Northcentral University Reviews - Doctorate in Business
Review of Business Doctoral Degrees
The professors are great, very knowledgeable and supportive of students. However, the administrative personnel/associates like the academic and financial advisors are poor communicators. They make major changes like large increases in tuition, and additional fees, without ensuring that each student is contacted and informed about the changes so that they can make decisions about their future at NCU or not. So a student only discovers these changes after it is too late to withdraw from a course or leave the program altogether. The practices show not just poor/ineffective communication, but also unethical behaviors where the university hides information from students to extract more money from them, and keep the information secret until the student has no recourse but to pay the extra money.
Academically, I found the school was OK. They did have challenging course work from which I benefited. My ability to write in APA style went up dramatically. Most of the professors were responsive. I did find they were light on feedback about content and graded mostly for APA style. However, I do have a strong GPA so my work might have just been good. What makes me give a bad review is the administrative aspect. I switched from one program to another, and they forced me to retake a course in APA style. I fought this, and it took 2 months of administrative leave to get it resolved because the chair was unresponsive. They kept changing the dissertation process on me, which was frustrating. To have ever shifting requirements is a big problem -- they should keep students in a current process, in that process. Not create all this constant shift in standards and therefore, instability. I lost my chair and no one told me -- I discovered it when I was disenrolled and then re-enrolled in the same course and noticed it was a different chair. My SME and my first chair dragged their feet in getting me feedback, so I had to apply for a course extension. The resulting course extension was almost the equivalent of a full 12 week course to avoid a penalty. The penalty? The new Dissertation guidelines punish the student if they can't achieve the objective of the four dissertation courses in 12 weeks with a 33% tuition penalty -- you get enrolled in a follow-up course that is the same price as a 12 week course that is only 8 weeks long. And to get out of it, you have to document all the mistakes your chair and committee made. That was really time consuming and frustrating. I find the committee makes you do endless revisions on minor matters. I love research, but at this point, I'm so sick of my dissertation I'd *** on a spark plug if that's what someone said I had to do to finish it. The whole time you feel like you're on the short end of the stick, and the people supposed to be helping you tend to do everything for their own convenience. Anyway, one of the Deans was in fact responsive to my complaints, and I did get some action at one point, but then THEY left the position. There seems to be a lot of turnover in positions -- this even happened with my dissertation adviser (a staff member who advises on process). I've had four of them now. And they vary in their knowledge and helpfulness. Also, student finance. The FAFSA website is not intuitive. I tried to get help from the student finance area and they sent me a form letter. Tuition has gone up from $1650 a course to over $2600 after an educator's discount in 7 years. Way above the rate of inflation. I wish I could recommend them administratively but I can't. Better off finding a school with better processes.
The staff at NCU, though in a business school, have *no* concept of change management. Students are getting moved in the middle of classes, having to switch between two portals (with 2 different logins) and simply can not get some of their assignments completed. As a long-time student, I will be getting my first F this week, as there is no longer access to the metrics needed, and the login process is near inherently broken. Perhaps more time on practicing what they teach and less time dealing with computer administrators who do not perform proper change management procedures would do the school good
Overall, I am please with my choice to attend NCU. I was challenged by the workload, pushed by my instructors, and forced to think differently. I believe this is the purpose of education. I would gladly recommend NCU's doctorate program. It will not be easy, but if you want easy, you should not be pursuing a doctorate degree. My dissertation chair was phenomenal!!! He stayed on me to get things done timely and when he saw me getting discouraged, he encouraged me!! Which, to me, is going above and beyond the call of duty. I really believe the staff cared about my success and I am forever grateful!!!
I found the program to be excellent. The instructors were always available to the students. At the beginning of each class a personal call was made from the professor to the student. During the class, personal calls were scheduled if needed. In addition, the professors would respond at anytime to personal emails. The staff was highly efficient. The Doctorate program was difficult, as should be expected. I highly recommend Northcentral University
The NCU curriculum is remarkably poor. Although the school does a very good job organizing and presenting its content online, the academic rigor and grading standards are extremely disappointing. Most professors use copy-and-paste techniques for evaluating work, literally copying pre-generated responses to assignments from a template for your feedback. I've also noted that none has reputable degrees. In my exchanges with professors throughout the first three courses in the DBA, I found them to be poorly educated and far from subject matter experts. For many of them, I felt they were at the secondary school level of understanding. Much can be gleaned from monitoring the student forums; most of the posts (by Ph.D. candidates) are rife with misspellings and poor grammar. I've noted the same in emails from professors. I cannot recommend this school, and I will be extremely critical of anyone with NCU on their resume.
I had a great experience for the first two classes, but the administration is very disorganized. There is a lack of interest in your success. There is also a problem with mentors that are very busy with other daytime jobs and rush through the assignments. The tuition went up in January, yet they are not investing in quality educators. I had a mentor tell me that it was hard to keep up correcting the weekly assignments because she had too many students. The assignments were graded late and I could not benefit from the feedback prior to submitting the next assignment. Unfortunately, the adviser is not very knowledgeable and cannot be of much help. I had a sad experience with the financial office mishandling my money. At one point, I was charged higher than the actual tuition and I had to leave a few messages before the problem was actually corrected. On another occasion, they removed me from a class after two weeks of hard work because they made a mistake with my student aid. The adviser left me a voicemail telling me that she was deleting the class without even talking to me about it. A word of advice, read the reviews for all the universities and compare prior to committing.
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.
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!
I am about 1/4th the way through a PHD degree. Before I started my PhD friend told me to just go into class and no matter what say, "yes sir, nor sir, You're right sir." She told me to just agree with everything faculty said; and when i got to my dissertation just agree with whatever criticisms they had no matter if they were right or wrong. So far I've taken the professor is always right attitude and have made all As in every class. It seems like a fine school. I am reading on here that people said the dissertation was a night mare. All my PhD friends said it is no matter where you go. They told me the secret to passing a dissertation is just agreeing with the chairs no matter if they are right or wrong. I just can't believe how expensive it is, the tuition is absolutely insane. I love there are no discussions and no group assignments. One just reads the learning objectives and requirements. And then, one just writes the essay of the week, and turns it in. Its very straight forward.