Are they degree mills?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by rgoodman, Oct 10, 2001.

  1. rgoodman

    rgoodman New Member

    Are the following college degree mills? They are all located in California.

    Southwestern University School of Law
    Northwestern Polytechnic University

    The last one seems to be a college with facilities. It claims to be accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. Is this a genuine accrediting agent?
  2. James Barrington

    James Barrington New Member

    I have a law degree and I can tell you that Southwestern is definitely not a degree mill. It is an ABA-approved law school and its graduates can sit for the bar exam in any state.

    As for the other schools, I have never heard of them and can state that they are not ABA approved. Assuming they are properly accredited in California, you can only sit for the California bar upon graduation.
  3. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    Depends on how you define 'degree mill', I guess. They are CA-approved and fully legal. But they don't have any recognized accreditation. They certainly aren't ABA accredited (no distance law school is) nor are they Cal Bar accredited. In fact, judging from its website, the California Bar Association takes a rather skeptical view of the distance law schools. They do qualify their graduates to take the California bar exam.

    I should say that I have given some small consideration to enrolling with Saratoga myself. I have little interest in practicing law, but I find that legal issues arise in discussion daily. So I think that there is some utility for me, as well as intellectual interest, in studying law. If I continued on to graduation and felt confident in my understanding of the law, I probably would take the bar exam, even if I didn't plan to practice professionally. I'll also say that I probably wouldn't list "J.D." from a non-accredited law school like Saratoga on a resume unless I had actually passed the bar.

    An entirely different animal. This is a residential law school in Los Angeles, and doesn't offer distance law degrees. It is accredited by WASC and, more importantly, by the ABA. I understand that it takes advantage of its location with an institute of entertainment industry law.

    This one doesn't have anything to do with law. (Are you just asking about schools at random?) It doesn't offer any distance education that I know of either.

    NW Polytechnic is an engineering and business school in Fremont CA. It is CA-approved and accredited by (DoE recognized) ACICS. The latter is a bit of a mystery, since ACICS is a business accreditor and only recognized to accredit up to the masters level, while NW Polytechnic offers Ph.D.s in electrical engineering.

    I checked out NW Polytechnic when it was new, almost ten years ago. It seemed to have a surprisingly high academic level. It also seemed to be largely Taiwanese, at least at the time. Interestingly, there seemed to me to be lots of interest in technology with military applications, things like phased-array radar antennas and electro-optical technology suitable for air to air missile IR seekers. It's only my personal (and perhaps paranoid) impression, but NW Poly struck me as a poorly disguised military technology-transfer operation.

    It offers residential instruction, yes. It's located in an industrial-park type setting in Fremont. But Southwestern U. School of Law also offers residential instruction. It's located in a refurbished and rather attractive old former department store building.

    Yes. But it doesn't accredit engineering schools at the doctoral level, so its accreditation of NW Poly is problematical.
  4. Heather

    Heather New Member

  5. Heather

    Heather New Member

    I was wondering about a school named Harcourt Learning Direct in Pennsylvania. Has anyone ever heard anything good/bad about it? I'm getting ready to send in an Enrollment for a Medical Degree, and I thought I'd better investigate before doing so. Any comments would be helpful!!
  6. Tom Head

    Tom Head New Member

    Last I checked (are they still around?), Harcourt Learning Direct was a legitimate, DETC-accredited school offering associate's degrees and certificates. They don't offer medical degrees (or if they do now, things have certainly changed), but they probably do offer something at the undergraduate level in medical technology.

    As far as I know, the only way to get a medical degree per se by distance learning is to do an Australian Master of Medicine (M.Med.), a post-M.B./M.D. research-based credential for licensed physicians. Programs in medical technology, nursing, and specific academic medicine-related fields (anatomy, oncology, physiology, biochemistry, biotechnology, etc.) are another ball of wax.


    Tom Head

    co-author, Bears' Guide to the Best Education Degrees by Distance Learning (Ten Speed Press)
    co-author, Get Your IT Degree and Get Ahead (Osborne/McGraw-Hill)
  7. Heather

    Heather New Member

    Sweet! I just wanted to get a start in Medical Transcription, and they offer a "Career Degree," so I'm assuming that is an Associate's Degree. As long as it can possibly get me into the field and started as a transcriptionist, it'll be worth it. Thanks for the reply.
  8. Portos2001

    Portos2001 New Member

    I am currently taking classes at NW Poly U.
    NPU is accredited by ACICS to award BS and MS degrees in engineering and business adm.
    NPU has been in business since 1984. NO law degrees had ever been and is being offered. ACICS is listed as a nationally recognized accrediting agency by the United States Department of Education. Its accreditation of degree-granting institutions also is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. NPU offers quite flexible degree programs primarily because its student body consists of mostly working adults from Silicon Valley in California. The faculty memebers are mostly part-time, holding accredited master degrees or above, experienced business or engineering professionals. I asked the academic director of NPU once why NPU did not go for regional accreditation rather than accredited by ACICS. She told me that RA agencies require NPU to have much more full-time faculty members.


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