Starting an online doctorate program is a huge decision, but with a bit of organization, taking it on can become much easier. Whether you choose to earn an EdD online or you are exploring online PhD programs, here are a few things to keep in mind when preparing to start your program:
Make Time to Participate in Class
At Grand Canyon University, each week in your online doctorate program will start on Thursday (day one) and end on Wednesday (day seven). You will be expected to complete two discussion questions (150-250 words each) each week. The first discussion question is due by day three (Saturday) and the second discussion question is by due by day five (Monday). You will also be expected to submit three substantive responses to classmates on three separate days (150-250 words each).
Remember to acknowledge the participation needed for each class, as some of them might require a different level of participation based on the teacher. Be sure to make time for each class, perform the work at a high level and meet professor expectations. Study time is also crucial to any program, as it allows you to prepare for assignments and tests. Consider designating a study area to you to get the most out of your allotted study times.
Create a Time Management Plan
Develop a study schedule. Find 20 hours per week to devote to your online doctorate. We recommend blocks of time of at least one hour, with one block of time of six to eight hours on one day.
Be creative when finding time. Delegate tasks to those in your support network that want to support you during your doctoral studies. Commute to work on public transportation or in a carpool instead of driving yourself to work. Devote an hour before work, during lunch or after work. Once you determine a study schedule, stick to it.
Manage your time wisely. Be sure to allot enough time to complete your assignments and discussion questions successfully. Each class will require you to write anywhere between four to eight papers (typically five to six). You will need to determine how long it will take you to write a 1,500-word research paper (six to seven pages) and then plan out your time accordingly.
Develop a Personal Support Network
GCU’s doctoral programs are rigorous, and it is important to have a personal support network to encourage you along this journey. Be sure to speak with your family and friends about your doctoral program, make them aware of the time commitment involved and ask them to help support you along the way.
You should also always have a back-up plan. What will you do if your personal computer breaks down? To back up your work, we recommend a flash drive or external hard drive.
If you are considering an online doctorate through Grand Canyon University’s College of Doctoral Studies, contact an enrollment representative for more information.
About College of Doctoral Studies
Grand Canyon University’s innovative doctoral degree programs prepare learners for leadership roles in their professions, communities and society. Our dynamic online learning community, integrated dissertation process, wealth of resources and collaborative environment support a successful and meaningful doctoral journey. We believe earning a doctoral degree is a journey and similar to climbing a mountain—challenging, invigorating and completely rewarding when you reach the top. Our goal is to help you conquer your own mountain and succeed on your doctoral journey. Readers of The Doctoral Journey blog, presented by the College of Doctoral Studies, will find resourceful and knowledgeable posts regarding the doctoral process, research best practices and dissertation tips among other topics from GCU’s doctoral faculty.