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Phd Distance Learning - PhD Distance Learning Programs

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The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is the best known and most prestigious of all graduate degrees. Individuals who hold this degree are the most respected people in their field. They work as consultants, professors, researchers, and writers. Their thoughts, opinions, and research directly impacts government, the scientific community, and steers the future direction of the field and its importance in society.

The number of people going into graduate programs has increased greatly over the years and continues to grow, especially in these times of economic downturn. People are going back to school in record numbers in order to make themselves more viable in the diminishing job market or to secure the positions they already have. Most of those who seek entry into a PhD course are older individuals who have already been established in the workforce with full-time jobs, and many have already begun families. Because of this, PhD distance learning programs have grown in popularity.

PhD distance learning programs take advantage of all the media and communications systems available through the internet. Email, chats, video, and video conferencing are all used to closely approximate a traditional learning experience while providing several key benefits. The number one benefit of PhD distance learning programs is their flexibility. Students have the ability to complete their coursework around their pre-existing schedules so they can keep their jobs and still have some semblance of a personal life. Other benefits include the following:

  • Networking opportunities with other PhD candidates.
  • Diverse student body.
  • Money savings due to less travel, reduced tuition, and accelerated programs.

While undergraduate and Master’s programs can often be completed completely online, PhD distance learning programs usually require students to make a few appearances on campus throughout the program. Your chances for earning a PhD completely online are slim but can be increased if you have a regular job in the same field. This may give you the opportunity to complete practical components of the program on the job. Even if this is an option, you will still want to make at least one visit to the campus in order to meet the department head and your dissertation director. It is always a good idea to get to know these people on a more personal basis.

Some people enter PhD distance learning programs believing that they will be easier than traditional programs. It is often discovered that the exact opposite is true: the online PhD classes are much more difficult. They also require a great deal of self-motivation. Online PhD course will still take several years of study – 2 to 4 years, depending on your current degree. Another disadvantage is the price. PhD distance learning programs, although usually less than traditional programs, can still be very expensive. Many students in traditional programs pay for their education through teaching fellowships or teaching/research assistants. Most of these options are closed for distance learners.

Choosing a specific institution for PhD distance learning programs is always tough. A final decision usually depends on your course of study. Some of the most common PhD programs include the following:

  • Business
  • Psychology
  • Engineering
  • Education
  • Public Health
  • Public Administration
  • Human Services
  • Information Technology

One factor that is important in deciding on an educational institution is regional accreditation. Because a PhD is an advanced degree, it is important that the institution is fully accredited and recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. If your institution is not accredited, you may find the PhD you earned is worthless, or at least less valuable than you originally thought.

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