Country Preview: Poland - Inexpensive European Education

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by AsianStew, May 24, 2023.

  1. tadj

    tadj Active Member

    I don't have any issues with VUL, but I wonder whether their U.S. accredited "12 months beginning to completion" (no dissertation required Doctor of Healthcare Administration) "thingy" would be accepted anywhere outside the United States. Is there any country where this would be seen as an actual doctorate degree? To go back to the thread topic for a moment, how is that type of qualification different from a one-year local DBA offered by Polish institutions under postgraduate studies? The Polish DBA would also have largely local value.
    Johann likes this.
  2. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Good points, all. I suggest there is a difference. The VUL Doctorate, like all its degrees, is approved and comes from an accredited school and is thus fully recognized as such in its own country. Conversely, I believe the DBA is not recognized as a Doctorate, or any degree in Poland. It is permissible as a Graduate Certificate. I make no argument as to WHY the recognition is different, or whether it should be. It just IS.

    I seem to remember one well-recognized University in Poland (with sixty-odd International partnerships, validations and dual-degree thingies) that was told by authorities to stop awarding a DBA degree, even to foreigners abroad, as it was not a qualification recognized in its own Country. IIRC, I learned much of this information from your posts, tadj. That was University of Dąbrowa Górnicza

    As to how well the VUL Doctorate would fare, abroad - yeah, that could be a crapshoot, but I don't think most applicants are contemplating that use. To each, its own. Nothing (much) works everywhere. And I'm OK with that. Knowing what works (and doesn't) WHERE? Now, that's important.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2023
  3. tadj

    tadj Active Member


    Currently, Polish institutions offer MBA and DBA type programs under fully recognized partial qualifications known as ‘studia podyplomowe.’ I would not refer to these postgraduate studies programs as unaccredited. They are not as supervised as Polish degree-level studies, but they constitute a real qualification on the Polish framework, albeit a partial one. Partial and full qualifications are distinguished here. However, the recognized partial qualifications are also awarded by accredited institutions.

    When you see warnings against Polish DBA-granting institutions (like Collegium Humanum), the right of these institutions to grant these MBAs or DBAs is never challenged. It’s the abuse associated with calling oneself “Dr.” (strictly forbidden for people who have not earned a European doctorate-level degree or its foreign equivalent) or the attempts to claim false equivalency between a professional Polish “DBA title” qualification and a doctorate-level degree. That’s what gets people/institutions in hot water here. If you put DBA as a title after your name, you won’t face any issues. If you put ‘Dr” in front, you can face serious issues.

    I think that my point stands in that the VUL “doctorate” holder who insisted on calling himself “Dr so and so” after getting his recognized U.S. degree qualification would likely face the same problems abroad as a graduate of a recognized DBA partial qualification from Collegium Humanum who placed “Dr.” in front of his name. Their right to call themselves ‘Doctor’ would be seriously questioned. The difference is that the American VUL graduate has a real right to call himself “Dr. so and so” in the U.S. whereas a holder of a similar type 12-month qualification would never have that right in Poland. That’s the real difference. Accreditation isn’t the issue. Your doctorate should work everywhere, if it is real doctorate.
  4. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    What does the D in DBA stand for? Doctor, right? If it's not considered a Doctorate, why is it allowed in Poland, with an abbreviation that means "Doctor?" It's totally illogical. They should call it a Graduate Award in Business Administration - not use abbreviations of degree nomenclature. That is misuse that encourages further misuse.

    And you can't tell a country (particularly the US) that its degrees have to work all over the world. You CAN make them "not work" in your neck of the woods if your authorities don't like them. It happens - e.g. most Indian doctorates from their recognized universities work here. The same cannot be said of Pakistan, next door. But we don't tell Pakistan they have to change to a world-wide standard.

    If the VUL doctorates work in US - I'm good with that. If the authorities decide they don't work here in Canada - that's fine too. (I have no idea if they would or not.) We just won't tell anyone they HAVE to work. That's up to them. Not all Doctorates are created equal. I'm just flat nobody, here - but I'm against enshrining and venerating these things - and "world standards." Some will work all over. Some won't.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2023
    tadj likes this.
  5. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    And countries differ; it's a spectrum. At one end, a lot of people who have "good" doctorates in their own countries won't be called "Herr / Frau Doktor" in Germany. It is what it is. I say, let it be. ..."Dudeism" is very good for my blood pressure, I find. :)
  6. tadj

    tadj Active Member


    I am not sure whether the way in which Poland handles these professional MBA and DBA qualifications is the best way forward. There have been discussions about introducing professional doctorates in Poland during the reign of the former government, but the proposal isn't really discussed now. At the same time, I like the current Polish way of handling these types of professional qualifications better than the American path, in which you take a 12-month professional advancement program similar to a Polish DBA (example: VUL'S Doctor of Healthcare Administration) and just give people the right to call themselves 'Dr.' within an extremely short amount of time with what often amounts to seriously stripped academic requirements. You don't even ask them to write a dissertation. That's problematic for me. As to why you would maintain the DBA title in Poland when you're not dealing with a real academic doctorate degree (the issue that you've raised), I suppose you could ask similar questions concerning honorary doctorates and many other instances where "Doctor" and "Doctor" aren't in any way related. In the U.S. context, I would also ask whether a PhD and a 12-month Doctor of Healthcare Administration should both be honored with the "Dr in front of the name privilege." In Poland, the DBA just constitutes a professional managerial title, not some fancy professional degree title that serves as an alternative to doing a PhD. I remember reading this piece about the origins of the professional doctorate:

    "Professional doctorate - This class of degree began to emerge in the 1980s as a kind of continuing education for professionals. The most ubiquitous form of professional doctorate may be the DMin or Doctor of Ministry degree. At the outset it was understood that the professional doctorate was not to be regarded as the equivalent of the PhD. I have been involved two different professional doctorate programs and it is clear that they operated on a different basis, had different admission standards, different goals. The work done was not expected to be original research in original sources. The focus of these projects was practical rather than academic. They are not held to the same academic standards. In recent years, however, I have noticed those with professional doctorates using the honorific title, doctor. In view of the differences between the standards and the nature of the programs, it used to be considered inappropriate for holders of professional doctorates to use the honorific." (Written by R. Scott Clark).

    Maybe placing professional advancement programs in "Postgraduate studies/continuing education" category (while still giving people the right to place "Doctor-like" titles after their names, as in Poland) isn't such a bad idea. At least, it maintains a level of distinction, thereby honoring people who actually go through the work of earning a real academic doctorate.
  7. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    Re: Professional Doctorates

    "Not equivalent to a PhD" doesn't mean not a doctorate. It means a different focus. A PhD is a research degree that should result in new insight and so on. A professional doctorate is a doctorate geared to professional application and ends in an Applied Doctoral Project (could be 300 pages).

    There are a number of these professional degrees. DMins, DBAs, EdDs (in some cases), PsyD. Perfectly entitled and legitimate to be called doctor in the right settings.

    The path to the DMin you mention is actually quite long: 120 undergraduate credit hours, 90 graduate hours, 3-5 years experience and then on to the DMin (3-5 years).

  8. tadj

    tadj Active Member

    An Australian DMin is a bona fide doctorate degree precisely because it is equivalent to a PhD in the Aussie framework. Not equivalent to a PhD may mean that you've attained some kind of Doctor-related title, but I wouldn't consider this to be a genuine research doctorate. I think that most European countries would also reject such "non-PhD equivalent" doctorates (regardless of whether they had an academic or professional research focus). I like the way that some American universities have classified the American DMin for hiring purposes—equivalent to a Master's plus 30-something credits. That's how I would see it. I would probably view the VUL Doctor of Healthcare Administration in the same way. I would never refer to people who attained these degrees as "Dr."

    To Johann's point, I don't believe that countries have a right to impose their framework on others, but there is absolutely no reason to accept everything that falls under the wide 'Doctor' umbrella as worthy of the same privileges as a PhD and its equivalent professional and research degrees. Only the PhD is recognized around the world. It should remain the standard for judging other doctorates.
    Stanislav likes this.
  9. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Absolutely. If a country's educational authorities don't find something acceptable - they have every right not to accept it - and to do things differently within their own system, e.g. Germany (again). They single out American MBA degrees with an "AACSB or the Autobahn" policy. That's their right. Easy for me to say, I suppose. I don't believe the same applies to Canadian MBA degrees.

    And if Poland wants to keep the DBA designation (D for Doctor) on a non-doctoral, non-degree piece of paper, it's their right, whether I like it or not. You do You. It's that simple. Interesting (to me) though, there were some millish-looking outfits in the UK, years ago, that would have been jailed if they'd awarded any degrees, per the Higher Education Act, 1988. These purveyors used to get around it by awarding MBA and DBA "Certificates." instead of degrees. The Polish practice is not like that, in intent, I realize - but in appearance....
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2023
  10. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    I disagree. The accreditors call them doctorates. The Carnegie Classification system calls them doctorates
    (D/PU: Doctoral/Professional Universities). That is professional practice doctorates (revised classification system). I have seen elite schools with professional doctorates on staff refer to them as (Dr.). That includes a DMin working at Harvard Medical School and one at Vanderbilt (both on staff) referred "Dr."

    You are confusing a research doctorate like a PhD with a professional practice doctorate. Both produce a written end product (one is research with new insight) and one is research into practical application. Both have oral defense etc. They are all doctorates. All equally entitled to be called doctor depending on the setting. Without any doubt (in the mind of academia and some in the public) a PhD is in a higher category. In much of the public's mind an MD is the most prestigious degree and for some the ONLY one that should be called "Dr."

    In the past, newspapers frequently referred to academics and religious figures as "Dr." New guidelines (protocols) caused many to only refer to MDs as doctor. This has been an ongoing debate. A female PhD who worked for the BBC got irritated by media not using her title.

    Of course recently, anti Biden or anti Democratic Party or Pro Trump (however you want to classify them) argued that Jill Biden shouldn't be referred to as Dr. because she only had an EdD and "anyone can get one of those" and it isn't a PhD or she isn't an MD (depends on which member of the brain trust is arguing).

    Last edited: Aug 6, 2023
  11. tadj

    tadj Active Member

    I found this new info on the site of a NACES member evaluation company - Institute of Foreign Credential Services (IFCS).

    * There's no mention of the Czech branch in the preliminary report, even though the foreign branch is the one that appears to provide the DBA qualification. Also, the number of ECTS credits doesn't match the program description on the FVES site. Nevertheless, it's an interesting evaluation report.


    Assessment of the Doctor of Business Administration Program at Jagiellonian Academy, Torun, Poland: A Detailed Examination by IFCS

    IFCS has recently received numerous requests to evaluate Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degrees from Jagiellonian Academy in Torun, Poland. This blog aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of the program, considering its key features, the issuing institution, and the official response received from the Ministry of Education and Science in Poland.

    Program Details
    The DBA program at Akademia Jagiellońska is open to applicants who hold a Master’s degree or its equivalent. The program is two years long and requires a total of 180 ECTS credits, including a thesis. One noteworthy aspect of the program is that it is offered through distance learning, which is becoming increasingly popular in higher education

    Issuing Institution
    Founded in 2002 as a non-public institution, Jagiellonian Academy underwent a significant transformation in February 2022, attaining academy status and adopting the name Akademia Jagiellońska w Toruniu. Operating under the supervision of the Minister of Science and Higher Education, the institution holds a notable position within the Polish higher education landscape.

    Preliminary Research Findings
    IFCS initiated preliminary research to ascertain the recognition and accreditation status of the DBA program at Jagiellonian Academy. While the institution itself is recognized by the Ministry of Education and Science in Poland, the DBA program was not listed among the approved degree programs.

    Communication with the Ministry of Education and Science
    Ministry’s Clarification

    The Ministry stated that the title “Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)” does not hold the status of an academic doctorate under Polish legislation. This designation is granted within the framework of postgraduate programs, emphasizing that the completion of such a program does not equate to obtaining an academic doctorate in the Polish system of higher education and science.

    The Ministry also highlighted the autonomy of public and non-public universities in conducting postgraduate programs without requiring explicit approval/accreditation.

    IFCS Recommendation
    In light of the Ministry’s clarification and recognizing the unique status of the DBA title outside Polish legislation, IFCS recommends acknowledging two years of graduate-level credits for individuals holding this qualification. However, IFCS does not recommend conferring the title of a graduate degree, emphasizing the distinctive nature of the DBA within the Polish higher education context.

    The evaluation of Doctor of Business Administration degrees from Jagiellonian Academy reveals a nuanced scenario. While the institution itself is recognized, the unique characteristics of the DBA program necessitate careful consideration.


    Bedrie Matoshi

    Director of Evaluations
  12. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    Hmm, I guess it's pretty much what I was thinking it to be... A somewhat recognized degree to a point, what I mean by that is, this is similar to the Spanish 'professional degree' option where the Ministry of Education/Government doesn't recognize it, but private or professional settings will. I wonder if this would work similar for other NACES members, it sounds like this would be a candidate for 'ABD' programs... So, an example would be that this degree is 2/3 of a doctorate, the final dissertation would be done at another university to get a 'full degree'. I know Validential and the lesser recommended CUFCE would most likely get a favorable evaluation equivalent to RA doctorate, but I suggest only going that route if Validential is your 'final option'.
  13. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    I suggest not going that route at all. Why? Because it's not recognized as an Academic Doctorate within the Polish System. That in itself removes it from serious consideration as a Doctorate, here. Please don't tell me it;s a "propio" - it's not. If it's not a Doctorate in its own country - it can't be one in ours. I cannot bring myself to have confidence in any agency that would claim otherwise. Not even the illustrious Validential or the magnificent CUFCE.
    Not at any University in Poland, that's for sure. In Poland, this is not a degree. It's equivalent to two years of grad work, says IFCE.
    Not at all. Agains DBA is not recognized as an academic title in Poland. see quote below:
    "In light of the Ministry’s clarification and recognizing the unique status of the DBA title outside Polish legislation, (emphasis mine) IFCS recommends acknowledging two years of graduate-level credits for individuals holding this qualification. However, IFCS does not recommend conferring the title of a graduate degree, (emphasis mine - J)"

    A legit evaluator tells us at least twice the DBA is not an Academic degree in Poland. How often do we need to be told?
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2024
  14. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    It says grad work. It doesn't say doctoral work. And it's definitely not doctoral work, in Poland. It's work towards a degree that is not recognized as a Polish doctorate - so 2/3 of it can't be 2/3 of a Polish Doctorate. If the thing is not a Doctorate in its own country - it's not one anywhere else.

    There are plenty of real castles in Poland. It's a beautiful country. No need to build more castles -- in the air.
  15. Michael Burgos

    Michael Burgos Active Member

    In order to get into a DMin program, most institutions in North America require an MDiv consisting of three years of full-time graduate-level study including substantial biblical and theological studies, two years of biblical languages, and pastoral theology. Thus, by the time someone completes the typical 30-40 credit DMin, they completed more graduate-level work than that of the typical PhD holder as most PhD programs require a mere MA. Further, I've yet to find a DMin program that did not include a substantial research component or ministry project and that is why nearly all DMin programs take at least three years-- same as North American PhDs and Australian DMins. A simple comparison with the typical Australian (or British DProf) demonstrates profound similarities. For example, MST's 3 yr DMin program requires coursework and a dissertation of around 140 pp-- nearly the same as SBTS' DMin thesis track. Most North American DMin projects require a significant ministry effort and documentation of the before and after, including scientific statistical evaluation. These typically amount to about 100-130 pp. The notion that praxis is somehow inferior to research leads to a misguided and unrealistic prejudice against professional doctorates.
    tadj and SteveFoerster like this.
  16. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    VUL DHA, as well as some "Executive EdD" programs, may be flimsy, but the resulting credential is a degree and a doctorate. I would have no problem calling recipients "Dr. So-and-So". I know less about a DMin, but it is evidently, also, a doctorate.

    P. S. a principal at a charter middle school my daughters used to attend, an EdD, was always referred to as "Dr. So-and-So". He also never managed to address me as "Dr." on any e-mails we exchanged, even after I pointedly signed my name as "Dr. Stan U.". He also signed my daughter's Eagle Scout Project Report as "Dr. Dohn Doe" (not a real name). I laugh about it a lot, but still call him "Doctor" if he so chooses. He does have the title.
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  17. tadj

    tadj Active Member


    You may be right when it comes to the similarity in terms of educational standards between the Australian DMin (equal to PhD) and American DMin. I am not going to dispute your claims. I am also willing to reconsider my views on the DMin. But my issue with the degree goes beyond the educational standard debate. I live within the European Union, so this shapes the way in which I treat various degrees. This degree likely won’t be acceptable as a third-cycle doctoral program anywhere in the European Union. The fact that this degree likely (as I would need to verify this country-by-country, but from what I’ve been able to gather so far, it is true) does not entitle one to be called ‘Doctor’ or claim to possess a proper doctoral degree in 27 democratic countries on the European continent is a pretty big strike against it, as far as I am concerned. You can still make a case for it, but it would be like making a case for a local degree with limited utility.

    It’s sort of like having a debate about religious exempt degrees and whether they entitle one to be called Doctor. It’s a good debate to have in the U.S. But in Europe, it is a non-issue, as it’s simply unacceptable to use a Dr title issued by non-accredited schools. Notice how even the Polish schools issue a DBA title, not the Dr title. There’s a reason for that.

    If you are an American, I am not going to discourage you from taking the DMin journey. But for Europeans, the stakes are very different. If I can take a Australian DMin to Europe and have it recognized due to the fact that Australia has placed it on PhD level, the utility of this degree is nowhere close to the U.S. DMin title and that’s regardless of applied educational standards.
  18. Michael Burgos

    Michael Burgos Active Member

    I'd suggest the DMin is tantamount to the UK DProf. While the DMin isn't an oft-used UK degree (just as MPhil or MTh isn't in North America), the category of a recognized professional third-level theological ministry doctorate exists.

    I don't think this is like that at all.

    I am not prepared to claim that a theological educational institution that has an inherent religious aversion to recognized accreditation is either illegitimate or that its degrees are somehow defective. To do so is to make terrible theological assumptions.

    Because there are very few European institutions that offer the DMin, we might expect it to be variously understood. That might change given the proliferation of the DProf and the increasing popularity of the DMin among the English-speaking people.
  19. tadj

    tadj Active Member

    The UK DProf is recognized in Poland and other EU countries as a third-cycle doctorate. I know this, because I've checked. That's not the case with the DMin, so I am not sure why you find it strange that I am less enthusiastic about it, given my own context.

    I never said that it's illegitimate in all cases. I've even encouraged one member of the partner forum (U.S. citizen) to attend your unaccredited seminary! I wouldn't do that, if I believed that such education was defective under all circumstances. But in the European Union countries, the unaccredited religious doctorate resulting in a Dr. title would not be an acceptable path. If that forum member came from my neck of the woods, I would strongly discourage unaccredited seminary attendance.
  20. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    All this talk about places with Slavic names and ancient histories...makes me think of Bella Lugosi...

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