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There are many reasons why an individual goes seeks a doctorate degree. For many it is a personal achievement, for others it is for a career and for others it important for their field of study. The one thing to remember is that a doctorate degree requires more time than a Master’s or MBA degree. The typical doctorate degree is typically 3.5 years up to seven years. There is no shortcut or short fixes to earn a doctorate degree.

One of the questions I encounter when I talk about working on my doctorate is the length of the time in terms of years. While most Master’s or MBA degrees take anywhere from 18 to 24 months, the  doctorate degree has required coursework to be completed which can take up to two years depending upon the length of the terms and how many courses an individual takes at a time.  It has been my experience in most cases that one course is more than enough unless you are at a traditional university and working on campus. If you are a working adult like most students, then one class is more than enough to deal with when it comes to taking a graduate level course with a full time job and family obligations.

Today we live in a time when we want everything quick and fast, which is not always possible. The reason for this month’s topic is I have completed my course work as of a week ago. Now, I am in courses that are to prepare me for my dissertation. These are courses to get me focused on dissertation topic, letter of intent and literature review. The college I attend requires two dissertation planning courses so that means I will enter full dissertation by the end of November.

How long do I expect the dissertation process to be? Good question, probably at least 18 months up to 24 months. I am expecting it to take me about 10 nine week terms or that is my goal. I have cohorts that have shorter term goals, but I like to be very realistic about my own schedule, my time availability and the fact that I am will be working with three other doctors that have full schedules as well.

Every school has their own process, but the biggest recommendation I can provide is the first day of school start thinking about dissertation topics. Write them down and save them where you review them. They do not need to be fine-tuned at that point, but it is wise to have a list of possible research questions knowing that as you go through your course work, the professors will be giving you feedback to grow and learn.

research problem

Going for your doctorate degree is no short journey that requires loads of time and work, so far the personal reward and gratification for me has been priceless. I have learned a lot about research, research and myself in the process. Of course isn’t that what education is about?

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