Northcentral University Reviews
Student & Graduate Reviews (174)
For those of you thinking of obtaining a graduate degree, online programs seem to be a convenience solution for working adults. However, not all online schools are alike. Most are private institutions that are about making money rather than providing a quality education. Northcentral University (NCU) is one such case. NCU is a for profit business owned by a private equity firm. The focus of NCU is revenue generation derived from continuous enrollment and high retention numbers. For high enrollment, NCU will admit anyone with the required degree for the graduate program even if they cannot write a grammatically correct sentence. For student retention, NCU faculty engages in grade inflation. NCU used to have a policy where if a student did not pass a course the instructor would not get paid, which means a lot of undeserving students passed courses. But a focus on revenue generation, easy enrollment, and retention are not main reasons to shun NCU and select a more reputable university. The following are 10 reasons why pursuing a graduate degree at NCU is a waste of your time and money. 1. Unfortunately, “As” and “Bs” given at NCU will not take you far. Rampant grade inflation ends when you enter the comprehensive exam (comps) phase. In most cases you will not be able to successfully complete comps, as you have not been properly prepared by your prior course work. 2. One reason you will not be prepared to pass comps and complete your dissertation is because most instructors (a/k/a mentors) are not academically qualified to teach the courses they have been assigned. Although NCU markets that all faculty hold doctorates, faculty are assigned courses where they have limited professional experience and little or no academic qualifications. I personally know of 12 instructors who teach courses where they have zero academic or practical training in the subject. I know several more who have never published a peer-reviewed article. Most of the faculty from NCU graduated from inferior schools. For instance, you probably will notice that Harvard and Yale graduates aren’t teaching and designing courses at NCU. Few faculty members graduated from state colleges either. Most faculty members come from other online universities and degree mills. I knew of one “doctor” who obtained his degree from an unaccredited school located in Costa Rica. I knew of another “doctor” who actually bought his degree and obtained transcripts from an online service. Because instructors at NCU are not familiar with the material they grade, faculty serve as mere graders. 3. Another reason you will not be prepared to pass comps or complete your dissertation is because students are not prepared for the rigor of completing their dissertation during the coursework phase. Statistics indicate only 2% to 3% of all business doctoral candidates will receive their doctorate. If you do not graduate you’ve blown thousands of dollars for absolutely nothing. 4. If being unprepared by unqualified faculty was not bad enough, these same instructors hold students in contempt and disdain and do not care about student success in spite of what you’re told. Many NCU students who enter a doctoral program cannot write or read English even at a grammar school level. Management has told me they are fully aware of the problem but do not care -- after all NCU is about profit. If faculty cared about student success they would not placate students by giving undeserved “As” and “Bs” rather adhere to minimal academic standards of writing and critical analysis skills. 5. The reason most students want to obtain a degree is to get a better job. The challenge is no value exists to a NCU degree in private industry. Your degree will not impress employers and could negatively affect your ability to secure a job especially if you do not have professional experience in your field. Because NCU is an electronic correspondence school, employers do not consider the degree on par with state schools. NCU has earned a bad reputation among many employers. I am familiar with 8 instances where employers refused to accept candidates who hold NCU degrees. 6. Many NCU courses are using course materials that are outdated, irrelevant to the subject, and or do not provide the student with a base of knowledge to successfully complete the weekly assignment. 7. Most courses are poorly designed, likely because the course designers are not subject matter experts either academically or through work experience. Most course content in the business programs are not even appropriate for the specific degree program. 8. Each course is set up so students can earn a maximum of 100 points. I taught a doctoral level accounting course where the total points a student could earn was five points less than the NCU requirement. No instructor noticed or bothered to report the discrepancy until I came along. The mistake had continued for five years – in an accounting class where the instructors are supposed to be detail oriented and able to add. Either the instructors did not notice or simply didn’t care -- another commentary on the attitude instructors have toward student learning. 9. Do not be fooled by the Teaching Through Feedback method at NCU. Faculty is supposed to provide you feedback on your work and instill in you what you need to do to improve on your next assignment. Although the Teaching Through Feedback method is part of instructor training, few instructors adhere to the teaching method and do not give useful and actionable feedback. Considering faculty is paid $25 per week per student, you can’t really blame them. 10. Through the grapevine I was aware of at least one case where NCU did not abide by state labor laws. I know the preceding because I was a faculty member in the School of Business and Technology Management at NCU. I have also worked at other online universities and the differences between NCU and those schools were phenomenal and striking. You will be treated as a revenue source not as a student. You will have instructors who often will know less about the subject matter than you. You will be held in contempt and disdain. If you still want to attend NCU, you have been warned.
My learning experience with NCU was 100% positive. The weekly assignments were meaningful, expectations were made clear, and the support during the dissertation phase was phenomenal. You have to devote time to your studies and need to be self-motivated, but it's absolutely worth it.
This is the worst school. All they care about is your money. It has been 6 years for me on and off. They will do whatever it takes to pro long everything. They don't care if you take forever to earn your degree. They don't care about anything. The professors aren't even knowledgeable about your study! Most have degrees in subjects other than what you are studying. It's absolutely horrible.
Overall, the program was positive. The start was very difficult and if it was not for the encouragement of a faculty member, I would not have continued. I'm glad at did though. With every obstacle encountered there was a solution, but one of the main sources of success was in choosing the correct people to be on the committee. Fortunately, the chair selected for me was on task and helpful. The two other committee members were former instructors so I knew them well. Had to fire one committee member because of a lack of cooperation. You have to make decisions like that to make things work. There was another major obstacle as well, but since the school already approved my research questions I could proceed as planned. I'm grateful for the experience, but it was very difficult - as it should be. How does it compare with other programs? I don't know. Would it be easier if I attended a brick and mortar school? Probably not. You get lots of personal attention and direction accessing resources online, but I think it depends on who your chair is and how available he or she is. Everything has to work together for you to be successful. Your effort, the support offered by the school has to be there, the chair and committee members you select have to be supportive and responsive enough in order for you to succeed, otherwise you are wasting time. If you can't get a good team, you probably should quit.
I would like to begin by saying I appreciate the opportunity to have been mentored by some very good educators. When I reflect on the courses I needed to complete prior to beginning the dissertation process, I become somewhat disenchanted. I accepted a degree for the work I completed but it was not the one I had hoped to achieve. Please get in writing what a recruiter will tell you when that person answers your questions. In my situation, these two did not align. I have chosen to look at this as a life lesson. I am now at another university and feel valued.
I would highly recommend this school to the students who want to really study in order to get a diploma. You need to be self-motivated and to devote an amount of time enough to learn the subjects by yourself. I've learned a lot from this MBA program. The teachers are very knowledgeable The textbooks chosen for this program are good. Directions to do the weekly assignments are very straightforward.
I am proud of my accomplishment but I did not like my experience at the school. The tuition constantly goes up, recently as much as 75% in some areas. This is constant. You teach yourself, mainly in the dark, hoping you will hit the bullseye. Faculty turnover is also great especially in leadership positions. Policies keep changing and are not grandfathered in. The school is private profit making, run by venture capitalists out of Michigan. I would never recommend NCU to anyone. Most problem areas continue to surface and when students have issues, they have no who is a real problem solver. When students have really serious issues, they resort to retreat in order to graduate or leave the school. The most significant answer the school gives for problems is " most people who start doctoral programs drop out so NCU is no different." There are also many ethical issues that go on year after year. Thank goodness I am finished.
I just completed my doctorate and I am proud of my accomplishment, however, this university is not for everyone. I read some of the critiques and typically these come from those who were really not suited for the approach employed by NCU. To succeed in this university you need to be highly motivated, self-disciplined and a real independent learner. You are expected to do the work largely on your own. You get good feedback and the mentors are generally rigorous and demanding. There is no easy pass here and for those expecting something that requires little effort, stay away. Like most universities you get out of it, what you put in. If you just want the letters after you name, go somewhere else.
Beware they will take away your financial aid with out warning. Then send it into debt collections. They will just tell you that they did not receive your official transcript as the reason why you are being stuck with a large bill out of no where. Never had a experience like this before. I would advise anyone looking at this University to run in the other direction. They should not be involved in a persons future.
Very solid teaching-oriented (not research-oriented) school. A bid of an "old-style" though, a lot of self-learning but no on-line MOOC-like video lectures, which is unfortunate. In general - good mentors, interesting an challenging courses. Have my PhD defense scheduled later this month. Can't wait!