Masters Degree from Capella University vs Western Governors university

Discussion in 'IT and Computer-Related Degrees' started by sid101, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. sid101

    sid101 New Member

    Hi all,

    I am thinking of starting my Masters in Information Technology soon. I am considering choosing between the below three:

    1. MS in Information Technology- Network Architecture specialization- Capella
    2. MS in Information Technology- Information Assurance and Security - Capella
    3. MS in Information security and Assurance- WGU

    Does anyone on the forum has any experience with the above programs and what are their pros and cons? If i choose capella, which one of the two concentrations will be better from a career perspective?

    I would appreciate any advice or suggestion.


    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    Well, both of them are Distance Learning Schools. GWU are supported by the least the majority of the western states. I assume both of them have equal reputation levels. Therefore, I would choose Western Governors University.

    1. Low Tuition
    2. Getting Information Assurance Certification on the way.

    " Cisco Certified Entry Network Technician (CCENT)
    EC-Council Ethical Hacking and Countermeasures (EC0-350)
    EC-Council Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (EC0-349)
    GIAC G2700 (Standards and Policies)
  3. Cyber

    Cyber New Member

    WGU require passing of some certifications as part of their program, otherwise, you can't move to other classes until you pass the given classes (the certs serves as course exams). Incorporating certain industry certifications into WGU's program means that it will be more technical or hands-on than Capella. If you want a program that is more technical; one that does not include courses such as communications, managing People, business foundations, etc., then go with WGU.

    Besides that fact that WGU is cheaper as long as you finish on time (failing cert exams will extend program duration and cost), you'll get more IA depth with WGU's program, compared to Capella's, which places the program within a wider information technology/information systems context. Capella's program will give you the flexibility to work with many IT settings, whereas, WGU's is specific to the Info Sec/IA field, if you closely analyze the course make-up.

    Bottom line, if cost is an issue, WGU is the place to go, but you'll be required to pass some certs (which are shown on the program page) on time. If you want a program that comprehensively treats InfoSec/Info Assurance, again, WGU works. However, if cost is not an issue, and you want a flexible and a more general program that addresses other IT/IS domains such as enterprise application architecture, system development, business, etc, - areas where you'll gain the knowledge to function in other IT/IS settings within organizations, then Capella provides that. In essence, go with the degree that best serve what your intentions are.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 12, 2011
  4. imalcolm

    imalcolm New Member

    I vote for WGU. Of course, I'm biased because I am a current student in their MSISA program!

    One thing that helped sell me on this program was that I got 4 graduate credits for having my CCNA. If you don't already have it, you'll pick it up along the way. My last course was Ethical Hacking, which I passed by completing the Certified Ethical Hacker exam (on the first try).
  5. Cyber

    Cyber New Member

    Are the courses you've taken writing intensive?
  6. imalcolm

    imalcolm New Member

    WGU basically has two types of courses, those where the coursework prepares you for an "Objective Assessment" or for a "Performance Assessment".

    Objective Assessment = Certification exam: you pass the exam, you pass the course. No writing papers.
    Performance Assessment = You write one or more papers. From what I hear, except for the capstone, none are incredibly long.

    Out of my degree plan, there are 15 courses, and 6 of them require Objective Assessments with the remaining 9 requiring Performance Assessments. My current course is "Cyberlaw, Regulations, and Compliance" which involves reading a couple ebooks and submitting four relatively short writing assignments.
  7. sid101

    sid101 New Member

    Thanks guys for all your suggestions. I talked to a WGU enrollment advisor today. I am kinda inclined to go for WGU. The two things i like about them is the cost and the certifications. I am still waiting to talk to capella.

    One more thing i wanted to ask is, which of the two programs is better for a student with minimal IT experience, but with a bachelors in IT? How do the career services at capella and WGU compare?

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

  9. emmzee

    emmzee New Member

    You're probably aware of this already but since it hasn't been mentioned:

    If you don't learn well on your own (ie, if you'd prefer to have lessons, someone teaching you, marked assignments, a lot of structure basically) then you should be wary of WGU. From what I understand (and others can clarify if necessary, I am not and have never been a student there) you are basically on your own to learn the material and take the required measurements/tests. That's great if you want to learn at your own pace, are able to keep yourself on task, and can keep focused, but if not ...
  10. imalcolm

    imalcolm New Member

    emmzee... Your take is not too far off: it does require a substantial level of self motivation.

    But, WGU does have a mentor system. You are assigned a mentor who you speak to via phone every week (required). Your mentor keeps track of your progress and can help with general questions. There are also course mentors who assist students with specific courses.

    I haven't needed a whole lot of hand-holding, but some students do, and WGU mentors will help those who need it.
  11. instant000

    instant000 Member

    See, and this is what I never heard, or realized until I was about finished with the program. I was going through, writing my papers to completely address the assigned rubrics (which, in most cases meant if they said 15 pages, I would do about 30, including reference pages and cover sheet).

    I never realized just what other people were submitting until one day I was searching online for a specific term in an assignment, and I somehow happened upon a WGU student who had posted some of his assignments online -- and they seemed quite a bit less than impressive -- and these had passed muster. I was a bit upset because I was trying to be very thorough in my assignments ever since I got rejected for a submission in an early class for not "going by the rubric". My immediate thought was that this work was probably devaluing my degree, because work that isn't that thorough was getting through.

    But then again, maybe it's just me. The program was designed to prepare someone to be ready to pass the CISSP, and I already had that when I started, so maybe I was looking at things from the wrong perspective. Also, maybe I was just a lot more critical of someone else's work than my own, meaning that someone else sees my work and they laugh at what a big joke I am.

    I can also mention that unlike Capella's program, there was no waiving of technical courses because you had the CISSP already (hint: the CISSP is not considered technical by anyone who has it). I have a coworker doing Capella, and he's doing their Infosec course, and he's only taking business classes because his CISSP waived all his "infosec" classes.

    Oh well, need to get off the soapbox. :D
  12. ahardinjr

    ahardinjr New Member

    Another option is the WGU MS IT Network Management degree. I'm currently enrolled in that program and it is vastly less technical than the WGU MSISA program; however, that is not to say it is not technical at all. If you are interested in a management track degree, you might want to look into this program. There are no certifications within the curriculum but you are expected to have CCNA-level knowledge or background in IT network management. Topics in the program include risk management, advance network technologies, emerging network technologies, disaster recovery, network security, business continuity, cyber law, general IT management, IT globalization, etc.

    If you don't mind writing proposal and research papers, then this would be a good fit for you. Plus it can easily be completed within 1 year. I started the program in Feb 2013 and am about 50% complete. I expect to be done no later than Dec 2013.
  13. WebGeek

    WebGeek New Member

    From my own personal experience, I had a few issues with WGU.

    1. The course shell was awful to navigate.
    2. Course delivery was poorly designed and made it difficult to learn. You were basically handed the materials and told go learn it, take a test and if you get 65% or better, you pass.
    3. The fact that it is a pass/fail school--in other words there are no grades and therefore no GPA. This presents problems if you want to transfer to another school at any time and employers DO CARE about your grades. It sure doesn't look good to say, well I passed but I have no GPA because I did not get a grade.
    4. Very limited networking abilities.
    5. Lack of career placement services.
    6. Craptastic mentor.

    My cousin and I both lost our jobs in the economic crash in 2008. We both had associate degrees from the same community college, his was in electronic engineering and mine was in business management.

    He started at WGU in March 2009 as a full-time student (not working) to get his bachelor's degree in network administration and design. I started at WGU in September 2009 for the same thing. I did not have a good experience and decided to transfer to another school. I chose DeVry and changed my major to Computer Information Systems and started in March 2010 going full time and not working.

    Fast forward to today's date. I completed my bachelor's degree graduating summa cum laude (3.92 GPA) last August and I continued on part time basis working on my Master's and would have been done by August if I had gone full time. My cousin? Well he is still full time/not working and plugging away on that bachelor's degree at WGU.

    All I can say that for some folks it's pretty tough teaching yourself and not knowing if you are understanding it correctly or not until pass or fail a test and have to start over if you don't pass. The certificates are great and actually carry more value than the degree itself (which isn't worth the paper it's printed on without a GPA to most employers), but if it takes you this long to teach yourself the materials and having to retake the cert tests over and over until you pass... are you really learning what you need to know? And when those prospective employers see how long it took, they may not feel you are up to the task of learning a new job quickly.

    Then when he does finish his degree, who is going to help him prepare to enter the job market? Where are his local network contacts? What about career placement services?

    I have free lifetime career placement services from my school and let me tell you, they work hard for the students. We have a job board that is up to date with postings from employers that work with our school for full time, part time, temporary, coop and intern positions. Our career advisors work hand in hand with us to help us prepare our resumes, portfolios, how to network and practice interviews. The school hosts job fairs every quarter for the students. I have a large network of local people in my field thanks to school job fairs, seminars, student organization events, other campus events and folks I have met in my classes on campus. By the way, I only took about half my courses on campus for my undergrad degree and only 3 of my grad classes will be on campus. Everything else was online.

    I always remember that saying "You get what you pay for" so yes, my education cost me a lot compared to my cousin, in the end I am the one with the advantages as I will have better opportunities and lifetime support from my school where he will not.

    The point is, you need to know what you are getting yourself into and know what type of environment you learn best in. I did not consider traditional schools an option because I wanted the option to work full time while going to school full time if the opportunity presented itself. I could not do that at a traditional school. I also wanted to be able to have that campus/classroom experience as much as possible yet have the freedom to take any class I wanted online. Another thing that the traditional schools near me could not offer. I felt that WGU put all of the burden on the student without offering the right kind of support to help them succeed not just as a student, but beyond.
  14. typfromdaco

    typfromdaco New Member

    It's not necessarily true that you do not have a GPA with WGU; You must complete each course with a minimum of a B, which is a 3.0. That is why it is transferable to to many Regionally accredited graduate programs.

Share This Page