Online Doctorate Programs

Written by Tara Peris
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Online doctorate programs have been designed with a recognition and appreciation of what it means to pursue a Ph.D. Drawing on the fundamentally independent nature of doctoral work, these online degree programs offer the support and scaffolding you need, without making you give up five to ten years of your life for in residence schooling. When a program is chosen carefully, it allows you to get great training on your own terms and at your own pace.

At its core, a doctorate is a research degree and people pursuing this path do so with the intention of being professors or researchers. Those with more applied goals should consider Masters degrees or other forms of certification. A doctorate is based not only on extensive course work in your designated field, but on lengthy individual research as well.

Individual Work and Online Doctorate Programs

Given that individual research is the centerpiece of the degree, it is quite easy to pursue doctoral studies from a distance. Thus, a number of online doctorate programs have developed in recent years. These programs allow students to work on their own as they normally would, but receive their periodic supervision via Internet rather than in-person contact. As many doctoral students can tell you (especially those with less than optimal advisors), this may be the ideal learning format.

The main thing to take into consideration when thinking about online doctorate programs is how they will be viewed in your field. Although the quality of these programs has been established, some institutions are sticklers for doing things the old-fashioned way. Be sure to pick a distance learning university that is well-regarded in your field.

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