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- The pros:
- The cons:
- The takeaway:
Yes, you can pursue a PhD program part-time while working. A part-time PhD contains all the attributes and components of traditional PhD programs but comes with a flexible schedule. Notably, part-time doctoral programs are by no means easier than full-time ones. Both require effort and passion for completing.
Before you enroll in a PhD program, ask yourself, “what are the benefits of PhD degree?”, “is getting a PhD worth it?”, Let us consider the positives and negatives of part-time PhD programs.
It is easier on the pocket:
It does not mean that part-time studies cost less than a full-time program. On the contrary, when comparing the programs’ yearly fees, part-time costs just half as much as a full-time program. But a part-time program also takes up to twice as much time as a full-time program to complete.
When you look at the amount you pay, both programs are almost equally costly. However, it is easier to pay for the part-time program as it extends over a more extended period.
You don’t have to pause your life:
When you pursue a full-time PhD, you will have to spend all your time in the program. You will not be able to work. If your life change’s personal or financial circumstances change, you will not be able to continue your PhD program.
But in the case of part-time PhD programs, you will be able to handle uncertainties. Moreover, you will also be able to work while on a part-time program, making it even easier.
You get the flexibility:
A part-time degree does not mean you have to keep it part-time always. If you can spend more time concentrating on your doctoral program, you are free to do so. In addition, you can vary the tempo of the program to suit your needs and commitments.
Some institutions even allow you to switch to a full-time program if you can secure funding or your priorities change. You could even avail of this as your primary plan if you are initially unable to join a full-time program.
The boundaries keep extending:
As a PhD candidate, you will be working toward extending the knowledge base of your field. When the boundaries keep expanding, opportunities keep popping up. You will get exposure to such opportunities during the course of your PhD program. Being a part of a more extended PhD program will get you higher exposure.
You get more time to find yourself:
Because of the period of the program and the flexibility it offers, you will get time to reflect on your future. You get more time to discover the world beyond academics. You will also earn far more exposure to what the degree will offer you in the future.
The chance of it not being possible:
PhD programs online are not easy by any means. They require effort no matter what the mode of study is. However, for some, it can be easy to handle why some might find it hard. Additionally, some fields work out better than others in the part-time mode.
If you are a student looking to fly abroad for a part-time PhD, make sure that the country you have chosen offers student visas for the program. Some countries only provide student visas for full-time PhD students.
It is longer:
Yes, this is a con. Although it makes it easier to pay the fees and presents more research opportunities, there are some setbacks. Your research will take longer and will sometimes be at a slower pace.
The longer duration of research could also mean that there will be higher costs involved. You should also make sure that you stay on track during the years so that you do not drift away from the program.
The feeling of being disconnected from your research is also a possibility because of the slow pace. If you plan to complete your PhD through a part-time program, you will have to set your priorities straight and give your research the attention it demands.
Life can be disruptive:
A part-time doctoral program may be easier to handle, along with your commitments in life and work. However, because of its longer duration, life events can be very disruptive to the program. You will have to find a way to handle the degree during setbacks in your life.
The fear of missing out:
Being a part-time PhD student, you will come across full-time students too. Their academic lives will be different from yours. You will have to understand how they are able to move ahead quickly.
The people who started their PhD at the same time as you will be completing their program when you are only halfway through. They spend twice as much time as you in their academics, and they most probably do not have a work-life to handle.
There are definite pros and cons to pursuing a part-time PhD program. You will have to weigh the facts and see if the lifestyle will suit you. Before you enroll, research the programs you have shortlisted and compare them.
Take into consideration money, time, effort, and other attributes before you register for the program. Even after all your research and consideration, your decision is what matters.