When is an Unaccredited University not a Mill

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by jackrussell, Aug 14, 2010.

  1. jackrussell

    jackrussell Member

    I had just read a guy's refutations that his PhD was from a diploma mill, he kept insisting that his university was a valid unaccredited university but not a diploma mill. How do we distinguish between the two? I can't even find the university on the Internet and USDOE.
  2. b4cz28

    b4cz28 New Member

    It’s really hard to, the question you have to ask is if its not a mill then why no go for accreditation?
  3. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    When no significant ammount of effort is required then it is a degree mill.
  4. JBjunior

    JBjunior Active Member

    But from the outside looking in..... ?
  5. b4cz28

    b4cz28 New Member

    That's what I was getting at...Its hard to tell.
  6. JBjunior

    JBjunior Active Member

    Exactly, you can't exactly send them $2500 and way to see if they send you a diploma or a course load.
  7. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    Although some will tell you clearly and unambiguously that if you DO send that $2500 then they WILL send you the diploma. That's a big clue.

    Bill Dayson's google test is a good indicator. I've also noted that the degree mills often have "instructors" that have their highest degree from that same school (or some other shadowy entity). Some will list no instructors at all. Some will say outright that they're not accredited and others (like Ecole Superiourere Robert de BlahBlahBlah) will try to baffle you with bullshit. Typically the former is considered marginally more benign than the latter. Ask for a list of alumni. Ask to read some of their students doctoral dissertations. If you get evasion then you've found a mill.
  8. mcjon77

    mcjon77 Member

    With the exception of highly regarded non-accredited institutions, such as the Natiional Test Pilot School and the USDA Graduate School (which only offers courses, not degrees), I do not bother making the distinction between diploma mill and non-diploma mill unaccredited institutions. Think about it this way. Obviously, a school that only requires you to send in a check to receive a PhD is a diploma mill. However what if they "required" some work, like a multiple choice test. What if they wanted a 10 page paper? 20 page? 50 page?

    The problem is that their is a huge range of "required" work and study among these non-accredited schools. The real question is whether the work required is equivalent to the minimum work required at an accredited institution. Unless an independent third party evaluated the program we have absolutely no way of knowing. I know someone who has a doctorate from LaSalle University, a known diploma mill. She wrote a dissertation. However, who is to say that that dissertation would meet the minimum standards of an accredited program, and if it did, why not just go to an accredited program in the first place.

    What does it matter whether the person did work to get the unaccredited degree if there is no way to determine whether the work was equivalent to work done for an accredited degree? I suppose it might differentiate between folks that are complete frauds/scammers and folks that just have insufficient credentials. However, once you have determined that someone did some work, then what? I certainly wouldn't recognize their degree just for that.
  9. JBjunior

    JBjunior Active Member

    I agree. What would give those people who were evaluating the "work" or "dissertation" the qualifications to do so as well. They could very well have no education or minimal education themselves. Blind leading the blind off of a cliff.......
  10. GeneralSnus

    GeneralSnus Member

    The USDA Graduate School holds national accreditation from the Council on Occupational Education. The school is soon going to offer associate degrees.
  11. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    Find the answer to this question: Does the school in question offer academic rigor? if so, it is likely not a mill. If it is impossible to get information from them on their professors and insight into the rigor of their program, it could be a mill.

    My question: Why would you bother with a unaccredited degree in the first place? The only reason I could think of is for the personal enjoyment of learning. An unaccredited degree would be honored by very few employers, so it likely could not be used for a career move. If you choose to go to an unaccredited school, the main criteria would be whether or not it meets your need.
  12. TMW2009

    TMW2009 New Member

    You'd be suprised... Just do a google search to see how many faculty at some colleges/universities hold Ph.D.s from Kennedy-Western University... And I ain't talking about other unaccredited schools, either...

    One result actually kicks up a link to George Washington University... But the person with the degree doesn't seem to be there anymore... :p
  13. jackrussell

    jackrussell Member

    Being a regular user of this forum, I do take the extra efforts to check on the credentials especially those with a long list of titles. Found two PhD this week and both are fakes. One is quite obviously labeled on the Internet. The other is not found on the Internet. I checked that guy on a forum, it appears that forumers are discussing his "university". I think one of his altered ego replied that the university is legit but accreditation is a voluntary process....the usual crap. Trying to find a way to get hold of information relating to that university so as to unmasked him.
  14. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    Good. I would like to see the info when you do. Start a new thread with what you find.
  15. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    The NTPS is ABET accredited - I've worked with engineers and test pilots with degrees or training from there - NTPS probably has some of the most expensive degrees in the world.
  16. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Technically, ABET accredits degree programs, not institutions. NTPS offers two MS programs, only one of which (the MS in Flight Test Engineering) is ABET accredited.

    The other MS program offered by NTPS (the MS in Flight Test & Evaluation) is not accredited, not by ABET or by anyone else. However, NTPS has a strong reputation in this specialized field, and so it's not an issue.
  17. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    But how do you find the answer to that question?

    You could simply ask the university administration or staff (this would be a "first-party" evaluation). But can you trust the answer? The operators of unaccredited schools obviously have an incentive to claim that their degrees are rigorous -- even if this is not the case.

    You could ask students or graduates of the school (this would be a "second-party" evaluation). But can you trust the answer? People who have invested time and money in an unaccredited degree obviously have an incentive to claim that their degrees are rigorous -- even if this is not in fact the case.

    You could enroll in some courses at the school yourself. However, you would have to spend significant amounts of your personal time and money to thoroughly investigate even a single unaccredited school -- and there are hundreds of them out there.

    Ideally, then, what you want is a thorough evaluation of the school by some other independent "third party", preferably one that has lots of experience in this field, and that is widely recognized as an authority. There's a name for this approach: it's called "accreditation". Unfortunately it is (by definition) inapplicable to unaccredited schools.

    Short answer: realistically, there may not be any good way to distinguish a legitimate unaccredited school from a diploma mill. In fact, diploma mills thrive precisely because of this confusion.
  18. Abner

    Abner Well-Known Member

    Like the others have said, that is tough call. Being UA does not automatically = a diploma mill. For example, California Coast U was UA for several years, however, they required coursework. Randell can attest to this. So, even when they were only UA, they were not a mill. Having said that, I signed up immediately after I was sure they received DETC accreditation.
    See ya,

    Abner :)
  19. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    One additional point regarding instructors at unaccredited schools. Some mills have been known to put people on their faculty list with their knowledge or permission. It makes the mill seem legitimate. But if you contact that professor to ask a question about the curriculum, etc. they tell you that they've never heard of that school and certainly don't teach there. In dealing with unaccredited schools you always have to ask those extra questions. You can say that I have a suspicious nature if you like but I have always adopted a "guilty until proven innocent" stance regarding these schools and would put them to every test I could imagine before signing on.
  20. jfosj

    jfosj Member

    I’m not an expert on Diploma Mills. But if I was a recruiter for my company and someone came with a bogus PHD, I would immediately request to see a copy of their dissertation. If not possible, then would inquire about their publications on respected academic journals.

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