Average Cost of a Doctorate Degree

Last Updated: July 10, 2021 by Melanie Hanson

Report Highlights. The average cost of a Doctorate degree is $114,300.

  • A Doctorate of Education may cost on average $111,900.
  • The average cost of a Doctorate of Philosophy or Ph.D. is $98,800.
  • A Doctorate of Psychology may typically cost $132,200.
  • The average loan debt for a Doctorate degree is $108,400

Cost Varies

On average it takes roughly 4 to 8 years for an individual to complete their doctorate degree. The overall cost of a Doctorate degree can depend on several factors; the type of school, the kind of doctorate degree, the length of the program, and also the amount of financial assistance available. There is more grant aid available in general for a doctorate degree compared to a master’s degree.

  • The cost of a Doctorate in Philosophy from a traditional 8 year Ph.D. program at University of Florida may reach $235,360.
  • The cost of a Doctorate in Philosophy from a traditional 8 year Ph.D. program at New York University may reach $294,200.
  • The University of Southern California: School of Education estimates that their online Doctoral degree in Education would take only 3 years and cost up to $86,298.
  • Thomas University estimates that their online Doctoral degree in Education would take up to 2 years full time and cost up to $47,500.
  • The average cost of a Doctorate degree from a public university is $92,200.
  • The average cost of a Doctorate degree from a private university is $127,100.
  • 71% of Doctoral students received financial aid in 2012 according to the Urban Institute.
  • 38% of Master degree students received financial aid in 2012 according to the Urban Institute.
  • Institutional grants for a Doctorate in Philosophy average $10,560 annually.
  • Institutional grants for a Master’s in Business Administration average $3,290 annually. 
  • The average grant aid for a Doctoral degree is $12,811 annually.
  • The average grant aid for a Master’s degree is $6,075 annually.
Residency Cost Differences
University In-State Annual Tuition Out-of-State Annual Tuition
Rutgers University $17,736 $30,144
University of Kansas $11,045 $25,007
Mississippi State University $14,640 $29,680
University of Massachusetts Amherst $17,014 $35,772
University of Colorado Boulder $14,708 $34,180

Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

A Ph.D. is one of the longest if not the longest doctorate program in the country. A traditional Ph.D. takes 8 years to complete. The majority of Ph.D. students offset the cost of their degree with teaching assistantships. Ph.D.’s are a type of Doctorate degree, yet not all Doctorate degrees are Ph.D.’s. Often, a student must choose between earning a Ph.D. or a different Doctorate degree in their field of study.

  • The average cost of a Ph.D. is $98,800.
  • The average cost of a Ph.D. from 2000 to 2016 was $66,360.
  • In 2012, the average cost of a full year in a Ph.D. program was $21,400.
  • Of the $21,400, the net price for the student was $8,480.
  • Of the $21,400, roughly $12,920 was covered by grants.
  • 39.2% of  surveyed Ph.D. students offset the cost of their degree with teaching assistantships.

Doctorate of Education

The majority of Doctorate students in Education offset the price of their degree with their own resources. A prospective student must choose between pursuing the direct Doctorate in Education or a Ph.D. in Education. The Doctorate in Education is suited towards professional practice and takes less time to complete. The Ph.D. in Education is suited towards research and teaching, and it takes more time to complete.

  • The average cost of a Doctorate in Education is $111,900
  • The average cost of a Doctorate in Education from 2004 to 2016 was $87,275.
  • 47.2% of surveyed Doctorate students in Education offset the price of their degree with their own resources.
  • A Ph.D. may take 7 to 8 years to complete.
  • A Doctorate may take 3 to 4 years to complete.

Doctorate of Psychology

The majority of Doctorate students in Psychology offset the price of their degree with teaching assistantships. The time commitment for a Doctorate in Psychology depends on what type of Psychology degree the individual is pursuing. A Ph.D. in Psychology tailors the student for researching and teaching, and it takes more time to complete. A Psy.D. in Psychology tailors the student for direct clinical practice and takes less time to complete.

  • The average cost of a Doctorate of Psychology is $132,200.
  • The average cost of a Doctorate of Psychology from 2000 to 2016 was $103,700.
  • 28.8% of surveyed Doctorate students in Psychology offset the price of their education with teaching assistantships.
  • A Ph.D. in Psychology takes between 5 to 7 years to complete.
  • A Psy.D. in Psychology takes between 4 to 5 years to complete.
  • Earning an education in Health Psychology can take up to 4 to 5 years.
  • Social Psychology degrees can take up to 5 to 7 years.
  • Child Psychology degrees can also take up to 5 to 7 years.

Cost by Race

Asians and Black Americans tend to be the two races that end up with the largest amount of cumulative debt and average debt. The majority of grant aid comes from the institutions. Employers and private financial aid barely account for 20% of aid to each race.

  • Asian Doctoral students borrowed $16,838 annually on average for their Doctoral Programs.
  • Black Doctoral students averaged $17,479 a year in loans.
  • Hispanic Doctoral students borrowed on average $20,246 annually.
  • White Doctoral students typically borrowed $18,087 a year.
  • Doctoral students from two or more races averaged $26,961 in loans per year.
  • 82.6% of Black Doctoral students borrowed money to fund their education.
  • 75.8% of White Doctoral students borrowed money to fund their education.
  • 25% of Black Doctoral students received institutional financial aid.
  • 50% of Asian Doctoral students received institutional financial aid.
  • Races are missing from the graph below because reporting standards were not met.

Cost by Gender

A majority of both men and women try to offset the cost of their doctorate degrees with research assistantships and traineeships. While there are more male graduates with Doctoral degrees, women on average carry more debt than men.

  • 38.7% of men find financial support working in a research assistantship or a traineeship.
  • 27.1% of women financial support working in a research assistantship or a traineeship.
  • 16,780 male graduates surveyed possessed no student loan debt.
  • 12,681 female graduates surveyed possessed no student loan debt.
  • 874 male graduates surveyed owed more than $160,000 in student loan debt.
  • 1,250 female graduates surveyed owed more than $160,000 in student loan debt.

Sources

  1. Doctorly.org: Cost vs Reward of a PHD Degree
  2. Urban Institute, The Price of Graduate and Professional School: How Much Students Pay
  3. NCES: Trends in Student Loan Debt for Graduate School Completers
  4. American Council on Education, Debt: Master’s Degree Recipients
  5. National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES), Survey of Earned Doctorates: Data Tables Financial Support for Graduate Education of Doctorate Recipients
  6. Psychology.org: Doctorate in Psychology (Ph.D. and Psy.D.)