Some universities in Malaysia have research-mode Ph.D. programs in Mathematics. Since Covid 19, they have allowed students to work online, especially if the student is performing well. I am a math instructor in my own country and also registered in a Ph.D. program in Malaysia. This is my first year, and I published 5 research papers in ISI Q1 journals, three of the journals are reputed in my field.

I can finish my Ph.D. within two years(minimum requirement period). But I am wondering, would my Ph.D. be acceptable for assistant professor jobs? Or Postdoc positions?

P.S: The issue is that I cannot leave my current job due to financial reasons.

  • 3
    "would my PhD be acceptable for the assistant professor jobs? Or Posdoc?" Acceptable in where? which country?
    – Nobody
    Commented Apr 29, 2023 at 11:47
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    Please read this answer
    – Nobody
    Commented Apr 29, 2023 at 12:38
  • 3
    Does this answer your question? Can I get a PhD online?
    – Sursula
    Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 3:50
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    It's not a case of validity. It's a case of soundness. (/s) Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 12:51
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    Others gave great answers, but let me still mention here that doing PhD online might be a disadvantage in the future. Part of being a mathematician is also networking with other mathematicians (that's not the main part, but it is important). These connection should including faculty members and other seniors. When time comes and you will apply for a postdoc position you will need those (e.g. for reference letters). Still, if you make effort attending conferences or talking with people from other universities you should be fine.
    – Yanko
    Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 23:30

5 Answers 5


There is some risk, but you choose among the options you have, not the ones you wish you had.

In math, ideally, an online doctorate could be fully valid and if from a highly reputed institution, it probably, but not necessarily, is.

You will still, however, face skepticism about the degree at the current time when the concept is so new. Not everyone will think of it as equal to a traditional degree and you will need to be aware of that in applying for positions.

However, as is always true, if your dissertation makes a solid contribution to the field and you clearly show the necessary characteristics for the jobs you seek, you can overcome a lot of that skepticism.

Nothing guaranteed, but nothing impossible.


As others mentioned, location is important. In the comments you asked specifically about the United States. If you want an assistant professorship in the United States, you need a PhD that is familiar to hiring committees in the United States. Most of the faculty on those committees cannot name a single university in Malaysia or a single university that offers online PhDs. As a result, they will not know anything about your PhD.

Also, nearly all new assistant professors in math have several years of experience after their PhDs.


published 5 research papers in ISI Q1 journals, three of the journals are reputed in my field

Your high rated publications (depending on how highly rated they are) would count, post your doctorate study.

would my Ph.D. be acceptable for assistant professor jobs? Or Postdoc positions?

Given your publications and possibilities of further publications, you stand a good chance.

Some might be sceptical about online doctorate. Rightly so for good reasons. In your case, you can address this easily with cover letter.

Some consider the research environment on completed their doctorate in. Some factor in the university standing.

Consideration varies from country to country, institution to institution, discipline to discipline.


Online PhDs in mathematics are as valid as the institution that confers the degree.

The question is rather how competitive or 'valid' a university in Malaysia is from the point of view of your future employers. I know that European and North American institutions might have biases when it comes to degrees from outside of North America and Europe (+Japan, South Korea, and certain Chinese universities).

Frankly, whether your PhD is 'online' or classical won't really matter from the perspective of your future employer. What matters is their opinion about your university. In academia, they will care about your research and your personal connections too.


Yes. What really matters is the quality of your work and your own natural aptitude for math. If you're not good enough to stand out amongst the crowd, then it really doesn't matter where you went to school.

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