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Tips for Successfully Completing Your Doctorate

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. You may earn more money. And you may be fulfilling one of your own career dreams. But for any of this to be possible, you have to first complete a PhD degree or professionally focused doctoral program. 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. Like other areas of your personal and professional life, you’ll need to set aside regular blocks of time to work on your degree. It’s the best 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
Your topic should be one you’re interested in, which will help you stay motivated to complete your study.

Don’t Take on Too Much
It can be challenging to work on a doctorate and do everything else you would like to do. To complete your degree, you may 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 anything that doesn’t require your immediate attention. It’s a good idea to let your friends and family know about your degree plans to set the tone for your new schedule. The support you receive will be helpful too!

Ask for Help
As a PhD or professional doctoral 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 doctoral completion programs or all but the dissertation 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,