There are many ways to obtain a PhD; you can do it even as a working person who can’t afford (or simply don’t want) a break in their professional life or a reduction in salary. That’s because more and more colleges and universities offer part-time PhD programs in a variety of fields.
A part time PhD might take longer to accomplish – after all, you still need to put in the research hours. But Rome wasn’t built in a day, and if you only have time to do it part time, you have to work with what you’ve got. Your university may try and help you with your schedule, but you will still need to combine a full-time job with studying, conducting research, writing, and other academic responsibilities. So, you should know what you are doing, consider all the pros and cons beforehand, and make sure it is something that you want and are willing to work for.
A PhD can be highly beneficial to your career and benefit your whole community. Whether you are passionate about your chosen path and want to help to push it further, or you are thinking about changing the course of your career a bit, a PhD may be a way to go.
In this article, you will learn all the essentials about the PhD students and their graduate programs.
Table of Contents
- What Is a Part-Time PhD?
- Can You Complete Part-Time PhD Programs Online?
- How Long Does It Take to Get a Part-Time PhD?
- Benefits of Part-Time PhD
- How to Successfully Combine Work and University?
- Final Thoughts
What Is a Part-Time PhD?
To enroll in a part-time PhD program and be accepted, a candidate needs to meet the same requirements as the one who wants to enter a full-time program. For most universities, you need to have a Master’s degree to be elegible to apply. Some PhD programs may demand you to already have some work experience before you submit your application.
Some institutions may limit the number of courses you can take part-time, while others will require you to complete a specific program during each quarter. Sadly, it is not rare for a university to restrict the financial aid awards or insurance benefits for part-time students.
The details of a program, the workload and requirements vary significantly, depending on your chosen field of studies and university. Most programs, however, will teach you such skills as critical thinking, independence, or strategy thinking, no matter your chosen field.
Can You Complete Part-Time PhD Programs Online?
Part-time PhD programs are not only scheduled differently to help you successfully combine studying and working, but they can also be completed online. This is helpful if you work full time, have engagements you cannot reschedule – like child care, elder care or other responsibilities, whether professional or personal.
Many universities use Web 2.0 technology, enabling you to complete case studies, follow video instructions, disseminate tasks, attend online lectures, consult with professors, etc.
However, certain programs may still require you to gain some field experience, conduct research (which can’t always be done online), or attend workshops on campus.
You can easily find your dream online PhD program on our website.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Part-Time PhD?
The exact time of completion will always depend on your chosen university, program, and study area.
In general, part-time PhD students are allowed to finish their program in around 7-10 years, while their full-time peers can complete it in 2 or 3 on average.
Benefits of Part-Time PhD
Studying part-time will make it easier for you to keep your personal and professional commitments. So if you are not ready to fully sacrifice yourself to your university and pursuing your dream degree, this is the perfect option. It certainly is challenging to pursue the degree part-time and maintain the work-life-university balance. Still, it is possible, contrary to combining life with full-time studies, which is undoable.
Additionally, you are more in charge of your workload. Your university may require you to do a minimum each semester, but you will be able to complete more when you have a calmer time at work – and the other way around.
No Money Stress
As long as you have your boss’s support, you don’t need to worry about financial issues, which is very often the case with full-time students. You keep working normally, so you earn your regular salary. The fees are usually lower than for full-time degrees; additionally, very often, employers even cover the tuition fees, especially if your area of study is closely connected to what you do professionally.
Some companies invest in their employees and may help them with tuition, on certain terms.
Holding a PhD degree will undoubtedly open many doors for you. For example, you will always have the possibility to work in the academic world. In fact, roughly one-third of all PhD graduates are employed in academia; the rest work in a variety of fields, depending on their specific completed programs. What’s great, the unemployment rate among PhD and doctoral programs graduates is one of the lowest in the whole country. Plus, they tend to earn more in their workplaces (their earnings are as much as 62% higher on average).
It may not sound like an advantage at first. How can it be beneficial for you to complete a degree in 7 to 10 years, while full-time students do it in 2 or 3?
Well, time puts things in perspective. You get a better sense of the academics’ professional environment, and you have more time to explore your chosen field, which can truly make you a better specialist. When it comes to research, they are, by definition, ongoing. Especially the technology-related areas can change surprisingly fast, and as you study longer, you gain a much better understanding of what you are doing and where you are heading. You can absorb more, change the subject of your own research, or slightly change your career path. You will also have more opportunities to meet specialists from your field, and all connections are extremely valuable in terms of knowledge and future perspectives.
More time may also result in better opportunities. You will learn more about yourself and maybe get yourself quite famous in your area of study. It may happen that you won’t decide to stay at the university at all, because someone will headhunt you, or you will confirm your belief that academia, research, and studies are what you want to keep doing once you get your degree.
How to Successfully Combine Work and University?
The most important thing is to pursue a degree in the field that you are genuinely interested in. Otherwise, anything you do will irritate you and may lead to some serious mental health issues.
When you are genuinely passionate about something, conducting research, writing, and studying don’t seem like responsibilities. You are much eager to learn and explore, which is vital while getting a degree, even part-time. You need to stay motivated, and an interesting topic will help you avoid thinking ill about your university.
Once you’ve got your dream topic, you will need the right program and the perfect supervisor – both can make or break your whole pursuit of a degree at any university. That’s why it’s where your research should begin; only here, you need to research all of your possibilities. Then, make a plan with your supervisor to be 100% sure that you are on the same page.
Of course, some universities offer PhDs with the research subjects pre-chosen for them. These usually get free rides as they represent research that’s needed in the field. Here is your chance to get full funding even if you pursue your degree part-time.
Be sure you are in control. Plan your work and try to meet all the deadlines, even if you set them for yourself. However, don’t get too absorbed by your university responsibilities. Remember about taking real holidays and putting your mind to rest. Otherwise, your health, work, and studies will suffer.
Once you are finished with your Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, you are more than likely to be already working professionally. Therefore, you may not like the idea of putting your career on hold or agreeing to a lower salary only to continue with your education.
If you are not willing to fully sacrifice your income to the academic world, you can still gain your degree by enrolling to a part-time PhD program or even better – to a PhD program online. It has its downsides, such as restricted financial aid, but this is the only way of pursuing their degree for many working people. So, if that’s your case, make sure to consider all the pros and cons, but as long as you’re passionate about what you’re doing and you want to explore the topic much more deeply, there may be no better choice.