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
- Liberty University provides a worldclass education from a christ-centered worldview
- 100% online programs at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels
- No standardized testing if student meets admission requirements
- Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
- 95% of Liberty University students receive some form of financial aid
- Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degrees available in a wide range of fields.
- Flexible online programs offered in Psychology, Criminal Justice, Education, and more.
- Assigned Financial Services Advisors to help answer student financial questions.
- Servicemembers and their spouses can apply for the Ashford Military Grant to reduce tuition for all undergraduate courses.
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.
Hofstra University is a private institution whose primary mission is to provide a quality education to its students in an environment that encourages, nurtures and supports learning through the free and open exchange of ideas for the betterment of humankind. Hofstra University is committed to academic freedom and to the transmission, advancement and preservation of knowledge for its own academic community and the community at large.
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.
- 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.
Founded more than 130 years ago by the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, Duquesne has grown to become one of the nation's top Catholic universities. The school’s mission is to provide a well-rounded education that challenges students academically while nourishing their spiritual and ethical development. Today, Duquesne is home to 10 schools of study and serves more than 10,000 students.
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.
The University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW) prepares students to fight for social change through its traditional Master of Social Work (MSW) program delivered online. The 90-credit program can be completed in as few as 27 months and is designed for students who earned a bachelor’s degree in a field other than social work from a regionally accredited college or university. Traditional MSW students complete both the foundation curriculum and concentration curriculum in Mental Health and Trauma.