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How can I access online PhD programs?

I have a master’s degree in computer engineering and in six months time, I’m planning to pursue an online doctorate program in software engineering or related fields. As such, I’m kindly looking for guidance on how to access and study online PhD programs. In your guide, please include the most appropriate approaches that I can use to find the best online colleges and universities that are most suitable in offering computer engineering courses. Finally, I will so much appreciate if someone with experience in PhD online education can help me understand how to prepare for my studies, choose my study project as well as how to conduct my researches.

Timothy Norman

in Online Courses

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Derrick Little on May 8, 2018

PhDs are the exceptional type of degrees attempted by relatively very few students and entail highly advanced academic research. The requirements needed in order to be admitted into a Ph.D. degree program differ considerably depending on the country, school, and duration of study beginning from research degrees entry level to advanced online doctorates. In the course of study, you will be called a Ph.D. or doctoral student. When you’ve completed all your comprehensive examinations and coursework, and you’re in the process of conducting your thesis, you will be referred to as a candidate of philosophy, Ph.D. candidate or doctoral candidate.

Well, the above is simply the basics that you should know when thinking of pursuing doctoral studies. Not every graduate student can qualify for a Ph.D. program. Sometimes, the attainment of the title Ph.D. or Dr. Phil. may require some sort of mythic status that is only understood by very people in the field of academia. Due to the current advancement in technology, an individual may pursue doctoral education from home or anywhere away from a physical classroom. To access and study an online Ph.D. program, you will need to make sure that you have satisfied all of the following requirements:

  • Have a bachelor’s and master’s degree, an MPhil degree or an MRes degree.
  • Have a tenured professor who will serve as your supervisor and formal advisor.
  • Proof of language proficiency.
  • Academic and employment references which should include academic transcripts, résumés, details of program modules as well as any project publications.
  • References from people (2 or 3) who know you very well especially those in your employment and academic circles.
  • Proof of your research interest and potential in your preferred field of study.
  • Personal statements.
  • PhD research proposals.

Those students, who wish to undertake Ph.D. studies but lack relevant qualifications, can apply for the program through fulfilling the additional requirements set by their school of choice. This will include sitting for special qualifying tests or taking extra classes.

Online Ph.D. course will involve at least three years of study when taken full-time and about six to eight years when pursued part-time. You will be required to complete substantial original research that shall be presented in your dissertation or thesis.  You will also be expected to undertake an oral or ‘viva voice’ of your Ph.D. in front of a panel of examiners.

Unlike master’s and bachelor’s degree programs, doctoral programs are pure research studies. However, this doesn’t imply that you will spend your entire study period locked in a laboratory or library. In summary, a doctoral program will entail:

  • Conducting a review of literature which is a survey of contemporary knowledge in your field.
  • Carrying out an original and advanced research that will be accompanied by an extensive data collection.
  • Writing a thesis that will document your conclusions.
  • Submission of a dissertation.
  • Thesis defense. 

Charles McAlear2 years ago

I totally agree with the above explanation regarding online Ph.D. programs.  Traditionally, Ph.D. students were supposed to conduct their learning on campus that was normally under very tight supervision. However, in today’s education system, technology has facilitated e-learning in all levels of education.   

Once your registration is complete, you will be formally notified of your admission into your chosen field of study. In addition, you’ll be informed about the maximum duration that is set before you submit your thesis, the assessment approaches that will be used as well as your supervisors alongside their fields of specialization. A good number of universities and colleges will provide the full list of available facilities and other provisions for your research program. Your academic advisors and supervisors will be responsible for assessing the milestones in your study and providing relevant guidelines.

On the other hand, note that there are degrees which are deemed to be higher than the Doctor of Philosophy Degree. However, such degrees are only offered in specific countries and in most cases, they are offered as honorary degrees. Such degrees include:

  • Doctor of Science
  • Doctor of Letters/ Literature
  • Doctor of Divinity
  • Doctor of Music
  • Doctor of Civil Law

Most importantly, understand that Ph.D. degree signifies nobility in the education industry and is regarded by most as the de facto qualification into careers in the academic and scientific spheres. 


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