University of Sedona Dissertation

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Garp, Mar 9, 2016.

  1. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    There is another thread discussing exempt schools and issues related to quality. I came across this site where the person posted her Thesis and Dissertation. This school is not accredited.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 9, 2016
  2. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

  3. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    Looks like an approximately 16 source bibliography for the PhD that includes wiki and the dictionary as two of the sources. Length 41 pages.
  4. RAM PhD

    RAM PhD Member

    Total of 41 pages, 30 of which comprise the body, the rest is front matter, an appendix, and a bibliography of 16 sources. A PhD dissertation containing definitions of basic words like "grief" from Webster.
  5. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Bear in mind that exempt schools are really meant to train ordained ministers and not scholars.
    Picking on a poor dissertation for a religious degree is of little value in my opinion.
    This type of degrees are not meant to apply for regular jobs in the private sector or to become professors in a traditional school but just to act as a spiritual guide, life coach, personal development, minister, etc.
    I think the main problem with these credentials is that they use the same degree designations as regular degrees from academic schools such as PhD.
    Regulations should restrict degrees to religious designations such as MDiv, DD, DMin, etc and prevent religious schools from granting PhDs and use psychology in their titles to avoid confusion with Psychology PhDs.

    In Canada, this type spiritual schools are prevented from issuing degrees but just certificates and ordination certificates. There are seminars that grant religious degrees but they are accredited and should pass certain requirements to grant degrees. American regulations allow religious schools to grant degrees and I think this is the problem, some people abuse this and get a religious degree and then sell themselves as psychologists as the example cited.
  6. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    It sounds like something a bright high schooler might produce.
  7. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Religious schools may be exempt from licensing laws in many situations, but they should not be exempt from requiring quality work from their students consistent with the standards one would expect from recipients of degrees. A PhD should be the result of a dissertation/thesis worthy of the award. (This goes for religion-related professional degrees, too.) Thus, critiquing the dissertation in question seems entirely reasonable.

    I'm not interested in criticizing the length; the dissertation should be as long (or as short) as necessary to present the research, its context, its findings, and its contribution. However, it is difficult to believe all of that can be accomplished in a short space, especially given the nature of the topic, which itself demands an exploratory process.

    Nor am I interested in criticizing the number of citations. There should be enough to accomplish two things: establish the context of the research and support the contentions made. However, the quality and relevance of the citations should be examined. Quoting Shirley MacLaine as a reliable and scholarly source might be a weakness, for example.

    The introductory paragraph should bring the reader into the research area and lead to the big question or issue being examined. I don't see that here.

    The literature review is designed to set the context for the research, "teeing up" the project by describing what's gone on before and how this research contributes to it. I don't see that here.

    The research methods section is supposed to give the reader a clear picture of how the research question was examined. This gives the reader confidence that the process was sufficient and comprehensive. It presents the questions being researched (in a deductive approach) or the phenomenon being studies (in an inductive approach). I don't see that here.

    The results section should tell the reader what was found. In a quantitative study, hypotheses are tested and results listed. In a qualitative study, the data are presented and analyzed for meaning as they relate to the question(s) posed (deductive) or how they explain the phenomenon theoretically (inductive). I don't see that here.

    The discussion section should discuss how the research findings fit back into the context of the academic discipline's prior scholarship, how these findings impact the field, implications for future practice and research, etc. I don't see that here.

    One possible explanation for the lack of empirical research presented here could be that the author has chosen to create a comprehensive analysis of the extant literature as her contribution. But I don't see that here.

    This is not a doctoral dissertation by any stretch of the imagination. It fails to do at all many aspects of a dissertation, and weakly imitates a few others. In fact, it would fail even as a simple term paper, since it has no purpose and accomplishes no outcome.

    The institution issuing the degree has a troubling page regarding accreditation. It reminds me of the politician running for office while simultaneously excoriating government--the very one he/she is trying to join. This school decries the structures around higher education in America, yet issues degrees that mimic those issued by the structure this school rejects. I really wish we could put these operations into a separate category and have them issue credentials (not degrees) unique to them and representing what they do--not pretending to be degree-granting institutions of higher education. They are not.
  8. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    We are indeed discussing exempt institutions in the other thread. And some might disagree with me but I feel that the Ph.D. is not a religious degree and should never be included in the exemption (along with B.A./B.S./B.P.S. and their graduate equivalents). This is not a dissertation. And if she was sporting her D.D. only, I'd have more sympathy. If it was a purely religious degree of any sort I would have more sympathy. Bonus points if you make up something new that we can't really compare elsewhere (Doctor of Pagan Practice?).

    I think Rich says it best:

    Though I disagree with his later point. If they want to issue degrees, fine. But they better be pretty obviously religious in nature. That, of course, is only my personal opinion on how these things should work. So, take that for what it's worth.
  9. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 9, 2016
  10. mbwa shenzi

    mbwa shenzi Active Member

    The one entitled Dream Interpretation – The Missing Element Of Your Inner Self is a gem. Chapter 3: Methods - N/A.
  11. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

  12. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    I would assume based on the superficially similar quality, length, flaws and that the individuals are proud and posted their dissertations......the ignorance is genuine. They have no idea what a normative PhD dissertation looks like. It is possible that the University does not either if their faculty don't have accredited doctorates.
  13. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I'm not at all against academic degrees in religious subjects, even the PhD. I just think they should be held to the same standards, that's all.
  14. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I totally agree, the schools are abusing the exemption and granting PhDs mainly because these are degrees that are more recognized and linked to licensed professions such as psychologist. The individual in question might be deceiving people by handing in business cards with something like "John Doe PhD S. Psychologist" where S. stands for spiritual. The issue is that the individual is bypassing the legal requirement of a psychologist license by just adding an "S" or "pastoral psychologist" or any other religious modifier. For the average person, a psychologist is a psychologist and cannot differentiate between pastoral, spiritual, christian, metaphysics, etc psychologist.

    It is kind of ironic that these individuals claim to be spiritual and engage in unethical practices that might be legal but with an intent to deceive in order to charge psychologists fees.

    Most ordained ministers that I know, do it part time and with the intention to help society and do not present themselves as Psychologists. I think the proper designation should be "John Doe Metaphysical minister" and without any qualifier that implies that person has a doctorate as this term seems to be deceiving to me as people have a different idea of a doctorate and do not expect a one year part time program over the net. If the person insists in a doctorate, then DD should be used.
  15. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I think that the bottom line is that these are not really PhDs but ministerial credentials. The issue is that people are abusing the title and using it for a different purpose than practicing a religious faith but selling psychology services that was not the original purpose of the exemption.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 10, 2016
  16. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    There are PhDs in religious subjects and there should be. A PhD in Theology generally requires a three year MDiv plus an MTh and Greek, Hebrew and sometimes a modern language like German.

    These Sedona type degrees are not what is generally considered a PhD. I agree it is abuse of an exemption to try and create PhDs in Religious Psych that in no way mirror standard requirements.
  17. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Anybody - with / without degrees of any kind - who demonstrates they can make a living from this stuff (while not contravening any fraud laws) should automatically qualify for a degree - a Master's in Entrepreneurship, perhaps. :smile:

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 10, 2016
  18. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    Here is an example from Dr. John MacArthur's seminary (The Masters Seminary). It requires the MDiv (approx 90 credit hours), plus Master of Theology, Hebrew, Greek and knowledge of the German language for academic study in order to gain admission:
  19. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    I'm not saying that schools shouldn't be allowed to offer PhDs in religious subjects. I'm saying that unaccredited schools operating under religious exemption should not be able to offer the PhD and should only be able to offer clearly religious/ministerial degrees.

    during our last round of LBU discussions we saw an accounting professor sporting an LBU PhD in "interdisciplinary studies." A PhD even if it is ostensibly religious in nature should, as Rich is saying, be held to the same standard as other PhDs. My reason for believing that is a PhD can be used like the accounting professor uses it and make it appear to be a secular qualification. If LBU only awarded a D.Min. Or a D.D., I would have less of an issue with it.

    If the school is accredited then it, hopefully, lives up to the rigor and general expectations of all other accredited PhDs regardless of the subject. But religious exemption abuse seems greatest when the degrees bleed over into the secular world. B.A., B.S., the graduate equivalents, PhD, EdD and D.Sc. should all be verboten for schools operating under religious exemption unless they can prove that their programs live up to those standards.

    A D.D. I can see some flexibility in. A Doctor of Christian Studies is unlikely to use that degree to land a job teaching business law. A Master of Preaching is unlikely to use that degree with a secular employer. The problem isn't, I don't think, the religious exemption. It's the fact that the exemption is too open ended and people are exploiting it.
  20. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    These people have no clue about doctoral-level research. In some examples I perused, they apparently couldn't even be bothered to run a quick spell check or grammar check.

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