Doctoral Degree

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Learn All the Relevant Facts About Earning a Doctorate

Attaining a doctorate degree is a major achievement. It is, after all, the highest academic degree you can earn. You can earn a doctorate in just about any subject area, and you might be able to do so in three years if you already hold a master’s degree in the same area. If you don’t have a master’s degree in the subject, you can expect to spend four to eight years to earn a doctorate.

Ph.D. or Professional Doctorate?

The Ph.D., or Doctor of Philosophy, is the most common type of doctorate degree. These programs prepare students to do their own research and add to the wider knowledge base in their chosen fields. 

The differences between a professional doctorate and a Ph.D. depend on the field of study. These distinct degrees can also vary as adjustments are made to curricula and requirements. The main difference between these types of degrees is the type of research you’re required to perform. 

  • Ph.D.: In this type of program, students prove their problem-solving abilities by tackling a big issue in their fields. They create five-chapter dissertations to explain how they would use the knowledge they’ve gained to solve a major problem in their specific area of study.
  • Professional Doctorate: Students in these programs are expected to call upon their knowledge and experience to create a capstone project focused on solving a real-world problem. This final project typically includes a wide-ranging portfolio.

Put simply, Ph.D. students are more focused on conducting research than practicing in the profession. Those who pursue professional doctorates are more interested in working directly in their specialty field than in consulting or ongoing research.

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Doctorate?

A four-year doctorate typically requires 90 to 120 semester credits. That translates to around 30 or 40 courses. Ph.D. programs can vary significantly due to how long it takes a student to write his or her dissertation. 

Ph.D. candidates begin by taking courses and exams, followed by advanced seminars and research. Completing and defending a dissertation in front of a committee of experienced professors is the final step in most Ph.D. programs. This highly involved process demonstrates a student’s ability to research and support a specific position in his or her chosen field.

Completing a doctorate program obviously requires high degrees of focus and dedication. You’ll need to create a schedule to stay on top of course requirements and meet deadlines. To be prepared for exams, it’s a good idea to save coursework and keep study materials well organized.

Communicating and forging connections with committee members is also important for Ph.D. students, especially as they get closer to defending their dissertations. With a firm grasp on committee expectations, students put themselves in position to impress.

If you’re interested in pursuing a doctorate degree, make sure you’re passionate about your field of study. Having a master’s degree in tow is certainly a plus, as is having some professional experience to call upon during your studies. 



4 schools found

Colorado Christian University Online

Type: Private Non-Profit

Institution Level: More than 4 years

Location:8787 W Alameda Ave, Lakewood, CO 80226

Colorado Christian University is dedicated to helping adults pursue their passion by earning a degree that integrates faith and learning. CCU overs over 70 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree program options 100% online.

Why Choose CCU Online?

1. Flexible schedule that fits your life.

2. Most classes are only 5 weeks long.

3. Transfer credits from another accredited school.

4. Learn vital skills from faculty with real-world experience.                                               


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South University

Type: Public

Institution Level: Between 2 and 4 years

Location:709 Mall Boulevard, Savannah, GA 31406-4805

Education That Fits Your Life

At South University, we know that many people view getting a higher education as a milestone in life. To help more people reach this accomplishment, South University offers a supportive faculty, a diverse community, and options for learning that best support your lifestyle. Let us help you achieve a brighter future.

Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options vary by school and are subject to change. Not all programs are available to residents of all U.S. states. Administrative office: South University, 709 Mall Boulevard, Savannah, GA 31406-4805. ©2022 South University. 


South University, Richmond, and South University, Virginia Beach, are certified to operate in the Commonwealth of Virginia pursuant to Title 23, Chapter 21.1, §23-276.4 of the Code of Virginia by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (James Monroe Building, 101 North 14th St; Richmond, VA 23219; 804-225-2600; 

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South University online programs

Type: Online

Institution Level: Between 2 and 4 years

Location:709 Mall Boulevard, Savannah, GA 31406-4805

Degrees for a Brighter Future

Training online just clicks. Earning a diploma or degree online is common nowadays. But quality training at a competitive price with help every step of the way (even after graduation)—that’s not common.

Start Earning Your Degree Online with South University Today.

Not all programs are available to residents of all U.S. states.
South University online programs, 709 Mall Blvd., Savannah, GA 31406.
2022 South University. All rights reserved.

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Southern New Hampshire University

Type: Private Non-Profit

Institution Level: Between 2 and 4 years

Location:2500 North River Rd Manchester NH 03106

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 60,000 online students, making us one of the fastest-growing universities in the country. Founded in 1932, we’ve been relentlessly reinventing higher education ever since and have gained national recognition for our dedication to helping students transform their lives and the lives of those around them.

We’re proud to provide affordable, accessible education that students can pursue on our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH, over our innovative online platform or at our regional centers in Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth and Salem, NH, and Brunswick, ME.

SNHU has earned the Best Buy and Best of Business – Best Online Degree awards and is consistently ranked as a top Military Friendly® School by G.I Jobs®.

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