Thinking about dropping out of my online PhD.

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by SurfDoctor, Jul 22, 2010.

  1. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    Yes, you read it right. I am seriously considering dropping my online PhD at NCU. It's a great program, as good as any other online program out there, so the school is not in question. The program at NCU is very well implemented and I have learned a great deal. Below are the reasons I am considering this and I solicit any advice you, my online friends, might offer. The following are in order of importance to me.

    1. Most importantly, the ROI involved. I'm paying for this 100% right out of my retirement savings and I'm not convinced that I'll be able to make enough money with a PhD to pay myself back. As a teacher, I get a pay raise with a PhD, but it's not big enough to do the job.

    2. It appears that future adjunct online jobs, to supplement payback income, are possible but not guaranteed. I applied at one school as an adjunct and there were over 100 applicants for each job opening they had available. I'm sure a PhD would give me some advantage, but enough? Who knows?

    3. If that is true, it turns the degree into a pure vanity degree. I'm vain I'll admit, but I don't think it's worth $45K just to feed my vanity.

    4. One of my secret goals was to use the degree to teach part-time at one of my alma maters. I contacted the dean of the business department there and he said he would not even interview someone with an online degree.

    5. If this turns out to be mostly a vanity degree, I may consider doing something cheaper, possibly DETC. Maybe something at Aspen, possibly their EdD program. That would still qualify me for a pay raise and still might open up doors to being a principal. Not sure about DETC at this point.

    Please note that I did a great deal of due diligence research before I started this program at NCU, but many of these details only became apparent as time has passed. Moreover, I do not have much money invested into this program yet, so now is the time to jump, if I ever am going to.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 22, 2010
  2. b4cz28

    b4cz28 New Member

    Dude I hate to say it but I think Aspen is as good as NCU. I would save the money and check out Aspen. We all want an RA degree but a PhD from NCU does not hold any water if you can't teach with it. So why not save the money. Dr. Oliver (NA) Dr. Oliver (RA) dang your one either way!
  3. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

    The issue with ROI has been the major sticking point for me. Earning a doctorate will take several years of my life and many thousands of dollars. In the end, will the financial rewards of having a doctorate really be worth it? I just dunno.
  4. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    What is this based on? If you have done both programs maybe then I would listen. If you need an RA PhD for a position, they would not be equal. If you need a PhD (RA or NA) and the name recognition does not matter, I would say they are equal. You really have to define "as good as".
  5. mcjon77

    mcjon77 Member

    1)How much money do you already have into your NCU degree?
    1)What is the price difference between an Aspen degree and a NCU degree.
    2)What is stopping you from going to a more traditional B&M PhD program at a local state university?
    3)Even though the NCU degree will have less utility than a traditional doctorate, and Aspen doctorate will have EVEN LESS. The big question(to me anyway) is whether the price difference between an an Aspen PhD and an NCU PhD is greater than the potential loss of earning with an Aspen PhD over a NCU PhD. It very well may be.

    Personally , if your PhD is now solely for vanity/personal enrichment, then I can certainly see how an Aspen doctorate is a better value than an NCU doctorate. Aspen seems like a fine school, with legitimate national accreditation, so you don't have to worry about a time bomb going off. I can see how such a degree can be used in business rather than academia, since it is a legitimate degree.
  6. japhy4529

    japhy4529 House Bassist

    If you're thinking of DETC doctorates, then you should also consider California Coast. Cal Coast offers an online EdD.

    Also, perhaps you should look into options outside the USA. For example, in South Africa, a number of universities offer doctorates via distance learning (not online, however). These are primaily research-only doctorates. UNISA has a number of doctorates available. The tuition is dirt cheap. Australia is another good option to explore (not as cheap as SA, however).
  7. distancedoc2007

    distancedoc2007 New Member

    Hi Michael,

    I am sorry to hear about your continuing doubts, but I can understand your reasoning. Would you be able to crystallize what you have to-date (or almost) into a "graduate certificate" and then just ponder it for a while longer? It seems to me that NCU offered that kind of option at one time.

    I abandoned NCU's PhD after a single course because I realized the path was just too linear for me and I would have ended up repeating courses I had already done in MBA. I switched to a dissertation only program (Unisa) that has been much more to my liking as I am in control of the pace and the progress.

    I'm sure you don't need or want another pep talk, but I can tell you there is nothing quite like having your research data in hand, and blasting through the last couple of chapters on the dissertation. It makes the rest of the slog worthwhile. Maybe switching to a research only doctorate would be an affordable way to make the most of what you have already put in.

    PS. I've never seen an amazing instructor held back by a less than blue chip credential. The key in my experience is to get the department to "pull" you in through HR rather than letting HR be the gatekeeper.

    Good luck!
  8. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    I know nothing about the quality of Aspen or the utility of a degree from there. But one thing I can say, NCU can stand up to Capella, Walden and even Nova in quality. Anyone here that detracts from NCU is mistaken. It is a GREAT program and I would recommend it to anyone.
  9. StefanM

    StefanM New Member

    1) This is an irrelevant sunk cost, actually. Financially, the only thing that should matter at this point is the NPV of the degree taking into account only the money he is investing going forward.

    2) A good point, but time/employment is likely a factor, as it is with most DL students.

    3) This is a good point. I question the utility of a non-RA doctorate even more than the utility of a for-profit RA doctorate.


    For the following comments I will be frank:

    If the degree is only for personal enrichment or vanity, it is completely stupid to waste your retirement funds. If the expected ROI of the investment isn't solid, you are gambling your future for a vanity sheepskin. It's not worth it, IMO.
  10. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    That is certainly worth considering. Thank you.
  11. b4cz28

    b4cz28 New Member

    They are equal in vanity; I know nothing of either school. All I know is that you said you could not use a NCU degree to teach, and you can't use a Aspen degree to teach. So what's up now?
  12. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    The DETC degree would be for vanity mostly. However, it would qualify me for the automatic pay raise a teacher gets with a doctorate and it would still open doors to possible principal jobs.
  13. cjzande

    cjzande New Member

    Advice from a complete NON-expert.

    1) I am the kind of person who is all about the ROI, so my gut is, if it won't pay off, don't do it. But you have to understand my mentality and how biased I really am. I consider *every* purchase our family makes, even something like a $9 fee to use the community pool & water park yesterday, against where else that money could and should go. In the pool's case, I felt it was absolutely worth it for the fun my kids had. OTOH, a group of homeschoolers I know have gotten together and signed up to attend a SAT prep course for $99. Considering how much free info is out there between the internet and local library, I would never pay someone $99 to tell me something I could easily find out on my own. Yes, it would save me some trouble and yes, it's "only" $99, but that's $99 less in our savings account if I pay it.

    That's how my mind works, so $45K for a degree that may never earn that money back (and more) to me would be a bad choice.

    But of course, I'm not you and you aren't me! :) You may feel in the end that the "vanity" portion is worth it. And I am not saying that in a critical way at all. There are a lot worse things out there that people blow way more money than that on. Look at it this way, many new cars/SUVs/trucks cost at least that much, and people drive them off the lot every day. And after a few years, the vehicle is worth half as much and they're already looking at buying the newest, latest and greatest wheeled wonder. That degree may benefit you in other ways, such as the educational value itself, a boost in confidence when you complete it, and somewhere down the line people may not be as snotty as....

    I can't STAND this rubbish. It's the same nonsense homeschoolers run into all the time. Just because it's an educational path not done by the "traditional" route, doesn't automatically mean it's so far inferior that it's worthless. Things have slowly turned around for homeschoolers. Perhaps down the line it will be the same for DLers. Just think, my kids, who are 15 and 13, see *nothing* different between an online degree and a B&M one. Now granted, they have a perspective formed by homeschooling, but I do think their generation is on the forefront of this, and the kids who come behind them will even more see the advantages of this type of learning.

    Here in Florida, there is FLVS - Florida Virtual School. It offeres free online classes for middle and high schoolers. While homeschoolers use it, certainly, the majority of students are actually public schoolers who use the program to pick up a class here or there that they need but couldn't fit into their schedule. These kids are seeing how distance learning works, first hand, and so, years from now, it may very well be that the generations coming after us see online learning and online degrees as equal to their counterparts and that attitude your dean has copped will have to either change with the times or be eliminated with retirement.
  14. mcjon77

    mcjon77 Member

    I know. I asked that question to figure out how much additional he would need to spend. He already said that the degree will cost $45K, if he has already spent $30K, then he choice might be different than if he had only spent $3K. In the first case you are "only" looking at spending an additional $15K, in the second, you are looking at spending an additional $42K.
  15. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    Oh, I'm vain. I freely admit that. I would love to be called Dr. Oliver. I was even thinking about making my wife call me that. Think she would go along? :)
  16. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    Nah, I'm only out about $5K so far.
  17. mcjon77

    mcjon77 Member

    OK, this makes things more clear. As I understand it, you are a secondary school teacher. Your school board will grant you the same privileges if you have a DETC degree as it would if you have an RA degree. The only limitation (it seems) is possible future university teaching. However you have already said that the university you wanted to teach at would not look at your NCU doctorate anyway. To top it off, you will be pulling money out of your retirement to pay for the NCU degree?

    You actually may be the PERFECT example of someone who would/should chose a DETC doctorate over an RA doctorate. cool.
  18. Tireman 44444

    Tireman 44444 Well-Known Member

    Nope, my wife will not....and she is working on her PhD too...LOL
  19. cjzande

    cjzande New Member

    HEE. She should! If my husband said, "Call me Doctor Chris," I would. 'Course, *ahem* is this TMI? ;)
  20. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    LOL. She calls me a lot of things, but doctor is not one of them. :rolleyes:

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