Importance and Credibility of Online PhD Programs

Provided by Northcentral University

In the last twenty-five years, technological innovations have altered society in many ways. The online world has created a new system for reading news headlines, paying bills, shopping, and even earning a graduate degree. While society is now familiar with most of these changes, some may question the legitimacy of earning a degree online, especially a PhD.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), employers’ opinions of online education have grown over the past decade. More than one-third of organizations SHRM surveyed for an August 2010 report reported that “job candidates who have obtained their degrees online were viewed as favorably as job applicants with traditional degrees (i.e., brick-and-mortar). Seventy-nine percent of organizations indicated that they had hired a job applicant with an online degree in the last 12 months.”

How do you determine if an online PhD program is credible? When conducting your research, consider the following:

Accreditation
Universities that are regionally accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education are considered credible educational institutions that meet their accreditor’s clearly stated requirements and criteria.

Mission
The school’s mission is also an important indication of credibility. Does the mission support the student’s growth and educational goals? Does the mission reflect what the university claims to offer?

Faculty
Another clue into the credibility of an online PhD program is the quality of the university’s faculty. Are faculty highly credentialed to teach in a PhD program? Do they have experience in their respective fields?

Program Diversity
Universities that offer a wide variety of diverse programs is another indication of credibility as long as the programs are relevant in the respective industries.

Right Fit for Student
Students looking for credible programs should also search for ones that are a good fit. For example, many PhD students look for an individualized education that aligns their goals with the learning environment. Universities that mentor PhD students without requiring residencies or group work are a good fit for busy working adults without compromising educational quality.

Universities, such as Northcentral University, meet this credibility assessment as reflected in its mission: NCU educates professionals throughout the world and provides an accessible opportunity to earn a U.S. regionally accredited degree. Northcentral mentors students one-to-one with highly credentialed faculty via advanced delivery modalities. Northcentral commits to helping students achieve academically and become valuable contributors to their communities and within their professions.

Learn more about NCU’s PhD programs here.