Question about standards for degree programs.

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by thomaskolter, Aug 22, 2006.

  1. thomaskolter

    thomaskolter New Member

    Is there a LEGAL requirement as to the nature of what a degee program must offer to issue a degree in the United States?

    And I do not mean based on what is customary but are there any specific legal required courses and aspects of research work at the graduate level. And does this apply at both a state and private schools excluding relgious degrees. And also that apply to programs outside those in the United States insisting on the exact same standards to use those degrees inside the United States.

    Let me give you an example at the associates levels does any state or federal law require those have 60 credits with a certain number distributed among general education courses. Those also directed such as 6 credits in mathematics, 6 credits in humanities and the like. We can use the same idea for bachelors, masters and doctorate degrees granted by state and private secular degree granting such programs.

    If there are not then how can you cal any diploma mill a diploma mill there are no standards legally in place most noted here internationally.

    If there are then the point is mute. But I have read and did searches online and cannot find such specific requirements save in fields where state or federal regulations apply such as medicine. Even I have to grant such rules to degree programs if laws are in place.

    And I deem this a logical question to ask since the main attack I have seen is that diploma mills and unaccredited programs are they have weaker requirements for a degree. If that is true then there must be a legal standard as to what a degree must have at every level associates to doctorates- here and abroad everyone agrees with. Not just custom and tradition but written law that is clear.
  2. aic712

    aic712 Member

    I do not believe there are any Federal laws pertaining to degree recognition, that's why they leave it in the hands of recognized accreditors. I am pretty sure you have posed this argument before, just worded it differently.

    Unaccredited degrees are pretty much useless outside of personal enrichment (if real learning took place).

    You seem like a relativlely intelligent person Thomas, who understands how the system works. So why are you trying to put up smoke and mirrors and get people to agree that unrecognized and unaccredited degrees are worth something? You would be better off posting that on a different forum, and I think you know which one I'm talking about.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2006
  3. thomaskolter

    thomaskolter New Member

    Actually I have not in this case. And I even sent this to some others I correspond with having accredited degrees. But we can't find a law that details what a degree must offer to be a degree in any state even Oregon. And smoke and mirrors its a legitimate point of philosophical attack one poses a question and then you debate that question.

    So I put it to this how can you attack any degree program under the standard of custom and tradition, making that a legal attack on a degree program. That is no standard at all. I'm not defending degree sellers or diploma mills or any accredited program just noting the inconsistant place of the attack made.

    If you compare Harvard University and earn a BA in Literature you must have 120 credits and certain required core courses that is correct in general. If you go to ITT Tech in my area you can earn a BS in Electronics Technolgy in three years of full time work or a year less than an average Harvard University degree again accredited and legal. You go to the University of London and earn a BD in Divinity by exam its treated as a masters pretty much in the US and can take any amount of time up to seven years to finish. So then what is so different about a life experience only degree lets say operating out of Liberia granting a BS in Business Management based on a resume in a month.

    There is no universal legal standard yet three are a hundred percent legal to use in Oregon and one is not. I don't care how useful the degree is I care about the application of basic logic. There is no universal standard in a legal form so there is not legal means to attack a mill based solely on the nature of their degree.

    It would make a nice argued point in a court if a mill is sued and fraud or other legal factors don't apply don't you think?
  4. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    Thomas, you make the statement that if there is no legal standard then there is no standard. This is utter nonsense. There are many standards that are not incapsulated into law. Why must a standard for degrees be legislated for it to be standard? The meaning of words in English are not usually defined by law. Does that mean that English word definitions have no standards? Of course not.

    Perhaps you should go trolling with your diploma mill drivel someplace else like was already wisely suggested earlier.
  5. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I couldn't agree more. Interestingly, he started out using libertarian rhetoric when it seemed that would suit his purpose, but evidently he's switched to using legislation as the only true measurement now that it seems more advantageous.

  6. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Then we must not be looking very carefully, because there is a link directly to the applicable Oregon Adminstrative Rules at the Oregon ODA website.

    For example, the Oregon rules specify 60 semester credit hours for an associate's degree, and 120 semester credit hours for a bachelor's degree. Each semester credit hour is expected to represent approximately 45 hours of student work (including both in-class and out-of-class work). There are provisions for granting credit by examination or for experience.

    Regionally accredited schools are specifically exempted from the Oregon rules. Apparently Oregon assumes that such schools can police themselves, without the need for government oversight.
  7. georgehkchua

    georgehkchua New Member

    Hi Dr. Kolter,

    Outside of the US, national academic standards and quality agencies, such as the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) for Higher Education in the UK, do in fact publish "subject benchmark statements" to "describe the nature and characteristics of programmes in a specific subject... [and] represent general expectations about the standards for the award of qualifications at a given level and articulate the attributes and capabilities that those possessing such qualifications should be able to demonstrate."

    The following is a subject benchmark statement for a bachelors degree with honours in Economics in the UK.

    As you can see, the subject benchmark statement provide specific guidance for the learning outcomes associated with an accredited programme but are also flexible enough to encourage innovation within the framework.

    I think such an approach would be more than adequate to ensure that consumers of higher education obtain learning experiences of reasonable quality. Encoding subject requirements in the law will be too rigid, and will result in educational institutions that are unable to react quickly to the ever-changing knowledge economy.


    George Chua
  8. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    BTW Thomas, claiming a PhD from Rushmore University makes you an academic fraud in my opinion.
  9. Dave C.

    Dave C. New Member

    I can't make up my mind whether this Thomas fellow is intensely irritating or mildly amusing - :)
  10. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    So far as I know, the only requirement is that you must have either state licensure (or be operating under religious exemption) in the state where you are operating.
  11. Shawn Ambrose

    Shawn Ambrose New Member

    Tom says, " I'm not defending degree sellers or diploma mills." Then why do you on another board state how easy it is to buy a doctorate from the ULC for $30?
  12. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    You mean they don't make you do any work for that $30 ULC doc?:confused:
  13. morleyl

    morleyl New Member

    Hi Thomas:

    This time I disagree with your logic or maybe I am misunderstanding your question.

    In respect to degree contents, it comes down to common sense. Most diploma mills would issue fraudulent transcripts looking like a real school anyway. If they did a real assessment and list the real knowledge of that person in some way that would be something else.

    While one could earn some qualification through nontraditional learning, the documents should be clear on that at all times. If its life experience, print that on the degree.

    There are legal requirements to meet professional certification in fields such as medicine, engineering and some others.
  14. MrLazy

    MrLazy New Member

    Yes, there is. Florida for example has the "Gordon Rule" requiring a certain number of courses in the humanities and mathematics that fulfill certain requirements.

    Actually, your point is mute because you make a flawed assumption.

    Just because there isn't a law, doesn't mean that there aren't standards. That is what the accrediting agencies do. They verify that institutions meet standards set forth by the higher learning community. A diploma mill can't meet the standards of an accepted accrediting agency, so therefore it is a sub-standard education. BTW, that's one of the nice things about our form of government. If a privately established method of external quality review of higher education works, the government doesn't have to get involved. If you want a law for every possible instance and government control of everything, you can always move to China.

    Additionally, there are many other careers that are licensed by the states, not just medicine or law. In order to get a license in those fields, your degree better be from an accredited school.

    BTW, just so you will know, U.S. accreditors review colleges and universities in all 50 states and 95 OTHER COUNTRIES.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 31, 2006
  15. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I thought the Gordon Rule was more about requiring a certain amount of writing in general education courses?

  16. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    And here I thought the Gordon Rule said he who has the gord gets to make the rules. :D
  17. MrLazy

    MrLazy New Member

    That's part of it, yes. There is a mathematics requirement and there is a requirement for college-level writing in humanities and composition courses. The goal is to make certain that students have sufficient skill in writing before admission into the Junior level or graduate programs. It is specific in the requirements and schools in Florida publish which classes satisfy "Gordon Rule" requirements.
  18. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    Are you sure the Gordon Rule has a math requirement or is there a more generic math & science requirement, from which the student might choose some math/some science, all science/no math, or all math/no science, as he/she pleases?
  19. thomaskolter

    thomaskolter New Member

    Please check out the ULC Seminary we in our church do offer a work-based relgious program towards a Master or Dr. of Ministry that takes effort. Not clearly a secular program but to meet the needs of those in our faith and those outside seriously interested in a low cost degree. As in $1000 or so for the Master of Ministry and maybe $1500 for a Dr. of Ministry. Now is that a mill? It is operated by a legal church and operating in a legal fashion in California as far as I can tell, requires work and time for each course and no credit by life experience is allowed. I think it puts it in the acceptable category.

    My point was a philosophical one there is still no universally recognized legal basis for what constitutes a degree that is acceptable. Oregon has one that doesn't apply to religious schools, Florida has the Gorden rule, the UK has a standard and the like. Excluding licensed professions like medical doctors and lawyers of course where the standards are legally fixed. Its literally still in all other cases a non-standard as long as its agreed there is "work of some sort done for a degree" its mute. And if a religious degree its even harder to attack a church in most states can offer degrees and they are legal. Well must be religious in nature of course not an MBA.

    Back to my post I am pointing out this as the only standard- "There must be some level of actual work." Seems to be the only universal point we all agree on would make a law. So seems to me short of degree sellers and schools operating in an illegal fashion otherwise there is no way to attack a school if their only crime is a weak curriculum. In a legal way of course since I point out save in some states and locations there is no legal standard.

    I just wanted a fun debate on this and now I get everyone angry- if I'm wrong and there is a universal legal standard then show me. A UN mandate, a conference of international leaders that set something in writing or the like.

    As for your opinions of my degrees I don't lie as to the schools or their nature when asked, don't use them as a business credential unless legal to do so and never stated any as good as an accredited degree. So your views them don't concern me. Seems to me I'm honest and then I get attacked by some for that. I could lie and say I have a MA in Liberal Arts from the University of Wisconsin- Madison but I don't do I?

    BTW the Doctor of Divinity is an honorary one for the $30 course and if held by an ordained ULC minister is completely legal. Most states would never have a problem if I call myself Rev. Dr. Kolter if I had this degree. I want to get the other one because its a serious religious program towards a Dr. of Ministry for use in the church. A perfectly acceptable use for an unaccredited religious degree.
  20. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    Hi Thomas,

    I'm not mad and I'm really not trying to be insulting. I am not saying that you broke any laws. I didn't call you a liar. I'm being factual. You are an academic fraud. That is my opinion. I have that opinion because you claim a Ph.D. degree that is bogus in my opinion and I dare say in the opinion of most people. I call you an academic fraud because you're claiming to be an academic doctor when you have not earned such a title. When you claim to be something that you're not that is by definition being a fraud. You're an academic fraud. The point being that if other people follow your poor advice then they too will become academic frauds, just like you are.

    Have fun,

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