Graduation Year: 2015
"I just graduated from Capella with my PhD in general psychology. I believe there are an equal amount of pros and cons to Capella. My overall experience was positive, however, like any degree program I would suggest doing a lot of research. In particular, when reading reviews ensure that you also consider the context, e.g., some negative reviews are from people who were upset that their program wasn't easy and weren't prepared to take on doctorate studies regardless of where they pursued their degree. Please note, this is only my opinion, based on my experience. Overall: I began my doctorate studies Fall 2011, and it took me from Oct. 2011 to Feb. 2015 to essentially finish (I defended my dissertation Feb. 2015). I was able to pursue my degree more or less full-time. I was only working part-time, so I was able to devote myself to full-time study. I also opted to make monthly payments so that I could pay out of pocket rather than take out loans. I realize that I was incredibly lucky to have my spouse's support, which helped. In turn, I worked incredibly hard, and I sacrificed a lot in terms of not spending as much time with family and friends. I pretty much lived and breathed my courses, then my research, and finally my dissertation. I believe that overall, the program provided academic rigor, particularly with the required original research, and subsequent dissertation process. I am basing my opinion from my previous academic experiences. I have a BS, MS, & MSc from brick & mortar universities, and I began my doctoral studies at a brick & mortar (I didn't finish due to an international move for my spouse's work & I wasn't far enough along in the program to solely work on my dissertation, I.e., finish from a distance). Bottom line: I still had to come up with a research study that was feasible and met the criteria for original research, online courses meant I had to be self-motivated and show up since twice-weekly postings were required in order to pass (in addition to other required assignments), and I still had to design, conduct, analyze and write a dissertation based on my research, on my own. I found the process exhausting, difficult and at times emotionally draining, however, the process shouldn't be easy, because this is after all, the process of earning a doctorate. I love my field of research, and I hope to continue with research in some capacity in my chosen field. However, this brings me to the cons (and pros) of earning a doctorate at Capella. I do think some negative reviews for Capella are from people who expected it to be easy, because it was online, but in reality this isn't the case. Also, a reviewer mentioned being required to pay $4,000 while deciding if he/she should continue with a dissertation. Once I was in the dissertation process, my tuition was $1,700. Cons & Pros: *There are 3 required residencies, which is actually a pro in the sense that Capella isn't 100% online. These are 4-day intensive *classroom* sessions. I found these to be expensive (travel expenses plus the cost of the residency itself) and even though I gained a lot from the first and third, I found the second to be useless, for me. *At brick and mortars, the research opportunities are greater. You're also a part of a research group, and you participate in weekly journal club presentations/meetings, have opportunities for collaboration, etc. *Comunicatng online can be difficult. At times, I wish I could've walked into my professor or mentor's office and speak with them in-person. This is also a prim though, because it forced me to problem-solve on my own, and to think independently, so that I was more prepared to have discussions with my mentor during the dissertation process. *Having to post two discussion posts per week, in addition to being required to respond to others' posts in addition to coursework was a pain, and required more work than I was used to putting in for a course. However, this is also a pro, because it wasn't easy-I couldn't skate by- so that indicated, to me, that the school valued academic rigor. I didn't find my courses to be anymore cookie cutter than a brick and mortar that has to follow a set curriculum.blike any institution, I had some great courses, teachers and classmates, but I also had a few terrible experiences. *My PhD studies did help me become a better scholar, writer, communicator, researcher, and the online portion aided me in keeping up with computer technology in real-time, in my opinion. However, the most profound con for me, and I think the one that people should be aware of, is that for-profit schools don't have the best reputation. Capella has the same accreditation as a brick and mortar, online courses/distance education is offered by a plethora of brick and mortars and Capella isn't 100% online so Capella and brick and mortars have that in common, and my dissertation had to go through the same approvals process for publication with UMI as a dissertation from a brick and mortar. Those three things are important similarities that are shared amongst academic institutions regardless of type, and therefore pros of attending Capella in my opinion. Yet, Capella is still discriminated against. Therefore, my eligibility for certain jobs is hampered. My PhD does not hold the same weight as if I'd earned it at a brick and mortar. Even though the accreditations are the same, the dissertation approval process and publication review are the same, and in many cases the course format is the same between Capella & brick and mortars, my PhD will likely be viewed as inferior to a PhD earned at a brick and mortar. Unfortunately, people judge and are biased, and often do not give you the chance to show that your accomplishments have equal merit (in my opinion). That is the biggest con people should consider, in my opinion. I don't think it would matter if I were already employed and using my PhD for resume enhancement or for a promotion in the job that I already had with a company that was familiar with my work, etc. finally, do your research, ask questions and then ask some more. Push back if you feel like you're being pressured or taken advantage of. By the same token, be realistic and don't expect the academic process to be easy, but this is just my opinion, and I do hope that this review helps others. My next steps: since I was not in a position whereby I was using this degree for resume enhancement or promotion in my company, I must consider alternatives. I want my degree to be taken seriously. I know how hard I worked. However, I fear I must consider alternatives. So for me at age 45, I will most likely pursue a psyd at an APA-accredited institution. Then, hopefully my PhD will also be taken seriously because I was able to pursue a doctorate from an APA institution. Looking back, I probably should've gone that route in the first place. Even still, I got a lot out of Capella, and my experience was, overall, positive. I hope this review helps!"