Starting PhD at age 64

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Darrell Lawrence, Nov 23, 2010.

  1. Darrell Lawrence

    Darrell Lawrence New Member

    Started Phd at age 64

    Hello all,
    At age 64, I have started work on a PhD in Business Administration at Northcentral University. This is a reintroduction because I had joined DegreeInfo back in 2004. At that time, I had just started work on an MS in Information Technology at Capella University.

    During that year, I started to have excruciating pain in my back, legs, feet, arms, hands, and fingers. As it turned out, I had two sever medical problems – multilevel degenerative disc disease, and peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy has symptoms similar to multiple sclerosis except it attacks the peripheral nervous system rather than the central nervous system.

    I had to withdraw from Capella, leave my job, and go on full social security disability. It has taken 6 years of spinal surgeries, physical therapy, and different medication treatments to reach a point where I can walk with a cane, and keep pain levels down to a dull roar such that I can concentrate. I still have five herniated discs in my back, and can now only type with one finger on each hand due to nerve damage. My back will only let me sit for about an hour at a time, so working on a PhD online is ideal for me. Dictation software has come a long way such that I can voice dictate most of my writing assignments.

    I got an ‘A’ in the first course, so my gray matter seems to be working. Currently I am taking a required statistics course. The academic rigor at NCU is certainly on par with any course I took for my MS at the University of Arkansas.

    What better way to spend the golden years than continuing to learn, and walking across a stage to have the hood of a PhD placed onto your shoulders?
  2. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    My hats off to your dedication and fortitude. You truly are remarkable!! I wish you nothing but success!!
  3. sideman

    sideman Active Member

    Best wishes to you. You are truly an inspiration to all of us.
  4. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

    Sound like you already have a PhD from the School of Hard Knocks! But good luck to you!

  5. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    Welcome back to Degree Info, Darrell. Why not get a PhD at 64? Especially true if you are doing it just for the joy of the accomplishment. I attended a PhD program at NCU for a few classes and I can agree that the academic rigor is on par with anywhere else. You will run into some who would criticize the rigor at NCU, but I have found most who criticize have never actually attended the school. Did you do SKS 7000? What a lot of work that was! For most of the classes, the material is good and the requirements are tough.

    Where NCU falls short in in their service to you. You will find that only a few mentors are helpful, most appear to be overloaded and have little time or interest in giving you any real help. Moreover, when you get into your dissertation process, you can expect quite a few headaches caused by lack of support from the administration. You may also experience delays in getting approval due to this. With that said, you will find that it is still quite do-able, especially if you are an independent sort of worker.

    I jumped ship at NCU because I found another program that was a better fit for my goals and my needs. Also for the fact that NCU faces quite a bit of unfair criticism. Best wishes to you for a great success at NCU.
  6. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    Good for you - if you can afford the tuition then go for it.
  7. Darrell Lawrence

    Darrell Lawrence New Member


    SKS7000 was the first course I completed. It was indeed a lot of work. It’s the doctoral leveling course required for NCU’s business accreditation with ACBSP. I understand what you are saying about the dissertation process. I have read some of the posts in the dissertation discussion group. Some people are enduring administrative challenges due to recent procedural changes. Presently the process does not seem to be running smoothly. NCU is starting to add more administrative staff; this may help resolve some of the current issues.

    As you mentioned, there will be people that will criticize NCU’s academic rigor, as well as question the validity of a doctoral degree completed online. I am not concerned about such criticism because I do not see the necessity to defend NCU or my choice of enrolling in one of their doctoral programs. As long as NCU maintains regional accreditation and professional accreditation of their business programs, I am satisfied.

    As far as professional accreditation of business programs, there is the AACSB vs. ACBSP argument. Both are recognized by CHEA as professional accrediting bodies. AACSB focuses on research whereas ACBSP focuses on teaching. AACSB has more prestige because it accredits the top tier research universities. Either is fine with me, and the fact that NCU is the only 100% online university in the world to achieve ACBSP accreditation is quite an accomplishment. Approximately 40% of the business programs in the US do not have professional accreditation. I know through the discussion forums that there are graduates with NCU PhDs in business that are full-time business professors at smaller AACSB accredited universities. They are probably the exception rather than the rule.

    However, there is currently a shortage of full-time business faculty at AACSB accredited universities. AACSB is trying to offset the shortage by offering a bridge program to full-time faculty who hold PhDs in fields other than business. Upon completion of the bridge program, AACSB will then recognize these PhDs as full-time business faculty. For example, $28k and seven weeks of intensive instruction at the University of Toledo, would qualify you to teach business courses at an AACSB accredited school even though your PhD was not in business. There are some other universities offering a bridge program as well. The AACSB and their accredited universities have painted themselves into a corner and they need a quick way to dry the paint. Otherwise, AACSB might have to lower the 70% requirement of full-time business faculty, or the universities would have to hire full-time PhDs in business from universities not accredited by AACSB.

    Plop down your $28k and by gosh in seven weeks we’ll have you capable of teaching and conducting research at an AACSB accredited business school! But you guys over at NCU, Capella, Walden, and U of P that spent 5-6 grueling years earning an online PhD in business can forget it. You’re not capable of teaching business courses at an AACSB accredited school!

    Gee whiz . . . I guess we’re in the slow (PhD) learners group. :(
  8. Abner

    Abner Well-Known Member

    Wow! That is so cool! Go for it!

    Abner :)

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