With an unaccredited Bachelors.... can I ever get an accredited MBA?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by jwoody, Feb 16, 2003.

  1. jwoody

    jwoody New Member

    Hi everyone:

    Here's my sad little story. I am in my mid 40's, worked all my life in the same field for several employers. I never had any advantages growing up and so college was out of the question. I guess you can catagorize this as a "pulling myself up by my own bootstraps" kind of a story! I managed to stay in the same field and moved into middle management with several large, respected corporations. Mostly this was due to my years of experience in my field (corporate accounting). To make a long story short, I decided that I needed to pursue a Bachelor's degree if I was ever going to move any further up the ladder. Financially, tuition was an issue along with working full time and trying earn a degree, all the while supporting my family. I decided to pursue a BS in Business Administration from Calilfornia Coast University. It was convenient, and I could afford it. I studied every lunch hour and every night and weekend and completed the program in 3 years, graduating last summer.

    In my recent job search, I find that most employers I've interviewed with seem to accept my BS degree, even though CCU is not accredited. In fact, I've done pretty well with being offered positions based mostly on my experience, not the degree. However, I find that I am feeling the need to gain an accredited degree. I guess it's because of the stigma attached to any college level program that isn't well respected. Considering my field, I'd rather be well accepted and respected, and not suspect as a person who got a "cheap" degree. I chose CCU because they had some level of respect and earned state approval (which I now realize may, or may not mean anything in the whole scheme of things). I also decided to go the "distance learning" route with a California school, because I live close to CCU and so on my resume it's not as suspect that CCU is a non-traditional facility. The bottom line is at least I have something, and I suppose some degree is better than none at all.

    Anyway, I've recently been looking around at MBA programs, and I'd like to obtain a MBA degree from an accredited institution. However, I realize that I will never qualify for such a program because of my unaccredited Bachelors. Does anyone out there know if there are any accredited schools that might give me credit for my unaccredited BS degree? Or do I have to start all over again with an accredited Bachelors? Even if I had to take some additional courses to prove myself, it would be worth it not to replace my whole BS degree.

    At this stage in my life, I feel a sense of dread having to replace my BS degree, yet I don't feel like an unaccredited MBA is really going to be all that worth it. I feel stuck. Any helpful advise is really appreciated.

    Thanks, Jeff
  2. Tom Head

    Tom Head New Member

    It can be done; some accredited programs (such as Heriot-Watt's) don't require a bachelor's at all, some may accept a California-approved bachelor's if you have sufficient work experience, and some may require an accredited bachelor's on paper but let you in anyway as a special case. There are folks here who do know a great deal about this sort of thing and can probably say more, but what you're talking about is not outside the realm of possibility.

    Good luck!

  3. Tom

    Tom New Member

    You may want to contact California Coast University and ask them if they have an articulation agreement with other Regionally Accredited schools either locally, or abroad.

    If such of an agreement exist, this could serve to be very valuable in your search.

    Good Luck!!
  4. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    California Coast did list, in the last literature I saw, something like 15 to 20 properly accredited schools that they say have accepted their degrees. While this is not very many, after 30 years of operation, it may still be worth exploring those.

    While the Edinburgh Business School of Heriot-Watt University has the only "no Bachelor's necessary" policy for the MBA, there are other British schools that make various accommodations. At the University of Leicester, for instance (at least during the time of my involvement, 1994-98), applicants with no Bachelor's were given the opportunity to take an 8-month certificate course, which taught some of the basics of research and writing, and gave the opportunity for the student to demonstrate relevant skills.
  5. worthingco

    worthingco New Member

    About 2 yrs ago, I came across an individual that claimed to have a BS from California Pacific University. He said that Texas A & M let him in to their MBA program.

    You might want to check out TAMU.
  6. The U of Lonon is another possibility. A couple years ago they accepted me for a post-graduate diploma (At the time I had a BS from Columbia Pacific) in Organization Behavior. The deal was that if I performed OK on that I would then move into the MS in same subject area and all the courses I took would count as credit. So, in effect, after completing the Postgraduate Diploma requirements I would then be upgraded to the MS and be halfway finished the MS. U of L may have a similar system in place for their MBA. Check out their website by doing a web search for University of London External Program".
  7. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    I was in some what of the same situation as you. I completed my BS from CCU and I am currently enrolled in the MBA program (I signed up for the BS/MBA program).

    After completing my BS, I contacted several schools (UoP, California National University, etc..) and asked if I could be obtain a conditional admission to there MS or MBA program and I was told NO!

    My CCU degree has been accepted without question but now I feel like I never want to be in a position to defend it. I had some RA credits from the military as well as credits from a community college. I used some of the knowledge I gained from my studies at CCU to pass quite a few CLEP and DANTES exams. I earned 54 credits in 7 weeks to complete by BS from Charter Oak State College.

    This may not be the option you are looking for but it is an option.
  8. I'd say it was a damn good option.
    Another option is to keep looking for a school to let you do the MBA with what you have. You will definitely find one. Complete your MBA. Then make a website which tells your story and EMBARRASS THE HELL OUT OF PHOENIX, CNU. etc. for being narrow minded louts with their heads firmly planted in the sand. Then, just for fun, go and do another BS (from Charter Oak, Regents, etc.), but keep your website up, damning Phoenix, CSU, etc.).
  9. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    Hi Jeff, welcome to the board.

    Here's another possibility you could try:

    You say that you live near CCU, so I assume that means Orange county. That means that there are a host of California State University campuses (campi?) near you.

    Years ago, I remember reading some small print in the CSU Dominguez Hills catalog about graduate admissions with unaccredited undergraduate degrees. The short answer is that it isn't allowed. The longer answer is that a prospective graduate student can apply as an undergraduate, then petition his or her graduate department. If the department is in a good mood and thinks the undergraduate degree is credible, they will assign one or perhaps two semesters of upper-division undergraduate courses of their choosing. If the candidate completes these classes with a gradepoint average of over 3.0, he or she can petition the department and some administrative bigshot for admission to graduate standing.

    I haven't verified if that procedure is still on the California State University books, but I assume that it is. What you could do is talk to the business schools at CSUDH. Fullerton, Long Beach and so on (they are the ones that you would have to petition), and ask them if they would be willing to let you try that.
  10. Bill makes a good point. Some years back I contacted the Chair of Graduate Studies at Simon Fraser UNiversity in Burnaby, BC. I told him my story and asked if I could get into a graduate program. He replied that he and the Senate (the ruling academic body) would certainly consider my application on the basis of relevant work experience and maturity. SFU is equivalent in stature to a state university. I was considering seeking admission under a program called "special arrangement", in which the student proposes a learning track, finds the committee, etc. Look through the regulations of some local state universities and you will probably find some "special circumstances" within the regulations within which you could get accepted.
  11. Myoptimism

    Myoptimism New Member

    Here is a quick sample, gathered from an even quicker google search, of some institutional policies concerning unaccredited degrees used as the basis for graduate admission.
    Also, as this was meant as a sample, I didn't check which of these schools offer distance graduate degrees. I do know that a couple of them do.

    Univ. of Oregon - “Can I be admitted if I have an unaccredited bachelors degree? A student from an unaccredited institution, or one that offers the equivalent of bachelor's degree instruction but not the degree itself, may be considered for admission under special procedures. More information is available from the Graduate School.”

    Lipscomb University – “Unaccredited Degree: If the student’s transcript shows deficiencies in liberal arts courses as defined by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the student will be required to demonstrate the understandings and skills normally associated with a liberal arts education, particularly in scientific method and computation, and in oral and written communication skills. The student may be required to remove the deficiency by successfully completing undergraduate level courses. The minimum standard is as follows: 30 hours of course work drawn from three areas—humanities/fine arts, social/behavioral science, and natural science/mathematics; evidence of competence in oral and written communication skills; and fundamental mathematical skills.”

    Ohio State – “Conditional graduate students
    Applicants whose academic records indicate they may have difficulty performing satisfactorily in a graduate degree program are classified as conditional. The Graduate Studies Committee specifies requirements of conditional admission, the means by which the requirements are to be satisfied, and the time limit for completing them. The purpose of the conditional classification is to provide students an opportunity to make up any subject matter deficiencies and to demonstrate the ability to perform satisfactorily in the graduate program.
    This classification is assigned for one or more of the following reasons. The applicant has:
    1. a baccalaureate or professional degree from an unaccredited college or university”

    Wayne State University – “In most departments (see below for variants), qualified admission to a master's or certificate program may be authorized if an applicant's grade point average is between 2.25 and 2.6 or if his/her degree is from a non-accredited institution, provided the major departmental adviser and the Graduate Officer of the appropriate school or college have reviewed the applicant's academic experience, extra-scholastic qualifications and reasons for pursuing graduate study and have recommended, in writing, his/her admission to the Graduate School.”

    University of Denver – “A person holding a baccalaureate degree from an unaccredited institution must validate that degree through additional study at the undergraduate level at the University of Denver or another accredited institution.”

    University of Vermont – “If the degree is from an unaccredited institution, students must submit both general and advanced subject GRE scores.” http://www.uvm.edu/~gradcoll/?Page=admissionspol.html&SM=admissionsmenu.html

    Ohio University – “If you have a bachelor's degree from an unaccredited institution, you usually will be required to supplement your undergraduate record with a satisfactory score on an acceptable standard college ability test.
    Supporting evidence of your ability, in the form of the Graduate Record Examination, Graduate Management Admission Test, Miller Analogies Test, or other college ability tests, may be required.*

    Indiana University – “Students from unaccredited institutions may be admitted as special students for one semester; if their records are satisfactory and their department, program, or school recommends them, they will be given full standing.” http://www.jaguars.iupui.edu/handbook/2002/nondegreestudents.html

    It should be noted that some of these schools may in fact be writing of nationally accredited degrees (not RA) when they say unaccredited. I am guessing this may be the case based on Dr. Bear’s survey of registrars that implied close to no acceptance of state approved degrees in gaining admission to graduate school but higher success for holders of nat’l accred degrees along with the fact that many RA admission departments view nat’l accred as unaccredited.

    Regardless, best of luck in your search.
  12. jwoody

    jwoody New Member

    Thanks to everyone for your support!

    Thanks to you all for your support and advice. I have to admit, that at the end of my program at CCU, I felt as though I should have been more excited about earning the degree. But knowing the program isn't accredited looms like a cloud over me. Just having to defend my degree is rather demoralizing. I just dread ever being in a position where I am competing for a job that I really want and not receiving an offer because of the degree issues.

    It's not my intention to say that CCU offers inferior programs. I actually was impressed with the professional way the school operates. With respect to the material, I felt challenged and learned a lot, especially in the human relations aspects of the course work. A high school teacher friend of mine who graduated from UCLA with a major in English looked through the course work and commented that it was rather challenging. I think he doubted the school as well, until he realized that the material was written in such a way that it requires cognitive thought and complete understanding in order to properly answer the questions in the study guide.

    Anyway, having an unaccredited degree still leaves me with a feeling that I am just not well prepared to compete in this job market, even though my skills and experience can stand-alone. The tighter the job market, the more difficult it is to obtain a well paying position. A few years ago during the economic boom, I was offered job after job, even though I didn’t even have a degree. Today I still do pretty well, but those great offers don’t come as often anymore.

    I did check out the Herriot-Watt program, but I have to admit that the idea of working full time, taking care of a house and family and trying to study 500 pages of text in preparation for a 3 to 4 hour test just has me anxious. I’d much rather complete a course in smaller chunks like with a tradition program. Studying the material and trying to remember it for a marathon test has me concerned that perhaps I won’t be able to cut it. Anyone in the program? Comments welcome!

    Meanwhile, I did contact Northcentral University a few months back. They are currently unaccredited but on the RA track, but they also own the unaccredited SCUPS here in Southern California. Since Northcentral is in the process of obtaining accreditation, and they own the unaccredited SCUPS, I thought maybe they would be more understanding of my situation. I requested a school catalog and then they followed up with several emails to me. I replied and asked if my unaccredited BS would be acceptable for admission into their MBA program. The woman was very nice, but basically the answer was “no”. This is the point where I started to lose hope. After checking into various programs online and through catalogs, I found the same thing; that a regionally accredited Bachelors was a requirement. But after posting my question here, it’s obvious to me now that I still might have a chance. I have over 15 years of experience in my field and some credits from my early days at the local junior college (Pasadena City College). So maybe I am not such in bad shape after all. I think I will just apply with some schools and see if I can convince them that I am capable of being a graduate candidate.

    Sadly, the judgments and standards of a society aren’t always fair. Where I work now, I have two young people on my staff. Both are young men, about the same age. One comes straight out of college with his BS from USC. The other has a high school diploma and a lot of practical work experience. Company management literally “drools” over the college kid, while they tend to look past the other guy who doesn’t have a degree. They are both good employees, but the young man without the degree is much more advanced and has better skills. He runs circles around the college kid because he has actual business experience. Later in life that may change for the college guy, but I feel badly for the guy without the degree. He’ll be left behind because he doesn’t have the old sheepskin. It’s really not fair. I understand because I come from the same experiences. At this point, all I can do is encourage the guy to go back and get his degree.

    I am certainly glad that I found this place on the web. I have a lot of respect for the work that Dr. Bear does and I am thankful for having the support of all you nice people. Keep the advice coming… I’m all ears. Thanks, Jeff
  13. Re: Thanks to everyone for your support!

  14. The good news is that CCU is one of the older and better-unaccredited schools. Many have the opposite BA or BS from RA
    School and Masters or Doctor degree from CCU.

    In CA State approved school has more weight.

    I read responses that members in this group posted to your question and as you can see there are things you can do.

    You may want to check with National University.

    A lady friend of my wife had similar issue unaccredited BA with 20 years experience in privet school teaching was admitted to National University Masters degree.

    So give National University a call, they have degree programs that are not traditional.

  15. Dennis Ruhl

    Dennis Ruhl member

    Northcentral, because of its connection to SCUPS is probably the least likely to accept an unaccredited degree. It has to prove to accreditors that it is maintaining standards.

    Ask a question concerning admission and you will probably get a pat answer. Put your $50 - 100 application fee down and you may get more consideration. Totally different people are probably involved. In any case good GRE scores would be very helpful.

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