UNISA Phd

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by AdamJLaw, Mar 11, 2009.

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  1. AdamJLaw

    AdamJLaw New Member

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    I'd like a PhD. Mostly for myself. I haven't nailed down a subject area yet. I've never considered a foreign degree; I think the main reason is that I'm not sure how it will be received. So, from those with experience, how are foreign degrees received by potential employers? In addition, it looks like UNISA offers PhD's that research degrees, no course work required. Is that like only doing a dissertation? How hard are they compared to a U.S. school?
     
  2. bazonkers

    bazonkers New Member

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    Foreign PhDs are considered "easier" than US PhDs in the world of academia. I don't think in the business world they would make this same judgment, however.
     
  3. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

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    As I've often mentioned, during the 9 years I was involved with the Heriot-Watt (Scottish) MBA, we kept careful track, and of the first 1,000 Americans to sign up, 98% got acceptance from their employers.

    Douglas Dean, the prisoner who wrote the "Degrees for prisoners" chapter of my book, earned his UNISA PhD in psychology (after no US school would accept him). It took him ten years -- but that was from a maximum security cell, and allowed only one book at a time, and no phone, internet, or even typewriter, and guards who enjoyed destroying his notes when he was at exercise, etc. etc. He figures he could have done it in 3 years under normal circumstances. (He is now a licensed psychologist in Wisconsin, and will be in prison for life.)
     
  4. AdamJLaw

    AdamJLaw New Member

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    Would somebody be able to land a tenure track postion at a four year college? It doesn't have to be a large research school. A small state school where professors actually teach is fine.
     
  5. chrislarsen

    chrislarsen New Member

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    My guess is that you should be able to do so. However, a degree from a British or Australian school would probably give you alot more cachet. You know academics can be oh so snobby! :)
     
  6. bazonkers

    bazonkers New Member

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    I don't work in academia so take my advice for what it's worth. U.S. PhDs are considered more rigorous because they require 2 years of coursework as well as the dissertation. I think you'd have a hard time getting a tenure track job in the U.S. with a dissertation only PhD. That said, it's not impossible but you'd have to have a good list of publications etc. on your C.V.

    Right now, the humanities fields have so many more PhDs than TT job openings. You'd be at a disadvantage competing against that pool of candidates for the few jobs that open every year.

    If it's in a hot field like accounting, you'd have an easier time I think.
     
  7. RFValve

    RFValve Active Member

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    The utility of a UNISA PhD in the US would be about the same than one from an online school like Walden, CApella, NCU, etc. Basically, it can help you in situations where the accredited doctorate is required but is not going to put you on top of list.

    Although a PhD from UNISA is a lot cheaper from the tuition fee point of view, this type of degrees are meant for academics in South Africa and are very rigorous and I would expect them to be a lot harder and demanding than your typical online American PhD.

    In few words, not because it is research only, it would be easier than an Ameican PhD from a better school.

    As the UNISA PhD would be as hard as any other PhD from a more recognized school in the UK or Australia. I would rather spend a bit more money and put your time on a more recognized Australian or British school only because they are more recognized in Academia. If you do the UNISA PhD, you will find yourself with a degree that might take a lot more work than your average online PhD from a virtual school but with about the same utility.
     
  8. okydd

    okydd New Member

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    http://www.webometrics.info/top100_continent.asp?cont=africa


    There are about 15,000 universities in the world; approx. 3500 of them in the USA. 7 universities from RSA are ranked in the top 1200 in the world; Uniza is ranked 1529 in the world. Hey check your, US’s degree to see if your are competing globally with one from the RSA
     
  9. RFValve

    RFValve Active Member

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    In the US, contrary to UK, Australia, South Africa and Canada. You have a wide range of schools and there is a huge difference between the best and the worst school. A PhD from Harvard is highly respected world wide but there are many American schools that grant PhDs in accelerated format (not only virtual) that wouldn't cut it for most of Academic positions at world class Universities.

    I agree that a very rigorous school in the US wouldn't compare to your average SA school but also it is safe to say that UNISA would be a lot more rigorous than your average online PhD from a virtual school only because UNISA PhDs are not meant for working professionals but for people looking for Academic careers and many of these students already work in Academia.

    UNISA PhDs might not so recognized in the US but I see quite a few academics teaching in Australia and the UK with these degrees.
     
  10. bazonkers

    bazonkers New Member

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    Oops, my post was very U.S. centric. My thought was meant for TT jobs in the U.S. A UNISA PhD might be totally competitive for UK and Australia.
     
  11. Jayzee

    Jayzee New Member

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    I have said this before, and I will repeat it again: If you are getting a degree in Business, you should be more concerned about AACSB accreditation than the location of the school. Please feel free to read my other posts in this regard. UNISA is not AACSB accredited, and to me thats the end of story. There are many other universities that are AACSB accredited AND they allow you the distance ed option as well for your doctorate. At a conference recently, I was surprised how well known Grenoble Ecole de Management was.
     
  12. Farina

    Farina New Member

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    I'd like to add that it depends on what type of school you'd like to work for and in what capacity. Although I received my BA degree from an Ivy League B&M, working at a large research university, does not interest me. I am now employed at a for profit university, where the pay is better and the mobility from adjunct to administrator is faster. However, I am interested in humanities and liberal arts subjects, and those tend to be more of the traditional areas of B&M schools. There are some, but not many online schools offering graduate degrees in theses areas. However, there are more and more job openings for Humanities, English, Social Science professors in the for profit universities. My dean received her BA and MA from a prestigious B&M in DC, but her doctorate from UNISA and she is a dean, has been a professor, and has done well for herself. So, I know that getting a doctorate from UNISA can work in the US, at least in the for profit sector.
     
  13. guitarmark2000

    guitarmark2000 Member

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    Interesting and very motivating. Question - I had though that the PhD program for UNISA normally required at least a couple of residencies. Given that Mr. Dean was incarcerated, so this was therefore impossible, was this an exception or is there a way to complete the doctorate without flying to South Africa?
     
  14. ebbwvale

    ebbwvale New Member

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    The thesis at a Commonwealth University, such as UNISA, is about 80,000 words on an original topic. There will be little structure around your research. Coursework tends to provide that structure. PHD's at these universities are incredibly difficult and marked very hard. Most reputable universities know about PHD's from other establishments around the world. If they don't, their library does or should.

    I think they are the ultimate academic challenge for persistence and focus. The vast majority of students do not complete it. I would be thinking of making a decisionmaking paradigm something similar to the following:
    1. What structure and support do I need to survive this? Contact with other PHD's will be useful, but they will be on different journeys. Good library support will be essential as will supervisor contact. Undertaking a PHD is a bit like a baby arriving in the house. Life will dramatically change.
    2. Price is material. You can spend an enormous amount on this study and for marginal gain, if the degree is self satisfaction only. Cost benefit analysis is important. Can the cost be offset or other benefits be gained? Tax issues often help. For example, foreign travel may be attributed in some circumstances to PHD costs;
    3. Are there going to be cultural differences if you go offshore that may make your studies more difficult (sometimes easier). English is not always English as you may know it, and different sorts of administration may be in place. I did a US degree from Australia and frequently ran into issues relating to culture where meanings differed. Sometimes to my advantage;
    4. Topic selection. If you have a topic in mind, what university may be best able to support your exploration of it. Most Brit.Commonwealth unis will require that you come to them with a topic. Others have coursework that will enable you to find a topic and reduce it to an increment that you can research. Topic reduction to a researchable enterprise is not an easy process. Do you have a topic, can the univerity support its exploration, or do you need support to find a researchable topic?

    Each of the above may be weighted differently depending upon your experience and imperatives. It is now a global environment, and is really a great shopping mall for education. Look for the best fit for your needs. All the best for your decision.
     
  15. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

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    Fantastic post! A whole bunch of info/experience distilled into a few lines.
     
  16. RoscoeB

    RoscoeB Senior Member

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    A few years ago, when I wanted to know how SA degrees are viewed in the U.S., I contacted the provost officers of several universities. The officer at one school had just returned from SA and was surprised by my call. She said the quality of education in SA was equivalent to US schools, and that SA doctorates would be treated like US doctorates. The second officer on my list (from Howard University), said his school had a partnership with SA universities.

    I did a quick search and found a number of US schools, including one in Michigan, have partnerships with SA schools.

    Then I went to an academic conference and met five scholars (from the US and the UK) who had lectured at SA schools. One scholar I met, who teaches at Oral Roberts University, held a doctorate from UNISA.


    Roscoe
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2009
  17. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina New Member

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    Would a doctorate from UNISA qualify one for a tenure-track faculty position? Certainly it would, but that would only be one of the qualifications. If the candidate had a solid research background, including peer-reviewed publications, good documented teaching experience and some "real world" discipline experience, then he or she would be competitive. So many of my colleagues have doctorates from foreign universities (including UNISA), that I would not be too concerned about persuing a UNISA Ph.D.
     
  18. Scott Henley

    Scott Henley New Member

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    Easier? You're kidding, right? American Ph.D.'s are a hybrid coursework/dissertation process whereas European Ph.D.'s are more research-oriented but may involved some courses or seminars (depending on master's-level preparation).

    I think most would certainly accept a few courses to have less dissertation work! This would be my opinion of easier. So, I think American Ph.D.'s are easier.
     
  19. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

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    Choosing a subject area should be your first item of business. Given the whole "research degree" thing, you will be expected to have all of your classroom work out of the way before you apply. So in your case you will probably need to look at CJ or maybe something closely cognate like sociology.

    I expect that they will want you to have a rough-draft ressearch proposal when you apply. That's how they will decide whether they have faculty whose expertise is suitable to guide you.

    I was looking at UNISA's religious studies offerings a while back. I noticed that it has a lot happening in Christian theology, often with a rather African-centric and politicized focus. There's also some strengths in Semitics, Hebrew and (increasingly) Arabic. Biblical textual and historical studies get lots of attention. But South Asian and East Asian religions get very little attention. UNISA covers some aspects of religion very well, others hardly at all. So it's difficult to say flatly whether UNISA is good or bad, strong or weak. One needs to ask, good or bad in what, exactly?

    That's true with all universities, I guess.

    Basically the same thing.

    If your intention is to teach, "research degrees" may raise some concern if you haven't actually studied the material that the employer needs taught. Often openings are for people who can teach a particular related set of classes. If your dissertation was in a totally different area and if you haven't had graduate classes in the area that you would be teaching, then you might not be their guy. American doctoral programs include breadth requirements and comprehensive examinations in hopes (not always realized) of preparing graduates able to teach a broader syllabus. (The DA degree was invented to address this problem, but it hasn't caught on.)

    If your intention is to become a researcher, then a lot will depend on the topic of your dissertation and on how well it meshes with your employer's needs. They will be interested in your research experience and publications.
     
  20. bazonkers

    bazonkers New Member

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    This is the opinion that I have recieved from many people going through U.S. PhD programs. They felt that the amount of work is similar in writing the dissertation and the the added difficulty comes in because they also have to take 2 years of coursework as well as learning the breadth requirements and preparing for the comprehensive examinations. I don't have a PhD so take my comments with a grain of salt.
     

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