Keeping motivated can be the key to completing your PhD or doctoral degree.

Motivational Techniques to Help You Complete Your DoctorateEarning a doctorate takes a good amount of time and effort. If you can’t stay motivated, it’s unlikely you’ll reach your goal. Fortunately, there are ways you can help yourself keep going, even through the most difficult stretches.

Choose the Right Program

Before you enroll in a doctoral program, you need to make sure you’re choosing the best program for you. Specifically, you should decide whether you want to enter a PhD program or a professional doctoral degree program.

So, what is a PhD degree exactly and what is a professional doctorate exactly? The difference is in the degree focus. A PhD is an academic degree focused on original research, data analysis, and the evaluation of theories. A professional doctorate is a professional degree focused on applying research to practical problems, formulating solutions to complex issues, and designing effective professional practices within your field. Your choice between a PhD vs professional doctorate can influence your course of study, so choosing the path that fits you best can help you stay interested and motivated.

Have Good Reasons for Earning Your Degree

Why do you want to earn a doctorate? If you struggle to answer that question clearly, you might not be ready for a PhD degree or professional doctoral program. In order to have the motivation necessary to reach your goal, you have to fully believe in the importance of reaching that goal.

Seek Out a Mentor or Coach

While you’ll have a faculty advisor once you’re a doctoral candidate working on your dissertation, it’s a good idea to have someone outside your program to help advise and guide you. This person can be a former professor, someone already in your preferred professional field, or any other person who believes in you and can help motivate you when you’re struggling.

Form a Support Group

Once you’re in a doctoral program, don’t hesitate to form a support group with your fellow students. Such a group can be particularly helpful during the time between writing your initial dissertation proposal and the time you make the final defense of your dissertation or doctoral study. It’s during this period you’ll be expected to be self-motivated. Having a support group where members regularly check in on each other and encourage each other can be invaluable.

Ask for Help

As you work on your doctorate, you may occasionally feel like you’re on your own. But you’re not. You can always turn to your faculty advisor, your university’s student support services department, and/or your friends and family for help and advice. Doing so can keep you from getting bogged down during difficult stretches.

Take Time to Recharge

Burnout is a real thing. To avoid it, make time to do things unrelated to your coursework or dissertation. Go on a hike or meet friends for dinner or take a weekend getaway to the beach—whatever will help you relax and, ultimately, recharge.

Attend an Online University

Online PhD programs and online professional doctoral programs can give you advantages that campus-based programs cannot. For one, you don’t have to move cities to attend an online university, which means you can stay close to the people and places you know. That alone can help you remain motivated. But it’s hardly the only reason to choose online education.

When you enroll in an online PhD or professional doctoral degree program, you’ll complete the majority of your coursework from home and on a flexible schedule that lets you choose the time of day you attend class. That means, even before you begin the dissertation process, you’ll have experience keeping yourself motivated. It also means, when you need university resources, they will always be right at your fingertips. You can log-in and utilize resources whenever you need, which can help you keep going whenever you encounter a difficult patch.

Earning your doctorate can be extremely rewarding. With online learning and the right motivation techniques, you can help make sure you reap those rewards.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering PhD and professional doctoral degree programs online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.

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