Diploma, Degree, or Certificate?

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by philosophy, May 15, 2004.

  1. philosophy

    philosophy New Member

    I think when it comes to the issue of a person receiving a credential from an unaccredited school , that there should be a different terminology for this credential. Instead, of calling it a "degree" it would seem to me that it would be better to call it a "certificate or diploma." The word "degree" to me signifies academic status and if the school is not an accredited school, then this to me poses some possible problems. What are your thoughts and opinions on this question?
  2. VB1

    VB1 New Member

    I couldn't agree more.

    (And this reply comes from the all-too-embarrassed author of the recent post question about Rushmore U. You know, even allowing these same "con centers" to use the term "university" is equally damaging.)

  3. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Trouble is, "Diploma" is a common term in the U.K. system as in "Diploma in Law", awarded for successful completion of the intermediate LL.B. examination, "Postgraduate Diploma in Law", a qualifying educational credential for non-law graduates, or Diploma in Managerial Economics, a post B.A. award for most, but not all, of the work required for an M.Sc. in the same subject.
    These credentials are recognized and valuable.
  4. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Degree: The title conferred by the university ("with all rights, privileges, etc....")

    Diploma: The piece of paper from the university attesting to the award of the degree. Can also attest to other forms of graduation, like high school.

    Certificate: Non-degree course of study. Term used for both the course of study and the diploma received.

    The way I see it, unaccredited schools come in three types: those that will always be unaccredited (and are designed that way), those that are "pre-accredited" (they'll be accredited someday and are working towards it), and diploma mills. To become accredited, schools must operate and award degrees to demonstrate their capabilities and fitness for accreditation. It would seriously undercut their ability to attract students if they weren't able to award degrees, maybe to the point of not being financially viable.

    What I propose is a limit on the number of years a school can operate without being accredited, like Louisiana is trying to do. There, if a school isn't on an accreditation track, it's supposed to close. ("Supposed" to close.) Of course, this would eliminate schools that reject accreditation for philosophical reasons (like Bob Jones), schools that might become accredited much later in life (like Walden University), and small schools that address a niche (like some of the classroom-based California-Approved schools).

    There was a time when, for example, Pacific Western University and the Fielding Graduate Institute had the exact same level of accreditation: none. But one went on to distinction while the other ended up in court (and on the news, as of late). Time sorted all of that out. But it would be nice if time also eliminated schools like Pacific Western so this confusion over legitimate and illegitimate degrees would be put to rest (to some extent, anyway). Then, all we'd have left is some pre-accredited schools (which, again, time would take care of one way or another) and diploma mills. Wait, except for the legitimate niche schools, that's what we have now, which is why newspeople feel so free to call Kennedy-Western and its ilk "diploma mills." Of course, I never would. :D
  5. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Yes and isn't it irritating when people refer to a High School "degree" instead of "diploma"?
  6. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    I like it. There might have to be an exception though for paranoid religious schools (e.g., BJU). So we could replace the religious exception with a paranoid religious exception. :)
  7. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    I think that's roughly the situation in the UK. There are all kinds of British schools offering non-degree programs in all kinds of things. But the award of academic degrees is regulated by law.

    Personally, I could support that kind of idea, I guess. There are all kinds of non-accredited programs out there that I like. But they tend to break down either into programs that could achieve some kind of acceditation if they tried, or else into programs that could do just fine offering diplomas rather than academic degrees.
  8. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    Yes, I remember a popular religious author who used to list on his books that he had "four earned degrees". What he neglected to say was that one of the "earned degrees" was his high school diploma and two of them were from unaccredited schools.

    Tony Piña
    Faculty, CSU San Bernardino
  9. AJJ

    AJJ New Member

    UK practice

    Before things changed here in the UK professional bodies and institutes that ran educational courses, whether taught full-time and/or by correspondence, used to award an Associateship, Licentiateship and Fellowship if they were not entitled to award degrees. The Licenciateship was roughly equivalent to a bachelor's degree (in many cases) and the Fellowship approximated to a master's degree.

  10. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    Re: UK practice

    I liked that system. Yet the professional exams, in my experience, were more rigorous than those of colleges plus the qualifications you listed also required various levels of work experience. Colleges would also award qualifications such as DIC (Diploma Imperial College) or LIC (Licenciate Imperial College).

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