A reader writes: "Are any long distance learning Ph.D. programs considered reputable?"
Short answer: Yes, but it depends. Distance learning has grown exponentially over the last few years. Many brick-and-mortar institutions offer degrees by distance education. However, some programs are run by for-profit companies. And some are not reputable. How do you tell the difference? Determine whether the institution is accredited. Contact the US Department of Higher Education. Also inquire whether the program is accredited in your area of study, if relevant. Also, evaluate each program on a range of factors, like course format, interactions with faculty, residency requirements, faculty credentials and experience, and degree requirements such comprehensive exams, these, and dissertations. Look carefully and you'll find that there are many excellent opportunities for online graduate education and some of the top institutions of higher education offer degrees by distance learning.