Degree Mill Definitions

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Jabbezzz, Oct 26, 2004.

  1. Jabbezzz

    Jabbezzz
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    The term degree mill has been defined in numerous ways. One person's school of choice becomes another person's degree mill.

    What defines a degree mill?
     
  2. RandR

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    Not sure about one single inarguable definition.

    But there are some questions that can be asked that might help discern about an individual school:

    1. Is the school in a strip mall or a single story office building?

    2. Is there any kind of real library (with up to date journals, etc.) to speak of?

    3. Are there ANY so-called "traditional" or on-campus students? And how disproportionate is the number of these students compared to non-traditional students?

    4. Do most or all of the professors have their own degree from that school or another just like it?

    5. Is it regionally accreditted? Granted, many school "choose" to be unaccredited for religious reasons. In those instances, I'd ask if its standards are such that it COULD be accredited if it so desired.

    6. Is it located in California, Louisiana, Utah, or Hawaii?

    This issue is stickier in the age of the internet. Because there are legitimate online courses and then there are those that aren't so legit.

    Very few of the theological schools that often get batted around on here are degree mills in the most dishonest sense where one can pay some money and get a diploma printed up in a few short weeks. But there are numerous theological schools out there that don't take their academic standards seriously and will award a degree to anyone who turns in their work, regardless of its quality.

    In the end it really depends on if one wants a degree or an education. An education usually is harder, takes longer, and comes at a higher personal cost. Just some thoughts.
     
  3. Dr. Bob

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    simplest definition deals with $$$ and work

    IF a "school" will offer a degree with very little credable work commensurate with a traditional school, it is a mill.

    IF a "school" will offer a degree for life experience, it is a mill. (Most schools today do recognize 20 years in pastorate, say, is worth some experiential learning, but only a few credits and NOT a degree.)

    IF a "school" will offer a degree for $3-4k and a couple papers, it is a mill.
     
  4. Dr. Bob

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    Anecdotal: Had an evangelist come to my church and boast of his "PhD" he "earned". I asked what he did to earn it, since I knew he only had a BA from many years before.

    He wrote 10 papers and paid $2000 tuition to some "international seminary" in Florida. They gave him 32 credits earned doctoral for the papers and 96 credits of masters for "life experience".

    With those credentials, I couldn't even introduce him as "nurse" . . :rolleyes:
     
  5. Paul33

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    Yikes.
     
  6. Johnv

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    Oh man!!! All of the college courses I've ever taken were in California! Yikes!!!!
     
  7. Dr. Bob

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    We've been concerned about you, "Dr." John. Very concerned . . .
     
  8. Jabbezzz

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    Thanks, guys, for the responses.

    I examined a Ph.D. program at an unaccredited, albeit denominationally approved, seminary. The program required 60 semester hours of coursework, 15 of which were for the dissertation. Each course was 3 hours, requiring the reading of textbooks, completion of a study manual, written papers, and a proctored final exam. The dissertation required 50,000 words, Turabian or MLA style, extensive bibliography and approval from a three-person dissertation committee, each of whom read and had to approve the research.

    While not regionally accredited, the program appeared academcially solid, certainly not a degree mill. And for those in the pastorate who had no aspirations of teaching at a regionally accredited institution, the program seemed viable.
     
  9. Johnv

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    Alas, 'tis only a bachelor, both educationallly and culturally. [​IMG]
     
  10. Paul33

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    Bob, others:

    Take a look at Ignatius University and tell me what you think. It is connected with Sofia University in Bulgaria, I think.

    http://members.aol.com/IgnatiusU/
     
  11. preachinjesus

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    It would be nice if Ignatius University would at least have a:

    1. Credible website not base on AOL
    2. Proper grammar within their information pages
    3. Actual accreditation

    This is interesting: The Ignatius University is affiliated with American Institute for Creative Living .... affiliated not accredited.

    while this might not be a diploma mill, I wouldn't send the village idiot to this school
     
  12. Paul33

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    Look at the credentials of the faculty. Impressive.
     
  13. RandR

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    John,

    I'm sure you know that not all correspondence courses in those states are bogus. Its just that those states' laws about what does or doesn't constitute a "college" are more lax than others.
     
  14. RandR

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    Sounds like Ignatius is taking the necessary steps to become accredited. Now if only they would do something about that awful website...
     
  15. mioque

    mioque
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    Jabbezzz
    "I examined a Ph.D. program at an unaccredited, albeit denominationally approved, seminary. The program required 60 semester hours of coursework"
    "
    Am I misreading this or isn't that awfully little work for a Ph.D.? Earning doctorates normally takes years not months.
     
  16. Dr. Bob

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    In most schools you must have 60-90+ GRADUATE credits BEFORE entering any Doctoral program.

    This is on top of 128-132 UNDERGRAD credits.

    Colleague of mine had BS/MS (44 credit Grad) and his whole Ed.D. program was about 90 credits.
     
  17. Paul33

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    Dr. Bob is right about most schools in the field of religion.

    But not in other fields.

    60 hours beyond a 30-36 hour masters degree is the norm! It should be the norm for theology degrees too!
     
  18. mioque

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    Weird.
    If you want to be a vicar/minister/reverent overhere it usually takes more work than needed for other comparable degrees not less.
     
  19. RandR

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    mioque,

    When one can get a Masters degree in science, english, or just about anything else in between 30-36 hours, but it takes anywhere from 90-120 hours to earn a masters in theology in addition to 120+ hours of undergrad, I think its safe to say that it takes more work "over here" also.
     
  20. rufus

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    I know of denominational schools which were considered "mills" until they were accredited, but no one who had earned a degree before accredition wished to surrender it because now it was "recognized."

    Schools may be chosen for various reasons. I've earned several degrees merely because I love to study and I love to know.
     

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