PhD stands for “Doctor of Philosophy”. These programs are research degrees, i.e., a major component of them is your own research, presented in a dissertation or thesis. But they also usually contain a taught element. This taught component may comprise higher degree courses in the subject area of your chosen research topic plus research methods courses. The latter provide you with the research techniques and skills that you need to complete your PhD research – which are also very useful skills for your work. Another part of this taught component is often the completion of a literature review of the area of your research – also essential for your PhD.
It is becoming increasingly popular for people to take doctoral programs that lead to a professional qualification such as Doctor of Education (EdD), Doctor of Psychology (PsyD), Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), Doctor of Computer Science (DCS), Doctor of Engineering (D.Eng), or Doctor of Public Health (DPH). These have the same status as PhDs – though sometimes the latter are seen as more “theoretical”.
This page helps students who are looking for PhD programs – whether online or on campus – and provides some advice on studying a PhD.
The thesis in PhD programs
Your thesis should make a distinct contribution to the knowledge of the subject and demonstrate originality, e.g., by including new facts, theories or critical analyses.
To help you conduct your research and write your thesis, you will be allocated a supervisor, or in some cases, two or three supervisors. Their role is not to do the research for you, or to do the writing for you. Instead, they provide constructive criticism on your proposals.
After you have completed and submitted your thesis, you will be asked to “defend it” in front of a panel of examiners. This means the examiners will have read your thesis and will ask you questions about it. So the final decision is not just based on what you have written – it is also based on your ability to demonstrate that you actually know what you have written and can argue for the original ideas you have expressed.
Taking a PhD involves making a considerable personal and financial investment. Thus it is very important that you are genuinely interested in the thesis topic that you choose. You can browse topics and programs at the foot of the page.
Studying PhD programs on campus
There really isn’t any limit to the subjects or areas in which you can study a PhD. But you may have to travel or move to a campus to get supervision for your particular thesis topic. You can browse schools and programs at the foot of the page.
The advantages of studying on campus include being surrounded by others also conducting research. Having such people around you helps to motivate and stimulate you. You also benefit from having regular access to your supervisor.
Studying PhD programs online
It is possible to take a wide variety of PhD programs on campus. But distance learning also makes it possible for learners to take PhDs from a distance education institution anywhere in the world. Of course, there may be a residential requirement, usually at the beginning and towards the end of an online PhD, but it is undoubtedly more convenient and cheaper to do it online than on-campus. But it is a long, hard and often lonely road. And you need the support of an understanding family and friends.
List of schools and programs
- Personalized learning that’s guided by industry trends
- Technology-driven approach designed to help you reach your potential
- Access to real-world learning and strong thought leadership
- Convenient ways to complete your degree even with a busy schedule
- Full Sail’s curriculum combines elements of creativity, art, business and life skills, technical prowess, and academic achievement.
- Full Sail offers accelerated programs, so a degree that would normally take four years takes 24 months on average.
- Students work with industry-standard tools and technologies, allowing them to gain practical knowledge and real-world experience.
- Join us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram to interact with our community, read about grad success, and see campus images.
- Offers MUSE (My Unique Student Experience), a content delivery system that gives students the option to watch, view, read or listen to required course materials.
- Allows students to complete courses at whatever pace they want.
- A DANTES-affiliated university and member of the Service Members Opportunity Colleges.
- Offers IntelliPath, a proprietary learning technology that lets students learn at their own pace.
Online Learning at Concordia University–Portland
If education is your passion, Concordia University-Portland is your university. One of the most respected names in learning today, Concordia offers several fully online Master of Education (MEd) programs—most of which can completed in one year—and a fully online Doctorate of Education (EdD) program. Our graduates stand out with the skills, integrity, and compassion necessary to meet the ever-changing needs of students today. Together, we're all making an impact in education.
Named a “Best College” by U.S. News & World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes, Simmons University has earned a reputation for providing a pioneering liberal arts education for undergraduates integrated with professional work experience. Today, Simmons offers renowned coeducational graduate programs in business, communications management, nursing and health sciences, education, liberal arts, social work, and library and information science.
Study for your graduate education with University of Illinois at Chicago. We offer master’s degree and post-master’s certificate programs in health informatics that can be completed 100% online.
The new online Master of Science in Data Science (MSDS) from the University of Virginia Data Science Institute (DSI) expands the accessibility of our cutting-edge curriculum beyond Charlottesville. The application of data science across nearly every industry is one of the most important undertakings of the 21st century. We are thrilled to welcome a new group of diverse students from across the region, country, and globe.
As a leader in education, Regis is dedicated to offering programs with a holistic view of health services that are designed for the future of the field. Through cutting-edge coursework, industry-active faculty members, and an array of majors and graduate programs, Regis has been able to positively impact the educational community, health services landscape, and personal lives of students nationwide.
Work toward your graduate degree with New England College Online. We offer master's degree programs in management, accounting, and public policy that can be completed 100% online.
- Northcentral University was founded in 1996 to provide working professionals around the world with unprecedented access to richly engaging, professionally relevant, and academically-rigorous education from a U.S. university.
- As a regionally accredited, private, online and graduate-focused university, NCU offers doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degrees in business, technology management, education, and psychology, as well as doctoral and master’s degrees in marriage and family therapy.