What's better: PhD from a .com school or a DBA from a B&M?

Discussion in 'Business and MBA degrees' started by SurfDoctor, Aug 14, 2010.

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  1. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

    What's better: A PhD from a .com school like Walden, TUI or Capella, or a practitioner doctorate (DBA, Etc) from a B&M school. The practitioner doctorates are so common because they are widely available, but a PhD from a .com doesn't seem to be any better.

    This has nothing to do with my situation, (not seeking advice) it's just a point of curiosity that was inspired by the "Pace of online..." thread.
  2. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

    I do believe the day will come (someday) when a dot com school will be fully accepted.....but we're not there just yet. Considering this, I would have to say that a B&M DBA would probably have more utility in academia and other circles than an online Ph.D.

    As a disclaimer...I have to say that I think the online Ph.D. is just fine. It's just that not everyone in the world is 100% onboard with them just yet.
  3. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    On their own without taking the student into account there's no fair answer.

    I think a lot of these discussions without accreditation or the specific student and their situation being factored in, have no basis for discussion as there's no control factor. What B&M, what Online school.. what student?

    Otherwise all we do is offer opinions with no basis.

    I can advise that in my opinion based on three years of reviewing outcomes of various students, being on various discussion forums and talking to academics working at every level of academia (tenured professors at state schools, the ivies, and adjuncts at for-profits and not for profits) that I'm writing off online degrees offered by only online schools entirely as useless to me, based on my needs.

    However, schools like UMass, CMU, Harvard Extension, Dakota State, TESC that actually have a presence that hasn't been overly polluted by "online" marketing (like UoP) those degrees have a lot of value to me, based on my needs and I'll continue to pursue them.


    Probably the first time Dakota State and TESC have been lumped in with Extension and CMU.. but it's a fair statement based on my needs and what I've learned. To the admins - this site has been absolutely wonderful in terms of becoming aware of the market.. thank you.
  4. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

    I wholeheartedly agree with this. This is a source of information and opinion like no other I know of.
  5. mark74

    mark74 New Member

    I don't think the fact that the schools mentioned by the OP as .com were for-profit schools and the schools mentioned later by ITDJ as B&M are not for profit is coincidental.

    Personally, as a general rule, I would prefer a non-profit doctorate of any form (research or professional) to a for-profit doctorate of any form regardless of delivery mode (online or in person).
  6. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    You're right Mark. It likely isn't. Not for profit is or should be vastly preferred as an option if it's available to a student. Same with regional accreditation (and I'm not mentioning either of these with intent of starting another one of "those" discussions).

    The only thing that keeps some of these other schools alive is being a low-cost leader in education. In that case, (with some exceptions) you really do get what you pay for.

    I only wish that the options available now were around in 2005. I'd not have gone to WGU (and that all things considered was a really good experience.)

  7. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    I guess timing really is everything. I started NCU's PhD program in 2004 and very few online PhDs were available. Not that I regret my choice but I would have had additional options to explore.
  8. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    I don't think that it matters very much.

    A program could conceivably be DL-only, for-profit and accredited by a non-RA accreditor, but if it's recognized as a leader in its field, then... it's going to be recognized as a leader in its field.

    The most important variables are almost certainly the academic variables -- strength of faculty, admissions selectivity, intellectual life, scholarly productivity, recognition in the professional community, grants and awards, and so on.

    If a school stumbles on academics and just kinds of churns out advanced degrees as if they were sausages, then its being non-profit or B&M or whatever else won't really change things very much.
  9. mark74

    mark74 New Member

    Are there any programs that are DL only, for profit, not regionally accredited, but are recognized as a leaders in a particular field? I realize you said "conceivably", but I don't think it is very likely a program with those characteristics will be considered a leader in a field in the near future, so I think those factors do matter.
  10. StefanM

    StefanM New Member

    B&M doc>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Online or for-profit doc.

    The PhD has better nomenclature, but if it comes from an online school, it doesn't matter.

    A DBA from a B&M will open just as many doors as an online PhD and will likely open more.
  11. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

    I would guess that even if a profit, DL school had the best program in existence, it would not get the recognition it deserved just because of the delivery mode. A great deal of prejudice will have to be overcome before a DL program will be recognized by anyone outside of DL as the best in the field. Even if it's true.
  12. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    It's not DL, but Christies Education New York is both non-RA and for-profit, but nevertheless it still manages to be among the world's best at what it does.


    It's the in-house educational arm of the famous Christies art auction house and it offers a NY-Regents accredited M.A. in Modern Art, Connoisseurship, and the History of the Art Market. Christies is a very big deal in the high-end world art trade.

    It may be true that very few strong programs have some other chosen characteristic that we see as negative. But that doesn't imply that we should stop thinking about program strength and act like that new characteristic is what really matters.

    Doing that is an example of sloppy (and when it's politically motivated, tendentious) thinking that can lead to errors.

    First, it blinds us to the possibility that a program with our chosen negative characteristic (for-profit or DL or whatever) might nevertheless turn out to be academically strong. We just rule out that possibility a-priori and refuse to consider it, which isn't logically justifiable.

    Second, it blinds us to the very real possibility that programs that don't have our chosen negative characteristic might be just as weak as those that do. If we make for-profit status into our criterian of program crappiness, then we are effectively giving all the weak non-profit programs an unearned free-pass.

    And third, it's evidence of deeper confusion. We find outselves believing that when employers need somebody with an advanced degree, what they are really seeking are B&M schools or non-profit programs or regional accreditation. The idea that they might really need advanced subject matter expertise just kind of drops out of consideration and is forgotten.
  13. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    What is this statement based on? What about the other half-dozen or so factors that could come into play (experience in teaching, corporate experience, certifications like PMP or CPA, publications, community service, etc.) or do they just not count in this myopic view?
  14. StefanM

    StefanM New Member

    Those are extraneous factors. All things being equal, brick and mortar beats online, period.
  15. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    Agreed, and all things are always equal...And B&M schools that only offer B&M degree beat B&M schools that offer DL degrees - period.
  16. Cyber

    Cyber New Member

    We've had these discussions many times and I think it will continue for a very long time. Why? Because if you have a degree from B & M school, you want to establish your degree/school superiority and value over those from an online-only school. Conversely, If you degree is from an online-only school, you want to argue in support of your degree, its value, and general acceptance. Like Randell mentioned earlier, most arguments, especially, those that seek to dismiss online-only fail to factor in the specific student's situation. They also ignore the fact that students who attend online-only schools are aware of the value and acceptance of their degree, and that all that really matters is the individual student, not the negative opinions of those that will continue to make sure that internet-only degrees remain inferior to the ones they got from B & M schools. Bottomline, it boils down to what works for the individual. In my case, without DL, I would only have a BS degree. But with the availability of DL with 100% flexibility, attaining doctoral scholarship is very near.
  17. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

    Wow, that's great. Wish I had a doctoral scholarship.
  18. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    Well said - I think many do not think of the fact that online degrees just may be earned by mid-level managers or executives that had a ton of experience already. Do you think if a CEO earned an MBA or a PhD from an "online only for-profit" school he would be looked down upon? Does his CEO experience not count? I can see some 18 year old with no experience earning an online degree and it seen as devalued but the entire package must be looked at rather then blanket statements.
  19. Jonathan Liu

    Jonathan Liu Member

    The advice I gave to others is to go for a non-traditional degree offered by a traditional university. The main concern I have for .com schools is their stability. You know how many .com companies created in 1998~2000 still exist. Small private universities often have financial problems and may close doors after some years of operation.
  20. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

    This is especially true if a slump in online enrollment occurs as a result of bad publicity of schools like UoP. Some of the weaker online schools may disappear.
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