2017 Most Affordable Online Colleges Offering Doctoral Programs

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These 25 schools are SR Education Group's 2017 most affordable schools offering online doctoral programs. Tuitions for these affordable online schools range from $4,300 to $9,100 annually. Walden University, coming in at #20, offers an impressive 148 different online doctoral programs. Notably, top-ranked Apex School of Theology has an annual tuition of only $4,300 and offers 5 Doctor of Ministry degrees. All schools on this list offer at least three online doctoral degree programs.

You can read more about our ranked schools below or see our Overall Most Affordable Colleges. View our methodology or learn more about SR Education Group.

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All tuition numbers were manually collected and verified
Rank College Annual Tuition Online Doctoral Degrees
#1 #1 Apex School of Theology Annual Tuition $4,300 Online Doctoral Degrees 5
#2 #2 California Coast University Annual Tuition $4,350 Online Doctoral Degrees 3
#3 #3 Valdosta State University Annual Tuition $4,395 Online Doctoral Degrees 3
#4 #4 American College of Education Annual Tuition $4,590 Online Doctoral Degrees 10
#5 #5 Governors State University Annual Tuition $4,605 Online Doctoral Degrees 5
#6 #6 Taft University System Annual Tuition $5,040 Online Doctoral Degrees 4
#7 #7 Montana State University Annual Tuition $5,712 Online Doctoral Degrees 3
#8 #8 University of West Georgia Annual Tuition $6,196 Online Doctoral Degrees 3
#9 #9 Delta State University Annual Tuition $6,298 Online Doctoral Degrees 5
#10 #10 Regent University Online Annual Tuition $6,600 Online Doctoral Degrees 22
#11 #11 California Southern University Annual Tuition $6,750 Online Doctoral Degrees 3
#12 #12 Idaho State University Annual Tuition $6,956 Online Doctoral Degrees 4
#13 #13 Oakland City University Annual Tuition $7,200 Online Doctoral Degrees 4
#14 #14 Northcentral University Annual Tuition $7,375 Online Doctoral Degrees 111
#15 #15 University of Kansas Annual Tuition $7,398 Online Doctoral Degrees 3
#16 #16 Indiana State University Annual Tuition $7,485 Online Doctoral Degrees 10
#17 #17 Old Dominion University Annual Tuition $7,740 Online Doctoral Degrees 7
#18 #18 Johnson University Annual Tuition $7,875 Online Doctoral Degrees 5
#19 #19 Walden University Annual Tuition $8,175 Online Doctoral Degrees 179
#20 #20 Washburn University Annual Tuition $8,220 Online Doctoral Degrees 7
#21 #21 University of the Cumberlands Annual Tuition $8,250 Online Doctoral Degrees 4
#22 #22 Morehead State University Annual Tuition $8,685 Online Doctoral Degrees 4
#23 #23 University of Northern Colorado Annual Tuition $8,880 Online Doctoral Degrees 7
#24 #24 Trident University International Annual Tuition $9,100 Online Doctoral Degrees 4
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  • Annual Tuition: $4,300
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: TRACS
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 5
  • Apex School of Theology was founded in 1995 as one of the few private online theological schools offering distance undergraduate and graduate programs. Apex School of Theology offers a three-year Doctor of Ministry program. The 42-credit program offers four unique tracks of specialization including Christian Counseling and Leading for Congregational Change. The program includes six core courses, four courses in the candidate's specialization area, and two courses dedicated to the dissertation. Applicants must have completed a Master of Divinity degree with a 3.0 or above grade point average to enroll. To become a doctoral candidate, applicants must have already completed three years of ministry as well as be currently working in a ministry related to their field of study.

  • Annual Tuition: $4,350
  • School Type: For-Profit
  • School Accreditation: DEAC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 3
  • California Coast University offers three online doctoral programs in the following fields: educational administration, educational psychology, and organizational leadership. The programs require 66 academic credits, which can be completed entirely online. Students enrolled in California Coast University's doctoral programs complete core curriculum, research methods, and specialization courses. To earn their degrees, doctoral candidates take a final comprehensive exam and complete a dissertation. All prospective doctoral candidates must have already earned master's degrees in education to enroll. Master's degrees in other fields may be considered by the application committee if the prospective student shows significant and relevant professional experience. Doctoral candidates have 24-hour access to the university's library resources.

  • Annual Tuition: $4,395
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 3
  • Valdosta State University offers distance-learning doctoral programs in curriculum and instruction, education leadership, and public administration. The university's online learning system allows for doctoral candidates to continue working full-time in their respective fields. The doctoral programs are tailored to provide practical opportunities for applications of theoretical foundations to students' work environments. The programs also include strategically designed elective paths that can lead to professional certification.

  • Annual Tuition: $4,590
  • School Type: For-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NCA HLC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 10
  • The American College of Education offers an affordable online Doctor of Education in Leadership with seven different specializations. The program requires a final dissertation with original research, and is designed to be completed by professionals working full-time in the fields of education, non-profit work, business, or public service. All prospective candidates must already have a master's degree, although not necessarily in education. Unlike most institutions that only accept a maximum of six transfer credits from other EdD programs, American College of Education allows students to transfer up to 18 credits. In addition, the EdD program at American College of Education does not require any in-person residency.

  • Annual Tuition: $4,605
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NCA HLC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 5
  • Governors State University offers a doctoral degree in education (EdD) with four areas of specialization. The Governors State University EdD in Interdisciplinary Leadership offers concentrations in Higher Education Administration, Superintendent (P-12), Non-Profit/Social Entrepreneurship Leadership, or Public Safety Leadership. Core courses cover subjects such as leadership, research, planning, communication, globalism, and finance. The program requires 60 total credit hours, with 33 credits dedicated to a concentration. All courses are offered online as well as in a hybrid format. All doctoral candidates must complete a mandatory capstone project involving original qualitative or quantitative research. The project is planned and implemented with the guidance of a faculty committee, and requires an oral defense of the dissertation.

  • Annual Tuition: $5,040
  • School Type: For-Profit
  • School Accreditation: DEAC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 4
  • The Taft University System offers both an online Doctor of Education and an online Doctor of Business Administration program at affordable rates. The Doctor of Education program, offered through the Boyer Graduate School of Education, includes specializations in Educational Administration, Educational Technology and Leadership Concentration, and Charter School Administration Concentration. Taft University System's W. Edwards Deming School of Business offers the Doctor of Business Administration program, which focuses on preparing students for upper-level management positions and entrepreneurial objectives. The doctoral curriculum is split into qualifying, core, and elective courses, as well as a final project or dissertation.

  • Annual Tuition: $5,712
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NWCCU
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 3
  • Montana State University offers three online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs: Master of Nursing to DNP, DNP for Nurse Practitioner (Family/Individual), and DNP for Nurse Practitioner (Psych/Mental Health). All courses are administered online through teleconference or video conference, and in-person attendance at the Bozeman campus is required at the start of every fall semester. At least one year of clinical experience is preferred for students seeking to enroll in a DNP program. Select graduate students may also apply for federal traineeships, teaching or research assistantships, and Nurse Faculty Loan Programs.

  • Annual Tuition: $6,196
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 3
  • The University of West Georgia offers three online doctoral programs in nursing education, professional counseling and supervision, and school improvement. The Doctorate in Nursing Education is taught 100% online and in conjunction with the Tanner Health System School of Nursing and the College of Education. The University of West Georgia College of Education doctoral programs offer full-time faculty who double as scholars and practitioners. Annual tuition for these online doctoral programs starts at $6,196.

  • Annual Tuition: $6,298
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 5
  • Delta State University offers an online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree with four different paths depending on students’ prior experience. Graduates of the program go on to take the Family Nurse Practitioner certification exam. The online program accepts registered nurses at the associate, bachelor’s, and master’s level. Program options include a four-year, 95-credit-hour RN-DNP program, a 64-credit BSN-DNP program that takes about three years, a similar Post-Master's (FNP) to DNP program, a three-semester, 31-credit FNP to DNP program, and additional part-time options. All doctoral programs require 420 doctorate level clinical hours for a scholarly project. Those who are not FNPs will need to complete an additional 720 hours of clinical practice with a preceptor.

  • Annual Tuition: $6,600
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 17
  • Regent University Online offers over 95 online undergraduate and graduate programs. Online doctoral programs include a wide range of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs, covering subjects such as communication, counseling, education, and organizational leadership. Students enrolled in the Doctor of Education (Ed.D) program can choose from specializations such as adult education, Christian education, higher education, special education, and K-12 education. Regent University Online also offers various focuses within the Doctor of Ministry program including military ministry, Christian leadership and renewal, community transformation, and more.

Online Doctoral Degrees (22)

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  • Annual Tuition: $6,750
  • School Type: For-Profit
  • School Accreditation: WASC WSCUC and DEAC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 3
  • California Southern University offers 100% online doctoral programs through their proprietary online learning platform. There are 3 doctoral programs offered: Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), Juris Doctor (JD), and Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). Each degree can be pursued as an applied doctoral degree or professional doctorate. These applied doctorates differ from the Doctor of Philosophy programs in that they aren't as focused on the academic aspect of scholarly research and publication. Instead, California Southern University's professional doctorate programs focus on the practical application of advanced theory in a professional setting.

  • Annual Tuition: $6,956
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NWCCU
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 4
  • Idaho State University offers a wide range of doctorate programs across its different graduate schools. Idaho State University's Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing requires nurse practitioners to conduct independent research and advance the nursing field as both a scholar and an educator at the cost-effective tuition rate of $1,085 per semester. Doctorate candidates in nursing must be full-time students. For those wishing to remain in the clinical environment, Idaho State University also offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). The College of Pharmacy is the oldest on Idaho State University's campus and offers a Doctor of Pharmacy, with traditional and non-traditional program options.

  • Annual Tuition: $7,200
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NCA HLC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 4
  • Oakland City University offers an online Doctor of Education (EdD) degree which can be completed in 90 to 96 credit hours. The additional six hours are for those who haven't completed research hours in a master's program. Up to 33 credits can be transferred from previous graduate work. Oakland City University's EdD program also has an on-campus summer residency. Each cohort group of doctoral candidates never exceeds 16 students and each group is formed at the beginning of each calendar year. The EdD specialization options are Superintendency, Curriculum & Instruction, and Organizational Management.

  • Annual Tuition: $7,375
  • School Type: For-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NCA HLC and WASC WSCUC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 111
  • Northcentral University offers 111 online doctoral and post-master's degree programs, including both Doctors of Philosophy programs and applied doctoral programs. While the PhD programs are more focused on academia and scholarly research, the applied doctoral programs are more geared towards professional applications. Both types of online doctoral degrees are available in business administration, education, and marriage and family therapy. There are also PhD programs available in psychology, technology and innovation management, and organizational leadership.

Online Doctoral Degrees (111)

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  • Annual Tuition: $7,398
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NCA HLC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 3
  • The University of Kansas offers three 100% online degrees. The University of Kansas School of Health Professions offers a Doctor in Occupational Therapy (OTD) for advanced study in evidence-based practice, specialty practice, and teaching. The School of Nursing offers both a PhD in Nursing as well as an applied Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP). Graduate certificates are also offered in the schools of business, nursing, liberal arts and sciences, and education.

  • Annual Tuition: $7,485
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NCA HLC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 10
  • Indiana State University offers 10 online doctoral degrees covering subjects such as athletic training, education, nursing, and technology management. Education PhD students can choose between the following specializations: higher education leadership and school administration. Indiana State's Doctorate in Athletic Training (DAT) is nationally accredited and geared towards credentialed athletic trainers seeking advanced coursework and applied research. Each doctoral cohort is made up of about 25 students total.

  • Annual Tuition: $7,740
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 7
  • Old Dominion University offers 7 doctoral programs in human resources, education, nursing, and instructional design and technology. The education doctorate programs focus on adult and continuing education, including unique programs in career and technical education, community college leadership, and occupational and technical studies. For those interested in working with PreK-12th grade, there is the educational leadership program with licensure. The doctoral programs may require internships and on-campus intensives. For example, the Human Resource doctorate program requires 60 credit hours which can be completed online as well as though two-week summer sessions at the Norfolk, Virginia campus.

  • Annual Tuition: $7,875
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC and ABHE
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 5
  • Johnson University offers a 100% online PhD in Leadership Studies program with four different tracks: educational leadership, organizational leadership, philosophy and theology of leadership, and missional leadership. The program is designed for working adults who wish to carry the school's mission of "communicating throughout the world the message of peace and wholeness as described in the Christian Scriptures". This program focuses on four dimensions of leadership studies: individual and personal systems, organizational systems, global systems, and research.

  • Annual Tuition: $8,175
  • School Type: For-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NCA HLC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 148
  • Walden University is an accredited institution that offers online programs at all degree levels. Areas of study include criminal justice and emergency management, business and management, nursing, public policy and administration, psychology and counseling, social work and human services, IT, public health and health sciences, and education. Walden University’s doctoral programs feature support services tailored to the needs of doctoral students, coursework that encourages critical and creative thinking, and academic residencies that support student progress at key points in the doctoral journey. Doctoral students research topics of their own choosing under the guidance of Walden University faculty members, who are scholars, researchers, and active leaders in their fields. Walden University offers multiple pathways to a degree, generous transfer of credit policy, and tuition savings opportunities.

Online Doctoral Degrees (179)

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  • Annual Tuition: $8,220
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NCA HLC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 7
  • Washburn University offers 7 doctoral programs in nursing. The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) focuses on entrepreneurship and offers dual enrollment in the Master of Business Administration program. Graduates will be well-equipped to direct clinical programs and healthcare organizations. The program is online and prepares students to take national certification exams such as the Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP) exam, Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP) exam, or Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) exam.

  • Annual Tuition: $8,250
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 4
  • The University of the Cumberlands offers online doctoral degrees in education, leadership, and clinical psychology. The PhD in Leadership is cross-listed in both business and education. There are also online EdD and EdS programs in educational leadership. Finally, the online PhD in Clinical Psychology emphasizes the broad generalist approach in a hybrid learning environment. The program provides the clinical training necessary to seek licensure as a psychologist in Kentucky and other states with equal or less requirements.

  • Annual Tuition: $8,685
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 4
  • Morehead State University offers four online doctoral programs in education. The programs are designed to educate education leaders in the south and especially in the eastern region of Kentucky. In the EdD program, there are three main tracks: P-12 administrative leadership, educational technology leadership, and adult and higher education leadership. Annual tuition for these programs starts at $8,685

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  • Annual Tuition: $8,880
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NCA HLC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 7
  • The University of Northern Colorado offers various online doctoral programs at an affordable tuition rate. The EdD in Educational Studies offers an innovation and education reform emphasis or in educational leadership. University of Northern Colorado just added the PhD in Education program to its online offerings, with the focus on special education. In the nursing department, there are two possible DNP tracks, a post-master's and a post-bachelor’s family nurse practitioner. Finally, University of Northern Colorado offers a PhD in Nursing Education for those looking to become professors or for those looking to work in upper-level positions in healthcare organizations.

  • Annual Tuition: $9,100
  • School Type: For-Profit
  • School Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 4
  • Trident University International, a 100% online university, offers 4 online doctoral programs at an affordable tuition rate starting at $9,100. Distance-learning students can choose to study business administration, educational leadership, or health sciences. The educational leadership program is offered as both a Doctor of Education (EdD), which focuses on application of studies, or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), which focuses on scholarly research. Beyond these online doctoral programs, Trident offers an online webinar series for continuing education which is available to both current students and recent graduates.

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