20 Cheapest Online PhD Programs 2023 (2023)

If you are looking for the cheapest online promotions, you probably have a vision of success or have already achieved a lot. Doctoral degrees are postgraduate degrees that offer their holders the greatest possible learning capacity in their field.

20 Cheapest Online PhD Programs 2023 (1)

Completing the degrees required to enter a doctoral program can be quite an expensive endeavor. Most prospective graduate students strive to keep costs as low as possible. These schools offer the cheapest PhD programs available online.

Selected schools


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Below is our list of the Top 20 Cheapest Online Schools Offering PhD Programs. We provide information on what each school teaches, which doctorates the schools offer, and some introductory points on providing degrees online.

This website will help you with that first step to pave the way for you to choose an online university that is right for you and your needs. It is highly encouraged and recommended that you read each school's website for yourself and request that the information be sent to you for verification.

The 20 Most Affordable Online PhD Programs

The Taft University System

The William Howard Taft University System offers some of the most affordable online doctoral programs. The Taft University System, a private university based in Colorado, has offered degrees since 1976. It became one of the pioneers of distance learning and, after the turn of the century, began offering doctoral degrees as well.

The Taft University System offers 3 specializations in Education and a Doctorate in Business Administration. The minimum time to completion for online doctorates in the Taft University System is 27 months. Students are enrolled in one class while completing other classes. The average processing time is 48 months.

Accreditation:Accredited by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education – 201 East Colfax Ave. Denver, CO, 80203

Monthly payment:$420 per credit hour

Online PhD Programs Available:

  • Doctor of Education in Leadership and Management
  • Doctor of Education in Charter School Administration
  • Doctor of Education in Technology and Leadership
  • PhD in Business Administration


University of North Dakota

The University of North Dakota has one of the lowest cost per credit of any school on this list. AND offers the same tuition rates for its online programs as students on state campuses. The University of North Dakota was founded in 1883, even before the state of North Dakota was formed. Today it is the largest university in the country.

According to its website, the University of North Dakota "has emerged as an innovator in the fields of energy, medicine, aeronautics, and unmanned aerial systems." This specialty appears in the nature of the online doctoral programs offered by the university, one of which is Aerospace Sciences. The University of North Dakota has a high pass rate with 85% of graduates working in their field of education.

Accreditation:Higher Education Commission – 230 LaSalle St. #7-500, Chicago, Il 60604

Monthly payment:$418 per credit hour

Online PhD Programs Available:

  • aerospace sciences
  • biomedical engineering
  • Chemical engineer
  • Electric engineering
  • energy technology
  • Environmental engineering
  • nurse anesthesia
  • Careful
  • nursing practice
  • Petroleum engineering


University of Missouri

While the University of Missouri only offers a Ph.D. online, it still has one of the cheapest tuition fees online. Mizzou Online offers more than 100 degrees and certificates online, and according to their website, the team has more than 600 years of collective experience in online and adult education.

The online doctorate offered at the University of Missouri is a Doctor of Philosophy in Human Environmental Sciences with an emphasis in Architectural Studies. This degree program consists of 72 credit hours and is delivered 100% online.

The minimum duration to graduate is 5 years, but the actual duration depends on the number of credits per semester.

Accreditation:Higher Education Commission – 230 LaSalle St. #7-500, Chicago, Il 60604

Monthly payment:$638.90 per credit hour

Online PhD Programs Available:

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Human Sciences
    • Focus on architecture studies.
      • The main points are:
        • design aesthetics
        • Facilities design and management
        • Including design/accessibility
        • sustainable design


Mississippi State University

Mississippi State University not only regularly receives awards for its online program, but also offers affordable tuition. With 7 online doctoral programs in engineering and one in community college leadership, the state of Mississippi charges less than $500 per hour in doctoral credits.

Ranked in the top 20% of Military Friendly Online Schools, Mississippi State has "Veteran Friendly Awards" and is also recognized as a "Military Friendly" school. SmartAsset has ranked Mississippi as the top value school in Mississippi for three consecutive years.

Accreditation:Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges - 1866 Southern Ln. Decatur, GA 30033

Monthly payment:$474.50 per credit hour

Online PhD Programs Available:

  • community college address
  • Computer Engineering
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • mechanical Engineering
    • aerospace engineering career
    • Major in Civil Engineering
    • Focus on mechanical engineering.
  • Industrial and Systems Engineering


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Northwestern Louisiana State University

Northwestern State University offers doctoral students the same affordable tuition as domestic students. The low tuition gives graduate students from across the country the opportunity to take classes at one of the best online schools in the US.

Founded in 1884, Northwestern State University became the parent company of eNSU, which was "Louisiana's first and largest electronic campus." eNSU offers “personalized class schedules, personalized instruction, military benefits, and financial support.

According to their website, eNSU is considered one of the best military schools and one of the best online schools for veterans. eNSU offers more than 40 online degrees and programs with two online doctoral programs.

Accreditation:Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges - 1866 Southern Ln. Decatur, GA 30033

Monthly payment:$475-575 per credit hour

Online PhD Programs Available:

  • Doctorate in Adult Education and Learning Development
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice


Old Dominion University

Old Dominion University offers in-state and out-of-state graduate courses for less than $600 per credit hour, making it one of the cheapest online PhD offers on this list. Old Dominion University is a public research university founded in 1930 in Norfolk, Virginia.

The student satisfaction rate is very high. A 2017 survey found that 97% of students were satisfied or very satisfied with their experience at Old Dominion. The online satisfaction rate was only slightly below 95.9%. Old Dominion University offers 10 online doctoral programs in various fields from education to English to educational design.

Accreditation:Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges - 1866 Southern Ln. Decatur, GA 30033

Monthly payment:

  • Non-Governmental: $523 per credit hour
  • Out of state: $568 per credit hour

Online PhD Programs Available:

  • Career and technical education
  • community college address
  • Licensed Educational Director
  • English
  • Human Resources - Training
    • Professional and technical studies.
  • Instructional design and technology.
  • Nursing-Advanced Practice
  • Nurse Executive Nurse
  • administration and public order
  • Technologic education
    • Professional and technical studies.


espen university

Aspen University has one of the lowest tuition fees for online PhDs. Aspen is a private university in Denver, Colorado that has offered distance learning since 1987. Aspen offers “online doctoral programs in the high-demand areas of Education (Ed.D.), Nursing (DNP), and Computer Science (DCS) . .

According to its website, Aspen University allows its graduate students to earn a degree at their own pace by taking courses online. Aspen University's online doctoral programs are designed for students who are juggling school, family, or work commitments while pursuing higher education.

Accreditation:Distance Learning Accreditation Commission – 1101 17th NW #808, Washington, DC, 20036

Monthly payment:$375 per month

Online PhD Programs Available:

  • computer's science
  • Doctor of Education in Leadership and Learning
    • Administration and Leadership in Health
    • university administration
    • K12 educational guide
    • The level of organizational management.
    • organizationspsychology
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice


Ball State University Online

Ball State University has a low cost and a great reputation for its online doctoral programs. In 2018, Ball State University received high marks fromUS News and World Report.These include the 9th best online graduate program for veterans and the 16th best online MBA.

Nearly all of Ball State's online programs are delivered 100% online, with no need to come to campus to complete the program. Ball State was the "first university in the country to receive Student Support Program certification for its online programs."

This certification was issued by Quality Matters. Ball State is also ranked #8 on Victory Media's list of Military Friendly Schools.

Accreditation:Higher Education Commission – 230 LaSalle St. #7-500, Chicago, Il 60604

Monthly payment:$410-$616 per credit hour

Online PhD Programs Available:

  • PhD in Pedagogy
    • adult and community education
    • Administration and Supervision of Education
    • special education
    • Leadership in Higher Education and Community College


Indiana University Bloomington

Indiana University Bloomington is the parent company of Indiana University Online, which offers some of the most affordable doctoral programs online. Founded 5 years ago, IUOnline has been highly successful in bringing education to people at their convenience.

Not only about 33% of Indiana University students take courses online, but online degree programs have increased by 46% since 2014. This brings the total number of online degree programs at IUOnline to 124, including 6 doctoral programs. IUonline strives to provide "high-quality academic experiences and integrated services for online students."

Accreditation:Higher Education Commission – 230 LaSalle St. #7-500, Chicago, Il 60604

Monthly payment:$429-515 per credit hour

  • Some of the titles are more per credit hour. However, in-state tuition for all doctoral degrees at Indiana University is less than $600, with the exception of practice nursing.

Online PhD Programs Available:

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  • teaching system technology
  • Literacy, culture and language education
  • nursing practice
  • Post-professional occupational therapy
  • Nursing Sciences
  • Public Health, Global Health Leadership


University of Colorado Denver

Colorado University Online tops the list as one of the cheapest schools to study a Ph.D. Depending on the degree you are seeking, the price to study online at CU Online can be as low as $400 per credit. CU Online offers 28 degrees online, including 3 medical doctorates.

CU Online is a subsidiary of Colorado University Denver, which has a strong medical presence in the Denver area, serving more than 500,000 patients annually. The University of Colorado Denver is not new to the field of medicine, having opened its Department of Medicine and Surgery in 1883.

The Department of Nursing at the University of Colorado Denver is 130 years old. The University of Colorado Denver is the largest public research university in Colorado.

Accreditation:Higher Education Commission – 230 LaSalle St. #7-500, Chicago, Il 60604

Monthly payment:

  • $377-$626: In-state graduate tuition
  • $452-$731: Out-of-state tuition

Online PhD Programs Available:

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • PhD in Pharmacy – iPharmD
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing

University of Arkansas

The University of Arkansas Online offers some of the most affordable online doctoral degrees for those interested in pursuing a doctorate in education or nursing. Three of the four online doctoral programs offered at U of A Online cost less than $500 per credit hour, making the school one of the most affordable on this list.

The University of Arkansas was founded in 1871 and today has more than 12,000 students who take at least one course online. The University of Arkansas Online has been recognized as one of the best online graduate programs.US News and World Report.

At the University of Arkansas, "online courses are designed by University of Arkansas academic schools and colleges to deliver the same learning outcomes as traditional on-campus courses."

Accreditation:Higher Education Commission – 230 LaSalle St. #7-500, Chicago, Il 60604

Monthly payment:$420.19 to $560 per credit hour

Online PhD Programs Available:

  • Doctor of Education in Adult Education and Lifelong Learning
  • Doctor of Pedagogy in Educational Leadership
  • Doctor of Education in Human Resources and Education for the Development of Human Resources
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice


University of Louisiana Monroe

Louisiana Monroe University offers two low-cost online doctoral programs. The Educational Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction and the Doctorate of Philosophy in Marriage and Family Therapy.

The Doctorate in Education course can be completed in up to 24 months. The doctoral program in couples and family therapy can also be completed in just over 2 years. These degrees are offered by ULM Online at $500 per credit hour.

Louisiana Monroe University is a public research institution in Monroe, Louisiana that opened its doors in 1931. ULM Online offers 30 online degree programs and maintains the same level of excellence in its online and on-campus programs. According to their website "ULM students studying online earn the same degree as our face-to-face students at a reputable and accredited university.

Accreditation:Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges - 1866 Southern Ln. Decatur, GA 30033

Monthly payment:$500 per credit hour

Online PhD Programs Available:

  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Marriage and Family Therapy


Handel University of Texas A&M

Texas A&M University Commerce has one of the cheapest online PhDs on this list. There is only one online doctorate available at Texas A&M, the Doctor of Education in Educational Administration.

This degree has an emphasis on K-12 public school administration and requires a strong commitment to the education of its applicants and students. "Texas A&M University-Commerce's Department of Educational Leadership prepares graduates for teaching, service, and leadership roles in a variety of educational, business, government, and industry contexts..“

Accreditation:Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges - 1866 Southern Ln. Decatur, GA 30033

Monthly payment:$350 per credit hour


  • General eligibility requirements for graduate study at Texas A&M must be met.
  • 3.40 GPA for the master's thesis
  • Letters of recommendation, administrative experience and any department requirements.
  • Two groups of doctoral students are accepted each year. Acceptance is competitive.

Online PhD Programs Available:

  • Doctor of Pedagogy in Educational Administration


liberty university

Liberty University Online is developing a reputation as one of the best online universities, especially for the price. Liberty offers 9 different online PhD programs, making it one of the most diverse online schools on this list. Tuition for the programs ranges from approximately $400 to $650 per credit.

Liberty Online is affiliated with Liberty University, founded in 1971 by Jerry Falwell. In 1985, Liberty began its distance learning program by mailing VHS tapes to distance students. The university now has more than 100,000 students with more than 550 programs. Liberty Online offers more than 250 of these programs for off-campus students.

Liberty University is a private, not-for-profit institution and one of the largest Christian institutions in the world by student enrollment.

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Accreditation:Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges - 1866 Southern Ln. Decatur, GA 30033

Monthly payment:$ 395- $ 650

Online PhD Programs Available:

  • Divondade D. Min.
  • Ed. D. community care and counseling
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Business Administration
  • Training
  • education specialist
  • Education and Supervision of the Doctoral Board
  • PhD in University Administration
  • Doctorate in Theology and Apologetics


Universidad Cal Southern

Cal Southern University offers several online doctoral programs and they are among the most affordable. The Juris Doctor degree is $375 per credit hour and the Doctor of Psychology and Doctor of Business Administration are $495 per credit hour.

Cal Southern University online doctorates are applied or professional doctorates. Unlike academic doctorates, they are "more committed to the advanced, practical application of theory in a professional setting." Cal Southern's online doctorates are offered by the Cal Southern Schools of Business, Law, and Psychology.

Cal Southern University has a state-of-the-art online library and offers flexible hours for students who need to balance multiple responsibilities in addition to completing their doctorate.

Accreditation:Western Association of Schools and Colleges – 985 Atlantic Ave. #100 Alameda CA 94501

Monthly payment:$375-$495 per credit hour.

Online PhD Programs Available:

  • PhD in Business Administration
  • Juris Doctor
  • Promotion in Psychology


Montana State University

The DNP degree at Montana State University Online is one of the most accessible online doctorates and has two concentrations. You can train as a nursing specialist with a family/individual approach or psychiatry/psychiatry. Today Montana's largest university, Montana State University, was founded in 1893 in Bozeman, Montana.

Originally a land scholarship institution, MSU serves its community of more than 8,500 Montana students well. Montana State University has maintained high standards of academic excellence over the years.

The Montana State University website states: "During its most recent reaccreditation, MSU was commended for an 'extremely high level of productivity and effectiveness.' MSU is also committed to this standard in its online courses.

Accreditation:Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities – 8060 165th Ave NE #100, Redmond, WA 98052

Monthly payment:$282.70 to $381.65 per credit hour

Online PhD Programs Available:

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
    • Nurse, Family/Individual
    • Nurse, Psychiatry/Mental Health


Governors State University

Governors State University offers online in-state tuition to all undergraduates, making its online doctoral programs some of the most affordable on the market. Of the 5 online doctoral programs available at Governors State, two of them: Counselor Education and Supervision and Interdisciplinary Leadership are only $477 per credit hour. Another online PhD in Physical Therapy costs $613 per credit hour.

Governors State University is a public university in Illinois located 40 miles south of Chicago and offers 64 majors to its students. According to its website, Governors State University has the cheapest undergraduate tuition in the state of Illinois. Governors State University Online Program offers more than 200 online courses.

Accreditation:Higher Education Commission – 230 LaSalle St. #7-500, Chicago, Il 60604

Monthly payment:$477 bis $797 - Subscriptions in the state

Online PhD Programs Available:

  • physiotherapist doctor
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Doctor of Occupational Therapy
  • Doctor in Counselor Pedagogy
  • PhD in Interdisciplinary Leadership


Amridge University

Offering 9 different low-cost PhD programs, Amridge University "has long been at the forefront of online education." All Amridge University programs use distance learning as the primary mode of instruction.

According to its website, Amridge University aims to support its students from the beginning of their enrollment and throughout their online experience. Founded in 1967, Amridge University is a private university.

They offer “excellent scholarships and incentive discounts for military students, freshmen, employees of sister institutions, ministers, and corporate alliances.

Accreditation:Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges - 1866 Southern Ln. Decatur, GA 30033

Monthly payment:$480-$685 per credit hour

Online PhD Programs Available:

  • organizational leadership and management
  • interdisciplinary research
  • Family Therapy Service
  • university administration
  • expert advice
  • Marriage and Family Therapy
  • ministry doctor
  • biblical studies
    • high testament
    • New Testament


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johnson university

Johnson University offers one of the cheapest PhDs online. The Ph.D. in Leadership Studies is an interdisciplinary degree that focuses on "four dimensions of leadership studies." These four dimensions are:

  • individual and personal systems,
  • organizational systems,
  • global Systems,
  • and search

The doctoral program is "rooted in the commitment to form a whole person". Johnson University is a private Christian university based in Kimberlin Heights, Tennessee. Founded in 1893, Johnson University is not only part of the educational landscape, but also part of Tennessee's history.

Johnson University has two physical campuses, an online campus, and is also expanding educational programs in many other states. Johnson University's online program provides students with ongoing direct access to the faculty.

All online students are also offered individual guidance in their field of study, as well as virtual library services and other academic resources.

Accreditation:Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges - 1866 Southern Ln. Decatur, Georgia 30033:

Monthly payment:$600 per credit hour

Online PhD Programs Available:

  • Promotion in Leadership Studies


wilmington university

Wilmington University offers 3 PhDs that are 100% accessible online. The price to enroll in one of these PhDs is $632 per credit hour, which is approximately $1896 per course.

Wilmington is located on 3 different campuses in New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland, as well as the online campus. Wilmington has an enrollment of 20,000 students and a teacher-student ratio of 17:1.

Wilmington University is a private, non-profit doctoral research institution founded in 1968. According to its website, Wilmington University offers a high transfer fee of 90 credits and focuses on providing career-oriented degree programs. .

Accreditation:Middle States Higher Education Commission, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Monthly payment:$632 per credit hour

Online PhD Programs Available:

  • PhD in Business Administration
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • PhD in Pedagogy
    • Leadership and innovation in higher education
    • Organizational learning, leadership and innovation.

frequent questions

How can I make my PhD program more accessible?

A doctoral program can be made more affordable by looking for programs that offer tuition reductions, tuition waivers, or scholarships. Students should also analyze the cost of living in each potential location and examine loan and grant opportunities.

Other cost-saving measures include taking courses online or part-time, depending on the availability of courses in the program. Also, some colleges may offer scholarships or grants to offset the cost.

How long does it take to do a PhD online?

The length of an online doctoral program can vary. In general, online doctorates take the same amount of time as an on-campus program. However, because online education often takes place while working full-time or doing other tasks, it can take longer to complete classes.

The average student in a Ph.D. The program takes 8.5 years to complete your doctorate. Some programs can be completed in as little as three years. On average, an online or on-campus PhD takes five years to complete. Program.

  • Things to consider when evaluating the time required to complete an online promotion. they are:
  • The school's proposed anticipated schedule for the program;
  • How many responsibilities and other duties do you have after completing your PhD?
  • Whether or not you have credits that transfer and relate to the Program;
  • If someone will be able to test a proposed class in the program.

By looking closely at the prescribed schedule, talking to your advisor, and determining your schedule, you can get a pretty good estimate of how long it will take you to complete an online Ph.D. Program.

What is the average cost of an online PhD?

According to the Guide to Online Schools, more than 245 universities now offer a PhD online. PhDs are offered online in a variety of fields, including:

  • Education,
  • medicine,
  • English,
  • Literature,
  • Business,
  • Philosophy,
  • Theology,
  • health care
  • Technology,
  • Mechanical Engineering,
  • and many others.

The cost of earning a Ph.D. online may be less than attending a traditional classroom, depending on the type of school. The average cost of tuition for a Ph.D. in a traditional setting is between $15,000 and $20,000 per year (according to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System).

Public institutions offer the cheapest degrees, according to NCES, with traditional doctorates costing around $11,000 on average. At the other end of the spectrum, private nonprofits cost around $25,000 per year. Private for-profit organizations cost around $14,000 per year for a Ph.D.

A growing number of leading public and private research institutions offer online degrees, some of which are included on this list. The average cost of an online promotion on this list is about $500 per credit, which works out to about $10,000 per year.

Are online promotions 100% online?

The list of cheapest online degrees in this article only includes titles where the coursework can be completed 100% online. Often a PhD requires one or more campus visits as a residency, although many on this list do not.

A residence can be very useful for socializing, meeting colleagues in person, studying hard, and collaborating with faculty. If an institution is promoting 100% online courses, residencies may be viewed differently. However, with the advancement of technology, it is becoming more common for online PhDs to be completed 100% online.

In a research field, working towards a PhD is primarily intellectual and therefore does not require practical experience on the ground. However, a subject such as chemistry offers the possibility of both physical and theoretical research. An annual residency for these types of doctorates may be required to meet degree requirements. However, technology has impacted even these titles with the evolving world of online labs.

How important is the accreditation of my doctorate online?

When purchasing a PhD online, not only cost should be a factor, but accreditation should also be considered. The quality of a doctorate is controlled by accreditation. A candidate with a Ph.D. authorized. it can make all the difference for an employer when hiring new employees.

Graduate programs may have regional accreditation, as well as programmatic accreditation for the specific doctorate being offered. If one wants to enter an academic field, an accredited degree is very important as accreditation is perceived. Since renowned academics often hold accredited degrees, the circle of fellow students and fellow students in an accredited degree program is of a higher caliber.

Only accredited programs can award federal grants, which must also be considered. Another aspect of accreditation to consider is that the transfer of credits from one institution to another is only possible if the credits are obtained from an accredited institution.

If you are already employed and your doctorate is covered by your employer, the doctorate often must be proven to be eligible for tuition reimbursement. In short, career progression and PhD funding are affected by ensuring that a PhD is accredited.

What are the usual requirements to enter an online doctoral program?

Most online doctoral programs require a bachelor's and master's degree. Sometimes these degrees may be in a related field, or some doctoral programs may require applicants to have a degree in the field they are entering.


There is usually a specific GPA requirement that must be met for admission to a doctoral program. Another requirement may be activity or experience in the field of doctoral studies. Participation in an online doctoral program may require certain prerequisites for working with online technology.

Testing may be required throughout the doctoral program to ensure the student's suitability for their area of ​​research. Applying for an online PhD program generally requires the following:

  • Application Fee: Usually between $50 and $100
  • registration form
  • CV - including all work experience and education
  • Statement of purpose: includes generous information about why a PhD is a good option
  • Standardized Test: In general, a GRE or GMAT or a standardized test in a field may be required.
  • Letters of recommendation – three letters from former professors or colleagues in the field of study you wish to enter are often required
  • Official transcripts: from all colleges and universities attended
  • TOEFL – Usually required for those whose first language is not English

Related links:



Can I get a PhD fully online? ›

There are plenty of reputable, regionally accredited institutions taking their doctorates online. They are an easy way to earn a doctorate. While the program may require less face-time or physical presence on a campus, accredited programs are by no means a shortcut to earn your degree.

What is the easiest PhD program to get into? ›

To be sure, at the Ph. D. level, no program could be considered “easy,” but there are certain programs designed to be “easier” than others. Generally, education, humanities, and the social sciences are considered the easiest fields in which to pursue degrees.

What is the fastest PhD to get online? ›

One-Year Online Doctoral Programs
  • Doctorate in Behavioral Health. ...
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision. ...
  • Doctorate Ethereal Degree in Grief Counseling. ...
  • Doctor of Occupational Therapy. ...
  • Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy. ...
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice. ...
  • Doctorate in Social Work.
Mar 17, 2023

What is the shortest time to complete PhD? ›

You may be able to complete your doctoral program in three to four years if you opt for an accelerated online program. On average, traditional on-campus PhD programs take around eight years to complete.


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