Wanting a PhD in English via distance-learning

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by LittleShakespeare90, Apr 20, 2021.

  1. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    Yes. Parents would brag about getting their children into either UT or TAMU; they are both top dogs. Yet UT is a tad more desirable, enough to warrant an exemption form 10% automatic admit rule that applies to every other public school in the state. So bright students would expand meaningful additional effort and no small amount of stress to get into UT-Austin vs. "settling" for TAMU. Even though, as both schools are massive, highly research productive, universities with top facilities and resources, there's no meaningful difference in educational experience these two schools provide. Any difference could only be due to particular student's interests and intangibles like "clicking" with a particular professor (which can favor UT, TAMU, or any of the other 10 good schools in state alone). And in addition, as Neuhaus said, TAMU actually enjoys MORE name recognition out of state. Just shows how completely irrational competitive admissions game actually is.
    sideman likes this.
  2. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    Yep. I just read a long article on how Northeastern University got to become a "top school", boost applications, and got to charge huge tuition fees - by blatantly gaming the USNWR rank list over multiple years. And it totally worked, too. I especially liked the part when they discovered that their co-op program, which was both popular and highly effective, holds them down in the list by 10 or so positions (because it resulted in more students on the books than there are actually on campus, depressing "resources per student" ratio). They were able to sweet-talk the USNWR into altering the formula (huh, one can do that?), but how many schools would have made their program meaningfully worse just to get ahead in the list? Or how they created a program to send their slightly-lower-stat admits to spend a semester abroad and enter in Spring (USWNR only counts Fall starters in calculating median SAT score); or programs to encourage students to send in applications so NU can reject more of them. Honestly, if my girls were in high school, I would probably discouraged them from applying there; but how many "top" universities play the exact same game? In fact, Florida State is on a very public crusade to get higher rankings, and I don't think it's all that healthy too (nerevtheless, Go Noles!).

    And, yeah, rankings make it seem that there's meaningful difference between say #1 and #7, or between #49 and #80, or between #200 and #350 - when there is utterly none in any meaningful way.
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  3. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Didn't Northeastern follow GWU's example of raising tuition rates to appear more "exclusive" as part of their quest for specious prestige?
  4. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    Very possibly. It was a sustained ranking-gaming effort.
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  5. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Two of the small private colleges where I used to live used to do a rather impressive presentation where they touted the exceptionally high (for the area) starting salary for their recent business school graduates (undergrad, they did not have an MBA at that time). What they failed to mention was that most of them were hired by the college as 6 month temps being overpaid to stuff envelopes and what-not.
  6. GregWatts

    GregWatts Active Member

    As painful as it may be, you may want to think twice. Most English schools have been infected by post-modern philosophy... in case that is an issue. There may be ones more open, but it seems to be rare.
  7. monchevy

    monchevy New Member

    Geez, if I could afford Old Dominion, I'd do it in a heartbeat.
  8. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I hear you. I considered their IDT program.
  9. JP007

    JP007 Member

    To the OP, part of the PhD program is getting published in an academic journal. Part of your 'brand' as a PhD student/graduate (especially to other academics) will be where you get published more so than what school you do your PhD at.

    Needless to say, a PhD without academic publication is not viewed highly by academics or those with a PhD already.
  10. LittleShakespeare90

    LittleShakespeare90 New Member

    How do you mean? :O
  11. LittleShakespeare90

    LittleShakespeare90 New Member

    Thank you so much for your responses, everyone. I will try to do some more research about it. I know that my education isn't complete yet. I want to be a scholar of English literature so I can better service my students. It's also something I feel that I was born to do. I guess I just have those voices from the other forum stuck in my head. :( They made me feel so bad about wanting to pursue a distance degree, but I think it's a wonderful idea for someone like me who doesn't want to give up her job, you know?
  12. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I'm not Greg, but I expect that he means that nowadays it's an open question how much of it is really English and how much is Critical Race Theory.
    LittleShakespeare90 likes this.
  13. LittleShakespeare90

    LittleShakespeare90 New Member

    Oh, I can understand that. To be honest, I was on the fence about going back for a second master's degree. My degree at NYU was in humanities as opposed to English. :(
  14. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    The scope creep of academia isn't limited to English, certainly. Though I think that to this point it is important to evaluate a program beyond the program name. If you want to go to say, Yale, and write a dissertation on Chaucer but no one on the faculty specializes in English lit (obviously a bad and unrealistic example) then no matter what program they have that might seem to align with your future career goals this is probably not the place for you and your research.

    The other trend we see with a lot of these online doctorate programs, especially the shift toward professional doctorates, is the standardization of programs. Instead of going to a school and taking whatever courses wherever you need to to lay the foundation for your highly specialized research there is a push now to make it a standardized curriculum with the thesis relegated to to a final course and likely extremely limited in how far you can venture out.

    It has been possible, for years now, to earn a PhD in Sociology but emerge with a body of research that might actually be more philosophical in nature (or vice versa). Today, there is a surge of programs where you don't have that much freedom. You go to study for a doctorate in psychology and you will study what all of the others will study and if you try to write a dissertation that is only tangentially related to psychology it probably will not fly.

    Good thing? Bad thing? Probably both.
  15. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    At the risk of harping on critical theory, unfortunately for years now it has not been possible to earn a PhD in Sociology without focusing instead on matters that are more philosophical in nature.
  16. ZayZay Boogie

    ZayZay Boogie New Member

  17. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Note that a degree mill has a very specific meaning that is not met by these schools. A mill is a school that provides a degree with little or no work. They sell the credential rather than any actual education. Walden, Capella and NCU are each regionally accredited universities that provide real education and actual degrees. Their reputations are another thing, but they are definitely not mills.

    Edit: Also, welcome! I don't mean to come off as abrasive or anything. I do appreciate your suggestions of other schools, there are a few programs there that are new to me.

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