Nearly twenty years ago, I remember spending many a night at my grandparents’ house while my mother commuted almost an hour each way to campus while earning her doctorate’s degree. As a single parent, working full-time, I’m sure she would have loved to have had the opportunity to do the majority of her work online. I can say, I wouldn’t have minded it either, but since internet degrees at that time were still in the distant future, we suffered through those years together.

Getting a doctorate degree can be a trying time, and may be one of the hardest things you ever do. So if you happen to be considering getting your doctorate degree online, here are some pros and cons to doing so.


Getting you doctorate degree can be an immensely time consuming venture. Balancing your career, family life, and education can be difficult. As you may have noticed from the previous mentioning of my mother’s example however, the ability to get your doctorate online has made this balancing act easier to accomplish. By not having to spend time commuting between work and school or home and school, you can devote more time to living your life, caring for your family, staying career focused, while also completing your education.

One of the fantastic aspects of an online doctorate program is that it lifts the weight of geographic location limitation. By getting your doctorate online, you may have access to programs that could otherwise have taken you away from your job, your family, or forced you to move to a completely new city, state or even country. An online doctorate program might also allow you to choose a program more customized to your specific needs, giving you a more optimized education.

By getting you doctorate online, you can utilize technology that you might not encounter should you choose to get your doctorate degree the old-fashioned way. This technology can help keep you current on the latest tech trends and could also be beneficial if you become a professor. Having a background in such educational methods can help you teach others, and you will understand what it is like to learn online, which may make it easier for you to relate to your students and for them to relate to you.


Not all students might be comfortable with an online doctorate experience. Some people tend to learn better with a more hands on experience. Not everyone may have the discipline or knowledge to be able to navigate an online doctoral program, and some might find it is easier to attend a class and work with their mentor in a face-to-face atmosphere rather than over their computer.

Unfortunately, sometimes the title alone is a con to getting an online doctorate. When you tell people you obtained your doctorate online, they might seem incredulous, reacting with the question, “You can get a doctorate online?”

It’s probably not that they want to be rude, maybe they just don’t realize that getting a doctorate online is possible. Or it could be that there is a connotation that goes along with online degrees due to bad publicity from shady institutions where students can pretty much ‘buy’ degrees rather than actually earn them.

By reaching a point where you’re ready for a doctorate, you’ve likely proven you’re a hard worker, but this is a doctorate degree we’re talking about here. You’ll probably have to push yourself extra hard, be super motivated, and very proactive when it comes to your education. When you encounter software issues, internet connection problems, or issues with your coursework, you may be more likely to be responsible for getting the issues solved yourself, with less assistance from others. This might not be an issue for everyone, however, it’s certainly something to consider when deciding if an online doctorate is right for you.