2018 Most Affordable Online Colleges Offering Doctoral Programs

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This list of 24 schools researched by SR Education Group showcases the 2018 most affordable online doctoral programs. Each school offers an annual tuition rate of $10,000 or less. Apex School of Theology is ranked first, offering an online Doctor of Ministry program with four different specializations at an annual tuition rate of $4,300. Ranked #6, Liberty University offers 46 online doctoral degrees, the most on the list. Prospective students can choose from degrees such as a DNP, a Doctor of Business Administration, and an EdD, among others. Tuition for Liberty’s online doctoral programs starts at $6,545 per year.

You can read more about our ranked schools below, browse our 4 program specific doctoral degree rankings, 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 4
#2 #2 Bethel University - MN Annual Tuition $4,392 Online Doctoral Degrees 9
#3 #3 American College of Education Annual Tuition $4,590 Online Doctoral Degrees 12
#4 #4 University of West Georgia Annual Tuition $5,616 Online Doctoral Degrees 3
#5 #5 The College of Saint Scholastica Annual Tuition $5,808 Online Doctoral Degrees 5
#6 #6 Liberty University Annual Tuition $6,545 Online Doctoral Degrees 46
#7 #7 Georgia Southern University Annual Tuition $6,930 Online Doctoral Degrees 1
#8 #8 The University of West Florida Annual Tuition $7,013 Online Doctoral Degrees 7
#9 #9 Oakland City University Annual Tuition $7,200 Online Doctoral Degrees 4
#10 #10 Mississippi State University Annual Tuition $7,215 Online Doctoral Degrees 8
#11 #11 University of Florida Annual Tuition $7,313 Online Doctoral Degrees 7
#12 #12 California Southern University Annual Tuition $7,425 Online Doctoral Degrees 3
#13 #13 University of the Cumberlands Annual Tuition $7,500 Online Doctoral Degrees 4
#14 #14 Indiana State University Annual Tuition $7,945 Online Doctoral Degrees 5
#15 #15 University of South Alabama Annual Tuition $8,490 Online Doctoral Degrees 25
#16 #16 Johnson University Annual Tuition $8,625 Online Doctoral Degrees 5
#17 #17 Dakota State University Annual Tuition $8,885 Online Doctoral Degrees 5
#18 #18 University of Northern Colorado Annual Tuition $8,960 Online Doctoral Degrees 5
#19 #19 Trident University International Annual Tuition $9,100 Online Doctoral Degrees 5
#20 #20 Union University Annual Tuition $9,300 Online Doctoral Degrees 5
#21 #21 Morehead State University Annual Tuition $9,424 Online Doctoral Degrees 4
#22 #22 Old Dominion University Annual Tuition $9,684 Online Doctoral Degrees 5
#23 #23 Ball State University Annual Tuition $9,856 Online Doctoral Degrees 3
#24 #24 University of Michigan-Flint Annual Tuition $9,902 Online Doctoral Degrees 8

Most Affordable Online Doctoral Degrees by Subject

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  • Annual Tuition: $4,300
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: TRACS
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 4
  • Founded in 1995, the Apex School of Theology is a private, non-profit seminary school located in Durham, North Carolina. The school offers a selection of theological degree programs, which can be completed either on campus or online. Those interested in an online doctoral program can choose from four different tracks in Apex's Doctor of Ministry program. Areas of study include Biblical Studies, Christian Counseling, and Leading for Congregational Change. Annual tuition for Apex's online doctoral programs is highly affordable at $4,300.

  • Annual Tuition: $4,392
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NCA HLC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 9
  • Christian-based Bethel University - MN offers 35 online degree programs, including a fully online Doctor of Education in Leadership with specializations in higher education and K-12 administration. The higher education program focuses on producing leaders through faith-based, relational education. The K-12 program allows students to earn principal, superintendent, and special education licenses, or to pursue individualized subjects of study. Both programs are 61 semester credits and can be completed in as few as three years. Bethel also offers a Doctor of Ministry to online students. Tuition for online doctoral students starts at $366 per credit.

  • Annual Tuition: $4,590
  • School Type: For-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NCA HLC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 12
  • The American College of Education offers an affordable online Doctor of Education program with multiple concentrations including leadership in higher education and second language instruction. The Ed.D. program runs on 10-week terms after the five-week introductory course. Flexible start and end dates are available as students can begin courses on any month of the year. Students can take as much time as they need to finish the program, and the online format is compatible with the needs of working professionals. The full program consists of 64 semester credits at $306 per credit.

  • Annual Tuition: $5,616
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 3
  • University of West Georgia has a history of academic excellence dating back over 100 years. It brings that excellence into its online degree programs, which include several doctorates. Its Doctor of Education program with majors in nursing education, professional counseling and supervision, and school improvement is 60 credit hours. Program length varies depending on the specialty, but ranges between two and four years in length. Tuition for UWG's online doctoral programs starts at $5,616 per year.

  • Annual Tuition: $5,808
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NCA HLC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 5
  • The College of Saint Scholastica offers numerous classes and degrees in online and virtual classroom formats, allowing distance students to study around their own busy schedules. In addition, small class sizes, tutoring, and student groups allow distance students to develop a sense of community. Each student is also paired with their own personal advisor. CSS offers an online Doctor of Nursing Practice with specialties in adult-gerontology, family nursing, and psychiatric and mental health. Annual tuition for the online doctoral programs is affordable at $5,808.

  • Annual Tuition: $6,545
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC and TRACS
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 46
  • Liberty University offers 46 fully online doctoral degree programs. Students can study business administration, nursing, ministry, and curriculum and instruction, among others. Liberty's online degrees are offered in an asynchronous format, allowing for students to work on their own schedules. Most courses are delivered in eight-week sessions on the semester schedule. Tuition is $595 per credit hour for full-time online students.

Online Doctoral Degrees (46)

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  • Annual Tuition: $6,930
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 1
  • As the state's largest institution of higher education, Georgia Southern University is a designated Carnegie Doctoral-Research school, and has a total of 52 online degree programs at all levels. There are three online doctoral programs at Georgia Southern: BSN-DNP in Family Nurse Practitioner, BSN-DNP in Psychiatric/Mental Health Family Nurse Practitioner, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice. The tuition cost for online doctoral students is a low $462 per credit hour.

  • Annual Tuition: $7,013
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 7
  • The University of West Florida offers over 600 classes each semester through its online campus. In addition, it offers 12 undergraduate and 52 graduate degrees in fully online format. Its online Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction has multiple specializations available, including curriculum and assessment or instructional design and technology. Out-of-state students may be eligible for a tuition waiver that reduces the out-of-state portion of their tuition.

  • Annual Tuition: $7,200
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NCA HLC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 4
  • Oakland City University provides distance learners with an affordable, online Doctor of Education, Ed.D. This program requires 90-96 credit hours and allows students to transfer up to 33 hours of preexisting graduate coursework. Classes are delivered online and are available in a standard eight-week format or an accelerated five-week format, depending on each student's needs and time requirements. One on-campus summer residency is required in order to complete the program. Cohort groups with a maximum of 16 students are formed each year. In addition, each student receives individual advising from a faculty member. Specializations for this program include superintendency, curriculum and instruction, and organizational management.

  • Annual Tuition: $7,215
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 8
  • A comprehensive university located 125 miles northeast of Jackson, Mississippi State University offers numerous doctoral degrees in a variety of different departments. For example, there are PhDs available in community college leadership, aerospace engineering, civil engineering, computational engineering, mechanical engineering, and more. The cost per credit is an affordable $456 for online students pursuing doctoral degrees.

  • Annual Tuition: $7,313
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 7
  • The University of Florida is a flourishing research institution, using its massive resources to study the natural world, especially the water through its Sea Grant program. With over 200 graduate programs altogether, UF has an extensive academic catalog. Online doctoral programs are available in many areas of study including audiology, nursing, higher education administration, and educational leadership. Online doctoral students pay an affordable tuition rate of $449 per credit.

  • Annual Tuition: $7,425
  • School Type: For-Profit
  • School Accreditation: WASC WSCUC and DEAC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 3
  • California Southern University is a fully online university with 40 years of experience offering adult workers and distance students the means to attain degrees that circumstances otherwise wouldn't permit. In addition to offering a plethora of undergraduate and graduate degrees, CSU offers three doctoral degrees. These career-oriented applied and professional doctoral programs are geared towards the practical application of theory in professional settings. Offered through CSU's schools of business, law, and psychology, they are taught on the university's proprietary online platform. Tuition is affordable at $495 per credit.

  • Annual Tuition: $7,500
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 4
  • Small enrollment combined with exceptional affordability make University of the Cumberlands an attractive option for prospective students pursing an online doctoral programs. Among UC's numerous fully online offerings are doctoral programs in educational leadership, clinical psychology, and counselor education and supervision. Web-based courses can be synchronous or asynchronous, allowing students to fit their education around their professional and family commitments. UC faculty keep online curricula to the same high standards as their traditional classes, guaranteeing distance students the same quality of education as campus students.

  • Annual Tuition: $7,945
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NCA HLC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 5
  • Indiana State University offers 5 affordable, fully online doctoral degree programs. Admission to doctoral programs requires students to hold a master's degree and have some previous work experience. While taking doctoral courses, students also can obtain certificates in concentrated areas of study or take professional development courses. Students should be advised that some programs may require a few on-campus meetings. Tuition for online doctoral programs at Indiana State University is $513 per credit hour.

  • Annual Tuition: $8,490
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 25
  • University of South Alabama's College of Nursing staff embraced online learning at any early stage, and are experienced in delivering quality education to distance students. The university's 100% online Doctorate of Nursing Practice offers students a plethora of specializations including women's health, pediatrics, neonatal, and informatics. While program curriculums differ considerably by specialization, most do not require a thesis or dissertation, but do require a clinical orientation, clinical experience, and a residency. Students also have the option of pursuing their doctorate full- or part-time.

Online Doctoral Degrees (25)

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  • Annual Tuition: $8,625
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC and ABHE
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 5
  • Johnson University is a Christian institution based upon a founding principle of affordable tuition for every student. Its online campus offers a PhD in leadership studies with concentrations in educational leadership, mission leadership, organizational leadership, and philosophy and theology. The 100% online program is delivered asynchronously, allowing students to learn at their own speed while still being part of an academic community. Graduates of this program will be able to exercise and articulate effective, Christian leadership, and conduct superior research in their specialized fields.

  • Annual Tuition: $8,885
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NCA HLC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 5
  • Originating in 1801 as a school for teacher education, Dakota State University has developed into a popular tech-oriented public university. DSU specializes in computer technology and information systems, and offers all of its programs online. Its five doctoral programs include a Doctor of Science in Cyber Security and a Doctor of Science in Information Systems which offers three concentrations. Tuition for DSU's online doctoral programs is $444 per credit hour. 

  • Annual Tuition: $8,960
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NCA HLC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 5
  • Regionally-accredited University of Northern Colorado has an advanced online learning platform that includes online classrooms with asynchronous learning. Through this platform, the university offers working adults a variety of affordable distance degrees, including several doctorates. While these programs allow students to work at their own rate, they also help students form relationships with each other and with staff through regular interaction and collaboration. Graduate students are given special resources including access to the graduate school program web portal.

  • Annual Tuition: $9,100
  • School Type: For-Profit
  • School Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 5
  • Trident University International is a regionally accredited, 100% online school that offers PhD programs in business administration, educational leadership, and health sciences to active military personnel and other working professionals. Its program curriculums are based on its exclusive Trident Learning Model, which advocates active, case-based analysis as opposed to customary testing. PhD curriculums also include research and dissertations, and students have the opportunity to customize their specializations if they so choose. Small class sizes facilitate collaboration between students, as well as student and faculty engagement.

  • Annual Tuition: $9,300
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 5
  • Distance students seeking affordable doctoral degrees in education should consider Union University. As a private, Christian institution, Union's small enrollment of 3,400 students and 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio is indicative of the personalized education for which the university is known. Its Doctorate of Education is a 60-credit-hour degree program that requires a leadership/administration license for completion. It is a newly developed program that focuses on leadership in school reform, with specific attention paid to the issues of teaching, learning, and leading by instruction. 

  • Annual Tuition: $9,424
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 4
  • Morehead State University is a Kentucky-based university that offers a fully online Doctor of Education degree program. Students are admitted after all admission documents are received and reviewed, and following an interview process with a member of the faculty. This program offers three specializations: Adult and Higher Education Leadership, P-12 Administrative Leadership, or Educational Technology Leadership. The goal of this program is to improve the educational opportunities for the residents of Kentucky. This practitioner-based doctorate is designed for working professionals hoping to receive advanced P-16 and technology leadership training. Tuition for all graduate programs is $579 per credit hour regardless of the student's residence status.

  • Annual Tuition: $9,684
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 5
  • Old Dominion University offers 5 online doctoral degree programs. Almost all assignments are submitted online, and many of the exams are completed online as well. Tutoring and mentoring is available through web conferencing and online study sessions. There are two types of courses: live and asynchronous. Either way, the courses follow the regular semester schedule with the exception of any accelerated courses. There is an option to apply as a non-degree student to begin taking classes while applying to a full graduate program. In-state residents of Virginia pay $495 per credit hour for online courses, while out-of-state residents pay $538.

  • Annual Tuition: $9,856
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NCA HLC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 3
  • Ball State University has an enrollment of over 22,000 students, over 5,000 of whom are enrolled in full-time, online degree programs. While Ball State offers a large number of online degrees overall, it also offers a fully online Doctorate of Nursing Practice and a Doctorate of Education with concentrations available in adult education, higher education, and community education. Each program offers the same high-quality, faculty-taught curriculum that on-campus students receive. Distance students at Ball State have access to online career planning services, advising services, academic support services, and technology support. Most online classes are asynchronous and can be taken at any time, in any place. For the nursing doctoral degree, students complete their clinical requirements locally, under faculty supervision.

  • Annual Tuition: $9,902
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NCA HLC
  • Online Doctoral Degrees: 8
  • For over 60 years, University of Michigan-Flint has educated students while offering affordable tuition rates. Its Office of Extended Learning now offers distance students an online help desk, free workshops, online training, support, and library services. In addition, faculty have a state-of-the-art video production facility at their disposal for creating their online classes. Graduate students will find that UM-Flint offers 100% online doctoral degrees in nursing practice, anesthesia practice, and physical therapy. Part-time enrollment options help working adults in the physical therapy program attain their advanced degrees around their busy schedules, while students in the nursing program are encouraged to pursue research. All doctoral programs can be customized to suit individual student interests and schedules.

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This indicates that a school has an annual tuition of $15,000 or less as reported to the National Center for Education Statistics or based on the school's website.