I am leaving the NCU DBA program........

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by truckie270, Apr 23, 2007.

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  1. truckie270

    truckie270 New Member

    ........because I just got accepted into the Valdosta State University (VSU) Doctor of Public Administration (DPA) program for Fall 2007!

    I have two classes left at NCU and I will be walking out the door with a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security this summer.

    It was a hard decision for me as I was nearing the start of the dissertation phase at NCU. I will lose some credits in transfer but I will still have the grad. cert. in HS which has opened up some adjunct door for me already.

    I have nothing bad to say about my time at NoCentral (can't call me a NCU shill Dave:) )and would highly recommend the school to anyone that would ask. In the end it came down to my career aspirations and the fact that VSU is a state, B&M school with a NASPAA accredited public admin. program vs. a 100% DL doctorate without a proven history at this point. I also felt that I was missing out on some of the face-to-face time offered by a residency requirement.

    I would have to say the valuable input provided on this board helped me tremendously with my decision criteria - thanks. I will keep you all posted on the VSU DPA program.
  2. abnrgr275

    abnrgr275 Member


    It looks like a win-win situation to me. You'll finish up at NCU with a Homeland Security grad certificate and begin a DL doctoral program at a well-established B&M school in a field more in line with your past academic studies. The tuition at VSU can't be beat for a DL doctoral program which includes a residency component, in addition you'll probably be able to transfer in some of your credits from NCU as well.

  3. Dave Wagner

    Dave Wagner Active Member

    Too funny... You didn't say that NoCentral makes your teeth whiter and your breath fresher, so no danger of you earning that title.

  4. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    Dave, I never said that, so how come you called me a NCU shill? :eek: How many of us wear that title? :cool:
  5. bing

    bing New Member

    Congratulations on being accepted into your new adventure. I wish you the best of luck in your new endeavor. It sounds like a great match-up for you.

    I keep looking for other programs myself. However, I always go back to NCU because of cost, RA, convenience, and the fact that they offer a concentration in an area of interest.

    I have looked at a few other programs out there and it seems that the few I like just do not accept many people. I applied to one brick and mortar distance type doctorate that only accepted 18 people per year. I did not gain admission. They only accepted about 8% of the applicants. I think medical schools have a higher acceptance rate than that. You got into Valdosta while the getting seemed good(not to say you weren't a strong candidate either). It will probably get harder to obtain admission into Valdosta and they likely have numerous apps on hand now. Did you apply as soon as the program opened for business?

    I looked for business programs with an MIS/CS type bent to them. Not much out there that is RA and priced like NCU. Like you, I do feel that some residency is an experience worth having. That is missing at NCU. I really like the way the NCU courses are setup, though. I enjoy not having cohorts and not doing group work, as well as working at my own pace(contrast that with my MBA which had tons of group work). These are the things keeping me coming back for more courses. Eventually, I will be to the point where looking around for other programs is just a waste of time.

  6. Dave Wagner

    Dave Wagner Active Member

    You'll also want to look at historical graduate rate, if you can figure that out. If the historical graduation rate is higher than other schools accredited by the same regional accreditation body, then watch out; you'll find the school dreaming up ways to slow doctoral students down and exasperate them with additional, evolving requirements. At some point, the for-profit schools are going to have to pay the piper on that issue...

  7. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    The other issue is that you don't want to graduate from a school that is a degree factory (I'm not saying NCU is one) as this depreciates the value of your work. I would look for a school that graduates few PhDs per year as this keeps the value of the degree high.
  8. bing

    bing New Member

    The dissertation doesn't slow them down?

    Seems like I see so many ABD's out there, even at NCU. The task at hand, the dissertation, seems to be the tool that slows them down.

    I don't think NCU graduates all that many PhD's per year. I do not recall seeing many defenses listed on the school calendars, to tell the truth. While there are a lot of PhD learners, I do not think that this equates to anywhere near that many graduates.


  9. PhD2B

    PhD2B Dazed and Confused

    Good point and good idea Dave.

    If the NCU dissertation database is a good indicator of the number of doctorates awarded, then I calculated the average number of doctorates awarded between 1999 and 2006 is 16.6 per year.
  10. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    If I had known how hard a dissertation would be in the beginning, then I would never have embarked on a doctoral program. Now it's just a grudge match to finish it.
  11. PhD2B

    PhD2B Dazed and Confused

    If it was easy, then what would be the point? Be thankful that it is challenging. It only serves to raise the value of the degree.

    The average doctorates awarded per year (above) indicates that despite the fact that it may be easy to get into a doctoral program at NCU (NoCentral for you Dave ;)), it is not easy to get out with a doctorate in hand.
  12. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    There is that inspiration I was looking for :eek:

    After I finish the class I start on the first, I will take stats then on to the dissertation!
  13. edowave

    edowave Active Member

    I know what you mean.
  14. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    IMO the dissertation process is horrible -- absolutely horrible -- regardless of where you try to complete a dissertation -- because it is extremely difficult. While getting a Masters degree at a B&M school, the professors explained to us that once students get to the dissertation process, there is an attrition rate of 50 to 70% (depending on the school). Now that I'm at the dissertation process, I fully understand why!!!! I certainly don't want to turn anyone off who aspires to get a doctorate, but the reality of the matter is that it is extremely hard. For those of you who have not begun a doctoral program, I would encourage you to do some serious soul searching before beginning such a monumental program because you may be unpleasantly surprised once you complete all your coursework and are then expected to begin the dissertation process. The coursework that leads up to a dissertation is easy, but the buck stops at the dissertation. Period. It would be a tragedy to spend all that time, effort and money completing the coursework that leads up to a dissertation, only to be unable to finish the dissertation process. If you haven't begun the coursework that leads up to a dissertation, then I want you to think long and hard about that. There are no ifs, ands or buts. Not even a maybe. :(

    I speculate that NCU may have created the post-graduate specialization certificates as an "out" for those who cannot complete the dissertation process e.g. at least their coursework can be turned into a certificate because it has at least 18 credits in their specialty.
  15. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    Does anyone ever teach doctoral candidates how to write a dissertation?
  16. Scott Henley

    Scott Henley New Member

    Some doctoral programs (especially European) only do a dissertation; no courses required!
  17. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    Good point. I have spoken to several doctoral holders and professors from various B&M institutions and the most common answer that they give is that once students hit the dissertation process, they are told to "go out and do it" and the strings are cut and the students are on their own -- completely on their own -- without a clear-cut syllabus to follow, as they previously had while they were doing "coursework" -- and that's why so many students simply quit and walk away. The confusion and the stress is simply too much to bear. As a result, we will never have a glut of doctoral holders, unless this doctoral system changes. Less than one percent of the population are reportedly doctoral graduates -- and because of the way the dissertation process is structured, I don't see this figure significantly inflating -- ever. However, since most Bachelors and Masters programs are based primarily on coursework, those figures will probably continue to skyrocket. The buck stops at the dissertation. :eek:
  18. Shawn Ambrose

    Shawn Ambrose New Member

    Capella is taking the step of having "dissertation retreats" with writing coaches and support - where you spend a week writing and revising. To be eligible for the retreat, you must have your research completed.

  19. PhD2B

    PhD2B Dazed and Confused

    DSU requires doctoral students to take an intro to research course. Part of the course requirements consist of writing a literature review and a research proposal. They also require 9 credits of doctoral-level research methods courses as part of the curriculum. The courses are 1) design research methods, 2) qualitative research methods, and 3) quantitative research methods.

  20. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    NCU also has similar research courses to help students research, define and refine their dissertation:
    • Research courses:
      RSH8951 - Research Questions, Constructs and Design
      RSH8952 - Measurement of Constructs and Concept Paper
      RSH8953 - Design, Statistics, and Data Analysis
      RSH8954 - Research Ethics and Proposal
    Even with the above courses, it is still extremely difficult because it is uncharted territory that is unlike traditional "coursework" in MBA, MA and MS programs. If the above courses are successfully completed, then the student is officially titled "ABD" -- and then comes the actual dissertation courses:
    • Dissertation courses:
      DIS9007 - Doctoral Dissertation Proposal
      DIS9017 - Doctoral Dissertation Data
      DIS9027 - Doctoral Dissertation Final Review
    It's not easy.
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