Best Fully Funded Online PhD Programs

Getting a Ph.D. online is an attractive option for students who don’t want to give up on their professional and personal obligations. With an online program, you can improve your skills, conduct relevant research, and communicate with academic advisors without leaving the comfort of your own home.

While conducted entirely or partially online, these Ph.D. programs aren’t less expensive than on-campus programs. Even though you don’t need to invest in relocation and transportation, you still have to pay the tuition and relevant fees.

If you want to minimize expenses, you can consider choosing a fully funded online PhD program. While the choice is not big, there are possibilities for students who can’t cover the tuition.

Let’s take a closer look at the top fully funded online PhD program.

The Possibility of Enrolling in a Fully Funded Online PhD Program

For many people, the dream of pursuing a doctoral degree without incurring a mountain of debt may seem like an unattainable goal. However, the possibility of enrolling in a fully funded online PhD program is very much a reality. With the advancement of technology and the growing recognition of online education, universities are now offering fully funded options for distance learning programs.

One of the main advantages of fully funded doctorate programs is the financial support they provide. They can cover tuition fees and provide a stipend to cover living expenses. This financial assistance allows students to focus solely on their studies without the burden of financial stress. It opens doors for individuals who may not have had the means to pursue a Ph.D. otherwise.

Another benefit of fully funded online PhD programs is the flexibility they offer. Online learning allows students to tailor their study schedules to fit their commitments. This flexibility is particularly advantageous for those who wish to continue working while pursuing their doctoral degree. It allows you to balance academic pursuits with existing responsibilities.

Fully funded online PhD programs provide the opportunity for students to connect and collaborate with renowned faculty members. Contrary to a common misconception, online studies don’t eliminate networking opportunities. You can achieve the same collaboration, studying, and networking goals as you would with offline learning.

These programs may have specific admission requirements and competitive selection processes. They are mostly accessible to dedicated and motivated individuals. Strong academic credentials, a compelling research proposal, and relevant professional experience can increase the likelihood of acceptance.

How to Find a Fully Funded Online PhD Program

Since fully funded online PhD programs aren’t available in many schools, the search for such an option can be complicated. Knowing what to look for can help you ensure the success of your studies and prevent unexpected expenses.

Research Accredited Universities

Start by researching reputable universities that offer fully funded online PhD programs in your field of interest. Look for universities that are regionally accredited and have a strong reputation for their doctoral programs. 

Proper accreditation means that the institution meets certain quality standards. Whether you plan to use your Ph.D. to advance your career or publish articles, the accreditation of the university can play a significant role.

Explore Funding Opportunities

Fully funded doctorate programs often come with various funding opportunities, including:

  • Scholarships
  • Grants
  • Assistantships
  • Fellowships

Explore the financial aid options provided by each program and determine the level of support they offer. Look for programs that cover tuition fees and provide a stipend to cover living expenses. In most cases, information is readily available on the university’s website. Alternatively, you can get it by contacting the admissions or financial aid office.

Check Program Requirement

Review the admission requirements and eligibility criteria for each fully funded online doctorate program on your list. Ensure that you meet the academic prerequisites, including GPA, standardized test scores, and relevant work experience.

Pay special attention to the program’s specific requirements, such as research proposal guidelines or prerequisite coursework. Many schools that offer funding have stringent admissions requirements.

Connect with Faculty and Current Students

Reach out to faculty members and current students in the program to gain insights into the funding opportunities and other program-related information. This can give you a better understanding of the program’s strengths, faculty expertise, and research opportunities.

Faculty members are often willing to answer questions and provide guidance to prospective students. Their insight can help you make an informed decision.

Consider Program Structure and Flexibility

Evaluate the program’s structure and flexibility to make sure that it aligns with your preferences. Look for programs that offer synchronous or asynchronous learning formats. Is it more convenient for you to attend live classes online? Or do you prefer to listen to recorded lectures when you have free time?

Consider the level of interaction with faculty and peers, as well as any residency requirements or on-campus components. Not all online PhD programs are fully remote. Some require visiting the campus several times a year.

Review Program Outcomes

Examine the program’s outcomes and success rates, including graduation rates, job placement rates, and alumni achievements. This information can give you an idea of the program’s effectiveness in preparing graduates for their desired career paths. Look for programs that have a strong track record of producing successful Ph.D. graduates in your field of interest.

Seek Support from Advisors and Mentors

Reach out to your academic advisors, mentors, or professionals in your field for guidance and recommendations. They may have valuable insights or connections that can help you find suitable funding opportunities.

Admissions Requirements for Fully Funded Online PhD Programs

Applying to fully funded online doctoral degree programs requires careful attention to the specific admissions requirements. They are often more stringent compared to non-funded programs. The limited funding resources are allocated to the most deserving and qualified candidates.

Requirements you may be facing when searching for the best fully-funded online education program include:

Academic Prerequisites

Fully funded online doctoral programs welcome applicants with a strong academic background. This includes a minimum GPA requirement, usually ranging from 3.0 to 3.5 on a 4.0 scale. Some online programs may require specific prerequisite coursework.

Standardized Tests

Many fully funded online doctoral degree programs require applicants to submit standardized test scores. The most commonly accepted tests are the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) or the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test).

These tests demonstrate your readiness for advanced academic study. The scores required for admissions can be different for each school. You would need to request this information from the admissions office.

Research Proposal

A research proposal includes the research topic or area of interest that you plan to pursue during your doctoral studies. The proposal should demonstrate a clear understanding of the research problem, objectives, methodology, and potential contributions to the field.

Letters of Recommendation

The university of your choice will likely require you to submit letters of recommendation from academic or professional references who can confirm your qualifications and readiness for doctorate studies.

Depending on the university, they may ask for one, two, or three letters. The more letters you can get from your past professors, advisors, or employers, the better.

Statement of Purpose

A well-crafted statement of purpose gives you an opportunity to describe your academic and career goals, research interests, and reasons for pursuing a doctoral degree. It should demonstrate your passion for the chosen field and readiness for advanced research.

Relevant Work Experience

The majority of fully funded PhDs programs will want you to share relevant work experience, particularly for professional or practice-based doctoral programs. This experience can demonstrate your practical knowledge and ability to apply your skills to the related field.

Overall, you would have to demonstrate that you are worth the investment the university is making in your studies. To provide funding, they have to be sure that it will pay off.

How Much Does a Ph.D. Cost?

The costs of a Ph.D. program can vary depending on multiple factors. The one thing is clear. There aren’t any inexpensive options. The effort that goes into helping a person get a Ph.D. is tremendous, hence the price.

Type of Educational Institution

The type of institution offering the program can influence the cost. Public universities often have lower tuition fees compared to private institutions. Meanwhile, the reputation and ranking of the university may also affect the price tag. More prestigious universities often charge higher tuition fees.

Field of Study

Some disciplines, such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), may have higher costs due to the need for specialized equipment, laboratory access, or research materials. On the other hand, humanities or social sciences education programs can have lower costs since they usually require fewer resources.

Duration of the Program

Ph.D. programs can vary in length. The majority of them last three to seven years. Longer programs also may result in higher costs due to additional tuition fees.

If you can’t handle the cost of a Ph.D. program, you can explore different funding options. In the majority of cases, reputable educational institutions help their potential PhD students seek funding. With the right approach, it’s possible to get a doctorate practically free.

Best Fully Funded Online PhD Programs

When searching for a strong, fully funded online PhD Program, consider the following schools:

Indiana University Bloomington

Indiana University Bloomington has a wide selection of doctorate programs that can be completed online. They include:

  • Art Education: Curriculum and Instruction, EdD
  • Science Education: Curriculum and Instruction, EdD
  • Curriculum and Instruction: Mathematics Education, EdD
  • Educational Leadership, EdS
  • Instructional Systems Technology, EdD
  • Literacy, Culture, and Language Education, EdD
  • Music Therapy, Ph.D.
  • Nursing Practice, DNP
  • Nursing Science, Ph.D.
  • Philanthropic Leadership, PhilD
  • Public Health, Global Health Leadership, DrPH
  • School Psychology, EdS

To cover your tuition at Indiana University, you can explore the Dean’s Fellowship, Faculty Doctoral Fellowship, and Malvina McNeill Fellowship.

The school is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Michigan State University

Michigan State University has strong online and hybrid Ph.D. programs. If you choose this school, you can explore:

To cover your tuition, you can take advantage of multiple scholarship options provided by this university. They don’t make any distinctions between offline and online students.

The school is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

George Washington University

If you are looking to get a fully funded Ph.D. online, you can consider George Washington University. Its programs include:

The university provides various tuition funding opportunities and multiple scholarship resources.

The school is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Franklin University

Franklin University allows its students to complete fast online Ph.D. programs that include:

  • Doctor of Business Administration
  • Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership-Organizational Leadership Focus
  • Doctor of Healthcare Administration
  • Doctor Of Professional Studies – Instructional Design Leadership

The university makes it easy to fund your learning process by helping you apply for financial aid without any common hassles. Many students take advantage of this assistance to source the necessary funding.

The school is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

University of Dayton

At the University of Dayton, you can become a doctor of education in leadership for organizations. This program only takes 36 months.

To get financial assistance, you can explore multiple scholarship opportunities provided by the university. To have a chance for full funding, you would need to demonstrate exceptional skills and knowledge that can contribute to the field of your studies. The university will help you apply for financial aid.

The school is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Getting a Fully Funded Online Ph.D.

When you are planning to get a Ph.D., you have to consider the numerous expenses that go into completing the program. Some universities and scholarship programs are willing to make your online education easier. To do that, you would have to explore the available opportunities while browsing the best online Ph.D. programs for your needs.

Keep in mind that only a limited number of programs offer full funding. However, you can find some schools that provide partial financial help.