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Online PhD Programs: Become an Expert while Living Your Life

By Peterson's Staff updated on Tuesday, April 08, 2014

An online PhD degree program may be the option you're looking for if you want to pursue a doctoral degree but need to fit education into your already busy work and personal life.

Online or distance learning PhD programs can help you meet your goals in a more flexible manner than on-campus programs, and that can be a tremendous boon to anyone looking to pursue a PhD.


Searching for an online PhD program

There are numerous online PhD degree programs to choose from. These programs cover a variety of broad fields including the arts, humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, business, and communications. Any given doctoral degree program tends to be very focused and specialized, so you'll want to be certain you know which subject you want to study.

No matter what you pick, you'll likely spend a long time studying it, performing research on it, and then continuing to work with it once you earn your PhD. But that's the very first step of looking at any PhD program. The next step is determining which programs in your subject are suitable to you.

Whether you want to pursue an online PhD degree in history or particle physics, you'll need to look for online PhD programs that match your interests and needs, academically and financially. Examine the course curriculum, faculty experience, research opportunities, and practical training opportunities that each of the programs in your subject offers, and then find the environment that is the best fit for you.

Pursing an online degree can have many benefits. You can maintain your existing work and location while still pursuing education that helps you expand your career options. In addition, you can develop important connections with other people in your field — people who may be spread across the country or around the globe.

To get started in your search for online PhD degree programs, try using our keyword search or check out the list of related programs on this page.

Items to consider for online PhD degree programs

For all online PhD degree programs, the exact features of the program should be a huge determinant in your decision. Programs that offer more flexible schedules, for example, might be more appealing if you have time commitments around which you'll have to fit your studies.

Online PhD degree programs that offer more opportunities to work with a group of other students over the Internet might appeal to you if you're a group learner.

These features should also be considered in light of the subject matter you hope to study. A physics online degree program would likely be a different experience than a psychology online PhD degree program, for example. It would require different skills and tools. Social work online degree programs might be best when they offer the opportunity to actually work with nearby communities, and education online degree programs might be best if they give you opportunities to observe or work with local schools.

Keeping the subject matter of your PhD in mind when looking at the features of online degree programs is just as important as keeping your own requirements in mind.

Other online learning topics

If you're interested in other online degree opportunities, check out the options below.


For other undergraduate options, see our main online learning page.

About the Author

Peterson's has more than 40 years of experience in higher education, and the expert staff members here are all ready to leverage their considerable knowledge and experience to help you succeed on your educational journey. We have the information, the know-how, and the tools -- now all we need is you!

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