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Is it possible to earn a PhD while working? The brutal truth

Working alongside your PhD seems like an attractive proposal until you look at all of the different commitments you need to make to actually get a PhD and submit your dissertation. Working part-time may help PhD students financially but it often comes at an academic cost.

It is possible to earn a PhD while working. However, it requires strict time management and can be very complicated. You have to balance any other significant commitments inside and outside of your PhD.

A PhD is typically the equivalent time commitment as a full-time job. The majority of the PhD students I know work at least 40 hours a week. So, trying to get a PhD while working is very time intensive – 80-hour + weeks.

Some students drop down to a part-time PhD in order to balance all of the particular commitments of a PhD program and working hours.

Whether or not you are a part-time PhD student or you are studying your PhD full-time, here are all of the aspects you should consider if you are considering working alongside your PhD research. This is what you need to know if you are considering getting your doctorate while working.

Can you work during a PhD?

Some institutions full-out ban their PhD students from working full-time alongside a full-time research commitment. They want to make sure that you’re working 100% on your PhD because balancing work isn’t easy.

Although it may not be banned in some institutions it is generally expected that students focus on their research and coursework full-time during a PhD and are therefore not typically able to hold down a full-time job.

Some programs may allow for part-time work, but it is generally not recommended as it can interfere with academic progress.

Additionally, many PhD programs offer funding in the form of stipends or fellowships which can help support students financially during their studies.

There are a few things to consider if you are thinking of working during your PhD.

The first is whether or not you will have enough time to dedicate to both your work and your studies. You don’t want your work to suffer because you are spending too much time on your PhD, or vice versa.

Another thing to consider is how working will affect your funding.

If you are receiving PhD funding or a scholarship from an external source, they may have stipulations on whether or not you can work while receiving their funding. Be sure to check with them before taking on any paid work.

Lastly, you will want to make sure that the work you are doing is related to your field of study. Working in a related field can help you with your research by giving you real-world experience that you can apply to your studies.

Even though some institutions allow you to work, should you?

Should you work during your PhD?

Some students feel that they need to work in order to support themselves during their PhD, while others feel that they can focus solely on their studies.

There are pros and cons to both approaches.

Working during your PhD can help you to cover your living expenses and may even allow you to save some money. However, it can also be a distraction from your studies and may make it more difficult to find time to do research.

I know that I wouldn’t be able to balance the pressures of a full-time job with my PhD studies and, therefore, decided to not have any jobs during my first year – this included jobs inside the University such as demonstrating in undergraduate laboratories.

Therefore, it is possible to do a PhD whilst working full-time but you really have to consider the impact of the extra pressures and commitments

. It is much easier to work alongside your PhD if you have a strong research-based masters degree and your job outside of your degree is flexible enough to allow you to attend different academic commitments such as attending seminars, meeting with advisers, and travelling to conferences.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to work during your PhD is up to you.

Consider your financial situation and how working would impact your studies before making a decision.

It can be difficult to juggle work and study commitments, and you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed and stressed. You may also have less time to socialize and enjoy your student life.

So, it’s important to think carefully about whether working during your PhD is right for you.

What type of work can you do during a PhD? Part time or Full time?

During your PhD there are a number of different options that you could consider if you want to (and you are allowed to) get a job.

I do not recommend working full-time alongside your PhD but, there are some options for part-time work to earn a little bit of money alongside your studies.

Full time work

My recommendation is that you do not try to fit a PhD alongside full-time work. Trying to work full time is asking for trouble.

There will be so many more pressures on you that it will not be a very enjoyable experience.

A PhD requires you to be creative.

Creativity comes from having enough mental space to allow your mind to connect new and interesting ideas together. If you are busy with work you will not have the mental capacity to be able to do this effectively.

Therefore, I recommend that you consider at least dropping down to part-time work if you are insistent on pursuing a PhD alongside employment.

I have seen PhD students complete a PhD part-time supported and partly funded by their current place of employment.

Part time work

If you want to know more about the best PhD student part-time jobs check out my full guide – click here for the full article.

can you get your phd while working full time

There are a variety of part-time jobs that can easily supplement your income during a PhD.

The best PhD student part-time jobs will have flexible hours, provide you with a reasonable hourly rate, and not distract you from your primary goal of completing your PhD.

I have highlighted in my YouTube video, below, all of the different side hustles that PhD students can try if they need to earn a little bit more money.

The common part-time jobs for PhD students include:

  • Hospitality
  • Customer service
  • University-based jobs – such as tutoring, marking exams, student services and working in laboratories
  • Online jobs such as user testing, notetaker, and translating.
  • Freelancing. Selling a skill that you have two people on services such as Upwork .

Why Should You Worry About Working During Your PhD

There are a number of reasons why you should worry about working during your PhD.

The most important is balancing workload, the fact that you were extending your time in academia by a significant amount, the increased risk of burnout, and ensuring you have enough resources to keep you going for multiple years.

A PhD is just like a full time job.

Therefore, getting a PhD while working full-time will be incredibly difficult. Both commitments will require at least 40 hours per week each.

Nonetheless, if you are able to have full flexibility on your work schedule and you are capable of distance learning for some part of your PhD it may be much more possible.

Many PhD students struggle with just the commitments of earning a doctorate. Consider working alongside your PhD very carefully.

Time it takes

A PhD will typically take between three and seven years. During this time it is extremely stressful and you need to make sure you’re capable of researching at your best for the entire time.

I have always said that a PhD is a marathon and not a sprint. Adding extra years to your PhD if you need to can be worth it. However, you must consider the amount of time it will take you to get your PhD and the potential return on that investment.

Unless you have a particular career secured or in mind for after your PhD the extra years it takes to complete a doctoral degree part-time are generally not worth it.

Burnout is a real consequence of doing a PhD.

By working alongside your PhD you’ll increase your chances of burnout significantly. This is true even if you like to study.

If you are prone to feelings of being overwhelmed I would stay away from earning a PhD whilst working full or part-time.

Slowly introduce part-time work if you need to once you have settled into the general routine of your PhD.

Tips for Earning Your PhD While Working

Here are a few general tips that may help you if you find yourself having to work alongside your PhD:

can you get your phd while working full time

Talk to everyone involved

Everyone involved in this process needs to be on board. There will be times when you need to ask favours from your supervisor, colleagues, work supervisor or others.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help: Whether it’s from your supervisor, colleagues, or friends and family, don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it.

This is not a sign of weakness, but simply a recognition that we all need assistance from time to time.

Stay Organized and on Track

Find a routine: Try establishing a set schedule for at least most days of the week and stick to it as much as possible. This will help you to stay focused and make the most of your limited time.

Get Involved in the Research Community

Remember to stay in touch with your research community.

Working part-time or full-time can mean that you miss out on the exciting recent advancements and collaboration with people in your field. Make an extra special effort to attend seminars, talks, and networking events to help progress your research and your academic career.

Don’t squirrel yourself away!

Work with your strengths

Know yourself: Be honest about how well you work under pressure and how much free time you realistically have.

If you know that you work better with a tight deadline, then try to structure your work schedule accordingly.

Personally, I need as much free mental space is possible to perform at my best. Just do what is best for you.

Wrapping up

This article has been through everything you need to consider if you are tempted by earning a PhD while working.

Your PhD programme may dictate whether it is possible to work alongside your PhD. Whether or not it is a good idea will be down to you and if you are able to balance an insane amount of commitments and work.

My general recommendation is that you should focus 100% on your PhD journey and although it is definitely possible you’re going to be at risk of burnout.

Combining part-time PhD’s, part-time jobs, and finding a flexible job that will help keep you focused on the primary goal of finishing your dissertation is the most sensible way of working alongside your PhD.

can you get your phd while working full time

Dr Andrew Stapleton has a Masters and PhD in Chemistry from the UK and Australia. He has many years of research experience and has worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Associate at a number of Universities. Although having secured funding for his own research, he left academia to help others with his YouTube channel all about the inner workings of academia and how to make it work for you.

Thank you for visiting Academia Insider.

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can you get your phd while working full time

can you get your phd while working full time

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Keep up-to-date on postgraduate related issues with our quick reads written by students, postdocs, professors and industry leaders.

5 Things to Consider Before Doing a PhD While Working

Nicholas R.

  • By Nicholas R.
  • August 19, 2020

Can you do a PhD part time while working answered

Those interested in getting a PhD but dreading the several years of no income or a stipend that doesn’t meet their needs may consider a part time or even a full time job. That way, they can gain experience in the field, save up a little money and have a non-academic route they could later make use of. After all, if you’ve already made it to the point where you’re eligible to study at PhD level, you’ve already proven that you have great time management skills and that you can dedicate yourself to your studies, right?…

It might sound like a workable plan to many, but getting a PhD while working might not be as easy as you may think. Take it from many PhD students and postgrads who warn that it a slippery slope from a part time PhD to no PhD at all.

If you decide to go down this route, keep the following considerations in mind to give you the best chance of succeeding.

1. Know Your Programme

Some part time PhD programmes, especially the ones offered by online universities and distance learning schools, are well suited for those who want to work and study at the same time. Some aren’t as rigorous or time-consuming as others, and in some fields, the experience of working in industry through your current career will be a great benefit. A part time PhD will also have a more manageable workload , and supervisors will usually be more experience in providing support to working students. But keep in mind that some PhD part time programmes will not be eligible for financial aid or funding , at which point part time study may no longer be personally worth it.

2. Know Your Job

If your work is related to your field of study and your employers understand and support the requirements of your PhD, you will have a much less stressful few years. Therefore, one of the first things you’ll want to do is to get your employer on your side.

You can go about this by sitting down with them and explaining what your research will be about, how it will benefit your professional development and how it will benefit them as a business. You will also want to reassure them that you’ll be able to remain committed to your job during your studies, as this is likely to be their biggest concern. Don’t just stop at their verbal support, ask your manager to sit down with you to discuss the possibility of funding support, study days and the assignment of a mentor if your workplace has a doctorate holder.

Finding a PhD has never been this easy – search for a PhD by keyword, location or academic area of interest.

3. Know Your Situation

If you have young children, a sick parent, or generally any commitments that require hours of your time, it’s probably best to stay a full time student. If your field requires many publications or relies heavily on being able to network and interact with other researchers, keep in mind that you probably won’t be able to live up to their expectations if you already have work commitments you need to keep up.

4. Know Your Supervisor

Your supervisor should be supportive of the fact that you’re attempting to carry out a PhD whilst working part time rather than seeing it as a hindrance. As is to be expected, part time students generally struggle more than full time ones due to having greater external commitments, less contact time and a longer programme duration (beyond five years). You will want to find a PhD supervisor who is aware of these challenges, and if at all possible, try to get one who has taken this path themselves.

A good supervisor won’t only limit their support to physical help , such as introducing you to other researchers, suggesting relevant literature and facilitating data access, but also to emotional and mental support. A supportive supervisor maintains a good attitude and demonstrates concern for your research project. They should be keen to see you excel, help you refine your research skills and make you feel confident enough to experiment with your research approach and share your work whenever the opportunity presents itself, whether it is at a conference or in your place of work. Although you will be responsible for navigating yourself through your doctorate, a good supervisor will act as your safety net for when you get a little lost.

5. Know Yourself

Even the most organised people aren’t prepared for the workload that comes with a PhD. Make a time chart and be truly honest with yourself about how much time you have in the day, it might not be as much as you would think once you’ve factored everything in. Doing a part time PhD requires about 15-20 hours of commitment per week – will you have 15 hours to spare alongside your job, family and friends and other obligations? If not, then working and studying at the same time will most likely be out of your reach.

These considerations will hopefully put you in a better position to tackle a PhD while working part time (or dare I say it, working full time!). Even still, tackling a several year long PhD programme whilst working is probably one of the hardest things you will do, so if you decide to go down this road, much kudos to you.

New PhD Student

Starting your PhD can feel like a daunting, exciting and special time. They’ll be so much to think about – here are a few tips to help you get started.

Types of Research Design

There are various types of research that are classified by objective, depth of study, analysed data and the time required to study the phenomenon etc.

Do you need to have published papers to do a PhD?

Do you need to have published papers to do a PhD? The simple answer is no but it could benefit your application if you can.

Join thousands of other students and stay up to date with the latest PhD programmes, funding opportunities and advice.

can you get your phd while working full time

Browse PhDs Now

can you get your phd while working full time

Academic conferences are expensive and it can be tough finding the funds to go; this naturally leads to the question of are academic conferences worth it?


This article will answer common questions about the PhD synopsis, give guidance on how to write one, and provide my thoughts on samples.

can you get your phd while working full time

Dr Benzi gained his PhD in Data Science from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in 2016. He is now a professional data artist and head of research at a tech company in Paris, as well as a trained public speaker.

can you get your phd while working full time

Prof Raghupathi gained his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1991. He is now a professor in the Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy at Drexel University College of Medicine.

Join Thousands of Students

2024 Best Online PhD Programs for Working Professionals

A growing number of colleges and universities offer online PhD programs for working professionals. These programs have the same level of rigor as traditional PhD programs, but they provide more accessibility and flexible scheduling.

Best Online PhD Programs for Working Professionals

Enrolling in a program designed for working professionals makes balancing academic, work, and family commitments easier.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Additionally, these programs can help you advance your career or transition to a new field.

Best Online PhD Programs for Working Professionals

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Chatham University

A DNP in Nursing is available through Chatham University. The program is designed for working nurses who hold a master’s degree. Courses are fully online and are 15 weeks long. A short residency near the end of the program and a clinical are required. There are fall and spring start dates.

Chatham University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Colorado State University

Colorado State University offers multiple PhD programs. The degree in Systems Engineering is entirely online, while Higher Education Leadership and Organizational Learning, Performance and Change are in a hybrid format. Most online courses are in an asynchronous learning format. Courses are semester-based, and there are start dates in the fall and spring.

Colorado State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

National University

National University offers PhD programs with 4 week classes. The school currently offers 12 degree programs, including Instructional Design, Human Resource Management, and Data Science. Most programs are fully online and can typically be completed in 40 months.

National University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Purdue University

Purdue University offers multiple online doctoral programs and degree including Higher Education and Education Leadership & Policy Studies. Both programs are in a hybrid format and require some courses on campus. Campus courses are offered on Saturdays. The program moves with a cohort and offers start dates each fall.

Purdue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Sacred Heart University

A PhD in Social Work is available through Sacred Hearth University. Most courses are in an asynchronous format, and there are short residencies throughout the program. Courses are available part-time and last 14 weeks each. The program’s curriculum is designed to work around various schedules.

Sacred Heart University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Salve Regina University

Salve Regina University offers a PhD in International Relations degree. The program is fully online. To customize the program, 10 courses are selected suited to an area of interest with a dissertation. The program starts in the fall and spring.

Salve Regina is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

University of Central Florida

The University of Central Florida offers multiple PhD programs including Nursing and a BSN to PhD. GRE scores are not required. The programs require 6 to 72 credits. All coursework is fully online and in an asynchronous learning format. Degrees may be completed part-time.

The University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges.

University of Tennessee – Knoxville

A PhD in Industrial Engineering is offered through the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. Courses are online and may be attended synchronously or asynchronously. Courses follow a semester schedule and are offered in the fall, spring, and summer. The programs require 48 to 72 credits.

The University of Tennessee – Knoxville is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Walden University

Walden University offers an online PhD in Criminal Justice degree. All coursework is online with 4 on-campus residencies over the course of the program. A track selection is required based on whether the applicant holds a Master’s in Criminal Justice or another field. Accelerated tracks are also available.

Walden is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Western New England University

Western New England University offers a PhD in Engineering Management. The degree can be completed fully online or in a hybrid format. The program is available full-time and part-time. The program requires 10 courses and a dissertation. Courses are 15 weeks long and follow a regular semester schedule.

Western New England University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Online PhD Programs for Working Professionals

Colleges offer online doctorate programs for working professionals in a broad range of disciplines. There are many factors to consider when choosing a program, including the potential career outcomes and the curriculum.

Here are some of the most popular online Ph.D programs. Select the program that most interests you to jump to that section of the guide:

  • Online PhD in Business
  • Online PhD in Computer Science
  • Online PhD in Criminal Justice
  • Online PhD in Education
  • Online PhD in Engineering
  • Online PhD in English
  • Online PhD in Nursing
  • Online PhD in Psychology
  • Online PhD in Public Health
  • Online PhD in Social Work

The online programs that are  best for you will depend on your personal interests and professional goals.

PhD in Business Program

Business consultant discussing with executive

You can learn the ins and outs of the corporate world with a PhD in Business. This degree covers advanced topics like econometrics, management science, organizational behavior, and price theory. You’ll also research issues affecting corporations and the economy.

Graduates often apply their skills as professors of accounting, business, marketing, and other disciplines. They can also secure positions as business consultants, qualitative research analysts, senior data scientists, and more.

PhD in Computer Science

Computer systems engineer working in her office

If you want to study and develop the latest technology, you might consider a PhD in Computer Science. You’ll take courses in subjects like computer architecture, intelligent systems, machine learning, and social computing.

Additionally, you’ll learn how to use empirical algorithmics, statistics, quantitative methods, and other tools to conduct research. Current professionals often work as college professors, computer and information research scientists, and computer systems engineers.

PhD in Criminal Justice

Fraud investigator reviewing documents

A PhD in Criminal Justice enables you to research complex issues impacting the criminal justice and legal systems. The curriculum typically includes topics like criminal justice policy, intelligence analysis, and contemporary criminological theory.

People who earn a PhD in Criminal Justice tend to pursue careers in academia, government entities, and law enforcement agencies. For instance, graduates may become fraud investigators, policy analysts, and researchers.

PhD in Education

College professor discussing in class

If you want to research the science of learning, you might be interested in a PhD in Education. You can study subjects like applied linguistics, educational psychology, and special education. This degree also teaches you how to generate original scholarship on pedagogical approaches, theories, and issues.

A PhD in Education prepares graduates for academic and research careers. You might consider becoming a college professor, an educational research scientist, or a senior education administrator.

PhD in Engineering

Engineer working on computational modeling

You can expand your knowledge of advanced engineering approaches and theories with a PhD in Engineering. Programs often offer concentrations in areas like biomedical engineering, electrical engineering, and fluid and thermal systems.

You may also study research methods like data analysis and computational modeling. This degree can unlock careers in academia and the private sector. Current professionals work as consultants, innovation managers, research and development engineers, and professors.

PhD in English

Technical writer researching and reviewing scripts

A PhD in English might align with your interests if you’re passionate about literature and writing. This degree focuses on producing original analyses of books, films, and other media.

You may have the opportunity to take courses like composition theory, film theory, and Victorian literature. Graduates can use this degree to pursue careers as college professors, editors, high school English teachers, public relations specialists, and technical writers.

PhD in Nursing

Nurse scientist working on innovative research

A PhD in Nursing helps prepare you to conduct innovative research in clinical practice, healthcare policies, and nursing science.

Coursework may cover subjects like the evolution of nursing science, grant writing, and the role of the nurse scientist. You can also learn how to design experiments and use qualitative and quantitative research methods.

Many graduates apply their knowledge and research skills as clinical educators, healthcare consultants, and nurse scientists.

PhD in Psychology

Counseling psychologist in a session with client

A PhD in Psychology can deepen your understanding of human behavior, psychological processes, and mental disorders.

You can take courses like affective science, cognitive neuroscience, and statistical methods for behavioral sciences. You may also learn how to conduct ethical experiments with human subjects.

Current professionals frequently pursue careers as academic researchers, counseling psychologists, industrial-organizational psychologists, and neuropsychologists. Additionally, some graduates become professors.

PhD in Public Health

Health equity officers discussing their plans for community

If you want to promote equity in healthcare, you might consider a PhD in Public Health. This degree helps prepare you to research challenges and policies affecting healthcare access and delivery.

Courses may address topics like environmental health, health concerns for women and newborns, and public health informatics. A PhD in Public Health helps prepare students for careers as health equity officers, nurse managers, and research scientists.

PhD in Social Work

Public service workers discussing outreach program

If you want to research issues in social welfare, you may be interested in a PhD in Social Work. You can take courses like data management, human development in context, and public service and social change.

You’ll also learn how to apply social work theories and research methods to study challenges in the field. A PhD in Social Work can help unlock careers like community program administrator and field researcher.

PhD Careers & Salaries

PhD Careers & Salaries

People who earn PhDs can pursue careers in academia, government agencies, and a wide range of industries.

Many graduates use their degrees to become professors at colleges and universities. These professionals teach courses in their discipline and mentor students. They also create and publish ground-breaking research in their areas of specialty.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , here are the median salaries of careers often pursued by people with PhDs.

Government agencies also hire many people with PhDs. You might qualify for a career as a policy analyst or research associate.

The government also offers niche positions in specific fields. For instance, a graduate with a PhD in Criminal Justice could become an FBI agent, while someone with a PhD in Public Health could pursue a career as a health policy specialist.

Additionally, many graduates use their PhDs to become consultants for businesses, colleges, and other organizations.

Online PhD Degrees Admissions Requirements

Woman preparing requirements for Online PhD degree

The admissions criteria for remote PhD programs vary by college and discipline. It’s beneficial to research each school’s requirements ahead of time to ensure you meet the criteria.

Here are a few standard application materials you may be asked to provide:

  • Personal statement
  • CV or resume
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts from previous postsecondary institutions
  • Writing sample

You may also be required to submit GRE or GMAT scores, but many colleges have eliminated this requirement or made it optional.

Online Ph.D Programs Accreditation

University offering PhD Online Programs

As you research online doctorate programs, it’s essential to research each institution’s accreditation status. Regional accreditation is a mark of excellence that colleges and universities earn if they meet rigorous educational and ethical standards.

An external accrediting organization evaluates each school based on its curriculum, faculty credentials, and other criteria. Many employers hold PhDs from accredited institutions in high regard because they know graduates have received an excellent education. Also, it’s necessary to attend an accredited school to qualify for certain financial aid opportunities.

Online Doctoral Programs Financial Aid and Scholarships

Online Doctoral Degrees Financial Aid

Many doctoral students apply for financial aid to help pay for their remote PhD programs. PhD programs often offer full or partial funding packages that may include a stipend, tuition waivers, and other benefits. Many funding packages require students to work part-time as a research or teaching assistant for the department.

Additionally, you may qualify for grants, work-study programs, or student loans from the federal government. You can complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for these federal aid opportunities. Your college’s financial aid office can likely direct you to additional resources.

What Can You Do with a Doctorate Degree?

Management consultant discussing with executives

A doctorate degree can unlock many fulfilling and potentially lucrative career opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median usual weekly earnings for people with doctoral degrees is $1,909. Many graduates use their advanced expertise and research abilities to pursue academic careers. They often qualify for positions as college professors and researchers in their chosen disciplines.

Current professionals also work in advanced positions in the private sector. For instance, graduates with PhDs in Business often work as chief executives or management consultants, while people with PhDs in Nursing frequently become nurse educators.

Should I Get a PhD Online?

Woman pursuing her PhD degree online

As you might expect, online Ph.D programs tend to be demanding and require significant dedication. Here are a few signs that an online doctoral program might be right for you:

  • You’re passionate about your chosen discipline and want to develop greater expertise.
  • You need a PhD to achieve your career aspirations.
  • You want to produce and disseminate revolutionary research.
  • You have strong critical thinking and time management skills.
  • You’re interested in teaching and mentoring students.
  • You thrive when you can learn and complete work independently.

An online PhD or online doctorates could be a strategic choice if you fit these criteria.

Can You Get a PhD Online While Working Full Time?

student taking PhD programs online

Yes, you can get a PhD online or a doctoral degree while working full time. Many remote PhD programs offer synchronous evening courses and asynchronous classes to accommodate the schedules of busy working professionals. These options provide maximum convenience and flexibility.

On the other hand, many students find completing the shortest PhD programs challenging while working full-time. Accelerated 1 year online doctoral programs enable students to finish their degrees quickly, but they typically require intensive full-time study. As a result, current professionals who want to continue working full-time often choose more extended programs to increase their likelihood of success.

How many PhD programs should you apply to ? The general advice from experts is to consider applying to a range of 4 to 6 PhD programs. This allows you ample time to dedicate to meticulously crafting strong and tailored applications for each institution.

Can You Get a PhD Without a Masters Degree?

students taking PhD degree, doing research works

The admissions criteria for online PhD programs vary by university. Many doctoral programs only accept applicants who hold a masters degree in a relevant field.

But, some PhD programs admit students who have only earned a bachelor’s degree. These students may have the option to earn a master’s degree during their studies or proceed directly to their PhD. Remote PhD programs may also consider applicants without a master’s degree who have extensive work experience in the field or have completed graduate-level coursework.

Are There Fully Funded Online PhD Programs?

Woman attending Online PhD Program

Yes, there are fully funded online PhD programs . These programs cover most educational expenses, such as tuition. Additionally, they typically provide living stipends, health insurance, and other benefits. Fully funded programs may still require students to pay for miscellaneous expenses, such as student fees and textbooks.

Many fully funded PhD programs require students to work part-time in exchange for their tuition waiver and stipend. For instance, students may assist faculty with research projects or teach undergraduate courses. These commitments can help students develop new skills and strengthen their CVs.

Is a Part Time PhD Worth It?

professionals attending Part Time PhD

Yes, a part time PhD is worth it for many working professionals. Part-time programs provide flexible course options and opportunities for independent research. As a result, this type of degree is the easiest PhD to get if you have a busy schedule or numerous personal and work commitments.

Additionally, earning a PhD part time can allow you to apply your new skills in the workplace immediately. For instance, you might learn a new theoretical approach in class and use it to solve a problem at your job. This practical application of knowledge can help you learn more efficiently.

Getting Your Ph.D. Degree Online

student getting his PhD Degree online

An online PhD program enables you to gain new skills and generate original scholarship in your field. You can study advanced theoretical concepts, design experiments, and learn the latest research methodologies.

Many remote PhD programs cater to working professionals by offering online classes and funding opportunities. Also, some colleges offer 1 year PhD programs online that can significantly accelerate your educational journey.

If you’re ready to advance your career and immerse yourself in research, you can get started by exploring accredited remote PhD programs in your field.

can you get your phd while working full time

How to Pursue a Doctoral Degree While Working Full Time

Balancing a career while pursuing a doctoral degree—or any degree for that matter—is not easy, but it is possible. With the right plan and support system in place, you can achieve your academic goals. Doctoral students learn—through research-based theory and practice—how to address the many challenges encountered across an array of professional fields. While obtaining a doctoral degree, students begin to integrate the practical skills that they are learning into their own professional careers, to ultimately emerge as leaders within their workplace or field.  We recently spoke with a few Endicott College employees—Brittany Potter ’16 M’17, Assistant Dean of Academic Success, Sendy Suazo ’14 M’16, Community Outreach & Recruitment Coordinator, and Ian Menchini, Director, Graduate Enrollment & Advising—who are all currently pursuing their doctoral degrees while working full time. Here’s what they want you to know:

Leverage your everyday work

As you progress through the program, you’ll begin to notice that when you’re at work, you’re actually doing coursework—you’ll be able to relate real life experiences to the theories you’re learning. Recognize that you should be absorbing and taking your professional experiences into your academic assignments, it will be beneficial to your degree and you’ll see the relevance in your work.

Get organized

Understand that you are weaving your doctoral pursuits into your lifestyle.  To figure out how it will fit, create a schedule and find your rhythm. Keep your goals in mind and plan your time strategically to account for coursework, but also for periods of rest.  

Build a support network

You won’t be navigating through your program alone, your family, friends, and coworkers can all help to support you along your journey. Once you’ve identified a support network, determine how those people can assist you. You will be assigned a mentor who will act as a resource for you throughout your program and who will also serve as your dissertation advisor.  Additionally, identify one or two members from your cohort to connect with—whether for assistance on projects or for accountability.

Your research topic

Choose a dissertation topic related to your career and identify a problem of practice within your professional field—your research will focus on how to solve that problem. Your mentor will help you narrow your topic, through concept mapping, continuous research, and further narrowing. S/he will help you figure out how to gather pertinent data and how to apply it to your topic.  If you are unsure about your topic, your mentor will assist you in navigating through your interests to find what topics you are really passionate about.  You’ll actually enjoy conducting research for your program because it's related to what you love to do. Click here  to learn more about Endicott’s doctoral programs. 

Endicott College doctoral programs

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A Guide to Pursuing a PhD for Working Professionals

  • November 24, 2023
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PhD for Working Professionals

Embarking on a  journey is a profound undertaking, one that opens the door to unparalleled intellectual exploration and contributes significantly to one’s expertise in a particular field. However, PhD for Working Professionals , the decision to pursue a career often comes with a unique set of challenges and considerations. In this blog, we’ll navigate the intricate path of earning a  while managing the demands of a full-time job.

Table of Content

1. The Confluence of Work and Academia 2. Flexibility is Key 3. Balancing Act 4. Long-Term Investment 5. Funding Your Academic Odyssey 6. Tapping into Your Work Experience 7. The Remote Advantage 8. Staying Motivated 9. Enhancing Career Prospects 10. Resources for the Working Scholar 11. Can a Working Professional opt for a Flexible and Seamless PhD?

The Confluence of Work and Academia:

Many professionals find themselves at a crossroads, pondering whether to take the plunge into the world of academia while continuing their careers. The good news is that it’s not only possible but increasingly common. Universities around the globe now recognize the value of admitting experienced professionals into their programs.

Flexibility is Key:

One of the defining features of pursuing a  as a working professional is flexibility. Unlike the traditional full-time programs, part-time or online  options allow individuals to tailor their studies around their work commitments. This flexibility is a game-changer, making the academic pursuit accessible to those with busy professional lives.

Balancing Act:

Balancing a demanding job, family responsibilities, and rigorous academic studies is undoubtedly challenging, but it’s also a skill that many PhD for Working Professionals develop over time. Effective time management, setting realistic goals, and maintaining a strong support system are key ingredients to master this delicate equilibrium.

Long-Term Investment:  

Pursuing a  is a long-term investment, both in time and energy. It requires a deep passion for the subject matter, as well as a clear understanding of the potential benefits to your career. Consider how the doctoral journey aligns with your professional goals and contributes to your field of expertise. 

Funding Your Academic Odyssey:

Finances are a significant concern for many considering that there are various funding options available. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement, and external scholarships, grants, or research assistant positions can ease the financial burden. Researching these opportunities is a crucial step in your preparation. 

Tapping into Your Work Experience:

One of the perks of pursuing a  as a working professional is the opportunity to intertwine your academic and professional worlds. Many programs encourage you to choose a research topic that aligns with your current job, enriching both your studies and your professional life.

The Remote Advantage:  

Thanks to technological advancements, remote learning has become increasingly prevalent. While some programs may require occasional on-campus visits, many allow you to complete the majority of your requirements from the comfort of your home. This flexibility is a boon for those unable to relocate. 

Staying Motivated:  

A  journey is a marathon, not a sprint. Setting clear goals, breaking down your research into manageable tasks, and celebrating small victories are crucial for maintaining motivation. Stay connected with peers, mentors, and support networks to keep the momentum alive. 

Enhancing Career Prospects:  

Beyond the intellectual and personal growth, completing a  can significantly enhance your career prospects. In some industries, having a doctorate is a prerequisite for top-tier positions, and the expertise gained can open doors to new opportunities and challenges. 

Resources for the Working Scholar:

Universities recognize the unique needs of working professionals pursuing a  Many institutions now offer tailored resources, including online libraries, webinars, and support services. These resources are designed to empower working scholars to excel in both their academic and professional domains.

can you get your phd while working full time

Can a Working Professional opt for a Flexible and Seamless PhD?

Absolutely, working professionals can opt for a flexible  program, and Aimlay is an excellent platform that facilitates this pursuit. The traditional notion of a  required full-time commitment and on-campus presence has evolved, and Aimlay, along with other flexible programs, is at the forefront of this transformation. 

Here’s how a flexible  with Aimlay can be a game-changer for working professionals:

  • Online Learning Convenience: Aimlay offers online learning, providing the flexibility for working professionals to access course materials, lectures, and resources from anywhere in the world. This eliminates the need for physical relocation or disruptions to professional commitments.
  • Part-Time Study Options: Aimlay understands the demands of a full-time job and allows for part-time study options. This means you can tailor your academic workload to fit around your work schedule, making it more manageable to balance both commitments.
  • Personalized Study Plans:   With Aimlay, working professionals have the opportunity to create personalized study plans. This allows you to pace your  journey according to your own capabilities and time constraints, ensuring that you can maintain a healthy work-life- balance.
  • Research Integration with Work:   Aimlay encourages the integration of your research with your professional work. This synergy can enhance the practical application of your academic pursuits, providing real-world relevance to your research and potentially contributing to advancements in your field.
  • Access to Industry Experts:   Aimlay’s flexible  programs often include collaborations with industry experts. This exposure can broaden your professional network, provide valuable insights, and potentially open up new opportunities within your current job or in related industries. 
  • Thesis Development at Your Pace: Completing a thesis is a significant aspect of a , and Aimlay’s flexible approach allows you to develop your thesis at a pace that aligns with your work commitments. This ensures that the quality of your research is not compromised due to time constraints.
  • Global Learning Community:   Aimlay fosters a global learning community, connecting you with fellow  candidates and professionals from diverse backgrounds. This exposure to different perspectives can enrich your academic experience and contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of your research area.
  • No Geographic Restrictions:   One of the advantages of a flexible  with Aimlay is the absence of geographic restrictions. You can pursue your doctoral studies without the need to relocate, allowing you to continue thriving in your current professional environment.
  • Professional Development Opportunities: Aimlay often provides professional development opportunities alongside academic studies. This can include workshops, seminars, and networking events, further enhancing your skill set and career prospects.
  • Ongoing Support and the Aimlay APP: Aimlay recognizes the unique challenges faced by working professionals pursuing a  The platform typically provides ongoing support and mentoring to help you navigate the academic and professional aspects of your journey. The Aimlay app has come up with 150+ chapters on a PhD journey with interactive video learning. Download the app now and get started at your own pace. 

Choosing for a  journey as a working professional is a formidable yet rewarding endeavor. It requires dedication, strategic planning, and a genuine passion for knowledge. By embracing the flexibility of modern academic programs, leveraging work experience, and staying motivated throughout the process, you can successfully navigate the intricate path of earning a  while flourishing in your professional life. Remember, the pursuit of knowledge knows no bounds, and with the right balance, you can achieve academic excellence without compromising your career. The ivory tower awaits, and you have the tools to ascend.

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A Doctoral Program for Full-time Employees

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There are three parallel processes that must be completed to become an Industry PhD student

  • The Northeastern University Industry/Experiential PhD Program is an academic degree program offered by Northeastern to qualified individuals who obtain advanced-entry admission and wish to pursue their PhD degree while continuing to work full time.
  • To participate in the program, the student’s employer must execute the attached Program Agreement and pay an annual administrative fee, which covers tuition and certain fees.
  • Permitting the student/employee to continue working full-time, and to engage in use- inspired research that is aligned to the employer’s business. In most cases, this research will take place at the employer’s site.
  • Allowing the employer to retain all intellectual property developed in the course of the student’s research, in accordance with its internal company policies.
  • Including an individual designated by the employer to serve on the student’s dissertation committee as an “industry advisor” and to monitor the student’s research progress.
  • The attached template has been carefully drafted with the input of several industry partners to address the employer’s business needs while protecting the integrity of the degree program, the validity of the student’s research, and the university’s accreditation status.
  • Because this is a Northeastern University academic program, the material terms of the Program Agreement are not negotiable. If the employer has specific operational requirements that need to be addressed by written agreement, the employer may submit an addendum to the Program Agreement, which the university will consider in good faith. However, any terms that seek to change the fundamental operation or academic components of the program or the obligations of the parties will not be accepted.

For more on the program, please fill out our form or contact Dr. Jason Sidman .

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Can I do a PhD while working

Can I do a PhD while working?

Study tips Published 31 Mar, 2022  ·  4-minute read

Completing a Doctor of Philosophy requires some serious dedication. But committing all your time to research can leave a significant gap in your income. So, can you work and do a PhD at the same time? Let’s find out.

We spoke with two UQ PhD candidates, Chelsea Janke and Sarah Kendall, to get some insights into whether you can get a PhD while working – and how to balance your work with your research.

Can you get a PhD while working?

The simple answer is yes, but we wouldn't exactly recommend it. There’s nothing technically stopping you from continuing to work (at least, to some extent) while you pursue a PhD, but doing a higher degree by research is a big commitment. So, you need to think carefully before you attempt to juggle both.

The more complex answer is that it depends heavily on the type of work you’re doing and how quickly you want to complete your research.

Sarah Kendall quote

PhD candidates can continue working part time while completing their research. Of course, this depends on the nature of their research and other work.

Keep in mind : some PhD scholarships are only available to full-time candidates and may not allow you to earn more than a certain amount to remain eligible. If you’ve applied or plan to apply for a scholarship, make sure to check the relevant terms.

For  international students , some extra restrictions apply. You can work up to 40 hours per fortnight, but this must not interfere with your full-time study load or your academic performance. Further limitations may apply if you're on an RTP scholarship (maximum 270 working hours per year) or being sponsored by your government.

Doing a PhD while working: full time, part time or casual?

Chelsea is quick to warn us that both working and researching full time is a recipe for disaster.

“A full-time PhD could not be done whilst working full time,” she says.

Doing both part time is feasible, but only if you’re happy to wait a few extra years to see the fruits of your labour.

“I know people who have worked part time and done their PhD part time – usually in the same research group or field,” says Chelsea.

“But keep in mind it took them 7-8 years to finish their PhD; it’s not the most efficient strategy.”

Committing to a full-time PhD while doing some incidental work on the side seems like the most popular approach for candidates, in Chelsea’s experience.

“Most full-time PhD students will pick up some casual work tutoring, marking, helping the lab manager, or assisting other researchers with their work,” she says.

“This means they can do a few hours here and there without their own PhD work being too disrupted.”

Sarah’s circumstances allow her to maintain a part-time job while completing her PhD, though she acknowledges you have to be lucky to be in a position to do so.

“PhD candidates can continue working part time while completing their research; of course, this depends on the nature of their research and other work,” says Sarah.

“Both my research and work are very flexible, and I can complete them whenever suits me.”

Learn about Sarah’s research or read her series about becoming an academic in law .

How to balance work with your PhD

Chelsea Janke quote

If you plan to work whilst doing your PhD, you will need to manage your time well.

It’s one thing to ask can I do a PhD while working – actually managing to juggle the two is a whole other challenge. Sarah and Chelsea agree that time management is the most important part of making this work.

Sarah suggests keeping a strict schedule to divide your time evenly between your commitments, as this is what works for her.

“I find that I maintain a balance best by setting specific hours to work on my PhD (usually from 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday) and then on my other work commitments (usually Saturdays and sometimes a couple of hours before dinner),” she says.

“The hours you set to work on your PhD and other commitments will depend on whether your other work has set hours though, as well as when you work best – you might get some of your best research and writing done at 5am!”

Top tips for working while doing your PhD

  • Only do so if you really want/need to and if you know you can manage the dual workloads.
  • Tell your boss. Make sure your employer knows about your plans to juggle a PhD with your workload. See if there’s anything they can do to make the journey easier for you. For example, just like Sarah, your employer may be able to provide you the flexibility to complete your work on a schedule that accommodates your research hours.
  • Consider a part-time PhD if cutting your hours or quitting your job isn’t a viable option. Yes, it might take longer. But if it means maintaining a comfortable balance between your research and your current career, it might be the best choice for you.
  • Chat with your PhD supervisor. They’ve been there and done that, making them a great source of wisdom when it comes to pursuing a PhD while also balancing your other life commitments. You may also have peers currently doing a PhD who can provide some advice.

Haven’t chosen your supervisor yet? Read these tips for finding a suitable academic. It’s also a good idea to be upfront with your supervisor about your intention to work/research part time, as some supervisors prefer to work with full-time PhD candidates.

  • Seek casual work at your university and in your field where possible. By keeping your work and research close together (both in terms of location and mindset), you may find it less challenging to keep on top of both.
  • Make sure you’re passionate about your PhD topic . If your research just feels like a second job on top of your usual work, you’ll likely burn out before long. When developing your research proposal , make sure your thesis is providing that spark of curiosity that’s going to keep you inspired to follow through with your research – even on nights when you’re drained from work.

Ready to get started? Whether you’re dedicating yourself to a full-time PhD or keeping a balance between research and work, The University of Queensland is ready to support you.

Learn more about completing your PhD at UQ

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10 Time Management Tips for Older PhD Students Who Want to Balance Work and Studies

Breaking barriers: empowering black women over 40 to excel in information systems phd programs. , the top 8 must-know tips for phd preparation: how to get started.

PhD  Information

The Pros and Cons of Getting a PhD While Working


Can you do a PhD while working? Before you answer this question, let’s discuss the pros and cons.

Whether you should work while doing a traditional full-time PhD is an important question . No matter what others tell you, the answer is often very personal. The answer is also determined by personal factors (i.e., can you afford to live on a PhD stipend) and external factors (i.e., does the school allow working).

Nonetheless, knowing the answers before you start your PhD education will determine the schools and PhD programs to which you’ll apply. Hence, saving you time and energy at the outset.

Before you make that decision, here are some pros and cons of doing PhD While Working.

The Pros of Getting a PhD While Working

It goes without saying that working will provide additional income.

Let’s face it. Who doesn’t want additional money in their bank account?

Career options:

Working affords you the flexibility of choice. Being on both sides, industry, and academia gives you a breath of knowledge about what’s going on in the field (that’s if your work is related to your field of PhD study).

This keeps your knowledge relevant and gives you a choice to stay in academia or go back to industry.

Research data opportunities:

One thing researchers delight in is access to good-quality data. Organizations produce and have lots of good quality data.

When you’re working for an organization, you can access the organization’s data (with permission) for your research. Studies with this kind of data are sought after.

The Cons of Getting a PhD while Working

Divided attention

Since your time, interests, and goals are split between PhD while working and your PhD education, you may find that your attention is always divided between the two interests.

This presents time management challenges, worrying about whether you’re giving enough attention to each interest.

Low research productivity.

Given the divided attention and time challenges, your research productivity may suffer.

How? You may not have enough time to dedicate to the rigor of research. You’ll almost always exert the minimum effort needed to complete a research project.

Exerting minimum effort is a human condition but can negatively impact the quality and quantity of research you produce.

Difficulty in deciding a career path after graduation.

When you have one foot in industry and the other in academia, it makes it hard to decide which to continue after graduation.

I interned twice in public institutions when I was getting my PhD, with the possibility to stay on. Even though I was only interning, it was still a difficult decision for me.

To make that final decision, I asked myself whether the reasons I wanted to pursue a PhD/be an academic had changed. In other words, I went back to my WHY. The answer was No. So I’m still in academia.

I’m familiar with a PhD while working student in their final year who is finding it hard to make that decision. I can tell you that it’s not a simple decision.

High Quit Rate

Getting a PhD education at any age is not easy; how much more doing so in your 40s and 50s.

People do quit or drop out of their PhD education. They quit for many reasons, including a lack of support from the PhD program and the quality of relationship with an advisor .

However, it isn’t a stretch of the imagination to say that stretching yourself between work and the rigor of a PhD could lead to quitting intentions. You could tackle that research study: “ Does working increase the intention to quit in PhD students ?

Now that you’ve seen some of the pros and cons of working while getting a PhD, think carefully about your decision.

Everyone’s situation is different, so make this decision based on yours. If you do decide that you’ll work while doing a PhD, consider all the different types of doctorate degrees : traditional, DBA, executive, etc. A DBA or Executive PhD allows work and might fit you better.

However, you’ll have to fund your own education (self-funding).  If you want external funding and still want to work, you need to seek out traditional PhD programs that might allow  doing a PhD While Working.

There are a few. They do not advertise it that but I have seen some traditional programs where their students PhD While Working. 

See more information on the difference between the different types of doctorate degrees . Send me a message if you have more questions on this topic.

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Gain a PhD While Working: A Guide to Professional Programs in the USA

May 26, 2023

A person in a professional setting

Are you someone who is working and dreams of obtaining a PhD degree? If so, you are not alone. Many professionals like you aspire to continue their education while keeping their jobs intact. Fortunately, there are professional PhD programs in the USA designed to Gain a PhD While Working like you who want to balance their work and education.

What are Professional PhD Programs?

Benefits of pursuing a professional phd program, top universities offering professional phd programs in the usa, how to choose the right professional phd program for you, admission requirements for professional phd programs in the usa, financing your professional phd program education: scholarships, grants, and loans, balancing work and study: managing time as a working student, tips for succeeding in a professional phd program while working full-time, career opportunities after completing a professional phd program, real-life experiences of professionals who completed a usa-based professional phd program, online vs on-campus professional phd programs: which one is right for you, how to network effectively as a working student in a professional phd program, overcoming challenges faced by working students pursuing a professional phd program.

Professional PhD programs are educational programs designed for professionals who want to earn a doctoral degree and advance their careers while staying active in their jobs. These programs are specially designed for people who do not want to leave their current jobs for a full-time academic program or those who are unable to attend traditional PhD programs due to other commitments. Moreover, professional PhD programs are taught in an environment that fosters practical learning and encourages students to apply their knowledge in their workplaces while studying.

One of the benefits of professional PhD programs is that they offer flexible schedules that allow students to balance their work and academic commitments. This means that students can attend classes on weekends, evenings, or online, depending on their availability. Additionally, professional PhD programs often have smaller class sizes, which allows for more personalized attention from professors and a more collaborative learning environment among students.

Another advantage of professional PhD programs is that they often have a more applied focus than traditional PhD programs. This means that students are encouraged to conduct research that is relevant to their current or future careers, and to apply their findings to real-world problems. As a result, graduates of professional PhD programs are well-equipped to make meaningful contributions to their fields and to advance their careers in a variety of settings.

The benefits of pursuing a professional PhD program are manifold. Firstly, it allows you to earn a doctoral degree without having to give up your employment. Moreover, you can apply the knowledge you gain in your workplace, raising the bar for your career opportunities. If have already made a significant investment in your job, a professional PhD can help you to gain new skills, perspectives, and areas of expertise, making you a valuable addition to your industry and organization.

Additionally, pursuing a professional PhD program can also provide you with a sense of personal fulfillment and accomplishment. It is a challenging and rigorous academic pursuit that requires dedication, hard work, and perseverance. By successfully completing a professional PhD program, you can gain a sense of pride and satisfaction in your academic achievements, which can boost your confidence and self-esteem.

Several leading universities in the USA offer professional PhD programs. Some of the top universities offering Professional PhD programs include:

  • New York University
  • Columbia University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Harvard University
  • University of Southern California

Professional PhD programs are designed for students who want to pursue a career in a specific field, such as law, medicine, or business. These programs typically combine advanced coursework with practical training and research opportunities. Students in professional PhD programs often work closely with faculty members and industry professionals to gain hands-on experience and develop the skills they need to succeed in their chosen field.


Choosing the perfect professional PhD program can be stressful. Here are a few factors you should consider while deciding on the right program:

  • Your career aspirations and personal interests
  • The program’s focus and curriculum
  • The University’s reputation and rankings
  • Availability of faculty and research resources
  • Tuition fee and affordability

Another important factor to consider when choosing a professional PhD program is the location of the university. You should think about whether you want to study in a big city or a smaller town, and whether you want to be close to family and friends. Additionally, you should consider the cost of living in the area and whether you can afford to live there for the duration of your program. It’s important to choose a location that will allow you to focus on your studies while also providing a comfortable living environment.

Admissions to professional PhD programs vary from university to university. However, here are some general admission requirements in the USA:

  • A master’s degree in a related field, or its equivalent
  • Transcripts from all previously attended universities or colleges
  • Letters of recommendation from current or previous employers or university professors
  • Essay or Personal Statement outlining one’s research interests and goals
  • Standardized Test scores (GRE, GMAT, or LSAT)

In addition to the above requirements, some universities may also require:

  • Proof of English language proficiency for international students
  • Interviews with faculty members or admissions committees
  • Research experience or publications in academic journals
  • Specific prerequisite courses or a minimum GPA

It is important to carefully review the admission requirements for each program and university, as they may differ significantly. Some programs may also have additional requirements, such as a portfolio of work or a statement of purpose.

Financing a professional PhD program can be a daunting task. However, various financial aid options are available, including scholarships, grants, and loans. Many universities provide financial assistance to students based on merit, financial need, and other criteria. Be sure to research various funding options for your program and fill out the necessary forms.

In addition to scholarships, grants, and loans, there are other ways to finance your professional PhD program education. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement programs for employees pursuing advanced degrees. You can also consider working as a teaching or research assistant, which may come with a stipend and tuition waiver. Another option is to look for external funding sources, such as private foundations or government agencies, that offer grants or fellowships for graduate students in your field of study. It’s important to explore all of your options and create a comprehensive financial plan to ensure you can successfully complete your program without undue financial burden.

Being a working student can be challenging, but it is not impossible. Managing your work and academic commitments requires excellent time management skills. Some tips include:

  • Developing a clear and organized schedule. Use calendar-based software or apps to keep track of deadlines and assignments.
  • Breaking down larger items into smaller, more manageable tasks
  • Communication with your manager, coworkers, and professional networks about the demands of the program
  • Setting specific goals that align with your program and career aspirations

It is also important to prioritize your tasks and responsibilities. Determine which tasks are urgent and important, and which ones can be done later. This will help you manage your time more effectively and avoid feeling overwhelmed. Additionally, taking breaks and practicing self-care can help you stay focused and motivated. Remember to schedule time for relaxation, exercise, and social activities to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Success in a professional PhD program depends on your ability to manage your work and academic requirements. Below are some tips for active learning and achieving success:

  • Actively participate in your courses by asking questions and contributing to discussions
  • Prioritize research and assignments that are most relevant to your career
  • Be proactive in seeking guidance and mentorship from program’s faculty or networks
  • Embrace new technologies and tools to maximize your productivity and efficiency

Another important tip for succeeding in a professional PhD program while working full-time is to establish a consistent study schedule. This means setting aside dedicated time each day or week to focus solely on your academic work. It can be helpful to create a study plan or schedule to ensure that you are making progress towards your goals and staying on track with assignments and deadlines. Additionally, finding a study group or accountability partner can provide motivation and support as you navigate the demands of both work and school.

Graduating from a professional PhD program opens up a broad range of career opportunities. As a PhD holder, you can be attractive to employers in academia, government, and private sectors. Moreover, a Professional PhD can lead to more senior positions in your career and increase your earning potential. Some professions you can pursue include:

  • College Professor
  • Management Consultant
  • Data Scientist

Additionally, a Professional PhD can also prepare you for leadership roles in your field. With the advanced knowledge and skills gained through the program, you can become a thought leader and influencer in your industry. This can lead to opportunities such as serving on advisory boards, leading research teams, or even starting your own business. The possibilities are endless with a Professional PhD.

Reading about the experiences of professionals who have completed a USA-based professional PhD program can provide valuable insights into the program’s structure, requirements, and benefits. These real-life experiences can also help to manage expectations. You can speak with alumni and current students, as well as attend online or in-person information sessions.

Online professional PhD programs are a superb alternative for professionals who don’t have the flexibility to attend in-person courses. Online options can also be more affordable than in-person programs since they don’t require commuting expenses or on-campus fees. However, on-campus programs offer a wealth of opportunities, including networking, research experience, and social events. Choose the program that suits your circumstances and aligns with your career goals.

Networking is critical for advancing your career. Attending conferences, research symposiums or joining professional organizations can help you to expand your professional networks and advance your career prospects. Moreover, collaboration with classmates and professors can foster relationships that can have a lasting impact on your career success.

Pursuing a professional PhD program while working can be an overwhelming experience. But it’s essential to be persistent and proactive. Reach out to mentors, professors, advisors and build a professional support system that will help you overcome any hurdles. Choose a flexible program that matches your work schedule, embrace technology, and most importantly, don’t forget to take care of yourself.

By following these tips and strategies, you can balance work and studies and gain a professional PhD degree in the USA that can help you to succeed in your chosen field and take your career to the next level.

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How the PhD Program Works

Program Overview

Completing your doctorate at Wharton requires 5 years of full-time study. The first 2 years in the program prepare you for admission to candidacy by taking courses, qualifying exams, and starting research projects. In the last few years, you are primarily conducting research full-time including writing and defending your doctoral dissertation.

Admission to candidacy.

You begin by taking courses required for your program of study. All programs requires a preliminary exam, which may be either oral or written.

Some programs may have further requirements, such as an additional exam or research paper. If you enter with a master’s degree or other transfer credit, you may satisfy the formal course requirements more quickly.

Beginning the Wharton PhD Curriculum How the first two years of the Wharton program helped students discover their interests, learn the tools of the profession, and fuel their passion for teaching.

The Doctoral Dissertation

Upon successful completion of coursework and passing a preliminary examination, you are admitted to candidacy for the dissertation phase of your studies.

Your doctoral dissertation should contain original research that meets standards for published scholarship in your field. You are expected to be an expert in the topic you choose to research.

You are admitted to candidacy for the dissertation phase of your studies upon successful completion of coursework and passing a preliminary examination, but you can start thinking about and working on research of relevance at any time.

The dissertation process culminates with a “defense,” in which you defend the proposal orally before your dissertation committee.

While working on your dissertation, you interact extensively with Wharton faculty. Together with interested faculty, you create your own research community that includes your dissertation advisor and dissertation committee.

Policies and Procedures

Get more detailed explanation of course requirements, academic standards, the Teacher Development Program, time limits, and dissertation procedures and requirements.

Sample Program Sequence

Years 1 & 2.

Coursework Examination Research Papers Research Activities Field-Specific Requirements

Directed Reading & Research Admission to Candidacy Formulation of Research Topic

Years 4 & 5

Continued Research Oral Examination Dissertation

Hear From Our Doctoral Community

The diverse skill set you need to become a professor, what brought this cdc researcher to wharton's phd program, wharton’s phd program prepared this doctor to perform economic evaluations in health care.

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4 Tips for Earning a Doctorate While Working Full Time

Posted on 1/16/2018 2:17:14 PM by Celia Cameron

I’m getting my PhD in Organizational Development (OD) at Cabrini University while working full time. Fortunately, my job offers some flexibility, but I still work 40-hour weeks while spending one weekend a month holed up with 10 other doctoral students and a bunch of OD experts exploring theory and research methods. A lot of my friends and family ask me, “How do you do it!?” So, I decided to share my four tips for balancing work, life, and grad school.  1. Get into a routine. Just like you know you’re going to get up at 6am, go to work, come home, eat, etc., it can help to create a routine of reading or writing for class. For me, I know I’m pretty useless after work, so I usually end up spending an hour or two a night reading for class. I don’t do much writing workday evenings, because my brain is mush. Then, I continue my M-F routine of getting up early on Saturday and Sunday and spend time writing. I’m in that rhythm and it really helps to keep me on track. 2. Know yourself. You need a lot of self-motivation to get a PhD … at least, that’s how it feels to me. If you aren’t good at scheduling your time or finding internal motivation, a doctoral degree may be extra challenging. You’ll have to schedule your time wisely, make sure you’re on top of your assignments, and try to think ahead for your dissertation. It can be overwhelming, and there have been days (or, maybe even weeks) in which I feel exhausted and burned out on reading and writing about organizational change or corporate social responsibility. But I am able to force myself through those times and stay focused on the long game. Soon, my classes will end and it will be unstructured dissertation time all the time (yikes!). That’s when the routine will (hopefully) help even more. 3. Talk to your advisor. My academic advisor is probably ready to ghost me, because I’m constantly checking in and emailing with ideas or requests for feedback. But it’s great! He tells me when my research topic seems to be on track, he guides me on how I’m doing in terms of writing and methodology, and is just a wonderful resource. If you’re working, it can be hard to meet face-to-face, but there’s beauty in Google Hangouts or Skype! Just staying connected helps me feel grounded, even if he’s telling me to relax and stay focused on the current class instead of thinking about what I need to do four months from now. 4. Find a little “me” time. I finally started going back to the gym in the last month, and just that little bit of healthy “me” time is helping to reset my mental state. I know that one of my classmates is big into mindfulness meditation as part of her routine for self-care. Whatever you do to decompress, it will be important to continue that practice to keep you focused and energized.

Getting a PhD is hard, but I knew that going into it. There are weeks where I’m frustrated and doubting my decision, but most of the time I can keep my end goal in sight. The PhD at Cabrini has been a great experience so far, and it’s taught me a lot about myself and about the possibilities of a new career. I hope I can keep on track as we move into the third year, which is all dissertation research, data analysis, and writing. This time next year, I should be staring down a dissertation defense and a doctoral degree to my name.

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Do men really sleep better than women? Experts explain

Couple in bed

Women and men sleep differently, so their sleep disorders shouldn’t be treated the same way, suggests new research that explores the biological sex characteristics of getting shut-eye.

Men are more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea , while women are more likely to experience insomnia and report lower sleep quality. These are among the findings of a literature review published in April in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews . The researchers hailed from Harvard University, Stanford University, and the University of Southampton in the U.K.

This research is as much about precision medicine as it is sleep disparities between the sexes, says coauthor Renske Lok, PhD , a postdoctoral fellow at the Stanford Center for Sleep and Circadian Sciences .

“We’re trying to move away from the one size fits all,” she tells Fortune . “[Medicine] needs to be more tailored.”

Understanding how and why biological sex impacts various sleep disorders is a critical step toward individualized treatment. However, the long-standing lack of inclusion of women in biomedical and behavioral research is a hindrance. The National Institutes of Health didn’t require studies to account for sex as a biological variable until 2016.

“The biggest finding is that we absolutely have to do better in including women in our research designs,” Lok says. “Historically, women have not been included as much as men, in part because it was always assumed results from men would translate automatically to women. And we’re starting to find out more and more that this is not the case.”

Sex and circadian rhythm

The mental, physical, and behavioral changes your body experiences in a 24-hour period are called circadian rhythms . Almost all your organs and tissues have their own rhythms, and together they form a kind of master biological clock that’s particularly sensitive to light and dark.

At night, your brain produces more of the sleep hormone melatonin , which makes you feel tired. In one study reviewed by Lok and her colleagues, women secreted melatonin earlier in the evening than men. This aligns with other research showing men typically are later chronotypes; that is, they go to bed and wake up later than women. As such, men tend to have worse social jetlag, when their biological clock doesn’t align with the traditional timing of societal demands, like working a 9-5 job.

Another study showed that core body temperature—which is highest before sleep and lowest a few hours before waking—also peaked earlier in women. Other research found that women’s circadian periods were about six minutes shorter than men’s: 24.09 hours compared to 24.19.

“While this difference may be small, it is significant. The misalignment between the central body clock and the sleep/wake cycle is approximately five times larger in women than in men,” Lok said in a news release about her team’s work. “Imagine if someone’s watch was consistently running six minutes faster or slower. Over the course of days, weeks, and months, this difference can lead to a noticeable misalignment between the internal clock and external cues, such as light and darkness.

“Disruptions in circadian rhythms have been linked to various health problems, including sleep disorders , mood disorders , and impaired cognitive function . Even minor differences in circadian periods can have significant implications for overall health and well-being.”

Cognitive behavioral therapy is one option for getting your circadian rhythm on track—especially if your biological and social clocks don’t match up—says Alaina Tiani, PhD , a clinical psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic Sleep Disorders Center .

“It differs patient to patient, but we have them take melatonin (supplements) earlier in the evening and then we have them use some bright-light exposure in the morning,” Tiani tells Fortune , referring to night owls who need to wake earlier. “Those two things help anchor their sleep window as they’re working on shifting things.”

Man sleeping while wearing a CPAP mask for sleep apnea.

Work-life stress may influence women’s insomnia

You’ve likely experienced bouts of acute insomnia , stressful periods throughout your life when you’ve had difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting high-quality sleep. They may have lasted just days or as long as a few weeks. Chronic insomnia, though, is when you experience these sleep disruptions at least three times a week for more than three months, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute . In addition, chronic insomnia can’t be explained by other health problems you may have.

Insomnia is about 1.5 times more common in women , previous research has shown. Lok and her colleagues theorized this may be due to certain risk factors more prevalent in women, such as anxiety and depression.

Dr. Eric Sklar is a neurologist and medical director of the Inova Sleep Disorders Program in northern Virginia. Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders he treats, and he was unsurprised by the review’s findings.

“There is a high correlation with underlying psychiatric disorders and insomnia,” Sklar tells Fortune . “Some of the underlying societal stressors for men and women may be different.”

Women still are often pigeonholed into the role of family caregiver, while also clawing their way up the career ladder, Sklar notes, not to mention fielding life’s other stressors . In addition, evening downtime is essential for healthy circadian rhythms and women sometimes have to fight harder for it, he says. And when so-called “revenge bedtime procrastination” involves screen time, women may be further disrupting their body clocks.

By some objective measures, women sleep better than men, the review shows. Women have higher sleep efficiency , which refers to the percentage of time in bed actually spent sleeping . Women entered the dream-heavy rapid eye movement (REM) phase of sleep earlier, and spent about eight minutes longer in non-REM sleep . However, women self-reported poorer sleep quality than men.

While new parents face a variety of sleep disruptions, Tiani tells Fortune a swath of her postpartum patients and women with young children report diminished sleep quality.

“Almost like their brain was half-listening out for their children in the middle of the night, in case they needed something,” Tiani says. Patients who are caregivers in other capacities have reported the same thing, “that listening out in the night.”

Why do men and women sleep differently?

Women did catch a break with one common sleep disorder: obstructive sleep apnea , when the upper airway becomes blocked repeatedly during sleep. The disorder is almost three times as common in men , however, it’s only associated with an increased risk of heart failure in women , the review noted.

“It is well known that men are at a higher risk,” Sklar tells Fortune , adding that biological sex is used in sleep apnea risk assessment. “Men tend to have larger necks, and neck size is also a risk factor.”

Lok’s review also noted these sleep differences between the sexes, among others:

  • Women 1.5–4 times more likely to have a sleep-related eating disorder
  • Women have 25–50% increased likelihood of restless legs syndrome
  • Women self-report more fluctuation in sleep quality
  • Men have less consistent rest-activity schedules
  • Men overeat more in response to sleep loss
  • Men night-shift workers at higher risk of Type 2 diabetes

One key factor remained inconsistent across the nearly 150 studies Lok and her colleagues analyzed: women’s menstrual phases. Menstruation correlates to numerous changes that impact sleep, such as elevated body temperature during the luteal phase of the cycle. What’s more, some research failed to consider subjects’ oral contraception usage, which may have skewed results.

“It’s tricky because, for example, if somebody doesn’t use hormonal contraceptives, it means that you have to include women at the same menstrual phase,” Lok tells Fortune . “Otherwise, you get all kinds of variation due to changes in hormonal levels.”

Having tackled some of the hurdles standing in her team’s way—namely, thin evidence of some biological sex differences—Lok is hopeful about future research.

In some instances, “we’re not sure if there are any sex differences because, simply, nobody has ever looked at it,” Lok says. “At the same time, it’s a very encouraging article because it definitely identifies where the gaps are still present.”

For more on biological sex and health:

  • Alcohol-fueled hospital visits are spiking among middle-aged women, study says: ‘We simply just don’t know what’s causing this’
  • Women may get more health benefits from regular exercise than men—even if they work out less
  • A 5-minute test can estimate your odds of developing breast cancer—but not if you’re biracial
  • Jill Biden announces a White House initiative focused on women’s health research: This ‘has been underfunded for decades’

Subscribe to Well Adjusted, our newsletter full of simple strategies to work smarter and live better, from the Fortune Well team. Sign up for free today.

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  1. Is it possible to work full time and complete a PhD?

    61. Each situation is different, and it might be hard to generalise, but roughly speaking, you can see a PhD thesis as requiring about 3-4 years working full time. For some people it might be a bit less, for others a bit more, but that's a good average. In addition, a PhD includes of course "technical" work, but also "academic training", such ...

  2. Is it possible to earn a PhD while working? The brutal truth

    Therefore, getting a PhD while working full-time will be incredibly difficult. Both commitments will require at least 40 hours per week each. Nonetheless, if you are able to have full flexibility on your work schedule and you are capable of distance learning for some part of your PhD it may be much more possible.

  3. Can I Earn a PhD or Doctorate While Working?

    At this point, you should have an idea of whether earning a PhD while working full-time is feasible for you. The takeaway: Go straight to the source. Talking to people with knowledge of your intended program is an absolute must. 3. Discipline, discipline, discipline.

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    Talking to Your Employer About Getting a PhD While Working Full Time. If you're planning on earning your PhD while working full time, you'll need to have a discussion with your employer before enrolling. This will be easier if you're going to earn your PhD in the same field as your current job. If that's your plan, you can even ask your ...

  5. 5 Things to Consider Before Doing a PhD While Working

    But keep in mind that some PhD part time programmes will not be eligible for financial aid or funding, at which point part time study may no longer be personally worth it. 2. Know Your Job. If your work is related to your field of study and your employers understand and support the requirements of your PhD, you will have a much less stressful ...

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    Long-Term Career Prospects. You can greatly improve your long-term career prospects by obtaining a PhD while working full-time. It exhibits traits that employers highly value, such as a strong ...

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    Can You Get a PhD Online While Working Full Time? Yes, you can get a PhD online or a doctoral degree while working full time. Many remote PhD programs offer synchronous evening courses and asynchronous classes to accommodate the schedules of busy working professionals. These options provide maximum convenience and flexibility.

  8. How to Pursue a Doctoral Degree While Working Full Time

    Get organized. Understand that you are weaving your doctoral pursuits into your lifestyle. To figure out how it will fit, create a schedule and find your rhythm. Keep your goals in mind and plan your time strategically to account for coursework, but also for periods of rest.

  9. A Guide to Pursuing a PhD for Working Professionals

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    Keep in mind: some PhD scholarships are only available to full-time candidates and may not allow you to earn more than a certain amount to remain eligible.If you've applied or plan to apply for a scholarship, make sure to check the relevant terms. For international students, some extra restrictions apply.You can work up to 40 hours per fortnight, but this must not interfere with your full ...

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    But in a PhD program, your schedule becomes "whenever you find time to get your work done." You might be in the lab during regular work hours or you might be working until 10 p.m. or later to finish an experiment. And the only time you might have available to analyze data might be at 1 a.m. Expect to work during part of the weekend, too.

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    Divided attention. Since your time, interests, and goals are split between PhD while working and your PhD education, you may find that your attention is always divided between the two interests. This presents time management challenges, worrying about whether you're giving enough attention to each interest. Low research productivity.

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    Another important tip for succeeding in a professional PhD program while working full-time is to establish a consistent study schedule. This means setting aside dedicated time each day or week to focus solely on your academic work. It can be helpful to create a study plan or schedule to ensure that you are making progress towards your goals and ...

  15. Does it make sense to do a Phd while working a full time job?

    OP, I worked full time while earning a doctorate. It is more common in my field (education), where relevant work experience is a necessary component of the field and TT positions. It's hard to do both, and one will suffer in some way. Also expect your doctorate to take 6+ years. The coursework is the easy part.

  16. Working While you Study for Your PhD

    The simple answer is yes, you can work while studying a PhD and in fact, many do. The most common form of work is teaching during your PhD. But some students may also have part-time (or full-time jobs outside of the university). Depending on the amount of work you plan to undertake, you will have to consider whether it would be better to do ...

  17. How the PhD Program Works

    How the PhD Program Works. Completing your doctorate at Wharton requires 5 years of full-time study. The first 2 years in the program prepare you for admission to candidacy by taking courses, qualifying exams, and starting research projects. In the last few years, you are primarily conducting research full-time including writing and defending ...

  18. 4 Tips for Earning a Doctorate While Working Full Time

    So, I decided to share my four tips for balancing work, life, and grad school. 1. Get into a routine. Just like you know you're going to get up at 6am, go to work, come home, eat, etc., it can help to create a routine of reading or writing for class. For me, I know I'm pretty useless after work, so I usually end up spending an hour or two a ...

  19. Any of you worked full time while pursuing PHD at same time?

    Most universities will not allow it. Even working part time during your PhD can be a huge struggle, especially during the first two to three years (coursework and quals). Your time management skills will need to be very good, and you will need to be excellent at using your allotted work-time to get work done.

  20. How to Get Work Experience During Your PhD Program

    Unless you need extra income to help cover your expenses, only take a full- or part-time role that helps build the skills you need to land that fabulous non-academic job. Getting non-academic experience while you're still in a PhD program takes work and strong time management skills. Yes, you'll give up some very precious spare time.

  21. 13 Tips for Working Full-Time and Going to School

    5. Take fewer courses each semester. Since working full-time requires at least 40 hours each week, it may be worthwhile to take classes part-time so you don't over-commit yourself and run the risk of burning out. It's rare to see students work full-time and go to school full-time. Usually, there needs to be a tradeoff.

  22. Can I pursue a PhD while working as an Instructor/Lecturer?

    Basically, if you combine a part-time teaching/part-time PhD, that should be fine, but if you combine a full-time teaching with a part-time PhD, that might not reasonable. Concerning where you should apply for the PhD, in general, you can do it in a different university than the one where you're teaching.

  23. Biological sex sleep differences: Insomnia in women, apnea in men

    Lok's review also noted these sleep differences between the sexes, among others: Women 1.5-4 times more likely to have a sleep-related eating disorder. Women have 25-50% increased likelihood ...