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Which Doctoral Degree Program Is Right for Me?

Your academic, career, and personal goals can help you decide.

Earning your degree can help you advance in your current career or provide the opportunity to transition into a new field or interest. Online graduate degree programs, specifically online doctoral programs, can give you the experience and knowledge you need to become a leader in your industry.

When selecting from online doctoral programs, you have many options. In 2020 alone, 55,283 doctorate degrees were awarded in the U.S.1 Is there a difference between an online PhD program and other online doctoral programs? The answer is yes.

A PhD is a Doctor of Philosophy and, unlike a Juris Doctorate (JD) or Doctor of Medicine (MD), can be awarded in a variety of subjects such as education, psychology, counseling, public administration, management, social work, human services, criminal justice, and public health. Traditionally, choosing an online PhD program could lead to a career in research or higher education. Many universities require faculty members to have their PhD in order to be awarded tenure.

Which Doctoral Degree Program Is Right for Me?

Depending on your career focus, there are other online doctoral programs available to you besides an online PhD program. For business executives, a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) may be the next step after earning an MBA. A Doctor of Education (EdD) can be an opportunity for an educator to assume more responsibilities as a school administrator. In the healthcare industry, a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) can help you develop expertise to influence policy and advocate for improved systems of care that lead to positive health outcomes.

Typically online doctoral programs feature a dissertation or doctoral study that illustrates your knowledge of a particular topic. Some may also include an academic residency to provide you with a more in-depth academic experience to enhance your research and expand your professional network. Many online doctoral programs can also offer you multiple ways to learn, including a structured program of study or a more independent path where you can determine your specific areas of research to pursue. Many doctoral programs also offer different tracks with tailored coursework depending on whether or not your master's degree is in the same discipline.

When choosing from online doctoral programs, it is important to consider what types of student services are in place to support your success. Walden University supports its online doctoral candidates many ways. From your first contact with an Enrollment Specialist, you’ll begin to experience the accredited university’s expansive range of online student support services. Financial aid advisors can help you explore funding options, including limited-time savings and other tuition assistance. You’ll find a complete suite of student support services dedicated to your academic success and the completion of your doctoral dissertation. And as with any online degree program, the convenience of studying when and where you want allows you to balance your professional and personal commitments with your academic goals.

Gain the knowledge and credentials to publish, teach, consult, or lead with a degree from an online doctoral program.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering doctoral programs online, including professional doctoral and PhD completion programs. 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,


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