Harvard ALM IT degree vs DSU Information Systems

Discussion in 'IT and Computer-Related Degrees' started by Neoplato, Dec 4, 2007.

  1. Neoplato

    Neoplato New Member

    I have been reading the old posts about the Harvard AML in Information Technology degree, and it seems the courses may be too time consuming. It seems just one course could suck up 40 hours of my time each week, which would be a huge opportunity cost.

    I am leaning more to Dakota State's Information Sytems program since it is less than half the cost. However, it doesn't seem very challenging.

    Any comments are welcome.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2007
  2. Neoplato

    Neoplato New Member

    Also, the summer residency at Harvard is not an issue for me, except financially.

    What attracts me most to DSU is the capstone project, which Harvard doesn't seem to offer:

    I've done a "real application project" before, but I like the idea of getting credit and academic feedback for a future project.

    Though I will probably go with DSU, I would stiil appreciate any comments. The comments I have read in the forum about DSU have all been positive but rather general. I haven't read any comments about how much people have actually learned.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2007
  3. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

    You can't beat Harvard for name recognition, but remember you do have to spend some significant time in Cambridge to complete the program.

    It seems like you need a program somewhere in the middle if Harvard is too time consuming and DSU isn't challenging enough.
  4. Neoplato

    Neoplato New Member

    Thanks Bruce. The degree from Harvard will certainly make it easier to get an interview. (On the other hand, since I have no problems moving, with the money I save from going to DSU, I could more easily afford to fly and rent in other cities for job interviews. But that's not an either/or situation.)

    Also, the reason I would get more interviews is a good one -- I would certainly be a much better "product" upon completion of Harvard's program, and that could make it easier and less stressful on-the-job. I think what makes Harvard most attractive to me is that I still have at least 35 years before retirement.

    In any case, I don't have to make any decisions soon. I won't have my B.S. completed until May from Excelsior College, so the earliest I could start Harvard would be after Spring 2008.

    Just to clarify a few things for the record:
    1. Harvard's program does have a thesis/captone requirement, which is a good thing for me:

    2. For the IT program (unlike some other Harvard Extension programs), they offer all the required courses online with a one-course residency requirement:
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2007
  5. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Such as Brandeis University: http://www.brandeis.edu/rabbgrad/distancelearning/

  6. Pugman

    Pugman New Member

    I'm not through the entire curriculum but I think 15-20 hours per course is adequate (so far).

    Just my opinion.

    I would take a course and judge for yourself. If it's too much - you can always transfer the credit out.

  7. eric.brown

    eric.brown New Member

    I think DSU's program is as challenging as any other IS graduate program around.

    I'm just finishing up my first semester and I've put in more time/effort into this semester's 6 hours then I put most of my MBA courses combined while attending UTD. Of course, I'm comparing apples to oranges but it should help give you an idea.

    If you want any specifics feel free to ask.[FONT=&quot][/FONT]
  8. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

  9. PhD2B

    PhD2B Dazed and Confused

    I wish someone would have told me that before I took this information retrieval class I am in now. ;)

    I have had a very good experience with DSU so far. I have only had one class so far that I would not consider challenging. The course is in IT project management and it mirrors the kind of stuff I see and do every day at work so the material is second nature to me. The thing I love the most about DSU is that I linked up with two professors that share similar research interests. And, one of them has a master's degree in industrial engineering which complements my master's degree and research interests in operations research.

    If you have the time and money, then go for the Harvard degree. Hands down a Harvard degree beats DSU any day. But, DSU not challenging, I don't know about that.
  10. Neoplato

    Neoplato New Member

  11. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

    I think it's also important to note that the two degrees (Harvard & DSU) are much different levels. A school that requires a doctorate for a teaching position isn't likely to be swayed by the Harvard name; it's still a Master of Liberal Arts degree.

    I think multiple Master's degrees can be useful, but if the ultimate goal is the doctorate, I would say go for that.
  12. Neoplato

    Neoplato New Member

    That's a good point. The Harvard degree is strictly a professional, terminal degree while the DSU degree has a doctorate program waiting in the wings. Personally, I would be more likely to change professions than to go into academia or research, but it is something to consider.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 5, 2007
  13. Neoplato

    Neoplato New Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 5, 2007
  14. cklapka

    cklapka Member

    Just curious, is there some reason that these are the only two schools you are looking at?

    I ask because there are bigger names in the field of technology than DSU which offer degrees via distance(that would compare[kind of] to name recognition of Harvard), VT and USC come to mind as well as Drexel and RPI (or RIT to a small extent).
  15. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Fair enough, although I wonder how much that could realistically be factor in online courses about software engineering and IT management.

  16. Neoplato

    Neoplato New Member

    This is a good point, especially when you combine it with Bruce's point about the Harvard ALM program not being PhD friendly. Also, it reminded me to log into my USNews subscription for graduate school rankings.

    For better or worse, the only school you mention that ranks in USNews for Information Systems is USC, but USC is tied with Harvard while costing a lot more. (The latest list by USNews for Information Systems is a small list of only 24 rankings.)

    VT --> charges out-of-state tuition rates for out-of-state DL students at over $750 per credit hour.
    RPI --> over $2,000 a course if I remember correctly.
    USC -> way too expensive. over $3,450 per course.
    Drexel --> $835 per credit, with 45 credits required

    Since I live in Florida, I have considered FSU's MIS program at around $435 per credit for in-state students. However, I then thought: might as well go to Harvard.

    The Harvard magic, however, is wearing off, I must say. But then I think about the alumni e-mail address forwarding, and I get excited again :)

    I think what is really competing with Harvard is the idea that I could wake up tomorrow with PhD ambitions. However, as Greg pointed out, it doesn't hurt to test the waters by taking one course in Fall 2008. Since I can transfer credit out but can't transfer credit in, the default seems to be for Harvard.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 5, 2007
  17. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

    Probably not much if at all, I was just thinking about the Brandeis name in general on a resume.
  18. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

    Being able to go to the Harvard Club while in Boston (or many other cities) isn't too shabby either;

  19. SoldierInGA

    SoldierInGA New Member

    Are you saying that this Harvard degree doesn't transfer readily into a PhD program? is it the ALM nature of the degree or the curriculum?
  20. mid

    mid New Member

    I can tell you that you should expect to spend significant time on any HES course. The .NET class (CSCI E-237) won't be a good indicator of whether or not you can complete the ALM. By a large margin, the two tough requirements are completion of CSCI E-124 and CSCI E-207. Both of those courses are heavy on computing theory and de-emphasize programming skill.

    I've taken CSCI E-124 and it's no joke. It was the only class I took one semester and it killed me. A big time sink.

    I haven't taken CSCI E-207 yet but for a while it was taught by the dean of Harvard College. A killer as well.

    I'm posting about my experiences with the Harvard Computer Science curriculum at http://www.cluehq.com/blog.

    Feel free to check it out. I'm almost done with my degree program and have a lot of good info about how the school operates and what the classes are like.

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