Stellenbosch or Texas Tech

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by cdhale, Jun 7, 2010.

  1. cdhale

    cdhale Member

    As I have mentioned here before, I qualify for the Hazelwood Act here in Texas, which means that I would not have to pay tuition or most fees for more schooling at a public university in the state. However, there are some fees, etc. that would still apply.

    Texas Tech has the PhD in Tech. Comm and Rhetoric that interests me. However, they do require that I come to their campus for a couple of weeks each year. The cost of that two week program is about $1600, plus a few hundred dollars in fees that I would be responsible for. (At least, I don't think the $1600 is covered by Hazelwood, since it is not tuition or student fees).

    I have also been looking at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. I just heard back from them that as a totally DL student, the cost would be a little under $1400 per year, as no other fees would apply since I would not be visiting the university. Now, I am still awaiting a response from the English Dept. there about the feasibility of such a plan, but am hopeful.

    I know we have talked about Stellenbosch before, but I am wondering if it is realistic to expect that I would not have to make an actual trip to South Africa, which would raise the cost significantly.

    In their literature, it indicates that while they do prefer that each doctoral student attend a yearly symposium, they do make provision for those who cannot. But sometimes what is written is not exactly how things work out.

    I know the yearly cost is not that much different, but it would take me a couple of years to finish the course work at Tech, before I could even start the dissertation. At Stellenbosch, since it is a totally research degree, I hope to be able to finish that much sooner, since there is no course work.

    That significantly lowers the cost, it seems to me, for the overall program.

    BTW, the folks at Stellenbosch have been extremely quick to respond to my email inquiries. Tech has been fairly slow (and often not very helpful in their responses). I found this to be ironic since we so often have commented on the slowness of the South African universities to respond - though those comments do usually refer to UNISA).

    Anyway, does anyone have thoughts on the choice, assuming that the Stellenbosch opportunity works out?
  2. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

    It has always been my understanding that Stellenbosch didn't permit external doctorates. Did something change?
  3. cdhale

    cdhale Member

    I honestly don't know. I was just going off of the literature that they provided online. There it seemed to indicate that the doctoral student must:

    1. Maintain regular contact with faculty adviser, whether in person, phone, mail, email, etc.
    2. Try to attend various meetings, but these are not required. As I mentioned above, they even provide for remote presentation of materials for those who cannot attend.
    3. Do the various expected things such as get a faculty adviser, submit prospectus, etc.

    So I don't know. I hope things have changed...
  4. cdhale

    cdhale Member

    Here was the response I received from the finance folks at Stellenbosch. It would seem to indicate that they DO allow external doctorates, at least in theory.

  5. morganplus8

    morganplus8 New Member

    RE: Stellenbosch

    I applied for their Doctoral Program a couple of years ago and two things came up:

    1) There was a waiting list for their business programs of which I would qualify for, but, would have to wait my turn, and,

    2) I had to make a series of visits each year, explaining in no uncertain terms that this was not a DL program as there are so many other students willing to attend full-time and they take precedence over my method of learning.

    In other words, I was at a great disadvantage trying to get into a "DL" program at their school. I gave up.
  6. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    Your first post was about comparative costs. If the difference is just $200/year, then that issue is damn near insignificant as far as I'm concerned.

    The prospect of trips to South Africa could easily change that. It will add costs and dramatically raise the hassle-factor.

    These are both reputable universities. Texas Tech is certainly better-known in Texas (as Stellenbosch undoubtedly is in ZA).

    If I were in your place, I'd be most interested in these universities suitability for hosting my own academic interests. What's their reputation in those areas? Who is on their faculties? What have those people been doing and publishing? How congruent is their approach to various scholarly issues with my own tendencies?

    Again personally, I'd prefer a program that offers me graduate coursework. I wouldn't really prefer a dissertation-only program. Other people's mileage might vary on that.

    I'd also worry about becoming a lone-ranger, with my dissertation advisor not really wanting to be bothered with me and brushing me off. So I'd pay very close attention to what kind of on-going support and superivision DL students receive.

    I'd want to know how well remote students are plugged into the on-campus intellectual life of their department. For example, if that department has research projects going, can remote students really be involved in them? Are speakers and seminars accessible? What kind of collaborative opportunities exist for remote students?

    Would my option to skip meetings and activities in Stellenbosch effectively put me into the lone-ranger situation that I don't want to find myself in?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 7, 2010
  7. warguns

    warguns Member

    Texas Tech vs Stellenbosch

    If you intend to look for a job in the US, Texas Tech is the clear choice. DL degrees are already suspect. One from a university, while wholly reputable, in a foreign country, especially in Africa, would be doubly so.

    I don't condone this. It's just a fact.

    You might think that a degree from some place unusual would be helpful considering all the talk of the value of diversity. However, diversity is really code for people of color and women and GLBQ. Where your degree is from is of no interest.
  8. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    Round trip, Dallas-Jo'burg on KLM, next fall, only about $1,300. Both schools have very beautiful campuses, but the wine is a lot better in Stellenbosch.
  9. b4cz28

    b4cz28 New Member

    Go with Texas Tech, the name will get you in a lot more doors than Stellenbosch will. Every time I read the name “Stellenbosch” I think of a Nazi for some reason. I have nothing intellectual to add, just my two cents.
  10. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    OK, this is too funny! Please log on every time you are somewhat inebriated. :)
  11. Lukeness

    Lukeness Member

    Stellenbosch's famous alumni are pretty hard to beat. At one stage every single SA prime minister had attended the university in some capacity. But this, of course, means that it has a long history of apartheid ties.
  12. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    If that was true, then it would be an argument for doing a B&M doctorate, wouldn't it? This whole thread would be moot, since the Texas Tech program is another DL program and hence presumably suspect as well.

    But I'm not convinced that it IS true. I don't think that DL is suspect in and of itself. What's suspect are people padding their resumes with academically hollow quickie credentials. The problem is that too many people, both DL students and those that hire them, confuse 'distance learning' (remote delivery of university programs) with 'non-traditional' (apparently a code-word for 'easy, shallow and fast'). If a DL program doesn't create the impression that vital corners have been cut and a great deal of the necessary substance avoided, then I don't think that employers will worry a whole lot about whether somebody did a lot of their work at a remote location.

    That's one of the reasons why it's important for aspiring doctoral students to inquire into prospective DL programs' reputations in their fields and in their specialties within those fields.

    I've never observed that here in Silicon Valley. I don't think that the nationality of university degrees moves the meter very much. We are already crawling with graduates of foreign universities.

    What employers, both in academia and in the tech industries, do care about is the overall reputation of the program that awarded the degree and perhaps even more importantly, its narrower reputation in particular research areas of interest to their organization.

    If a university wants somebody to teach the presocratic philosophers, it's going to favor graduates of programs strong in the history of ancient philosophy. If a biotech firm needs an expert in active transport across cell membranes, then it will be looking or a graduate of a program where work in that area is done.

    They won't worry very much about whether the program is in Europe, Asia or ZA, IF (big 'if') they've encountered the program in the literature and by reputation. They won't worry about the foreign program's credibility if they are already familiar with the work that it's doing.

    The world of scholarship and science is already highly globalized, a world-wide thing.
  13. Lukeness

    Lukeness Member

    Also, Stellenbosch is a b&m uni. As I've posted elsewhere, most PhDs here are thesis based or thesis only so it wouldn't even be thought of as DL as that's the normal way of doing it.
  14. jackrussell

    jackrussell Member

    I have emailed Stellenbosch before, only a few Masters and degrees are distance education.

    Telematic Services
  15. Lukeness

    Lukeness Member

    Yes, maybe by certain definitions. But most Masters and PhD programs here are done by thesis only anyway. This requires a few visits, but they are not full-time on campus courses. Post Grad students on research degrees are supposed to be conducting new research and there is usually not any actual set coursework.
  16. cdhale

    cdhale Member

    My major concern was with the timing. Sure, the cost is comparable, so no real difference there. Texas Tech would probably cost about 500 or so more per year, since I would pay some for incidental fees, plus the 1600 per year for the two week meeting at the campus in May. Stellenbosch would be around 1400 total per year. Not enough of a difference to make much difference one way or the other.

    However, if it took 2 years to complete the course work, before the dissertation could be started at Tech, but I could immediately go into the thesis (dissertation) at Stellenbosch, then that two years worth of costs could be eliminated, assuming the dissertation took the same length of time at each school. Now we are talking 3-4000 dollars difference.

    Plus, I would have the degree that much sooner.

    Of course, a trip or two to SA pretty much takes care of that cost difference, as well.

    Oh well, something to think about.
  17. cdhale

    cdhale Member

    I just received this in response to my query about a DL doctorate:

    So it would appear that it IS possible to do a distance doctorate with Stellenbosch. Well, as long as one qualifies...

    I think I am going to send my materials to them just to see if I can. If so, I think I might just do this one.
  18. HeathNoble

    HeathNoble New Member

    So how did it go?

    How did it go with Stellenbosch, I am looking for SURE at S. African research universities. I disagree with the poster who says Texas degree will be better here in the US. I work in international circles anyway, but most American universities will put an 'online' designation on your transcripts. I don't know why, because even in person courses are being GREATLY transformed into online courses for example at the University of Arizona, where I work. They use blackboard, D2L, First Class, etc. In any event, I have spent a lot of years studying in Europe and feel I will do well with the system that requires less hand holding and less coursework. I want to do my own research.

    How did it go with the application process, do you have any pointers from the process? Thanks!
  19. cdhale

    cdhale Member

    First, I have a DL Masters and it says nothing about being online, etc. While it may well be true that some may do this, I doubt it MOST do so.

    As to the process, I sent copies of my transcripts, etc. to the English Dept at Stellenbosch and am still waiting to hear back if I qualify to enter the PhD program. If so, then I will complete the formal application process, which I have already started. It can be done online. You still have to send official copies of transcripts and things like that.

    But at this point, I don't have much to report. But I will do so when something actually happens.
  20. HeathNoble

    HeathNoble New Member

    Interesting, so it appears you do a vetting, or pre-application approval process.

    Well, I personally am gonna wait with baited breath.

    I don't know, maybe not MOST, but a goodly number of distance learning programs cheapen the value of their degree by stating this on the paper....this is too bad, and I believe, it will disappear in time, as distance learning technologies expand to provide buffer for at least our American economic downturn. I think we will all be learning online at B&M schools in a matter of years. The distinction is bound to become obsolete.

    Good Luck.

    May I ask what your interests are in the English department, in terms of research. Technical/Rhetoric?


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