Why No NA PhDs?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Michael Burgos, Sep 7, 2021.

  1. As I have been pursuing NA schools, I've seen a fair amount of professional doctorates (e.g., DBA, DMin) but never any research degrees. Would anyone explain why?
  2. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

    If you look around, there are DEAC schools that offer PhDs.
  3. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Did that change? I thought that the PhD was still "out of scope" for DEAC, ACICS, ACCSC, and the faith-based ones?
    Dustin likes this.
  4. I just went through all of the doctoral programs accredited by DEAC. I'm nearly certain I didn't find a PhD. The closest I found was a Doctor of Arts from Harrison-Middleton.

    Maybe Vonnegut can point out one.
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  5. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I was thinking that DEAC still wasn't approving PhD programs because I still haven't seen one.
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  6. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

    I was thinking of one DEAC school in particular, Columbia Southern, that had been issuing PhDs. A quick review online though and they've removed their PhD offerings and now only have a DBA program. Not sure when they dropped them, but they obtained DEAC accreditation in 2001. DEAC was also looking at a new PhD pilot program back in 2016, but it doesn't appear to have taken off which leaves DEAC as not approving PhD programs.

    Attached Files:

    Michael Burgos likes this.
  7. not4profit

    not4profit Active Member

    My guess would be that schools that are not regionally accredited are aiming for students who are not as concerned about becoming academics and researchers. Maybe the thought is that students who are willing to settle for a NA degree are not thought to be trying to be competitive among the strictly academic ranks, so a PhD would have less utility than practitioner doctorates, given the target audience. Probably it just comes down to the NA schools individually deciding the ROI of offering a PhD program is not worth the investment necessary.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2021
  8. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    While the academic/professional dichotomy is not really useful in my opinion, I think this is one situation where a research doctorate directly goes against DEAC's standards, which is to accredit doctorates that "prepare scholars to become leaders in their field of study through the pursuit of and contribution to contemporary research that is applied, practical, or project-oriented and is focused on the application of knowledge to a profession." This is really the definition of an applied/professional doctorate.
  9. Maxwell_Smart

    Maxwell_Smart Active Member

    Or it's just that most NA schools are smaller, have fewer resources and lack the infrastructure to be research universities.


    Maybe I missed it somehow, but using the Wayback Machine I went back to CUS's earliest entry and then up. There I don't see a Doctorate of any kind until 2015 and that's the DBA. I see no other Doctorates besides the DBA after that either.
    Michael Burgos likes this.
  10. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

    Might try searching Linkedin later and NSC.org, but when I worked in manufacturing, there were several people at the National Safety Council who listed PhDs in Occupational Safety & Health from Columbia Southern on their bios. Entirely possible that they were rubbish but it would be interesting, if the same organization had people using fake degrees from the same fake program at the same institution.... "Hey... if Bob got away with it... I'm doing it too! What can Bob say?!"
  11. TEKMAN

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    I think these folks earned their degree before the school was accredited.

    "Columbia Southern University

    Degree NameDoctorate

    Field Of StudyOccupational Safety and Health management

    Dates attended or expected graduation1996 – 2001

    FOUNDED: 1993

    The same thing with the University of California at Los Angeles who used to have a professor who earned his Ph.D. at California Coast University. California Coast University removed the Ph.D. programs upon being accredited by DEAC (formerly DETC).
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  12. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    While I disagree with Dustin's assessment that the "academic/professional dichotomy is not really useful", I agree that a PhD would be beyond the scope of DEAC.

    DEAC isn't merely an alternative institutional accreditor. Its roots are in accrediting trade schools and schools offering occupational associate's degrees (whose credits do not generally transfer to academic undergraduate programs). The schools DEAC accredits are teaching schools, not research universities. It would be incongruent and inappropriate for DEAC to accredit schools offering the PhD.

    A DEAC-accredited school that tried this, the University of Management and Technology, got their hands slapped. They were listed as offering a PhD in Project Management at the Project Management Institute's website. I contacted the school, who confirmed they were creating one. I was surprised, since this would beyond their accreditation's scope. They said it was okay since it was "accredited" by PMI. (PMI is not a recognized accreditor.)

    So I contacted DEAC (then DETC) and spoke with the director. He said he'd look into it and was very concerned. He got back to me, telling me UMT was most certainly NOT offering that degree and that I was lying about it. I pointed out the listing at PMI as support, but he didn't want to hear it. (He's retired now, thankfully.) Anyway, the PhD was suddenly a DBA, where it remains. Lah-dee-dah.
    RoscoeB likes this.
  13. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Almost none of the regionally accredited for-profit colleges offering PhDs are research universities.
  14. I think the generalization that comes with dichotomizing practical/professional and research doctoral programs is tough to defend. E.g., I can think of a myriad DMin programs that require a dissertation and research oriented topics like apologetics only because apologetics is considered a sub-discipline of practical theology. Many of these same programs require the same research languages as a PhD. Moreover, evidently DEAC disagrees with you Rich, for better or worse since it tried w/ a pilot program. These are peculiar times since virtually every school reverted to DL recently, some for over a year. Because there are distance PhD programs (and modular hybrids) and since DEAC's forte is distance, it would seem like a good fit to me. Btw, I read your dissertation. I found it a worthwhile inquiry and would have appreciated it if you would have broadened your discussion to a few other agencies. Research parameters as they are, I'm sure you would have wanted that too.
  15. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Personally (since you're responding to my post), I don't have to defend it. Those are not my distinctions. They exist with or without our comments.
    RoscoeB likes this.
  16. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Do you mean they are not R1 (highest research) or R2 (high research)? According to Carnegie Classification, most for-profit schools with doctoral programs are Doctoral/Professional Universities (formerly R3), which makes them moderate research universities.
    felderga likes this.
  17. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    "Research" isn't the distinction. It's the purpose of the research. Scholarly doctorates advance scholarship (theory). Professional doctorates advance practice. There is plenty of line-blurring, of course, as one should expect (and not find remarkable).

    I'm not sure your inference is supportable, especially since that pilot did not result in a paradigm shift towards scholarly doctorates. I would think the opposite conclusion would be more apt.

    I don't believe the delivery methodology has any bearing on the distinction.

    Except for the utter lack of experience (and membership) accrediting schools doing scholarship. That's kind of a tough one to overcome.

    You're sure? I'm not. I used the exact scope I intended towards the armchair theory I was testing, which was the impact of types of institutional recognition on the acceptability of degrees used in the workplace. Which "few other agencies" did you have in mind? (Remember, I used type of recognition, then an example of each type to double-check. At no point was I trying to compare within types.)

    The only other area I can think of is to go away from institutional recognition and examine programmatic accreditation, but that was never a consideration--and I'm not so sure it was even worthy of research--then or now.
  18. not4profit

    not4profit Active Member

    I don't know what Ehnnn means, but if it is a disagreement to my comment about students settling for an NA degree, you are incorrect. Clearly RA is a more useful accreditation than NA. That is just the reality right now. Otherwise you would have RA schools explaining how they are working hard to gain NA, instead of the opposite.
  19. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Based on what I could find on the Carnegie website, the purpose of replacing R3 was to appropriately categorize institutions mostly offering professional doctorates as doctoral institutions instead of master's or bachelor's institutions. There is no research requirement for the Doctoral/Professional Universities classification. They don't even need to offer a research doctorate as long as they award at least 30 professional practice doctorates in two programs and aren't a special focus institution i.e. a standalone medical school. This allowed 81 master's and 4 bachelor's institutions to move up to the doctoral category.
    chrisjm18 likes this.
  20. Again, I'm not convinced that a distinction between theory and practice is a legitimate one, especially as it relates to the humanities. It certainly isn't in my area-- indeed it is even considered unethical. Anyhow, I was referring to institutions aimed at accrediting niche programs and I think that is not only a promising area but will also predominate in some sectors IMO. It wasn't a dig even though you seem intent on taking it that way.

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