Is It Worth To Enroll In An Online PhD Program? The Pros And Cons

The Pros And Cons Of Enrolling In An Online PhD Program 

Getting a PhD takes time and money to get done, and many people just don’t manage to go through it – the average dropout rate is 43% in doctoral programs. And yet, you might be considering doing it as it can add value to your career, especially if you have any academic ambitions. But you might be considering enrolling in an online PhD program instead of a classroom-based one. There are several options out there, and you think it is worth having a look at them. But do they really worth it? To answer this question, we should first analyze the pros and cons of an online doctoral program.

7 Pros Of An Online PhD Program

If you are looking for reasons to enroll in an online PhD program as soon as possible, here they are:

  1. It costs less.
    Considering the huge price of a PhD, you will be happy to know that they cost much less than a classroom-based course. Not only because the fees are cheaper, but also because you will be saving in transport, rent, lunch out, and even on clothes.
  2. You will have fewer distractions.
    Studying from home, you will be able to focus on your study 100% of the time, without being distracted by a noisy campus or a roommate. There will also be less parties' invitations and other temptations around you.
  3. You can organize your time better.
    At this stage, you know very well how to organize your study time. You know when your brain is more active when you are ready to watch a class, or when is the best hour for you to write an assignment. Online courses will give you the flexibility that you need so you can do your tasks as you please.
  4. It will make you more independent and resourceful.
    As you won’t have anybody to help out on a daily basis, you will be more capable of dealing with problems by yourself. It will make you more independent and resourceful, characteristics highly expected from a person with a PhD in any company or university.
  5. You can better conciliate work and study.
    If you must work during your PhD, it will be much easier for you to do if you are studying online. Your hours will be flexible, and you will able to catch up with your assignments even during your journey from and to your workplace.
  6. You will improve other skills.
    It isn’t only your time management skills that you will improve if you decide to do your PhD online. It is also your organisational and communicational skills. It will upgrade your IT skills as well, as you will be using several resources every day, and finding out how the latest technology can help your work.
  7. It will make of you a better teacher.
    When your time comes, your will be a much better teacher (and, hopefully, a professor) after doing an online course. As you will have faced all possible challenges that your students might have to deal with, and considering that online education might even become mandatory in some cases, you will be more capable of understanding their needs and to offer fresh solutions to their problems.

7 Cons Of An Online PhD Program

Now that you heard the bright side let's see why an online PhD program might not be the best option for you.

  1. Less human interaction.
    As you won't be in class, either in a lab, you will face less human interaction during your course. It might make you feel a bit isolated, even if there are plenty of forums, discussion boards, and conference calls available.
  2. Not all online doctoral programs are accredited.
    This is something you should be careful about and check before enrolling in any online course. Not all online doctoral programs are accredited, meaning that they won’t be recognized after you get it done. So make sure that you pick one delivered by a recognized university or you will be just wasting your time.
  3. There is no one-to-one time with professors.
    One of the favorites things for anybody going for a PhD program is the possibility to directly interact face-to-face with the masterminds in their fields. Unfortunately, when you attend an online course, the maximum that you might get is to exchange e-mails with them.
  4. It might take longer to complete.
    Doctorates already take longer to complete compared to any other degree, from 5 to 9 years depending on the university and the complexity of your research. As online courses are even more flexible, you might take much longer than that, especially if you are conciliating work and study, and might easily finding yourself on it for over a decade.
  5. Not all doctorates can be done online.
    Depending on your area of expertise, you might not be allowed to do your doctorate online, due to the need to a high number of lab hours, for example. Medical and Science doctorate programs are less likely to become available, while Business and Psychology and easier to find and to be recognized, so check your possibilities first.
  6. A doctorate might not be thing for you.
    There are many reasons why maybe you shouldn’t get a PhD at all. From false hopes of high payments to the true life of a professor, you should consider first if you actually need the title before anything else.

In Conclusion

Doing your PhD online or not is a matter of choice, and it might be based on how much money or time you have available. It can be a perfect option for those who need to work while studying and who have young children to mind in the house. Plus, they are the best for introvert people who require less human interaction, and for those whose biological clock usually leave them asleep in the classroom.

On the other hand, there are areas of expertise which aren’t yet allowed to offer doctorate programs for obvious reasons, such as Medical and Engineering. You might also feel a bit isolated while studying on your own, and miss the chance of one-to-one conversations with professors and experienced scientists in your field.

It will all depend on what is more important for you, so you can decide what works best really. Just don't forget to check if the course is accredited, so you won’t be wasting your money and your time.

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