Northcentral University PhD (Should I do a Master's first)?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by JurassicVagabond, Jul 4, 2006.

  1. JurassicVagabond

    JurassicVagabond New Member

    Hey Everybody,

    I'm finishing up on a BGS degree at Fort Hays State University next Spring. It looks as though, with how many hours I will be taking, I'll be well over the 124 hour limit (which I know really has nothing to do with graduate school, etc). I'm looking at going on to a graduate program as early as next Fall (or possibly Summer) and ultimately want to hold a faculty position at a university. My ultimate goal is a PhD but I have many questions about the route that needs to be taken in order to satisfy my goals.

    One, should I earn a Master's degree or go straight to NCU and begin working on a Doctorate? How long is a Doctorate supposed to take, or does it vary depending on the student? The NCU website says that 30 hours of credit can be transferred into a PhD program at their university... I'm assuming that it must be in the discipline in which you will earn the PhD. But, is it possible to earn a Master's degree in an opposite subject, say Humanities... and then transfer in all those hours to a PhD in Business or Psychology?

    One fear that I have of starting a PhD program is that I could become stressed with the length and difficulty of the program only to leave without finishing (at which case I wouldn't even have a Master's degree). Or, should I simply begin and finish a Master's degree at NCU to ensure that a) I have a Master's and b) everything will obviously smoothly transfer into the other program?

    I'm hearing all kinds of philosophies on the length of the PhD as well. I'm hearing and average of two - three years to complete all the way up to eleven or twelve years. What can I expect?
  2. dl_mba

    dl_mba Member

    I think you can start off with the PHD/DBA at NCU and get a MBA along the way and then decide to continue on to get the PHD/DBA at that stage. Now you can enroll and atleast fix the tuition rates with contineous enrolment.
  3. eric.brown

    eric.brown New Member

    In order to transfer in 30 hours to the NCU PhD program, thsoe hours would need to be in a field related to the specialization you wish to choose (or at least in a business related field). You may be able to transfer in a few non-business related hours, but I would think you wouldn’t be able to do all 30.

    As mentioned, you could enroll in the NCU MBA (or any other MBA program) and after completing that degree, transfer 30 hours into the NCU PhD program and then only have 51 hours to complete (27 hours coursework, 24 hours dissertation)

    As far as length of time to is usually dependant on the person and subject matter. NCU's program can be completed in around 3 years if you are enrolled continuously and are focused on the program and dissertation. I am on schedule to finish the non-dissertation coursework (27 hours) by next September…not sure how long it will take the dissertation process after that.
  4. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    There seem to be a few issues going on here.

    Faculty Position at a University? Since NCU is a relatively new university, there is basically little or nothing insofar as a track record of what percentage of doctoral graduates land faculty positions.

    Master's First or Direct Admission to the Doctorate? Insofar as your concern as to dropping out if you go for direct admission to the doctorate, you could likely get a master's degree on your way out (if you completed 36 hours and had acceptable grades). Most universities offering direct admission to the doctorate do, but I'd ask, just to be sure.

    Length of Doctorate? I, too, have heard everything from two years to eleven years. As a matter of fact, that is what Union Institute told me a few years back when I inquired about their programs. (Alas, I never finished the master's program I was in at the time, so I never even started Union's PhD program.) NB: Union now says that their minimum time in program is three years. In the context of traditional residential bricks & mortar universities, the parameters are as follows. If you are speaking in terms of number of years post-master's, the 30 sem hrs/45 qtr hrs might take you three years, especially if you are at a smaller school and absolutely have to wait for one course you must have to show up on a three-year cycle, though you could manage to compress your coursework phase into two years. For the dissertation, which is also 30 sem hrs/45 qtr hrs, they usually advise 7 or 8 hrs a term, thus taking you two years, though they allow up to 10 hrs a term, which means you can finish the dissertation in one year, if you include a summer or two. Another couple of possible variations are that if you fail your comprehensive exams (even if only one of the three or five sections), you wait a year to re-take the comps before starting your dissertation and if your dissertation either passes with revisions or fails with the right to re-defend, that, too, could cost you another year. So, that's 3 or 5 or 7 years post-master's. As you say that you have not done a master's yet, then you would have to include that, too. If you are doing your master's full-time in a non-thesis program at a small school, you could finish in a year. If you were doing a thesis program at a large university with obligations of a teaching assistantship, you would expect to spend two years on coursework and a year on your thesis. If you were expecting to work full-time and take one course a semester, you would expect to finish in five years. Hence, perhaps 1 or 3 or 5 years on the master's. That said, distance learning programs can shorten the program by allowing the student to go at his own pace. Also, most traditional residential bricks and mortar schools do not offer graduate courses in the summer term. So, these two things can shorten your time in program a bit.

    Change of Field from Master's to Doctorate? As for the change of field from master's to doctorate, the transferring in of up to 30 hours into NCU's PhD would likely have to be in the same discipline or else one would still have to do the 81 hour PhD.
  5. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    The attrition rate for doctoral drop-outs is pretty high and, with that in mind, I would highly recommend obtaining a Masters degree along your academic journey.
  6. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    Like everone else has said. Get the masters then the PhD. If you don't finish the PhD at least you have the masters degree.
  7. JurassicVagabond

    JurassicVagabond New Member

    Thank you all for your responses and advice. The first thing I want to do, in the meantime, is pass the Praxis exams so that I can teach with a non-renewable certificate in Georgia. I'm hopeful this would also provide me with a little more insight as to whether or not I wanted to teach -- although I think teaching at the high school level might be somewhat different than the college level.
  8. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    There is also a school of thought that you should get your Master's degree from a different school than your Ph.D., to add "academic diversity" to your resume, especially if you're looking to teach.

    I personally think that wouldn't matter if all your degrees were from a top school, but it might matter in the case of all-online schools. For example, if you're considering a DBA from NCU, it would probably look really good if you had your DL MBA from a school with a strong B&M presence, like the University of Florida, Arizona State, etc.
  9. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    Excellent point - UF is a really great school :D but the MBA is like $25K.
  10. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    If your ultimate goal is teaching, I wouldn't bother with a PhD from NCU. NCU might work for people with vast post bachelors work experience but I can see that you just graduated.

    If you are serious about a faculty career, you should try a school with a more solid reputation and more tested in the academic market.

    I honestly don't think that a PhD from NCU without a solid master's degree would do much more you other than call yourself a doctor.
  11. PhD2B

    PhD2B Dazed and Confused

    1) If your goal is teach as an adjunct faculty member, NCU is a good choice; however, if your goal is to teach as a FT faculty member, then do as RFValve suggests and "try a school with a more solid reputation and more tested in the academic market."

    There is nothing wrong with NCU and it would be a good choice if you were already a FT faculty member and needed a doctorate for tenure or a pay increase, but it is not your best choice for landing a FT faculty job. For this, stick with B&M programs from "top" tier universities. Keep in mind that a "top" tier university is still no guarantee that you will get picked up for FT faculty.

    2) I recommend getting a masters degree en route to the doctorate. As me again suggested, "[t]he attrition rate for doctoral drop-outs is pretty high" and it would be a real shame if you dropped out after 30+ credit hours with nothing to show for it.

    3) As for the type of degree, don't be afraid to tackle a non-business masters program and then transition to business for the doctorate. My MS is in OR and 100% of it transferred into the doctorate. The only difference between someone with an MBA and my degree is that I had fewer electives to choose from. The total number of credit hours required for the degree was still the same.

    Just my $0.02.
  12. Dave Wagner

    Dave Wagner Active Member

    I like this advice. Get the most prestigious masters degree that you can afford in time and dollars. The masters degree is the high school diploma for teaching and the MBA is the high school diploma for middle management, so you can't lose by earning a masters degree first.

  13. Scott Henley

    Scott Henley New Member

    JV, if you're looking to become a faculty member at a university, you might want to reconsider going to NCU. If you absolutely must complete a program through DL, you might want to get a master's degree and doctorate from a B&M university that offers external programs.

    There are many British universities that will allow for external research with the occassional trip to the UK such as Aston University. Henley Management College has a low residency program that is world class.

    If you're serious about becoming a professor, you might want to bite the bullet and get a doctorate from a top school.
  14. beachhoppr

    beachhoppr New Member

    AHEM! :D
  15. nobycane

    nobycane New Member

    I have the same long-term goals...wanting to teach at the CC level. I will have my MS completed by summer 2007, and then looking to pursue a doctorate degree.

    A lot of individuals here has suggested NCU for a DL doctorate. I just got a packet of information from NCU and they offer two different doctorates, a Ph.D. in education and a Ed.D.

    Now I understand that the Ed.D. is considered a "terminal" degree compared to a Ph.D.
    What is the difference?

    Which doctorate would be considered more viable in the teaching market? I certainly know if I stay teaching at the secondary level... I would be extremely qualified, and have no issues with getting an adjuct position at the cc level... but what landing a F/T cc position with a Ed.D?

    Thoughts? Suggestions? Opinions?

  16. planejane

    planejane New Member

    Here is my story . . .

    I went from the bachelor's to the PhD and I did not feel comfortable. All I saw was these courses to complete the PhD. There was 81 credits to complete. It took 13 years to complete my bachelor's degree and I did not want it to take that long to complete the PhD. I finished two courses of the PhD and dropped.

    I went into a master's program and I am glad I did. I am at the end of the program and I recently started back into the PhD coursework. My entire master's degree is fitting into my PhD curriculum. I am not losing any credits.

    This was the best method for me. I only have five courses of the PhD before starting the research, comps exams, and dissertation.

    If you go into the PhD straight from the bachelor's degree, beware that some universities won't grant a master's after two years of graduate education. You enroll in a PhD and this is the degree you are earning. Some schools will grant you the master's degree after completing two years.

    Do the research and remember this is the path that worked for me.

    Best of Luck!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 7, 2006
  17. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Re: Re: Northcentral University PhD (Should I do a Master's first)?

    It seems that Argosy has transformed its DBA to almost 100% online besides the two weeks residence. There are plenty of full time faculty members with an Argosy DBA so I would not hesitate to enroll with them if teaching full time was my goal. They are a lot more expensive that NCU but you are buying a tested product.
  18. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Re: Re: Re: Northcentral University PhD (Should I do a Master's first)?

    I think if I were going to get an unranked non-AACSB business doctorate it would be UMUC's Doctor of Management rather than something from a for-profit. At $45,250 it's the same tuition as Argosy. Wouldn't you rather have "University of Maryland" on your resume, even if it's UMUC and not College Park?

    I realize there are other distance learning options that are less expensive and that lowest cost is a requirement for some. But if you're going to pay that much anyway....

  19. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Northcentral University PhD (Should I do a Master's first)?

    It is a good option. In general, I would do research and see how many faculty members are working full time with the degree from the University in question.

    If cost is an issue, even an UNISA degree seems to have more acceptability worldwide than NCU.
  20. nobycane

    nobycane New Member

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Northcentral University PhD (Should I do a Master's first)?

    This is an interesting statement, this isn;t the first time I have heard UNISA and NCU compared. Though my question is why is UNISA conidered more acceptable than NCU? Does NCU have a bad reputation or something?

Share This Page