10 Most Affordable Doctorate in Educational Psychology Online

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Professionals who hope to earn an online Ph.D. in Educational Psychology are entering a fairly new but rapidly growing field. Although educational psychology has been around since the days of Plato, only in the last 30 years has it developed into a subfield of psychology that is preparing doctoral candidates to teach and counsel students in educational settings. And since one in four psychologists are employed in educational settings, it also makes this field one of the most in-demand by employers.

But not all educational psychology programs are the same, especially for online and hybrid formats. Students will find that each program is unique and some may offer benefits that others do not. That is why a ranking of such schools is necessary; students now have a place to begin their research. There is an online Doctorate in Educational Psychology on this list for every student, so now is the time to begin the application process.

Top 10 Most Affordable Doctorate in Educational Psychology Online

Rank School Location
1 Old Dominion University Norfolk, VA
2 Texas A&M University College Station, TX
3 Texas A&M University at Commerce Commerce, TX
4 Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX
5 University at Albany SUNY Albany, NY
6 University of Georgia Athens, GA
7 University of Missouri Columbia, MO
8 University of Nevada — Las Vegas Las Vegas, NV
9 University of North Texas Denton, TX
10 Washington State University Pullman, WA

Accredited Online College Programs


Finding a quality online Doctorate in Educational Psychology can take up a lot of research time; that’s why this ranking was created. Utilizing information such as gainful employment disclosures, academic reputation, and student retention rates, which was gleaned from the National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator search engine, an initial pool of 30 schools were considered for addition to this ranking. The final 10 were chosen based on in-state graduate tuition rates, which are listed with each school mentioned on this ranking.

Ranking Low-cost Online Educational Psychology PhD Programs

  • Old Dominion University

    Norfolk, VA

    Old Dominion University confers an online Ph.D. in Educational Psychology that is geared towards students who are ready to become professionals in educational settings. This hybrid program is a general education doctoral program that offers the students the opportunity to build a specialization in educational psychology. While residency is required, this can be filled by attending two week-long intensives at the school's campus throughout the duration of the program of study. Students will find that the degree emphasizes both research and professional preparation within the core curriculum while the specialization focuses on the core areas of educational psychology. Students will be required to complete 60 credit hours of coursework, including research and a dissertation, as well as a comprehensive exam; practicums and internships are not required for this program. Sample courses include Metacognition and Self-Regulated Learning, Motivation in Education, and Higher Education Politics and Policy.

    For more information: Old Dominion University

  • Texas A&M University

    College Station, TX

    Texas A&M University confers an exceptional Ph.D. ed psych online degree program that focuses on special education. This is a hybrid research program that prepares students to become academics at colleges and universities; some also go into research after graduation. While many of the courses can be completed online, it is important to note that this program is delivered in a hybrid cohort format, meaning that some residency requirements do exist. This is a comprehensive degree that requires not only foundational courses, but also SPED courses and core competencies to be met prior to applying for graduation. Students can expect to complete 75 credit hours of coursework, research projects, a teaching practicum, a comprehensive exam, and a dissertation; while field supervision is not required by TAMU, it is highly recommended. Sample courses include Special Education Law, Professional Development in Research, and Critical Research and Practice Issues in Special Education.

    For more information: Texas A&M University

  • Texas A&M University at Commerce

    Commerce, TX

    Texas A&M University at Commerce has a special online Ph.D. in Educational Psychology program that focuses on Cognition and Instruction. This is a cognitive science-based degree, meaning that it focuses on evidence-based methods as a learning delivery system. Students who complete this degree are prepared to work in both professional and educational settings as instructors, employing technology and psychology in equal measure to help their students work through the education process. While not strictly an online degree, as most courses require regular attendance on campus, the number of online courses and the fact that most required courses are available during the summer makes it a great choice for distance learning students. This degree requires 90 credit hours of coursework, research projects, a program core, a cognate core, a comprehensive exam, and a dissertation. Sample courses include Social Cognition, Theories of Human Learning, and Ethical Issues in Organizations.

    For more information: Texas A&M University at Commerce

  • Texas Tech University

    Lubbock, TX

    Texas Tech University confers an educational psychology doctorate online that will be of interest to students already in Texas. That's because while this school already has a stated Ph.D. program in this field, students can choose to either take a research-based or practitioner-based focus to their coursework. This enables students to tailor their program of study to their specific needs and encourages an interdisciplinary approach to doctoral work. It is important for students to understand that this is a hybrid program; many courses require regular attendance on campus, though many of the courses can be completed online. Additionally, students can attend summer school, completing their residency requirements for two summers prior to graduation. This program requires 91 credit hours of coursework, research projects, participation in an education conference, practicums, a comprehensive exam, and a dissertation. Sample courses include Cultural Foundations of Education, Educational Measurement, and Motivation in Academic Settings.

    For more information: Texas Tech University

  • University at Albany SUNY

    Albany, NY

    A great online Ph.D. in Educational Psychology comes from the University at Albany SUNY, which offers a hybrid research-based degree that prepares students to become academics and researchers. The program focuses on the theories and research that make up the field, including measurement, evaluation, methodologies, and psychological theories of learning. Students also learn about human development, the relationship of psychology to education, and more. As a hybrid degree, students will be required to take residency on campus. The program requires 66 credit hours of coursework, a research project, an apprenticeship, a comprehensive exam, and a dissertation. Sample courses include Single Case Design and Analysis, Children's Learning and Cognitive Development, and Advanced Educational Psychology: Learning and Instruction.

    For more information: University at Albany SUNY

  • University of Georgia

    Athens, GA

    The University of Georgia confers an educational psychology Ph.D. online that is perfect for students who are interested in becoming academics or researchers. The Ph.D. in Educational Psychology that is offered can either include one of four concentrations, including quantitative methodology or applied cognition and development, or be customized based on a student's interests. By enabling students to work on both research projects and in the field during internships, this hybrid program is allowing students the chance to view all aspects of the field prior to entering the workforce. Students can expect to complete between 30 and 45 hours of credit work, a research project, a practicum based on their cognate area, a comprehensive exam, and a dissertation. Sample courses include Psychology of Reading, Achievement and Intelligence, and Early Educational Intervention for Young Children Placed At-Risk.

    For more information: University of Georgia

  • University of Missouri

    Columbia, MO

    The University of Missouri confers an educational psychology Ph.D. that has a stated focus on research; it is a hybrid degree that is best suited for students who are interested in going into academia after graduation. The program also offers a cognate area in Learning Technologies, which enables students to learn more about online education and the psychology surrounding self-learning. While residency at the campus is required, this can be tailored to suit a student's schedule and the department's needs for that student's degree plan. This degree requires 72 credit hours of coursework, which includes research projects and a dissertation, as well as a comprehensive exam; practicums and internships are not required. Sample courses include Advanced Human Learning, Cognition and Emotion, and Sociology of Education.

    For more information: University of Missouri

  • University of Nevada — Las Vegas

    Las Vegas, NV

    Students interested in a cheap online ed psych Ph.D. will have to look no further than the University of Nevada Las Vegas, who confers this very degree. This degree has two specializations, Foundations and School Psychology, and is a research-based degree that focuses a student on the core, cognate, and research curriculums throughout the plan of study. This is a hybrid degree that requires that half of all credit hours earned towards the degree be obtained on campus, making it a good choice for those students who live in the Las Vegas area. Students will also be required to complete 67 credit hours of coursework, a research paper that is submitted to a publication, a comprehensive exam, and a dissertation. Sample courses include Human Learning and Cognition, Multiple Regression and Path Analysis, and Theory and Practice of Human Measurement.

  • University of North Texas

    Denton, TX

    One of the best online educational psychology Ph.D. degree programs comes from the University of North Texas, which delivers a Ph.D. hybrid program that can offer a variety of options. The program offers eight specializations, including Research and Evaluation, Human Development and Family Science, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Emotional-Behavioral Disorders, just to name a few. No matter what specialization a student chooses, they will be treated to a world-class faculty, online asynchronous courses, one-on-one tutoring, and more. While the degree is exceptional in terms of what it can provide to students, it is also a demanding plan of study. Students will be required to complete at least 78 credit hours of coursework, a research project, a comprehensive exam, and a dissertation. Students working in education specifically will also be required to complete a practicum and an internship. Sample courses include Research Methods in Education, Theory and Application of Hierarchy Linear Modeling, and Human Development Across the Life Span.

    For more information: University of North Texas

  • Washington State University

    Pullman, WA

    Students interested in an online Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with a focus towards working a researcher or administrator will want to check out the Ph.D. program offered by Washington State University. This hybrid program was designed specifically as a professional degree that focuses on building a student's skill set to work as a researcher, educator, or administrator in a variety of roles. Students are advised that the required internship must take place in the state, as this is a residency requirement set forth by the program. Students can also expect to complete a total of 72 credit hours of coursework, including research projects, a comprehensive exam, and a dissertation. Sample courses include Classical and Modern Test Theory, Educational Measurement, and Meta-Analysis and Research Synthesis.

    For more information: Washington State University

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Career Options for an Online Doctorate in Educational Psychology?

A Doctorate in Educational Psychology offers three distinct pathways: counselor, academic, or professional in the business or public sectors. While there are more, including freelance writing and consultation, most students who take on this degree will end up in one of the three above categories.

The first is the most popular; students often choose to work as school psychologists after completing this degree. This is an interesting choice, as educational psychology is more geared towards how institutions handle education, but it is common nevertheless. These professionals can work in any educational institution, including colleges and universities, helping students plan out their career path or work with individuals to provide aid for intellectual or behavioral issues.

The second is as an academic; these professionals are teachers and researchers, often working at the university level. Most professors continue their research work while they are teaching, enabling them to teach their students first hand how research is meant to work in the field. It is also possible for students to become full-fledged researchers, working for the government or think tanks to analyze raw data and come up with new technologies to help teachers.

The third is as a curriculum and instruction designer or educational psychology in the business or public sectors. These professionals can act as consultants, instructors, or leaders in educational psychology within large companies, community centers, state and local government, charities, and more. Some even go on to become freelance consultants, building their own business and working short-term contracts for any business or company that may require their services.

How Much Can You Earn in this Field?

A doctoral graduate in this field can expect to earn anywhere from $70,000 to $125,000 per year after they enter the workforce. However, salaries vary depending on if a student is an educator, a counselor, or a researcher. School psychologists, which make up a majority of the educational psychologists working in the classroom setting, can make $70,000 a year. This amount varies depending on if the professional works in a public or private institution and whether they are working at the K-12 or college level.

Teachers and professors can make slightly more, with the median salary being around $85,000 a year; this number also depends on the type of institution a professional is employed in. These professionals have a stronger ability to make more money because room for advancement is easier to come by for academics. Researchers may start off with lower salaries that begin around $70,000, but they too have the ability to make upwards of $125,000 per year. Because these professionals can work for the education system, the government, NGOs, and even private business companies, they have the ability to choose higher-paying positions that come with the ability to earn bonuses and other forms of compensation.

What are the Various Disciplines of Educational Psychology?

Educational psychology is a field that is interdisciplinary in nature. It focuses on the relationship between education and psychology, but it encompasses a lot more than just those two disciplines. History, policy, law, human development, human services, politics, and more all play a role in educational psychology. This is because no matter what approach a student takes at the doctoral level, the field is firmly rooted in humanity’s ability to learn new things and use psychology to both motivate and discipline the outcomes.

While educational psychologists who work in the classroom or as researchers may focus on educational psychology, they also have to have an understanding of human biology, chemistry, memory, cognition, motivation, and more. They must understand research methodologies, how to design and implement new technologies, and be able to stay current with online learning, which is the next step in human education. Leadership and management are also necessary skillsets which could also be considered disciplines in this field.

What Requirements are Needed for an Online Doctoral Program in Educational Psychology?

Not all schools and programs follow the same application guidelines, but there are some that commonplace. The most common requirement is evidence of an accredited undergraduate or graduate degree in either education or psychology; a related field, such as human services or social work is also acceptable. Other common requirements include professional recommendations, work experience, GRE scores, and a personal essay.

Some programs, especially prestigious and practitioner-based degrees, will require evidence of credentials or licensure as a psychologist or an educator. This is reserved for programs that only admit students who have completed a psychology or education master’s degree, but it is common enough that it warrants mention.

Students are reminded that the above requirements may not be the same for every single program, and indeed, may differ for different approaches to the same degree. It is advised that a student carefully read the application guidelines for their chosen program to ensure they have what is necessary in order to be accepted into that program.

Will this Degree Help You Obtain Licensure as a Psychologist?

An online Ph.D. in Educational Psychology will only provide a student with a path towards licensure as a psychologist if that program is approved by the state and the American Psychological Association to do that. This means that the stated goal of the program is to provide a pathway to licensure, and because educational psychologists do not necessarily need a terminal degree in order to work in educational settings, it is not considered a major requirement.

However, for students who are interested in teaching at any level, a teaching license is required by every state in the country. Several schools, including many on this ranking, do provide a pathway towards receiving a teacher’s license. These degrees are generally practitioner degrees and are noted as such; research degrees do not necessarily require a teaching license and so many of them are not approved to build a pathway towards that distinction.

If a student’s stated goal is to become a licensed psychologist, it may be a good idea to pursue a doctoral degree in a general psychology field, become licensed, and then apply for a certification program in educational psychology. While the educational process may take longer, a student will have various options when it comes to their career paths this way and reduces the specificity of their terminal degree.


Educational psychology is a developing field; professionals within the field continuously engage in research and policy discussions, providing the greater community with better policies and programs that were designed to help improve lives. That’s why taking on a degree in this field is a great choice for students who want to make a difference in the world. For students looking for a quality online Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, the more information available to them means better choices.

This concludes our ranking of the Top 10 Most Affordable Doctorate in Educational Psychology Online.

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