UNISA frustration

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by danielchase, Jun 5, 2016.

  1. danielchase

    danielchase New Member

    Hi all,

    I am interested in applying to UNISA. I already have a bachelor's and master's degree in a different field. My interest is in Classical Studies. I sent an email to an instructor, and he provided me with some general information, but I find it confusing. The UK style system is different from here in the States. I gather that there are two different types of bachelor's degrees: a 'regular' and an 'honors'. I am wanting to start with bachelor's level work and go from there. In other words, this is not for professional goals. I just want an affordable way to study for pleasure with some guidance from qualified instructors.

    A few years ago, I spoke with a person from IACI. He was difficult to understand due to an accent. I find his website confusing as well.

    Is there anyone here that is a current UNISA student that would be willing to walk me through the process of applying and answer some general questions?

    Thanks in advance
  2. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    You should just go ahead and ask your questions.
  3. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

    UNIza may not be a good fit for you. English when spoken is with a South Africa accent. Also it programmes are primarily gear towards Africa. You may feel more comfortable with a uk programme.
  4. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, dealing with UNISA has been fraught with difficulties over the years. While it's gotten better, reports like this continue to arise. Still, reports are that dealing with UNISA is better when done through a representative. You might want to give IACI a try again.
  5. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    One thing that can be said is in regards to this whole "two Bachelors degrees" business. It's actually not exactly true. In South Africa (and other countries that subscribe to the Commonwealth system) a Bachelors degree takes three years of full-time study. The fourth year is called the Honors year and you earn your Honors degree. This is a more focused year of study and typically involves more independent study and writing. If you plan to do any sort of Masters or Doctoral degree the Honors degree is generally considered to be mandatory. If you bother to compare the two you'll see that there is another distinct difference between US Bachelors degrees and the British style of Bachelors degree. The US has a broader "Liberal Arts" focus where student will take a certain number of "general education" credits. These are typically divided between language courses, humanities courses, social science and science courses. In the British system (including the one in South Africa) the courses you take are more focused in a narrower range of subjects so that a History major will take mostly history courses and very little else (relatively speaking).
  6. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    Many years ago, I considered UNISA, but did not embark down that path, due to concerns about:
    - communication barriers
    - language barriers
    - and cultural barriers.

    However, the price is right!
  7. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I once considered doing a DTech at the Technikon SA (now absorbed into UNISA). Same concerns, same reaction about price.
  8. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    I my experience, and what we've heard on this board from people who have actually earned a UNISA degree, the registration/enrollment process is rather easy these days. The main problem, as I see it, is that people do not want to sit down and read through the website, download the brochures/info sheets, follow the instructions as they are laid out. If you do it as it is specified it's a pretty straightforward process. The FIRST thing you need to do is get a student number. This is something you do before even applying for admission. If you send an email or make a phone call and you have no student number you will probably be ignored. This is stated clearly on the site. But people don't read - they want to ask questions. Then they can't reach someone who will answer them so they blame it on the school. Virtually every question is answered if you look for it. Once you are registered/enrolled communication is much easier and everything flows better. We see the same thing here. People come on to the site and post a question without even noticing that the answer is already right in from of them. In this way I think that much of the criticism of UNISA is a myth from 10-15 years ago. Oh, and another thing, IACI-Canada is not as useful as it once was. Response times are slower, errors more common. I hesitate to recommend them unless a person is simply having an impossible time with the UNISA site. Overall, this is not a program for someone who needs a lot of hand-holding but if you have initiative and some determination there should not be any substantial obstacles.
  9. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    From what I can tell, it's still very cheap. But the website's tool for estimating fees doesn't seem to be working. Also, they say in several areas that international (especially non-African) students' fees might go up dramatically. Right now, it looks like you could do a degree for around $US1,200 per year, plus books and materials (like accessing the library). Wow.

    Even if they change how they subsidized foreign students, I think it will still be very cheap.

    Master's degrees are almost all thesis-only and have a maximum of 3 years (with a 4th year available). Doctorates must take at least two years; not sure on the maximum.

    I agree with Kizmet; the website is far more revealing than ever before, and the thing about getting a student number first is mentioned all over the place. They have info on how to apply, what to include, and how your research proposal (for graduate degrees) should be organized. Nice.

    Whatever delays and hassles remain, how can you beat that price? Also, it's a well-respected school (ranked 6th in Africa). What's not to like?
  10. Tireman 44444

    Tireman 44444 Well-Known Member

    I will say this. If you need hand holding, UNISA is not your school. If you need to be motivated, UNISA is not your school. If you want to have contact with your co-chair at UNISA every week, UNISA is not your school. If you are motivated. If you can have time schedules on your own. If you get a dissertation coach ( I did) and a co-chair ( in the US) that works with you every week, then you can do it. It is hard. I can only speak for me. I can only speak for the History department. I plan ( the plan is) to finish in December of 2016. It has been a LONG, HARD road. I hope this helps
  11. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

    I didn't know dissertation coaches even existed. Makes sense, now that I think about it.
  12. Tireman 44444

    Tireman 44444 Well-Known Member

    Yep. She helps a ton. Keeps me organized. Proofs my chapters. Yep, love her.
  13. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

    Where does one find a dissertation coach?
  14. Tireman 44444

    Tireman 44444 Well-Known Member

    Well, mine is a colleague and has helped many at my institution earn the doctorates. I guess you could search the local universities (Harvard, BC, BU and such). I am sure they advertise.
  15. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

    I did a quick Google search for "dissertation coach" and found many of them.
  16. louisnguyen27

    louisnguyen27 New Member

    I had bad experience with UNISA so I decided to apply for SMC University. I asked for the DPhil program information then they said to me that it was fine with a Master degree in business and management from a recognized university. When I submitted my Mphil at Stellenbosch U., another SA U., they replied to me that my Mphil in Future Studies program was closing down at Stellenbosch and they would not accept my Mphil. If you look at Stellenbosch Business School website, This program is still enrolling student up to PhD level. Frustrated. I personally think that UNISA is a good university but it has too many political problems and it is more suitable for SA students than for foreigners.
    Anyway SMC is fine to me, affordable.
  17. jonlevy

    jonlevy Member

    I tried UNISA about 3 or 4 years ago, even just trying to pay them was awful as was registering. Others have had similar issues. If you could ever get a degree out of them, it would be great but their administration is incompetent and really could care less. You really need be very lucky or in South Africa to make it work in some instances.

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