Online PhD Programmes And Specialisations (With Benefits)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 30 September 2022

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Professionals from different industries and educational backgrounds often pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree to advance in their career to become researchers or teachers or scholars. While some may confuse it with a study of philosophy, there are different fields in which one can pursue a PhD. If you are interested in pursuing a PhD, learning about the online PhD options can help you make an informed decision.

In this article, we discuss the meaning of online PhD programmes, understand the benefits of pursuing them and discover different options for PhD programmes to help you choose one per your background and requirements.

What Are Online PhD Programmes?

Online PhD programmes are doctoral research degrees that are conducted online by universities so that students can pursue their education remotely. Such courses can help students earn their qualifications while also continuing their full-time job. A PhD is the highest level of qualification that one can earn in their respective field. It can help them become a qualified teacher in the field at a university or pursue a highly specialised job.

While some people may confuse a PhD with a doctorate degree, it is important to note that a PhD is a type of doctorate. A PhD in any field focuses on scientific research and helps students identify the areas where they can contribute. If you are interested in enrolling in a PhD programme online, you can choose from several categories, like humanities, mathematics, commerce, education and science and law.

Related: What Is A Research Associate? (And How To Become One)

Benefits Of Online PhD Programmes

Here are some advantages of pursuing your PhD online:

Get more freedom

One of the main reasons students may choose an online PhD is the freedom they can enjoy while pursuing their course. An online PhD allows students to choose their pace and place of study. You can choose the number of hours you want to study each day. You can also decide the time you want to take to complete your degree. An online programme allows you to continue working at your job while you study when it is convenient for you. By pursuing an online PhD course, you can also save daily commute time and attend to other responsibilities instead.

Related: How To Become A Scientist In 4 Steps

Grow professional network

Pursuing a PhD can enhance your professional network by introducing you to new people. You may meet several other students or professionals through your university's online community of students. Such communities encourage students to interact with each other and build their networks. During your research, you may also be required to interview different people or communicate with professionals from the industry across seniority levels. You may also meet other professionals through your academic mentor's network during your PhD programme.

Gain recognition

Like an offline PhD, pursuing an online PhD programme is very prestigious and can help you earn a reputation in your field. Other scholars may read your research papers, which can help you get recognised for your efforts. Completing this degree can add value to your resume and increase your chances of it getting shortlisted for senior-level positions because of the academic qualifications.

Increase compensation

Having a PhD tells employers that you have extensive knowledge and are a scholar in the field. It can help you get employed for senior-level positions with an improved salary package. PhD graduates with prior experience in the field may get a relatively higher salary than their counterparts with lesser experience. While salaries for candidates with a PhD or a master's degree are usually high, the salary range further differs depending on the industry.

Enhance knowledge and abilities

During your PhD training, your academic researcher can help you develop the research skills that are important for the success of your thesis. Along with technical research skills, it can help you build your soft skills like mutual respect, leadership and communication. Through research, you can also gain extensive knowledge about your field and understand the origin of several concepts and theories. Pursuing a PhD programme can also improve your knowledge of related subjects.

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PhD Specialisations Professionals Can Consider

Depending on your professional and academic interests, you can select your PhD specialisation. Here are some options:

PhD in science

You can pursue this three- to -five-year course if you have a Master of Technology (MTech) or a Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) degree. Once you enrol for a PhD in science, you can then pursue a specialisation of your choice. Some options for specialisation are chemistry, zoology, physics, biology, bioscience, clinical research and biotechnology. Depending on the university, there may be an entrance exam followed by an interview or direct admission based on merit. You can then become a professor in a college or a university or become a researcher at an organisation.

Research: How To Become A Medical Researcher (Complete Guide)

PhD in commerce

This doctoral degree includes subjects like entrepreneurship, accounting, mathematics and finance. Depending on the college, the minimum eligibility criteria may be a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or a Master of Commerce (M.Com) with a minimum of 55% during graduation. You can enrol in an online PhD in commerce if you are interested in learning in-depth about finance and accounting-related subjects. After the completion of the course, you can pursue jobs in the private or public sector as an accounts executive or a consultant. Alternatively, you can also start teaching commerce-related topics at universities.

PhD in engineering

You can pursue a PhD in engineering if you are interested in working in a research-related engineering field. While you can make your own discovery, you can join a research lab, become a professor or work at a company that makes innovative technological discoveries. You can also choose your specialisation depending on your interests and educational background.

Some of the most popular PhD courses in engineering are civil engineering, electronics and communication, information technology, production engineering and mechanical engineering, among others. Depending on the university, the minimum eligibility criteria for joining a PhD in an engineering course can be a master's in technology or science. You can also pursue a PhD in engineering if you have a bachelor's degree in technology or science with a good academic record, per university requirements.

PhD in business management

Pursuing a PhD in business management can help you become industry-independent by imparting you with managerial concepts that you can apply to any industry or specialisation for business development or management, depending on your subject. Some of the popular specialisation choices for PhD in business management include business administration, logistics and supply chain, marketing and brand management, financial management and commerce. Along with discovering new concepts of strategy and management, publishing articles in research journals and becoming a professor, you can also speak at conferences and seminars.

PhD in teaching

You can pursue an offline PhD programme in teaching if you want to become a leader in education in the public or private sector. It can also help you get a promotion at your current job. You can choose between a PhD in education or a PhD in teaching. Some subjects that you may study during your online programme are teacher education, science education, urban education and teaching concepts and education psychology. You can choose per your aim and requirements.

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PhD in law

Pursuing a PhD in legal studies can help you gain a better understanding of legal concepts and the approaches to solving cases. Some of the most popular PhD in law courses are in constitutional law and governance. While you can become a scholar, start teaching law at a university, publish your research paper and become a researcher, you can also progress your career in reputable law firms.

You may require clearing an entrance exam and having a minimum aggregate of 55% in your graduation from your master's degree or bachelor's degree in legislative law to pursue an online PhD in law from a recognised university.

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