Northcentral University PhD Business

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by vical, Oct 16, 2003.

  1. vical

    vical New Member

    Re: Hey Vical,

    I was told three. There may be possibilities to cut the requirements down but I am not counting on it. I look at it as an adventure, vacation, and education all rolled up in one.

    John Craparo, The US agent for UNISA has been great. Didn't charge me a penny to handle my application. Answered my many questions. His e-mail address is [email protected]
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 22, 2003
  2. vical

    vical New Member

    Re: Thanks Vical,

    What a great plan! I am planning to visit RSA businesses the first time I go. I want to perform research for my topic. If all goes well I would like to take my wife the second time. My daughter spent time in Europe taking classes while in college. Now my son want to go to Japan to study for a year. Guess its in the blood!

    Thanks JLV. I plan on keeping everyone updated on my adventures with Unisa. This forum has been a big help for me.
    People tell me Unisa's School of Business Leadership is demanding. Good! I enjoy challenges and really look forward to this challenge. NCU will be my backup plan.
  3. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Well designed? Most of the coursework is at the undergraduate level. A real joke for a Management Science PhD I would say.

    A basic course in Statistics as part of the PhD in engineering managemenr?

    MGT5028 - Applied Statistics
    Course Concepts:

    Learners should understand the major concepts of . .
    4.1 Descriptive statistics.
    4.2 Probability.
    4.3 Random variables.
    4.4 The Normal Distribution.
    4.5 Sampling and sampling distributions.
    4.6 Confidence intervals.
    4.7 Hypothesis testing.
    4.8 Analysis of variance.
    4.9 Simple linear regression.
    4.10 Time series.
    4.11 Forecasting.
    4.12 Sampling methods.

    Most of the curriculum is the same as the B.Sc in Operations Management at the University that I teach. I can hardly say that this is a graduate program, unless the outline is not updated and I'm reading an old one.
  4. JLV

    JLV Active Member

    I just think that you simply ignore contemporary engineers’ necessities. That PhD program presents a good survey of today’s tools to help engineers overcome major challenges in the design and operation of very complex systems, and in addition, a number of courses to initiate learners in individual research, the real objective of a PhD study.

    After reading what you and others had to say about it, I respectfully still believe the design of that specific program (course selection) is excellent, and not inferior at all from other curricula in this field I have been inspecting through the years.

    There are many Statistics graduate courses in the US with a similar, if not identical scope to that one you mention. That syllabus could fit in a lower level course as you say but it could also be seen at the graduate level. Furthermore it is impossible to discern the depth of that module just by looking at that syllabus. Is that the reason why you discredit the whole program? If that course would be calculus based (differential equations, etc,…) many with a background in Operations Management would certainly fail it.
  5. manjuap

    manjuap New Member

    RA guidelines need to be extended to the quality of course content. If that was the case NCU would have never acheived RA status.
  6. Andy Borchers

    Andy Borchers New Member

    As one who has taught MBA level research/statistics and has taken doctoral level research/stats courses, I have to agree with RFVALUE here.

    While JLV is correct in suggesting that you can't fully discern the depth of the module from the brief excerpt shown here - there is a major missing element here. Whereas as an undergrad or first MBA course in statistics may be limited to univariate stats, doctoral level coursework needs to include multivariate topics (MANOVA, Factor analysis, structural equation modeling, etc.). The topics shown here are pretty basic.

    Whether a student uses multivariate techniques in his/her dissertation or not, one can't read current academic literature without knowing something about such techniques.

    Regards - Andy

  7. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    At the PhD level? Can you point me a PhD in Management Science or Engineering Management from a reputable university that grants you 3 credits for an undegraduate course in statistics?

    Management Science and Engineering management is a program that normally requires a good background in statistics to begin with. Most of the programs require courses not in differential equations as suggested but in Non lineal programming, stochastic processes, queuing systems and networks, integer programming, mutivariate statistics and multi regressional analysis.

    Besides a very basic course in operations management and other very basic ones in operations research, the program could not prepare any student to write research papers for engineering management journals and not even understand them.

    You will find very hard to convince any academic that this is a good program in engineering management.
  8. JLV

    JLV Active Member


    Of course, I read your comments always with interest, and I definitely consider you an authority. I think the reason of our divergence lies probably in our different background. While you come from management, I approach it from engineering. Nevertheless I think any opinion is legitimate as long as it can be justified, and it is presented in a courteous manner. Hopefully I can do that next.

    I work in the R&D department of a large British corporation. In my opinion, there are many ways of handling uncertainty, being statistics just one of them. Moreover, statistics are often grossly oversimplified models, and are not acceptable to represent many behaviors. The current trend to deal with uncertainty is artificial intelligence based techniques. In my case we are working with CBR (case base reasoning), a relatively novel procedure we believe it has a lot of potential. Please, take a look at the leading research center here in Europe.

    University of Kaiserslautern

    Let’s keep in mind that the Statistics course this gentleman/lady seemed to be bothered about is not a mandatory one, and if a student is familiar with the subject may just skip it and move on. But I know of many engineers who would need it. Besides the program provides more research design modules he/she omits. Yeah, this specific one is missing multivariate component. But so what? Engineers are generally resourceful individuals who need to know many things, generalists, if you will, with a solid mathematical background who can perfectly understand, say multiple regression, having only studied single regression, for instance, just by doing some little additional reading. In addition it is impossible to study in depth absolutely all tools an engineer manager needs. Often it is only necessary to know the fundamentals, and deepen its study as circumstances advice so. Please, let me insist on this. The objective of the program is to produce researchers who can investigate independently to yield original results. Furthermore, many universities around the world do not even have a taught part in their doctoral studies, being the final dissertation the only element to evaluate one’s performance.

    The current paradigm in engineering management is concurrent engineering, at least here in Europe. But I am a member of SME, the (American) society of manufacturing engineers, whose body of knowledge for engineering managers is clearly influenced by this tendency as well. I argue that this trend is closely reflected in the PhD program at NCU, which is precisely what makes me think it has been well designed to the dismay of others who simply don’t have a clear idea of an engineer manager's attribution.

  9. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    The statistics course is just one example, most of the program is at the undegraduate level. I can give you an analysis and comparison of each course but there is no point to argue.

    By the way, Andy and myself are engineers teaching at business schools. I teach management science and information systems and most of the courses in question are part of an undergraduate program in industrial engineering or operations management
    at my university.

    I'm not arguing that the PhD wouldn't be beneficial to engineers since it seems to cover the basic areas. But again, this a "PhD" degree and it is not supposed to be basic. If a PhD doesn't cover advanced courses in engineering management then what is the point?.

    Please compare the NCU Phd with a "real" one from Northwestern University (Just to mention one) and see if they can be considered at the same level.

    Remember that a PhD from an accredited University should prepare a student to teach at the PhD level at another accredited one. Do you think that a graduate from NCU would be able to teach the PhD at Northwestern?
  10. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Are we reading the same course curriculum?

    " Graduate Level Statistics Course
    MGT5028 - Applied Statistics -Required "

    The course is a requirement for the PhD, 3 credits are given for it and is labeled as a "graduate" course. More to say?
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2003
  11. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I agree that the course work is not necessary to conduct research, but you have to bear in mind that you are getting credit for undergraduate work. I haven't read any dissertation generated by NCU students, but if the course level is at the undegraduate level, I would imagine that the standards for accepting dissertations would't be that different.

    It doesn't mean that a student at NCU wouldn't be able to generate a good dissertation, but if the standards are low, you should expect also low standard dissertation for some cases.
  12. Ike

    Ike New Member

    Undergraduate courses for graduate students

    There is nothing wrong with offering undergraduate courses to graduate students if these courses are treated as bridge courses. Usually, credits are not earned on bridge courses. Bridge courses are intended only for a student coming from a discipline other than the student's current field of study. Even if credit hours are assigned to bridge courses, as a rule, they shouldn't count as graduate credits. For example, the Graduate School of Computer and Information Science at Nova requires master's students whose bachelor's were not in computer science or engineering to register and pass the following courses with B or better before they could register for any 600 level courses (or master's courses):

    MCIS 500 Assembly Language and Architecture
    MCIS 501 Java Programming Language
    MCIS 502 Mathematics in Computing
    MCIS 503 Data Structures and Algorithms

    Credits (12 credits) earned from these courses do not count towards the 36 credits requirement for a master's degree.

    Ike Okonkwo, PhD.
  13. cehi

    cehi New Member

    Ike: "There is nothing wrong with offering undergraduate courses to graduate students if these courses are treated as bridge courses. Usually, credits are not earned on bridge courses. Bridge courses are intended only for a student coming from a discipline other than the student's current field of study. Even if credit hours are assigned to bridge courses, as a rule, they shouldn't count as graduate credits."

    Cehi: You are absolutely correct, and I agree.
  14. Andy Borchers

    Andy Borchers New Member

    Re: Undergraduate courses for graduate students

    Ike - you are exactly right. Students may need "leveling" work before taking doctoral level courses. That's fine as long as the credits are not counted towards the degree.

    Regards - Andy

  15. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    First, let me say that statistics is my weakest link. :eek:

    I did a lot of snipping, but found this to be an interesting observation:
    I haven't enrolled in NCU's graduate-level statistics class yet, but I did take statistics in graduate school at the University of South Florida and here is the syllabus that we followed:
    • Introduction to research & evaluation & SARA mean/median/mode/NIOR/reliability/validity/primary & secondary data.
    • Percents & proportions, qualitative research/historical research.
    • Chi square/hypothesis/1 & 2 tail tests/descriptive research/sampling.
    • SD/normal curve/experimental designs.
    • T-test & excel.
    • Correlation (r) & excel.
    And we were supposed to cover ANOVA, but we never made it that far. The above is the curriculum for the University of South Florida. Is it acceptable for graduate school? How does it compare to NCU's listed curriculum?

    Just curious. :confused:
  16. Andy Borchers

    Andy Borchers New Member

    I guess it depends on what level (e.g. masters or doctoral) you are talking. Also, what is the discipline?

    One thing this list has is a number of research topics - not just statistics. I've taught statistics couses and I've taught research/statistics courses - and there is a difference in focus.

    Regards - Andy

  17. JLV

    JLV Active Member

    Of course, I agree with you, Me Again. It is shocking to see this much elitism. There are probably hundreds of American universities that offer a similar Statistics course at the graduate level.


    I have looked at that program at Northwestern University, and it seems to be a nice industrial engineering program with a concentration in simulation, not in engineering management. Nevertheless, and I hope you agree with me, many people without having been conferred a PhD have already studied those topics and at that level. Don’t you think? Besides, the program you mentioned is in engineering, and the program at NCU is business administration and they cannot be possibly compared.

    While the NWU program focuses on numerical methods, NCU prepares students for something else. Management is much more than numerical methods (you seem to have a fixation on them); any computer can do that. It is about other ways to handle today’s complexity that you constantly forget in your messages, and I think that ‘s exactly what NCU’s PhD program in B.A. (Engineering Management) addresses. Those numerical methods are pretty useless for engineers such a s myself who have been working with them for years.

    I don’t think you are trying to analyze the curriculum of this school in a fair, objective manner. You are discrediting it per se, using just ad hominen arguments. Thank God people gave a chance to Nova and others. Look at what those institutions have turned into.

    One more thing. That statistics course you mentioned is not required as stated in their web page. A student can skip it if he/she wants. Perhaps you should re-read the entire curriculum and we should start this conversation all over once you have gathered all pertinent information.

  18. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    Graduate Skool

    It was for an MA in criminology.
  19. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Are we looking at the same program? The page I'm refering to is:

    And it is very clear that this is a required graduate course.

    My only concern is that academics already hold in low regard the online schools as it is. The online business is getting so competitive that schools are lowering standards to attract students. Therefore, business schools are now required to hold a higher accreditation due to the proliferation of quick accredited business degrees (AACSB).

    We can argue as much as you want, the program is obviously weak and it is meant to be weak since NCU is targeting the segment of the population that is looking for a more manageable PhD degree as the traditional PhD degrees normally require an effort of 5 years full time.
  20. JLV

    JLV Active Member


    Yes, you are right. It says it is required next to that course’s call. However, it you keep on looking down, you’ll see they list the same course again and this time as optional. Well, I guess it is just a mistake by the web page editors irrelevant to the issue we are discussing here.

    If you retrocede to the beginning of our conversation, you’ll see that I just said the curriculum was well designed. You didn’t agree, and that’s why we have been arguing the entire afternoon (morning for you). Please, notice as well my disclaimer “in my humble opinion”. Having exclusively referred to the course selection, I think I have provided plenty of evidence demonstrating why I was (and still am) of that opinion without discussing other peculiarities such as perception of the degree/school by the academia, comparison with elite schools, etc,…

    Being a new school, and needing students it is possible that NCU has to compromise quality for the sake of quantity. I’ll concede as well that possibly it is a generalized trend for online schools. But differences among universities have always existed in the States. Thus, wouldn’t you agree that the PhD in Industrial Engineering you pointed this afternoon is stronger (academically speaking and disregarding its contents) than a PhD from, say Nova or Touro, or any other online/distance school? However, not everybody has the chance to attend NWU for a number of reasons, and has to stick to the distance education offer, which would satisfy most people’s necessities. In your case, a PhD from these schools would be pretty useless since you aspire to work in the academia (I assume you want to change universities or accept higher responsibility jobs at your current University). Definitely, this is not the route for you. But for other people such as myself, who have no teaching ambitions whatsoever, just personal, professional and intellectual improvement need, this can be an excellent alternative, especially if we are aware, as Andy said, that after all success or failure is up to oneself and it is in no way related to the University we graduated from, be it prestigious and famous or not. Or is it that only Harvard or Yale graduates succeed in life? Only they can pursue research degrees? One would think that in research degrees are that mostly individual, differences dissipate.

    In any case it’s been very enlightening chatting with you. I thank you for your time, and your observations. I honestly wish you the best on your educational and professional objectives. And, of course, a great weekend!! :)

Share This Page