The complexities of the human mind affect every aspect of society. Grad School Hub's 10 Most Affordable Doctoral Programs in Psychology Online help students understand the power of the mind.

Psychology examines the unseen functions of the human mind and reveals major insights into why we do what we do. Grad School Hub's 10 Most Affordable Doctoral programs in Psychology Online allow students to gain advanced insight into human thought processes and behaviors. 

The following list includes Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Psychology, and Doctor of Education degrees. The programs listed offer majors and specializations such as clinical psychology, conflict resolution, educational psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, sport psychology, and beyond. Some of the programs listed include internships, clinical practicum experiences, and residency requirements in addition to online coursework. Others can be completed entirely online, on students' own schedules. 

Depending on their chosen major or specialization, individuals with doctoral degrees in Psychology may pursue a variety of psychology-related careers. For example, they may go on to work as clinical psychologists, school counselors, forensic psychologists, or industrial-organizational psychologists. In general terms, psychologists study human behavior and mind processes to understand the ways in which individuals relate to others and their environments. 

The most recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a 2018 median salary of $79,010 for psychologists. The demand for psychologists is growing at a projected ten-year rate of 14%, which is much faster than the average across all industries. Job prospects are predicted to be best for individuals with specialized psychology degrees.


The staff of Grad School Hub has compiled the following 10 Most Affordable Doctoral Programs in Psychology Online for the 2019-20 academic school year based on public data released from educational, commercial, and government databases. Data is contributed from sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics, and the U.S. Department of Labor plays a significant role in how graduate degree programs are ranked because institutional transparency is essential for deciding which career path is right for you. Based on this data, GSH organizes information into five weighted categories, which are:

  • Alumni Feedback: 20% 
  • Continued Enrollment: 20% 
  • Degree Selectivity: 10%
  • Graduate Expenses: 25%
  • Projected Annual Salary: 25%

A more comprehensive evaluation of how each category is determined and scored is accessible through our Ranking Methodology page. 


Here are the 10 Most Affordable Doctoral Programs in Psychology Online for 2019 – 2020!


#10 – Northcentral University

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

San Diego, CA


Northcentral University offers an online program leading to a Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology. The degree program is particularly flexible in that it offers students weekly course starts to fit their schedules. In addition to mentorship, the program emphasizes experiential learning through case studies and even real-life situations. It offers eight specializations, including but not limited to Addictions, Gender Diversity Studies, Industrial-Organizational Psychology, and Trauma and Disaster Relief. The 60-credit program has a recommended completion time of 48 months or four years. The program does not prepare graduates to become licensed professionals in counseling or psychology.

Despite its name, Northcentral is actually headquartered on the West Coast, in San Diego, and is a private, non-profit, professionally-oriented online university. Its degree programs incorporate individualized faculty mentorship. The university consists of schools of Business, Education, Health Sciences, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Technology. The Carnegie Foundation classifies NCU as a "Doctoral/Professional University."

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,553


#9 – Capella University

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology

Minneapolis, MN


Capella University offers a Doctor of Psychology with a specialization in Clinical Psychology. The degree program is delivered through a blend of face-to-face and online experiences through residencies, research, clinical practica, and internships. It requires students to complete one year of the program in residency on the university's campus. The degree also requires a minimum of 1,000 practicum hours and 2,000 pre-doctoral internship hours. Online coursework is offered asynchronously, meaning students can access course material on their own schedule. The curriculum explores clinical training, mental disorders, and psychotherapy. The program deepens students' understanding of human behavior and prepares graduates to pursue clinical psychologist licensure.

Capella University was established in 1993 by Dr. Harold Abel and former Tonka CEO Stephen Shank. It was originally called The Graduate School of America. Now a for-profit university, Capella delivers most of its education online and is headquartered in Minneapolis. In 2010, the university won a Council for Higher Education Accreditation Award for Outstanding Institutional Practice in Student Learning Outcomes. Doctoral students make up about one-third of the university's student population. The average age of a Capella student is 40 years, and almost all students are enrolled on a part-time basis.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,365


#8 – Regent University

Doctor of Education in Educational Psychology

Virginia Beach, VA


Regent University offers a Doctor of Education in Educational Psychology through its School of Education. The online degree program incorporates a Christian worldview into its study of the intersection between education and psychology. It is structured into accelerated eight-week course sessions, and it requires a minimum of 66 credit hours of study. Students begin the program with an online orientation. The curriculum focuses on the psychological aspects of learning such as brain research, cognitive strategies, optimal learning environments, and teacher roles. Required courses include Christian Worldview for Educators; Culture, Communities, & Education; Data-Decision Making; and Psychological Underpinnings of Learning. The program requires summer residencies each year. The curriculum culminates in the completion of a doctoral research dissertation. Students can earn their degree in four years.

Regent is a private, interdenominational evangelical Christian university and one of the fastest-growest universities in the United States. Located in suburban Virginia Beach, VA, Regent offers both on-campus programs and distance education. The university's administration has been vocal in American right-wing politics. U.S. News & World Report ranks Regent No. 61 nationally in Best Online Graduate Education Programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,726


#7 – The University of Texas at Austin

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

Austin, TX


The University of Texas at Austin offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology. Most students enter the program with only a bachelor's degree. Students can choose from seven specialization options, including but not limited to Behavioral Neuroscience; Individual Differences and Evolutionary Psychology; Perception, Brain, and Behavior; and Social & Personality. Core course examples include Brain Decoding, Fundamentals of Personality, Individual Differences, Perceptual Systems, and Social Neuroscience. The curriculum culminates in a doctoral research dissertation. Students who specialize in Clinical Psychology can expect to complete their degree in around six years, including the internship. Non-clinical students can complete their degrees in four to five years.

After years of effort from various forces in both Texas and Mexico, UT Austin was established in 1883. Today, it is a public research university and the flagship institution of the University of Texas System. Located in Austin, Texas, the university was the third southern university to be inducted into the Association of American Universities, an organization of the nation's foremost research universities. U.S. News & World Report ranks UT Austin's Department of Psychology No. 8 in the nation for its graduate programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,490 in-state; $22,178 out-of-state 


#6 – Ashford University

Doctor of Psychology

San Diego, CA



Ashford University offers an online program leading to a Doctor of Psychology. The degree program is designed for current or aspiring professionals in the areas of conflict resolution, criminal justice, organizational psychology, sport psychology, and beyond. Students can choose from six specializations, including but not limited to Educational Leadership, Health and Wellness Psychology, and Mediation and Conflict Resolution.

The degree requires 62 credits of study. Courses are offered in sessions spanning from six to nine weeks. The curriculum includes ten core courses, seven specialization courses, and a capstone seminar. Core courses include Assessment Tools for Organizational Leadership, Biological Bases of Behavior, Group Process & Group Leadership in Organizations, and Psychology of Leadership. The curriculum culminates in a capstone applied research project or dissertation. 

Ashford was established in 2005 by Bridgepoint Education, a company that owned the online school TeleUniversity. The company established Ashford on a small university campus in Clinton, Iowa, which later closed when most of its students opted to enroll fully-online. Today, Ashford is a private, non-profit, online university headquartered in San Diego. According to a 2019 report by the U.S. Securities and Education Commission, the university serves a 71% female student population, and the average student age is 35.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,214


#5 – Grand Canyon University

Doctor of Philosophy in General Psychology, emphasis in Cognition and Instruction

Phoenix, AZ


Grand Canyon University offers a Doctor of Philosophy in General Psychology with an emphasis in Cognition and Instruction. The online degree program is designed for individuals who wish to work in economically and culturally diverse adult educational communities. The curriculum consists of 60 credits, structured into eight-week course sessions. It covers topics such as collaborative instruction, human cognition, individual behavior, psychoanalysis, and psychological tests and theories.

Core courses include Behaviorism; Ethical issues in Psychology; Humanistic, Transpersonal, and Existential Psychology; Social Cognition; and Theories of Inquiry. The curriculum culminates in a doctoral research dissertation. The program requires two residencies: one for dissertation research work and one for a presentation of scholarly work.

GCU was the first for-profit Christian college in the United States. The school was established in 1949 in Prescott, AZ, by the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention. It has since grown into the largest Christian university in the world, measured by student enrollment. Though the GCU campus is now located in Phoenix, most students are enrolled in a fully-online capacity. The school is no longer affiliated with the Baptist church and is now a private, nondenominational, evangelical Christian university. U.S. News & World Report ranks GCU among the top 50 schools nationally for social mobility in terms of serving economically-disadvantaged students.


Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,737 in-state

#4 – Touro University Worldwide

Doctor of Psychology in Human & Organizational Psychology 

New York, NY


Touro University Worldwide offers a Doctor of Psychology in Human and Organizational Psychology. The degree program is delivered entirely online and has no face-to-face or residency requirements. The Human and Organizational Psychology major focuses particularly on the psychological study of humans in the workplace. Students can focus their studies more specifically on industrial psychology, leadership psychology, or organizational psychology. Core courses include Applied Media Psychology, Applied Social Psychology, Evidence-Based Practices, and Research Methods. The curriculum culminates in the completion of a doctoral research dissertation.

Touro University Worldwide is the online branch of the Touro College and University System. Founded in 1971 by Bernard Lander, Touro is the United States' largest private university with Jewish roots. Though it originally focused on higher education for the Jewish community, it now serves a vast and diverse student population. Beyond its locations in New York City, the university also operates branches in California, Florida, and Nevada, and internationally in Berlin, Jerusalem, Moscow, and Paris. The online campus, Touro University Worldwide, was founded in 2008. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,000 

#3 – Liberty University

Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Lynchburg, VA


Liberty University offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial/Organizational Psychology through its School of Behavioral Sciences. The 60-credit degree program is delivered entirely online. It integrates Christian principles into its study of I/O psychology. The core curriculum includes courses in Psychological Research and Biblical Worldview and Teaching of Psychology. Concentration courses include Contemporary Topic in I/O Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Development, and Test Construction/Validation. The program culminates in a doctoral dissertation and defense. The degree takes an average of three years to complete.

Liberty private non-profit university that was founded in 1971 by Baptist pastors Jerry Falwell and Elmer L. Towns as Lynchburg Baptist College. The university has an informal relationship with the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia, but it is a trans-denominational evangelical Christian institution. Its academic programs have evangelical Christian underpinnings, and the school is also vocal about its right-wing Republican stance in American politics. Though it has a suburban main campus in Lynchburg, VA, Liberty now serves a primarily-online student population.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,217


#2 – Texas Tech University

Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Psychology

Lubbock, TX


Texas Tech University offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Psychology through its College of Education. Housed in the university's Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership, the degree program can be completed through face-to-face weekend courses; intensive, one-week summer sessions; or online. The program equips students with an understanding of psychology in school settings. It welcomes applicants from a variety of backgrounds, from education and psychology to business and sports science. The program requires 92 credit hours total, including four years of coursework and dissertation and a fifth-year internship.

Texas Tech serves the seventh-largest student population in the state of Texas. The Carnegie Foundation classifies TTU as having the highest possible level of research activity. The university conducts research in such areas as atmospheric sciences, epidemiology, and wind energy. U.S. News & World Report ranks the university's College of Education in the top 100 nationally for its online and on-campus programs at the graduate level. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,724 in-state; $13,068 out-of-state 


#1 – University of the Cumberlands

Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology; Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology

Williamsburg, KY


The University of the Cumberlands is home to Grad School Hub's top-ranked most affordable doctoral programs in psychology. The university offers both a Doctor of Philosophy and a Doctor of Psychology degree in Clinical Psychology. Many students enter their program with only a bachelor's degree, earning an MA in Clinical Psychology on the path toward their doctoral degree. All doctoral clinical courses must be completed in residence, but certain theoretical courses are delivered through live, online group-video conferencing. Students can expect to work alongside faculty on supervised research. Each student also gains hands-on clinical experience through two years of clinical practica and a pre-doctoral internship. Students culminate their studies through the successful completion of oral and written comprehensive exams and a doctoral dissertation and defense. The degree can be earned in as few as four years, and all requirements must be completed within seven years. 

The University of the Cumberlands was founded in 1888 by Baptist ministers. Today, the school is a private, non-profit university that aims to provide an education-based in Christian principles and liberal arts foundations. The university has a main campus in rural Williamsburg, KY. The university offers doctoral degrees in areas of education and psychology. Its Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology program allows students to complete courses abroad on the Oxford University campus in Oxford, England.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,670