Distance Learning PhD | Advice (2023)

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So, you’ve decided you want to do a PhD – but there’s a problem. You’re tied down in some way. Perhaps it’s a job, a partner, or children, or simply that you just don’t want to go back to university in the way everyone thinks of postgraduate study as involving.

Well, these days there’s no need to – many universities offer distance learning PhDs! There are plenty of reasons as to why some people choose online postgraduate studyand recently, it’s becoming more and more available. It is still somewhat obviously limited by subject ­ – a PhD in which you’re required to be doing lab-based research is unlikely to be possible via distance learning, but one in which you’re studying Classics? Almost certainly fine! And the great thing is it means you can study your PhD from literally anywhere!

(Video) PhD Comparative Literature (on-campus or by distance learning)

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Online study is a great way to get a PhD, but of course, online study isn’t suited to everyone, so before committing you need to make sure that a distance learning PhD program is right for you. You’ll have to be self-motivated, used to managing your time and confident that your current environment is suited for study. Still think it’s the right choice?

Then let’s take a look at...

Distance Learning PhD | Advice (1)

PhD by Distance Learning

What are the main differences between doing a PhD by distance learning, and one in which you remain on campus? Well, you might be surprised to find out there’s not as many as you think. Unlike undergraduate degrees, where there’s a whole host of lectures, tutorials and classes going on, a PhD is much more self-driven.

As a PhD is research-based, rather than taught, it’s entirely possible to do in a completely different city to your university. The big differences are the environment – you’ll have less access to university resources (such as on-site libraries), a lack of in-person contact with other students perhaps doing similar topics, and you may miss out on relevant seminars. In addition, much of your communication with your PhD supervisor may be done by phone, email or other online methods.

(Video) What is Distance Learning? - Studyportals advice

With that said, many universities will require you to spend some time at the university – not a lot, but it’s worth bearing in mind. Many universities these days will also have online resources, meaning you should be able to access plenty of things via the internet, but certainly difficult to track down sources may require travelling!

On the note of supervisors, it’s important to remember that just because you’re doing a distance learning PhD program, doesn’t mean you can just choose anywhere. You’ll still need to ensure the department is good at the area you want to work in, and that you find a supervisor that is suited to you. Although you may not have to have in-person meetings with them, you still need to ensure that it’s someone whose research interests match yours and that you’re comfortable working with.

Another thing to remember is that you will still have to pay fees. Though distance learning may cut down on your expenses somewhat – the lack of having to move, the possibility of keeping a current job, and so on – you will have to budget accordingly.

A distance learning PhD will still impact on your life significantly – you will have to devote the same amount of hours to research as you would doing at onsite course, and you’ll have to be responsible for your own time.

Common misconceptions about studying a distance learning PhD program

There are a lot of common misconceptions about studying a distance learning PhD, and we detail them further here. However, let’s take a look at two major ones:

(Video) 💥Can we do PhD from Distance/Online Mode? UGC PhD guidelines 2022 | PhD Admission| Education Channel

#1 Employers won’t consider degrees done by distance learning

Any distance learning PhD program from a particular university will be accredited from that university in an identical manner to someone who studied the PhD on campus. Whilst it may once have been the case that people would have looked at this suspiciously, more and more employers are recognising the worth of online study – and, especially in academia, no one will look twice at the fact your PhD is done via distance learning. You can even spin it in your favour, pointing out the massive amount of organisation it took!

#2 Distance learning means you miss out on student/supervisor interaction

We’ve discussed this briefly before, but most PhD students wouldn’t be seeing their supervisor constantly. Emails and phone communication are becoming more and more popular, and should serve you well for keeping in touch. You can also arrange to visit them occasionally if you do want a meeting with them, and just go up for the day.

So that’s our look at doing a distance learning PhD, we also have some really useful information on distance learning in general as well asstudying PhDs.


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Can you do a PhD distance learning? ›

PhD by distance learning allows you to study at a time and place that suits you and, with a part-time option available, you'll have the flexibility to gain an advanced degree alongside work and other commitments.

Are online PhD programs legitimate? ›

The short answer is yes, they can be credible and that is very good news for busy professionals who want a doctoral degree, but can't accommodate a traditional course of study. However, a few factors make all the difference. Accreditation is a major component contributing to a program's credibility.

What is the fastest PhD to get online? ›

Shortest Doctoral Programs Online
  • Accounting.
  • Business Administration.
  • Counseling & Therapy.
  • Criminal Justice / Homeland Security.
  • Education.
  • Finance.
  • Healthcare Administration.
  • Human Services.
Oct 29, 2022

Can you do a PhD part time online? ›

Do Part Time PhD Programs Exist? Yes, part time PhD programs do exist. Universities know that many people have packed schedules. To accommodate busy students, some schools give the option of part-time enrollment in PhD programs online or on-campus.

Is distance PhD valid in USA? ›

Online degrees from duly recognized universities are valid in the USA. Online degree programs have gained popularity over the years, and they continue to gain acceptance by employers and universities.

Does Harvard offer online PhD programs? ›

So that begs the question of whether you can you get an online degree from Harvard. For now, the answer is no, you can't get a degree purely through online learning. However, you may be able to get a degree through a mix of online and in-person educational offerings.

What is the shortest online PhD program? ›

One-Year Online Doctoral Programs
  • Doctorate in Behavioral Health. ...
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision. ...
  • Doctorate Ethereal Degree in Grief Counseling. ...
  • Doctor of Occupational Therapy. ...
  • Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy. ...
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice. ...
  • Doctorate in Social Work.
Mar 2, 2023

What is the easiest school to get a PhD from? ›

Walden University was named first in the USA for PhD Education graduates. This is one of the easiest PhD programs to get into, as the University has an acceptance rate of 100%.

Is a PhD from Liberty University respected? ›

Is a PhD from Liberty University respected? If you plan to choose Liberty for your PhD, you can rest assured that your degree will be respected. Liberty University is regionally accredited through SACSCOC. This means our program has to meet rigorous academic standards that are respected by future employers.

Can I complete PhD in 1 year? ›

No its not possible in 1 year or even not valid as the regular one. In India a Masters degree is required to gain admission to a doctoral program. In some subjects, doing a Masters in Philosophy (M. Phil) is a prerequisite to start PhD.

Can you complete PhD in 2 years? ›

The minimum period for completing a PhD has also been reduced from three to two years.

Can I get my PhD in one year? ›

Very few universities provide PhD programs that can be completed in exactly one year. Even many programs referred to as “1-year PhDs” actually take a little more to complete, and up to two years. However, there are several doctorates that can be completed within a year or two, though not across all disciplines.

Is it possible to get a PhD while working? ›

The dual issues of finances and employment raise an important question: Is it possible to earn a PhD while working? The short answer is: Yes, it's possible—and many people have done it. However, it can also be quite complicated. After all, balancing so many significant commitments can be a bit stressful.

How quickly can you do a part-time PhD? ›

A part-time PhD typically takes five to eight years, but this time period depends on how long the university offers you and how much work you put in. You might have more time than you initially thought and finish it sooner, or your work and life balance may get in the way and it takes longer.

Is part-time PhD worth it? ›

It depends on your individual circumstances and goals. If you are certain that you want to pursue a career in academia or research, then a part-time PhD may be worth it. However, if you are not sure about your career goals, then a part-time PhD may not be the best investment of your time and money.

Is PhD from distance education worth it? ›

Distance PhD course comes up with several career-enhancing opportunities that lead them to great heights in their professional careers.

Can I work while doing PhD in USA? ›

Working during your PhD

According to the conditions of your F-1 student visa, you can work on-campus for up to 20 hours a week during term-time and full-time during the holidays.

Can PhD be pursued online? ›

Universities offer online doctoral programs in fields like engineering, business, nursing, including business, healthcare administration, education, and information technology, etc. Some doctoral programs include the experience with learning into the degree.

Which is higher PhD or doctorate? ›

Is a PhD Higher Than a Professional Doctorate? No, a PhD is not a higher degree than a professional doctorate. If you're wondering what's better than a PhD, both PhDs and professional doctorates are the highest level of college education that can be earned.

What is the minimum GPA for Harvard PhD? ›

Complete expected requirements. Achieve a minimum grade-point average of B (3.0)

Can you do a Harvard PhD remotely? ›

No. Our program requires all students to be full-time and in residence.

Can I get a PhD without a dissertation? ›

Do all doctoral degrees require a dissertation? Not all doctoral degrees require a dissertation, but most. While dissertations are still the norm for most fields, certain degree programs, such as JDs (law degrees) or DPTs (Doctor of Physical Therapy degrees), do not require dissertations.

What is the hardest PhD to get? ›

What are the hardest subjects to get a PhD in? The hardest degree subjects are Aerospace Engineering, Law, Chartered Accountancy, Architecture, Chemistry, Medicine, Pharmacy, Psychology, Statistics, Nursing, Physics, Astrophysics, Biomedical Engineering, Astronomy, and Dentistry.

Can I buy a doctorate? ›

You can, of course, buy a fake PhD certificate, or use your “life experience” to get a qualification from a fake university. But such qualifications are unlikely to stand up to external scrutiny. You might try and make connections directly with a writer and work with them.

What GPA to get PhD? ›

With GPA, it is recommended that students have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA and around a 3.5 discipline-specific GPA to remain competitive for Ph. D.

What is the cheapest PhD to get? ›

Top 10 Cheapest Online Doctorate Degree Fields

Which PhD pays most? ›

20 high-paying Ph. D. degrees
  • Computer science. National average salary: $104,587 per year , according to Glassdoor. ...
  • Physics. National average salary: $106,795 per year , according to Glassdoor. ...
  • Organic chemistry. ...
  • Mathematics. ...
  • Political science. ...
  • Biology. ...
  • Electrical engineering. ...
  • Educational leadership.
Feb 3, 2023

Which PhDs are worth getting? ›

25 Highest Paying Doctorate Degrees
  • Immunology.
  • Physics.
  • Aerospace Engineering.
  • Math.
  • Management.
  • Chemical Engineering.
  • Economics.
  • Pharmacology.
Dec 1, 2022

Do employers take Liberty University seriously? ›

But you are wondering if it's worth your time and money. In general, most employers accept degrees from Liberty University. This is especially true for those who are aware of the fact that it's a regionally accredited institution.

How long does it take to get a PhD from Capella? ›

While a full-time PhD or professional doctorate can often be completed within 3-4 years, part-time students often take longer, many completing in 5-6 years. Capella policy allows 7 years as the maximum time to completion.

Can you do PhD without going to college? ›

Yes, it is possible to get a PhD without a Bachelor's, however, this is extremely uncommon. When this occurs, it is almost always reserved for very mature individuals. For example, an individual may not be in active academia but still may have significantly contributed to their field.

Is PhD from Open university valid? ›

The Ph. D. degree from IGNOU is considered valid by UGC.

Can I go straight to my PhD without a Masters? ›

In the United States, you can generally go directly to a PhD with only a bachelor's degree, as a master's program is included as part of the doctoral program. Elsewhere, you generally need to graduate from a research-intensive master's degree before continuing to the PhD.

Can you commute for a PhD? ›

So, whether you decide to commute or don't think it's for you, it might not be as bad as you think. And even though it can be difficult at times, it is very much possible.

What is the shortest PhD program? ›

Professional students with a Doctor of Public Administration program have earned their doctorate credentials within three to four years. Considered as one of the shortest doctorate programs, the DPA program only requires a minimum of 49 credit hours of coursework and dissertation work.

Can you do a PhD while working? ›

The dual issues of finances and employment raise an important question: Is it possible to earn a PhD while working? The short answer is: Yes, it's possible—and many people have done it. However, it can also be quite complicated. After all, balancing so many significant commitments can be a bit stressful.

Can you buy a doctorate? ›

You can, of course, buy a fake PhD certificate, or use your “life experience” to get a qualification from a fake university. But such qualifications are unlikely to stand up to external scrutiny. You might try and make connections directly with a writer and work with them.

Do employers take open university degrees Seriously? ›

Open University degrees are respected. They require the same level of commitment as a regular degree and at the end of your course, you will be awarded a bachelors degree or masters degree depending on your level of study.

Can I leave my PhD with a Masters? ›

Depending on your program, achieving ABD status may be enough for you to leave your PhD program with a master's degree. Other programs may require a written Master's thesis or some kind of qualifying exam. Like a PhD, an MA won't do much for you outside academia.

Does anyone care about PhD GPA? ›

No one cares about your GPA once you are a researcher! While it certainly looks nice to have a stellar GPA, it's the work that you do and where you publish that would matter. Look up some resumes of notable faculty in your field - how many even list their MS/BS grades?

What is the easiest way to get a PhD? ›

One of the fastest ways to earn a doctorate is by matriculating into a program with graduate-level credits and having previous academic or research experience. Students can also find programs that offer an accelerated option.

Is A PhD the same as a doctorate? ›

A PhD, or Doctor of Philosophy, is a specific type of doctorate degree that focuses on research in a particular field. It is highly theoretical and involves extensive research to generate new knowledge. On the other hand, a doctorate degree is an umbrella term for any doctoral-level degree.

What is the difference between a PhD and doctorate? ›

A PhD is an academic degree focused on original research, data analysis, and the evaluation of theory. A professional doctorate focuses on applying research to practical problems, formulating solutions to complex issues, and designing effective professional practices within your field.


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