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Is It Time to Apply for That Part-Time Online Doctorate?

Is It Time to Apply for That Part-Time Online Doctorate?

25th March, 2020

It’s March 2020 and it seems that the entire world is going on lock down because of the alarming spread of the coronavirus. As I sit at home and ponder the sorry state of world affairs, I am reminded by my daughter that while this is a difficult period, it will eventually give way to better times. Her positiveness makes me smile and while still worried for the future, I think to myself of the best way to use this downtime.

After finishing my master’s degree (a very, very long time ago), I had the choice between enrolling in a full-time PhD program or starting a job. I chose starting a job but for many years, I wondered if I had made the right decision.

In 2014, I joined Meirc Training & Consulting as a corporate trainer. I was extremely fortunate to work at a company that wholeheartedly supported the continuing education of employees. As a result, I was finally able to apply for a doctorate program in education at the University of Glasgow.

The program is 5 years long (at least), and I have just started my 4th year. It definitely has not been easy and there were many times where I questioned my decision. However, in the balance of things, I believe that I made the right decision.

If you are thinking about applying for a part-time doctorate program, the following are some tips and thoughts to make your journey easier:

  1. Support from your family: Make sure that you sit down with your loved ones and have a frank discussion. It is critical to have their support and all of you should be crystal clear about the difficult journey ahead. Sacrifices will need to be made and like it or not, your family will be seeing less of you.
  2. Support from your company: I don’t mean just financial support but also moral support. It’s great if your company has an educational allowance as part of your compensation package. However, you should also be transparent with your manager regarding the amount of time that will be spent on your degree and where that time will come from.
  3. Pick the right program: The program you choose will have a large effect on your chances for success. Compare different programs and consider different qualities such as cost, residency requirements, and graduation rates.

Finally, the best source of information is previous graduates. If you can find someone who has successfully completed (or dropped) the program, you can be assured to get more honest answers to all your questions. As the Arabic proverb goes, asking someone who went through an experience is better than asking someone who is knowledgeable about that experience1.

1 اسأل مجرب ولا تسأل حكيم

About the Author
Mohammed Nayal

Partner

Mr. Mohammed Nayal is a Partner with Meirc Training & Consulting. He holds a bachelor of science degree in systems and control engineering from Case Western Reserve University, a master of science in engineering economic systems from Stanford University, and a master in business administration from the University of California at Berkeley. In addition, Mohammed is a certified business data analyst (CBDA) from the International Institute of Business Analysis and a certified training practitioner (CTP) from the Institute of Performance and Learning. He is currently completing a doctorate in education at the University of Glasgow.

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