All But Dissertation (ABD) Completion Programs

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by sanantone, Jul 21, 2021.

  1. felderga

    felderga Active Member

    I'm kinda curious as well and will ask around. I'm planning to maybe look for online adjunct work next year depending on my regular job workload. Also I am technically still enrolled at Trident and could pick up the DBA program or maybe see if I could do the EdD completion instead (based on a combination of Trident and VUL units). I would love to maybe have a leadership in education role after I semi-retire in the next 8 to 10 years so an EdD would be more appealing than a DBA for me at this point. However reality is also I want a nice hybrid or EV car so no more degrees for me . All work and no play makes Jack a dull guy.
  2. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

  3. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

  4. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

  5. OhioValleyCat

    OhioValleyCat New Member

    I was in Franklin University's DBA Program between 2017-2020 and was able to pass my comprehensive exams and achieve doctoral candidacy status (ABD). I eventually got sidetracked by personal and professional events, some of which were related to the strain in being an "essential working manager” during the COVID era and took a break from studies that ended up being longer than I thought. When I inquired about returning in 2023, I found out that the professor who was my faculty advisor and projected dissertation chair had passed away and I was told I was welcome to return but that I would have to start from scratch on my own to establish a new committee for my dissertation (which is hard to do after being gone 3 years and with the aforementioned deceased advisor).

    With the limited support, I first decided to look at dissertation completion programs. I was focused on DBA dissertation completion programs and applied and was accepted into the National University DBA dissertation pathway program in February 2024. However, I was turned off by the costs and limited information they gave me on the program of study and balked when they told me that I needed to apply for the Grad Plus loan to help cover tuition (I was anticipating having money left after tuition to help pay for research expenses, not having to take an extra loan out just to pay tuition). So, I looked at other programs. I wanted to consider Indiana Wesleyan because they have an on-site presence near where I live in southwest Ohio, but they require substantial coursework irrespective of ABD status. I also looked at an ABD program at Baker College (MI). In the end, my research led to my discovery of the Marywood University PhD in Strategic Leadership & Administrative Studies with their doctoral pathway program:

    Since my previous Franklin DBA studies had a heavy organizational studies emphasis, it easily correlated to the Marywood program. Marywood appears to be very liberal on accepting credits that are beyond a certain number of years for their doctoral pathway program, so long as the candidate is actually and ABD who left their previous doctoral program in good standing. I'm not sure what the professional/academic implications of switching from a DBA to a PhD are, but my career has been primarily in local government. I'm surprised the Marywood PhD Strategic Leadership & Administrative Studies program isn't more well-known. Marywood also seems to accept students from various academic backgrounds as new admits to their regular PhD program track.
    Helpful2013 and Jonathan Whatley like this.
  6. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Not much. Both credentials will do just fine in your career. But....

    The degrees themselves are quite different. The DBA is a professional degree, while the PhD is a scholarly degree. But both work to advance careers in practice, like yours. This might present challenges, depending on the program, when trying to "embed" your research into your work. Let me explain.

    Fully embedded research is that done on your current job--you're getting paid to do it. Partially embedded research is done related to your job, but it is extra--done on your own time and your employer may or may not benefit from it. Unembedded research is done completely outside one's employment. (That's how I did my two doctorates.)

    Simply put, it's harder for practitioners to embed their research when it is scholarly. It's easier when it is professional. The reasons should be obvious. (But it can work either way; your mileage my vary.)

    Another consideration is the nature of a professional doctoral dissertation vs. a scholarly dissertation. A scholarly degree prepares research professionals, people who do research for a living. (Publish or perish.) A professional doctorate prepares professionals who research. In other words, people who remain in their careers, but are better at conducting and using research in their professional practice.

    Then there's the reality that these lines can get blurred. Some DBA programs are indistinguishable from PhD programs, both with similarly scholarly (theory building and/or testing) approaches. Then there are PhD programs that are more than happy to allow practitioners to do applied research. (This is my case. My PhD was hardly scholarly and very much applied, while my DSocSci was a straight-up scholarly degree.)

    Hope this helps with your thinking as you examine your choices. Just look carefully at the research requirements for each degree you're considering. (Essential advice for anyone seeking a doctorate, not just the ABDs out there.)
    Suss likes this.
  7. OhioValleyCat

    OhioValleyCat New Member

    I think part of the issue I ran into when I entertained returning to the Franklin DBA program relates to the schism between the DBA and PhD. Franklin was very flexible in allowing students to research whatever they wanted for their dissertation, but my actual dissertation is more theoretical research-oriented while most of the remaining professors would have been more helpful in supporting applied research. One Franklin professor I surveyed about being potentially being on my dissertation committee actually stated that, for the dissertation, it is very important to state "the business case" which is not were my research was intending to go. I'm actually looking to study what communities can do to promote business growth in a way that is not is looking at the internal mechanics of the business organization, but looking at the pattern of community and business leadership and action to uncover patterns tending to promote stronger growth. With my key advisor now deceased, despite the flexibility in the overall program, I was having trouble getting a replacement to serve as a my dissertation chair. I start at Marywood this Fall and as a develop my project, I might have an opportunity While my local agency is not supporting me degree financially, my boss connected me with the assistant director of the county development office where I may be able to spend some work time on work projects and accessing data that are related to my degree while also helping the development department, so I may be able to do a partially embedded project.
    Jonathan Whatley likes this.

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