PhD Distance Learning at UK Universities

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The United Kingdom has a long and distinguished history of educational opportunities. If you are an adult with a job and family you may find it difficult to take advantage of those opportunities by enrolling in and attending classes. Obtaining a Ph.D. in a traditional manner is often impossible for the working adult. Distance education programs change this entirely.

History

  • According to the University of London, Queen Victoria chartered the External Program in 1858. This made the University of London the first university in the world to grant a degree via distance education.

    Because the Geneva Convention rules for prisoners of war dictated that they be allowed to receive mail, including packages, many soldiers took advantage of their situation to enroll in the External Program during World War II. According to the University of London, nearly 11,000 exams were taken at more than 88 prison camps between 1940 and 1945 with a significant number of soldiers earning university degrees during their captivity.

Significance

  • Distance education alters the landscape of education. Many people, due to cost and geographic location, are unable to attend a traditional university. Distance education allows for a more educated population. The ability to obtain a Ph.D. by distance learning makes it possible for an educated population to become highly educated.

    As of August 2009, the United Kingdom leads the world in the number of academic institutions that offer a Ph.D. via distance education, according to the British Accreditation Council.

Benefits

  • Perhaps the most striking benefit to earning a Ph.D. via distance education is the cost. Distance education is less expensive than a traditional educational setting. But the cost isn't just about money, it's also about time. Instead of putting a career on hold to return to life as a student, the career continues and the education enhances that career. This is a benefit not just for the student but also for his employer.

    Distance education also benefits society as a whole by allowing those who would not otherwise be able to obtain an advanced degree to do so.

Considerations

  • For those seeking to obtain a Ph.D., a university located in the UK is a good choice. In a nation with more than a 150-year history in distance education, there is a solid foundation in place to help you achieve your goals.

    Even in a traditional educational setting, the vast majority of study for a Ph.D. is done independently. Most coursework, research and study are geared toward the writing of a dissertation or some other work to be published.

Potential

  • The potential exists that at some point the majority of advanced degrees will be earned through distance education. After the initial degree is granted and students have become working adults, it is more practical and cost-effective to allow them to continue working while they obtain an advanced degree. By the time a student has reached a point where she is seeking a Ph.D., she is likely to be well qualified to take her studies in hand and to complete the required course work and publication with a minimum of investment in traditional education.

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