Part-Time Doctoral Programs

While there aren't many Ph.D. programs that allow you to earn your degree on a part-time basis, you can find some part-time nursing and business programs. Check the enrollment requirements for these programs, and compare them to full-time Ph.D. programs. Review the typical length of a part-time doctoral program. Check the availability of online courses in these programs.

What Type of Programs Offer a Part-Time Doctorate?

Part-time doctoral programs are not as common as their full-time alternatives, but some degrees can be completed on a part-time basis, including the Doctor of Business Administration, Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing or Doctor of Nursing Practice on a part-time basis.

Degree TypesDoctor of Business Administration, Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice
Admission RequirementsVary by program, but generally a bachelor's degree (possibly master's) is required, current licensing and professional experience may be required
Part-Time Program DifferencesAll the same requirements must be met as in a full-time program, though current employment may be used to receive credit
Program DurationProgram length depends on whether you already hold a master's degree, how many credits your work experience can fulfill, and other factors
Online AvailabilitySome programs may let you complete some coursework online
Other DetailsDoctoral programs are generally full-time because schools hope students devote a significant amount of time to their studies

How Do I Enroll?

Regardless of what type of program you pursue, you'll need to earn a minimum of a bachelor's degree before you pursue doctoral study. Some programs require a master's degree. Although the application process itself may be identical, some schools will consider you to be admitted under a special status and have unique requirements.

If you're looking to enroll in a nursing program and you have a Bachelor of Nursing Science or Master of Nursing Science degree, you may need to show evidence of a current nursing license and scholarly potential. You'll also need to provide a personal statement that demonstrates how part-time doctoral study will further your career goals.

How Are These Programs Different?

The threshold for prerequisites and program requirements are identical to those of full-time programs. You'll still need to meet the same doctoral course requirements before starting thesis and research dissertation work. However, you may be able to receive credit for experience acquired through employment.

How Long Do Part-Time Programs Take to Complete?

The time required for research and dissertation work is the primary controlling factor in the amount of time required to complete any Ph.D. program. If you have a master's degree, you'll be able to complete your doctoral study more quickly, but it will take longer if you enter a Ph.D. program if you only have an undergraduate degree. Overall, it will take more time to complete a doctoral program as part-time student.

As a business student with work experience as a manager or executive, you may be able to apply this as credit toward your doctorate degree to earn your degree sooner. As a nursing student, you can earn your degree in approximately three years.

Can I Earn a Degree Online?

Some programs let you complete certain coursework online. Programs that allow you to complete all of your coursework online are rare, and many have in-person requirements in the form of seminars, lectures and relevant work experience.

Why Do Schools Generally Limit Themselves to Full-Time Programs?

Most schools encourage students to devote all of their time to coursework, research and a dissertation. This is because schools rely on the research along with grant funding and other sources of income from corporate or government partnerships. This is also why most schools offer assistance with tuition, living expenses and healthcare costs. As a full-time student, you'll be encouraged to earn extra money by grading the work of undergraduate students or through employment specifically related to your research or field of study.

The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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