PHD Correspondence Programs: How Do They Work?
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) correspondence programs typically emphasize theory and research. These online, distance or correspondence programs are generally designed for students who continue working while attending school. Study areas are available in variety of fields, including counseling, nursing, science and English.
Characteristics of Online Learning Programs
Ph.D. correspondence programs are available in many different subjects, such as nursing and information science, and may be completed in 2-3 years - though online students may take longer. Admittance to these programs often requires a master's degree in a related area. Coursework in these programs is typically delivered electronically through a course management system, such as Blackboard. Courses may be synchronized so that classes and assignments have fixed dates, while learning is synchronous with other students or completely independent.
Ph.D. correspondence programs are available fully online or in a hybrid format that requires a certain amount of in-person cohort learning, campus visits or a residency. In many cases, doctoral students enrolled in a correspondence program interact with fellow learners and instructors electronically, either by e-mail, chat or discussion boards, where participation can be optional or required by the teacher.
Many correspondence Ph.D. programs require a short-term residency, sometimes called an intensive session. Residency requirements may vary from a few days to several weeks. Students may have to visit campus just one time, a few times per year, or a few times per academic quarter or semester.
How a Required Hands-on Component Works
In some cases, a Ph.D. program may require hands-on work. Programs may expect that students already working in the field are able to perform research, assignments or other Ph.D. program-related activities at their workplace. Some programs require a formal acknowledgement of the student's academic obligations at the workplace and the employer's written support of the endeavor.
Online Learning Support
Students enrolled in a Ph.D. program online can also have access to a specialized level of academic support services. In some cases, library services can serve online students by sending books and photocopies by mail or locating necessary research materials.
Distance learning students may also have remote access to online databases and other digital library resources. Computer helpdesk support, including telephone support or helpdesk ticketing systems, can be tailored to online learners. There may also be online tutorials for students new to an electronic course delivery system.
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