November 2, 2007, Newsletter Issue #31: Doctoral Degree Online

Tip of the Week

Education Connection Tip: Doctoral degree programs are usually the level of education sought following a masters degree in the same field. If you have already obtained your Master of Arts in Criminal Justice and are seeking a higher level of education, several online options are available for you to consider (in less frequent cases, it is also possible to obtain a joint master/doctoral degree online).

One primary benefit of obtaining an online criminal justice doctoral degree is that you will have increased mastery over your own research time. Additionally, the class load relevant to PhD programs is often less group focused and, again, more focused on research; so you will be less likely to lose valuable "in class" time in an online degree program than you would with other degree programs, such as bachelor or master degrees (and you would still have online library access, because you would be paying for your online university's access to complete your research).

There are also a few limitations to online PhD's, however. First of all, you will have less in-person interaction with key academic staff, such as the members of your dissertation team. Secondly, you may have fewer options in terms of internship/job and, most importantly, in-classroom teaching opportunities (most people who are seeking PhD's plan to teach on a college level at some point, and this in-class experience can prove invaluable for practice and potential job connections). There are a few things you can do to plan ahead, however, so that you do not run into these difficulties:

Call the university ahead of time and ask for the name of an academic contact person with whom you'd most likely conduct your research.Contact this person and ask questions related to how often he/she would be available to converse and if there would be any opportunity to meet in-person.Find out about online teaching opportunities (if this interests you) or other contacts with local schools or institutions in which you might gain this experience.Inquire about research tools and resourcesInquire about other PhD students in your field that may live in the same area as youTalk to current students or recent alums and inquire about their experiences with the program

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