Acknowledged Online Ph.D. Program ????

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by mbhenson1945, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. mbhenson1945

    mbhenson1945 New Member


    I am having a real hard time choosing an online Ph.D. program. I have talked with a couple of schools; however, when I request that they send me testimonials of previous students they do not come through. I will be applying for professor positions and I want to make sure that I choose an accredited school that the B&M's (Brick and Mortar) schools acknowledge.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    If your goal is to obtain tenure at a college/university, then online/distance programs are not the way to go, you're going to want to attend a traditional, residential program. If you want a doctorate as a teaching credential as an adjunct or for a community college, then online/distance may work for you.

    What field of study are you interested in?
  3. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Not only are distance learning schools out, but so is anything less than a top school if you're interested in being at all competitive for a full time faculty position. The annual number of newly minted doctorate holders far outstrips the supply of open faculty positions. Google "PhD glut" and see what I mean.

  4. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I believe this article summarizes all

    The PhD glut « Fully Myelinated

    "America produced more than 100,000 doctoral degrees between 2005 and 2009. In the same period there were just 16,000 new professorships…"

    That means 16% chances overall to land a new professorship position. Even if you find a good online PhD from a reputable school (e.g. University of Idaho), your chances will decrease as you won't get the chance to network with academics, earn teaching experience, earn research grant proposal experience that is very important to land an academic job.

    Even part time PhDs from a reputable school are discouraged from the same reason. I was told by few Universities that part time PhD is not possible as students are expected to attend conferences, teach, do research, etc and other activities part time people working full time cannot afford.
  5. BizProf

    BizProf New Member

    As I've discussed elsewhere, it depends on the field. A PhD in History from U.C. Berkeley is not enough to automatically get you through the doors of research university academia, while a PhD in certain business fields or nursing is almost certain to get you through the doors. You do, of course, as RFValve points out, need to be brutally honest about your opportunities in a given field.

    But there are opportunities to network with academics and to be accepted as a peer if you have the right stuff or the will to learn how to get it. There are dozens of academic conferences in whatever field you might choose going on all over the country every year. At these, thousands of research papers are presented, many of them wind up in academic journals. If you truly want to be more than an adjunct for a for-profit or a community college instructor, you'll need to prove yourself capable of producing publishable scholarship whether you have a PhD from Harvard or from Online U. The best way you'll do this is by developing an expertise in a subfield within your general field field and publishing therein--regularly, as in a couple articles or more a year. It would not be easy, there are no guarantees you can get hits in journals (but there are no guarantees for us on the tenure track at state universities with tens of thousands of students, either). Just showing up as a free lance scholar for conferences will help you to network, and once you do that, identify yourself as a professional working on a doctorate, there will be opportunities to socialize with the academics in your field and make contacts. This is the way everyone does it, more or less, and there's no rule that I know of in any field limiting conference presentations to tenure-track professors only, I've seen brilliant presentations by unattached scholars who were professionals. Just research and write a paper in your field, look at dozens of other academic papers to get an idea of what's expected, then pay the conference fees and go present, they'll put you on the program and there you'll be right up there presenting to a group of PhDs and top experts ion your field. Daunting? Absolutely! But it's the way the game's played. I presented multiple times as a CC adjunct and got to know a lot of people in my field, some of whom who remain good friends to this day, one of whom later asked me to be a senior editor on her journal. There are opportunities to make contact outside of being at a B&M PhD program every day, there won't be the same mentorship opportunities and it will be more difficult, but it's not impossible.
  6. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    We get these questions from time to time. It always seems to me that the op is suggesting by his own question that there is a formula which, if completed, will result in a professorship. He doesn't even think that the field of interest is an issue.

    One word: uninformed

    Coming here and asking "What PhD should I earn in order to become a "professor" is like asking, "Which state should I move to if I want to become president." The answer is: You can do it from anywhere if you've got all the other factors covered (including the intangibles AND including the money.)
  7. okydd

    okydd New Member

    Masters versus PhD | Psychology Today

    This paper is very interesting. I'll recommend you read the whole paper.

    "What is the purpose of PhD students for Universities? Universities have a different set of goals in mind with respect to PhD students. Universities acquire PhD students to serve three purposes: (1) teach undergraduates students cheaply, (2) do a lot of research and (3) make faculty members happy. Research faculty members generally love having bright, hard-working, energetic PhD students because, with their help, they can collect a lot more data and write a lot more research articles. Universities also hope PhD students will reflect a positive image of the University post-graduation, but, in my opinion, they are more focused on what PhD students can do for them while they are students than after graduation."
  8. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    Because these types of threads generally turn into the slow destruction of desire and hope for those who choose to pursue tenured gigs, I'll save you three pages of eventual reading:

    1. Do a Ph.D if like many, you are interested in finishing your apprenticeship in an academic field.
    2. Do not do a Ph.D if you have any intention of making a return on your investment other than satisfaction of personal drive.

    That's not to say you won't have a return, but anyone pursuing an online doctorate is about ten steps behind the B&M students who of themselves only 15% will obtain tenure. My wife's in an Ivy Doctoral program and even she is being told it's a scissor fight to get into places.
  9. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    I think 16% is a generous interpretation. If that's true that means that the exact graduates will exactly match the exact qualifications required and in the exact fields of the exact 16,000 open positions. I'm betting not. It's likely that the distributions do not match anywhere near exactly.
  10. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    A disproportionate number of the successful candidates will be graduates of top B&M programs (e.g. Ivy League universities, other highly regarded private research universities, and flagship state universities). If your PhD is from a B&M school like this, then your odds of landing a tenure-track position (while still not guaranteed) are better than average.

    If your PhD is from a less prestigious B&M institution (e.g. regionally known private university; second-tier state university), then your odds of landing a tenure-track position is even worse than average. If there are plenty of applicants from top schools (and in today's market, there are), then a degree from a second-tier school is not competitive.

    If your PhD is from an online-only institution, then your odds of landing a tenure-track position are much, much worse than average. Online-only schools rank even lower.

    Note that online-only schools typically pay low salaries to their professors, while providing no benefits and zero job security. This approach is certainly cost-effective, but it is not well regarded in the B&M world, where the only "good" teaching jobs are. If you want a teaching position that pays a reasonable salary, provides decent benefits, and the offers opportunity for tenure, then don't get your degree from a school that offers its own professors none of those things.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 1, 2011
  11. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I think the overall consensus is that PhD from dot com schools are basically used to make money on the side as a dot com instructor. The few thousand dollars here and there with no benefits can be seen as an opportunity for those making already a salary with benefits and just looking for extra cash on the side.

    There is the timing issue too, some people were able to land some tenure track positions with dot com doctorates because they were there before anyone else and were in the right field. However, these few are used as carrots for the hundreds that will never make it.
  12. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Actually is a lot less, B&M students have overall less than 16% chances of landing a tenure track position. From those that make it to a tenure track, you have about 50% chances to make it to tenure.

    I don't know the exact probabilty of a PhD from an online school but I would say that is about .16 x .1 x .5 = 1.28% of making it to tenure after graduation. (16% chances for all the PhDs 10% chances for online PhDs and 50% for all the tenure track to get tenure).
  13. Cyber

    Cyber New Member

    Your point is the reason ROI should be factored in when deciding which doctoral degree one should pursue. Would you spend $70k (using student loans) to get an internet PhD only to make a few thousand dollars a year? In the near future, it wouldn't be surprising to realize that landing an adjunct gig has become much harder; especially, as enrollment in those programs drop due to the present competition between internet schools on who can raise their tuition the most.
  14. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    People are throwing around some numbers but they're all without citations. I'm saying that there's a 89.7% chance that no one will believe any of it. We go from Myelinated to the Economist and discover that the numbers are paraphrased from some research related to "British men." Has anyone actually read the original research article? Does anyone even know the title of the original article? Is there any real reason to believe that this is real? Don't you have sufficient skepticism of the media at this point? Someone is going to make a life decision based on an article that's based on an article that based on research that no one has read regarding guys in England!?! Someone, please blow me up!!!
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 1, 2011
  15. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    Kiz -

    You bring a good point to the table. All I'll say is that I took my 15% from some other thread I read and added the position based on personal experiences. As to making a life decision; it doesn't take much to make an argument that no one should make any decision about an academic career based on the opinions on this forum. Most are climbing and not at the pinnacle if they're on the board. We're one source of information certainly but nothing here is quantitative, at all.

    With that said, just remove half the discussions and put the spaceballs logo at the top of the page :)

    Just a thought.
  16. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I think people are reporting that they are able to get back the 50 to 70K invested in a PhD in a couple of years.

    Most online courses at for profits are just canned courses that can be taught with 5 hours a week. Many report teaching as many as 5 to 6 at the time on top of a full time job. Each canned course pays about 2K, if you teach 20 a year that is about 40K.

    Most online PhDs do not require publications and are designed to be completed in 3 to 4 years part time.

    I believe people see them as a good way to make the extra cash and as an opportunity to leave the door open to teach full time one day even this never happens.

    Let's face it, traditional PhDs require 5 years of full time attendance and most require publications, high GPAs, GMAT and other demanding requirements that are not even close to what an online PhD requires so it is normal that are not seen as equivalent to part time online PhDs and probably will never be seen in the future.

    However, the increasing demand of online PhD education just shows that people are thinking that in general they have an acceptable ROI. Otherwise, how can you explain the schools like Capella, Walden, NCU keep increasing their tuition fees if there is no demand for these programs?
  17. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Unfortunately, it is very hard to get accurate placement statistics for PhDs as a whole. The academic community is splintered; there is no single professional organization that tracks the entire academic job market. The MDs have the AMA, and the JDs have the ABA, but there is no comparable organization for PhDs.

    Sometimes you can get snapshots of the PhD job market by looking at specific disciplines. In 2004, the American Historical Association (AHA) compiled a list of every history PhD that had been granted in the US over the previous 15 years. They found that only 32% of these PhD holders held full-time jobs as history faculty in 2004.

    But that number, while interesting, is out of date; it is generally assumed that job market for historians has deteriorated significantly since then. For example, last month the AHA reported that the number of history job postings in 2009-10 was the lowest in 25 years. The AHA concluded that:

    Prospective PhD students need to reflect carefully about the potential opportunities (or lack thereof) as well.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 1, 2011
  18. Cyber

    Cyber New Member

    Earlier on, you made mention of "timing." I bring up the issue of timing because online teaching is only beneficial to those who are actually teaching those 7, 8, 9 classes at different online schools right now. Such opportunities may or may not exists in the near future (for future doctoral degree graduates), except more programs or schools are started.

    The other question is: for someone starting their online PhD right now, assuming they finish in three or four years, are you saying that it will be easy for them to secure 5, 6, or 7 adjunct teaching gigs (needed to have a good ROI, or to repay their student loans), as many are able to secure now, which is why their ROI is high? Maybe I'm looking at the wrong schools; presently, majority of online schools are not hiring for a lot of fields. Those that do, want teaching experience, and the pay, is constantly going down. There is a post somewhere in this forum that says one online PhD granting school (that starts with T, and based in California) offered him/her $50 per class or student (can't remember which one). It seems many people are rushing to enroll in expensive online programs (using student loans) with hopes of making money from teaching, hopes that will certainly turn-out very differently for many.

    Like Dakota State University (DSU) is doing with their DSc in IS program, I think in the near future, many cheaper programs from state schools will emerge; degree programs that will guarantee much higher ROI, as well as accepted much widely (it wouldn't be surprising to see schools like DSU add many more doctoral programs to their offering in the near future to satisfying demand. Further, regarding the issue of online schools charging as high as they want for tuition, I'm of the opinion that many online schools see demand for their product falling in the long term, which is why they are all rushing to squeeze as much as they can from those that "fall for it" right now, before it all comes "crumbling."

    Personally, I plan on teaching at a B & M school in a country other than U.S. In that country, online PhDs are laughed at, and all universities are banned from offering online programs of any kind there. Paying $50k or $60k for a doctoral degree from an online-only school would seriously get in the way of my future plans. Besides, it doesn't seem very wise, in my humble opinion, to rack up $50k, $60k, or $70k (that many online schools are charging for their doctoral programs) in students loans to pursue a degree that would entail teaching 7 to 10 classes, for example, before the loans are repaid, especially considering that sooner, cheaper alternatives from B & M schools will become available, and demand for degrees from online schools will drop significantly. I'm always asking myself why should I rush to pay more for what I can wait to pay less for. As long as my answer remains the same all the time, my decision to not terminate my education through an online degree will not change.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 1, 2011
  19. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I agree with all your points in particular this last one. If you look at places like UK, Australia and SA, the DL PhD has existed for decades and it is a usual form to complete a PhD. However, the British style doctorate is more suitable for distance learning as it doesn't require course work or comprehensive exams and I believe this is the reason why it took so long to develop in the US.

    The online PhD from dot com institutions have found its niche that is for people looking to teach on the side, people already teaching full time looking for a pay bump and administrators. The market for online adjunct will continue to grow so I don't see a problem for people getting work as online faculty but salaries will continue to drop as the platforms become more automated and the teaching skill becomes less required. The way I see online teaching is like a system facilitator as you are not really teaching but just facilitating online learning, the PhD is not really required as the instructor is not creating the course but just babysitting an online platform.

    I believe in the long term you will see people still taking dotcom doctorates from dotcom schools as these last ones have already developed a very flexible and less demanding structure that is hard to copy by traditional schools that are required to follow more rigid structures. People will be always willing to pay money to dotcoms as these provide programs can be completed in shorter times and do not require inconvenient admission requirements such as GMATs, research proposals, etc.

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