Executive Ph.D. in Public Policy (24 months)

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by chrisjm18, Jul 24, 2020.

  1. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Southern University at Baton Rouge is offering a 24 month Executive Ph.D. in Public Policy.

    One weekend per month required (24 visits).
    Finish in 24 months
    $40,000 (total tuition)

  2. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    That is what the site says. But I can't imagine how they can do that when no one knows how long the dissertation will take. I think a more accurate version would be that one CAN do it in two years, but one might not. Note that the tuition is based on those two years and will be higher if you take longer. (Again, from their site.)
  3. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    They can do that because the program is designed to be completed in 24 months and some people will complete it in that time frame.

    "*If the student is unsuccessful in passing the courses as prescribed in the designed plan of study and maintain on track with his/her cohort additional costs may be incurred. The advertised price is based on the successful completion as designed."

    That should tell any well-thinking individual that completing in 24 months is based on your ability to complete each component of the program successfully. A lot of schools now incorporate the dissertation into the coursework. That could be the case with SUBR. I know Trevecca does this for its 27-month Ed.D.
  4. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    You have it right, but I don't think the school does. I think it's cagey ad-speak. It would be interesting to find out, over time, what percentage of students actually do it, what the mean time is for graduating, what percentage of students graduate at all, and what the mean cost is.

    There are too many variables (big ones, too) to genuinely lock in the 2-year period. It's a huge feature with a caveat much bigger than the one presented.
    Johann likes this.
  5. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    It's rather like ordering a $40K car (expensive enough!) knowing the bill might be $60K or even $80K when it's delivered. Or Not. I say people willing to pay this much ($40K) and do this quantity and quality of work, in a stated 2-year time frame, should NOT have to be gamblers. This is an "Executive" program. The time-frame for those is usually set in stone. I think that's as it should be.

    Regular PhD programs are different - they generally require this kind of gambling. No new entrant knows for sure how long he/she will be in the program. (We have one highly-esteemed member who's been working on a PhD from South Africa for 10 years - with unforeseen setbacks in no way attributable to him. But at around $2K a year, I guess that's doable.) Most don't guarantee any set time. They may say a certain program is designed / usually done, etc. in 3 years or whatever, must be complete in 5 years, perhaps. No blanket statements as to completion date. It's over when it's over.

    In this case they're saying this Executive degree is designed as a 2-year program. Well, a camel is said to be a horse designed by a committee, so who knows? Like most others here, I think the school should be forthcoming-plus with anyone who asks this question. Show them this grand "design" in detail - how the dissertation process is worked in, time allowed, etc. Doesn't come anywhere near eliminating the gambling aspect - but a buyer could at least figure the odds.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2020
  6. Dustin

    Dustin Active Member

    I know this is a necro-post, but both Capella and Walden are being sued for their doctoral programs over the 3 year completion time. I don't know the status of the Walden one, but most of the Capella lawsuit has been dismissed because saying that an average student can complete the program in 3 years was not held to be a guarantee but one recruiter stated the average student will complete within 3 years, and that small difference in wording was enough to make a claim that the students were misled by a false claim.

    The judge who issued the order (see the document at the bottom of this article) allowing a part of the lawsuit to proceed noted that the Department of Education "Time to Degree" outcomes were over 6 years for Capella's doctorates, not the 3 advertised. I've tried looking for that data. Most schools publish it and I thought it was public information but I spent an hour scouring the web and wasn't able to find the data on the DOE/NACES or Capella sites.
    Johann and SteveFoerster like this.
  7. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Adding the modifier "Executive" to a degree typically means that some requirement is not being met or something is being watered down to account for the busy life of an "executive" whose vast experience allows them to bypass the more plebian requirements.

    It's a fun little marketing trick I've noticed in higher ed.

    If I were a gambling man, the outcomes are going to be just fine because the program is likely created in such a way that the student's hand is held the entire time to ensure they are ready as long as they pass the course. What would be more interesting, I think, would be to see the quality of the dissertations coming out of these students. I have the funny notion that they are going to all magically bypass the need for original research as they will simply be the "executive" drawing from their wealth of experience and knowledge.

    In short, I think this is a more dishonest version of PhD by Publication.
  8. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Entirely possible. I'd settle for an honest statement of what it's going to cost. Doesn't affect me personally.
    I'd like to visit Baton Rouge - but not 24 weekends, airport-to-campus and back.
  9. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Having taught in one, I disagree. Oh, that might be the case in some situations, but I don't think it can be treated as a rule. "Executive" very often means the focus of the programs, where the emphasis is on strategy, decision-making, running the enterprise, external environments, etc., and less on the functions of each department (accounting, finance, HR, etc.).
    Why is that "dishonest"? I think it's actually a lot harder, there's more review of one's work, and the amount of work is certainly comparable. I think what is "dishonest" is how a doctorate by that method is sometimes portrayed on this site, as if you just write a few papers, get them into journals, and the school hands you a degree. That's not the case. But again, I'm curious as to why you think it's "dishonest."
  10. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    The Executive JD is the JD that doesn't qualify you to sit for the bar and is designed to make it sound like that's a feature and not a flaw.

    For many executive MBA programs the course distribution is exactly the same as any other MBA, what differs is the delivery module. Going back pre-everything available on your PC, some of the more popular programs (such as one administered by Cornell) involved said executives getting together in a conference room and engaging with the professor as a cohort remotely and then doing periodic residencies. I believe they also had one that was just purely you go to a rented facility somewhere in westchester and go through classes on weekends.

    That didn't change the fact that you had to take the same courses as everyone else. Executive here, and in many other instances, refers to the method of delivery or the amount of advanced standing you receive for your experience coming in. I have not seen a current program that meets the description you gave for the one you worked on. That doesn't mean they don't exist. If they do, however, they are outliers at this stage.

    Because it's likely going to result in garbage output, to put it bluntly.

    Just because you are an executive does not mean that your experience gives you the basis for original contributions to a field.

    I was just watching the movie Back to School the other day. Ever see it? It actually illustrates some of my point. You have a stuffy business school professor and in his class a highly successful businessman who keeps interrupting him because what is being taught isn't how "real" business works. While said professor is trying to get students to think about the expenses associated with starting a fictional business, Rodney Dangerfield's character is offering some useful insight (i.e. leasing is a better option than new construction) but is otherwise overwhelmed with, essentially, stories from the road where he talks of bribery and graft.

    Comedy, I know. Fictional, I know. But some delightful nuggets of truth therein.

    PhD by Publication's criticisms don't really pick up much steam. They don't cause much controversy because, at the end of the day, many academics will agree that PhD by publication is harder than a traditionally earned PhD. Satisfy your advisor and satisfy a small group of people who know you (and your advisor) and a PhD can be had with minimal controversy. Depending on how well you were prepared, however, you may never publish a significant paper after that point. A good friend of mine, a professor at Syracuse, I've known since she first landed here as an Assistant Professor. At first, publication was no big deal. She parlayed her dissertation into two published articles. Easy peasy! She already did the work! She was convinced she was good for another few articles out of that dissertation. It didn't work. While her conclusions were no necessarily wrong or flawed in the eyes of her peers, neither were they so insightful that they warranted publication. This happens with some regularity, from what I gather. It's the professional academic equivalent of showing up to college and doing high school work. Fine if you went to a top tier prep school. Not so fine if your high school was middle of the road and you had teachers along the way who enabled, rather than challenged, you.

    A candidate for a PhD by Publication/Published Work has already been tested. They have survived the crucible. They are writing a paper to tie together original peer reviewed work they have already achieved. Executives seldom enjoy such objective success.

    Oh, your company did well? Did it do well because of you or in spite of you? It's really hard to say for the outside observer and even harder for an executive to make that determination for themselves.

    If said executive is publishing articles in peer reviewed journals then I think that's one thing. Programs that rely heavily on the executive's experience, I feel, are really just vanity programs that seldom offer anything to the disciplines they allegedly serve. They serve the vanity of the students and offer them a platform from which they can pontificate and receive, in exchange, a credential that is based on a legitimized form of the "life experience" degrees that many of the mills we talk of award regularly.

    To say that the participant in this program will receive more review than someone receiving a PhD by publication with an average publication history of 12+ in peer reviewed journals? Come now, Rich. That's bunk and you know it. They will be reviewed by their advisor and by a committee, maybe. There will be no impartial referee. There will be no blind review from outside of the institution. Their work will be reviewed by a handful of academics whose financial future relies on graduating students from said program. That's the dishonest part.

    If a school wants to screw with the PhD formula I think that's fine provided the individual's work is being reviewed by someone outside of the institution. It's the difference between, if you can imagine, awarding a PhD by pub to someone who had two dozen articles published in the Lancet versus someone who receives a supposedly earned PhD from a committee consisting of his personal physician and three other people of his choosing swearing he is legit.

    I'm not saying it is dishonest. It just looks like the potential for dishonesty is very high. Add in the supposedly short timeframe and advertising a price and I don't think my concerns are unfounded.
  11. warguns

    warguns Member

    Southern U in New Orleans has a poor general reputation. I certainly wouldn't want to get a PhD there
  12. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    They don't offer Ph.D. programs. The only doctorate offered by SUNO is the DSW.
  13. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Active Member

    We call this the Porsche experience! :D
    Johann likes this.

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