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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 and online PhD program and other online doctoral programs? The answer is yes.

Which Doctoral Degree Program Is Right for Me?

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.

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 assist nursing professionals in taking a mentorship role with the next generation of nurse practitioners.

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.

Your Doctoral Journey

Earning a doctorate won’t be easy, but as the No. 1 granter of doctoral research degrees in the U.S.,2 Walden knows what it takes. We’ll guide you every step of the way with a comprehensive suite of support resources designed to help you confidently pursue the finish line. Learn more about the many benefits of beginning your doctoral journey at Walden.

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.

2Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Integrated Postsecondary Education Database (IPEDS) database. Based on the most recent year of completions survey data available, using all classifications of instructional programs (CIP) codes. A doctoral research degree is a PhD or other doctoral degree that requires advanced work beyond the master’s level, including the preparation and defense of a dissertation based on original research or the planning and execution of an original project demonstrating substantial artistic or scholarly achievement. Available at (Retrieved January 2021; may consist of or include provisional release data.)

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,