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Online Doctorate (PhD)

The most prestigious online degree you can attain is a doctorate (PhD). While it is highly respected and opens many doors for these recipients, it is also a very expensive and time-intensive avenue. As the highest degree attainable, a doctorate can prepare individuals for an important role in a business environment, such as an executive or CEO, or it can keep you in the classroom as a professor at a university—traditional or virtual. A few of the more common—and most popular—online doctorate programs include: Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), Doctor of Education (EdD), Doctor of Public Health (DPH) and Doctor of Psychology (PhD).

Know the Requirements

So what should you look for in an online doctorate program? Researching which online doctorate programs will best suit your needs is critical. Since this is the most advanced degree offered, there are unique requirements that are not found in other online programs. You should speak to an admissions representative and/or academic advisor so that you understand all of the requirements for the degree program. Also, find out if the program is to be completed in a certain amount of time or if it is flexible, and ask about any lectures or programs you’ll need to attend in person. Inquire about an advisor—will you have a specific person assigned to you while you are earning your degree? In addition to completing the required courses, online doctorate programs typically call for students to take exams and write a dissertation. A dissertation is a document that you create that supports a new idea, theory or some original topic based on research. Fully understanding the specific requirements of the program and for graduation is very important. This venture will be a substantial investment of time, effort, and money, and knowing the expectations early can help you avoid some potential road blocks later.

Accreditation and Financial Assistance

You want to be certain that you are enrolling in an accredited program so that your degree is worth much more than the paper on which it is printed, but another advantage to attending an accredited online college is that you may be able to get financial assistance. With the PhD requiring the highest tuition of all online degrees, you should take care to explore all areas of financial aid options available to you.


While there are many online PhD programs available to you, not every type of doctorate can be earned online. For example, if you are looking to become a medical doctor, online options are not available to you since this type of specialization requires highly supervised training as well as extensive hands-on experience in a classroom or clinical environment.