What Are the Prerequisites of a Distance Learning Doctoral Degree Program?

Prerequisites for distance learning doctoral-degree programs are generally the same as if the programs were offered on campus. Requirements vary by school, but can range from prior degrees to experience or licensing. Discover more about doctoral-degree program prerequisites here.

About Distance Learning Doctoral-Degree Program Prerequisites

These prerequisites often fall into two groups: academic and work-related. Most U.S. schools require the GRE, the GMAT or another graduate-level aptitude test as well as fluency in English.

Important Information About Online Doctoral Degree Programs

Online Availability Many programs include residencies or intensives that require short-term, on-campus learning
Programs Research degree or professional degrees in various subject areas
Capstone Ph.D programs usually require a dissertation or Capstone research paper before graduation
Possible Careers Post-secondary teaching, research or professional practice in the field of study

Academic Prerequisites

Academic prerequisites for doctoral study include a bachelor's or master's degree in the same or a related field from an accredited school. The degree may have been earned on campus or through distance learning. Sometimes a minimum GPA is specified, especially in courses related to students' main areas of study.

Work Experience

A doctorate in a professional field is designed to advance a qualified practitioner's career. The growing number of professionals who are employed in responsible positions but who wish to earn doctorates while keeping their jobs may account for the prevalence of distance learning doctoral-degree programs. These programs may require students to hold professional licensure or certification or to have worked a certain number of years in the field in order to be eligible for admission.

Examples of Common Program Prerequisites

The programs listed below represent a sampling of what one might expect when looking for a distance learning doctoral-degree program. Of course, many other programs exist, which may have different prerequisite requirements.

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Education Leadership with a concentration in K-12 Education

  • Master's degree
  • No experience requirements

Doctor of Audiology

  • Master's degree in audiology
  • Post-master's work experience, a year or more
  • License in Audiology; a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A) from ASHA, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association; or board certification by the American Board of Audiology

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Occupational Therapy

  • Bachelor's degree or master's degree
  • Certification as an occupational therapist

Doctor of Philosophy in Technical Communication

  • Master's degree in any field
  • Letter of agreement from an employer

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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