List of Decent Unaccredited Schools

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by thomaskolter, Jan 22, 2009.

  1. thomaskolter

    thomaskolter New Member

    I was thinking it might be nice to sticky here a list of schools that are unaccredited that also have academic/professional merit OR might be acceptable for a degree for personal enrichment and not in any way just degree sellers. And do so by field if possible.

    You have lots of experts here including Dr. Bear and others you should be able to do one.

    So if you had an interest in an unaccredited degree and had a desire to earn one what schools come to mind for-

    Academic/Professional Use (might have merit and at least would not be instantly considered a degree mill)

    Personal Enrichment (assume a period of education as opposed to just buying a degree with lower costs compared to a similar degree earned at an accredited school)

    And later if we can sticky the list in its thread it might be an interesting resource and again I'm assuming no statement of their legality in the US I for one would always note such under "Other Education" and the fact its not from an accredited school to avoid any fraud concerns.
  2. tribilin80

    tribilin80 Member

    Yorktown University's Masters in Government would have fit the bill, but recently got accredited by DETC.
  3. tribilin80

    tribilin80 Member

    Yorktown University's program would have fit the bill, but recently got accredited by DETC.
    Masters in Government

    Piccolo International University - (formerly known as Institute of Construction Management & Technology -
    Master of Science degree in Construction Technology
    Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree in Construction Management

    California University of Technology (
    Dual MBA+DBA program
  4. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    I have two concerns with this idea. The first is this. The whole idea of accreditation is that it takes subjectivity out of the equation. The accreditor sets a standard and the school either meets the standard or they do not. If they do not then, by definition, it becomes a subjective matter. I see such a thread quickly degenerating into a long series of postings that look like this:

    A: "Is not!"
    B: "Is so!"

    Secondly, and I feel like I'm channeling Bill Dayson here, I've never bought that "personal enrichment" thing. If all you want is some enrichment then you can just go read a book. A degree is something that you show other people and you show it to them for a reason. The reason is not personal enrichment.

    There are plenty of threads in the archives about "reputable" unaccredited schools. Others can be started in the future if people have specific questions about specific schools. But I am against putting up a sticky that essentially says that the schools mentioned in this thread are seen as being acceptable despite their lack of accreditation. How would we even know for sure if their own standards slip? I would not want to establish some editorial position on which schools are unaccredited but acceptable.

    Be an informed consumer and make your own choices.
  5. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    I agree.......except in the rare case where you want to earn a degree but you can not find an accredited school that offered that exact subject. I know some people posted examples but can not think of any right now.
  6. Vinipink

    Vinipink Accounting Monster

    Even that I am a holder of two unaccredited degrees an MBA and a DBA from CPU, it makes no sense today to pursue such degrees anymore with the plethora of options currently available. I only wished that today was many years ago. With that said, ten years plus ago California Pacific University was one of the few decent options. Sadly, they are not moving with the times and they are a dinosaur, slowly but surely they will be assimilated by the DETC accredited schools. Too many options to go back to an unaccredited school.
  7. thomaskolter

    thomaskolter New Member

    There is one option ,ok maybe two, that can apply.

    1. The degree is of a religious nature and you seek one either for use of said degree or for personal reasons and money is an issue in either case.

    2. One can't do work at the level to earn an accredited degree. Many of you have college degrees you know the kind of rigor that is demanded both with the use of literacy skills and mathematics. Even for a bachelors degree. Which thanks to the current market is no longer elective to some employers. The only option to even have something to put down may be an unaccredited degree, note that and not put it under the schools attended but in "Other Education" as an unaccredited school so there is no attempt to commit fraud. In that case the school should demand work to some level and preferably a tutor or two to use as references directly.

    Sorry I'm not blessed with scholarly gifts some of you have ,myself, like many others many may have no legitimate options that is both inexpensive and programs we could pass with decent grades. I thought some list would for us prove helpful so we attend schools that may have some merit. Its a simple thing as far as I'm concerned schools that may have some value to the many of us nature did not bless with certain levels of aptitude for higher learning. I did not thrust out a bachelors as a standard the system did and people like me now are in a spot to worry.
  8. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    I do think that there are a small number of reasonably credible non-accredited schools. I can even think of one or two that are ivy-league calibre at what they do.

    My favorite non-accredited school at the moment only has 9 students, yet is in the top-ten in the worldwide citation rankings in one of its research fields, ahead of lesser schools like Berkeley and MIT. (One of its scientists was the most cited scientist on earth, two years running.) It has a picturesque research campus (with more buildings than students) overlooking the Pacific Ocean and has all kinds of joint projects going with the University of California. Most decidedly not DL, it's one of those places where doctoral students are quickly embedded in ongoing research projects and informally tutored one-on-one by principal investigators. It hauls in tens of millions in federal government grants every year, including a recent major grant for automated high-throughput screening of small molecules for their reactivity with biological macromolecules. The institution was recently given another $200 million by the State of Florida as incentive to build a second campus there (where its doctoral degrees are currently illegal). It's invented a drug to protect individuals exposed to inhalation anthrax, it's got two novel new cancer drugs in human trials (and a third in the pipeline), and it participated in a multi-institution team that's developed a new drug that reverses muscular-dystrophy muscle damage in animal test subjects.

    I'd call that a credible non-accredited school... but inevitably it's also talking to WASC and no doubt will be RA by the time its first degrees are finally awarded. My only question is whether somebody there wins a Nobel Prize before that happens. It might skip candidacy entirely and go straight from application to RA (that's been done).

    WASC probably already has shaky knees and tears streaming down its face at this place's absolute wonderfulness - the academic beatific vision.
  9. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    Such schools have a name: mills.
  10. skidadl

    skidadl Member

    Carland College is a great example. I currently attend the school based off of what the Carlands bring to the table. Drs Jim and JoAnn Carland are two of the foremost experts in the field of Entrepreneurship. They were long-time professors at Western Carolina up until a few years ago.

    So far I am thoroughly enjoying the Masters program at Carland College.

    Awesome, awesome people.
  11. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    Isn't that like the warden asking for a list of decent killers who are on death row for a special project to work in the prison library? :eek: ;)
  12. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    Your AS in Accounting is proof that you can successfully pursue academic goals. Your AS degree is infinitely better than any degree from a non-accreited school as far as most employers are concerned.
  13. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    It depends, I looked at the schools posted and they offered some good courses in real estate investment and construction management. If I were to work as an independent consultant in real estate investment or contractor, the source of the degree or certificate won't matter as it is your ability to get customers and knowledge that counts.

    However, I agree that an unaccredited DBA is a pure vanity degree.
  14. Vinipink

    Vinipink Accounting Monster

    I cannot speak about other unaccredited school, but in regard CPU, don't let the vanity part fool you, it was not easy.
  15. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I'm sure it was not easy, but why would you want a doctorate that you cannot use? I was following an unaccredited doctorate back in the 90s but I couldn't find a use for it other than calling myself doctor to impress my friends. Some people follow it for self improvement but I can think of better ways to use my time to improve myself.
    I later on went into training and teaching and the doctorate made sense as it would open more doors and give me better paying rates for teaching gigs.
  16. tribilin80

    tribilin80 Member

    "Such schools have a name: mills."

    I strongly disagree with some of the above comments.

    There are many schools out there that at one point were unaccredited working with only state licenses and had legit curriculums and operated as such for many years before seeking accreditation.

    some of these include:

    Columbia Southern University (now regarded highly in the DETC community)

    California Coast University (same as above)

    American Military University (I remember when I first heard about AMU, offering certificates and AA/AS degrees directly related to military ocuppations, the only reason I did not apply then was because it was not accredited. Now AMU holds RA and DETC and is highly regarded in the online community)

    Yorktown University (had and still has an excellent curriculum and only recently secured DETC accreditation)

    The Taft University System (

    University of Management and Technology

    Some unaccredited currently seeking accreditation:

    ICMT/PIU (posted earlier) (same as AMU; has a great curriculum and had a Military construction specific program and now seeking accreditation)

    California Southern Universtiy (I'm sure some in this forum are waiting for accreditation results on this)

    California University of Technology (same as above)
  17. Vinipink

    Vinipink Accounting Monster

    I am not going to enter into a debate in this issue nor I am going to defend my position for choosing that route at that time, simply put I really don't care what others think about it period. About the utility,it is in the eye's of the beholder. Currently, I am pursuing another doctorate that will not add or subtract to my current standing and the only thing I know is that it will be done.:cool:
  18. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    My tendency is to simply assume, presumptively and a-priori, that all non-accredited schools are degree-mills, until I become convinced that they aren't. It's not my responsibiity to do the convincing either. I don't need any evidence to make my mill-assumptions. I can justify that skepticism by the probabilities: the great majority of non-accredited schools (probably approaching 99% of online-only doctorate-granting schools) are mills. So the odds of being correct are satisfactorily high if I just assume without any additional evidence that any unaccredited DL mystery school that I encounter is probably a mill, and that's that.

    Unlike some people on this board, I am open to the possibiity that a non-accredited school isn't a mill and have in fact posted pretty extensively in the past about some of the ones that I liked and why I liked them. Most of them have long since become accredited - (Claremont's Keck Graduate School of Applied Life Sciences and the Soka University of America skipped RA candidacy entirely. University of the West and the City of Hope National Cancer Center's graduate school are safely RA, Sloan Kettering's new doctoral program was just accredited by the NY Regents. NTPS received unusual accreditation from ABET. The very cool Expression College of Digital Arts in Emeryville is ACCSCT and LA's U. of Philosophical Research was accredited by DETC.) So... I guess that the features that make me like currently-unaccredited schools are features that indicate that they are probably on a path towards eventual accreditation - things like history, funding, facilities, backing, staffing, productivity, collaboration and professional recognition.

    The point is that all of these examples had easily verifiable features that made them seem credible to me. A strong (in some cases very strong) case could be made for all of them. My favorite unaccredited-at-the-moment, but certain-to-become-accredited school, the academic beatific vision that I mentioned up above, is here.

    So that's what this thread needs. Just listing names of schools is pretty near worthless. What we need to see is a persuasive case made for why particular unaccredited schools arecredible and aren't mills.

    And that leads us to Kizmet's subjectivity point. The features that appeal to one person (such as a particular person teaching someplace) might leave another person totally unmoved. So it makes sense to inquire into the utility of studying at these places. Do their degrees get any professional recognition, perhaps in a highly specialized occupational niche? Are the degrees license-qualifying in some odd jurisdiction like California? Are the schools best seen as non-degree skills-education or continuing-education providers, as sources of a-vocational personal-interest instruction, or what?

    Theologians call that the "Holy Spirit". :D

    I buy it, big-time. It's almost my entire reason for being interested in DL.

    If somebody boasts a degree, then that degree has to be credible. If it isn't, then letting other people conclude that it's something that it's not is both misleading and unethical.

    Degrees are overemphasized here on Degreeinfo. (Of course, it is Degreeinfo, so maybe it's me.) But the thing is, it's entirely possible to be interested in distance learning and in university-level coursework, without having a degree-objective. There's no reason why people interested in studying for personal interest have to be solitaries, sitting alone in remote corners of libraries.

    That's why on a couple of recent threads I tried to interest the thread starters in things that weren't conventional degree programs but did provide valuable instruction, sophisticated content and contacts with like-minded people. It's significant that once we start going there, considering non-degree non-credit distance-learning offerings, our accreditation issues become a lot less pressing.

    But I'm not going to entirely dismiss doing degree programs for personal interest. I did the CSUDH humanities MA program for personal interest after all, so I can't. I don't really have much doctoral lust at this late point, but a future PhD remains a remote possibility. A second masters is a possibility too. (Especially since I now have the opportunity to study for free at any California State University campus. That's too good a deal to overlook.)

    I could conceivably even enroll in a non-accredited degree program, IF (big if) it offered me features that I thought were especially attractive. I'd have to believe that the school and program were academically credible, or else there wouldn't be much point in doing it. If I thought that they were credible, then I'd be reasonably confident that I could defend any degree I earned if it was questioned. I wouldn't worry a whole lot about what other people thought (or even about some states' draconian degree-use laws) since I wouldn't have much occasion to tell people that I'd earned a personal-interest degree. Boasting about degrees is uncool, whatever their accreditation.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 23, 2009
  19. skidadl

    skidadl Member

    The unaccredited school that I attend is the most enriching thing that I have done for my education. The Carlands are amazing educators and they fit my personality to a T. They are also well respected in their field and throughout the academic world.

    What I am learning there is exciting and applicable to my professional life. As far as I know, it's the same curriculum as what they developed and taught at Western Carolina University for many years.
  20. Gin Ichimaru

    Gin Ichimaru New Member

    Some might say that a "Decent" unaccredited school is an oxymoron. I would disagree but its pretty difficult to say what is acceptable and what is not.

    While unaccredited schools are not always Diploma Mills, they can be perceived as being such since there is no real authority to judge the legitimacy of any such degree.

    This is not to say you cannot learn a great deal from such schools. In fact many graduates of uncredited programs report that they were challenged beyond their expectations. However the real answer is whether the degree you ear will actually show others how much you do know, or whether it will be, at best a nice wall decoration for your home or office.

    My real answer is to investigate and not necessarily take the word of the school you are considering. Sure, a college or university will promise you the world but how will others perceived your degree?

    Some businesses will not consider any unaccredited institution as being valid for their requirements. Some states and countries even go so far as to try to make it unlawfull to use an unaccredited school on a resume or application (though enforcement is not always possible).

    So my advice to anyone is check with you employer, professional organizations or other authorities before investing lots of time, money and time pursuing a degree.

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