Salt Lake City Online PhD Programs | Online Doctoral Programs

What are Online Doctoral Programs?

Online Doctoral Programs encompass both online PhD programs and online Doctorate programs. Both accredited online PhD Programs and accredited online Doctorate programs are terminal academic degree programs that are offered remotely.

Also referred to as distance-learning Phd programs, earning a doctorate degree online might make achieving academic goals possible to those who: 

  • live too far to commute
  • want to minimize disruption to a current career
  • need the convenience and self pacing
  • are seeking work-life balance
  • have other time restrictions

Accredited online PhD Programs and accredited online Doctoral programs are offered at many universities. While the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and the Professional doctorate degree differ, one thing that distance learning programs have in common is that they make use of technology to provide a convenient learning option for working professionals.

online phd programs

Earning your doctorate degree online typically allows for more scheduling flexibility, and the use of computer, rather than commuter, skills. Or, if your job entails a lot of travel, having a laptop and strong wifi means you can study 'on the go' through Online PhD Programs.

Online PhD Programs vs. Online Doctorate Programs

Online PhD programs and online Doctorate programs are terminal degrees in their disciplines, meaning that academically, this is the highest award. Some students do continue their education in post-doctoral programs however, in most fields this is not a requirement, it is a further specialization - one you might see with medical doctors. As you embark on your search for the ‘right’ advanced degree, you might notice that both online PhD programs and online doctorate programs are offered. Navigating the terminology is important, especially since these two types of doctoral degrees may share the ‘Doctor’ but are actually different in important ways. In our next sections we discuss the difference between an online PhD program and an online dotorate program.

DID YOU KNOW?

Online PhD Programs are also known as "Research Doctorates" whereas Online Doctorate Programs are known as "Practice Doctorates".

What are Online PhD Programs?

An online PhD, also called ‘research doctorates’, is awarded in all fields as recognition for academic research that is publishable. This usually takes the form of a dissertation or single thesis that a committee of peers will examine and subsequently, is defended by the candidate. If you enjoy teaching, consulting, and research, you are likely a good candidate for online PhD Programs. These programs tend to be focused on the PhD candidate’s original knowledge contribution to his or her field.

How Many Years are Online PhD Programs?

The process of earning an online PhD in your field might take anywhere from 3 to 6 years, although you may find part-time online PhD programs that have a different time to completion. Some students apply after their Bachelor’s degree, while others use the Master’s degree as a platform for entry. The education level you have going into a PhD program might impact how long it takes you to complete your PhD online, however, requirements and program lengths vary between schools.

Are Online PhD Programs Respected?

Online PhD programs may be as respected as their traditional on-campus counterparts but you still want to look into appropriate accreditation. Choose a university that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, or by their recognized regional affiliates. Also look into program-specific accreditation. This is going to vary depending on whether your PhD is from a business, nursing or psychology graduate school. Very different accrediting boards. On top of that, if you are looking for online PhD programs for fields that require licensure (such as psychologists), make sure that the university and the program itself are accredited as this may be a requirement for state licensure exams or certification.

What are Online Doctorate Programs?

Online Doctorate programs are practice doctorates. If your career requires licensure, as do many fields in law, medicine, psychology and education, often times your fit is with a professional doctorate degree. These are offered in many fields as well, and may be referred to as first professional degrees or vocational degrees.[i] While online professional doctorate programs also entail research, it is of a practical nature; students are expected to understand theory and use available knowledge to address a topic they are passionate about. These students are also more interested in practicing their profession than in continuing to research, publish or teach. Now this isn’t to say there is no overlap, but in general, your choice is going to be between a clinical, practical, professional doctorate or a scholarly, research degree.

What Fields are Online PhD Programs Available in?

Online PhD programs and professional doctorate degrees may be available in many academic categories. We have categorized them under the following broad domains, and included samples of some potential program choices. Search for online doctoral degrees in education, business, and nursing. Use the on-page menu to refine your search by category.

How To Choose an Online PhD Program

Online PhD programs are commonly offered as 'mirrors' of a university's residential program, although the learning delivery is different and some of the courses may not be available for distance-learners. Before you select an online PhD program, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Online PhD or PsyD? Be sure that the type of degree and the institution that awards it aligns with the career goals you have set for yourself.
  • University Review: Make sure that you know about their faculty, and the professors are people you look forward to learning from.
  • Read and Ask Questions: Then read descriptions. Pose a question to their admissions office to test their response time. You need a good tech support as a distance-learner. And, not all online PhD programs have the same formats. You can request more information from the graduate schools directly from GradSchools.com
  • Transferring Credits: You definitely want to make sure that your previous degree credits can be transferred to your online doctoral degree program.
  • Program Length: If you have specific time constraints, prefer to take things slow or accelerate the process, determine how to make this work with the online format.

What Does it Mean to Earn a Doctorate Degree Online?

Whether you are earning a doctorate degree online or a pursuing one of the Phd programs online, there is no 'one' standard formula in distance-learning. The structure and format of online PhD programs and online doctorate programs varies between schools. Some of the potential features of accredited online PhD programs might include:

  • Some on-campus visits in the form of short meetings or intensives, especially in human-centered academic fields.
  • Online courses or lectures that are pre-recorded so you can access your material 24/7 or live-streaming sessions that require your participation
  • Expect access to your university’s digital libraries and publications
  • Software that enable student-teacher and student-student interaction
  • Online discussion forums
  • Residency, professional business conferences or supervised practicum requirements
  • Classes may be scheduled or self-paced

Take the Next Step

There may be a lot of details to factor into choosing an accredited Online PhD program, but taking the time to spread your awareness to the details (in addition to tuition costs and whether you have all your prerequisites in place) is worth the effort. Any online doctoral program is fairly rigorous, but you don’t want to settle for one that isn’t just right or is a logistical nightmare. Smart shopping for smart students.


[i]en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctorate

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