How Much Does a Doctoral Program Cost?

Much like the tuition for undergraduate and postgraduate studies, the tuition for doctoral programs fluctuates based on factors such as prestige, state residency and the college itself. Because so many Ph.D. programs also include research, there are opportunities for fellowship grants that can reduce or completely cover the cost of tuition. More information about the cost of doctoral degree programs follows.

About Doctoral Program Education

Enrolling in and graduating from a doctoral program is the first step toward securing a position as a full professor at a college or university. There are programs in many areas of study, and business, education and medicine are prevalent among them. Here are three examples of college and university doctoral programs and their costs:

Important Facts About Doctoral Degree Programs

Prerequisites Varies, depending upon the institution; some may only require applicants to possess a bachelor's degree
Online Availability Fully available for select programs
Possible Careers Lawyer, psychologist, physician, surgeon
Continuing Education May be mandatory, depending vocation; physicians are required to be licensed

Harvard University

Founded in 1636, Harvard University is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the country; U.S. News and World Report has consistently ranked Harvard as one of the top national university. Harvard's individual graduate schools have also claimed high rankings, such as its programs in law, biology, mathematics, chemistry, English and psychology, among others. Other doctoral programs at the school are available in the following fields:

  • Business
  • Arts and sciences
  • Medicine
  • Dentistry
  • Engineering

Tuition rates depend on the student's course of study. In 2015-2016, Ph.D. candidates in the arts and sciences graduate school were required to pay the full $41,832 per year for the first two years of study, and they could receive reduced rates for the next two years. Doctoral students in the business school were automatically awarded a full fellowship (approximately $39,600 in 2015-2016) for the first year. While not guaranteed, it may be expected that a similar level of financial aid would be awarded for up to four years, as long as the student fulfills the grade requirements. The Graduate School of Education had a similar tuition arrangement for up to five years.

University of Nebraska - Lincoln

As the main campus of the University of Nebraska system, the University of Nebraska - Lincoln (UNL) offers a wide variety of doctoral programs. It has been classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a doctoral- and research-extensive university. Because of its midwestern roots, the university specializes in subjects such as:

  • Agricultural and biological engineering
  • Agronomy
  • Entomology
  • Horticulture
  • Natural resource sciences

UNL is a land-grant university, which means that residents of Nebraska get a leg up with regards to tuition. In 2015, tuition rates for students who were legal Nebraska residents were $219.75 per credit hour, compared to $692 per credit hour for non-residents. With the first year of a doctoral program involving an estimated 45 credit-hours, that translates into a savings of approximately $21,000 before residents' fees, books and other expenses. The school does offer the means for non-residents to achieve residential status. There are also fellowships and assistantships available.

University of California in Los Angeles

UCLA has the distinction of being one of the top ten schools in the nation with regard to the number of doctoral degrees that it bestows each year. Many of its bachelor's- and master's-level graduates also go on to earn doctoral degrees from other colleges and universities.

Because UCLA is a public research facility, there are many opportunities for doctoral candidates to qualify for fellowships and grants. Tuition costs are much more affordable for California residents, who paid $13,086 for the entire program in 2015, compared to $24,708 for non-residents. However, non-resident students in a Ph.D. program could qualify for a 100% reduction in tuition after they advanced to doctoral candidacy for a maximum of three years.

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