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Overview of PhD Distance Learning


Earning a PhD in a particular field has always been a difficult task for any person. Those who intend to earn a PhD are mostly the ones that are already doing a job. And doing a job and earning a doctoral degree which is not only difficult but time-consuming as well can become really exhausting to handle at the same time. This often leads to quit either one of the things. But hey, don’t lose hope because there’s always a solution to every problem and so does this one. The PhD Distance learning is the best solution for all such people who wish to earn a doctoral degree and keeping their jobs as well.

The trend of earning a doctoral degree online has increased to a great extent in the past few years. Keeping this factor in mind, it has been noted that now there are plenty of well-renowned and regionally accredited institutions that are offering their doctorates online. By giving this facility to the students, it gets really easy for them to earn a doctorate and advance their career. Earning a doctoral degree this way requires less face-time or physical presence on campus. This enables learners to do a job and study at the same time without disturbing either of the schedules.

Platforms and Universities facilitating PhD Distance Learning:

As mentioned earlier, there are many reputable institutions all over the world that are offering online doctoral programs. Of which some of the names are mentioned below.

  • John Hopkins University
  • The University of Southern California
  • George Washington University
  • The University of Florida
  • Keiser University –Ft Lauderdale
  • Andrews University
  • George Fox University
  • The University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Colorado State University-Fort Collins
  • The University of Arkansas
  • Indiana University Bloomington
  • The Concordia University of Chicago
  • Barry University
  • Texas A & M University-Commerce
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Indiana Wesleyan University Marion
  • Union University
  • The Medical University of South Carolina
  • Liberty University
  • Loma Linda University
  • Nova Southeastern University
  • Central Michigan University
  • The City University of Seattle
  • Amridge University

Besides these above-mentioned Universities, there are many many more from all over the world. But the Doctoral programs of these mentioned Universities are considered to be of great value. The mode of learning is mostly online but there have to be a few times when a student has to come for a face-to-face class or workshop but that can only happen once or twice per semester.

Online Doctoral and PhD Distance Learning Programs:

Now let us take a look at the different online doctoral fields that the Universities are offering:

Johns Hopkins University:

Johns Hopkins offers its students a number of online doctoral programs that can be completed mostly in four years.

These are in:

  • Applied Health Informatics,
  • Education,
  • Computer Sciences,
  • History of Medicine,
  • Nursery Practice,
  • different Engineering disciplines like Civil,
  • Mechanical,
  • Electrical,
  • and Computer Engineering.

The mode of learning during the whole degree will mostly be online. The PhD candidates are supposed to complete a qualifying examination, a graduate board oral examination and a final thesis defence. During this whole time, the students are going to be working very closely with an advisor that will help them to plan a self-directed curriculum. The purpose of this practice is to fulfil all the upper-level coursework requirements.

For further details or queries visit the site;  Johns Hopkins University

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill:

The University offers an HPM executive doctoral program in Health Leadership that is a hybrid program. This program consists of a minimum of 45 credit hours of online study along with campus visits as well. This type of degree has found out to be very ideal for all the experienced professionals who want to become senior leaders in the field of global public health. This degree doesn’t demand for a student to be strictly in the U.S. Instead anyone within the U.S or outside the U.S is eligible for the program but are bound to visit the campus three to four days for two years of the three-year program. A candidate has to come for three to four days every fall, spring and summer semester. The coursework of the program includes a comprehensively written and oral exams and a final doctoral dissertation.

For further information visit the website;  The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Barry University:

Barry University is among the largest Catholic Universities in the Southeast U.S and offers more than 100-degree programs in different specialized fields. With that Barry offer 4 online PhD Programs in Occupational Therapy and Nursing Practice.  The post master’s DNP offers an optional specialization in anesthesiology as well. The part-time students are to complete the OTD in a time span of two years. The coursework is delivered in two ways, synchronously and asynchronously with the help of Adobe Connect and Canvas. This online DNP contains 35 to 38 semester hours of online coursework, residency requirements and a three-part DNP scholarly project.

Visit the website for further details;  Barry University


University of Southern California:

The USC is known to be a pioneer of distance education since 1972 and it offers three PhD programs online, that is, a doctor of education with a Global Executive Concentration, a doctor of Education with an Organizational Change and Leadership Concentration, and a doctor of Social Work. Though the majority of the coursework is intended to be completed online yet two of the doctoral programs require some in-person attendance. The PhD in global executive includes 11 weeks of intensive class sessions in Los Angeles and Hong Kong, and the DSW requires six-day on-campus residencies during the third and sixth semesters.

For further details visit the website;  University of Southern California

George Fox University:

George Fox is known to be the only University that is a nationally recognized Christian University in Oregon. It offers dozens of academic programs in its multiple campuses and online as well. At present, the University is offering a number of PhD online Programs in Business Administration, Education and Ministry Studies

With that, the online doctoral programs include

  • doctor of business administration,
  • doctor of education,
  • doctor of ministry in leadership,
  • spiritual formation,
  • doctor of ministry in semiotics,
  • future studies,
  • doctor of ministry in leadership,
  • and global perspectives.

Each program that George Fox is offering is delivered in a hybrid format and requires both online and on-campus coursework.

For further details visit the website; George Fox University

University of Florida:

The University of Florida is one of the country’s foremost research universities and has been really famous in offering comprehensive distance-learning programs for nearly 100 years now.

It offers nine accredited Online PhD Programs including doctor of

  • Audiology,
  • Philosophy in Classical Civilization,
  • Philosophy in Latin and Roman studies,
  • Nursing practice,
  • Pharmacy doctorate, and several online PhD programs in education.

The Curriculum and teaching mode varies by program, but most PhD programs require participation in numerous seminars, written and oral exams, and a final dissertation.

For further details visit the website; University of Florida

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The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign:

The University of Illinois is among the most prominent research universities in the country and a champion of experiential learning.

The UIUC proudly offers a number of online PhD programs in various fields like the doctor of Education in Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership offers four concentrations:

  • Diversity and Equity in education,
  • Global Studies in Education,
  • Human Resource Development,
  • Learning Design and Leadership.

Other online doctoral programs include bilingual and English as a second language, foundations of e-Learning in Higher Education, New Learning, and Technology Specialist.

For further details or any queries feel free to visit the official website of the UIUC;  The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Keiser University Ft-Lauderdale:

Keiser University has its flagship campus in the West Palm Beach and has been providing career-focused education to thousands of students for more than 40 years now. It offers an Online PhD program in Business Administration and Doctoral Degrees in Educational Leadership and Instructional Design and Technology. Those students in the online DBA program can specialize in marketing, global management or global business. Whatever the online PhD program that a student takes requires 60 credit hours in core, research, specialization and dissertation courses. With that the students are to complete at least 54 of the required credit hours at Keiser.

For further details just visit the website; Keiser University Ft-Lauderdale

Andrews University:

Andrews University has been famous for having a high percentage of international students and is considered to be one of the country’s most ethnically diverse campuses. The University provides comprehensive online programs to both local and global students. Andrews University offers 11 accredited online PhD programs in education and health professions. Students with interest can earn a doctor of Education or a Doctor of Philosophy in various Education Concentrations, including curriculum and instruction, Educational Leadership, Higher Education Administration, and Leadership. Online Health Professions options include a doctor of Nursing Practice, a doctor of Physical Therapy with a concentration in Orthopedic Manual Therapy, and a Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy. Health professions doctorates may require a practicum or clinical experience.

For further assistance visit the website; Andrews University

University of Arkansas:

The University of Arkansas like any other University also strives to offer its students with a high-quality education.

It also has a number of online doctoral degrees that include offerings in

  • Adult and lifelong learning,
  • Educational Leadership,
  • Human Resource,
  • Workforce Development Education,
  • and Nursing practice.

The online DNP offers a family nurse practitioner and adult-geriatric acute care nurse practitioner concentrations. The mode of learning is mostly online but there are minimal campus visits required. With that, an in-person program orientation on-campus and local clinical practicum hours are also required.

For further details or any queries, feel free to visit the official website of the University;  University of Arkansas

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Challenges in PhD Distance Learning:

Though getting an online degree whether it is of the undergraduate or postgraduate level has its perks. Still there come many challenges in the road that a learner must face. So let us shed some light on them.

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Isolation is known to be one of the most common challenges for PhD students. Since they don’t have to go to the University to take classes and can do that from home, sometimes they get really alone. They can easily develop a feeling of being completely isolated.


Getting a doctoral degree is not an easy task and it gets even more complicated when the mode of learning and teaching is online. These factors can lead to stress.

Conflict with Supervisor:

This is another challenge that a student has to face while studying online. If there is a conflict with a supervisor, it is easy to solve face to face. But when you are studying online, there develops a problem of communicating directly with the supervisor. And this lack of communication can sometimes lead to great conflicts.

Time Management:

Though studying online and at your own ease and time is a blessing. But this also leads to facing difficulties in managing time. When you are studying on-campus, you are bound to set your priorities according to it and you’re always there on time. But studying online makes you reluctant often and it gets difficult to manage time and if you’re doing a job along then time management gets even more difficult.

Work/Life Balance:

Doing the job and studying at the same time (although it’s an online degree) makes it really challenging for a person to balance between the two. You can’t study when you’re at work and when you’re home, you’re too tired to study sometimes and vice versa.

Lack of Institutional Support:

Another challenge that a student’s face is the lack of institutional support. When you are studying on-campus, there are teachers all around the place that can assist and guide you. But studying alone at your home, you can’t have that.


Concluding our discussion by saying that we at takethiscourse.net very much appreciates and supports all such platforms and universities that provide online degree programs like PhD Distance Learning. Though there come many obstacles and challenges that one has to face when studying online but still this mode of studying has its own advantages. So look for an online doctoral degree for yourself from the above-mentioned platforms and never stop learning.