Doctoral program in Computer Science at CTU (Colorado Tech)

Discussion in 'IT and Computer-Related Degrees' started by XOR(), Jun 13, 2014.

  1. XOR()

    XOR() New Member

    I am interested on pursuing a Doctoral degree either on CS or IT. I had narrowed my searches to two final options: DCS at CTU and PHD in IT at Capella Univ. I feel more attracted to the CTU Doctor of Computer Science program, since Capella's Phd is more management oriented and I am more technical oriented.

    I would like to know if anybody has any knowledge about the program.

    My concerns are: 1) Is this a legit accredited institution; and 2) Is this degree recognized by the US academic system?

    The curriculum looks good. The total cost is around 50K, I want to make sure that I am not getting just a piece of paper that other academics might laugh at.

    Again, my main concern is about the degree, I also feel attracted by CTU being a both online and campus based university and also being technology oriented.

    Would a CTU Doctoral degree be recognized to perform academic duties in the US.

    Can you bring out some light about helping me to understand the benefits of CTU program over Capella.

    I would highly appreciate any comments from you.

    Thanks in advance for your time.

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    The first question for you is what do you want to do with your Doctorate? Do you plan to be full-time tenure track?
    - I was accepted to both Capella University and Colorado Technical University.
  3. XOR()

    XOR() New Member

    I am actually involved in some important projects within my own company and at the same time I work at a local University. This situation is preventing me from getting into a doctoral program that requires me to move to another country. However my career requires me to move on to the next step and pursue a doctoral degree.

    I think that for my local needs, the degree from CTU might me enough. However, I am constantly involved in projects that include professors and professionals from USA and Europe. I don't want to get into a program that later might be seen as a joke for others. (BTW I was in love with Capella's, until some colleagues discourage me because of bad reputation of their degrees. Not that I have any proofs, I'm just telling what I was told).

    However, having in mind that I would not want to rule out the possibility of some day working in the American academy as an adjunct professor or perhaps visiting professor, not necessary tenured.
  4. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I'm more concerned about lumping together "CS" and "IT." They are hugely different fields. The former is much more theoretical and design-based. The latter is much more applied and management-based.

    Either school meets your two questions with a "yes," but the concept of "recognition" is very vague, individual, and situational.

    Are you asking if you will be able to secure a traditional college professor position with the degree? The answer--for myriad reasons--is "probably not." At least, not unless you're already involved with a school who really wants to promote you if you'd only get a doctorate. Then, maybe.

    My advice regarding starting an academic career by earning a doctorate:

    a) Earn a traditional degree in the traditional way at a traditional school, and then pursue an academic appointment in the traditional fashion. Or,

    b) Have a relationship with a school who really wants to hire/promote you but wants you to have a doctorate. Then go get a doctorate acceptable to them.

    Oh, and figure out what field you want to be in before considering schools. Seriously.

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    Here is my previous attempts. I started with Capella University, but I dropped out after 2nd semester because Capella program was not for me. I applied to Colorado Technical University for Doctor of Computer Science at the time I planned to move to Denver. As the same time I applied to Nova Southeastern University's Ph.D in Computer Information Systems. While weighting the pro/con between CTU and NSU, I chose NSU for my studies. Capella University might have better reputation than Colorado Technical University, you'll see more professors with Capella University Doctorates than Colorado Technical University and even though it does not have ground campus. Dr. Abmrose is currently member of this forum is one of Capella University alumni with full-time tenure track.

    I would not recommend neither Capella or CTU for your purposes of studies. There are some other options for you, Nova Southeastern University's Ph.D in Computer Science and Columbia University's Doctor of Engineering Science in Computer Science. How's about Indiana State University's Ph.D in Technology Management.

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    Have you thought about doing UK research Doctorate?
  7. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I second this advice. Capella and CTU are both accredited schools but pretty much at the bottom of the scale. Put it this way, if you are a star with tons of teaching and professional experience, good previous positions and just need a doctorate to get a job in academia then Capella or CTU might do. However, if you want to impress someone just based on a degree from Capella or CTU, is not going to happen.

    Nova, Columbia or Indiana State are much better options that without doubt will be taken seriously when applying for a tenure track. These are not cheap options but I think is better to dish a bit more money and get something that will get the respect from prospect employers.

    Another option is Idaho State, they offer a PhD in CS by distance but requires residencies.

    The issue with Capella or CTU is not only that they are virtual schools but that they graduate people in the order of hundreds every year. Most serious Universities graduate a handful of people at the PhD in CS level. This in my opinion affects your chances in the job market, when an employer notices that half applicants are from Capella or CTU might start wondering if these schools are worth considering.

    The other with CTU is that is not a PhD but a professional degree in CS (Doctor of Computer Science). Professional doctorates tend to be looked down upon when applying for academic positions with some exceptions such as the DBA that seems to be accepted at some schools. However, the employer will wonder what is a DCS and how different is from a PhD in CS and not many schools have this designation.

    There are some successful people that have landed tenure track positions with Capella, CTU, Trident, etc PhDs but they seem to the kind of people that stand on their own without the prestige of a PhD because a strong resume.

    The other option is to continue with CTU and get 3 good papers in hghly ranked IEEE journals, the PhD won't matter much but the papers in your resume. The problem is that I doubt that even the faculty at CTU has top papers in their resumes.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 13, 2014
  8. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    The best-known US universities are operated on a not-for-profit basis. Since they are not concerned about maximizing revenue, they typically accept only a small percentage of qualified applicants. In other words, they turn away many potential "customers", and accept only the ones that they consider to have the highest academic potential.

    Capella and CTU, on the other hand, are both operated on a for-profit basis. As for-profit businesses, they are very much concerned about maximizing revenue, and will generally admit anyone who meets the minimum qualifications. From a business standpoint, it makes no sense to turn away potential customers.

    So Capella, for example, issues more CS/IT doctorates every year than schools like Stanford, Berkeley, or MIT. But greater quantity isn't necessarily correlated with higher quality.
  9. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    For profits are opens admission and have the policy of "everyone deserves a degree". I once applied to Touro International University (now Tridend) back in 2000, I was admitted in a day by filling up an application online with no questions about transcripts, interviews, etc.

    I also applied to Argosy, not only I was admitted in one week, the school kept calling me for months to beg me to enroll.

    It is a very different story when you apply to schools like Columbia, Harvard, etc. They receive hundreds of applications and only offer admission to a handful of people. I applied to Mcgill University for its PhD management, I was told that the success rate is about 5% and needed to supply them with GMAT, interview with a supervisor, etc and all this for a program that takes 5 year full time to complete. I got a GMAT of about 620 in the first try and was told that this was too low as successful applicants where in the 700 level and some close to 800.

    In few words, now you know why people with PhDs from top schools make more than 100K upon graduation. It is not easy to get admission nor to graduate from a top school. We cannot expect to go to school that admits anyone with a credit card and requires to complete a bunch of essays and then complete a dissertation that will be guided by another faculty member with a PhD from Capella, NCU, UoP, etc that most likely has little publication record and then ask for someone to offer you a tenure track with a 150K starting salary.
  10. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I would say that schools with open admissions have the policy of "everyone deserves the chance to earn a degree", which is an entirely different sentiment.

    While it's true that some elite schools are very difficult to get into, and some schools admit students relatively freely, that doesn't mean there's not a lot of middle ground between them of schools that are somewhat selective but don't wear it like a badge of honor, nor does it means that that all students at open access schools are advised poorly or that all students at elite schools are advised well.
  11. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I would agree with this statement for a Bachelor or even Masters, the PhD is supposed to be for someone that is an authority in the field and someone that has shown original contribution to the field but this concept is slowly changing to a "I pay, I get my PhD".

    Most of the people in this forum confirm this feeling, most people are mainly concerned about the cost and time but very few are concerned about getting the degree because they know that most for profits will make it feasible for you to get the PhD. Of course, you are expected to work for it but the risk of not being able to get it is low as long as your payment clears and you do the minimum work.
    This is confirmed by the hundreds of graduates that are being churned out every year. Just by probability, this makes no sense as very few humans are capable of being able to produce high level of original research so we cannot say that 80% of the population has the brains for this.

    In few words, if I were to rely on a PhD to attract grants to my school and being able to produce the research required to attract new PhD candidates, I would hesitate from hiring someone from CTU unless the person in question has a proven record of research.

    On the other hand, if I am community college hiring director that is looking for a new teacher, I might consider a CTU graduate just to show in my catalog that we have doctors but I know that research is not really required for the job.

    I strongly believe that programs like the ones by CTU have a different mandate like the ones offered by traditional schools, their mandate in to provide continuing education opportunities and just to boost resumes but not really to produce high caliber researchers able to attract research grants as the programs offered by traditional schools.
  12. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't laugh at someone that has a Capella or CTU degree. Once you start working, nobody will care if the degree comes from Capella or XYZ University as few people can tell the difference between Capella and any other no name school.

    People tend to laugh at your CV when they see that you are a PhD and have only few publications in trade journals or if they don't see anything substantial like patents, research projects, etc.
    I have seen many people with CVs with PhDs from good schools but nobody respects them because these are CVs from people that all they do is teach as an adjunct here and there and there is nothing else to sell the CV but adjunct teaching. Employers like to see that you are using the PhD to achieve things in life and not just teach here and there from a text book.

    As I mentioned before, a PhD from Capella or CTU is not going to impress people alone but if you have used to accomplish great things then degree won't matter.

    If the for profit issue bothers you so much and have little budget, for the same money you can get a degree from a decent British School like the University of Sunderland or any other one that allows distance research PhDs. Many of the British or Australian schools do not make a difference between on campus or distance because the degrees are research only so either way you don't need to take classes. The fact that you sit your butt in an office in England or at home in the US, doesn't make the difference but the outcome of your research.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 13, 2014
  13. dlbb

    dlbb Active Member

    Rich's advice is most relevant. First, you need to decide what you want to do and then find an appropriate program. There are significant differences from CS and IT.

    I would advise against a for-profit school unless you have no other options. If you want to become an academic at any point, you need solid publications, which people at the schools you mentioned may be ill-equipped to assist you with. If you only care to adjunct, that may not matter as much, although competition becomes increasingly fierce. I have seen other tenured faculty at reputable schools with degrees from Capella, but they were already impressive without it due to high level of success in private industry.

    In short, I would listen to your colleagues and try for a more reputable, regionally accredited nonprofit, once you make up your mind about what you want to do.
  14. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    How about this CV:
  15. csseeker

    csseeker New Member

    Academics will not take you seriously if you have a degree from CTU or Capella. The general population might not know much about those schools, but most professors do. Prestige is important in academia.
  16. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    On the other hand, if you're able to rely upon yourself--your background, your value--more than just the terminal degree, you'd be surprised at what you can accomplish with a degree from those places.

    It's complicated.
  17. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Impressive, but McGee's CV makes look Dr Allen like a slacker

    Robert W. McGee

    Dr McGee holds 13 doctorates and has 4137 citations for his publications that is considered very high for an academic.

    Robert W. McGee - Google Scholar Citations

    Another person that can make anyone look like a slacker is Abdul Karim Bangura with his 5 doctorates and more than 600 publications:

    Faculty Biography Abdul Karim Bangura
    Meet the Sierra Leonean with 5 PHDs - News in Sierra Leone

    The world is full of qualified people. As many mentioned here, the PhD is just part of the equation, is what you make out of it that makes the difference.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 17, 2014
  18. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    If you walk in with nothing but a doctorate, then one from a selective school is obviously better than one from an open access school. If you have a good research profile, however, you can overcome this disadvantage. One of the people who posts here regularly earned a PhD from Capella University and subsequently found a tenure track faculty position. As with so many situations, blanket statements don't work here.
  19. TEKMAN

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    Dr. Abdul Karim Bangura posses 5 Ph.D degrees, which two in Computer Science and Mathematics from Columbus University. The question is which Columbus University?

    - Columbus University, a fictional university in the film Higher Learning
    - Columbus State University, Columbus, Georgia, it can't be because the school is not classified as research school by the state of Georgia.
    - Columbus University, which is now part of Catholic University of America, Washington D.C
    - Columbus University, Louisiana //an unaccredited degree or degree mill school...really popular with folks in the Government
    - Columbus University, Panama
  20. csseeker

    csseeker New Member

    It sounds like he primarily wants to gain respect from professors. While he can make up for it with publications, patents, and other scholarly activities, a degree from a for-profit school will always be frowned upon. Generally you cannot teach higher than where you receive your PhD from. You can move up a little, but not much. I don't he wants to teach, but it shows how much prestige matters in academia.

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