3 things you need to know before pursuing an online PhD

Kiran Shahid, PhD student at Shanghai Jiao Tong Universityon 20 April 2020
Laptop on coffee table.

Considering pursuing an online PhD? Learn more about the pros and cons here.

Studies show that 11% of all jobs available on the market will require at least post-secondary education by 2020. So on that note, it may be the perfect time to earn your PhD. But we bet you’re wondering how with the whole COVID-19 situation? From an authorised online university, that’s how. Yes, you read that right. Getting a doctoral degree online is now a reality that would have been unheard of not that long ago. Just pick an online programme (websites like online college plan for those in the US or Find a PHD for worldwide students can help you with that) that suits your needs and earn the highest academic achievement that one can earn from the comfort (and isolation) of your home.

Individuals who hold a doctorate degree have the lowest level of unemployment and the highest earnings. But getting to the level where you can earn that doctorate salary can be expensive. Online courses can help cut the costs of your ambitious educational path. There may be fewer online doctorate programmes than any other type of distance learning degree, but there are still hundreds of schools that offer online education solutions. 

You’re interested, aren’t you? Let’s look at the benefits and what you need to know to get that PhD online.

Flexibility and self-paced learning

Many people spend a lot of time travelling back and forth to work. A lot of people are also restricted in the time they can take off from their job to pursue a full-time doctoral programme. An online PhD offers the perfect solution for those who want to learn while they work and grow professionally. 

Greater self-motivation and time management

Time management and self-motivation are two of the top ten skills employers want to see in new hires. By pursuing an online doctoral degree you will probably master both. You will need to tackle multiple tasks at once, set yourself priorities on a daily basis, and adapt to changing work conditions. 

But it’s no small feat. Juggling work, family and education is not an easy task to do. But with online courses, there are no set lecture times and students can create their own schedules. It’s completely up to you to complete assignments and plan study and revision, which can be shaped around your own personal commitments. As long as you’re up for the challenge, doing a PhD alongside your day to day life showcases a superhuman ability for time management. 

Access to Faculty

Professors can reach out to more students in an online class than in a traditional setting. Even though students don’t attend formal lectures, online doctoral courses allow individuals to engage one-on-one with faculty members via e-mail, video chat, discussion boards and instant messaging. Just because you’re doing it online, doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. 

Final thought

One thing to keep in mind - if you think that enrolling in an online PhD programme means it will be easier than a traditional degree, think twice. Both options share one thing in common; it’s the highest academic degree you can achieve, both online and campus-based. These programmes are rigorous in nature and are best suited for students who are 100% committed to their studies. Good luck!

Kiran Shahid, PhD student at Shanghai Jiao Tong Universityon 20 April 2020