Doctorate degrees improve the quality of an individual’s resume. Holders of doctorate degrees are considered authorities in their field. However, doctorate degrees do not come cheap. The cheapest doctorate degree programs are a viable option for anyone pursuing a doctoral program, and this article highlights the best doctorate degree programs you should consider.
On average, it takes four to eight years to complete a doctorate degree and the cost of tuition can put a significant financial strain on doctoral program students. Thankfully the most affordable doctorate degree programs, based on the type of doctorate degree, program length, and type of school, have been compiled into this article. Find out the cheapest doctorate degrees to start your journey in your desired field.
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How Much Does the Cheapest Doctorate Degree Cost?
The cheapest doctorate degree, as stated later in this article, costs $5,500 per year. According to Education Data Initiative, the average cost of a doctorate degree is $114,300, and they can cost around $12,000 to $114,300 per year for public and nonprofit private colleges respectively. There are some fully funded doctoral program options for eligible students who cannot afford the tuition.
Cheapest Doctorate Degree Costs Breakdown
- Tuition. Tuition costs for doctorate degrees may range between $28,000 to $40,000 per year. Some students get funding to cover most of these costs and they can finish the doctoral program within a few months. Tuition can vary depending on if you choose an on-campus program or an online PhD program. Online education is usually cheaper.
- Fees. Aside from the tuition, doctorate degree students also pay fees for books and other class-related items. Extra expenses tied to a graduate program may include computers, technical support, and high-speed Internet.
- Accommodation. Accommodation for doctorate students can be expensive, as the cost of living ranges based on the region. Factor in the costs of accommodation ranging from $6,000 to $14,000 per year. Online doctorate programs allow you to study from anywhere, which can help you save on accommodation costs.
- Study materials. Be wary that there may be some extra costs for study materials. For one year, students can expect to spend around $900 to $2,000 per year for these materials
- Parking. If you have a car, you may need to pay for parking. This can cost doctorate students around $120 per year for a parking permit on-campus. This is another cost that distance learners can avoid.
Why Should You Get a Doctorate Degree?
A doctorate degree elevates individuals to expert-level knowledge in any field. You should get a doctorate degree to develop your skills and expand your understanding of a subject or field, preferably a field you are passionate about. Earning this advanced degree can open several career opportunities and can help you reach your career goals.
The academic training you receive from these campus programs will help you to develop critical thinking skills, presentation skills, and communication skills. Also, starting and finishing your dissertation and research will help you to develop project management skills which many employers look for in leadership roles.
Best Doctorate Degree Career Options
The career prospects for doctorate degree holders are quite impressive. With a doctorate degree, individuals not only earn more than those with just undergraduate or master’s degrees, but they also don’t have to start from the entry level and enjoy better career advancements. Going through the dissertation process proves your advanced research and analytical skills.
While many doctorate degree holders pursue a career in academia, some still work in other non-academic fields such as media, consultation, and think tanks. Employers often value doctorate degree holders because they offer unique skills like the ability to meet deadlines and work under pressure.
Doctorate Degree Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, doctorate graduates earn a median weekly income of $1,885. This shows that doctorate programs offer a good remuneration irrespective of the field or discipline. The report shows that employees with a doctorate degree can earn $94,000 per year.
This figure is far higher than what master’s degree holders earn on average. Individuals with a bachelor’s degree earn even less. In the long run, this shows that a doctorate degree is worth the trouble if you want a high annual wage. A doctoral degree is a terminal degree, meaning there is no higher university level.
Can You Attend a Doctorate Degree Program for Free?
Yes, there are some cases where you can attend a doctorate degree program for free. There are some fully funded doctorate degree programs, where graduate research students across different fields have the option to attend without paying anything.
Some are partially funded and this means the students will be required to foot some parts of the tuition rates. The programs often waive tuition and fees and provide students with annual stipends to support their living expenses.
Cheapest Doctorate Degrees That Won’t Break the Bank
|School||In-State Tuition||Out-of-State Tuition||Graduation Rate|
|American College of Education||$19,584||$19,584||76%|
|Andrews University||$1,428.00 per semester||$1,428.00 per semester||59%|
|A.T. Still University of Health Sciences||$7,726 per year||$7,726 per year||53.8%|
|Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis||$27,561||$27,561||45.4%|
|Indiana Wesleyan University Online||$595 per credit hour||$595 per credit hour||53%|
|Liberty University||$5,500 per year||$5,500 per year||47%|
|Mississippi State University||$506.25 per credit||$506.25 per credit||61%|
|Nova Southeastern University||$9,000 per year||$9,000 per year||58%|
|Old Dominion University||$551 per credit hour||$1387 per credit hour||51%|
What Is the Cheapest Doctorate Program?
American College of Education
This private university is one of the cheapest schools for doctoral students. It offers over 50 doctoral programs for its students with affordable graduate tuition. Each doctoral program requires 64 credits to complete and this takes around 3 years. A 3.0 grade point average (GPA) is also required for prospective students for the program. This must be from a recent degree program.
Andrews University offers both online degree programs and in-person doctoral degree programs. Most of the doctoral studies are programs in education, making it the perfect choice if you want to become an education specialist. Students can find degrees in health sciences to enroll in as well.
Andrews University is a great option because it is a small university that provides more closely knit relationships with both classmates and faculty. The university has an ethnically diverse population with over 60 percent of the student population being people of color. The program requirements include a 3.0 GPA.
A.T. Still University of Health Sciences
This private university offers doctoral degree programs in health sciences. Some of the subjects offered by the university include health education, athletic training, nursing, medical science, and occupational therapy. Students have the option to take online courses in an asynchronous system without any campus residency period or campus visits.
The school has some of the cheapest online degree options. According to Statista, health professions are the most common areas of study for doctoral degree students, making this school a particularly strong option for many students.
Bethel University is a private school owned by the Baptist church and has affordable tuition rates. It offers a multitude of doctorate degrees for interested students. The classes are online and flexible, so students can maintain their regular jobs while studying. A 3.0 GPA is required to get into this program.
Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis
This university is an accredited institution that offers doctorate degrees in social work, educational leadership, science education, art education literacy, language, culture, and instructional systems technology. There are also nursing doctorate degree programs for nurses. Each doctoral degree program is worthwhile, although the tuition cost is fairly high.
Indiana Wesleyan University Online
This private school offers online doctorate degree programs in disciplines such as ministry, business administration, organizational leadership, and nursing practice. Despite the asynchronous learning methods. Some programs may require students to be physically present for certain periods in their residency. Online learners will want to read the program requirements carefully.
Liberty University is one of the most affordable schools and has over a hundred graduate programs across disciplines like education, business administration, and ministry. Most programs also offer online learning options. To enroll in the Christian university for an advanced academic program, candidates need to have a 3.0 GPA in a recent degree and letters of recommendation.
Mississippi State University
Mississippi State is a public university that offers quite a few doctoral programs in engineering, computer science, and community college leadership. To get in, all applicants are required to have a minimum 3.0 GPA. Public institutions generally have more affordable tuition rates than private schools.
Nova Southeastern University
This private university offers both in-person and online doctorate degree programs. Some of them include nursing, public health sciences, education, resolution, and conflict analysis. The online programs offer week-long residencies once a year with asynchronous learning methods.
Old Dominion University
Old Dominion University also offers low-cost doctorate degrees with online options for those interested in a distance education. Students can enroll in engineering management, education, public administration and policy, and nursing practice. To enroll in this program, applicants are required to have a master’s degree with a 3.25 GPA.
Options to Help Pay for the Best Doctorate Program
Doctoral students have many financial aid options when it comes to funding their doctorate degree program. Some financial aid opportunities include fellowships, grants, and scholarships, while some enroll in online programs to save cost. Many in-person and online students combine these options to make it easier.
Fellowships may encompass a grant or scholarship. They are often used to fund study and research for a doctoral program. Lots of fellowships offer doctorate degree students a yearly stipend and even cover their tuition. They are open to international students and online degrees as well.
Grants are academic-based awards and a form of financial aid for doctoral degree students. The grants are often given to students to help them further their research. It may also include funds for tuition and other costs.
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Scholarships are monetary awards to help cushion the expenses for students at private and public schools. They are often used to cover tuition, books, transportation, and other miscellaneous fees that may arise while studying. They may also include tuition discounts for graduate students.
Tips for Saving Money While Attending A Doctorate Program
- Get a job. It is often ideal to get a job in teaching, a paid internship, or even tutoring to cover a large chunk of your expenses.
- Avoid unnecessary expenses. Entertainment can be expensive for a doctorate degree student. Find ways to have fun that do not cost money. Some ideas include going out to the park with friends or playing games at home.
- Cook in bulk. Buying and cooking in bulk help save you a lot of money and time. You can get food items cheaper when you buy in bulk and you won’t need to spend money on takeout.
- Pack your lunch. Another way to save money as a student is by packing your lunch. This saves you time and money since you won’t need to pay for lunch from an on-campus restaurant. Also, you get a personalized meal to suit your needs.
- Get a bike. Parking tickets, gas, and car maintenance can cut a hole in your pockets. Getting a bike to get around can save you money and provide much-needed exercise. You can also look into online schools.
Find the Doctorate Degree Program That’s Right for You
There are many doctorate degree programs out there that are suitable for all areas of study, which means there is something out there for you. You can enroll in a doctorate degree program to learn new skills or simply advance in your career and land leadership positions.
Not only that, but there are many ways to obtain this rewarding education at a lower cost and with a reduced financial burden. If you’re considering applying for one of the cheapest doctorate degrees listed in this article, apply for a grant, scholarship, or join a fellowship.
Cheapest Doctorate Program FAQ
Yes, some schools offer doctorate degree education for free, or at least at a reduced cost. They provide funding for students that often cover the tuition cost and a living stipend for other associated costs. Some students attend doctorate programs without paying anything.
It is possible to complete your PhD in two years, and few full-time students have been able to get it done in just 12 months. However, this is very stressful and not recommended. There are ways to fast-track your program, and they start with building a strong academic resume.
Some colleges and universities allow students to bypass the master’s degree program and enroll in a doctorate degree program. This means that you can move straight from your undergraduate degree to a doctorate degree program.
Lots of disciplines don’t have a dissertation requirement, such as international education, therapy, psychology, or even nursing.
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