How do online Doctorate programs differ from traditional university programs?

Doctorate degrees are for the truly passionate learner. Compared to a master’s program which can be completed in two to three years, it could take a student up to eight years to complete their doctorate, depending on the field of study. Students are also required to take comprehensive exams throughout their studies before presenting a dissertation to a set of panelists. Students must be able to defend their ideas – and the dissertation is typically prepared outside of the regular scope of coursework associated with this degree.

If you’re wanting to earn a doctorate online, you’ll obviously have more flexibility as you learn, and can schedule around work or time with friends and family. Working while you study can also cut down on the financial impact of going back to school and could keep you from having to take out unnecessary loans.

On the other hand, some study concentrations call for in-person instruction or hands-on learning, including nursing and psychology. While much of the curriculum can be addressed remotely, if you’re considering a degree in those fields, it may be best to stick with a traditional brick-and-mortar university. In many cases, you may not be able to practice in your field of study even if you have gotten a degree from an online university.

Additionally, if you’re looking for financial aid, you’ll be much more likely to find it at traditional universities instead of online institutions due the requirement of applying for assistantships, which cannot be completely remotely. Research your doctorate concentration carefully before selecting a school so you can get the most out of your money and time. Always ensure the university you select is accredited – which means the school is meeting a particular set of standards.

Examples of online universities that offer online Doctorates include the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Alabama, and the University of Florida.