What would you consider a Degree Mill?

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by revmwc, Jun 3, 2015.

  1. revmwc

    revmwc
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    Would you consider this school a Degree Mill?

    This school offers a
    Master of Ministry 36 hours

    Here is the program:

    Option One:
    Master’s Ministry Practicum
    6 hours
    Ministry Electives
    18 hours
    Graduation Workshop
    3 hours
    BI519 Seminary Writing Project
    3 hours

    Option Two:
    Master of Ministry Practicum
    6 hours
    Ministry Electives
    15 hours
    Graduation Workshop
    3 hours
    Master’s Thesis
    6 hours

    Total hours in the degree

    36 hour

    The Master of Theological studies

    Deserving students are often granted up to 6 hours of course credit based on significant experience in ministry. However this credit may only be recorded on the student’s transcript after the Petition for Life Credit Forms (2 forms) are satisfactorily completed and returned to LBTS.

    The student’s prescribed course of study in the Master of Theological Studies Degree is as follows:
    Life Experience Credit 6 hours

    Option One :

    Theological Studies
    TH501 SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY I 3 hours
    TH502 SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY II 3 hours
    TH503 SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY III 3 hours
    TH504 SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY IV 3 hours
    TH505 SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY V 3 hours
    BI500 HERMENEUTICS 3 hours
    BI508 NEW TESTAMENT INTRODUCTION 3 hours
    BI510 OLD TESTAMENT INTRODUCTION 3 hours
    BI 519 SEMINARY WRITING COURSE 3 hours
    GRADUATION WORKSHOP 3 hours
    Total hours in the degree
    36 hours


    Option Two:

    Theological Studies
    TH501 SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY I 3 hours
    TH502 SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY II 3 hours
    TH503 SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY III 3 hours
    TH504 SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY IV 3 hours
    TH505 SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY V 3 hours
    BI508 NEW TESTAMENT INTRODUCTION 3 hours
    BI510 OLD TESTAMENT INTRODUCTION 3 hours
    BI598 MASTER’S THESIS 6 hours
    GRADUATION WORKSHOP 3 hours
    Total hours in the degree
    36 hours

    Again only 36 hours.

    As a pioneer in distance education _______ has had over 30 years to develop a delivery system that is extremely student friendly and effective. Every course is designed to meet or exceed national norms. Many of the textbooks are the same ones used by Louisiana State University and other major universities. We also offer several seminars and workshops each year so that students can interact with faculty and compliment their self study.

    "Off-campus courses can be taken through printed syllabi, videotapes and the Internet. Students are also offered a variety of on-campus workshops and regional workshops"

    "The programs are designed so that you may complete a significant
    percentage of your work independently, thereby reducing the frequency with which you must meet with your instructors. With your previous record of professional achievement and with appropriate focus and dedication, you can succeed in your academic program with the excellent faculty supervision which is readily available."

    "As one of four approved colleges and universities of the Baptist Bible Fellowship International of Springfield, Missouri. The BBFI is a fellowship with approximately 3,000 churches in the United States and several foreign countries."

    "Three types of nontraditional credit for which a student may apply are sum-
    marized below. They are Experiential Learning Credits, Military Experience
    Credits, Credit by Examination and Advanced Standing."

    "The program serves the mature, self-motivated student who has the self-discipline to succeed in a rigorous individual, self-paced program. All programs are specifically designed for the busy adult professional who needs a flexible and adaptable schedule in order to meet rigorous degree requirements. These educational experiences include seminars, traditional correspondence courses, research courses with mentor supervision, practicums, and structured cooperative education courses."
     
  2. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
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    Louisiana Baptist is a good school. They could get accredited but refuse to for various reasons. In fact Liberty accepts their credits. Liberty usually places them as electives but they accept them. Academic snobs are the ones to criticize them. Ignore them.

    Just know they are not accredited and that is often looked at.
     
  3. revmwc

    revmwc
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    In another thread it was stated these things constitute a degree mill,

    Yet LBU for one is a very recognized school.

    But they require 36 hours for the Masters, Course completion at the students pace, not accredited but recognized as an affiliate school of an accrediting organization.
     
    #3 revmwc, Jun 3, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 3, 2015
  4. Revmitchell

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    Lack of accreditation does not make it a degree mill. That is someone's personal demonization. There are actual degree mills out there who's sole intention is to provide degrees quickly and with little to no work just so they can take your money. LBU does not fit that description. The academic snobs have their agenda. Leave them to it.
     
  5. wpe3bql

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    This reminds me of the legend that Harvard University is not an accredited institution of higher education. THUS .......

    This "fact" seems to have its origin from Bob Jones University---which at that time wasn't accredited.

    Now, maybe when Harvard was founded by the Baptists back in the 1630's it wasn't regionally accredited.

    But then, it wasn't until recent years that BJU sought out some form of accreditation either

    Accreditation means different things to different people.

    For some, it's the doorway to vast opportunities. For others, it's the path to the exit way ("..... And don't let the door hit y'all on your way outta' here!!!" :thumbsup:).

    I was both an graduate and subsequently on both the faculty and staff of a Bible college whose experiences with accrediting organizations. (These are, BTW, different and independent of the various state "approving" agencies.)

    Some of these accrediting organizations gave us the complete cold-shouldered snub. Others were very helpful and gave us some very good recommendations.

    Then at the other extreme, I found some of these "internal" accrediting groups. Most of them would go out of their way to boldly advertise the "fact" that school X was as accredited as the largest state university in that region.

    When asked who actually did their accrediting, their reply was essentially, "Well, we sorta kinda accredit ourselves, don't cha know!??! :smilewinkgrin:

    Gutta love those folks. :thumbsup:
     
  6. Greektim

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    Couple of things in reverse order:

    Lack of accreditation does not make a degree mill. But shotty accreditation does. For example, Slidell's American Accrediting Association of Theological Institutions is bogus. They are trying to sound official. Why?

    Then the OP. The issue is not the length of program. Most masters degree programs that are not the major seminary degrees of MDiv and ThM are typically 30-36 credit programs. That is standard. What I take issue w/ is when you use the same terminology like Master of Theology or Master of Divinity but only make it 30 or 60 credit hours... like Slidell. And notice, the Master of Theological Studies you mentioned had a 6 hour thesis. That alone is probably worth more than anything at Slidell. And I don't know which school you got that plan from. Was it MBU?

    Lastly, I haven't said anything about LBU. They haven't even come under my radar. So I was not the one to raise questions on that institution.
     
  7. revmwc

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    The school in the OP is LBU, but they do have a few things listed so I wanted to get an opinion on them based on those three criteria which I showed from another post.

    3 they meet from the ones listed as making a degree mill.

    Yet they have been around since 1973 and are recognized by the BBFI yet not accredited.
     
  8. revmwc

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    What I see at Slidell is courses which are based on lectures from CD's sent to the student to independently listen and take notes. They do have test as the student works through the Cd's. The instructors are from schools other than Slidell.

    Such as Troy University, Grace Baptist college, Wittenberg University, which I haven't checked out.

    So some of the question on them I have seen are not quite what was charged. They do not require a thesis which to most makes it a degree mill. Of course to me a degree mill is a school which one would send money do no work and receive a degree.

    There are many folks listed on the internet with degrees from Slidell one has a nationwide radio show. So the graduates from that school are recognized by churches and believers in this nation.

    I know the definition of a degree mill varies, but if there is academic work which must be done does the level of degree mill change?

    Just trying to find out how many feel about certain educational institutions and the degree of work involved to receive the degree. Maybe the better question isthat does the degree of work on the students part determine the degree mill status. Since LBU requires text books a sylibus, writing of papers and testing, but is not accredited make it a degree mil in some folks opinion. It is recognized by the BBFI as one of their 4 endorsed schools does that carry weight?
     
  9. wpe3bql

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    Then there's ye olde honorary degree.

    I'm reminded of a seminar I attended way back about 35 years ago at TN Temple. The main man for it was none other than Dr. Lexie Wiggins.

    We had some time at the conclusion, so Dr. Wiggins opened it up for comments, questions, etc.

    There was this fairly young preacher who asked Dr. Wiggins to 'splain what exactly was an honorary doctor's degree.

    Of course Dr. Wiggins explained it quite accurately.

    The inquisitor thanked him, and added this:

    I was just wondering about these degrees because of a Bible conference he'd attended some time in the past.

    "I mean ..... there was Dr. This and Dr. That....More doctors than a hospital.....And, knowing how they "operated," I wouldn't trust a one of them to put a band aid on my finger!!"














    H'mmmmmm. :smilewinkgrin:
     
  10. Greektim

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    Actually, they do not meet the 4th and 5th criteria I listed. Those degrees you mentioned were not the same as a MDiv and ThM. Those are different degrees. And while they do allow independent research (normal), there is no talk of "no due dates" and such like Slidell. So I'm not sure I would critique LBU. In fact, their MDiv program is a 90 degree program... LIKE I SAID. And they don't offer a ThM. The Masters of Theological Studies is not the same thing. A ThM is a post grad degree. It is a terminal degree in some cases.
     
  11. preachinjesus

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    As aforementioned, lack of accreditation doesn't equal a degree or diploma mill.

    Now, all diploma mills are unaccredited but not all unaccredited schools are diploma mills. There are a couple of points, some of which GreekTim as aptly noted.

    Other things to looks for:

    1. In the instance of Patriot University...they had a PhD program that said, essentially, "Send us $8500 and your self-guided, self-assigned, self-approved dissertation of 200 pages and we'll send you a PhD." No joke. That is a diploma mill.

    2. Another one I saw said, for a master's degree, the students could choose their own courses, select their own readings, write and grade their own paper, and turn stuff in to get the degree after "X" number of courses were completed.

    3. One of the more obvious marks of a diploma mill is the lack of any faculty or any student-faculty interaction at a meaningful level. That is, no lectures, no emailing beyond a handful, no review and no feedback. Most diploma mills allow students to choose their own adventure (remember those books) to get a degree. You don't even have to read the stuff you've assigned yourself. Its pitiful.

    4. No review or accountability process. I've got bad news for some, as a student you are the worst person to be determining what you study and what you read. Simply put: you don't know what you don't know. So you need educated and well read faculty to tell you what to do. Students are terrible at determining their own pathway for academic success. While they can make recommendations, they need faculty oversight to help them and keep things rigorous.

    Diploma mills are a pox on our society. I recently got a resume from a guy for an open position who's degrees were all from diploma mills. I took it, shook me head in sadness, and tossed it in the trash.

    Diploma mills harm education and harm our society. You want a crappy degree, go to one of these off shore diploma printing houses and have them make up a bunch of degrees from marginally good schools. That's about the same thing...and its cheaper. It doesn't make us better.
     
  12. Greektim

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    Well Rev???
     
  13. revmwc

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    Well what I was just getting opinions. LBU requires that students purchase text books, read through the syllabus and answer the questions. Periodically stopping to write papers on specific subjects within the lesson plan. Taking a test at certain points withing the syllabus. Once all is complete that is mailed in and graded, which the student works on his own time, not a schedule to be completed. The only schedule they have is in order to receive the degree in a certain calender year all work must be completed by a specified month. If all work is not completed by that month the student will receive their diploma at the graduation the next year. Sent back to the student and a final is sent, the student must take the final in front of someone outside their home and have the form signed that they used no notes on the final.

    My understanding of Slidell is that they work it differently.

    They send CD of lectures which the student must listen to. Then a test is taken periodically along the way, sometimes up to four test. The test is on a trust basis, the president of the school says if you cheat on a test for a bible degree you have bigger problems than failing the course. Each test is mailed in upon completion. With the final taken at the end. The test are graded and sent back to the student with a course grade sheet.

    I understand both schools require certain courses to be taken toward the degree.

    Neither allow the student to grade their test. The Dean or Professor is an email away.

    For many with a family and job to perform distance learning is an advantage.

    I took courses at the Local community college, and all work was performed on distance learning. I needed Rhetoric Composition and 2 electives to complete my AA. I was able to use distance learning from the Community college to accomplish those 11 course hours. With the comp class I had to go to the school three times for test and the balance was to drop of writing assignments.

    The two electives were computer courses and everything except the initial class was accomplished via email or electronically.

    The community college was part of the city or county and fully accredited.
     
  14. Revmitchell

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    Well what?
     
  15. Greektim

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    You said my 4th and 5th criteria applied to LBU. But I showed differently. You have no comment on that?

    My problem w/ Slidell is that you can pick and choose the name of the degree and do next to nothing to get it. That is a degree mill, IMO. I had to put in a LOT of work for my ThM. But they pass 'em out like candy at Slidell in comparison. That is a degree mill.
     
  16. Revmitchell

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    You will have to show me where we had the conversation. I know nothing about slidell.
     
  17. Greektim

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    Sorry... wrong Rev.

    To revmwc or whatever, the Rev of the OP:

    You said my 4th and 5th criteria applied to LBU. But I showed differently. You have no comment on that?

    My problem w/ Slidell is that you can pick and choose the name of the degree and do next to nothing to get it. That is a degree mill, IMO. I had to put in a LOT of work for my ThM. But they pass 'em out like candy at Slidell in comparison. That is a degree mill.
     
  18. Revmitchell

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    OH sorry.........
     
  19. revmwc

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    Well I see this on the Slidell website:

    MASTER’S PROGRAM

    Prerequisite: A Bachelor’s degree in Theology or 120 hours of transfer credits in Theology, Divinity, Religion or related field.

    Master of Theology

    The Master of Theology is composed of thirty (30) credit hours above the Bachelor’s degree. These credit hours are composed of ten (10) courses. The student may select the ten (10) courses from the “Course Selection Sheet”. If the student prefers, the seminary can select the recommended courses.

    Master of Ministry

    The Master of Ministry is composed of forty-five (45) hours above the Bachelor’s degree. These credit hours are composed of fifteen (15) courses. The student may select the fifteen (15) courses from the “Course Selection Sheet”. If the student prefers, the seminary can select the recommended courses.

    Master of Biblical Studies

    The Master of Biblical Studies is composed of sixty (60) hours above the Bachelor’s degree. These credit hours are composed of twenty (20) courses. The student may select the twenty (20) courses from the “Course Selection Sheet”. If the student prefers, the seminary can select the recommended courses.

    DOCTORATE PROGRAM

    Prerequisite: A Master’s Degree in Theology, Divinity, Religion or a related field.

    Doctor of Theology

    The Doctorate degree is composed of thirty (30) hours above the Master’s Degree. These credit hours are composed of ten (10) courses. The student may select the ten (10) courses from the “Course Selection Sheet”. If the student prefers, the seminary can select the recommended courses.

    Doctor of Ministry

    The Doctor of Ministry degree is composed of forty-five (45) hours above the Master’s Degree. These credit hours are composed of fifteen (15) courses. The student may select the fifteen (15) courses from the “Course Selection Sheet”. If the student prefers, the seminary can select the recommended courses.

    Doctor of Biblical Studies

    The Doctor of Biblical Studies is composed of sixty (60) credit hours above the Master’s Degree. These credit hours are composed of twenty (20) courses. The student may select the courses from the “Course Selection Sheet”. If the student prefers, the seminary can select the recommended courses.

    Doctor of Divinity

    The Doctor of Divinity is composed of sixty (60) credit hours above the master’s degree. These credit hours are composed of twenty (20) courses. The student may select the twenty (20) courses from the “Course Selection Sheet”. If the student prefers, the seminary can select the recommended courses.

    There are several degree levels and credit hours, is if this statement you object too "The student may select the twenty (20) courses from the “Course Selection Sheet”."

    The course selection sheet has the following categories, BASIC COURSES, MINISTRY COURSES, PRACTICAL COURSES, CHURCH HISTORY, BIBLICAL COUNSELING, THEOLOGICAL and DOCTRINAL COURSES, MISSIONS, BOOKS OF THE BIBLE.

    If you select a thM it would seem the student would want to concentrate on Church History and Theological and Dooctrinal courses along with the books of the Bible.

    You say a student can, choose the name of the degree and do next to nothing to get it. That is a degree mill, IMO. I had to put in a LOT of work for my ThM. But they pass 'em out like candy at Slidell in comparison. That is a degree mill."

    They must do the following according to the information I have:
    1. Listen to CD's with lectures
    2. Take notes on those lectures
    3. Take Test on the notes from the lectures.
    4. Take a final exam on the entire course.


    What step is missing is it that you object to not having?

    Possibly no Thesis is required!

    Sounds like quite a bit of work just sitting and listening to CD's and taking notes. Then studying for a test and taking the test. Doesn't sound like it passing a degree out like candy.

    To pass it out like candy would be send them money and they send you a degree. Maybe I look at things differently, but sitting for an hour at a time might be hard for a family man to do, especially with small kids and a job and possibly pastoring too.
     
  20. Greektim

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    Again... you're not getting it. A Th.M. is a recognized post grad degree. That means post masters degree. But Slidell will just sling one at you after a bachelors degree... 30 credits after a bachelors degree??????????? For me, it was after 90 masters & PhD level credits before starting the ThM.

    And then you are going to talk about the lectures and exams??? I don't know the lecturers nor the tests. This is where accreditation is helpful. The lecturers could be jokes along with the tests. Accreditation is quality control. And I know these degrees are research degrees. You don't take tests. I didn't take one test for my ThM. But I had to write publishable research papers typically around 30 pages. Then there was the thesis... which there is not at Slidell.

    So yes! Degree Mill!!!
     
    #20 Greektim, Jun 4, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 4, 2015

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