Online Doctorates 101: Getting a PhD OnlineBy David Thompson, UniversityHerald Reporter
There are dozens of reasons you might be interested in achieving the highest level of education and earning a doctorate: You might need a PhD to advance in your career, or you might be insatiably curious and eager for an academic lifestyle. Yet, as often as you have considered enrolling in a doctoral program, you might not have thought about the option of earning your PhD online.
Online PhD programs are becoming more popular, thanks in no small part to the pandemic, which compelled universities around the world to invest in their elearning services. Today, you can find online PhD programs in almost any field, but many would-be doctoral students continue to have questions and qualms about pursuing a PhD over the internet. Hopefully, this guide to online PhDs can give you the answers you seek about this exciting innovation in advanced education.
Why Would You Get an Online PhD?
Most people interested in earning a PhD online are already well-versed in the benefits of doctoral credentials. For some, having a PhD is essential to advancing in their careers. For example, earning a PhD in Psychology online could be mandatory for securing employment in a university's psychology department and conducting your own psychology research. In some career fields, doctorates unlock the next tier of income potential, and earning a PhD allows individuals greater financial security. Then again, you might be interested in an online PhD simply because you are passionate about learning and eager to reach the highest levels of knowledge within a certain field of study.
Online PhDs offer unique advantages over traditional doctoral programs. Like other elearning programs, online PhDs allow you to log into your studies from anywhere, which means you could have access to some of the world's leading experts in your field without the costly need to relocate or commute. Additionally, online PhDs tend to be asynchronous, meaning you can fit them more easily into your existing schedule. Instead of dropping other responsibilities like work and family to focus on your studies, you can earn your degree while maintaining a rewarding job and home life.
Ultimately, online PhD programs combine the benefits of doctoral credentials with online education, giving you easier access to the highest levels of education for the betterment of your life and career.
Are Online PhDs Trustworthy?
One of the most pervasive criticisms of online PhDs is that they are not as valuable as traditional PhDs. This belief comes from an outdated opinion of distance learning programs, which has been all but eliminated in the Digital Age. In the past, distance learning programs were less respected because many were degree mills, to a greater or lesser extent. Online education has developed significantly over the past two decades, with the effect that almost every university student participates in online learning to some degree during the course of their studies. Today, few employers pay attention to whether a student earned their degree online or on campus; what matters much more is the prestige of the institution and the actual knowledge and skill gained.
How Do Online PhD Programs Work?
Both traditional and online PhD programs primarily involve conducting research and writing a dissertation, which is argued before a panel of field experts. In online PhD programs, students will complete whatever online coursework required for their degree. Then, they will propose research, conduct research, communicate with their advisors and more over the internet.
Sometimes, online PhD students do need to complete in-person activity over the course of their programs. For example, some fields require students to participate in fieldwork, which involves traveling to specific locations to conduct research. PhD students also often benefit from attending academic conferences in their field, where they can network with experts and fellow students while absorbing new information and explaining their own research focus. Finally, some online PhD programs might require doctoral candidates to argue their dissertations in person, though the increase in popularity of video conferencing has reduced this likelihood significantly.
No longer does earning a doctoral degree need to put your life on pause. Thanks to the emergence of online PhD programs, you can achieve the highest level of education with comfort and convenience.