Typically, the average number of years doctorate degree online programs usually take to complete is eight years–or twice as long to earn a bachelor’s degree. However, the length of time required for full Ph.D. program completion varies according to your university, discipline, and program. There are also academic institutions that accommodate students who are employed during the course of their enrollment. This can impact their schedule and result in extended periods in the Ph.D. program.

Did you know that a Ph.D. in the hard sciences usually takes a shorter time to complete than a doctorate degree in education, history, and humanities that could take about 13 long years? Core requirements include full time coursework, qualifying or comprehensive exams, a research course starting with a doctoral dissertation proposal, and finally a successful defense of the dissertation.

Similar to campus-based teaching, reputable online doctorate programs that are regionally accredited require students to take core and elective courses. You will still do research, as well as write, present, and defend your dissertation, Your online school may also require internships and immersion programs.

While the numerous facets of online doctorate programs are similar to the conventional on-campus ones, certain accredited online schools offer doctorate degrees that can only take as little as four years, or five years at most, to complete. This estimated period of completion is dependent upon many factors, including your field of study, your focus of research, and the committee or faculty overseeing the research. As it is with on-campus programs, your personal schedule and availability should also be taken into account.

There are online Ph.D. courses that are 100% online, which means students are not required to be on-campus. Meanwhile, some online programs adopt a hybrid model consisting of different levels of residency. You can expect your online doctorate program to promote holistic academic growth, just as those in a brick-and-mortar academe do.

If you’ve earned your master’s degree upon application to an online Ph.D. program, you may have an edge in terms of academic credits. A master’s degree also helps if you are changing fields or if your undergraduate credentials don’t meet the standards of the doctorate program.

In conclusion, the length of time that you will spend completing your online doctorate degree is highly dependent upon a list of factors. Consider your focus of study and program structure, requirements, and credit-transfer policies. Your personal circumstances also play a key role in your academic progress.

If you are applying to an online doctoral program, make sure you get specific, useful information first. Work with your academic adviser and speak with current and past students. An accredited online program may mean less time spent being in university; however, this is by no means a shortcut.