Should an instructor for a PhD class have a PhD?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Randell1234, Dec 30, 2004.

  1. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    Should an instructor for a PhD class have a PhD? I am taking my second class at NCU and both instructors have had Masters degrees so far. The classes are not "dissertation classes" so I don't know if it matters or what the standard is.

    I am just curious, as a PhD student, should the instructors have PhD's? :confused:
  2. Mike Albrecht

    Mike Albrecht New Member

    Is the class taken only by PhD students, or is it a general graduate level course? Do the instructors know the subject? Are they experts in it?

    I still remeber one of the best instructors I had at Michigan Tech, Duane M. Thayer, full Professor of Metallurgical Engineering, supervised numerous masters and doctoral students. Highest earned degree - BS.
  3. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    It's so weird! American law schools that OFFER the J.S.D. frequently have no dissertation doctorate holders teaching in the J.S.D. program. I wonder who supervises the dissertations?

    Tax LL.M. programs are stiff with non LL.M. holding instructors.
  4. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I guess it depends on the level of classes. If NCU admits non-holder's of master's degrees and these are the students being taught, no big deal. But I question the level of instruction being offered to doctoral students by those not holding a doctorate. This would include non-dissertation-related classes.
  5. edowave

    edowave Active Member

    For teaching classes, no. They should have expertise and experience in what they are teaching. Depending on the class this might mean a PhD, or it might not. In fact I'd much rather take a class from someone who has real-world work experience and only a master's than someone who has spent most of their time in a classroom or library.

    For your dissertation committee however, that is an entirely different story. The rule here at UF is that you need 5 members on your committe, at least 4 have to have PhDs (and for that one that isn't, you need at really, really, good reason why you want him/her), and 2 must be from outside the department. I assume it's about the same for all SACS schools.
  6. Tireman4

    Tireman4 member

    At North Carolina Central, Texas A&M and the University of Houston, they have all had PhD's. We are talking about history, would stand to reason. In a PhD program in history, I have not heard of a MA teaching the doctoral classes. I could be wrong, but I have not heard of it.
  7. c.novick

    c.novick New Member

    I noticed that many of the instructors actually do have Ph.D s. The NCU website does not always have the updated vitae on the mentors.

    All of my assigned mentors have had Ph.D s and one J.D. The NCU website needs to be updated.
  8. PJFrench

    PJFrench member

    Welcome to the non US scene

    In the non US scene academics are not necessairly hired on their degree levels - check their research record ...

    Many of the older lecturers-professors do NOT have the highest degree, and these will not only be teaching but may well be your supervisor for a PhD thesis [as we call it]. In Law as with Accounting and Engineering you'll find plenty of non doctorates at leading UK and Oz universities. Double first degrees LLB/BA, LLB/BCon, LLB/BEc and a few with LLM.

    Sometimes when I am bored I do a faculty search at random and find say a head of faculty in a major school with a BA only :)

    Does it really matter?
  9. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    It really depends upon he school. In the doctoral granting institutions for which I have worked, doctoral level courses had to be taught by those holding doctorates. I would not be at all surprised if excepts were made.

    Tony Pina
    Northeastern Illinois University
  10. Eli

    Eli New Member

    All doctoral classes I took were taught by Ph.D. holders. I find it strange for non Ph.D. faculty to teach Ph.D. courses.

    Touro University International, Ph.D.

  11. Guest

    Guest Guest

    :D How thoroughly disappoined I was to find out this thread was not started by Bill Grover! :D

    If I were in any doctoral program I would expect all my instructors to have doctorates.
  12. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    The classes I am refering to are not PhD Only classes. They are the core classes for the program and core for the MBA program- LS6010 and MGT5005.
  13. alarmingidea

    alarmingidea New Member

    Hot on the heels of the great UniSA/UNISA conundrum, I stumble on Northcentral University and North Central University.

    I'm starting to wonder if there's a critical shortage of university names. Maybe we need a task force?
  14. alarmingidea

    alarmingidea New Member

    At Harvard, the dissertation supervisor is a Law School faculty member, most of whom have not written a dissertation of their own.
  15. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    My response would be that they should be competent to teach whatever it is that they are teaching. I guess at the advanced graduate level, that means familiarity with the most sophisticated aspects of the material and with the controversies in the field.

    One way to get there might be to earn a doctorate in the subject being taught. But a Ph.D. doesn't guarantee subject matter competence, nor does lack of a doctorate prove incompetence. Frankly, I would be more doubtful about a Ph.D. teaching a course distant from his dissertation subject and subsequent scholarship, than I would about a person with a lowly masters degree teaching a subject he knows well and works with every day.

    We also have to consider field experience in practical subjects. I don't know if Bill Gates or Steve Jobs ever completed their bachelors degrees, but I imagine that they could teach a dynamite graduate class in corporate management. I'd hate to elbow them aside in favor of some ivory-tower hack with letters behind his name. I think that there's already way too much of that kind of empty credentialism in higher education.

    Perhaps the function of dissertation advisor is different than that of course instructor. An argument could be made that the individual supervising the dissertation process should have personal experience with writing dissertations.
  16. peng88

    peng88 New Member

    Wrong instructors for dissertation subjects

    It is interesting to note a certain uni in oz even has instructors with doctorates from universities that are no longer in operation and they are chosen to supervise doctoral dissertations even after having been suitably screened. The franchise program is pervasive and what is most disturbing is that the instructors cum supervisors are not even specialists, imagine a finance so called PhD is supervising a marketing doctoral candidate! Even as we speak it is still happening.

    An analogy would be implanting a motorcyle engine into a Ferrari and expecting it to perform, even if the engine itself were to be a fake! Call it exporting education to poorer cousins in Asia but his is absolutely a farce!
  17. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Which is why I said, "I guess it depends on the level of classes. If NCU admits non-holder's of master's degrees and these are the students being taught, no big deal. But I question the level of instruction being offered to doctoral students by those not holding a doctorate. This would include non-dissertation-related classes."

    In this case, having someone teaching who doesn't hold a doctorate is less strange.
  18. c.novick

    c.novick New Member

    Hi Randell,

    On my course forum discussion page I see you have posted. If we have/had the same mentor for MGT5005, she does have a Ph.D.

    I believe NCU is in the process of updating the resumes of the mentors on the site. I did not know my mentor had a Ph.D. in LS6010 until the third week.

    Regards and best wishes with your studies. I have two more courses to go.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2004
  19. George Brown

    George Brown Active Member

    Re: Wrong instructors for dissertation subjects

    Interesting Peng. What unis do they claim their doctorates from?


  20. dl_mba

    dl_mba Member

    If you are talking about Joan Saunders, she has DBA from SCUPS.
    SCUPS is an Unaccredited school but its a state approved one.

    Joan Saunders M.B.A.
    M.B.A. Finance, Temple University (PA); B.S. Business, Pennsylvania State University
    Doctorate in Business Administration,
    MBA in Finance,
    BS in Business Administration (major in marketing)

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