? With a Doctoral or Ph.D. degree, your professional opportunities can become virtually boundless so that you can do all of this and more.

Often, people find it difficult to decide whether pursuing a higher executive-level degree is worth the cost, which is where Best Universities comes in. Below we’ve compiled a list of some of the most affordable online colleges that offer Doctoral and Ph.D. degrees. First and foremost, these schools are ranked according to cost, then the quality of education, accreditation, and reputation are considered.

Online Doctorate Programs That Might Interest You
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Methodology

All schools considered for these rankings

  • Are regionally or nationally accredited
  • Offer at least one fully online doctoral degree (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 2021.

2023 Most Affordable Online Colleges for Doctoral Degrees

RankSchoolAverage Net Price
# 1American College of Education$6,600
# 2Liberty University$8,360
# 3Wilmington University$9,060
# 4Mississippi State University$9,220
# 5Concordia University – Chicago$9,378
# 6Bethel University – MN$11,700
# 7Radford University Carilion$12,535
# 8University of North Dakota$13,217
# 9Old Dominion University$13,224
# 10The University of Tennessee-Knoxville$13,380
# 11The University of Arizona Global Campus$13,460
# 12Indiana Wesleyan University Online$13,512
# 13University of Kentucky$13,674
# 14University of Phoenix$16,153
# 15Regent University Online$17,190
# 16Medical University of South Carolina$17,702
# 17Loyola University Chicago$19,894
# 18Samford University$21,575
# 19Nova Southeastern University$22,790
# 20Saybrook University Hybrid Online$25,206
# 21University of St Augustine for Health Sciences$26,247
# 22Andrews University$29,630
# 23Keiser University eCampus$30,832

10 Best Affordable Colleges for Online Doctoral Degrees

1. American College of Education

Graduate student tuition + fees: $6,600
School Type: For-Profit
School Accreditation: HLC
Acceptance Rate: Not Reported

The American College of Education has an application fee of $50 that can be applied toward tuition in certain circumstances. Admission requirements vary depending on which programs students wish to apply for, so check the college website for more details about your desired online program. The American College of Education provides 6 online Doctoral degrees, an Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, an Ed.D. in Instructional Technology, an Ed.D. in Leadership, an Ed.D. in Nursing Education, an Ed.D. in Public Health Education, and an Ed.D. in Second Language Instruction

Unlike most colleges, the American College of Education only offers its classes and programs online. The educational tracks the college offers embrace emerging technologies and promote research and theories in every field. The American College of Education is a medium-sized public college boasting an enrollment of over 7000 students.

2. Liberty University

Graduate student tuition + fees: $8,360
School Type: NOn-Profit
School Accreditation: SACS COC
Acceptance Rate: 50%

Liberty University’s application fee is $50. Most of the accepted students had a high school GPA of 3.15-3.83, and about half had SAT scores between 1040 and 1280 and ACT scores of 21-29. Liberty University offers 34 online doctoral and Ph.D. degree programs. The Ph.D.s of this number include Ph.D. of History, Ph.D. of Advanced Educational Studies, Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision, Ph.D. of Psychology, and many more.

Liberty University’s online doctorate and master’s degree programs are offered fully or nearly fully online, with multiple start dates each year. The courses are in an 8-week format with asynchronous login capability. Liberty’s purpose is to train champions for Christ. The goal is to equip you with the skills and expertise to influence the world as a leader, trainer, and expert. As you work with Liberty’s team to pursue your career goals, they will strive to provide you with the knowledge, techniques, and resources you need to reach those goals.

3. Wilmington University

Graduate student tuition + fees: $9,060
School Type: Non-Profit
School Accreditation: MSCHE
Acceptance Rate: 100%

Wilmington University’s application fee is $35. There is no minimum GPA required for undergraduate admission, but at minimum, graduate program acceptance requires a GPA of 3.0. Though all 31 online graduate programs in Wilmington University’s online offerings are provided fully online, some may require in-person presentations as they come to the finish lines.

Programs include the following choices of learning modes. Face-to-Face courses, of course, are the traditional classes that meet in person at set times each week. Online courses are asynchronous and 100% online. FLEX courses are courses in live synchronous webinars held in classrooms. Hybrid courses include some classroom instruction and up to 75% of instruction is held in a synchronous and/or asynchronous online environment. Online Live courses provide students with synchronous weekly class sessions.

4. Mississippi State University

Graduate student tuition + fees: $9,220
School Type: Non-Profit
School Accreditation: SACS COC
Acceptance Rate: 80%

Mississippi State University online offers a 76% acceptance rate, and its graduate school requires a $60 non-refundable application fee. Admission requirements vary depending on which programs students wish to apply for, so check the college website for more details about your desired online program.

Mississippi State University provides 13 Ph.D. degrees online including, Plant and Soil Sciences with a concentration in Horticulture, Instructional Systems and Workforce Development, Engineering with a concentration in Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science, and many others. To graduate with a doctoral and Ph.D. degree, every program at MSState requires at least 54 hours of graduate credit beyond the bachelor’s level, which includes 20 hours of dissertation credits.

5. Concordia University – Chicago

Graduate student tuition + fees: $9,378
School Type: Non-Profit
School Accreditation: HLC
Acceptance Rate: 79%

Concordia University – Chicago’s online graduate programs require students to submit official transcripts from all prior institutions, 2 letters of recommendation, a professional resume, and a writing sample. Admission requirements also include a completed master’s degree program with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Concordia University – Chicago provides 6 Doctoral and Ph.D. degrees online.

Concordia University – Chicago’s online coursework for a doctorate level requires 60 to 67 credit hours, including the dissertation for the DBA, Ph.D., and Ed.D. programs. Classes are held for eight weeks and students can typically receive their degrees within 3-5 years.

6. Bethel University – MN

Graduate student tuition + fees: $11,700
School Type: Non-Profit
School Accreditation: HLC
Acceptance Rate: 87%

Bethel University – MN online offers an 89% acceptance rate, and its graduate school requires no application fee. Because classes begin so often, the rolling deadline for applications gives students the flexibility to enter the programs whenever it is most convenient for them. Bethel University – MN provides online Doctoral degrees in Higher Education Leadership and K-12 Administration.

To earn the Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership or the Ed.D. in K-12 Administration, students must complete 61 credit hours online, then attend 1 week of on-campus intensives each year in St. Louis, MN. Both programs can be completed in 3 years, plus the time it takes to complete the dissertations.

7. Radford University Carilion

Graduate student tuition + fees: $12,535
School Type: Non-Profit
School Accreditation: SACS COC
Acceptance Rate: 28%

Radford University Carilion focuses on degrees in the medical field and is located in Roanoke, VA. The university has an 83% acceptance rate and requires a $50 application fee. Because classes begin so often, the rolling deadline for graduate student applications gives the flexibility to enter the programs whenever it is most convenient for them. Radford University Carilion provides online Doctoral degrees in Education, Health Sciences, and Nursing Practice.

The Doctor of Education degree is a 63-credit hour program with courses in Educational Leadership, Practitioner Inquiry, Field Experiences, Social Justice, and Elective choices. It may be completed by attending part-time for three years. In the Doctor of Health Sciences program, students choose from three focus areas; Healthcare Administration, Community and Public Health, or Education and Academia. This program requires 42 credit hours and takes about two and a half years to complete. The Doctor of Nursing Practice program offers more than 1,000 clinical hours and the required clinical and didactic courses in all concentrations. It culminates in a residency based on the student’s career goals.

8. University of North Dakota

Graduate student tuition + fees: $13,217
School Type: Non-Profit
School Accreditation: HLC
Acceptance Rate: 87%

The University of North Dakota’s earliest form of distance learning began with correspondence by-mail courses back in 1911. Though the format has morphed and adjusted with technology over the years, the mission to provide opportunities for students near and far has not changed and has grown to supply hundreds of offerings in coursework and programs. The University of North Dakota provides a variety of Ph.D. degrees online including Aerospace Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Communication, Computer Science, Earth System Science and Policy, and many more.

UND’s online graduate programs all differ in their time to completion and application deadlines, so prospective students should go to UND’s website to find the program information for their desired degree. The application process for pursuing an online degree is the same as it is for an on-campus student. Students need not complete a separate application.

9. Old Dominion University

Graduate student tuition + fees: $13,224
School Type: Non-Profit
School Accreditation: SACS COC
Acceptance Rate: 95%

Old Dominion University is a doctoral research institution located in Norfolk, VA. The university has a 96% acceptance rate and requires a $50 application fee. ODU’s online graduate programs all differ in their time to completion and application deadlines, so prospective students should go to their website to find specific program application and completion information. Old Dominion University provides 5 Ph.D. degrees online.

Some of these programs offer more specific areas of study for students who want to narrow down the degree that will help them most in their future career paths. Concentrations available in the Ph.D. in Education program include Occupational and Technical Studies, Educational Leadership, and Instructional Design & Technology. The Ph.D. in Engineering emphasizes Engineering Management and Systems Engineering. In the Doctor of Nursing Practice, students choose from three focus areas; Advance Practice, Nurse Executive, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.

10. The University of Tennessee-Knoxville

Graduate student tuition + fees: $13,380
School Type: Non-Profit
School Accreditation: SACS COC
Acceptance Rate: 78%

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville’s application fee is $50. The minimum required high school GPA is 2.0, and about half of the accepted students have SAT scores between 1170 and 1340 and ACT scores of 25-31. The University of Tennessee-Knoxville offers 3 online Ph.D. programs.

The Ed.D. in Educational Leadership program requires 60 hours of courses and begins every fall. The Ph.D. in Educational Psychology & Research requires 85 credit hours and begins every fall and spring. The other programs all vary in duration and start times, as well, so inquire at the university’s website, where it is easy to find more information on all the programs.

Online PhD Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the schools below.