UNISA Question - Pretoria

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by matteodiaz, Jan 28, 2020.

  1. matteodiaz

    matteodiaz New Member

    I just graduated with a Master's in Theology and have been accepted into a History Ph.D. program here in the U.S. However, I have been having second thoughts on taking on so much debt and have begun looking for cheaper options for doctoral degrees in history, theology, humanities, etc.

    I came across UNISA and was impressed with the number of programs they offered. And it seems very, very affordable. I noticed that I can not use my FASFA loan, but it seems attending the University does qualify someone for a deferment.

    From what I have briefly read online UNISA seems to have a decent reputation, but will my degree from their not be accepted here in the U.S.? And to the degree, that there might be some non-acceptance, would it be wide-spread, or just here and there?

    Oh, almost forgot.......my end goals are to be a professor.

    Thank you in advance! This is all new to me.
  2. jonlevy

    jonlevy Active Member

    UNISA is 100% legitimate. However, if your goal is to be faculty in the US and you do not have a History MA, I think a distance learning PhD would hold much less weight against candidates who have completed 4-6 years on campus at a US accredited school. You are at a further disadvantage because your theology degree would not count for much in history circles. You also would not have experience as a research assistant or teaching assitant that most employers would deem desirable. Finally, competition for tenure track jobs is so fierce, that you would likely be unemployable at that level since your rivals would have degrees from top notch universities, teaching experience, and published papers as well as faculty pushing for them. UNISA will be of no use except for the degree.
    RoscoeB and matteodiaz like this.
  3. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    One element that I think gets underplayed is the willingness to relocate. I assume that a person who earns a PhD in History (from any school) understands that in order to become a full-time university Professor you're going to have to relocate. So it's a small jump to ask "How far are you willing to move?" And now that you've got your bags packed, why not move to Asia or some other place where they might love to have an American instructor, regardless of whether their degree was earned online, in Africa or whatever. This is the point where most people are saying to themselves, "I'm not sure that I want to teach that much."

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  4. matteodiaz

    matteodiaz New Member

    Hi Jonlevy,

    I am sorry, I left out a lot of info.....will have:

    Business BA
    History MA
    Theology MA

    thx for the reply
  5. jonlevy

    jonlevy Active Member

    I'd still say UNISA would be my last choice if I was serious about being a tenure track history professor. You would lack supervised teaching experience, supervised research experience, publications, and potential for mentor relationships available at bricks and mortar. If Elite U is not possible, then go for State U. Additionally, I would think grants are available, they have to fill up seats or lose PhD programs at some state universities in unpopular majors with poor employment possibilities like history. In all seriousness, history is one of those fields where spending 4-6 years getting a PhD will actually result in a net loss in earning potential over doing nothing at all if debt is incurred.
  6. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    The odds of you actually getting a tenure-track position in a history department are so remote, regardless of what path you take, that going into debt to qualify for one would be extremely ill-advised.
    RoscoeB and ITJD like this.
  7. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    I don't know if this is practical but you may want to get your foot into a professorship in other field and once you are in and proved yourself, explore possibilities and work toward
    getting assistant professor, adjunct or instructor in the history department and build on this.
    Also, you may want to explore instructor positions at colleges and universities before earning your Ph.D. You can work on DL Ph.D in parallel to your employment.
  8. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

    A traditional cost benefit analysis doesn’t make sense, if you’re serious about education. There’s simply better options, if a financial return is your motivating factor. Granted, of course you have to consider debt loads. Yes, it’s almost a certainty that you’ll have to move. Yes, it will be very challenging to break into the field and landing a tenure track position will be even harder. The competition for history positions is fierce, and the opportunities are shrinking.

    From everything I’ve researched, thanks to some incredible assistance from people on this board, a UNISA Doctorate is probably most appropriate for someone who is already an accomplished professional in their field, and primarily needs to check a box.

    You already have the credentials to start teaching. There are even countless online adjunct positions, so you could start doing this from anywhere. I’m not sure what line of work you’re currently in, but it’s something to consider. It will also provide an awareness of how challenging the field is.

    There’s a number of people here who’ve taught in related fields who can provide better guidance, but I wouldn’t state it’s impossible by any means. Keep in mind that there are some huge distinctions between schools as well.
  9. Tireman 44444

    Tireman 44444 Well-Known Member

    Here are my thoughts and no I will not use the PhD for a tenure track position, although it is not about the school so much as the publishing and teaching in the field of history....

    Ok, my take...( Mine is not the ordinary..by far. I am now in year 10..by the time I am defending, December 2020, it will be 11 and 1/2 years. Yes, another year.. MOST UNISA DOCTORATES DO NOT TAKE THIS LONG!!..lol. The record in the history department is 12 years...more lol)...

    1. I used Dr. Esselen and his group at IACI to get into UNISA. They are very picky as to whom they let in, so it took awhile to get in ( I applied in 2007, got in in July 2009)
    2. You have 7 years to finish, but I was given yet another extension by my co-chair at UNISA to finish. July 2019 makes year 10. I am hoping for December 2019 to defend, but I have until February 2020 to finish.
    3. IT IS HARD. If you need hand holding, UNISA is not your school. If you need constant supervision, UNISA is not your school.
    4. Yes, it is inexpensive. The most I have paid is $2200 dollars a year. This past March I paid $1600.00
    5. I can only speak for the history department. I have no idea about the other departments.

    This is the process:

    1. You have to get selected. Someone in the department ( history) has to have an interest in your research
    2. Then you are selected. That person who wanted to work with you ( and that is a very loose term, he has not ever) will ask you to pick a co-chair. That person has to be an expert in your field.
    3. Then you and the co-chair "do the dissertation" as it were. When it is up to his/her liking, the two pick a committee of three experts in your field
    4. That committee revises and works it over until they are satisfied
    5. You defend. No I do not have to go to Pretoria. Yes, I am doing by Google Hangouts
    6. Corrections are to be made afterward ( if there are any)
    7. You cannot call yourself ( not that I want to ...ever..after all this) doctor until you get your degree
    8. No, I am not going to Pretoria to walk. 2K a ticket is too rich for my blood

    Lastly, invest in a dissertation coach. She has helped a ton with scheduling ( although I do most of it)

    This is on the doctoral side of UNISA..specifically for the history department.
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  10. jonlevy

    jonlevy Active Member

    So it is lacking most of what a bricks and mortar History PhD would experience except for the frustration with thesis statements and committee members. i do not see it as a viable way to a tenure track faculty position. Also seems to take forever based on your experience.
  11. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    If you're looking for an online Ph.D. in History, check out Liberty University.
  12. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    You have still left out a lot of info. From what specific schools did you earn these three degrees?
  13. Tireman 44444

    Tireman 44444 Well-Known Member

    Well, again, as I stated in my comments, MOST UNISA DOCTORATES DO NOT TAKE THIS LONG!! Most take 4-5 years. Please do not use me as a litmus test. My committee members and chair are a different kind of animal.
  14. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    All I will add to this is that in my very limited exposure to Ph.D programs in History - this goes back to 2001 when I had just finished my first degree and had an opportunity to go to a very well-known school for their program - the money you get afterwards for the time you put in is not worth it alone, even if you get tenure. You have to love history, and research.

    Additionally, even though I'm sure the average for most people to get that Ph.D is less than 10 years, of the small group of people I know that have done it (6), half of them took 9-10 years to complete. That's not a population worthy of a true measure and they're not representative of the greater population as they were all tier one schools, however it's worth thinking about before you walk the path. There's nothing more interesting to watch from the outside than two or three historians debating the merits of specific points within a dissertation. However, the reason it's interesting is more about watching the poor doctoral student rise or fall than seeing educated people bicker about whether or not something can be reasonably supported when you're talking about things that happened a long time ago.

    If you love history and you have something that you'd love to research, and the pull of that topic is something that keeps you warm at night - do it. But figure it out before you write a 700 page paper on the rise and fall of the Judeo-Christian faiths between the time of the Romans and the Second Council of Nicea only to be quoted by other people in their dissertations then spend years bickering to end up in a IT career path... (where an entry level coder makes as much as a tenured faculty member in a history department)

    I'm not bitter.. really. :)
    RoscoeB likes this.
  15. D.Joseph

    D.Joseph New Member

    I realize that this thread is a little dated, however I am seriously entertaining the idea of Ph.D from UNISA, University of KwaZulu-Natal, et. al. I am not interested in a tenured teaching position (working in Logistics pays much better) and teach some as an Adjunct. However, my experience is that navigating the entrance (selection ) to these schools is fraught with difficulty. Some are requiring a SAQA evaluation, some do not. Anyone with insight into this process, it would be quite helpful.
  16. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    DL PhD ≠ Faculty post. [​IMG]
  17. tempORary_Harry

    tempORary_Harry New Member

    Has anyone here done the UNISA DBL, DBA, or Doctor of Commerce? What's the step by step, year by year progression? What's the soonest one can graduate potentially? I'm very motivated, work 65-72 hrs per week, but if pursuing the Doctorate, would reduce to 35hrs and use the remaining hrs on the Doctorate.
  18. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Please consider doing a search on this board. There is a great deal of information about UNISA and the travails necessary to completing a degree with them.
    RoscoeB likes this.

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