Can I obtain a Doctorate online?

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Updated: February 29, 2024, Reading time: 4 minutes

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Yes, many universities offer online doctoral programs in various specialties. One would think that an online graduate school is not commonplace for those who want to get an advanced degree. Top-tier colleges and universities have long been delivering online doctorate programs in fields like business, management, and education. 

An online doctorate program offers an attractive format for busy professionals who would love to get an education self-motivated and independence-driven. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recognizes many schools that offer programs in all post-secondary levels (associate, baccalaureate, master’s, first professional, and professional doctoral degree levels).

So, accreditation should be on top when drawing up a checklist of things you expect in an online doctorate program. You would rather spend your time, energy, and money on quality education than waste them on non-accredited schools!

Grad School Center is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

How an Online Doctorate Degree Program Works

Like a traditional doctorate program, an online doctorate program helps you with the knowledge and credentials needed to achieve career and salary advancement. It takes 3-8 years of demanding work in research, academics, and profession.

Students interact with faculty, research assistants, and their fellow doctorate peers virtually in an online doctorate class. This means they communicate with each other through web conferences, emails, and online messaging. The university or grad school has an online management platform or program that students can access anytime.

Students are expected to enroll in courses held on the main campus and online, depending on their chosen program. Generally, students are expected to work with advisors to build their program goals, set the right path and pace, and identify how much time is needed to reach them.

Classes may be delivered through interactive online lectures, downloadable presentations, on-demand webinars, and more. Online doctorate students can complete their research assignments via the school’s portal or email. There might be some instances when campus visits are required (for seminars or meeting professors, advisors, and peers).

Common Online Doctorate Degrees

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Prerequisites and Requirements of an online doctorate program

Is an online doctorate worth it?

Trying times push education leaders to take the technological path in the delivery of instruction. Online education has been growing and is further changing a student’s learning experience. It is driving them to a more practical, efficient, and even less costly way of getting to their career goals. Getting an online doctorate provides the kind of accessibility and flexibility that traditional classes often don’t.

Busy professionals may find it easy to balance their personal and professional lives when they don’t have to go to a regular on-site class. With self-discipline and good time management, online doctorate students can easily organize their lives and other responsibilities. There is no need to commute, spend money on parking fees, buy lunches, and waste time waiting on the campus every session.

With the online platform, access to faculty and one-on-one interaction can easily be achieved, even with research advisors across the nation. Multiple learning styles also work with an online platform. Videos are ideal for visual learners. Audio-recorded lectures appeal to auditory learners, and discussion boards suit social learners, too.

Students’ perspective on online learning

Students choose online learning because they are comfortable communicating through technology and managing their time without being in only one place. As stated in the survey, Online Students, Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preference, students feel that their online learning experience is better than the traditional setting.

Mostly, it costs them less, accessibility to the program is easy, and transferring credits is more convenient. This is not to say that online learning is better than brick-and-mortar education. The online environment is a unique experience that has its opportunities and challenges.

Grad schools offering online doctorate programs are aware of applicants’ different research interests and career goals. Student development at the doctorate level is attained through individualized experience.

This significant number of students includes professional students who research a broad range of problems in varying environments both inside and outside the U.S. Indeed, the learning structure in an online doctorate program is very important in helping students achieve their goals.

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