UNISA for PhD in Public Administration

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by mprimrosewbu, May 20, 2017.

  1. TomE

    TomE New Member

    Sorry, I don't think I do.

    Thankfully, it sounds like you do!
  2. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    A few things...

    1. Rankings, especially outside of USNWR, are worthless. Generally speaking, even USNWR offers no utility. If you have a degree from a top ranked program you are likely to see some people impressed with your education. But people aren't impressed with that education because a magazine published some ranking to sell more magazines. They're impressed because you have a degree from a top tier school. The Ivy League, and other elites, has a solid reputation because of the age of its member schools and the number of prestigious alumni who have passed through their halls, not because USNWR says they are good. Even bits of conventional wisdom fall apart as schools cultivate their own reputations. From Ivy is best we see notable exceptions like Stanford, Duke and MIT. Most schools, Ivy included, cannot be weighed against one another objectively as a whole. Some are better known for programs than others. A PhD in engineering from MIT is likely to carry more weight than the same degree from Cornell and a JD or MBA from Harvard is likely to impress more than comparable degrees from Columbia. No employer anywhere is basing hiring decisions, or even their opinion of a school, on rankings especially from any source other than USNWR.

    2. Capella and Walden have a few strikes against them. Mainly that they are newer than most schools and are for-profit. That may matter to some but not others. In the US, UNISA has no broad reputation. So it lacks name recognition. Worse than that, many folks in this land of ours have a negative view of anything with "Africa" in the name. Think back to the Ebola outbreak and how schools and churches in the US were telling people who had been in South Africa or Ethiopia at the time, thousands of miles from the Ebola outbreak, not to come in for fear of contamination. Folks here are wildly ignorant of Africa, its issues and it's history. That xenophobia shouldn't diminish how good of a school UNISA is. But it does mean that, in this country especially, the utility of UNISA degrees may be less than one might think.

    3. If you WANT a PhD (or any degree) then you should go with whichever school you like and can afford. If you NEED a PhD then you should look at which school will satisfy your immediate goals first and then look at how it will further your future goals.

    I worked with a guy who worked at a major hospital system. They were paying for his PhD from Walden. No debt and he had a very long and fairly impressive career. That Walden degree cannot ever be said to be holding him back. In his world it is probably just fine. If your goal is teaching then you might need to reconsider. If your goal is licensure then you need to look closely at those requirements. If your goal is prestige then you need to look at different schools altogether. Look at what will meet your requirements now. Then think about how that degree will serve you going forward. That guy earlier? His job history alone could probably see to his employment needs for life. The PhD is icing on the cake. And he has a teaching resume that includes some top tier schools (where he taught with only a masters). Plus a massive stack of peer reviewed publications. With no desire to ever be a full time academic he is probably fine. If his end goal was to become a tenured professor at Harvard, then Walden probably wouldn't have been able to get him where he is going.

    Only a very small handful of schools are not only very good but universally well regarded. Everything else is largely contextual. My favorite example of this is how when I told a job applicant I attended the university of Scranton, a respectable Jesuit school, he began laughing. When I didn't laugh in response he said "oh, is that a real school? I thought you were making an Office joke."

    Walden and Capella for all of their flaws have devotees in this country. People who, at the very least, have heard of them. UNISA is a good school. But the likelihood that someone will hear the school name, laugh, and then say "oh, sorry, I thought you were kidding" exists. And "but Nelson Mandela studied there" isn't the sort of thing you should need to say to defend your school.

    I get that folks take pride in their schools. Nothing wrong with that. But you also need to be realistic about the limitations that every school has.
  3. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    There is no evidence, from any source, that Walden/Capella are ranked higher than UNISA or that they provide better ROI. You have just invented these ideas in your mind.
  4. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

    Oops. The OP already got the message.
  5. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    Oops. No thanks to you. Please don't mislead the newbies. They haven't been around long enough to recognize bad information when they see it.
  6. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

    take it easy my friend, Do you ever smell your bullsh@t?. It stinks like like rest of us. You just can't smell because of your nose blindness. Stop interfering in discourse. Stop trying to tell others how to think or read. You are an amazing moderator.
  7. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    I don't think the fact that the more expensive schools are American necessarily makes them preferable, if it means assuming a huge debt burden.

    I don't believe that's true. It's true that UNISA isn't considered one of the world's top universities, but it does have a research reputation and is even fairly prominent in a few subjects. In my opinion it's not particularly good in others. I don't know where its reputation currently stands in public administration.

    It might be in flux. Like all of South Africa's universities, I expect that UNISA's been experiencing a great deal of turmoil for years now. Faculty are being replaced and curricula re-written.

    I think that anyone proposing to enroll in a doctoral program needs to carefully study the faculty lists in their subject. Who is supervising doctoral students and what does their research look like? Will your own interests be a good fit?
  8. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    Thank you sweetie. Luv u 2
  9. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

    truce. For entertainment purposes, I promise to keep hitting below the belt only once a year.
  10. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I can't think of a more reputable one at that price point. Therefore, assuming you're talking about public administration because you work for some level of government in the U.S., I probably wouldn't bother at all.
  11. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    Other, somewhat more far-fetched ideas include the Malaysia Open University and IGNOU. You'd have to have some real pioneer spirit though because, as far as I know, none of our members has ever even enrolled in one of those schools so the whole thing is a bit of a mystery.

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