50 Best Nonprofit Colleges for a Doctorate Online 2022

An online doctorate offers students the highest level of expertise in a subject with all the benefits of earning a degree through distance education. Doctoral degrees often provide students with the credentials for some of the highest-paying careers available. Earning a doctorate can be a very time-consuming process. By earning a doctorate online, students can pursue this lucrative degree without disrupting their lives. They can continue their careers and not need to uproot their lives to move to a college campus.

The universities for this ranking of those with online doctorate programs were selected based on the price of tuition. The variety of programs was taken into account as well. All the schools on this list have been verified as nonprofit organizations, and all have received accreditation from reputable accreditation sources.

Ranking the Best Online Doctorate Programs

#1. New Mexico State University

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Located in Las Cruces, New Mexico, New Mexico State University was originally founded in 1888. One of the top universities in New Mexico, New Mexico State University is also one of the state’s flagship public universities. Originally known as Las Cruces College, New Mexico State University has grown and evolved over the years. Now, the school enrolls a student body of over 24,000 students.

Students at New Mexico State University can choose from a wide selection of different online doctorate programs available. Some of the online doctorates offered at New Mexico State University are a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership, a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction, a PhD in nursing, and many others. These various online doctorate degrees are designed from the ground up to leverage New Mexico State University’s online education platform. Students can complete these degrees without ever having to visit New Mexico State University’s campus.

Accreditation: New Mexico State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Tuition: $9,930

#2. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the nation’s first public university and is a global higher-education leader known for innovative teaching, research, and public service. Located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill enrolls a student body of 30,000 students. UNC-Chapel Hill offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy through web-based instruction allowing therapists to continue their practice while pursuing an advanced degree.

The online Doctor of Physical Therapy program primarily focuses on clinical competence and expertise. There are four specialist areas within the program: orthopedics, neurology, pediatrics, and geriatrics. Candidates are expected to continue their practice, pursue teaching roles, and serve in policy-making and leadership positions. The Doctor of Physical Therapy degree requires 30 credit hours beyond the professional entry-level degree. The degree has three components: a clinical foundation core, a clinical practice core, and a specialty practice core. The program is about two years long, with four semesters and a summer. The school of education boasts 40 full-time faculty members. Students take six to eight credits worth of classes per semester. UNC-Chapel Hill ranks in the top five of our best online doctorate programs.

Accreditation: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges.

Tuition: $10,085

#3. University of Florida

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The University of Florida is a major research institution located in the town of Gainesville. This school is the oldest public university in the state, founded in 1853. The University of Florida offers several great online doctorates, including doctorates in audiology, classical civilization, education, educational leadership, educational technology, higher education administration, Latin and Roman studies, and nursing practice.

The University of Florida’s online Doctor of Education program is intended to prepare practicing educators to apply current theory and research to the practice of education in their own professional settings. It is a professional-practice rather than an academic-research degree. The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree requires a master’s degree in nursing and that the student is a licensed nurse. The program focuses on working professionals and advancing their knowledge of this innovative and evidence-based practice. It is not a research degree. These are just some of the online doctorate programs made available to students at the University of Florida.

Accreditation: the University of Florida is accredited regionally by the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges.

Tuition: $10,457

#4. Appalachian State University

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Appalachian State University is a public institution. Located in the mountain town of Boone, North Carolina, Appalachian State University enrolls over 20,000 students and offers 200 different programs of study. Appalachian State University offers a Doctor of Educational Leadership degree program through online study. Appalachian State University has consistently ranked among the top online universities in the country for online doctorate degrees.

The Doctor of Educational Leadership is a hybrid degree program that seeks to train potential leaders for enhanced leadership roles in teaching, research, and administration. It is meant to train leaders who are interested in creating positive change in the field of education. At the core of the program is learning to turn theory into practice in educational systems to make those systems more equitable and sustainable. Students will engage in synchronous and asynchronous online work, and in some face-to-face instruction on campus in Boone, NC. The degree includes concentration options in educational administration, general studies, higher ed, reading and exceptionalities, and expressive arts. The program requires 60 credits for completion.

Accreditation: Appalachian State University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges & Schools.

Tuition: $10,525

#5. West Virginia University

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West Virginia University is a public institution founded in 1867. The university is located in Morgantown, West Virginia. It enrolls nearly 30,000 students. West Virginia University offers online doctorate programs in higher education administration, and special education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice and a PhD in Nursing. Since its founding, West Virginia University has received many accolades for the quality of its doctorate programs.

The Doctor of Education in higher education administration prepares students for college administration, faculty, research, and policy. In this online hybrid program, offered by the college of education and human services, students benefit from a common leadership core experience with others from educational leadership programs to understand common interests and issues. Students must complete a residency requirement, which is worked out with the student’s advisor. 84 credits are required for completion of the degree. The Doctor of Education in special education is designed to prepare leadership personnel to assume roles and responsibilities in personnel preparation at colleges and universities or professional development in public schools or disability service agencies. 42 credits beyond the master’s degree are required for completion of the degree, which is just one of many online doctorate degrees offered by West Virginia University.

Accreditation: West Virginia University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Tuition: $12,743

#6. Troy University

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Troy University is a comprehensive public university headquartered in Troy, Alabama. Comprised of a network of campuses throughout the state and the world, Troy University serves students across the globe. Troy enrolls over 18,000 students annually. Troy offers an online program of study leading to a Doctor of Philosophy in sport management.

The Doctor of Philosophy in sport management is the first online program of its kind in the United States. It is designed to develop students to generate the research, critical thinking, and teaching skills necessary for success in the sports industry and in higher education. The program prepares graduates for a broad range of sport management-related positions, including higher education, research, professional or amateur athletics, and professional sports. At minimum, 60 credits are required for completion of the degree.

Accreditation: Troy University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges.

Tuition: $12,951

#7. Indiana State University

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Located in Terre Haute, Indiana, Indiana State University is a public university founded in 1865 that enrolls over 12,000 students. Indiana State University offers online doctorate programs that include a Doctor of Nursing Practice, Doctorate of Athletic Training, Doctor of Philosophy in educational administration: higher education leadership, Doctor of Philosophy in educational administration: school administration, and a Doctor of Philosophy in technology management.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree prepares nurses to be innovative leaders who can positively transform our healthcare system. The program requires 39 credits and 1,000 hours of supervised clinical preceptorship. The Doctorate in Athletic Training is the first and only program for a credentialed athletic trainer who is seeking advanced coursework and applied research. 57 credits are required for completion of the degree. Campus requirements total approximately 12-15 days annually (four to five days at the end of each semester). The PhD in technology management is designed for students who would like to prepare for positions of leadership in the public and private sectors of society. The program requires 66 credits for completion. These are just two of many online doctorates helping Indiana State University rank as one of the most affordable online colleges for doctorate degrees.

Accreditation: Indiana State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

Tuition: $12,996

#8. Indiana University

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Indiana University is a public research university located in Bloomington, Indiana. It was founded in 1820 and enrolled over 48,000 students. Indiana University offers online degree programs leading to a Doctor of Education in instructional systems technology; a Doctor of Education in literacy, culture, and language education; a Doctor of Nursing Practice; a post-professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy; and a PhD in Nursing Science.

The Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science prepares students to become nurse scientists who conduct cutting-edge research in nursing education, health systems, and clinical science to enhance the care of individuals and families across the lifespan. Students choose either the BSN-to-PhD option or the MSN-to-PhD option. The BSN-to-PhD option allows you to earn certification as a clinical nurse specialist or complete other graduate coursework that will enhance your area of research. The MSN-to-PhD option allows you to transfer 30 of the credits from your MSN coursework relevant to your research area. 90 credits are required for completion of the degree. This online PhD program is very affordable and is only one among several affordable online PhD programs offered by Indiana University.

Accreditation: Indiana University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Tuition: $13,036

#9. Sam Houston State University

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Founded in 1879, Sam Houston State University is the third-oldest public university in Texas. It is located in Huntsville and enrolls over 21,000 students. Sam Houston State University provides an online Doctor of Education in developmental education administration and an online Doctor of Education in instructional technology.

The Doctor of Education in developmental education administration is an interdisciplinary degree designed to help educators develop and administer programs for unprepared students entering a community college or university. Graduates are trained to apply administrative theory to instructional leadership; assign responsibilities and verify how well resources are allocated and used in instructional improvement; plan and administer the designed curriculum; interpret the relationship between federal, state, and local education agencies and laws; design research; and apply research and information to educational capabilities and leadership functions. The program requires 60 credits for completion.

Accreditation: Sam Houston State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges.

Tuition: $13,055

#10. Valdosta State University

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Valdosta State University is a public university located in Valdosta, Georgia. The university was founded in 1906 and has since grown to enroll over 11,000 students. Valdosta State University offers both its Doctor of Education in adult and career education and Doctor of Education in curriculum and instruction online. U.S. News & World Report ranks Valdosta State University #123 for best online graduate education programs.

The Doctor of Education in adult and career education provides advanced professional learning for individuals pursuing careers in teaching and leadership of adult and career education, and related fields. The program prepares students for working with adult learners in career education fields in the secondary and post-secondary education, private workforce education, and government agency contexts. The program is delivered via a combination of online and hybrid courses, with most courses offered 100% online. The program requires 54 credits for completion. This degree is just one of many online doctorate degrees made available to students by Valdosta State University.

Accreditation: Valdosta State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges.

Tuition: $13,502

#11. Ball State University

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Ball State University is a public university founded in 1918. Located in Muncie, Indiana, Ball State enrolls over 21,000 students. Ball State University offers three online doctorate degrees: a Doctor of Education in adult, higher, and community education; a Doctor of Education in education administration and supervision; and a Doctor of Nursing Practice.

The Doctorate of Education in adult, higher, and community education emphasizes knowledge and skills regarding teaching, learning, evaluating, planning, program development, leadership, policy, and research. Students choose from three major concentrations: adult and community education, community college leadership, or higher education. Delivery is through a mix of online and on-campus study, with several courses being required on campus. A minimum of 91 credits is required for completion of the degree. Ball State University has ranked among the top online colleges for doctorate degrees by offering this degree online and several others.

Accreditation: Ball State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Tuition: $13,533

#12. Arizona State University

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Arizona State University is a public institution that was founded in 1885. It is located in Tempe, Arizona. Arizona State University offers online doctoral programs in the areas of behavioral health and education. In the area of behavioral sciences, the university offers two concentrations. One of the concentrations is in clinical, and the other is in management. The Doctor of Education is in leadership and innovation.

The Doctor of Behavioral Health with the clinical concentration is meant to prepare master’s-level clinicians to work within the context of the evolving marketplace of primary care. The program includes a mandatory 400-hour clinical internship. It is 84 credit hours long, and students can transfer in 30 hours from master’s-level work. The program is delivered online, including in synchronous live chats with instructors and students and internship training. The management concentration seeks to provide students with additional management didactics, training, and experience. The program is delivered primarily through online synchronous courses with live instructors and students and live internship training. This program also requires 84 credits, with the possibility of transferring 30 master’s-level credits into the program.

Accreditation: Arizona State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Tuition: $14,081

#13. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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The flagship of the University of Illinois System, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was founded in 1867 and is the second-oldest public university in Illinois. UIUC is a research-intensive university with a “Very High Research Activity” designation from the Carnegie Foundation. UIUC enrolls over 56,000 students and has been named one of the “Public Ivies,” a public university offering a quality of education commensurate with the private Ivy League universities.

The online Doctor of Education in education policy, organization, and leadership program includes concentration options in diversity and equity in education, global studies in education, human resource development, and learning design and leadership. The program requires a minimum of 64 credits and is taught online through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning. Each concentration within the program can be further honed to match individual students’ particular interests and goals through crafting a specialization with the guidance of the student’s academic advisor.

Accreditation: The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Tuition: $14,660

#14. East Tennessee State University

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East Tennessee State University is a public institution that was founded in 1911. It is located in Johnson City, Tennessee, and enrolls over 14,000 students. Part of the state university and community college system of Tennessee, East Tennessee State University has played an integral role in the state’s higher education system for over 100 years. East Tennessee State University offers online doctoral programs in the areas of education and nursing.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice offers concentration options in adult-gerontology acute care, executive leadership in nursing, family nurse practitioner, and psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner. The program is designed to provide advanced training in nursing practice to improve patient outcomes in various healthcare settings. The program has entry points for students at both the post-bachelor’s and post-master’s levels. Students entering with a bachelor’s degree are required to earn 84 credits for completion of the degree. Post-master’s students will need to earn 40 credits for completion. In addition to coursework, students will need to complete 40 clinical hours in a local professional healthcare setting.

Accreditation: East Tennessee State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges.

Tuition: $14,696

#15. Wayne State University

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Located in Detroit, Michigan, Wayne State University is a public research university. The school was founded in 1868 as a medical college and has grown to enroll almost 26,000 students. Wayne State University offers an online transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy. Wayne State University has long been a great option for online learning, especially for online doctorate programs.

The transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy is designed for licensed physical therapists from either the United States or Canada. The program is a hybrid, combining online coursework combined with weekend intensives. The program is designed for licensed therapists who have completed an accredited physical-therapy program. The program will prepare therapists for autonomous, evidence-based practice by augmenting their knowledge in differential diagnosis, physical assessment, diagnostic imaging, scientific inquiry, and pharmacology. The degree requires a minimum of 24 credits for completion. This is just one of many online doctorate programs offered by Wayne State University.

Accreditation: Wayne State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Tuition: $15,012

#16. Iowa State University

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Founded in 1856, Iowa State University is a public research university located in Ames, Iowa. The university enrolls over 33,000 students, making it one of the largest public universities in the state. ISU offers two unique online doctorates: a PhD in apparel, merchandising, and design and a PhD in hospitality management.

The Doctor of Philosophy in apparel, merchandizing, and design is designed for working professionals and will prepare graduates to succeed in industry, museums, or academia. The degree is delivered through a hybrid distance program that requires two short on-campus summers. The program requires 72 credits for completion. The online Doctor of Philosophy in hospitality management program is designed to meet the needs of professionals employed in industry, education, and other hospitality-related professions who want to obtain a terminal degree for their career advancement. The program is a hybrid, requiring students to attend two consecutive summer sessions on campus for a maximum of three weeks each. At minimum, 72 credits are required for completion of the degree.

Accreditation: Iowa State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Tuition: $15,195

#17. Georgia Southern University

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Georgia Southern University is a public university that was founded in 1906. The school is located in Statesboro, Georgia, and enrolls over 22,000 students. A flagship university, Georgia Southern University is significant to Georgia’s online higher education system. Georgia Southern University offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree online.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program is a professional degree that is designed to prepare graduates to provide the most advanced nursing care for individuals and communities. Students in this program can specialize in the direct care of individual patients, management of care for individuals and populations, administration of nursing systems, and development and implementation of health policy. While most coursework is completed online, students must attend on-campus graduate intensives each fall during the program. The program is open to students with a Master of Science in nursing, and it requires 43-46 credits to complete the degree.

Accreditation: Georgia Southern University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on College.

Tuition: $15,374

#18. University of Hawaii

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The University of Hawaii is a public research university founded in 1907. The University of Hawaii enrolls over 18,000 students. The flagship of the University of Hawaii System, the University of Hawaii at Manoa is one of the top public universities in the scenic state. The university offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice online.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree is designed to train practicing nurses at the highest level of professional practice. The curriculum is built on AACN Essentials for Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice. It integrates evidence-based practice, quality improvement, and systems leadership to prepare experts in specialized advanced nursing practice. Students can enter the program at the post-associate level and at the bachelor’s level with a non-nursing-related degree. This university offers adult-gerontology primary care, family nurse practitioner, and organizational leadership specializations. A total of 77 credits are required to complete the degree, and coursework includes a practice-based project that serves as the culmination of studies in the program.

Accreditation: The University of Hawaii is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools.

Tuition: $15,441

#19. University of North Dakota

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The University of North Dakota is a public university located in Grand Forks, North Dakota. It was founded in 1883 and enrolled over 14,000 students. UND offers various online PhD programs, including a PhD in aerospace sciences, electrical engineering, energy engineering, environmental engineering, and nursing. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of North Dakota as #202 among best national universities and #110 among top public schools.

The PhD in aerospace science program is offered both online and on campus. Students may complete coursework fully online or choose to complete part of their studies in the traditional on-campus format. Online courses are delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous classes. 90 credits are required with up to 30 transferable from a master’s degree. The PhD in electrical engineering is an online program with three on-campus visits. The program requires 90 credits with up to 30 transferable from a master’s degree. These are just a few of several online PhD programs offered by the University of North Dakota, helping the school secure its position among the most affordable online doctorate colleges.

Accreditation: The University of North Dakota is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Tuition: $15,654

#20. University of Missouri

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The University of Missouri is the flagship of the University of Missouri system. Located in Columbia, Missouri, U of M is a land-grant university and Missouri’s only doctoral-level public research institution. The University of Missouri enrolls over 30,000 students and offers over 300 different programs of study. Doctoral programs offered online include the Doctor of Philosophy in art education, the Doctor of Education in educational leadership, a PhD in architectural studies, and a Doctorate of Nursing Practice.

The PhD in art education is designed primarily for art agency directors, college deans, museum administrators, and university professors. While most courses can be completed online, this hybrid program requires three consecutive semesters to be completed on campus. The degree requires 72 credits. The Doctor of Education in educational leadership is designed for principals, superintendents, directors, university administrators, faculty, and other leaders in educational settings. The coursework is primarily online, but it does require two consecutive summer courses on campus. The program requires a minimum of 46 credits. This is just one of many online PhD programs made available to students at the University of Missouri.

Accreditation: The University of Missouri is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Tuition: $15,850

#21. University of Colorado at Denver

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The University of Colorado at Denver is one of three universities in the University of Colorado system. The university has two campuses, Aurora in downtown Denver and the Anschutz Medical Campus located in the suburb of Aurora. The university enrolls over 13,400 students on the two campuses as well as in extensive online program offerings. The university offers an online Doctor of Nursing Practice, Doctor of Philosophy in nursing, Doctor of Pharmacy, and a hybrid version of a Doctor of Education with a focus on leadership for educational equality.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice online program prepares nurses for the highest level of professional practice. As a graduate, you’ll be prepared with the knowledge and leadership skills needed to improve health and healthcare by linking clinical practice to theory and evidence. The program requires 41 credits for completion. The PhD in nursing is designed to prepare you to advance the discipline’s art, science, and practice. PhD preparation in nursing promotes knowledge development for reflective, theory-based, and research-guided nursing practice. Coursework is online, with campus visits scheduled once per semester. 72 credits are required for completion of the degree.

Accreditation: The University of Colorado at Denver is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Tuition: $15,865

#22. University of Wisconsin

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The University of Wisconsin is a public institution founded in 1965. The flagship campus is located in Madison, Wisconsin, and enrolls over 45,000 students. The University of Wisconsin system’s online campus offers two doctorates in nursing: a PhD in nursing and a Doctor of Nursing Practice.

The Doctor of Philosophy in nursing is a research-oriented program that prepares doctoral students as scientists who generate knowledge to advance nursing. Like graduates of the college’s traditional PhD program, online PhD graduates are ready for careers in education, research, practice, and leadership positions. Students work closely with faculty mentors to define their success early and to plan and conduct cutting-edge research using various research methods. The program follows a cohort model, and students attend a one-week orientation at the beginning of the program and return to campus at the end of their program of study. Online courses are offered every two years and must be taken in sequence. The Doctor of Philosophy program requires 53 credits.

Accreditation: The University of Wisconsin is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Tuition: $16,103

#23. University of Nevada at Reno

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Established in 1874, the University of Nevada at Reno is a public research university enrolling more than 20,100 students. The University of Nevada at Reno is a member of the University of Nevada system and is one of the school’s flagship institutions. The university offers an online Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree is designed as a terminal practice degree for clinically practicing nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, and nursing leaders in healthcare organizations. The university offers two tracks for earning this degree: a post-master’s track and a BSN-to-DNP track. The program seeks to improve patient and population healthcare outcomes in various direct and indirect settings through evidence-based practice. The BSN-to-DNP degree has a two-day on-campus orientation, and it includes one to three days of on-site immersion classes each semester and on-campus visits for project proposal and defense. The program requires 72-76 credits for completion.

Accreditation: The University of Nevada at Reno is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges & Universities.

Tuition: $16,253

#24. University of Arkansas

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The University of Arkansas is a public institution that was founded in 1871. The university is located in Fayetteville, Arkansas and enrolls over 27,000 students. The University of Arkansas offers hybrid online doctoral degree programs with some on-campus requirements.

The online doctorate degrees offered are in the fields of education and nursing, with Doctor of Education programs in adult and lifelong learning, educational leadership, and human resource and workforce development, in addition to the Doctor of Nursing Practice program. The Doctor of Education in adult and lifelong learning prepares students for employment in programs that provide adult literacy and education, lifelong learning, community and nonprofit organizations, military education, postsecondary education, and continuing professional education. Coursework focuses on the assessment, design, and implementation of educational programs for adult learners at all stages of development. Coursework is mostly online, with four intensive sessions at the Fayetteville campus. The program requires 96 credits for completion.

Accreditation: The University of Arkansas is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Tuition: $16,263

#25. University of the Cumberlands

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Founded in 1889, the University of the Cumberlands is a private university originally named Williamsburg Institute. Located in Williamsburg, Kentucky, the University of the Cumberlands enrolls just over 16,000 students. The University of the Cumberlands offers an online Doctor of Education in educational leadership.

The doctorate in educational leadership degree is designed to enhance students’ specialty knowledge and help them to lead our educational institutions into the future. In this program of study, students will continue their education to the highest level to prepare themselves for positions in leadership within educational organizations. This program is available entirely online, and students are not required to visit campus at any point in their studies. The program can be completed in less than three years, with a minimum of 60 credits required to complete the degree. The University of the Cumberlands has ranked among the most affordable online universities for doctorates by offering this online doctorate at an affordable price.

Accreditation: The University of the Cumberlands is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges.

Tuition: $16,340

#26. Texas Tech University

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Texas Tech University is a comprehensive public university that was founded in 1923. Located in Lubbock, Texas, the university enrolls over 37,000 students. The university offers an online Doctor of Education in agricultural education, a Doctor of Education in higher education, a PhD in systems and engineering management, and a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.

The Doctor of Education in agricultural education is a distance degree program designed for educators who focus on the agricultural sciences, such as 4-H youth specialists, high-school agricultural science educators, community college faculty, historical center directors, etc. The program follows a cohort model and employs various delivery methods, with the primary tools being Blackboard (a virtual learning environment used to access course material) and Interactive Video Conferencing (ITV). During the first two years of the program, students will have at least one live course delivered via interactive video and one asynchronous course each semester. In addition to courses, the cohort will work together regularly, including face-to-face meetings at the campus or profession-related locations. A minimum of 64 credits are required for the completion of the degree. This online doctorate is just one of many offered by Texas Tech University.

Accreditation: Texas Tech University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges.

Tuition: $16,463

#27. Mississippi State University

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Located in Starkville, Mississippi, Mississippi State University is a public land-grant university whose mission is to provide access and opportunity to students from all sectors of the state’s diverse population and from other states and countries. Currently, over 22,000 students are enrolled at Mississippi State University. MSU offers distance doctoral degrees in community college leadership, computational engineering, electrical and computer engineering, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, and industrial and systems engineering.

The Doctor of Philosophy in civil engineering is delivered at a distance, with research facilities available at various locations throughout the country. The program makes room for students to be admitted directly from an undergraduate degree, in which case 62 credits are required for completion. 42 credits are required for students who possess a Master of Science in civil engineering. The industrial and systems engineering program includes a variety of emphases, including industrial systems, operations research, manufacturing systems, and ergonomics/human factors. The program requires 48 credits. The PhD in mechanical engineering emphasizes fluid mechanics, solid mechanics, thermal sciences, materials and manufacturing, mechanical design, and system dynamics. The program requires 42 credits for completion.

Accreditation: Mississippi State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges.

Tuition: $16,471

#28. Michigan State University

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Located in East Lansing, Michigan, Michigan State University is a public research university enrolling a student body of over 50,000. The nation’s pioneer land-grant university, MSU is one of the top research universities in the world. Home to nationally ranked and recognized academic, residential college, and service-learning programs, MSU is a diverse community of dedicated students and scholars, athletes, artists, scientists, and leaders. MSU offers a hybrid online/campus-based program at the doctoral level, leading to a PhD in educational psychology and educational technology.

The nationally-ranked educational psychology and educational technology (EPET) hybrid online PhD program is a substantially new online option in the area of educational technology. In response to the growing demand for educational leaders who understand how technology, especially online learning, is transforming the world of education, this blended program is designed for experienced education professionals currently employed in schools, higher education, and research institutions who want to earn a PhD while continuing in their current positions. The program’s goal is to develop the next generation of educational leaders who understand the need to create new, technologically sound teaching methods that are grounded in innovative research and practice. A minimum of 66 credits are required to complete this degree.

Accreditation: Regent University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Tuition: $16,579

#29. University of Nebraska at Lincoln

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The University of Nebraska at Lincoln is a public institution that was founded in 1869. The university is located in Lincoln, Nebraska and is the oldest university in the state. UNL is recognized for having produced significant groundbreaking research in the areas of agricultural sciences and ecological studies. The university enrolls over 20,800 students.

The distance education programs provided by the University of Nebraska at Lincoln include a Doctor of Education in educational administration, a Doctor of Education in educational studies, and a Doctor of Philosophy in educational studies. The Doctor of Education in educational administration degree is designed to help working professionals advance their knowledge and apply it to real-world situations in which they work. The Doctor of Education degree prepares the student for furthering their practice as an educator in their current field of employment. This program trains leaders who will benefit from experience in administration through internships, work in groundbreaking cognate areas that are historically important to practitioners, and gain group skills by working on collaborative projects. The program requires 96 credits for completion.

Accreditation: The University of Nebraska at Lincoln is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Tuition: $17,093

#30. University at Buffalo – SUNY

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The University at Buffalo – SUNY is a public institution that was founded in 1846. The university is located in Buffalo, New York and currently enrolls over 32,000 students. The University at Buffalo – SUNY provides an online Doctor of Philosophy in curriculum, instruction, and the science of learning.

The PhD in curriculum, instruction, and the science of learning program is a multidisciplinary doctoral degree program that focuses on addressing practical educational problems through research in diverse contexts for learning and teaching. The program is unique in its inclusion and integration of the science of learning. It is a 72-credit program, 10 of which may be filled by previous master’s-level work. Students of the program work in multidisciplinary research clusters, including arts integration, early learning, educational informatics, educational technologies, integrated STEM, new and multimodal literacies, product design, special literacy, social learning and culture, real and virtual learning space, situated and embodied cognition, and more. This online doctorate has helped the University at Buffalo – SUNY rank among our most affordable online colleges for doctorate degrees.

Accreditation: The University at Buffalo is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Tuition: $17,264

#31. University of Minnesota

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Founded in 1947, the University of Minnesota is one of the top public research universities in the state. It is located in Duluth, Minnesota and enrolls over 51,000 students. The online doctoral degrees offered by the University of Minnesota include a Doctor of Nursing Practice with various concentration options.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree is a hybrid online program with some campus requirements typically consisting of a four-day intensive session once per semester and two additional shorter campus visits each semester beginning in the second year. Some concentrations in the program require more frequent campus visits throughout the program. The program includes several concentrations, including adult health/gerontological clinical nurse specialist, adult health/gerontological nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, health innovation and leadership, integrative health and healing, nurse anesthesia, nurse-midwifery, nursing informatics, pediatric clinical nurse specialist, pediatric nurse practitioner, post-master’s doctor of nursing practice, psychiatric mental health nurse practice, public health nursing, and women’s health nurse practitioner. Programs range between 37 and 84 credits for completion, depending on the concentration and whether or not the student is entering the program post-bachelor’s or post-master’s.

Accreditation: The University of Minnesota is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Tuition: $17,279

#32. University of South Dakota

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The University of South Dakota is a public institution that was established in 1862. It is located in Vermillion, South Dakota, and is home to almost 10,000 students and 270 programs. The University of South Dakota offers a post-professional Doctorate in Occupational Therapy and a Doctor of Philosophy in health sciences online.

The post-professional Doctorate in Occupational Therapy is designed for licensed occupational therapists who graduated with a Master of Science degree in occupational therapy and wish to advance their careers by developing and applying new knowledge and skills. The degree is conferred upon completion of a five-semester, 24-credit curriculum that is offered fully online and is uniquely tailored to the professional aspirations of each practitioner. This is just one of a few different online doctorates made available to students at the University of South Dakota.

Accreditation: The University of South Dakota is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Tuition: $17,689

#33. University of Kentucky

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The University of Kentucky was established in 1865 as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Kentucky. Now known as the University of Kentucky, the university has grown to enroll over 30,000 students. Located in Lexington, Kentucky, the University of Kentucky is one of the top universities in the state. The University of Kentucky offers an online Doctor of Education in teacher leadership. 

The fully online Doctor of Education in teacher leadership provides personalized leadership training with peer networking and collegial support through participation in a learning cohort. The curricular content, learning activities, field experience, and professional reflections provide specialized leadership development that teachers can use in their classrooms or as leaders in schools, districts, and the wider context of education. The program requires students to possess a master’s degree and is designed to take four years to complete. A minimum of 60 credits are required for completion of the degree.

Accreditation: The University of Kentucky is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges.

Tuition: $18,958

#34. The University of Kansas

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Located in Lawrence, Kansas, the University of Kansas is one of the most affordable online colleges for doctorates in Kansas. Established in 1865, the University of Kansas now enrolls a student body of approximately 27,000 students. The University of Kansas’ online doctoral programs include a Doctor of Nursing Practice and a Doctor of Philosophy in nursing.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice is designed to train nurses already in practice to advance their skills in their areas of specialization. The program includes tracks for post-bachelor’s students as well as for post-master’s students. Post-master’s students choose from two concentration areas, one in advanced practice and one in leadership. The advanced practice concentration has four areas in which to specialize. They are adult/gerontological nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, nurse-midwife, and psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner. The leadership specialty has three emphases, which are organizational leadership, public health nursing, and nursing informatics. The post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice requires 32 credits for completion.

Accreditation: The University of Kansas is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Tuition: $19,195

#35. Texas A&M University

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Texas A&M University is a public institution that was founded in 1876. It is located on 5,200 acres in College Station, Texas. Texas A&M offers online doctorate degrees through the department of education and the department of agriculture. The two degrees are specifically a Doctor of Education in curriculum and instruction and a Doctor of Education in agricultural education.

The Online Doctor of Education prepares leaders in Pre-K to 12th-grade public and private education to provide direction in curriculum, instruction, and instructional assessment. Students must enter the program with a minimum of five years of teaching experience and an earned master’s degree. The program requires a minimum of 64 semester credit hours beyond the master’s degree, all of which will be presented through a web-based delivery system in a cohort structure. Estimated completion time is four years. This online doctorate has helped Texas A&M University to rank among the top online universities for doctorate programs.

Accreditation: Texas A&M University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges.

Tuition: $19,237

#36. Oregon State University

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Located in Corvallis, Oregon, Oregon State University was founded in 1868, and since that time, it has grown to become a prestigious school. Oregon State University enrolls nearly 26,000 students. The university offers online doctoral degrees in adult and higher education and counseling.

The Doctorate of Education in adult and higher education is designed to prepare post-secondary education professionals for leadership roles in four-year universities, community colleges, and similar institutions. The program is run on a cohort model, in which students meet both in-person and online. Classes are held two weekends per term at a convenient location near Portland, Oregon. Students also participate in an intensive one-week course during the summer at the OSU main campus. Students may also pursue a PhD designation in this program if they have a demonstrated ability to contribute to a specific faculty member’s research activities and have a research-oriented career goal. The program requires between 108 and 120 quarter credits for completion.

Accreditation: Oregon State University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges & Universities.

Tuition: $19,273

#37. The University of Alabama

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Founded in 1820, the University of Alabama is one of the top universities in the state. The flagship of the University of Alabama System, the University of Alabama enrolls a student body of nearly 38,000 students. The University of Alabama offers several online doctoral programs in education, aerospace engineering and mechanics, and nursing.

One online doctorate available at the University of Alabama is the online aerospace engineering and mechanics PhD degree. The program requires some campus visits, which are arranged between students and their academic advisors. The program is specifically designed for engineering professionals with five or more years of experience within their field. It provides the opportunity to become a thought leader in the field of engineering. A minimum of 72 credits are required for completion of the degree. The University of Alabama has ranked among the top online colleges for doctorate degrees by offering this online doctorate and others to students online.

Accreditation: The University of Alabama has regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges.

Tuition: $20,623

#38. Clemson University

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Clemson University is a public university founded in 1889. The university is located in Clemson, South Carolina, and it enrolls over 24,000 students. Clemson University provides online doctoral programs leading to a PhD in parks, recreation, and tourism management in recreational therapy; a PhD in rhetoric, communication, and information design; and a PhD in healthcare genetics.

The PhD in parks, recreation, and tourism management is a hybrid program emphasizing recreational therapy. The program has been designed to ensure strong research training, optimize student/faculty integration and mentoring opportunities, and address a need for educators in recreational therapy. The program is delivered online with three five-day residencies to attend at Clemson’s campus. Online instruction is delivered in a synchronous format. A minimum of 60 credits are required for completion of the degree. This is just one of several online doctorate degrees made available to students at Clemson University.

Accreditation: Clemson University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges.

Tuition: $21,482

#39. University of South Carolina

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Founded in 1801, the University of South Carolina in Columbia has grown into a major research university. Currently, the University of South Carolina boasts a student body of over 35,000 students. The university offers an online Doctorate of Education in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in curriculum studies and one in educational technology.

The online Doctor of Education in curriculum and instruction emphasizing curriculum studies concentrates on curricular administration, including culture and leadership, ethics and morals, and curriculum design and implementation. The program sees the roles of graduates to include those of professors, district-level curriculum administrators, and school-level instructors. The emphasis on educational technology attempts to train leaders in an educational environment that constantly shifts in terms of technology. The curriculum attempts to produce leaders who can meet the demands of technology-based learning, instruction, and training with a practical, project-based emphasis on design, development, implementation, evaluation, and research. The program requires a minimum of 60 credits, and students should expect to spend three years of study to complete the degree.

Accreditation: The University of South Carolina is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges.

Tuition: $21,787

#40. Temple University

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Temple University is a public research university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Temple enrolls over 37,000 students and offers over 400 different degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Temple University has been recognized as being among the nation’s largest providers of professional education programs. Temple University offers two online clinical doctoral degrees in athletic training and occupational therapy.

The Clinical Doctorate in occupational therapy is a professional (non-research-based) degree meant for licensed occupational therapists. The program is flexible and can be tailored to the student’s area of interest. Faculty members are experts in child and youth development, adult rehabilitation, community-based practices, and promoting inclusive policies. The program requires a total of 31 credits for completion and can be completed in two years. While most coursework is completed online, there are two to three required in-person meetings per year on campus. Temple University is one of the most affordable online colleges for doctorate degrees.

Accreditation: Temple University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Tuition: $23,032

#41. Pennsylvania State University

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Headquartered in University Park, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University is a public land-grant institution founded in 1855. The university consists of twenty-four campuses, employs over 17,000 faculty and staff, enrolls over 89,000 students, and is home to a teaching hospital with a million patient visits a year. It also includes an online World Campus that empowers anyone to pursue an education—anytime and anywhere.

The online Doctorate of Nursing Practice is a professional, practice-focused doctoral degree designed to prepare highly qualified advanced-practice nurses to be leaders, deliver expert nursing care, and ultimately improve healthcare outcomes. It is designed for working professionals in the field and has entry points for students who hold a Bachelor of Science in nursing and students entering the program after earning their master’s. For post-bachelor’s students, the program consists of 61 credit hours. Post-master’s students are expected to earn between 38 and 46 credits for completion of the program. The online Doctor of Nursing Practice was designed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and focuses on transformational leadership, advanced nursing practice, and translating research into practice. While most of the program is delivered online, students must attend three to four intensive sessions on campus in University Park, Pennsylvania.

Accreditation: Pennsylvania State University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Tuition: $26,151

#42. St. John’s University

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St. John’s University of New York is a Roman Catholic institution in the Vincentian tradition with campuses located in Queens, Staten Island, Manhattan, upstate in Oakdale, and overseas in Rome and Paris. The school was founded in 1870 by the Vincentian Brothers and was initially located in Brooklyn. Over 21,000 students are enrolled at St. John’s University. The university provides an online Doctor of Philosophy in literacy.

The Doctor of Philosophy in literacy program is grounded in the social justice paradigm, which takes the influence of poverty on students’ overall well-being seriously and considers how social and economic factors influence their learning. The program prepares professionals to work with high-risk learners. It is designed for those who wish to work as educators at the university level, school literacy specialists, and literacy leader advocates. There are two ways to complete the program. The first is for those who have completed the master’s-level or certificate program in literacy or reading and earned a literacy certificate in New York. This course requires a minimum of 42 credits to complete the degree. St John’s University has ranked among the most affordable online colleges for doctorate degrees.

Accreditation: St. John’s University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Tuition: $26,993

#43. Johns Hopkins University

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Johns Hopkins University is a private research university in Baltimore, Maryland, that was founded in 1876. It is considered the first graduate school in the nation. Named for its earliest benefactor — Quaker, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and abolitionist Johns Hopkins — the highly selective university is internationally renowned. The prestigious institution is a leader in online learning at the doctoral level with its Doctor of Education program online.

The Doctor of Education program is a 90-credit program. Students must enter the program with a master’s degree consisting of at least 36 credits. Students must complete between 18 and 54 units with the program at Johns Hopkins University. Students in the program can choose from among four concentrations. These include mind, brain, and teaching; technology integration in K-12 education; and education counseling. As a fully online program, this doctorate in education is leading the way in innovative online delivery systems for quality programs of study. Any graduate of this prestigious program will be well equipped to take on leadership roles in a wide variety of educational settings.

Accreditation: Johns Hopkins University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Tuition: $28,999

#44. Creighton University

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Founded in 1878, Creighton University is a small Jesuit university in Omaha, Nebraska. With about 7,000 students currently enrolled, Creighton offers one-on-one attention and small class sizes, giving students a personalized learning experience. Creighton University offers several online doctoral programs, including a Doctor of Nursing Practice, a Doctor of Occupational Therapy, and many others.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice is a hybrid program consisting of mostly online courses and some required campus visits. The program is designed to help practicing nurses gain both advanced scientific knowledge and the practical hands-on skills needed to take on an even greater leadership role in healthcare. The program is open to students who possess a master’s degree in nursing and includes various specializations and professional tracks so students can hone their studies to their individual interests and goals. 24 to 28 credits are required for completion. This online doctorate has helped Creighton University to earn its place on this ranking.

Accreditation: Creighton University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Tuition: $32,145

#45. University of New England

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The largest educator of healthcare professionals in Maine, the University of New England has also grown to become the largest private university in the state. Founded in 1831, the university is located in Biddeford, Maine, and it enrolls over 12,000 students. UNE offers an online Doctor of Education in educational leadership.

The Doctor of Education in educational leadership is a cohort program with three cohorts per year. The program focuses on transformative leadership and prepares students to transform self, organization, and community through focused, flexible study. Students will become powerfully positioned to build allies with others striving for common outcomes and collaborate with individuals with divergent values and perspectives. The program takes three years, including a dissertation, and it is entirely online with no residency requirements. The dissertation is also presented online. The program requires 51 credits for completion.

Accreditation: The University of New England is regionally accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education.

Tuition: $34,198

#46. The Catholic University of America

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The Catholic University of America is a Roman Catholic, private institution located in Washington D.C. and founded in 1887. CUA is a pontifical university of the Catholic Church in the United States, and the only institution of higher education founded in the U.S. by Catholic bishops. The university was founded as a graduate research center and now enrolls nearly 6,800 students. The Catholic University of America offers online doctoral programs in nursing and theology.

In the area of theology, the university offers two Doctor of Ministry degrees online, including a Doctor of Ministry in evangelization and a Doctor of Ministry in liturgical catechesis. In theology, the Doctor of Ministry in evangelization is designed for pastoral ministers who wish to pursue advanced theological education and develop further skills in their chosen area. The program is designed for lay, religious, and ordained ministers and accepts people from all communities, not just Catholic. The program requires 30 credits for completion. While completed primarily online, students are required to attend two summer residencies of two weeks each during the course of the program. The Doctor of Ministry in liturgical catechesis is a professional doctorate designed for those interested in pastoral formation. The program requires 30 credits.

Accreditation: The Catholic University of America is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Tuition: $36,331

#47. Loyola University Chicago

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Located in Chicago, Illinois, Loyola University Chicago was founded in 1870. One of the top private universities in Illinois, Loyola University Chicago has grown to enroll a student body of 17,000 students. Loyola University Chicago offers three doctoral degrees through their online programs: a Doctor of Bioethics, a Doctor of Nursing Practice, and a Doctor of Education.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program provides nurses with advanced nursing knowledge and skills to enhance their professional practice. The program is open to students who possess a Master of Science in nursing and is designed to be completed in two years with 34 credits. Students choose from emphasis options in healthcare quality using education in safety and technology and infection prevention. Loyola University Chicago has ranked among our most affordable online colleges for doctorate degrees by offering this and other online doctorates at an affordable tuition rate.

Accreditation: Loyola University Chicago is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Tuition: $36,338

#48. Northeastern University

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Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Northeastern University is a private research university enrolling just over 26,000 students. The university was founded in 1898 and is a highly selective and prestigious private institution. Northeastern University offers an online transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy.

The transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy is a 100% online degree program designed for practicing physical therapists. Integrating art and science and professional and experiential education, the degree curriculum provides you with the necessary knowledge base for today’s doctorally prepared practitioners. The program has various concentration areas, including orthopedics, pediatrics, geriatrics, advanced nutrition, women’s health, education, and business management. A minimum of 26 quarter credits post-master’s are required for completion of the degree. It may be possible for students to enter the program with a Bachelor of Science in physical therapy, in which case students would need to earn 35 quarter credits for completion.

Accreditation: Northeastern University is regionally accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education.

Tuition: $36,479

#49. University of Southern California

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Established in 1880, the University of Southern California is one of the top private universities in California. Located in Los Angeles, California, the University of Southern California is the oldest private college in the state. Currently, the University of Southern California is home to a student body of 48,000 students.

The Doctor of Education in organizational change and leadership program is a 60-credit program exploring how learning occurs in formal and informal workplace settings and examining effective strategies for facilitating organizational learning. The program expects that students will be in their current careers, and the online delivery is meant to facilitate progress in their doctorate while they continue to work. The program is designed to last three years, with most of the curriculum delivered online and one weekend intensive per year attended at the University of Southern California campus. Students who currently hold a master’s degree may be admitted with advanced standing and are required to take only 43 credits to complete the program. Offering this online doctorate has secured the University of Southern California among the most affordable online colleges for doctorates.

Accreditation: The University of Southern California is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools & Colleges.

Tuition: $37,521

#50. George Washington University

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Located in Washington, D.C., George Washington University was established through an Act of Congress in 1821. One of the most prominent universities in the Washington, D.C. area, George Washington University currently enrolls a student body of over 27,000 students.

George Washington University offers online programs for students who wish to obtain a bachelor’s, master’s, associate’s, or doctoral degree or a graduate-level certificate. In addition, many individual courses are available in a 100-percent online format. The online doctorates that are provided are in the areas of nursing and engineering. One of the online doctorates offered is the online PhD in systems engineering. This online doctorate provides a broad knowledge of the comprehensive systems approach for designing and managing large-scale engineering systems throughout their life cycle, with faculty and students exploring topics like elements of systems engineering, methods and standards, architecting, computer tools that support systems engineering, trends and directions, and the integrative nature of systems engineering.

Accreditation: George Washington University is regionally accredited by the Middles States Commission on Higher Education.

Tuition: $38,829

NPCO Staff
September 2021

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This concludes our ranking of the most affordable colleges for an online doctorate.