Applying and Requirements for Online PhD

Yelena Skosyrskih

The admission requirements for PhD programs are typically the same as for on-site ones. For many schools, the only difference in online and on-campus programs is the delivery of information. Before applying to a PhD program, applicants need to have a minimum of a master’s degree from an accredited institution. In addition, colleges will want applicants to have current licenses and certificates in their specific area of work and study, as well as two years or more of relative work experience. Because of the intensity of online PhD degree programs, some schools may require or prefer students to wait at least two years after their most recent formal graduate work before applying.

Aptitude Tests and Application Materials

PhD programs require similar application procedures that are needed for other graduate degrees, such as general information, transcripts, test scores and more. In online PhD programs, applicants are admitted based on many different factors and materials, including the application, writing samples, statement of interest in graduate study and career goals, letters of recommendation, as well as GPA and GRE scores. While GRE scores neither ensure admission nor disqualify applicants, they are used as another consideration. Depending on the school, many PhD programs require students to submit a writing sample from your graduate work. This can be your graduate course paper, or an equivalent that shows your ability to develop a thesis using research and analysis. A writing sample gives schools the chance to see how students think, organize information and how well they can produce essays and written pieces. In addition to a writing sample, applicants should include letters of reference. It is your responsibility to request the letters of reference. When these select few people have agreed to write your letters of recommendation, you need to make sure that they have the necessary information and instructions on submitting these letters.

Once You Are Admitted

While all programs and schools are slightly different, many online PhD programs require their students to attend mandatory meetings or workshops at specific stages of your PhD program. During these meetings, you will meet your advisor, classmates and faculty to discuss your dissertation progress and research. Some schools may require a letter of commitment from your employer to acknowledge that class and/or workshop attendance is mandatory. Other than these planned meetings, the rest of your online program will not interfere with work or other obligations.

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