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Doctorate Degree Online: 5 Best Values

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

Why would someone want to pursue a doctorate 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 the traditional format to doctoral programs at a distance. While online doctorate 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.

Ranking the Best Value Doctorate Degrees Online

We took an initial pool of 13 institutions offering online doctorates and ranked them by institutional graduation rate (which indicates overall student support given by an institution to help its students succeed) and tuition points. Note that we could only rate schools that had their institutional graduation rates available on College Navigator. For scoring breakdowns, see the end of this article.

Walden University Doctorate Degree Online

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

5. Walden University

Online DBA Programs

Online Doctorate Healthcare and Nursing

Online Ed.D. Programs

Online Ph.D. Criminal Justice and Homeland Security Programs

Online Ph.D. Health and Human Services Programs

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? They offer a “Fast Track Option,” which could save you 20% in costs. Four degrees are currently offered within the Fast Track Option: PhDs in criminal justice, forensic psychology, human and social services, and psychology. 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 of your education as possible.

Tuition and Fees: $12,844/yr
Points: 55




Colorado Technical University Doctorate Degree Online

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

4. 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 doctorate 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 doctorate degrees in broad, relevant, easily researchable subjects that readily conform to an online format. Degree options include business administration, computer science, and management, which provide an array of specialization tracks in areas such as big data analytics, global leadership, and technology management.

Tuition and Fees: $12,139/yr
Points: 65


Amridge University Online Doctorate Degree

Amridge University’s doctor of philosophy is a unique program that lets you choose courses from multiple disciplines.

3. Amridge University


Amridge University is a private, online, non-profit institution affiliated with the Churches of Christ. It prepares students for a lifetime of leadership and service in their professions, society, and church, offering 8 doctoral degrees within its College of Business and Leadership, School of Human Services, and the Turner School of Theology. Amridge University’s brand new PhD in interdisciplinary studies is made for students from various backgrounds including human services, business, education, and church ministry. Students are able to tailor their education experience to meet their personal and professional needs by choosing courses from multiple disciplines, built on a foundation of core courses on research methodologies.

Tuition and Fees: $11,700/yr
Points: 75


Trident University Doctorate Degree Online

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

2. 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. Finally, Trident boasts an astounding 78% of its alumni as having military affiliation, as well as employing veterans in many capacities.

Tuition and Fees: $6,120/yr
Points: 95


Columbia Southern University online doctorate

Columbia Southern University is the place to go for online business degrees thanks to its high student satisfaction paired with extremely low tuition.

1. Columbia Southern University


Almost half of Columbia Southern University’s students attend its College of Business, so it makes sense that the terminal degree offered there is a doctor of business administration (DBA). The program includes opportunities to design original research, perform data analysis,  and contribute new knowledge to a segment of industry through a doctoral dissertation, including a defense before a committee and University representatives. Columbia Southern University also boasts an exceptional student satisfaction rate, with 99% of students saying that they would recommend CSU to a friend. Despite its ultra-competitive pricing, CSU goes even further: it provides course material for all courses, by either providing eTextbooks, shipping textbooks, or running textbook-free courses. And when you consider Columbia Southern University’s unbelievably low tuition rates, it becomes immediately clear why the university clinched the #1 spot on this doctorate degrees online ranking.

Tuition and Fees: $4,950/yr
Points: 95


Ranking breakdown (in case of tie in points, lower tuition was ranked higher):

Graduation rate:
Best grad rate—50 points
2nd best—45 points
3rd—40 points
4th—35 points
5th—30 points
6th—25 points
Tuition Points:
Lowest—50  points
2nd lowest—45 points
3rd—40 points
4th—35 points
5th—30 points
6th—25 points

College Navigator

By CVO Staff
Updated September 2017

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Filed under: Cheap online PhD

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

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