WGU vs. Liberty

Discussion in 'Business and MBA degrees' started by pakrz, Jul 9, 2015.

  1. pakrz

    pakrz New Member

    I am wrapping up my BS in Criminal Justice Administration this month and want to move into grad school right away. I have narrowed my degree/university choices down to two and I keep going back and forth.

    Degree: MS in Leadership/Management or MBA

    University: WGU or Liberty

    I realize neither school of choice is considered a "top" school, but as a 45 year old working man with a family, my choices are limited based on what I'm willing to spend (All out of pocket). I like Liberty quite a bit but am admittedly a bit turned off by all of the reviews I have read about the constant integration of religion into the curriculum. I like WGU as well but am a bit skeptical of the CU system versus a traditional credit based system.

    WGU is pretty cheap at $3,250 per 6 month term. However, Liberty is actually cheaper for me because of the military and law enforcement discounts (Around 75% off tuition).

    My law enforcement career ends in 5 to 8 years (50 to 53) and I plan to work in a second career until normal retirement age. I am torn between an MBA and the Leadership/Management degree. I assume the MBA might carry more weight, but the Leadership/Management degree appeals to me way more.

    I will to take any and all suggestions that you folks may have.

  2. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    I don't know if the religion thing is that bad. At least that's what some have said. In any case, once you get the degree and get your first job with it, no one will care which school you chose. They'll only care about what you can do. Get the MBA as cheaply as you can.

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    I have no experience for neither school. But I would recommend for Liberty University for the following analysis. Liberty University is a christian higher educational institution, but I do not see any religious study blend into the MBA program. It has a longer establishment with brick and mortar campus in Lynchburg, Virginia. And sometimes political candidates give speeches there, and it even has an ABA accredited law school. Its MBA program is accredited by ACBSP, which is better than WGU's has not business programmatic accreditation. Liberty always have strong alumni network than Western Governors University.

    WGU is solely distance learning institution, which is quite new and really popular in the IT world because double dipping (certifications and degree as the same time).
  4. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Personally, I would opt for WGU if you can stomach the competency based learning.

    ACBSP? Who cares. AACSB is the top accreditation for business programs. All of the others are largely insignificant. I have never seen an employer favor ACBSP business programs over a program without programmatic accreditation. That doesn't mean it never happens but I can't even imagine a situation where an employer would even remotely come close to caring.

    Liberty University carries with it a certain connotation. They are a religious school. And they aren't a religious school like Fordham. You can be a raging liberal atheist attending Fordham and get along just fine. Just try that at Liberty and see how it works out for you. Yeah, they have an ABA accredited law school. And it's staffed by fundamentalist professors. It's science programs are home to scientists who espouse young earth creationism. You can't, with a straight face, say that you graduated from Liberty University but received a secular education. Every program they have is integrated, in some manner, with theology or christian practice. Now, if you're into that brand of Christianity, then cool. Run with it. If you're not comfortable with it then, even if your specific program has only the subtlest of signs of religious integration, how comfortable are you going to be walking around with a degree from a school known for that theological position? It would be like if a very liberal person earned a degree from Hillsdale. Sure, you can probably get along in Hillsdale's Latin or Greek program without an issue. But when you leave you'll have a degree from an institution commonly associated with a position contrary to your own. Granted, there are conservatives who graduate from schools largely thought of as liberal but there are very few universities that embrace their political stance the same was as Liberty and Hillsdale.

    If you're not comfortable with that association (which it sounds like you might not be) then go with WGU.
  5. rebel100

    rebel100 New Member

    I have no issue with Liberty except cost and that isn't your concern. But I will say I loved my time at WGU in the MBA. It has changed a bit since I went through but the competency model allowed me to finish fast more or less on my own terms at an incredibly low price point.
  6. curtisc83

    curtisc83 New Member

    LU is regionally ranked by U.S. News, WGU is not regionally ranked but has some ranking in the online cat. LU also have a nice new DO medical school. Sports is a bigger deal than most people realize. Since LU is a NCAA D1 school they play at the highest level of sports except in FB (still D1 but FCS formerly known as D1-AA). When LU comes to TX to play Baylor in 2016 LU will get a nice bump in being better known. Talking shit to my coworkers that are Baylor fans doesn't hurt either. Even now I get random people starting up convos about LU when I wear something LU. Now ask yourself what does WGU have to offer vs what LU offers?
  7. lawrenceq

    lawrenceq Member

    Trust me, you will use a Bible in every class you take at Liberty.

    I'd tell the OP to go with what works for him. I'd also advise the OP to look at other schools. Liberty was not my top choice for my undergraduate degree, they just made the most sense for me financially and time wise. If I was doing it all over again, I would go with one of my top-3 choices. Liberty was probably my 7 or 8 choice.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 9, 2015
  8. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    I really, really don't have a beef with Liberty University. I don't agree with their brand of religion and I personally wouldn't want a degree from there simply because I wouldn't want to give the impression that I did endorse it. However, I respect them as an educational institution and how quickly they have become a well respected institution of higher learning in such a short period of time. That said, I feel like I simply must address some of these things:

    Regional rankings are worthless. Completely and utterly. U.S. News and World Reports aims to sell magazines. Their rankings are largely subjective. And at this point, to make everyone feel warm and fuzzy about their school, they pretty much have a ranking for everyone. Tiny, insignificant school? No problem, you're number 12 in a region they arbitrarily designated and limited to small, insignificant schools. Law schools were up in arms over their ranking system so USNWR created numerous law school rankings. Now, pretty much every law school gets to be in the "top 10" of at least something.

    Want a ranked MBA? Go to a school ranked for top business programs. No one is going to argue with your MBA from U Chicago, NYU, any of the Ivys, UCLA, PennState, Stanford, Duke et al. Those are the top ranked MBA programs. Liberty University is not. Their ranking is #80 in Regional Universities - South. Again, not saying Liberty University is bad, but let's not make it like the #80 spot on a regional list is going to matter to an employer.

    Irrelevant to the discussion at hand. For starters, many people (unjustly) think ill of Doctors of Osteopathy. And "nice new" is seldom phrase used to describe a highly respected medical institution. So, if you think someone is going to look at a Liberty MBA and say "Boy, howdy, Liberty University has that brand spankin' new Osteopathic Medical School, they surely crank out some fine MBA graduates" then I would recommend consulting a physician. You might be dehydrated because you're speaking nonsense. While I see nothing wrong with the present state of osteopathic medicine I cannot imagine the average person feeling intense respect for a university simply because it has an osteopathic medical school.

    Granted, people do enjoy their sports. But Liberty University doesn't typically attract die hard unaffiliated fans like Penn State or Notre Dame. I can pretty much make a solid bet that if I see someone walking down the street wearing Liberty University swag that they 1) attended Liberty University 2) really dig that brand of fundamentalist theology and view it as a bastion of Christian life 3) Really like college football and a little bit of item (2) or 3) They have some sort of immediate family or close friend connection to the place (i.e. I like Liberty University's sports program because my brother played for LU).

    And while it may make for some good BS material with other people who care about college sports that is hardly a benefit. Get a degree from PSU and it isn't uncommon to find an interviewer who will talk your ear off about the season stats. But the main reason for that is PSU has an incredibly broad and religiously (pun intended) loyal alumni base. Even in New York you'll find proud PSU alumni (for example, a stretch of I-81 in Syracuse was adopted by the PSU Syracuse Alumni Group and the NYS DMV offers PSU Alumni plates). It's entirely possible, particularly in Pennsylvania, to run into PSU legacies that span five or six generations. Not so with Liberty University.

    Well, for starters WGU was founded by a group of state governors not a segregationist televangelist whose fame is largely based upon unsuccessfully suing a pornographer and declaring one of the teletubbies to be homosexual. Mind you, I think Liberty University is generally worthy of the respect of higher education aficionados in spite of its founding by a guy whose civil rights involvement consisted entirely of preaching in opposition to Martin Luther King, Jr.

    But, beyond that, you haven't actually offered anything that Liberty University "offers." You've presented a worthless ranking, the fact that Liberty University has an Osteopathic Medical School and the fact that you had a good time BSing about college sports with a Baylor fan. While a fun little trip to be sure I must admit that none of those things make Liberty University any better or worse than a large number of other schools offering online programs.

    For me, if it was between WGU and Liberty, I would pick WGU. But I would probably also consider the online MBA programs at Penn State, Benedictine, University of North Carolina and Johnson and Wales.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 9, 2015
  9. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I'm not going to discuss my opinion of Jerry Falwell's bigotry, students' use of the Bible as a source in unrelated courses, or Liberty's teaching of Young Earth Creationism as a scientific theory. I've argued about that enough in the past. I will, however, say something about regional rankings. I don't think they're worthless. U.S. News uses Carnegie classifications to group schools as national universities, regional universities, liberal arts colleges, etc. I don't see a problem with this. Why should they compare research universities with colleges that aren't research universities? Just because a college is not classified by Carnegie as a research university does not mean it's not good. There are many excellent teaching schools that might actually be better for undergraduate students. At research universities, the priority is often not teaching undergraduates. Trinity University, currently ranked #1 in the West, may not be well-known nationwide, but it has a very good reputation in the region.

    In this case, however, I don't think any ranking would help the perception that many have of Liberty University. People just seem to be automatically turned off when they hear the school's name.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 9, 2015
  10. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    Are you stuck on WGU or Liberty?

    There are tons more options out there, the MBA is the most popular DL degree.
  11. pakrz

    pakrz New Member

    Great information and I absolutely appreciate the input from everybody. Any thoughts on the MBA vs. the Management/Leadership degree? I realize it's a pretty vague question that greatly depends on what I want to do with it. The answer is... I don't really know yet. I'm leaning towards the MBA because I think it's probably more marketable and especially more recognizable.

    @ Bruce: I am somewhat limited as my BS is from Columbia Southern (National accreditation). WGU and Liberty are very affordable but I am certainly open to different options.

    At this point I am leaning towards WGU. I like the ability to accelerate through the program. I'm also having a hard time with the whole religion thing at Liberty. It just seems like they're shoving it down your throat.
  12. curtisc83

    curtisc83 New Member

    The question was between WGU and LU not PSU or other well known/highly ranked schools. If the poster wanted to attend PSU or similar I would say go do that. LU's tuition break is hard to beat. Rankings might be worthless to you but for folks that aren't into education discussions like everyone that's not on these forums it's pretty important. That's why US News sells their rankings every year and why they are still printing them. I mentioned the DO school to show LU is growing and schools that grow build things and start researching things because they have better facilities and higher quality students and professors. A couple links are below for everyone's viewing pleasure.

    I am a very strong supporter of schools playing sports. It helps keep alumni active and interested which might help with networking into a job. Also LU's football followers are pretty diehard they are averaging close to 20k in attendance every season. WGU sounds like a fine school but to me it's a degree checkbox school for people well into their career. In the end it depends on what the OG poster wants. And biblical tie ends are required in every class. You just have to tie what you're doing into something biblical. Think of it as typing up a normal essay but adding in some Jesus stuff...LOL. It's a pain and seems silly but LU requires it.

    Liberty caps enrollment for 8th straight year - NewsAdvance.com : News - Lynchburg, Virginia Area

    Liberty University student, professors publish university
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 10, 2015
  13. curtisc83

    curtisc83 New Member

    They are shoving it down your throat. But LU is a Christian school and its expected. I'm not going to attend UT and then complain it's not religious enough. If that's a deal breaker then LU might not be a good fit. For me it was educational and I'm not a believer.
  14. curtisc83

    curtisc83 New Member

    I've never ran into people that have a negative option of LU. When I do run into someone they mention they or some relative went to LU or saw LU on ESPN playing baseball or their school in FB. The only negative reactions I've come across is on forums. I also think it depends what region of the U.S. you live. I live in TX so people tend to be more open to religion.

    I mention this almost every time LU comes up but LU doesn't teach Young Earth Creationism as a science it's just a required theology course as a freshman. It's doesn't even count as a science course. The course is taught and is silly but LU is Christian so they can and will do that.
  15. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    American Public University/American Military University accepts a "Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution" for admission to their graduate programs;

    APU Masters Programs

    They were first DETC-accredited, then for awhile had dual RA/DETC status (now RA-only), so that makes sense. They have both MBA and MA-Management options, and at $350 per credit hour, they're certainly worth some research.
  16. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I did run into someone off of fora who dislikes the school. She's a biology instructor. One of my CJ professors and a classmate whose background is in anthropology might have said something about the school once. Otherwise, I'm in Texas and never hear anyone talk about it. It's my understanding that they teach Young Earth Creationism and evolution side-by-side in their biology courses.
  17. curtisc83

    curtisc83 New Member

    The class was a pass/fail creation studies course which presented young earth creationism, an old earth creationism, macro/micro evolution, and how each side would debate each other side and the evidence of each. The professor clearly endorsed the young earth creationism but he gave a thorough explanation of each.

    Biology was a completely different course that was solely about biology and not about Creationism. When people give info about LU it's usually based on second or third hand info. It just keeps getting passed around like fact without anyone looking it up.
  18. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    OK, fine, you're going to get me to say it.

    If you're a biologist who is a Young Earth Creationist you don't have any business teaching a course labeled as a science. Teaching theology peppered with scientific terms alongside real science as if it is simply an "alternate philosophy" isn't a well-rounded education. And earning an MBA where you have to tie everything back to the bible isn't good business training. Quite the opposite. It sounds like it's fine theological training but that's about it.

    Does Liberty University football have "die-hard fans" yes, and I acknowledged that, but I also clarified that Liberty University fans are almost entirely alumni, friends or family of alumni or people who are also "die-hard" believers in a Falwellian brand of fundamentalist Christianity. As such, your networking opportunities are going to be limited to those three groups.

    Again, there's nothing wrong with an LU degree. However, to try to say that it is intrinsically better than WGU is absurd, particularly when your argument comes down to football and the fact that the university has two professional schools unrelated to your degree program.
  19. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    The MBA is recognizable. This is true. However, understand that an MBA provides a fairly broad, high level business education. The current wave of MBA specializations diminishes this somewhat. But even with an MBA in Marketing you're most likely going to have to complete graduate level coursework in Finance, Accounting, Human Resources, Business Administration, Ethics all in addition to marketing.

    Let me tell you why I opted for an MSM and maybe that will help.

    In order to secure a promotion, I didn't necessarily need a Masters but I felt it would make me much more competitive. In truth, I likely could have secured the promotion had I earned my SPHR instead. I was tempted by the MBA because many people in the HR world are earning them in favor of the MS in HR Management. The reason is that, up until very recently, HR people tended to remain in very clearly defined HR roles. You worked in HR and, ideally, one day became an HR Director and then, with any luck, VP of HR. Relatively few companies employ a CHRO, so VP of HR is usually the highest you can hope to achieve.

    Well, nowadays, more companies are employing CHROs or Executive Vice Presidents of Human Resources who need to look at a broader section of the business. It isn't enough, at that level, to be an expert in all things HR. At that point you really need to be an executive who can view the broader picture in which HR happens to fit. Below the executive level, more Directors are taking on non-HR functions like Risk Management, oversight of legal or even completely unrelated things (for example, our director is currently trying to take over the building security function currently overseen by our maintenance department). So that broader education is helpful because our roles are broadening. Those broadened roles also result in a need for more cross-departmental collaboration. As an HR professional I do a pretty fair amount of budgeting work. I have to work with our corporate finance people regularly. I have to prepare monthly journal entries. I have to do a lot of stuff that isn't related to HR procedures or labor law.

    I opted for the MSM because I felt it had a nice blend of those subjects that would complement my current career and help me take on responsibilities leading to my next role very much like the MBA. Why didn't I go for the MBA? For starters the MSM had fewer credits and all of the MSM courses were applicable to the MBA. So I felt that I was getting the same broad education. I also felt like if I applied for a job where an MBA was required I could reasonably make a case that my MSM was the "or equivalent." But I also feel that so many people are rushing into MBA programs and just want the post-nominals to the point where they don't seem to care where they earned the degree. If I ever go back and earn an MBA I want it to be from a solid program that doesn't just validate my present knowledge but challenges me to reach the next level of business thinking.

    So, I feel like:

    1. The MSM covers a broad spectrum of topics like the MBA (as opposed to an MS in HR Management or similarly focused Masters)
    2. Has fewer credits than the MBA
    3. Allows me to meet the job requirement of having an MBA or equivalent
    4. Leaves open the possibility that I might earn that PSU or Drexel MBA if I ever have the time

    You may find that the MSM/L helps you to achieve all of your dreams and you never need the MBA. Or, you may find that you have an opportunity down the road to get an MBA from a school with a solid reputation that might actually impress an employer. People periodically show up here who want opinions about earning second MBAs because they earned their first one from a school with a crappy reputation. Having two MBAs is a waste. But tacking an MBA onto your resume even after you've earned an MSM? Not so terrible (and you might even get to knock out a few transfer credits in the process).
  20. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    They offer many biology courses, and some of them are going to have to cover the origins of life. How many of these did you take? Are you telling me that they only cover evolution in their biology courses? They can't completely avoid the topic altogether. Their Creation Studies minor combines two creation studies courses (that explicitly compare evolution and creationism) and several biology courses. The second creationism course is upper level and designed for science majors.

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