Online PhD Programs
Regardless of academic field or discipline, doctoral degrees are considered terminal; they demand the highest standards of rigorous academic study and research.
What is a Doctoral Degree?
A doctoral degree is the highest level of academic degree that can be awarded to college students. Research doctoral degrees are perhaps the most common type attained in North America, as well as abroad. Yale introduced the nation s first research doctorate, a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), in 1861. Other popular doctoral degree progams in research including the Doctor of Education (EdD), Doctor of Engineering (DEng), and Doctor of Theology (ThD). Professional doctoral degrees, which provide advanced research and study in a particular discipline such as psychology, medicine, or law, are another common type of terminal degree, gaining in popularity since the introduction of the Medicinae Doctor (MD) at Columbia University in 1767. Other professional doctoral degrees include the Juris Doctor (JD), Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).
Top Featured Schools
Earn your doctorate degree 100% online in a convenient, affordable, and flexible setting. Save with Capella-sponsored grants and scholarships, transfer credits, military discounts, and more.
Colorado Technical University
Offering benefits to military, tuition grants, and accelerated class models to earn your doctorate in as little as 3 years, Colorado Technical University’s online programs were recognized by U.S. News and World Report lists for Best Online Programs for 2016..
Liberty University Online offers multiple doctoral programs for professionals seeking to further their careers, broaden their knowledge bases, and increase their marketability. Classes are flexible and 100% online. Liberty offers transfer credits, and some of the lowest online tuition rates among top-rated universities.
Northcentral University offers online doctoral degree and online phd programs with numerous specializations designed to fit our students’ professional goals. Their 100% online, one-to-one learning model allows you to partner with a member of their doctoral faculty throughout your education to ensure your success.
Regardless of academic field or discipline, doctoral degrees are considered terminal because they demand the highest standards of rigorous academic study and/or research beyond the master s level. Many doctoral programs offered to distance students, such as online PhD programs, are designed as practitioner s programs , tailored to the needs of aspiring professionals in their respective fields. Doctoral online degrees continue to grow in popularity among students seeking to maximize their career opportunities, with the percentage of people age 25 and over who have completed at least a doctoral degree increasing, though nominally, between 1995 and 2015. See the outline below, which lists out the number of people age 25 and over who completed at least a doctoral degree by year:
Though it may seem moderate, this increase in enrollment has a major effect in the current job market, making now the perfect time to explore many of the PhD programs online today. Between academic years 2002–2003 and 2012–2013, the total number of postsecondary degrees awarded was increased at all degree levels, with doctoral degrees up by 44% (from 122,000 to 175,000). This influx of doctoral enrollment makes for greater competition among even the highest-qualified candidates in their field; while job-seekers with a terminal degree typically held an automatic advantage over lesser-qualified candidates, they now face mounting competition from a higher number of equally educated peers.
Earning a doctoral degree requires a years-long commitment to rigorous study, even after completing a bachelor s or master s degree. The average time it takes to complete a PhD is four to seven years, which means many students spend more than a decade immersed in college life before earning a terminal degree. Among their many benefits, accredited online PhD programs can save students time, especially in disciplines like business, public service, and engineering, which may take as little as 3-5 years to complete. While special accelerated PhD programs online are rare, the nature of online coursework, which allows students to study in their own time while still working and taking care of their families, can be a major advantage to online students who are looking to save on the tuition, housing, and commuting costs included in a traditional program. A little research and they can find the best online PhD programs to meet their unique needs and goals.
The debate over how important it really is to earn a doctoral degree has heated up in recent years. While some argue that it is impractical to expect many students to have the funds and resources it takes to spend years of their lives earning a terminal degree, others see the inherent benefits of pursuing a doctorate, citing an increase in available online PhD programs and generous graduate scholarships as attractive incentives. A universal concept in all corners of the workforce, candidates with a terminal degree have the greatest advantage when it comes to top jobs and high salaries. The BLS reported that in 2013, the median annual wage for full-time workers ages 25 and over whose highest level of education was a doctoral degree was $86,528, compared with $71,760 for those whose highest level was a bachelor s degree a $14,768 a year wage premium.
Still, some students wonder if a master s degree is enough to earn a top job in their field of choice. Both the master s and doctorate are graduate degrees, though the master s generally takes far less time to complete and may be a more career-oriented program, aimed at preparing the student for gainful employment after graduation. By contrast, a doctorate is the universal standard in higher education to demonstrate a student s complete mastery of a particular discipline or specialty, recognizing them as an authority in their field or in the subject of their research. Doctorates provide access to the most exclusive jobs and earn the highest lifetime salaries among all degree levels, with some programs requiring only a bachelor s degree for admission, allowing applicants to skip the master s degree altogether. Online PhD programs in education and business, for example, can be especially advantageous to a candidate looking to set themselves apart from others in these highly competitive fields.
Lifetime Earnings by Education 2009 Dollars