In this ranking, we examine the best value colleges for a doctorate degree online in 2016.

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Why would someone want to pursue a PhD degree online? Aren’t they supposed to be incredibly challenging and time-consuming? How can someone conduct legitimate research over the internet? While these are all valid questions, you might be pleased to hear that modern technology has easily facilitated a transition from traditional PhDs to doctoral programs at a distance. While online PhD programs still aren’t commonplace, a few pioneering online colleges have taken the plunge, offering some creative ways for students to complete all the traditional requirements, from literature reviews to dissertation defenses, without stepping foot on campus.

Penn State World Campus Doctorate Degree Online

The affordable online PhD degree in Nursing at Penn State is challenging, but worth the effort.

5. Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

Penn State University is well known as a large, traditional public college serving a sizable population of traditional undergrads. But what fewer people know is that Penn State has also pioneered the “world campus,” an online course delivery system that takes its top-notch degree programs to eager learners on multiple continents. PSU World is also home to one very unique academic option; a Doctor of Nursing Practice. As the only doctorate degree online that Penn State offers, the DNP is a popular choice for nurses who are intent on climbing to the very top of their field. Students can opt for a BS-DNP or MSN-DNP track, depending on their experience, but either way will benefit from a rigorous curriculum that includes oral presentations, in-person “intensive sessions,” and a capstone project.
Tuition and Fees: $19,320/yr
Score: 45.71

Aspen University Doctorate Degree Online

Cheap doctorate degrees online are hard to come by, but Aspen offers some of the best.

4. Aspen University

Aspen University offers two accredited PhD degrees online in notably appropriate subjects, given the course delivery format. You can earn a Doctorate of Science in Computer Science or a Doctorate in Education Leadership and Learning, the latter of which includes courses on curricular methods and the role of technology in the classroom. Both degrees put a strong emphasis on research, methodological design, and analytical thinking skills, as well as require students to complete a multi-part dissertation process. You’ll need to conduct a full literature review, carry out original research, and present your findings at an oral defense. Just as with traditional PhDs, Aspen’s affordable online PhD degrees are both rigorous and time consuming – but then again, no one said that earning a PhD would be easy!
Tuition and Fees: $4,050/yr
Score: 50.00

Colorado Technical University Doctorate Degree Online

CTU’s affordable doctorate degree online is quick and convenient without sacrificing quality.

3. Colorado Technical University-Online

Online Doctor of Management

Online Computer Science Doctorate

Colorado Technical University doesn’t just see online education as a way to offer convenience and flexibility; it also sees an opportunity to help students accelerate their studies. This approach makes CTU a source of some of the best online PhD degrees in the country. Students at Colorado Tech can start their research and dissertation almost right away, putting them on track to graduate in as little as three years! CTU enables this pace by judiciously offering PhD degrees in broad, relevant, easily researchable subjects that readily conform to an online format. Degree options include Computer Science and Management, both of which provide an array of specialization tracks in areas such as Big Data Analytics, Global Leadership, and Technology Management.
Tuition and Fees: $13,643/yr
Score: 58.57

Walden University Doctorate Degree Online

Walden University stands apart from the rest for the large number of accredited PhD online degrees it offers.

2. Walden University

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Online Ph.D. Management Programs

Online Ph.D. Psychology

Online Ph.D. Public Health and Public Policy Programs

Walden University easily secures a reputation as one of the best colleges for a cheap PhD online. How? In addition to low tuition rates that will help keep you out of debt, Walden also easily brushes past the competition in the quantity of online doctoral degrees it offers; with a total of 20 PhD programs in areas such as Criminal Justice, Nursing Practice (CCNE accredited), Public Health, Management (ACBSP accredited), and Education (NCATE accredited), Walden truly has something for everyone. The university encourages you to explore your own interests, leverage your own experience, and tackle a research topic of your own design (not a faculty member’s) in order to grant you as much ownership over your education as possible.
Tuition and Fees: $12,572/yr
Score: 77.86

Trident University Doctorate Degree Online

TUI has some of the best online PhD degrees around – and one of the lowest tuition rates, too!

1. Trident University International

Trident University International understands that a PhD program is more than an advanced version of a master’s degree; far from simply committing to take a few extra course credits, doctoral students have dedicated themselves to earning “the highest level of achievement in any academic discipline.” As such, TUI’s rigorous programs, which include online PhD degrees in Business Administration, Health Sciences, and Educational Leadership, focus intensely on research methods, professional practice, and innovative design. And when you consider Trident’s unbelievably low tuition rates, it becomes immediately clear why the university clinched the #1 spot on this PhD degrees online ranking.
Tuition and Fees: $5,700/yr
Score: 95.00

This concludes our ranking of the best value colleges for a doctorate degree online.

See our methodology page for more information about how we calculated this ranking.

College Navigator

By CVO Staff
Published February 2016


Filed under: Cheap online PhD