United States Hybrid PhD & Doctoral Degree Programs
Hybrid PhD Programs balance the rigors of study with your personal and professional time constraints. Often referred to as ‘blended online’, ‘partially online’ or ‘executive format’, hybrid doctorate and PhD programs combine online instruction with intensive residential sessions.
Whether you are seeking advanced leadership skills or to contribute original research to your field of study, enrolling in a Hybrid Doctoral Degree or Hybrid PhD program may be the learning format you need to find the right work/life balance.
What is a Hybrid Doctoral Degree?
A hybrid doctoral degree is the highest level of academic degree that is offered in a specific learning format that bridges courses that lend themselves to online learning coupled with courses that need to be taught in person. When you think of the medical doctorate (M.D.), you know that there is a lot of book learning, research and study involved. But, as with education, psychology, counseling or even business leadership, there is also a necessary human interaction component. Here is where the blended online format steps in.
How Long is a Hybrid Doctorate of PhD Program?
Depending on the university and your field of study, a doctorate degree can take between 3 and 7 years to complete. Why the variance? For one thing, your educational background. Some hybrid Doctoral Degree programs accept students straight from their Bachelor’s degree form an accredited college. These programs may then take an additional 4 years beyond your undergraduate degree. Other programs may take students after they have completed a Master’s degree and written their thesis; these may take less time. Then again, it is going to depend whether you are in a full time or part time program. Essentially, you are looking at around 90 to 120 semester credits which is around 30 to 40 college courses.
Do I have to Earn a Doctoral Degree?
The easy answer to whether you need to earn a Doctoral degree is yes, and no. Some career fields require it. Also, if you have already earned your Master’s degree and you want to qualify for higher earnings (where applicable), you might put your hat into the ring. Especially if you want to research, innovate or lead at advanced levels. Let’s take a look at some examples:
- Psychology: Most clinical, counseling and research psychologists need a doctoral degree such as the Doctor of Psychology (PsyD), the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD in Psychology) or the education specialist degree (EdS) in the case of school psychologists.[i]
- Education: Postsecondary teachers [ii] and college presidents and superintendents tend to need a doctorate degree such as the Doctor of Education [iii]
- Technology & Computer Science: Computer and Information Research scientists need a PhD in computer science or related field such as computer engineering[iv].
- Science: Biochemists and biophysicists need a PhD to work in independent research[v]
- Nursing: For nurse leadership, many advanced practice registers nurses earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or PhD in Nursing[vi].
- Physicians & Surgeons: Need a Doctor of Medicine or related degree from medical school plus internship and residency.[vii]
- Criminal Justice: Most states require lawyers for complete a Juris Doctor (JD) degree from an American Bar Association-accredited law school[viii].
- Business: Economists often need a PhD in Economics for positions in research, business or for international organizations[ix].
Potential Features of Hybrid Doctoral Degree Programs
While each university is likely to have a different format, the commonality between Hybrid Doctoral Degree and Hybrid PhD Programs is that they are designed with working professionals in mind. These are students who want to earn their degree at a specific university but cannot relocate for the length of the program due to job, family, financial or other reasons. Some of the potential features to look for in a Hybrid Doctorate are:
- Mostly online courses to learn theory
- Web-based courses are often pre-recorded so students can self-pace
- Integrated intensives offered on-campus at regular intervals (summer, evenings, weekends)
- A cycle between intensives and online segments
- Digital library materials and resources
- Web software that connects students and professors (email, web cams etc.)
- Distance-learners can sometimes pursue a concentration area of their choice
- Same rigorous coursework as residential programs
- Field experience can usually be done in home city
- No full-time commute
- Online Discussion forums for students
- Face-to-face interaction with classmates and professors during intensives
- Some universities use a Blackboard system so students can watch lectures and interact with classmates and professors through the email so there is a sense of collaboration
- Campus component may satisfy supervision requirements in fields that require a doctorate degree for licensing (e.g. teaching, counseling, psychology)
What Types of Hybrid Doctoral Degree Programs Are There?
Hybrid Doctoral Degree programs are offered in many different fields, and usually there is a choice of two models: the professional-practice model and the research-scholar models. While both types of doctorate degrees involve coursework and research, students who earn a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in a field are usually more interested in research, academia or consulting. To this end, they are required to write and defend a dissertation which brings new insight into existing issues. Professional doctorate students are interested in practicing their profession; they may write a dissertation or paper, produce a product or portfolio of work which applies their knowledge to an existing issue.
Find a Hybrid PhD Program
Find Hybrid Doctoral Degree and Hybrid PhD programs in several easy ways on GradSchools.com. Choose your subject from the subject selection, the program format and browse the results. Or, search for graduate schools by location in your chosen field. We have sponsored listings in business, education, fine arts and design, health and medicine, liberal arts and humanities, math, science, engineering, public affairs and social sciences, religious studies and technology. A few of these options might include hybrid Doctor of Business Administration in Finance and hybrid Doctor of Computer Science –Enterprise information Systems (Executive Format). Make sure, once you click on a listing to request information from each graduate school to help you stay on top of your application process and any looming deadlines.
sources:[i] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm |[ii] gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm |[iii] bls.gov/ooh/management/top-executives.htm |[iv] bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-and-information-research-scientists.htm |[v] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/biochemists-and-biophysicists.htm |[vi] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm |[vii] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physicians-and-surgeons.htm| | [viii] bls.gov/ooh/legal/lawyers.htm |[ix] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/economists.htm
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