Apr 10, 2023
Are you eager to expand your expertise and become a leader in your field? Perhaps you have already obtained a bachelor’s or master’s degree and are looking to advance your career further. Pursuing a PhD or professional doctorate degree is the next logical step. However, you may be hesitant about taking on an intense doctoral program while also working full-time.
Fortunately, quality universities offer part-time programs (including convenient online options) that can make earning your doctorate much more manageable. This guide provides insight into the best part-time PhD and doctoral programs, explores common fields of study that offer part-time programs, and answers frequently asked questions about these programs. Keep reading to determine if a part-time doctoral program is right for you and find the one that can take your career to the next level.
Part-Time PhD and Doctoral Programs: Best in 2023
Quality, affordability, and accreditation are important when searching for the best part-time PhD and doctoral programs. The best choice for you, though, often boils down to how well a program fits with your full-time work schedule and everyday life. We’ve rounded up the top part-time PhD and doctoral programs that are flexible for maintaining work, life, and education balance while also providing a high-quality education.
Johns Hopkins University’s Part-Time Online DrPH
John Hopkins University provides public health professionals with a robust Doctor of Public Health (DrPH). The program helps early- to mid-career professionals working in international or domestic public health roles become leaders in their fields. There are ten concentrations, and the program helps connect students with the right courses, opportunities, and research projects to reach their individual goals.
This program offers part-time enrollment and can be completed in one year when attending full-time. To be eligible, applicants must hold an MPH from an accredited university and have at least three years of work experience in the field. Additionally, John Hopkins offers competitive scholarships to help offset the program’s costs.
George Mason University’s School of Policy and Government Part-Time PhD Programs
George Mason University offers three PhD programs – biodefense, public policy, and political science – to those working in the public policy sector. The Schar School PhD programs are designed for those who want a heavy research focus and the opportunity to conduct ground-breaking research in their fields. Alumni find success working in academia, for government organizations, and at nonprofits thanks to the school’s robust dissertation program, rigorous coursework, and networking opportunities.
Each program is available part-time or full-time and offers opportunities to customize the curriculum to your career goals. Prospective students need previous educational and work experience in the public policy field.
Boston College’s Part-Time (Ed.D.) in Higher Education
Boston College’s Executive Ed.D. in Higher Education program exists for those looking to advance their careers in higher education. The program develops innovative leaders who are ready to tackle the big problems facing higher education today. A unique feature of this program is how the school designs cohorts so each student comes from a different background to increase the diversity of thought in the program. Courses are all offered online and at times that work around a typical nine-to-five career.
Program requirements include summer residencies in Boston and Dublin. This three-year program also boasts a global focus with research and networking opportunities across the globe. Successful applicants need at least seven years of professional experience and a master’s degree.
Wayne State University’s Part-Time PhD in Social Work
Wayne State University offers one of the best part-time doctoral programs in social work in the country for those who already have a master’s in social work. With options in anthropology, gerontology, or infant mental health emphasis, the first three years of coursework prepare students for the final phase of the program – a dissertation. Graduates of WSU’s doctoral programs often take on leadership roles in academia, clinical scholarship, and social welfare policy. While part-time enrollment is possible, students must complete the program within seven years.
Drexel University’s Part-Time Online DBA
The Executive Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) program from Drexel University offers business professionals an online option to gain a high-quality doctoral education on their own schedules. The program prepares leaders for the business world and focuses on applying business theory to real-world scenarios. Students can also take PhD-level courses from other disciplines to integrate non-business ideas into their dissertations and projects.
Drexel designed its program for those with over ten years of experience in business, and the admissions process is highly selective with each cohort consisting of only 12-18 students. While most PhD programs are completed in three years, this program can be completed in two and a half when enrolled full-time, though part-time enrollment is also an option.
Most Popular Part-Time PhDs and Doctorates
Part-time PhD and professional doctorate programs are available in various fields of study. While professional doctorate programs emphasize applying research in practical settings and are commonly offered in part-time or online formats, PhD programs require original research contributions. Nevertheless, there are several popular part-time PhD and professional doctorate programs to choose from. The list below provides an overview of some of the most sought-after programs and can help you explore your options.