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How to Deal With Criticism When Earning Your Doctorate

To complete your dissertation or doctoral study, you have to know how to handle criticism.

Whether you’re writing a doctoral dissertation or completing a doctoral study, you’ll get a lot of feedback. And not all of it will be positive. Your faculty advisor and possibly even the committee you’re presenting to could be critical of your work. How you handle that criticism can determine whether or not you’re able to complete your doctoral degree. Below are some tips to help you get through.

Remember It’s a Learning Opportunity

The only reason your faculty advisor—or anyone else who’s reviewing your work—is providing feedback is to help you improve. As such, you should take criticism seriously and focus on the positive impact it will have on your work. Every time you make your dissertation or study better, you’re getting closer to earning your doctoral degree.

How to Deal With Criticism When Earning Your Doctorate

Don’t React Emotionally

It’s hard to hear criticism of something we’ve worked on for weeks or months, and it’s not uncommon to feel a surge of anger or sorrow when someone tells us what we’ve done is not good enough. While it’s difficult to avoid the emotions that spring up inside us, we can control whether or not we act on those emotions or let them go. When it comes to earning a PhD degree or doctoral degree, the best choice is to let any emotions caused by criticism to pass on by. You’re engaged in an intellectual pursuit. Remaining rational and objective is the right way forward.

Avoid a Confrontational Response

Even if you keep your emotions in check, you may feel the urge to argue against the criticisms you’ve received. Unless you’re in a specific situation where you’re expected to defend your work, resist the urge to argue. Inappropriate confrontation won’t change your critic’s mind and is likely to lower their opinion of you—something you want to avoid, particularly if dealing with a review committee.

Ask for Clarification

There is a difference between confrontation and clarification. If any part of the critique of your work confuses you, take the time to ask questions. You have to understand criticism in order to use it to improve your work.

Keep Focused on the End Goal

It’s easy to get caught up in addressing every single criticism of your dissertation or study. But you should endeavor not to lose sight of the end goal—completing your dissertation or study. You may want to prioritize criticisms and focus on the ones that seem most pertinent and/or valid. That way, you can keep from getting bogged down and continue progressing toward your goal.

What’s the Best Way to Earn Your Doctorate?

The first step to earning a degree at any level—whether it’s a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree—is to conduct a college search and put together a list of colleges that meet your needs. For those who have the freedom to upend their lives and move anywhere, this isn’t too hard. But if you’re like most people, you may think your job and other responsibilities limit you to the colleges and universities in your area. The good news is: You have more options than you think.

Thanks to online education, there are good colleges available to you, no matter where you live. That’s because online universities allow you to earn a degree right from home. Many of the best accredited online colleges offer a wide range of degree programs including PhD and doctoral programs. And these online PhD and doctoral programs have a level of flexibility and convenience not found in campus-based programs. Not only can you complete your online courses from home, but you’ll enjoy a flexible schedule that lets you attend online classes and focus on coursework at whatever time of day works best for you.

Online learning is making it possible for working adults to earn advanced degrees. If you’re prepared to handle some criticism, an online PhD or doctoral program could be the perfect way to advance your education.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering numerous 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,