A PhD course is different, rather much different from the other academic courses in the life of a student. The one who is intending to pursue a PhD must have done his background study about the requirements and commitments that are associated with the course. If we have to explain in a single line, A PhD is an internship in the field of teaching and research. The course work, which is an integral part of the PhD, is still just one part. Other than that, the daily interactions and the lab sessions that are needed to be attended to understand the nuances of research and its application, require the scholar to be physically present as well as attentive. All experienced researchers would say that, this kind of apprenticeship isn’t possible to acquire just through the means of distance education.
Aspirants for PhD programme, who have geographical limitations but still are keen and determined to pursue PhD can look for options and alternatives which some universities offer for doctoral study. But while doing so it is important to be prepared that it isn’t possible that the entire course would be conducted long distance. Only some part of the research is possible with the absence of physical presence. The supervisor who is responsible for the scholar should be cooperative and accommodating to allow to work and report from a distance. Some supervisors are more demanding and prefer that their scholars report to them physically more often. Others may be comfortable to guide from a distance with the aid of technology. It is a good idea to have that clarity with your supervisor from the time of admission. Scholars who leave this clarity for later, with a perspective to cross the bridge when it comes, are entering into a high risk zone. This is so because a PhD is phase wise job and a lot of effort and dedication is required to move from one stage to another. After having crossed quite a few hurdles, if the supervisor demands that he would require the scholar to come regularly to show the research update and get corrections or insists that the research be conducted in the institutes library and lab only, the scholar having distance related concerns may find himself in a soup. Supervisors usually don’t budge from their requirement and this would mean that either you make personal arrangements to be physically present or in the worst case, even quit your PhD programme.