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Tips for Being Successful in Your Doctoral Program

Completing a PhD or professional doctorate is more possible when you follow some basic strategies.

Earning a doctorate can change your life. You’ll be in a position to be a leader in your field and you may even earn more money. But for any of this to be possible, you have to first complete a PhD degree or professionally focused doctorate. Here are some tips that can help you do just that.

Develop Time-Management Skills

You will need to be an effective time manager throughout your program, but after you complete the coursework and become a doctoral candidate, you won’t be on a set schedule. Instead, you’ll complete the milestones of your dissertation or doctoral study at your own pace. To keep that pace from crawling or coming to a stop, you have to manage your time so you can effectively move from the initial dissertation proposal/doctoral study proposal phase all the way to your final, oral defense. You’ll want to set aside regular blocks of time to work on your degree. It’s a great way to keep moving forward smoothly.

Start Thinking About Your Dissertation or Doctoral Study Early

It’s never too soon to start considering topics for a dissertation or doctoral study. Throughout the coursework portion of your doctoral program, you should save articles on topics that interest you, talk to faculty members and peers about your ideas, consider how papers you’re writing might be expanded into a dissertation or study, and spend time thinking about which specific areas of research excite you the most.

Choose a Dissertation or Doctoral Study Topic You’re Passionate About

It can take a good bit of time to complete a dissertation or doctoral study. Your topic should be one you feel strongly and care about, which will help you stay motivated to complete your study.

Don’t Take on Too Much

It’s difficult to work on a doctorate and do everything else you would like to do. To complete your degree, you’ll need to prioritize. Feel free to cut back on volunteering and don’t hesitate to turn down social events on nights that you need to be studying/writing. In fact, you should feel comfortable postponing or canceling just about anything that doesn’t require your immediate attention. To help, talk to your friends and family members about your goal of attaining a doctorate. It will help them be more understanding of your schedule and they too can help you cut down on your commitments

Ask for Help

As a PhD or professional doctorate candidate, you’ll have access to a faculty adviser and your university’s resources. Use them regularly. And feel free to also seek the help and/or advice of mentors, peers, other faculty members, family, and friends. Whether you’re struggling to fit a new bit of research into your work, need someone to review the grammar in your writing, or simply need emotional support, turning to others can help you continue moving forward.

Consider Online Learning

Earning a doctorate takes a lot of time and work. But there’s a way to make earning your PhD degree or professional doctorate more convenient: you can earn your degree online.

Online PhD programs and online professional doctoral programs don’t require you to attend class on campus. They don’t even require you to take classes at set times. Instead, when you earn an online PhD or professional doctorate, you can complete the majority of your coursework from home and on a flexible schedule that allows you to attend classes and take care of other degree-related work at whatever time of day or week works best for you. The top online universities even offer all-but-dissertation or doctoral completion programs designed for those who’ve completed all the PhD or doctoral program requirements except for the dissertation or doctoral study.

Simply put, online education offers a level of convenience and flexibility that campus-based PhD and professional doctoral programs rarely provide. It’s why so many working adults are turning to online learning to earn their degrees. And it—along with the other tips above—can make earning your doctorate a real possibility.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering doctoral 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,