2020 Most Affordable Online Colleges Offering Doctoral Programs

With annual tuition rates under $14,000 per year, the 25 colleges and universities on our ranking list offer affordable online doctoral programs. People pursue doctorates for a number of reasons, including to conduct research, pursue leadership roles, and gain specialized knowledge. Earning a terminal degree may also lead to higher salaries, and PayScale reports that the average salary for doctoral degree holders is $98,550. Collectively, schools on our list offer doctorates in education, engineering, healthcare, and information technology, among other fields.

We’ve provided information about ranked schools, in addition to program-specific doctoral degree rankings, and a list of the Overall Most Affordable Colleges. We’ve also included answers to frequently asked questions about doctoral programs. View our methodology or learn more about OnlineU.

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Rank School Annual Tuition Online Doctoral Degrees
# 1 #1 $4,395 3
# 2 #2 $5,000 9
# 3 #3 $5,518 17
# 4 #4 $5,745 4
# 5 #5 $6,000 5
# 6 #6 $6,029 6
# 7 #7 $6,368 10
# 8 #8 $6,750 8
# 9 #9 $7,186 8
# 10 #10 $7,191 5
# 11 #11 $7,410 7
# 12 #12 $7,500 71
# 13 #13 $8,110 12
# 14 #14 $8,160 14
# 15 #15 $8,550 30
# 16 #16 $8,802 19
# 17 #17 $8,925 12
# 18 #18 $9,383 7
# 19 #19 $9,450 2
# 20 #20 $9,660 6
# 21 #21 $9,932 13
# 22 #22 $10,710 15
# 23 #23 $11,029 3
# 24 #24 $11,200 6
Find an Online Degree:
OnlineU is supported by advertising. Schools that compensate us advertise via school search results and featured placements. This does not influence our college rankings or our content.
  • Annual Tuition: $4,395
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 3

Valdosta State University offers an online Doctor of Education degree in curriculum and instruction - learning and development and a Doctor of Education in leadership. The school also offers an online doctoral program in public administration. The coursework for these programs can be accessed at all times from any location with internet access, making distance learning a convenient route to higher education for working students. The school’s affordable tuition is based on in-state eTuition rates established by the state of Georgia. Students also have access to SmartPath Core, a workflow that allows online students to plan a personalized map of their course load from start to finish.

Online Doctoral Degrees

  • Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction - Learning and Development
  • Doctor of Education in Leadership
  • Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)
  • Annual Tuition: $5,000
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 9

Amridge University offers a comprehensive array of online doctoral degree programs, including online PhD and Ed.D. programs, to prospective students. Full-time and part-time students access their courses through the Canvas learning platform. The university places a unique emphasis on its Christian ideals and heritage, ensuring that students are prepared for a lifetime of service in their careers, church, society, and family. While a majority of online students qualify for federal financial aid, Amridge also offers scholarships to those in the military, ministers, corporate workers, and sister institution staff.

Online Doctoral Degrees

  • Doctor of Education in Higher Education Administration
  • Doctor of Ministry
  • Doctor of Ministry in Family Therapy I
  • Doctor of Ministry in Family Therapy II
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Biblical Studies
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Biblical Studies - New Testament
  • Annual Tuition: $5,518
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 17

The University of Missouri hosts multiple online doctoral programs through four of its colleges. Some of these programs have an on-campus attendance requirement, but most coursework remains accessible online. Each course is self-paced, offering students the chance to complete assignments on their own terms. Generally, students have between six weeks to six months to finish a course. All courses take place in either Canvas, Sakai, or Moodle, depending on the instructor’s preferences and the demands of the class.
 

Online Doctoral Degrees

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (Hybrid)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Family Nurse Practitioner (Hybrid)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Nursing Leadership and Innovations in Health Care (Hybrid)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Primary Care (Hybrid)
  • Annual Tuition: $5,745
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 4

Several online PhD programs in computer science and leadership are available at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. All classes are asynchronous, meaning students can log in whenever they have time to complete coursework. Students also have full access to the Ottenheimer Library and Blackboard Student Support to assist them throughout their academic programs. Because students aren’t on campus, they do not need to pay fees for Health Services or the Donaghey Fitness Center.

Online Doctoral Degrees

  • EdD in Higher Education - Two-Year College Leadership
  • PhD in Computer and Information Sciences
  • PhD in Computer and Information Sciences - Information Quality
  • PhD in Computer and Information Sciences - Information Science
  • Annual Tuition: $6,000
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 5

At Jacksonville State University, students can enroll in one of four online doctoral programs. Among the programs offered are a Doctor of Science in Emergency Management and a Doctor of Nursing. Classes are taught in the fall, spring, and summer to help students finish the doctoral degree quicker, and all classes are taught by the same professors that teach on campus. Students have access to around-the-clock technical assistance for help with any issues as well as the Canvas learning platform to maximize their ability to learn.
 

Online Doctoral Degrees

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - BSN to DNP
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - BSN to DNP: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - BSN to DNP: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Doctor of Science in Emergency Management
  • Post Master's Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
  • Annual Tuition: $6,029
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 6

Numerous online doctoral programs are available from the University of Arkansas, including opportunities in education and nursing. Coursework in these doctoral programs is delivered almost entirely online, with some degrees requiring a few on-campus sessions per year. Earning one of these degrees requires students to complete between 42 and 96 credit hours. All classes are delivered by the same instructors as on campus and are self-paced, meaning students can take advantage of more than 20 start dates each year.
 

Online Doctoral Degrees

  • Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership
  • Doctor of Education in Human Resource and Workforce Development Education
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (BSN to DNP)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (BSN to DNP) - Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (BSN to DNP) - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (MSN to DNP)
  • Annual Tuition: $6,368
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 10

Minnesota-based Bethel University has a number of online doctoral programs concentrated in the nursing and education fields. In addition to providing the opportunity to enroll in these dual-degree programs, Bethel University is further distinguished by its efforts to represent an inclusive, faith-based community. The school strives to maintain a supportive network of professors, mentors, and peers within a Christian framework. Students have online access to the Bethel Library and are assigned an advisor to guide them through their studies.
 

Online Doctoral Degrees

  • Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership
  • Doctor of Education in K-12 Administration
  • Doctor of Ministry
  • Doctor of Ministry - Biblical and Theological Engagement
  • Doctor of Ministry - Church Leadership
  • Doctor of Ministry - Congregation and Family Care
  • Annual Tuition: $6,750
  • School Type: For-Profit
  • School Accreditation: DEAC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 8

At Aspen University in Colorado, students can enroll in one of several online doctoral programs in computer science, nursing, and education. The university’s online doctoral programs combine the benefits of flexible hours with guidance from professors to ensure that each student is successful. Students use the Aspen Classroom system to submit assignments, view the syllabus, and interact with classmates and professors. All classes are asynchronous in nature. Aspen University offers a monthly payment plan to help make online graduate studies more affordable.

Online Doctoral Degrees

  • D.Ed. in Leadership and Learning
  • D.Ed. in Leadership and Learning - Health Care Administration and Leadership
  • D.Ed. in Leadership and Learning - Higher Education Leadership
  • D.Ed. in Leadership and Learning - K-12 Educational Leadership
  • D.Ed. in Leadership and Learning - Organizational Leadership
  • D.Ed. in Leadership and Learning - Organizational Psychology
  • Annual Tuition: $7,186
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 8

The University of Southern Mississippi currently has online doctoral programs available in education and nursing. Coursework involves regular online classes, research, and a major capstone project to provide a fully comprehensive approach to learning. Students work in the Canvas platform to submit all assignments and access all course materials. Through the Office of Online Learning, students also have access to numerous services and training options that can help further their professional careers and streamline their academic experience.
 

Online Doctoral Degrees

  • Doctor of Education in Educational Administration P-12
  • Doctor of Education in Higher Education
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Clinical
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Family Nurse Practitioner (BSN to DNP) (Hybrid)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (BSN to DNP)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (BSN to DNP)
  • Annual Tuition: $7,191
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 5

Students at New Mexico State University can enroll in one of six online doctoral programs. These programs are available in the fields of nursing and education. Each online doctoral program takes around one to three years to complete, depending on the course load. Students use innovative technologies while pursuing their online doctoral degrees, including interactive television, web-based technologies, and faculty exchanges, primarily based in the Canvas learning platform. With Canvas, students can communicate with their classmates and professors and access all course materials remotely.
 

Online Doctoral Degrees

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice: Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
  • MSN to DNP
  • Annual Tuition: $7,410
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 7

Troy University is an Alabama-based institution that offers seven different affordable online doctoral programs; six DNP programs and a PhD in Sport Management. The coursework for each degree is delivered online under the supervision of an assigned faculty mentor. However, students are expected to attend a brief on-campus orientation. Troy University offers convenient nine-week terms so students are able to complete classes faster. All classes are available on the Canvas learning platform, which provides the ability to take online assessments and participate in online discussions.

Online Doctoral Degrees

  • PhD in Global Leadership
  • PhD in Global Leadership - Higher Education
  • PhD in Global Leadership - Instructional Leadership
  • PhD in Global Leadership - Organizational Leadership
  • PhD in Global Leadership - Public Administration
  • PhD in Global Leadership - Strategic Communication
  • Annual Tuition: $7,500
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 71

Students looking for an online doctoral program at the University of the Cumberlands have 63 options to consider. These include doctorate degrees in healthcare administration, information technology, criminal justice, and health sciences. Each curriculum consists of 60 credits and is taught in an online class management system that mimics a real-world classroom environment with distinguished faculty. The University of the Cumberlands offers three semesters per year to give online students ample chances to take classes. Students also get a free download of Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus to assist them in their studies.

Online Doctoral Degrees

  • Doctor of Business Administration
  • Doctor of Business Administration - Accounting
  • Doctor of Business Administration - Entrepreneurship
  • Doctor of Business Administration - Healthcare Administration
  • Doctor of Business Administration - Marketing
  • Doctor of Business Administration - Project Management
  • Annual Tuition: $8,110
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 12

Currently, the University of Florida offers 12 online doctoral programs spread throughout the fields of education, nursing, and the liberal arts and sciences. Students can take on a course load of three to 18 credits per semester, depending on their availability. All classes are asynchronous, meaning students can log on at their convenience to watch lectures and complete assignments. To assist with on-time graduation, all online doctoral students receive an academic advisor to guide their efforts.

Online Doctoral Degrees

  • DNP (BSN to DNP)
  • DNP (BSN to DNP) - Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • DNP (BSN to DNP) - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • DNP (BSN to DNP) - Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • DNP (BSN to DNP) - Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • DNP (BSN to DNP) - Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Annual Tuition: $8,160
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 14

Murray State University is a Kentucky-based institute that offers online doctoral programs in English, nursing, and education through its web-based degree initiative. There are special discounts available for students in the armed forces, who can receive free textbooks paired with a robust tuition assistance program. Most classes are asynchronous so as to allow for the most flexibility, though some are held in Zoom or another web-conference platform to allow for synchronous meeting times. Students have online access to the University Library & Racer Writing Center, career services, counseling center, and more.
 

Online Doctoral Degrees

  • Doctor of Arts in English Pedagogy
  • Doctor of Arts in English Pedagogy - Language
  • Doctor of Arts in English Pedagogy - Literacy
  • Doctor of Arts in English Pedagogy - Literature
  • Doctor of Arts in English Pedagogy - Writing
  • Doctor of Education in P-20 and Community Leadership
  • Annual Tuition: $8,550
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NECHE
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 30

At Massachusetts-based Bay Path University, students can pursue numerous online doctoral degrees in the education and nursing fields. Classes are taught in the Canvas classroom management system, which allows students and professors to interact with ease. If students experience any trouble with their online coursework, they have access to a wide range of staff to answer their questions and support their learning experience. Bay Path University offers three semesters throughout the year to keep students on track to finish their degrees in a timely manner.
 

Online Doctoral Degrees

  • Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership & Organizational Studies - Nonprofit Management (For Students with Master's Degree in an Unrelated Field)
  • Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership & Organizational Studies - Nonprofit Management (For Students with MS in Higher Education Administration)
  • Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership & Organizational Studies - Organizational Leadership Studies (For Students with Master's Degree in an Unrelated Field)
  • Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership & Organizational Studies - Organizational Leadership Studies (For Students with MS in Higher Education Administration)
  • Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership & Organizational Studies - Self Designed (For Students with Master's Degree in an Unrelated Field)
  • Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership & Organizational Studies - Self Designed (For Students with MS in Higher Education Administration)
  • Annual Tuition: $8,802
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 19

Mississippi State University has a robust lineup of online doctoral programs for prospective students to consider, including numerous engineering programs. A key advantage of choosing Mississippi State University is that online students are billed at the in-state tuition rate, regardless of where they actually live. Tuition waivers are also available for non-traditional students, such as online students over the age of 60. Students primarily work in Canvas to access course materials, discuss topics with peers and professors, and submit assignments.
 

Online Doctoral Degrees

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Civil and Environmental Engineering - Construction Engineering and Management
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Civil and Environmental Engineering - Construction Materials Engineering
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Civil and Environmental Engineering - Environmental Engineering
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Civil and Environmental Engineering - Geotechnical Engineering
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Civil and Environmental Engineering - Structural Engineering
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Civil and Environmental Engineering - Transportation Engineering
  • Annual Tuition: $8,925
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 12

Old Dominion University is a Virginia-based institution that offers prospective students three online doctoral programs to consider. Depending on which online doctoral degree is chosen, students can expect to complete between 33 and 60 credits in order to graduate. Coursework in Old Dominion University’s online classes involves connecting with professors and classmates in an interactive learning environment. Virtual office hours, online tests, and web-based conferencing are just some of the techniques these classes use.
 

Online Doctoral Degrees

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Advance Practice
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Nurse Executive
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Community College Leadership
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Education - Instructional Design & Technology
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Education - Occupational and Technical Studies
  • Annual Tuition: $9,383
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 7

Students looking for an online doctoral program at Hampton University will appreciate the comprehensive student support services that allow them to talk to real people when they have questions or concerns. Hampton University offers four semesters a year, with the fall and spring semesters being broken down into either two eight-week sessions or one 16-week session. Online coursework at Hampton University is delivered through web-based software called Blackboard. Students are also periodically required to complete online examinations. Additional fees occasionally apply for items such as comprehensive examinations and academic record evaluations.
 

Online Doctoral Degrees

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Management
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Management - Higher Education
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Management - Pre-K-12 Education
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Management - Special Education
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Management - STEM Leadership
  • Annual Tuition: $9,450
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 2

Students seeking an online doctoral program from Auburn University have several choices, including options in nursing, education, and engineering. Most programs require around 39 credit hours for completion and can be completed within two to four years. To pursue an online doctorate, students will need their own computer, internet access, and word processing software, but they’ll have access to all of Auburn’s library resources. Currently, Auburn is only accepting online doctoral students from states that participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement.
 

Online Doctoral Degrees

  • D.N.P. (Hybrid)
  • Ph.D. in Career and Technical Education
  • Annual Tuition: $9,660
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 6

The Bama by Distance program at the University of Alabama offers several online doctoral programs, including options in nursing and social work. Students use a mix of video streaming and online courses to complete their coursework. The Blackboard learning system is used for grades, discussions, and course materials, and assignments can be submitted to professors by email. All classes are taught by on-campus faculty, and distance students have access to the same resources as on-campus students.
 

Online Doctoral Degrees

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Doctor of Social Work
  • Doctor of Social Work - Clinical
  • Doctor of Social Work - Organizational Leadership
  • EdD in Instructional Leadership - Nurse Education (Hybrid)
  • PhD in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics
  • Annual Tuition: $9,932
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 13

Students can enroll in a wide variety of nursing and engineering online doctoral programs at the University of North Dakota. Depending upon the program chosen, the curriculum involves 90 to 124 credit hours and two to seven years of coursework. Coursework itself is delivered through a web-based platform called Blackboard, in conjunction with independent learning and interaction with other classmates. Students can enroll any time of year, as all study is self-paced and needs to be completed within three to nine months of starting.
 

Online Doctoral Degrees

  • Doctor of Education in Educational Practice and Leadership - Higher Education
  • Doctor of Education in Educational Practice and Leadership - School Leadership
  • Doctor of Education in Educational Practice and Leadership - Special Education
  • Doctor of Education in Educational Practice and Leadership - Teacher Education
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Aerospace Sciences
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Engineering
  • Annual Tuition: $10,710
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 15

The University of Tennessee – Knoxville offers numerous online doctoral programs in nursing, social work, and engineering. All classes reflect the same rigorous level of education as on-campus classes, and students are encouraged to collaborate with their instructors in the learning process. Classes are taught through the Canvas learning system, Online@UT. This allows students to submit assignments, access course work, and interact with their peers. Doctorate students can also use supplemental instruction, academic coaching, and tutoring services offered by the Student Success Center.
 

Online Doctoral Degrees

  • Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - BSN to DNP: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - BSN to DNP: Nurse Executive Leadership
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - BSN to DNP: Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Acute Care
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - BSN to DNP: Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Primary Care
  • Annual Tuition: $11,029
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 3

There are three affordable online doctoral programs available at Northern Illinois University in nursing and education. All students enrolled in these programs have access to the same student services as their on-campus counterparts, including technology resources, library help, writing skills, and career development. Students primarily use Blackboard for their coursework, which provides them access to the class syllabus, discussion boards, videos, and assignment submission. Students also receive free Office 365 access to help them compose assignments and more.
 

Online Doctoral Degrees

  • BSN to Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Doctor of Education in Adult and Higher Education - Community College Leadership
  • MSN to Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Annual Tuition: $11,200
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 6

Students can choose from five distinct online doctoral programs when they study at Virginia Commonwealth University. These programs include subjects such as nursing, education, and occupational therapy, and can be completed through a mix of synchronous and asynchronous classes. Students who pursue a doctorate in nursing may need to take a few classes in person before they can graduate. Every student is assigned an academic adviser to make sure they’re on track to graduate on time.
 

Online Doctoral Degrees

  • DNAP (Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice)
  • DNP
  • EdD in Leadership
  • PhD in Health Related Sciences
  • PhD in Nursing
  • Post-Professional Doctorate in Occupational Therapy

Frequently Asked Questions About Affordable Online Doctoral Degrees

Are there financial aid options available for doctoral students?

Individuals considering an online doctorate degree have a number of options for financial aid. Like their on-campus counterparts, PhD candidates may pursue the types of financial aid that do not have to be paid back, such as grants, scholarships, fellowships, and federal work-study programs. Students may also be eligible for tuition discounts due to military service or for tuition reimbursement through their employers.

If none of these options are available, or if they do not adequately cover all financial needs, doctoral students can also apply for federally funded loans by filling out the FAFSA form or for private loans through banks and other financial institutions. Before applying, students can utilize the loan simulator at studentaid.gov to calculate a repayment plan.

When applying for financial aid, prospective doctoral students may specify whether they’re planning to study full time or part time, the fact that they intend to enroll in an online program, and whether the school is regionally or nationally accredited. All of these factors may affect their eligibility for financial aid. Note that many schools also have financial aid counselors on staff who can assist students in developing a payment plan.


How do I obtain funding for my online PhD program?

Some colleges and universities provide financial assistance to students enrolled in PhD programs, especially research-related ones, through various forms of funding. Funding often takes the form of stipends for teaching, traineeships, or conducting research on behalf of the school, but these activities all require doctoral students to be on campus. Online PhD students may still be eligible for some tuition grants, school-sponsored fellowships, and health insurance benefits, but they may not be able to obtain a sufficient amount of funding directly from the schools they are attending. Like many of their on-campus counterparts, they may need external forms of financial aid.


What are the similarities between online and in-person doctoral programs?

There are many similarities between online and in-person programs at the doctoral level. In terms of admission requirements, applicants must have earned at least a bachelor’s degree with a high GPA, have competitive GRE or other entrance exam scores, and provide positive references and personal essays. The fields and various types of degrees offered online are almost as extensive as their traditional counterparts. The curricula are also comparable, requiring similar investments of time and effort, and involving the same research methods. Provided students have attended credible, accredited schools, their online degrees should typically command the same respect as in-person terminal degrees.


What are some popular doctoral degrees to earn online?

Doctoral degrees in a vast array of fields are available through distance education programs. Some of the most commonly offered online PhD subjects include criminal justice, healthcare administration, psychology, engineering, counseling, information technology, business management, and organizational leadership. Even more popular are the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degrees, two online doctoral programs that are available in many concentrations and specializations. This reflects the findings of the National Center for Education Statistics about all doctoral programs (both online and in-person), which show that the number of healthcare-related doctorates earned since 2001 has increased by 106% and the number of doctoral degrees earned in education since 2001 has increased by 103%.

What many of these programs have in common is their focus on practical application. Individuals who pursue these degrees are often working professionals, such as educators, nurses, and executives, who want to further their careers with enhanced leadership skills and knowledge. Because they’re employed full-time, many prospective doctoral candidates prefer the convenience and flexibility of distance learning.