What to do if you are ABD?

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by jdlaw93, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    Phoenix, and you'd spend the rest of your life paying for it.
  2. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    About 50% of the doctoral students do not complete their programs. However, a big percentage of this 50% is because students did not show the capacity to conduct orignal research.

    From the business perspective, it makes sense as this 50% would want to get something out of the time and money invested. However, from the academic perspective, a program like this would be taking a lot of weak students and would have to water down requirements to make them get a doctorate because the reality is that many came there because their original schools thought they were too weak to have one.

    A more realistic program could use these credits and offer them either a second master's or a Post Master's certificate.

    If someone is really good, they can always try those doctorates by publication or pure research at British and Australian Universities. But my feeling is that many of these doctoral students were rejected because poor performance and they will not be able to complete a doctorate at any of these British or Australian schools that tend to be very rigorous.
  3. dboven

    dboven New Member

    What would be some examples of this kind of program. I've heard of higher doctorates in the UK which involve the submission of one's publication history. From what I've heard, though, these are normally reserved for people who are already graduates of the universities. I'd love to know more about other options like this. Thanks a lot.

  4. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Oh, yes. Very true. The "big book" thesis that comes with a thesis-only program is much harder. UK universities require the candidate to master the theory in his/her discipline, then make original contributions to it. You're looking at 500 pages or more, critically examining the literature, employing sophisticated methodologies, analyzing results, and tying it all back to the discipline's theory. If you can't hack the "little book" dissertation of a U.S. program, forget about the thesis-only UK Ph.D.

    On another, related note, one is typically not admitted directly into the Ph.D. Rather, one is admitted to the M.Phil first, then admitted to the Ph.D. later on, assuming one's work and progress is worthy. If not, the candidate is mustered out with a master's. Dangerous stuff, that.
  5. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    I wonder whether the accrediting agencies would allow dissertation only doctorates.
  6. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Many schools in the UK and Australia allow a higher doctorate but this program requires an existing PhD. It is not meant for regular professionals but for established professors with a proven academic record. Not something you can do on a part time basis while supporting a family and having a demanding job.

    Most of these research based doctorates are meant for academic staff that need this credential for promotions. In the UK and Australia, most people start academic careers with a Master's and they get the PhD later in life. Most people that are doing research PhDs are already academics.

    Research PhDs are not meant for professionals working full time in industry and with family commitments. The online PhDs from NCU, Walden, etc were created for practicing professionals in mind and not for academics. The problem that we are seeing now is that many professionals are taking online PhDs with the intention to make a transition into academia and many are dissapointed that they cannot break though so easily.

    There are also a great part of PhD students that do not complete the PhD and they want to transfer all the credit to another school so they can finish. My problem with this is that many of these were rejected because they couldn't make the cut but now they want to find a weaker school that would allow them to continue a probably already weak dissertation. I'm sure that some of these ABDs are capable people that would have no problem with this research based PhD programs but my guts tell me that the vast majority would not be able to do it.

    Any PhD or research masters in the UK could be distance. I emailed many schools in the past and many would consider supervising a student by distance. The bottom line is that you might be required to go a meet with a supervisor few times and also that fees are very high for international students.

    In the late 90s, they wery few programs in the UK that would change the same for international students. I remember Bradford as many people here in Canada took a PhD from this school. Later on, they changed policies and now charge small fortunes for this programs.
    The other issue with British PhDs is that they have no transcripts, this causes an issue for people that intent to work in the US as many require 18 graduate credits to teach a particular field.
  7. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    Some of the "PhD by publication" programs are reserved for people who are current faculty members of the school issuing the degree. In most cases (I think that's true) you can't even apply to such a program unless you're already a faculty member. Even then it's not a breeze. You have to have a bunch of research already published in peer reviewed journals and this collected bunch needs to be stiched together into a cohesive whole. It has to "hang together" in such a way that it contributes to the field in the same way that a regular dissertation might. Not simple, not easy.
  8. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    I think the best answer to the OP is "Just finish the dissertation." Whatever pain you think you're avoiding or time you think you're saving by finding a route of least resistance is going to cost you more time and money than a few chapters of writing, and some lit review.
  9. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    Actually, the way SACS words it, you could, in theory, accept up to 29 credits. More than half must be from the awarding institution.
  10. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    Sullivan's PhD in management requires 90 quarter credits (equivalent to 60 semester credits). Originally, I wanted up to 44 credits to be able to be transferred in; however, as our SACS substantive change visit got closer, folks starting worrying that we may be pushing the envelope as a private sector college offering its first research doctorate fully online, to the 44 units became 24 units. Fortunately, our on-site visiting team (which was certainly not stacked in our favor) ended up turning in a report with no findings and no recommendations (a very rare and positive occurrence). Perhaps, when we are a bit more "seasoned," we can try a program targeting ABDs.

    As I recall, years ago there was one institution (I'm trying to remember whether it was Fielding or Saybrook) that had a doctoral program for ABDs, but it did not last.
  11. rmm0484

    rmm0484 Member


    I have found examples of 50% doctoral transfer credits, not too shabby!
    Alabama: With the approval of the student's department and the dean of the Graduate School, up to one-half of the required coursework for a doctoral degree may be transferred from another institution. Some departments have more stringent requirements; students should check with departments to determine their policies.
    Doctoral Degrees
    Central Michigan: At least 50 percent of the minimum required post-baccalaureate hours for a
    doctoral degree must be completed at CMU. Dissertation credits cannot be transferred.http://cel.cmich.edu/forms/56(fillable).pdf
    LA Tech: Policies Regarding Transfer Credits
    The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) requires that at least 50% of the total semester hours for a degree be earned from the degree-granting institution.
    1. Doctoral degrees
    With the approval of the Dean of Graduate School, there would be no limit at the doctoral level regarding transferring courses for degree credit, except that set by SACS (see above). The grade earned must be "B" or above, and the credits must be accepted as applicable to the degree program by the student's academic college. No transfer credit for extension courses will be accepted. The request for transfer credit is initiated by the student through the advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies of the college. Transfer credit from non-U.S. institutions may require the evaluation of transcripts by an external agency.

    Louisiana Tech University - Graduate Students - Policies Regarding Transfer Credits

    It looks like the SACS requires 50% of the requirements for a degree to be completed at the degree granting institution. It may be the best shot for anyone wanting to transfer Phd credits to find a SACS school. Whichever body accredits Michigan may have a similar requirement.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 31, 2012
  12. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Let us not forget the advice John Bear frequently offers in such situations: negotiate. If the poster developed a relationship with someone at a school offering a desired degree, who knows what might be negotiated in order for him to finish? It's worth a look, but it's time-consuming and lengthy.

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