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Online Business PhD Study Studying and taking courses online is becoming an increasingly popular option for postgraduates looking to further their studies, boost their CVs and work prospects, those who need to do complete a particular course for a job and people simply looking to get back into education or pursue academic interests.

Offering students the opportunity to complete their studies in a more flexible, contactless environment is the biggest attraction of online courses. They don't require you to physically attend lectures regularly, follow a strict timetable or be in one place all the time, instead they enable students to work in their own time and afford them the flexibility many need to continue to work and meet other commitments, making them the ideal choice for learning and earning a living and getting work experience at the same time. This, coupled with reduced course fees and no travelling or pricey accommodation involved and the fact that such courses are becoming more widely recognised and becoming more accessible and improving in quality by the day, indicates that they will only continue to rise in popularity as time goes on, and institutions such as The Open University are revolutionising higher education as we know it.

Masters and other postgraduate courses are amongst the most popular that are taken online, and are perhaps the most commonly advertised to adults looking to reach their goals, be they professional or personal – but what about even higher qualifications and programs? Some institutions and schools are now offering the option to complete an online PhD, the pinnacle of postgraduate study. Online business PhDs are one of the more established of these, especially in the United States, and they are gradually becoming more common in the UK, too.

We've looked at the pros of studying online and how this can be beneficial for many reasons, but what exactly can one expect when carrying out a PhD in business online? Here are a few things to get you thinking, and some things to consider before committing to studying an online business PhD.

Time commitment and duration

Although it's perfectly possible to get other things done while studying for a PhD online, it still requires a hefty level of time commitment. Courses typically last for a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 6, though this can vary and depends on how many hours you choose to put into it. If you do it part time while working, it is likely to take twice as long. You should aim to commit somewhere between 30 and 40 hours to research, reading and writing per week for optimal results.

Heavy workload

  The workload of a PhD is enormous, and this is no exception for online PhDs. All programs will have individual structures which outline what is required of the student. The main aspects include conducting a research proposal, carrying out extensive, in depth research into your chosen area, analysis, presenting ideas and findings, and eventually writing up your final thesis. An examination will take place at some point during your study, and may require travelling to the institution to be supervised and tested. 

Online Business PhD Study Independent study

You will be expected to carry out most of your PhD work independently, though assistance will be at hand in the form of your assigned tutor or supervisor, and resources such as interactive lectures, videos, live, real time tutorials and academic journals will be available to access online to help you. You may need a microphone and camera for your computer in order to interact with lecturers and tutors online from time to time.

Cost implications

Prices of online PhD programs vary widely from place to place. For example the University of Salford offers an online PhD in Business with annual course fees of £3,900 for full-time study, or £1,950 part-time. Prices for international students are higher. Meanwhile the Scandinavian Art and Business Institute Doctor of Business Administration, which can be carried out online, costs a total of €17,000. There are of course several funding options for programs such as these, which you may want to look into further.

Entry requirements

Online PhDs still have high entry requirements, and a good honours degree is typically the minimum you will need to qualify to be considered, and accepted, into a program. There is currently a good choice of business related online PhDs from institutions and business schools in the UK and Europe, and the more popular online learning gets, the more respected schools will introduce such programs into their prospectuses. It is worth spending time researching and comparing the different courses on offer to find one that meets your research needs, and remember than despite it being distance learning, you still have access to the same level of tutorial support and academic assistance. Talk to the staff at different schools to see which ones best understand your subject and individual requirements. 

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