Conventional notion dictates that to successfully earn a doctorate degree, a student needs to complete a program that is fully campus-based. However, distance learning has paved the way for regionally accredited and reputable online doctorate programs. With doctorate degrees online campus visits are not required on a full-time basis, thereby benefiting students who need to balance their daily life.

Online doctoral program formats differ from one degree to another. There are doctorate degrees that are 100% online, which means students do all the work and satisfy all requirements online. Most, however, have on-campus and residencies requirements. Depending on their coursework, online doctoral students may be required to attend week-long classes in the university, mostly for supervision requirements.

Considered the highest educational attainment, a doctorate degree requires the completion of a dissertation, a research-intensive project during doctoral study. For a successful dissertation, doctoral students need at least one mentor–usually a professor with exceptional credentials in the relevant field of discipline–to supervise research work, among others.

Constant mentor-student communication is necessary throughout the process of completing your dissertation. Consultations may take place virtually, meaning through the use of the Internet. Mostly depending on need and preference, mentors and doctoral students also schedule sessions when they meet in person.

That said, a campus visit is encouraged; it is not always mandatory. You can schedule a face-to-face consultation with your mentor. Through this, you will have the chance to personally interact with an expert. And it goes without saying that a supportive and available research advisor is key to completing an outstanding dissertation.

In addition, all online doctoral students are encouraged to utilize the tools available on-campus. Because both campus-based and online doctorate degrees practically share the same coursework, online doctoral students should access the tools available within the academe.

Earn your doctorate degree through the distance learning option for comfort, convenience and flexibility. You can also choose to attend the university and focus fully on putting the finishing crown on all your educational attainment. If you choose the former, remember that your degree, your need for expert advice, and access to limited on-campus tools will require you to spend a particular period of time coming to class in a conventional school setting.

While they differ in their program structures, online and campus-based doctorate programs are similar in terms of coursework and requirements. Accredited online schools award the same credentials to doctoral students as universities do. Most importantly, both formats are expected to uphold academic excellence. You earn a doctoral degree, no less, when you graduate from an accredited online school.