Now that you’ve decided to get a PhD degree, two of the biggest questions to ask yourself is how much and where?
To be able to get quality education at minimal cost as well as still maintain your job while studying, an online PhD is what you need. Discover in this article the cheapest accredited online PhD programs in the world.
A PhD degree is not for everyone. Some students attend college just so they can get a bachelor’s degree and land themselves a job. Some others advance to a master’s degree to better their pay and gain more theoretical knowledge of their field. Those who progress to the doctoral level are those with an insatiable thirst for education.
If you’re one such person, then this post is for you because we understand the cost and time challenge you face in your quest for knowledge. In this post, we’d show you the cheapest online PhD programs you can take anywhere in the world. We’d explain why you should consider getting a PhD online and how it works.
Consult the table of content below for a comprehensive list of the topics covered in this post.
Why get a PhD Degree?
The PhD degree, which is the full name for Doctor of Philosophy, is the height of academic achievement, However, it does not literally mean that you must study Philosophy as an academic program to get the degree. It is the same way the doctor title bestowed on you on attaining a PhD degree does not mean you are now a medical doctor.
No, it simply means that you have acquired a volume of knowledge in your area of study that makes you merit a doctor’s title. So, you see, you need a PhD degree to become an authority in your field of study. This is so because the process of a PhD is usually long. It takes between three to eight years to complete a PhD program and as a prerequisite, you must have attained a bachelor’s and a master’s in that field.
For most programs you’d need to study under the careful supervision of a faculty advisor, to complete your PhD program. It is a necessary degree if you envision yourself becoming a professor in your field, a scientist, a policy influencer, or the highest attainable position in your chosen career.
Before you commit to a PhD program, you need to know how long it takes to complete one. See How Long it Takes to Get a PhD | PhD FAQ Guide
Can I Get My Doctorate Degree Online?
Because of the intensive nature of PhD programs, some people would argue that you can’t get your doctorate degree online. This is not so, however. While people need a doctorate degree for a bigger salary, greater recognition, or upward mobility, it is difficult to put your current job on a long pause to attain any of this.
If you’re among the majority of Americans working more than 40 hours per week, you would find it hard to shuffle from work to the classroom and then from the classroom to your home schedules.
An online program solves this problem. It offers an attractive option to earn a doctorate degree while balancing the ins and outs of daily life. Since this option is increasingly getting appealing to many people, more accredited universities are beginning to tailor their PhD program to serve the online audience.
So today, you can take a credible online doctorate program because there are 205 accredited institutions in the United States offering more than 1,000 online doctorate programs.
How Does the Online PhD Program Work?
The online PhD program provides the platform for students to engage with professors and coursework through various formats such as webcasts, emails, messaging apps, and semi-annual campus visits.
Despite the kind of online program that you choose, you’ll pass through the process of:
Myths About Online Doctoral Degrees
Like every good innovation that makes life easier, there will always be skepticism about its validity. The online doctoral degree sounds too good to be real to some people are here are some untrue opinions that people hold concerning online doctoral degrees:
Are you aware that you can complete a PhD program in a year? See this 15 Best One-year PhD Programs in the USA
Cheapest Online PhD Programs
Having discounted the narrative that online programs are cheaper than the traditional programs, you would need to search for affordable online PhD programs the same way you would a traditional program.
Generally, online doctoral program in business administration, education, nursing, organization leadership, social work, and psychology tend to be cheaper than online programs in other fields of study.
All the tuition fees in this post are verified and valid for the 2021-2022 academic session! However, for the US schools, the annual tuition fees are estimates based on our calculations using the verified tuition cost per credit hour. Also, where there is tuition by Home and International students, we ranked the tuition for International students instead of that for Home students.
List of the Cheapest Online PhD Programs in the World
Here are the top 20 Cheapest distance learning PhD programs from accredited colleges and universities in the world.
#1. Aspen University, USA – D.Ed. in Leadership and Learning – Organizational Leadership (Online)
Fees: $27,000 Total cost of program or $375 monthly for 80 months ($4,500/year for 6 years or $9,000/year for 3 years)
Total Credit: 60
Duration: 3 years
Mode of Delivery: Online
With its monthly payment plan, Aspen University is one of the accredited universities in the world that offers cheap online Ph.D. programs. However, while the program takes only three years to complete, you’ll be paying for up to 6 years if you choose the monthly payment plan. Meanwhile, Aspen’s Ed.D. in Leadership and Learning – Organizational Leadership program will show you leadership from different layers.
This distance learning Ph.D. program will show you leadership from the personal to the group level and to the organizational level that often has a high degree of unpredictability. You will understand the dynamics impacting the creation of an enduring and effective strategic plan, and lead positive organizational change around current policy and critical issues upon completion. Additionally, the program will equip you with creative problem-solving strategies for enhancing your surroundings.
Not interested in this Leadership Ph.D.? See the 20 Best Online Ph.D. in Leadership | Schools, Requirements, Cost
#2. University of Missouri, USA – Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online)
Fees: Estimated cost for the MS to DNP program is $20,662 for the full program or $5,165.5/year
Total Credit Hours: 38
Duration (MS to DNP): 4 years
Mode of Delivery: Online (Blended), Full-Time & Part-Time
The University of Missouri is also another accredited university in the USA that offers some of the cheapest online Ph.D. programs in the world. The university hosts multiple online doctoral programs through four of its colleges. While some of these programs have an on-campus attendance requirement, most of the coursework component remains accessible online.
Meanwhile, the Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) helps you advance your career in an advanced nursing role. The program is distance mediated and ideal for the working professional. You can take the coursework wholly online except for a minimal on-campus visit, which is usually once per year. Despite the University of Missouri’s affordable online doctorate degree tuition, the university also provides scholarships varying from $1000-4000 every year to qualified applicants.
#3. Teesside University, the UK – Business Administration (DBA) (Online) Doctorate
Fees: £4,700 or $5,718.82
Duration: 4 Years
Mode of Delivery: Online, Full-time & Part-Time
Teesside University’s DBA is one of the cheapest doctorate programs in the world for both UK students and international students. The aim of this DBA online course is to develop the skills that business leaders within the complexities of the fourth industrial revolution need.
The provides an interaction between theory and practice that provides leaders with research-informed perspectives that add value in terms of business effectiveness, efficiency, and capability.
Being a part-time program, you have the opportunity to combine advanced study with professional experience. Additionally, all Teeside’s DBA lecturers are research-active and are able to supervise a wide range of academic and practical research topics.
#4. University of Arkansas, USA – Doctor of Education in Human Resource and Workforce Development Education
Fees: $430.69/credit hour or $41,346.24 for total program cost ($5,906.60/year)
Total Credit Hours: 96
Duration: 7 years
Mode of Delivery: Online
The University of Arkansas’ Doctor of Education in Human Resource is one of the cheapest PhD programs in the world. It charges the same fee for both local and international students in its world-class degree program.
U of A’s online HRWD program requires as much commitment as its traditional PhD program. The doctoral degree requires a time commitment beyond what you might imagine, especially as it stretches to 7 years of completion time.
You can get into this program with a background in all or a combination of the following fields of study – psychology; organizational behavior; occupational counseling; skill testing and evaluation; program design; consulting practice; organizational development; and applications to issues such as training, management development, customer service, and total quality management.
#5. The University of Arkansas at Little Rock, USA – Online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership
Fees: $430.69 per credit hour or $18,088.98 for the full program cost ($6,029.66/year)
Total Credit Hours: 42
Duration: 3 years
Mode of Delivery: Online and On-campus Seminar
The University of Arkansas, U of A, boasts of a good number of cheap online Ph.D. programs. Its Ed.D. in Educational Leadership is one. This program provides professional preparation for students pursuing careers as principals, other building-level administrators, and supervisors in public and private schools. It is also for you if you want to become a superintendent and other central office personnel; federal and state governmental agency officials; and other educational leadership-related professionals.
While the coursework of U of A’s Ed.D. program is online, you’ll have to participate in three intensive weekend seminars on campus. This Ed.D. program at U of A is an extensive network of K-16 partners throughout the state and it is taught by a faculty that is committed to providing a highly rigorous and relevant classroom experience online for the students.
#6. University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), the UK – Doctor of Business Administration DBA
Fees: £5000 or $6,083.85 per year. From year 5 onwards, you pay £1000 or $1,216.77 per year.
Duration: Four-Seven years
Delivery Mode: Mixed Mode, Part-time
The DBA program by UCLan is by its Lancashire School of Business and Enterprise. It is one of the cheapest Ph.D. programs you can take from anywhere in the world. It is specifically designed for experienced practitioners in business, industry, and the professions, who are seeking to gain a professional doctorate degree through a part-time research-orientated program. This DBA program grants you the same status as the Ph.D. and permits you to use the title of ‘Dr.’ upon satisfactory completion.
Here are 15 PhD scholarships for Business Administration Students that can ease your financial burden at UCLan
#7. University of Florida, USA – EdD in Curriculum and Instruction – Teachers, Schools, and Society (TSS)
Fees: $448.73/Credit Hour or $26, 923.8 for full program ($6,730.95/year)
Total Credit Hours: 60
Duration: 4 years
Mode of Delivery: Blended (Online & On-Campus)
The University of Florida is another accredited university that offers a good number of cheap online Ph.D. degrees. However, none of them is as cheap as its Ed.D. in Curriculum & Instruction with a specialization in Teachers, Schools, and Society (TSS). This distance learning Ph.D. program is made specifically for the practicing educator. With the school’s offering to work together within a community of practice, you’ll tackle your school’s problems while learning through theory and research to inform your teaching.
While your work will be focused on positive, practical changes, your colleagues, students, and school will all benefit as a result. Meanwhile, the University of Florida’s online Ph.D. program will not prepare educators for positions in research-intensive universities. The program aims at preparing practicing educational professionals to address the pressing problems of practice facing educational leaders today.
This List of PhD Scholarships in the USA will help finance your Ph.D. program in the USA.
#8. Valdosta State University, USA – Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction (Learning and Development)
Fees: $20,500 as the full program cost or $6,833.33/year for 3 years
Total Credit Hours: 55
Duration: 24-30 months (2 to 3 years).
Mode of Delivery: Online
With Valdosta State University offering in-state tuition rates to every of its online DBA students, it is one of the cheapest online Ph.D. programs in the world. Valdosta State University’s online doctoral degree in curriculum & instruction has three specializations to earn a degree. They are Learning and Development, Leadership, and Public Administration.
You can access the coursework for these online doctoral programs around the clock from any location with internet access. This makes it a convenient route to higher education for working students. Meanwhile, Valdosta State’s Ed.D. with a major in Curriculum and Instruction and a concentration in learning and development provides practical opportunities for students to relate theoretical foundations to curricular and instructional issues that are prevalent in real-world settings.
#9. Mississippi State University, USA – Doctor of Philosophy in Civil and Environmental Engineering (Construction Engineering and Management)
Fees: $400/credit hour, which is from $15,200 to $24,800 for the total program cost, and $7,600 to $8,266.66/year
Total Credit: 38 or 62
Duration: 2 to 3 years
Mode of Delivery: Online
Mississippi State University has some of the cheapest online PhD programs in the world as it charges all students in-state tuition. You can apply for its Doctor of Philosophy in Civil and Environmental Engineering program through its regular admission or its contingent admission. Its regular admission requires 18 hours of coursework approved by the school’s committee and a minimum of 20 hours of research (CE 9000).
The contingent admission, on the other hand, requires 42 hours of coursework in addition to 20 research hours of research. Students who have received admission to this online Ph.D. program primarily work in Canvas to access course materials, discuss topics with peers and professors, and submit assignments.
You definitely need these Top 12 PhD Scholarships for Civil Engineering Students if you’ll be studying for a PhD in Civil Engineering.
#10. Amridge University, USA – Doctor of Education in Higher Education Administration
Fees: $675 per semester hour ($34,425 for four years or $8606.25/yearly)
Total Credit: 51
Duration: 4 years
Mode of Delivery: Online, Full-time
Amridge University is another accredited university where you can get one of the cheapest online Ph.D. programs in the world. The university offers a comprehensive array of online doctoral degrees to prospective students. Amridge’s qualified faculty uses the Canvas learning platform to deliver the university’s online programs. Meanwhile, Amridge’s online Doctor of Education in Higher Education Administration curriculum prepares current and future leaders for executive-level positions within postsecondary institutions.
Through the program’s emphasis on research, institutional effectiveness, student services, curriculum development, finance, law, and future trends, you’ll develop the theoretical skills necessary to effectively address real-world problems within higher education. Plus, Amridge University places a unique emphasis on its Christian ideals and heritage, if you’re looking for a Christian University.
#11. Troy University, USA – DNP (Post Masters) Online
Fees: $494/credit or $17,290 for total program cost ($8,645/year)
Total Credit Hours: 35
Duration: 2 years
Mode of Delivery: Online
Troy University offers some of the cheapest accredited online PhD programs in the world. Its DNP program is its cheapest online doctoral degree at $494 per credit hour. Troy’s DNP program is based on the university’s understanding of this nation’s complex healthcare environment requires you to have the highest level of scientific knowledge and nursing expertise. When you have such expertise, you can assuredly provide high-quality patient care and meet expectations for certification.
Thus, the online DNP program at Troy enables nurses like you to become expert leaders and collaborators in solving health problems. Troy’s DNP program prides itself on infusing the nursing community with qualified educators. By completing this program, you’ll be ready for a variety of leadership roles. These roles include Director of clinical programs, Executive positions in healthcare organizations, Faculty positions, and Manager of quality initiatives
#12. University of Southern Mississippi, USA – Doctor of Education in Educational Administration (Online)
Fees: $494.12/hour or $26,682.48 for full program cost ($8,894.16/year)
Total Credit Hours: 54
Duration: 3 years
Mode of Delivery: Online, Part-Time
The University of Southern Mississippi’s Doctor of Education program is one of the cheapest Ph.D. programs you can get anywhere in the world from an accredited university. This online Educational Administration Doctorate program has a synchronous class structure that is designed to give instructors an extra advantage as they climb through the ranks in their careers.
Since this distance learning Ph.D. program requires a Capstone Project rather than a dissertation, you will be gaining real-world application and solving hands-on issues as you work and study. Southern Mississippi’s online Educational Administration Doctorate is nationally recognized by CAEP/NCATE, so you don’t have to worry about its credibility. Also, the program has aligned to the Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC) standards.
#13. The University of Glasgow, the UK – Education (Doctor of Education)
Fees: £3,325 or $4,045.76 for Home or EU students and £7,340 or $8,931.09 for International students.
Duration: 5 Years
Mode of Delivery: Online, part-time.3456
University of Glasgow’s Online Doctorate in Education (EdD) helps you extend and deepen your knowledge and understanding of contemporary education. It is one of the cheapest online PhD programs available, especially for UK and EU students. By the time you’ve complete the University of Glasgow’s online Doctorate in Education, you’d be equipped with transferable skills in applied research and professional development. Skills that will prove invaluable for your future career.
You don’t have to worry about the quality of Glasgow’s EdD program because the doctorate is so much its PhD in education in terms of scale and rigor. The main difference, however, is that you will benefit from having a structured program of advanced study during the first three years that will be relevant to your profession as an educator. You’d also enjoy collaborative learning that draws on your own experiences and those of your academic colleagues.
#14. New Mexico State University, USA – Doctor of Nursing Practice – Family Nurse Practitioner
Fees (BSN-DNP): $411.50/credit hour or $28,393.5 total program cost ($9,464.5/year)
Total Credit (BSN-DNP): 69
Duration: 3 years
Mode of Delivery: Online (Blended)
#15. Murray State University, USA – Doctor of Arts in English Pedagogy (English Language Specialization)
New Mexico State University offers up to six distance learning doctoral programs, but its BSN to DNP program is one of the cheapest in the world. The DNP is a doctoral degree for nurses at the highest level of nursing practice. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the DNP degree will be the level of entry for all advanced practice nurses by 2020.
So, New Mexico’s online DNP program offers you a Practice-focused program that prepares you for the highest level of practice as the terminal practice degree. Although you can take the coursework for this program online, the clinical component consists of over 1000 contact hours. You must make certain to accommodate the intensive time commitment that this program requires if you’re interested in pursuing a nurse practitioner doctorate.
Fees: $594 per credit hour or $28,512 for full program ($9,504/year)
Total Credit Hours: 48
Duration: 3 years
Mode of Delivery: Online
Murray State University’s accredited Doctor of Arts in English Pedagogy is one of the cheapest online PhD programs in the English Language that you would ever find anywhere in the world. This distance learning PhD program improves your professional practice and enhances your career options in the field. It embeds advanced coursework in the content areas of English and Literacy within a framework of pedagogical theory and reflection.
It is primarily for teachers in the fields of English language, literature, and literacy at secondary and postsecondary levels. You’ll learn the core foundation courses that are tied to the aspects of your work as teachers. The program encourages students to use their professional environments as sites of research and imaginative inquiry.
If you’re interested in Murray State University’s English PhD program, you should need to see this Top 20 PhD Degree Scholarships for Literature Students
#16. University College London, the UK – Education (Online) MPhil/PhD
Fees: £3,580 or $4,356.04 for Home or EU students and £8,840 or $10,756.25 for International students.
Duration: 5 Years;
Mode of Delivery: Online, Part-Time.
Through the UCL Institute of Education (IOE), UCL offers world-leading doctoral programs in education and related social sciences. These online PhD programs are one of the most affordable education programs in the world, especially if you’re a UK or EU student. UCL’s (Online) MPhil/PhD students undertake their research project, working closely with their supervisor(s) to develop each stage of their research.
It also allows you to undertake a tailored program of modules and activities. If you’re interested in UCL’s (Online) MPhil/PhD program, you’ll select one of the six departments within the IOE. These include Culture, Communication, and Media; Curriculum, Pedagogy, and Assessment; Education, Practice, and Society; Learning and Leadership; Psychology and Human Development; Social Science.
#17. University of the Cumberlands, USA – Doctor of Business Administration (online)
Fees: $500 per credit hour or $33,000, total program cost ($11,000/year for 3-year completion, and $6,600 for 5-year completion)
Total Credit Hours: 66
Duration: 3-5 years
Mode: Online; Full-time and Part-time
If there’s an accredited college in the USA that offers the largest number of online PhD programs, the University of Cumberlands is that college. Its Online Doctor of Business program is one of the cheapest online doctorate programs in the world, especially if you’re taking the part-time route. This program is designed for candidates who are already working in the areas of a business profession.
A typical candidate for this distance learning PhD program is one who cannot attend classes in a “traditional setting” on campus because of their tight work schedules. You can also apply for this program as a recent MBA graduate who thirsts for more knowledge and wants to be marketable to future employers.
#18. Bay Path University, USA – Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership & Organizational Studies
Fees: $975/credit or $52, 650 for full program cost ($13,162.5/year)
Total Credit Hours: 54
Duration: 4 years
Mode of Delivery: Online
For its quality, Bay Path University offers one of the cheapest accredited online PhD programs in Education Leadership. Bay Path’s EdD in Higher Education Leadership & Organizational Studies is at the forefront of the study of higher education. The program teaches you how to re-imagine institutions, make tough decisions, re-examine whether old ways of doing business are still relevant, and adopt an opportunity rather than a scarcity mindset.
Bay Path’s EDD in higher education leadership & organizational studies will build you with the skills to transition institutions into highly adaptive, innovative, and resilient organizations. You’ll also learn how to improve higher education practices throughout local, state, national, and international arenas on completion of the program.
Have you seen these 13 Best PhD Organizational Development Online Program?
#19. Bethel University, USA – Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership (Online)
Fees: $750 per credit or $45,750 total cost ($15,250/year)
Total Credit Hours: 61
Duration: 3 years
Mode of Delivery: Online, plus one-week on-campus class each year
Bethel University may not be one of the cheapest accredited universities for an online PhD program on the list, but it is definitely one of the cheapest in the world. The Minnesota-based university offers a good number of online PhD programs of which its Online Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership stands out as one of its cheapest.
The Ed.D. in Higher Education would develop your capacity to manage the tactical day-to-day aspects of a college or university. It would also groom you to become a transformational leader committed to innovation and positive change. This distance learning PhD program provides an interactive online learning environment for working professionals who serve or want to serve in leadership roles within higher education.
#20. University of Bath, the UK – Professional Doctorate in Health
Fees: £4,400 or $5,353.79 for Home and EU students, and £17,400 or $21,171.80 for foreign students.
Duration: four to eight years.
Delivery Mode: Part-time, distance-learning
The University of Bath’s Professional Doctorate in Health is one of the cheapest PhD programs out there especially if you’re a UK or EU student. It is not so cheap if you’re an international student. The program is for a range of health and social care professionals who are interested in furthering their development as expert practitioners and researchers in practice.
It utilizes a web-based delivery blended with Summer Schools (typically five days in length) to provide the right kind of learning. As an online doctorate degree, the program aims to meet the learning needs of busy health and social care practitioners. Unlike its traditional PhD counterpart, the University of Bath doesn’t expect you to have a well-developed research protocol before commencing your studies.
Do you know that you can apply one of these Top 15 PhD Scholarships for Public Health Students to your Professional Doctorate Degree at the University of Bath?
Yes, it is possible to get a Ph.D. program online. Many accredited universities have made it possible to earn an online doctorate degree. This online Ph.D. program requires that you fulfill all or almost all of the program requirements online. This makes it a convenient option if you are working full time or if the university is not located within an accessible distance.
Yes, an online Ph.D. is worth it if you get one from an accredited college. This kind of program is credible and is very good for busy professionals who want a doctoral degree, but can’t accommodate a traditional course of study.
- The average cost of a Ph.D. program is $30,000 per year, amounting to a total of $240,000 for the whole duration of the program with an average completion time of eight years. However, you can get online Ph.D. programs for as low as $5,000 per year and a completion time of three years, summing up to a total program cost of $15,000.
Typically, the average number of years to complete a doctorate degree program online is eight years. However, this will vary by the university, discipline, and program. The mode of delivery too (whether online or on-campus) and part-time or full-time would determine the length of the doctorate degree program.
It is very difficult to find a PhD program that you can complete in two years. However, some Nursing Doctorate degree, such as the DNP offered by Troy University takes just two years to complete. This is the case if you’ve completed a two-year master’s degree in nursing.
Just like 2-year PhD degrees, a PhD without a dissertation is almost impossible, yet they exist in rare cases and this depends on the field of study that you’re getting a doctorate degree. Law degrees, such as Juris doctorate (JD) may not require dissertations.
Online PhD degree is credible and as tasking as the traditional on-campus PhD program. You should take advantage of it if you’re a professional with a tight work schedule who is interested in attaining the greatest height in your field.
An online PhD program will be very challenging, despite the fact that it allows for flexibility. This is because, you must learn to manage your time well if you hope to complete your program at the ideal completion time.
While PhD programs are typically expensive, you can take advantage of the cheap ones we’ve advertised in this post. They all have accreditation, which means that their degree is as credible as any on-campus degree as would be as effective.
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