Grand Canyon University Reviews - Doctorate in PsychologySee reviews of all programs at Grand Canyon University
GCU tells prospective students that it takes about 3.5 years to complete the degree. No. The coursework takes 3 years, and you can't double up on classes even if you are not employed. The dissertation takes anywhere from 1 to 7 years. The Ph.D. program at GCU did not prepare us for the dissertation process well. The online courses were transformative and did help with reading research and writing skills. However, the quantitative and qualitative courses did not cover dissertation topics beyond the literature review and how to use SPSS. You do not get to select or change your committee chair, who is the be-all/end-all of the dissertation process. The rubrics, milestone guides, and templates are not aligned, but that almost doesn't matter because each chair interprets the prospectus and proposal based on their own interpretations. I am an honor student (even with GCU), and this was the worst school experience I have ever had. If you are considering a Ph.D. be sure it is what you need for your career. If I had known ahead of time that intense frustration in dealing with incompetent or nonresponsive teachers and the impossible dissertation process, I would never have pursued this degree. I did not graduate from GCU, but transferred to another school. I am covering important research skills that were skimmed over at GCU. I might actually finally graduate!
I graduated with a PhD in less than four years. It is true that the path to success is not laid out for you by faculty at GCU, but the information and resources are readily availible to those who are self driven. If they had a flaw it ia that they accepted too many students and did not put enough emphasis on the research requirements early. That has changed now with the new dean, learners find out what is required from the start now. More drop in the first year rather than during the dissertation stage. If you want a degree mill, GCU will frustrate and disappoint you. It was hard and AQR has high standards for competition and publication. If you want to learn and do good research you will enjoy most of the experience.
I have mixed feelings about GCU's PhD program. I have completed all of the core curriculum, but will be withdrawing from GCU before entering the dissertation classes. I obtained my bachelor's and MBA online from two different schools, and the GCU instruction was similar to other schools. The online instructors act more as facilitators, rather than teachers. While this was fine in the other degree programs, this did not really work at GCU with doctoral students taking core courses, while working on their dissertation topic. Essentially, the core course instructors give very little (no) guidance in your dissertation work. At the end of each core course, the student submits an annonated bibliography highlighting 10 articles pertaining to their dissertation topic. The student is graded simply on the submission of 10 new articles - there is no feedback. The student has no one to communicate with to determine if they are heading in the right path with their dissertation topic. Communication regarding the dissertation comes at two required residencies in Arizona. The residencies cost more than the traditional courses because the student pays for lodging and meals. The residencies also mean time off work and transportation costs out of pocket. At residency, the students present their unguided dissertation work to dissertation chairs. While it is great to actually be able to communicate during the residency with dissertation chairs, it is succinctly stated that even though the chairs can help align your topic and put you on a good path - everything can change when the student is assigned their own chair at the end of the core courses. From my understanding, this happens often. Many students who thought they were on a good path from residency feedback found they were back to square one when entering the dissertation courses. Square one in dissertation work is not a great feeling, and I wonder if this problem could be resolved by implementation of a different system. During residency, students are also given what is referred to as "shock and awe" at the timeline to dissertation completion. If everything goes well during the dissertation cycle, you may be able to obtain your degree in 1 1/2 - 2 years after beginning your dissertation courses. However, I know of a student who was stuck in just the AQR cycle for 2 years due to multiple changes of chair, methodologist, and different perspectives on his work. While every situation is unique, it seems there are many students who get stuck at different points, and the timeline to completion can grow dismal. The three dissertation courses required for the degree completion quickly become continued dissertation courses at approximately $2000 each. At some point, the continued course price drops to $500, but many students have exhausted their financial aid and are not only paying back their loans, but also money out of pocket for continued courses. In addition, a third residency is now required after a certain number of continued dissertation courses. Essentially, the completion of this degree may require many more years of time and finances than initially anticipated. I may return to complete the dissertation, but only when I know I am in a good place with the time and finances to finish successfully. Overall, I think GCU needs to restructure their doctoral program in a way that sets students up for success. When enrolling, students are told the program takes 3 1/2 years to complete. That timeline does not appear to be the norm/reality at all, and I think potential doctoral students should be aware of the reality of the program structure from the beginning. After students are given "shock and awe" at the timeline during first residency, a great deal of work, time and money have already been invested, and it is up to each individual student whether to continue or cut their losses.
This school should be closed for their fraudulent practices, theft of funds and all out deception. I was enticed into attending this school. They received my financial aid and kept the stipend while telling me they mailed it. They lure you in with promises of earning a PHD while all the long lying to you about the degree and what you can do with it. This type of practive has to stop. We do not enroll in universities to end up defrauded out of our financial aid. I intend to fight.
I am a first year IO Psychology PhD student at GCU and have nothing positive to say about this program. At first, the conversion to non-profit lured me in as this should entail funding, however, thus far the only PhD students being funded, at least by income, are the current employees. In fact, half of my classes are filled with current employees at GCU, who constantly point out they receive 70% off tuition. Ive applied for TA positions, academic counselor positions, and adjunct positions with not so much as a call back, regardless of being admitted into the doctoral program. Furthermore, many of the doctoral students admitted are well over 50 years old or older and havent written an academic paper in decades. Shady. Many other doctoral students have complained to me that they are not graduating on time and being forced to pay thousands more in additional dissertation courses because of delays with their committees. It has become painfully obvious that unless you are a current employee at GCU, as a doctoral student, you will not be funded, will not be given opportunities to gain teaching experience, and will likely be laughed at by the larger academic community for buying into a scam school meant to max out your student loans in exchange for a worthless degree. The conversion to non-profit status does not guarantee anything, unfortunately, and GCU has almost zero commitment to academic outcomes for its doctoral graduates. Im actively applying elsewhere to escape. RUN.
This is by far the worse "college" that I have ever attended and I have credits from a host of different colleges. The doctoral courses were terrible. Most instructors provided little to no feedback and the school would do nothing when another student obviously cheated on several occasions. The doctoral programs are simply overwhelmed with too many students and professors who do not have time to provide any type of substantial feedback. You might as well pay yourself to watch several YouTube videos, read books, and complete essays. I certainly believe in not being "spoon feed" but this is absurd. Several doctoral students have had to completely re-do all or part of their dissertations at the final AQR review stage and this was after full committee and AQR (proposal stage) approval. What you and your committee plans, thinks, and does really does not matter once you reach the final review stage. This problem could be remedied by having ARQ input from the beginning. The expected quality is not the same. You will see some GCU dissertations that should have never been passed, while others are excellent. Some students do the bare minimum and are passed right through, whilst others needlessly work hard to no avail. Same as the doctoral courses, most chairs provide little feedback, the IRB is unorganized and often unprofessional, and some of the AQR reviewers are overworked, stressed out, and unprofessional in comments. Ask yourself. Will a GCU non education doctorate really mean anything? Be certain you will be able to find a better job or promotion at work before you start any doctoral program. Otherwise, the cost is not worth the extensive economic and physical costs. Why spend less time away from family when the level of support is just not there? I highly recommend taking the GRE over a thousand times if need be and attend an on-campus doctoral program at any D1 college. I once asked GCU if I would simply "sit in" as an observer to gain valuable experience and of course they said "No" and I was the best student. Go figure.
My experience thus far has fantastic. The professors have been attentive, interactive, and knowledgeable. Actually, my last professor earned her PhD from UC Berkeley and was a content expert in course material. I especially prefer the online format with focus on one class per eight weeks, consecutively. The idea of having my dissertation imbedded into each course from the beginning was the biggest draw, as several colleagues have shared horror stories regarding their lack of preparation for completing their dissertations on-time despite finishing all PhD courses as scheduled. Caveatthis program is a TON of work. Those looking for a degree mill had better apply elsewhere.
An outstanding school. When I was searching for a doctoral program, GCU provided exactly what I was looking for in a format condusive to working adults. However, if you are expecting an easy "diploma mill" school, look somewhere else. Rigor, outstanding professors, beautiful campus, and support is top notch. Library services for research is amazing; advisors, all good quality. An attraction is also the amount support GCH gives to the community. GCU is located inner city Pheonix. A doctor program should push the learner to improve and be the best; not to give out all A's and graduate. Phd should entail a large amount of student responsibility; it is not a Master or Bachelor degree. If you want good QUALITY education; call GCU.
Find a different program. While I'm about finished with my PhD, I've found the entire experience disheartening. Save yourself time and trouble by going somewhere else. You aren't going to finish in the time they tell you. Even if you are on track to be ahead of schedule, as I was, they go up to 5 weeks without allowing you to progress, but still charge you for tuition. I should have been finished the last 8 weeks, but misplaced paperwork cost me an extra $2,000. And that doesn't include all of the trouble it takes to get to your dissertation phase. An example, they have art therapy teachers teaching bio psychology without any actual bio psychology experience. They used the same books I taught my undergrad students out of. They had major assignments missing from the curriculum that no one noticed until the end of the journey. My best advice is just don't do it!
Excellent professors. A challenging program. The program requires 20 hours per week and its on spot. I have not went through dissertation yet but I'm positive. Good online structure. Very good learning environment. Couple frustrations w different teaching methods but expected in learning environment