University of London - Distance-based PhDs

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by SouthSideSaint, May 12, 2010.

  1. SouthSideSaint

    SouthSideSaint New Member

    Good day all,

    First, I wanted to thank you all for the amount of time and effort that has gone into this board. I have been on the site for a day or two, and am simply amazed. There is a wealth of information here that is otherwise buried in the web and the issues surrounding programs, accreditation, perceptions, and educational worth are an invaluable resource for many. There is a great deal of experiences in these boards and I welcome your input on my situation.

    I have a question regarding the University of London, one that I could not seem to find a definitive answer on while searching the former postings.

    First allow me to briefly introduce myself, so you know the context in which I am seeking answers. I am 30 years old, from the US, and work in Emergency Management / Homeland Security for the government. I am a third generation public safety employee, and the first to attend college. I earned two Bachelors from a traditional BM state school, and my Masters in Emergency Management from an online program at The George Washington University. I am currently looking for a distanced-based program to earn my PhD in Public Policy, Public Administration or Political Science. (Just and FYI, the two local universities in my area the offer this degree are extraordinarily cost prohibitive, and will not work with the dynamic schedule of someone in the emergency services. I believe distance-based is my only alternative but am trying to stay away from Walden and Capella because I would like to teach one day.)

    My search has been a combination of exhaustive / frustrating, and I am amazed at how few programs are out there for this type of degree. I am not looking to avoid a residency or go to a diploma mill, but I would have assumed that some BM university would have established a cohort-style program in this field that allows for independent learning and required residency (1 to 2 weeks) at various intervals of the program.


    Reviewing the UofL‘s external site, they note that “It is not possible to study under the External System for an MPhil or PhD. All enquiries about higher degree study should be addressed to a College or Institute that offers the subject area in which you are interested.”

    I understand this to mean that yes; distanced-based PhDs are available, but established through the Lead School as opposed to the External System.

    This idea was further reinforced when I found this link to the Royal Holloway College,
    ( Royal Holloway, University of London ) where it states that “This Online Application Process is for:
    • Masters (on-campus)
    PhDs (on-campus and distance learning)
    • The Pre-Masters Diploma for International Students
    • The University Foundation Programme

    So, am I correct in assuming that distance-based PhDs, with applicable exams and papers, are available through the UofL? Does anyone have any experience in this arena? Any thoughts or input regarding this whole process is greatly appreciated.

    My Best,


    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    Not sure if University of London offers Ph.D via distance learning, but alternate Valdosta State University offers Doctor of Public Administration, and Regent University offers Ph.D in Organizational Leadership.
  3. novemberdude

    novemberdude New Member

    As far as I understand it, University of London is a consortium of universities. The external programme of the University of London does not offer distance learning PhDs. Whether any of the constituent colleges willing to allow a distance learning PhD student is up to that institution and may well vary on a case by case basis. It is worth remembering that traditionally the English PhD is a research degree that typically does not require any mandatory coursework.

    Your best bet would seem to be to identify any English schools that have a particular strength in your area of interest, come up with a doctoral research topic, and start shopping it around to departments and/or potential supervisors. It will be a lot of work but I can't effectively see another way to go (unless of course someone is aware of a distance learning based English PhD program in your area of interest, I'm not but I've never looked either).

    I think the suggestion of Valdosta State is a good one. It will also cost a lot less than a PhD from an English university (I would guess 40-50% but I have not looked at the numbers recently).

    Good luck with your search.
  4. AUTiger00

    AUTiger00 New Member

  5. SouthSideSaint

    SouthSideSaint New Member

    I actually received a call from UofL yesterday, after posting my initial discussion.

    UofL DOES offer distance-based PhDs on a case-by-case basis, through nearly all of their colleges. So, for example, the London School of Economics (LSE) has a PhD program in Social Policy, and the Birkbeck College has a PhD in Politics. The applicant must make contact with the school and instructor they are looking to work under and basically establish their own program.

    Residencies are held IN LONDON either 2 or 3 times a year, the program lasts generally 4 years, and the student is expected to produce a research document totaling near 100,000 words. (over 300 pages)

    I have a follow up phone call this afternoon with a Professor, and I'll post any new insights after that.

    By the way, thank you for posting the two other distanced based programs, I did not know they existed. Any other you guys can think of that fints my parameters?

  6. adiarycapt

    adiarycapt New Member

    Hi SouthSideSaint

    Hi SouthSideSaint. I came across your posting. Like you I'm searching for a PhD program in Public Health or Epidemiology. How did your search end?

  7. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    I believe that this has always been the case, just as you might approach any other British university with the same inquiry. They will accept the deal on a case by case basis. You may or may not be expected to make trips to the campus (they may require an annual visit, for example). But here is where I think you may be a bit off. If you were to approach Birkbeck and then if you were accepted as a DL PhD student at Birkbeck. Your diploma would read Birkbeck, not University of London. That is my current understanding. If you find out that I'm mistaken please let us know. Sometimes these details mean a lot to people.

  8. adiarycapt

    adiarycapt New Member

    Hi Kizmet. Thanks for your posting. I also came across PhD Public Health/Epidemiology at Lancaster University and University of Liverpool. Lancaster University appears to run it as a distant learning. But I'm not sure of the University of Liverpool. The question is: how good are the programs in the Lancaster University, i.e. accreditation stuff, market relevance, the fees, etc.? Does anyone have an experience? Once again, thanks.
  9. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    Somewhere I have a link to a listing of all legitimate British universities. Lancaster and Liverpool are among them. You needn't worry about accreditation with any of them. Of course, there's a hierarchy and there's always going to be controversy as to whether one school deserves to be listed at #11 and the next school at #12. I pay little attention to these issues. Look for a good fit. Look for faculty that share your research interests. Look at the cost and look at the convenience. (a school might appear less expensive until they tell you that you have to fly to campus twice per year and stay a week each time).
  10. adiarycapt

    adiarycapt New Member

    Thanks Kizmet. Your words are career-savers.

    Can you post me the link of the "listing of all legitimate British universities," and that is, if you are comfortable with doing so? Thanks.
  11. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    You do realize, do you not, that you are replying to a two year old thread.
  12. adiarycapt

    adiarycapt New Member

    Yap, definitely. That was why I asked how your search ended?
  13. warguns

    warguns Member

    It's 20 years since I got my degree at the LSE but the diploma reads

    University of London

    John Bear

    of the London School of Economics and Political Science​

    It's a U of London degree. Birkbeck is a constituent college of the university (and right next to ULU with the cheapest beer in central London) so the Uni issues the diploma. A few colleges now have the right to issue their own diplomas but I'm sure Birkbeck is not among them.
  14. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    My search?
  15. TEKMAN

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    Here is the sample of University of London's School Degree.

    Also, British Colleges and Universities ranking here is the link. Lancaster University is ranked number #9 after Cambridge and Oxford.
    URL: Top UK University League Tables and Rankings 2013 - Complete University Guide

    You cannot go wrong with Lancaster University and University of Liverpool; especially, they are public school and not private for-profit.
  16. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    The University of London sent you a diploma with John's name on it? How odd!
  17. bassethorn

    bassethorn New Member

    What are your thoughts about Aston University and its executive DBA? It is expensive.

    Also, what is the relationship between Laureate Online Education and University of Liverpool’s DBA programme? What does the diploma say?
  18. Steve King

    Steve King Member

    Here's a link to the DBA program mentioned: The Aston DBA

    The cost of roughly £36,000, total, doesn't seem outrageous. My doctoral program was more than $75,000. The Aston University program looks good from what little I can tell from their website; but I'd be curious to hear from someone familiar with the university.
  19. warguns

    warguns Member

    So famous am I that I had to study at the LSE using an alias :)
  20. warguns

    warguns Member


    Aston is one of the UK's newest universities and does not have the general prestige of the Russell Group, the leading research universities.

    Still Aston does pretty well in the several "league tables". It's 27 in the Guardian's

    University guide 2013: University league table | Education |

    well ahead of Manchester and Liverpool (both Russells) . The undergraduate program in business is ranked 22 out of 116 offered in the UK.

    University guide 2013: league table for business and management studies | Education |

    The MBA is AACASB, AMBA and Equis accredited.

    However, if you're not in the UK I can't predict how an Aston DBA would be regarded in academia or business. Non-Brits, and especially, Yanks, usually know little about UK universities beyond the obvious Oxford, Cambridge, maybe the LSE and now St Andrews and are liable to be suspicious of a distance degree from an unknown school.

    I don't know very much about the DBA market.

    I have an LSE degree and am frequently asked why I did not get it from Oxford or Cambridge instead.

    If you're considering an academic career, especially at competitive schools, I suggest a serious investigation and inquiry as to how the degree would be regarded. I do see that you have several UK degrees (is that QU Belfast?) so likely you know more about that than anyone on the board.

    And I have to agree the 39000 quid seems reasonable for a good DBA.

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