Short- or Non-Residency Professional Doctorate in Leadership

Discussion in 'Business and MBA degrees' started by Rich Douglas, Jul 18, 2022.

  1. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I'm in a traditional, on-campus program that doesn't have an online option. It requires a master's degree, though, which is typical for criminal justice programs.
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  2. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

    The landing pages for the Thomas Jefferson University DM in Strategic Leadership and PhD in Complex Systems Leadership - both on-campus programs - currently state,
    We might check back to see if Jefferson relaunches something online or hybrid in this space. Jefferson's existing online programs include an Innovation MBA and doctorates in health sciences and health professions.
  3. JBjunior

    JBjunior Active Member

    USC’s EdD is an option but requires additional coursework to make up for the absence of the masters.
  4. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Actually, both DO meet the criteria I set. They're both research-only and are part of the SAQA--South Africa's qualifications framework. UNISA is notoriously difficult to work with, but the Da Vinci Institute is private and quick to answer questions. The DBL at Da Vinci can be done for less than R200,000, which is currently less than US$12,000.
  5. siersema

    siersema Active Member

    How do these types of dissertation-only programs typically work? Is it zero coursework or just coursework focused on the dissertation process? If it's none, do they expect you to have gained the research, quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and related knowledge in previous programs? The Da Vinci program looks interesting, as does their Doctor of Management in Technology and Innovation. I was skimming some of the dissertations and there seems to be a mix of people referring to the degrees as PhD or as the professional doctorate name.
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  6. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Really well-informed questions. Let me take them on.

    In a dissertation-only program, the candidate is assessed on nothing but the dissertation. (Termed a "thesis" in many other countries.) However, the candidate's advisor may require him/her to take other courses or do other preparation for the research process, depending on what he/she might need. Also, other matters--campus attendance, meetings, other learning experiences--are up to the advisor as well. In short, "dissertation-only" doesn't mean that's all you'll do. Nor does it mean "non-residential." It just means the dissertation is all you'll be assessed on for the degree.

    The dissertation-only doctorate is often called the "big book" doctorate because the dissertation is usually larger than the "little book" (or "taught") doctorate, where the dissertation comes after completing two or more years of courses beyond the master's. In the big book approach, it is presumed that the candidate already has a firm grounding in the field of study. (And again, the advisor might require the candidate to take courses to make up any deficiencies. A typical limit for the little book approach is 50,000 words, where the big book can often allow for 80-100 thousand words. (These are upper limits, not minimums. If you're striving to reach a minimum, you're not doing anything significant. The real challenge is staying under an imposed word limit to your splendid project.)

    Regarding the PhD/not-PhD issue, it's a small matter that can be a big one in some situations. The relevant dichotomy is "scholarly" and "practical" dissertations. Scholarly work contributes to knowledge (usually through either building or testing theory)--it advances the scholarship of the field. Practical dissertations advance just that: practice in the field. Typically, the scholarly doctorate is a PhD while the practical doctorate is usually an alternate title--DBA, EdD, etc. But this is not always true and the lines can get blurred. For example, I recently mentioned that Columbia Southern's DBA can be either (but both are "little book" doctorates).

    (Ironically, I've done one of each, but my PhD advanced practice while my DSocSci was a scholarly work where my research resulted in new theory. My PhD program didn't emphasize this difference and my DSocSci school absolutely insisted on a scholarly thesis. Again, the lines can get blurred.)

    Thus, it is technically incorrect to refer to a non-PhD like the DBA as a PhD. It isn't. But the PhD and DBA are comparable degrees, so this is a minor faux pas. And sometimes its easier just to say "PhD" than to describe this distinction to people who don't know and don't care. So, when someone remarks to me that I have two PhDs, I almost never correct them. I just acknowledge it and move on to more relevant matters. The Da Vinci DBL is NOT a PhD, but I wouldn't care to quibble over the matter.

    Hope this helps.
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  7. siersema

    siersema Active Member

    That helps greatly, thank you! The PhD callout I mention because it's listed within the actual dissertations for some of these students. I appreciate the clarity on the differences. I would certainly research more before joining any programs, but did you have familiarity with Da Vinci?
  8. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    That is not good. Casual conversation is one thing, but the school really should maintain this distinction.

    I don't have any first-hand experience with Da Vinci, except for exchanging a couple of e-mails with them to clarify their policies. They were surprisingly prompt and helpful, but that might be a result of their for-profit status.

    Da Vinci is recognized as a degree-granting institution in South Africa. The DBA is part of the SAQA--the South African Qualifications Authority. This distinguishes the degree from the "proprio" (unrecognized) degrees issued by some otherwise-recognized schools. (The degrees are issued outside the school's recognized scope.) While the school is no great shakes--another school no one's ever heard of--the degree is legitimate and properly recognized. But...

    Candidates should be prepared for a dissertation-only process resulting in a rather robust and sizeable thesis.
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  9. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

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  10. Acolyte

    Acolyte Active Member

    Last edited: Aug 28, 2023
  11. SamSam

    SamSam New Member

    I am also interested in the field of Strategic Leadership that has little to do with business or management, and more to do with politics and law. If you’re okay with European education, here’s this French nonprofit school named Horizons University. They have a PhD in International Leadership which is quite cheap (€3.5k/year), short (3 years) and totally online:

    Good luck,
  12. Suss

    Suss Active Member

    I noticed they call their degree "D. Lead." That's a new one for me. It's weird that universities can simply make up post-nominals like that.

    I'm expecting one day we'll have a D. Cook for professional chefs, or a D. Ath for professional soccer players.
  13. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Much more common in the Commonwealth. When I still worked in suicide prevention/crisis intervention, I briefly considered attending Griffith University's Master of Suicidology (MSuicide), you do see more typical post-nominals in the US for the most part.
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  14. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Sounds like a better name for a heavy metal band than a degree.
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  15. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

    D.Lead.'s album is called Final Defense. What is Master of Suicidology's?
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  16. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Final Offense?
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  17. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

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  18. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

  19. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I don't get it either. If something that isn't "PhD" really is easier to appease accreditors, then you'd think all of those thing would be "Doctor of Business Administration in Whatever" rather than "Doctor of Whatever".
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  20. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    As a scholarly degree, the PhD is very different from a professional doctorate (like those other examples). Custom has become that scholarly doctorates are (typically) a PhD and professional doctorates each have their own title. This is how they evolved.

    A Doctor of Business Administration is much different than, say, a Doctor of Managerial Science. Different still is a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership.

    There have been several "generic" doctoral titles out there. The Doctor of Science, the Doctor of Philosophy, the Doctor of Technology DTech), the Doctor of Professional Studies, etc. But the first one I listed, the Doctor of Science, can sometimes be a scholarly degree. The lines can get blurry.

    Then there's the resistance to anything that's not a PhD. That's what killed the DA.

    I'd like to see one title for professional doctorates but, as I said, we don't even have that for scholarly degrees (although the PhD dominates). Would a practicing psychologist who went the PsyD route (instead of PhD in psychology) be okay (or even prefer) a Doctor of Science (DSc) in Psychology?

    Or is this just a tempest in a teapot?

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