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Friday, April 6, 2012

Online Ph.D. - Is That Even Possible?

Ph.D. stands for Doctor of Philosophy and it is the highest academic degree that anyone can earn in the US. Obtaining this degree takes an incredible amount of intellectual effort, study and intensive research.

Usually this takes about 5 years of full time study in a university setting. So difficult it is to earn this degree that less than 1% of the population possess it.

Our society gives the individual that has earned a Ph.D. respect and addresses them with the title “Doctor”. So, the question is, can it be obtained through an online school? Yes, it can, with a few exceptions. For example, you cannot receive a Medical Ph.D. through an online course, because half of the curriculum is hands-on and carefully supervised training in a hospital or clinic.

In order to receive a Ph.D., you must first possess a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree, which usually takes about 6-7 years to gain altogether in a traditional classroom setting. Then, there are two things required to earn a Ph.D.

First, you must master a specific subject completely which means study, study, and more study. And secondly, you must extend the body of knowledge about that subject which means to experiment and add to what is presently known.

These two things involve a very large amount of research. You will have to read everything that has ever been published on a particular subject and then attempt to expand on that knowledge.

It will be asked of you to demonstrate that you are now an expert on this subject by passing special examinations, taking additional graduate level courses all the while maintaining a very high grade average.

A dissertation or thesis will also be required which is a lengthy, formal document that is in essence a presentation of all your research and experiments. The time is takes to prepare your thesis can take up to a couple of years also.

Traditionally, the Ph.D. program at the University of Chicago estimates about $25,000 worth of expenses per every 9 months of schooling. Some of these are living expenses because a great deal of the tuition expenses are actually covered through fellowship and stipend funding and other grants.

For an online degree, the cost may be in the tens of thousands and fellowship funding is usually not available. Some employers offer funding for degrees of this nature if it would directly affect the quality of the work assigned to the employee. And there are always student loans available. The resource for this information is found at students.gov.

Before choosing an online school to complete your Ph.D., be sure to check to see if it is an accredited school. Some individuals have lost their job once their employers discovered that the degree listed on their resume was from an online school that was nothing more than a degree mill or a school that was not accredited. A valuable resource for checking out this information is found at: ope.ed.gov/accreditation.

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