Best Part-Time Ph.D. Programs for 2022

Best Part-Time Ph.D. Programs for 2022
Imed Bouchrika by Imed Bouchrika
Chief Data Scientist & Head of Content

In 2019, doctoral students needed 5.8 years on average to finish their doctorate programs. That was five years for those in business management and administration. (Kang, 2019) It could even be longer if students do not study full-time. These students search for the best part-time Ph.D. programs to fit their schedules. 

However, there are questions on whether any institutions offer part-time Ph.D., and if they do, concerns about the pros and cons of taking this format are raised.  

This page lists business-related Ph.D. programs that offer part-time options to students who require more flexibility in their doctoral studies. Likewise, the benefits and drawbacks of a part-time Ph.D. are discussed.

Best Part-Time Ph.D. Programs Table of Contents

  1. Are there part-time Ph.D. programs?
  2. 11 Best Part-Time Business Ph.D. Programs
  3. Which is better part-time or full-time Ph.D.?

Are there part-time Ph.D. programs?

The quick answer is yes. 

Universities are aware of the struggle that doctoral students have. In the study “Academics in pursuit of the part-time doctorate: pressures and support issues associated with the career development of business and management academics,” Mills, et al. (2014) found that students “complained [that] the lack of time for study has proved to be a significant hindrance and even a threat to their doctoral progress.”

In this same study published in the Human Resource Development International, it was found that “Often, it is an academic’s study that loses out when faced with competing work demands.”

Universities now have online or part-time on-campus Ph.D. programs, allowing students to complete their degrees without having to take a leave from their work. With online programs, in particular, students can attend their preferred university without having to leave town. They can work on their dissertation, take classes, and communicate with academic advisors online. 

A part-time Ph.D. program could make it easier for students to earn their degrees at their own pace.  

Source: National Center for Sciences and Engineering Statistics

11 Best Part-Time Business Ph.D. Programs

The NCES recorded 187,800 doctoral degrees conferred in the United States in 2018/19. Of this total, 3,636 earned doctoral degrees related to business. Since there are numerous doctoral programs offered for different fields to date, this list is limited to Ph.D., DBA, and other doctorate programs related to business.

Take note that unlike a business Ph.D. focused on research, a DBA focuses on practical skills and applications. Unlike a Ph.D., a DBA prepares graduates for careers as CEOs, presidents, or corporate executives.

The selection below is based on the cost and flexibility of the programs.

1. Doctor of Business Management 

The Doctor of Business Management helps students pursue careers in higher education, business, nonprofit, military, and government. Students can conduct research in information technology management, finance, marketing, human resource management, operations, and leadership. The program is designed to help experienced business management graduates and professionals advance their careers by expanding their knowledge and providing them with broad research and process business management skills. 

Institution: Atlantic International University

Location: Honolulu, USA

Tuition: 

  • Pedagogic Online Program: $18,700.00 full or $650.00 for 36 months
  • Andragogic Online Program: $12,400.00 full or $600.00 for 26 months

Program Delivery: Online

Sample Courses: 

  • Diversity in the Workplace
  • Ethics
  • Leadership and Communication
  • Legal Systems, Labor Relations, and Regulatory Practices
  • Managing and Organizing People

2. Doctor of Business Administration 

The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA, Ph.D.) program is also available as a Ph.D. in Business and is designed to help experienced managers and professionals advance their careers by expanding their management knowledge and providing them with broad research and process management skills. It is for those who want to improve an organization’s overall performance in today’s competitive market. Students may study and research multiple key areas of business and management. 

Institution: Atlantic International University

Location: Honolulu, USA

Tuition: 

  • Pedagogic Online Program: $18,700.00 full or $650.00 for 36 months
  • Andragogic Online Program: $12,400.00 full or $600.00 for 26 months

Program Delivery: Online

Sample Courses: 

  • Organizational Behavior
  • Business and Society: Corporate Strategy, Public Policy, Ethics
  • Operations Management for Competitive Advantage
  • International Business: Challenge of Global Competition
  • Strategic Management: Concepts and Cases

3. Ph.D. in Business Administration 

Graduates of the online Ph.D. in Business Administration program can work as teachers, researchers, and scholars. Online doctoral students become world-class business academics by immersing themselves in academic literature, engaging in rich academic experiences, and conducting detailed research. Students learn advanced research skills used in the Ph.D. dissertation, among others. 

Institution: Trident University International

Location: Cypress, USA

Tuition: $990/credit

Program Delivery: Online

Sample Courses: 

  • Advanced-Data Management and Analysis 
  • Advanced Multivariate Data Analysis 
  • Current Research in Business and Management
  • Introductory Data Analysis
  • Organizational Studies I & II

no. of doctoral degrees conferred in the u.s. in 2019

4. Doctorate in Economics

The Doctor of Economics program combines economics and business. It prepares students for professions in business administration and related sectors of economics. Incorporated business, international business, business strategy, and industrial organization marketing are among the academic disciplines represented in the program research. The program is designed to help experienced economics graduates and professionals boost their careers by expanding their knowledge and abilities in research and process economics. 

Institution: Atlantic International University

Location: Honolulu, USA

Tuition: 

  • Pedagogic Online Program: $18,700.00 full or $650.00 for 36 months
  • Andragogic Online Program: $12,400.00 full or $600.00 for 26 months

Program Delivery: Online

Sample Courses:

  • Economics of Growth and Development
  • Public Economics
  • Mathematics for Economists
  • Econometrics
  • International Trade Theory

5. Doctor of Human Resource Management

The Doctor of Human Resource Management is designed to help experienced human resource management graduates and professionals advance their careers by expanding their knowledge and providing them with broad research and process human resource management skills. They study and research multiple key areas of computer science, allowing them to build a solid foundation of both practical knowledge and theory. 

Institution: Atlantic International University

Location: Honolulu, USA

Tuition: 

  • Pedagogic Online Program: $18,700.00 full or $650.00 for 36 months
  • Andragogic Online Program: $12,400.00 full or $600.00 for 26 months

Program Delivery: Online

Sample Courses:

  • Diversity in the Workplace
  • Ethics
  • Leadership and Communication
  • Legal Systems, Labor Relations, and Regulatory Practices
  • Managing and Organizing People

6. Doctorate in Islamic Banking and Finance

The Doctorate in Islamic Banking and Finance program prepares students for a rapidly expanding field. Assert themselves as experts in Islamic Finance and Banking while following Sharia Law. Graduates of this program stand out in the job market. Any employer in the banking or financial industries in the Middle East, for instance, would likely respond to them within 24 hours. Besides, the American International Theism University is among the few affordable Doctorate Degree programs in the U.S.

Institution: American International Theism University

Location: Englewood, USA

Tuition: $7,350/year

Program Delivery: Campus/Online

Sample Courses: 

  • Advanced Shariah and Islamic Jurisprudence
  • Advanced Islamic Banking; Products and Services
  • Islamic Insurance Takaful
  • Advanced Islamic Commercial Law and Contracts
  • Islamic Risk Management
  • Culture Issues in Management

7. Doctorate of Finance

The Doctor of Finance is designed to help experienced finance graduates and professionals advance their careers by expanding their knowledge and providing them with broad research and process finance skills. Asset pricing, investments, corporate finance, and financial intermediation are covered in this program. Students can study and research multiple key areas of computer science, combining practical knowledge and computer science theory.

Institution: Atlantic International University

Location: Honolulu, USA

Tuition: 

  • Pedagogic Online Program: $18,700.00 full or $650.00 for 36 months
  • Andragogic Online Program: $12,400.00 full or $600.00 for 26 months

Program Delivery: Online

Sample Courses:

  • Economic Statistics
  • Microeconomic Theory
  • Financial Economics
  • Empirical Applications in Finance
  • Econometrics

8. Doctorate in Accounting

The Doctor of Accounting program aims to assist students in acquiring a conceptual framework and set of abilities needed to address accounting difficulties. It is designed to help experienced accounting graduates and professionals boost their careers by expanding their knowledge and providing them with wide research and process accounting abilities. It covers an examination of the generation and utilization of control, planning, and performance data and allows students to study and research numerous essential areas of computer technology, combining practical knowledge and computer science theory.

Institution: Atlantic International University

Location: Honolulu, USA

Tuition: 

  • Pedagogic Online Program: $18,700.00 full or $650.00 for 36 months
  • Andragogic Online Program: $12,400.00 full or $600.00 for 26 months

Program Delivery: Online

Sample Courses:

  • Accounting, Organizations, and Institutions
  • Managerial Incentives and Corporate Governance
  • Accounting – Global Economy
  • Accounting Concepts and Empirical Methodology
  • Regulations Research

9. Doctorate of Project Management

The Doctorate of Project Management is designed to prepare students for strategic leadership roles in project management via theory and experience. The curriculum assists students in acquiring skills in knowledge management, project management, and ethical buying. The program is meant to help experienced management graduates and project management professionals boost their careers by expanding their knowledge and providing them with wide research and process project management abilities.

Institution: Atlantic International University

Location: Honolulu, USA

Tuition: 

  • Pedagogic Online Program: $18,700.00 full or $650.00 for 36 months
  • Andragogic Online Program: $12,400.00 full or $600.00 for 26 months

Program Delivery: Online

Sample Courses:

  • Statistical Analysis
  • Project Procurement
  • Ethics
  • Organizational Theory
  • Project Management Leadership

10. Doctorate of Marketing

The Doctor of Marketing is designed to help experienced marketing graduates and professionals advance their careers by expanding their knowledge and providing them with broad research and process marketing skills. It allows students to conduct academic research or teach in their chosen fields. To build a unique foundation of practical knowledge and computer science theory, students can study and research multiple key areas of computer science.

Institution: Atlantic International University

Location: Honolulu, USA

Tuition: 

  • Pedagogic Online Program: $18,700.00 full or $650.00 for 36 months
  • Andragogic Online Program: $12,400.00 full or $600.00 for 26 months

Program Delivery: Online

Sample Courses:

  • Brand Equity and Customer Equity
  • Relationship Building in Virtual Communities
  • Consumer Relationship Management
  • Web Expertise
  • Information Processing in Online Environments

11. Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) in Organization and Leadership 

The Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) in Organization and Leadership is designed for working professionals who see themselves as educational leaders transforming organizations through learning. It is targeted at leaders who want to transform themselves and their institutions through justice, democracy, and service.

Institution: University of San Francisco – School of Education

Location: San Francisco, USA

Tuition: $1,270/credit

Program Delivery: On-campus, alternate weekend classes that convene nine times per semester 

Sample Courses: 

  • Advocacy & Policy
  • Coaching & Observation
  • Impact & Assessment
  • Instructional Leadership & PD
  • Organizational Systems 

Which is better part-time or full-time Ph.D.?

There are varying opinions on which between a full-time Ph.D. and a part-time Ph.D. is better.  

Reddy (2021) is firm in saying that a full-time Ph.D. is better than a part-time Ph.D. since students can finish in a shorter time and double their salaries fast. Reddy (2021) also says full-time students have more room to publish their papers in reputable journals. 

Supporting Compare’s (2021) claim that universities generally take fewer part-time Ph.D. students due to a very low success rate, Reddy (2021) says that after a decade, a full-time Ph.D. will have more value since there are problems with low-quality part-time Ph.D. being awarded. 

Still, deciding on which way to go would mostly depend on students’ circumstances. 

Bennett (2020) shares his experience with taking a part-time Ph.D. with the intention to shift to full-time once his finances get better, but as he landed a full-time job and his finances improved, he had a child, and altogether, his circumstance made it hard for him to shift. As such, he stayed part-time until the completion of his degree. 

Indeed, it is difficult to say which one is better between a full-time Ph.D. and a part-time Ph.D. Still, here are the pros and cons to help students decide which format to choose. 

average student loan debt of Ph.D. holders

Pros and Cons of a Part-time Ph.D. 

Here are the upsides of taking a part-time Ph.D. 

  1. Financially manageable: In 2021, the average debt among Ph.D. holders amounts to $159,625. (Hanson, 2021) Meanwhile, Compare (2021) notes that the cost of a part-time Ph.D. is a fraction of a full-time Ph.D. However, Bennett (2020) stresses that the former is not necessarily cheaper since it takes part-time students longer to finish their degrees. Thus, they still incur additional fees, not to mention living costs. Still, payment is manageable and easier since the cost is stretched across more years, and students may possibly stay away from debts.
  2. Less disruptive: For someone who works full-time and has a family, studying part-time would make it easier to keep up with home and work commitments. Still, students must make sure their current commitments would indeed allow for a few hours of research per week since, as Bennet says, “less disruptive is still disruptive.” 
  3. Flexible: Students can adjust their studies to their other commitments. They could temporarily do loads of work if they must meet a deadline and slow down at times. Besides, since they will have several years to complete a degree, they can schedule their work, home, and study commitments in a more balanced manner.

Meanwhile, here are the downsides of taking a part-time Ph.D. 

  1. Not for all majors: While part-time Ph.D. may work for students of Busines or Humanities, it may not be so for other fields like engineering and those related to health. Some fields require lab works or practicum that may be hard to carry out for part-time students. 
  2. Takes longer to finish: It has been mentioned several times that a part-time Ph.D. takes longer to finish than a full-time Ph.D. In 2019, Ph.D. students in the U.S. took an average of 5.8 years to finish their degrees. The longest is with Anthropology (7.1 years), and the shortest is with Civil Engineering (4.8 years). (Kang, 2019) Bennet (2020) and Compare (2021) agree that with lengthier PhDs, students could easily lose interest or motivation. Besides, anxiety could set it once part-time students see full-time students move forward faster than they do. (Bennett, 2020).
  3. More distractions: While a part-time Ph.D. will be less disruptive to students’ personal and work commitments, it is different if seen from the opposite perspective. Students might find it hard to carry out Ph.D. tasks with demands from their work or home. As such, this goes back to the findings of Mills et al. (2014) that when work demands set in, students will choose to give up time from their study than the other way around. 

Source: Education Data

Pros and Cons of Full-Time Ph.D.

Here are the upsides of taking a full-time Ph.D.

  1. Faster return on investment: The likelihood of being promoted at work and getting a steeper salary is high when students complete a Ph.D. As such, full-time students, who naturally finish sooner, get promoted sooner as well and receive an increase in income. (Reddy, 2021) Those who study part-time have to wait longer before they can receive the returns on their investment. 
  2. Easier access to resources and professors: Since they are regularly attending classes, full-time students get to communicate with their professors more frequently and are able to access facilities easily. (Reddy, 2021) As such, they are better guided with their work, thus more likely to avoid delays in their research.
  3. More Focus: In the same vein as the benefits of having better access to resources and professors, the focus is another upside of studying full time. Students are able to dedicate more time to their work and carry out their research more soundly.

Here are the downsides of a full-time Ph.D.

  1. Financial stress: Bennet (2020) and Compare (2021) notes that the cost of a full-time Ph.D. per term could be twice that of a part-time Ph.D. and if without grants, scholarships, or other forms of financial aid, students might be burdened by the cost, especially if they will have to give up work for their study. 
  2. Personal repercussions: Studying a Ph.D. full-time may mean taking time away from loved ones, or students may have to give up other personal commitments. Mills et al. (2014) found that competing pressures of work and study could eventually result in either withdrawal from Ph.D. study or serious personal problems with family or work. At worse, it could bring stress-related illness.
  3. Paying off debt sooner: According to Hanson (2021), the average Ph.D. holder’s total student loan debt totals $117,146, and $111,702 of this is from graduate school alone. Since full-time Ph.D. students finish their degree sooner, they have better chances of paying off their debts sooner.

Is a part-time Ph.D. worth it?

As Mills et al. (2014) discovered, when work becomes demanding, students are more likely to give up time from their studies. As such, professionals who want to get a doctorate degree but cannot afford to take time away from work or from their families may benefit from studying part-time. 

Nevertheless, to say that a part-time Ph.D. is completely worth it may only be possible if students’ needs are met given their personal and professional commitment. There are other factors to consider, like the cost and the time it will take students to receive returns on their educational investment. 

As such, before deciding on which to take between a part-time and a full-time Ph.D., students better weigh all factors.  

 

References:

  1. Bennett, M. (2020, July 16). Part-Time vs Full-Time – Pros, Cons and Perspective | FindAPhD.com. Www.FindAPhD.com; www.FindAPhD.com. https://www.findaphd.com/advice/blog/4753/part-time-vs-full-time-pros-cons-and-perspective
  2. Compare, U. (2021, November 18). University Compare. Universitycompare.com. https://universitycompare.com/advice/postgraduate/part-time-phd/
  3. Hanson, M. (2021, October 13). “Average Graduate Student Loan Debt” EducationData.org.
    https://educationdata.org/average-graduate-student-loan-debt
  4. Kang, K. (2019). Doctorate Recipients from US Universities: 2019 | NSF – National Science Foundation. Nsf.gov. https://ncses.nsf.gov/pubs/nsf21308/data-tables
  5. Mills, S., Trehan, K., & Stewart, J. (2014). Academics in pursuit of the part-time doctorate: pressures and support issues associated with the career development of business and management academics. Human Resource Development International, 17(4). http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13678868.2014.928136
  6. Reddy, S. P. (2021). Part Time PhD or Full Time; Which is better? – PhD study tips. Phdstudytips.com. https://www.phdstudytips.com/part-time-or-full-time-phd/

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