Anyone have input on the University of London's International Programmes? (Online)

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Learning101, Mar 2, 2011.

  1. Learning101

    Learning101 New Member

    Basically, no streaming videos like Harvard, Tulane and Notre Dame? That's the kicker IMO. I truly enjoy lectures, and offline assignments as I wan't to learn as much as I want to get the certificates.
  2. Rain

    Rain New Member

    Just to clarify something:

    Someone mentioned you get a list of reading material and then you're on your own. That is true for the undergraduate degrees.

    With the post-graduate ones, they send you materials that are entirely self-sufficient, no need to read anything else.

    So it really depends on what your learning style is. For me for example this is an advantage, because I don't like having to read loads of books looking for the most relevant information (although I don't deny the learning merits of this process!). I prefer it done for me by the professionals, served on a plate, then I just have to learn it and think how to apply it to real-world situations.

    So it's not all negatives, it's just a matter of preference. And yes, you will be pretty much on your own but they do have revision sessions where you write practice essays and get feedback from the tutors.
  3. Learning101

    Learning101 New Member

    No online streaming videos to support the course work?
  4. Tom57

    Tom57 Member

    I did a MSc in finance through UoL. I would agree with many of the posts here. The exams are hard, but fair. It may vary from program to program, but I think most use very traditional means of assessment. Mine were 3-hour exams, unseen, and written in pen. Everyone takes them on the same day (worldwide).

    You are not quite on your own through it all. My program had an online forum for downloading materials, participating in discussions, and submitting questions to your assigned tutor. At this point, probably every program has a facebook presence. The materials were comprehensive and good (and voluminous!). I think the international programme has it about right: the admissions are fairly open, but the selectivity comes through by surviving until the end. Not many do, but if you do, you will have earned it. Also, graduating with honors is generally very difficult - both at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. You can find information on this by drilling down into their online information.
  5. KLite

    KLite New Member

    I suppose this forum is understandably US-centric and thus British-style examinations are deemed brutal. They are seen to be brutal in the sense that they are generally 3-hour closed-book examinations that would test everything you have learnt in the past one year (in the context of a University of London examination). That is if you are lucky. If you are unlucky, the questions would test you on areas which you are weak in, with no avenue to showcase your strengths in questions that were not given as a choice. However, those who are accustomed to this style of examination would probably welcome (and thrive) in further programmes such as MBAs or professional qualifications of such nature.
  6. GeeBee

    GeeBee Member

    The units that got me were 05a (Mathematics 01) and 02 (Introduction to Economics). Now that I have taken Calculus 1 and 2 elsewhere, I could probably pass Mathematics 01. I did very well in the Statistics courses.

    To answer the other question: I have now taken Precalculus Trigonometry, Calculus I, Calculus II, Database Concepts, and Principles of Microeconomics at my local community college, and earned an A in all of them. In the fall I'll be starting online courses through UIS.
  7. GeeBee

    GeeBee Member

    For some reason they don't post this list on the website, but the Examination Registrations office will send you a list after you are registered. Here in North Carolina, most of the community colleges are on their list.
  8. Tom57

    Tom57 Member

    I think this is true. I commented that the exams are tough but fair. No surprise, you have to know your stuff. My exams generally had one question from each of the eight course units. You had to pick 3 out of the eight to write about, so there was a good chance you could find 3 in areas you felt were a strength. My strategy was to learn 5 or 6 units really well, and the other 2 or 3 less well (but passable). I could always find questions that catered to a strength. UoL provided sample exams so you could practice. There is nothing all that unusual about such an arrangement. My undergrad training at Berkeley required nothing less. However, if you're looking for online quizzes that are unsupervised, or group projects with minimal accountability, then UoL is NOT what you want.
  9. BizProf

    BizProf New Member

    Well put, in other words, if you're looking for a qualification without the required effort or oversight, with the ability to free ride off others' efforts or essentially get a qualification without the knowledge base it's supposed to represent, then "matriculate" at a mill or some lower tier for proft, but if you want a world class qualification, try your fortunes with a university like UoL.

    The only issue I have with it all is UoL might be fine for you, evidently a UC Berkeley alum who could spot most of us 40 IQ points and still win, but it's certainly not for everyone.
  10. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    Noted, I've a couple places up here in Mass.
  11. sgelam

    sgelam New Member

    I have a general question on the program reputation. They say that they are examined to the same level as internal students and also the same standard. And, there's no distinction between an external and internal degree, then why is it that they still treat the external degree as inferior when applying for a masters. Here's my evidence. I'm looking at doing a BSc in Mathematics and Economics where the exams are prepared by LSE, yet the LSE even treats their own external students as more inferior. Look at the entrance requirements for an LSE MPhil and Cambridge MPhil:

    » MPhil Economics

    Look at the GRE requirements section:
    "All applicants whose previous university training is from countries outside the UK must submit the results of a recent Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test (applicants taking a London University external degree are required to take a GRE test)."

    Evidently, a London University external degree is not treated the same as a UK degree (London internal or other UK university).

    GRE and GMAT - Entry requirements - enquirer - Graduate - Study - Home

    Read the last paragraph:
    "Some programmes exempt graduates of UK universities from taking the test. This is restricted to people who have completed a three year UK Bachelor's degree. Those who have completed an undergraduate degree outside the UK but possess a UK postgraduate qualification do need to complete the test. This is also the case for graduates from the University of London External programme and also from overseas annex campuses of UK institutions (eg University of Nottingham, Ningbo)."

    Apparently, even a London University External degree that was designed by LSE itself is not good enough and not considered at the same level of a basic UK Bachelor's degree.

    So, my question is this: Is a London External degree the same? I don't care what other people think. I just want to make sure that it has the same weight and meets the same requirements when I apply to a UK university for postgraduate study. As of now, the statements seen from LSE and Cambridge seem as though the external degree doesn't even hold up against any UK university degree. At least, any UK degree would meet the standards and not require a GRE test. Is it because we don't have residency in the UK? Whatever it is, they should note that it is technically not equivalent and that being internal does have it's advantages and the degree IS different.

  12. Rain

    Rain New Member

    Hmmm I think you make a good point there, it doesn't seem fair.
  13. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    Are the requirements the same: Yes.
    Are the experiences the same: No.
    Are the degrees the same: Yes.
    Are the students the same: No.
    Are the external students getting a better deal by way of convenience: Yes.

    So what do you want, everything?

    Most people applying to good schools need to take a GRE or GMAT. I don't see this as meaning anything at all. If anything I'd question the rigor of the degree program if they get a free pass on the standardized test.

    All that the requirements definitively prove is that going to LSE is not the same as going to the External Programme even if the degrees are done from the same lead school. The quality of the degree is likely the same as the testing regimes are equal.

    To each his own.
  14. sgelam

    sgelam New Member

    I disagree. If you look at most of the programs at Cambridge, Oxford, and LSE, they don't require GRE or GMAT. Also, MIT's EECS PhD doesn't require a GRE same with their Media Arts and Sciences PhD. Are you saying that those schools have less rigorous programs? MIT's program is known to be the most rigorous. My question is this, if I am going to do a UK bachelors, why is an external degree treated differently? The way I see it, if they still require extra testing, that means they don't believe in the rigor of the original bachelors. You can imply that the quality is different if they require an "extra" check (GRE/GMAT). And, to add to the argument that "good" schools require GRE and GMAT, Northwestern's EMBA program and the Trium EMBA from LSE, NYU, and HEC don't require a GMAT.

    And, saying "So what do you want, everything?" is not a fair statement. I am simply showing evidence that states they don't treat the external degree the same as an internal degree. Their claim is that the degree is the same. I know the experience is different, but if the quality is the same, it should be treated with the same respect. And, apparently, it's not even held in the same regards as a UK degree.
  15. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    Fabulous. I will send you a cookie via private message.

    If you refer to the Ivies and the most prestigious programs they tend to not care about standardized tests or accreditation for that matter. They're what they are and if the combined might of the US or UK departments of education said "don't go there", people would still go there. So because none of the schools we're really on about have anything to do with those.. lets keep the conversation to appropriateness of scale. Even LSE is not in their league.

    Most masters programs from solidly accredited schools require GMAT or GRE scores. Most doctoral programs from solidly accredited schools require a doctoral degree to waive the GMAT or GRE requirement. This isn't even debatable. (and certainly true in at least one Harvard undergrad's case when he went on to a doctoral program at Penn State.)

    I don't imply anything, you're comparing apples and oranges again. EMBA programs are geared for working professionals with 10 years or more of experience at a senior management level. This is a GMAT equivalent for these programs.

    Perhaps not, but it's more relevant considering I apparently know more of what I'm on about considering the topic.

    University of London programmes that you're on about obviously feel that there's a cultural fit to UoL that being on campus confers which puts faculty opinion on a higher plane of importance than the results of a standardized exam. That's not a slant against the external programme's degrees but a fact of life if you're an external student.

    If they were to state that an external degree was not considered as fulfilling the prerequisite knowledge for a Masters at all; then you'd be dead on.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2011
  16. KLite

    KLite New Member

    You brought up a few good questions. I am sure you have already gotten the answer from your due dilligence on the universities' entrance requirements. In short, some established and traditional B&M institutions do not recognise a UoL external degree as a good enough stand-alone qualification to postgraduate programs. I personally have encountered roadblocks in my postgraduate applications simply because my Bachelors and Masters were obtained via DL, albeit from well-established B&M schools. Sad but true.
  17. sgelam

    sgelam New Member

    Thanks KLite. I don't think ITJD really understood the essence of my question and is just arguing with me for the sake of arguing. True, some of my example don't map 1:1, but they are examples that bring to light the inconsistencies of his/her points.

    I'm not trying to argue with people and prove that the UoL External Degree is useless. I'm trying to understand, objectively, why some universities would not recognize it. It's in their, UoL's, statutes that it is of equal value to an internal degree. So, why not also recognize it as such equally across the board, or, at least, also recognize it as equal to that of a UK degree. If not, I would like to know why, because I don't want any knowledge gaps when I do get my degree. I'm not looking for an "easy" degree or just a "name." I chose UoL based on its reputation. I'm not someone looking for an easy way out. I got my undergrad from Berkeley and my MS from Carnegie Mellon. So, I know what it's like to work for something. And, I'm looking to switch careers, but due to financial and location reasons, I cannot just up and leave the US. Right now, I'm actually in the process of applying to UoL in Mathematics and Economics (actually already sent my app in and have been talking to their admissions officer for any missing pieces to my app). I'm just awaiting their response.

    I guess, this would be a good question to pose to the UoL administration. I'm not one of those people that want an LSE degree label and looking for a way to sneak it past people on my resume. I know it's a UoL external degree. What's the point of having an LSE name, but gaining no knowledge and no rigor from it. You'll pay for it out in the field. It's like someone making you a Navy SEAL in name and you get thrown into war. If you haven't been through the training, you will surely die.

    I'm seriously looking to get a British postgraduate degree and I think the UoL international programme is good preparation. But, due to the LSE and Cambridge explicitly treating the UoL External degree as a non-UK degree is certainly a red flag (and, maybe other UK universities). My question, therefore, is: Will it prepare me properly?
  18. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    Excellent post - One follow up question.

    1. Are your Bachelors and Masters from UoL External?

    Reason: We already know that there's DL bias the fact that it exists does not speak to the equivalency of the UoL programs if your personal case does not map back.

  19. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    For the record, I don't argue simply to argue. I presented the points I did in response to your points because I have nothing else to go on than your commentary when discussing things on a forum. If your examples make no sense from the point of view they're presented; then of course I'm going to challenge it if you're asking a question that uses those examples as part of their proof.

    You've pointed out inconsistencies from your point of view. I've found rather severe inconsistencies in your examples as they don't apply to the problem at hand. Nuff said, no ill will.

    So here's the deal: You're getting stuck on something that doesn't matter. Discrimination happens (and I'm not using that term in a negative sense). The tests are the same tests. The knowledge is the same knowledge and if you already have a undergrad and a masters, the only thing you need the UoL program for is likely the mathematics knowledge you didn't pick up earlier on your path. (Truth be told that's the only reason I'm looking at the same program.)

    What you're not getting is the campus experience, extra tutoring, and the networking opportunities. Why the GMAT? I can think of three reasons off the top of my head:

    1. It's all too easy for someone to bs a proctored exam with a fake ID. The GMAT is computer-based, fingerprint and 2 forms of ID in a highly controlled area. Since the testing centers at UoL are in a lot of cases community colleges, I'm willing to bet that they don't completely trust the testing modality.

    2. Little faculty contact for the vast majority. What are they getting?

    3. Accreditation reasons.

    Drama alert. Dude, it's math and econ. If you're that tight on forgetting something, get a dummies book. Einstein preferred looking things up from time to time as well. Can't wait to see the responses from some of the mil folks on the board to this one. :)

    There are many, many examples in the UoL international (new name for external programme) prospectus of people who have graduated with their BSc. from UoL international degrees who are not only going to LSE proper but doing so on full scholarships. My guess is they didn't stress about the equivalency.

    Get the prospectus from the website and call the school. You'll do a lot towards allaying your concerns.
    Personally, I've got no issues with the programme. With your background, you shouldn't either. Especially if all you need is grounding. Berkeley and CM will stand for more than UoL will.

  20. jfosj

    jfosj Member

    If you plan to apply for graduate school with a UoL degree you wont have any problems. Many undergraduates from the UoL apply and get accepted every year to universities such as Harvard, University of Chicago, LSE, Columbia, Oxford, etc. Also, to respond to one of your earlier questions: if you get a UoL degree you will have a comprehensive knowledge of the subject that you study. As they don't hold your hand, you'll have to make an extra effort to make sure that you completely understand the material. It is not an easy degree, based on personal experience, it can be harder than getting a master degree from a top ranked B&M schools from the US or the UK.

    There has been cases where student getting the highest marks on their UoL degree are accepted directly towards a B&M PHD degree. In terms of reputation, UoL reputation outside the US is impeccable (mostly because is not so well known in the US). My advice would be to check with potential employers or universities that you might consider for continuing your education to get their view on UoL.


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