Northcentral University Reviews of Doctorates in Business

  • 31 Reviews
  • Prescott Valley (AZ)
  • Annual Tuition: $18,095
58% of 31 students said this degree improved their career prospects
35% of 31 students said they would recommend this program to others
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Reviews - Doctorates in Business

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  • Reviewed: 2/27/2023
  • Degree: Business
"Worst experience of my life. The rules in place for students are broken by staff when it’s convenient. I applied for a grade and never got a response. Weeks went by without review of weekly assignments. No accountability. Do not attend this money sucking university."
Shameka J.
  • Reviewed: 9/20/2022
  • Degree: Business
"The absolute worst experience EVER! Don't waste your time nor money. I'm over $100,000 in debt and still no degree....on top of the fact they they target black and brown by keeping them from graduating. The professors aren't knowledgeable and they switch staff like there's no tomorrow. A HUGE WASTE OF TIME!"
  • Reviewed: 9/11/2019
  • Degree: Business
"Dear Prospective Student, Please google this school before attending. The class action lawsuit says it all. I had a strong GPA, 2 chapters from completion, 7+ years of work %26 close to 100,000 in student loans just to be dismissed from the University because of one Professor. The Dean, Provost, President %26 staff could care less about their students. I had 5 chair changes (just during the dissertation process) and numerous advisers and they considered this normal. Please be careful! Best, Lisa"
J. Francis
  • Reviewed: 8/27/2017
  • Degree: Business
"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."
Doctoral Student
  • Reviewed: 8/7/2017
  • Degree: Business
"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."
  • Reviewed: 4/7/2017
  • Degree: Business
"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"
Very please graduate
  • Reviewed: 12/21/2016
  • Degree: Business
"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!!!"
Dr. Linda Weitz-Stone
  • Reviewed: 9/20/2016
  • Degree: Business
"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"
  • Reviewed: 3/15/2016
  • Degree: Business
"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."
  • Reviewed: 3/8/2016
  • Degree: Business
"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."
Dr. Master
  • Reviewed: 2/23/2016
  • Degree: Business
"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."
Nick M
  • Reviewed: 12/7/2015
  • Degree: Business
"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!"
Texas Nerd
  • Reviewed: 11/29/2015
  • Degree: Business
"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."
Unhappy Student
  • Reviewed: 11/1/2015
  • Degree: Business
"Large tuition hikes and poorer service are the hallmark of this college. The Dean of the Business School won't even talk with students. Academic advisors change every 3 to 6 months. Instructors are OK but I agree with other students in that the Dissertation Chairs are unprepared. A tuition hike was justified by touting that the dissertation chairs would be full time. Never happened. Find an institution with integrity and good service if you want to pursue your dream."
Dana B.
  • Reviewed: 6/9/2015
  • Degree: Business
"Just like you, I was interested in reading current and former students' opinions of their experience at NCU. I can tell you that you will hear a TON of negative reviews. Yes, the graduation rate is lower in general for PhD programs than the national standard (37% versus 57% in 2005). But just keep in mind that not everyone is cut out to earn a PhD. It is supposed to be hard! Don't let that deter you from choosing this school. If you are looking for a solid education with amazing support staff and mentors (that is what the professors are called) that provide valuable feedback, then this is the place to go. When I was researching schools to attend (online because it wasn't possible with my schedule to go to a traditional B&M school), what really swayed me was the "no residency" requirement and the one-on-one classroom model. The thing I hated about my MBA was half my grade resulted from group work. The classes at NCU run for either 8 weeks or 12 weeks, and you really have the chance to start exploring and doing research on your chosen dissertation topic early in the process. Your coursework makes up the first two years of your studies, then you take a 12 week comprehensive exam. Once you pass that, you are deemed a doctoral candidate. It is at that point you start your concept paper. The concept paper is a 9 page paper that explores your chosen topic. Once that is accepted, you are able to start on your dissertation. Unlike many other PhD programs where you pretty much have to write your dissertation and then find out if it is accepted or not, if your concept paper doesn't pass then you didn't just waste years of writing. The biggest complaint I hear from other students further in the program is the lack of valuable feedback or mentors that take way too long to comment on work. The school has a 21 day feedback policy once you get into the dissertation phase and a 4 day policy with regular coursework. The program is challenging, especially if you are not good at managing your time. It was suggested to me that hiring an editor as early as the comprehensive exam is smart because they are able to pinpoint issues with your writing and identify grammatical/APA formatting mistakes so you don't have to keep rewriting your work. The mentors are not there to teach you, but more to guide you. In a PhD program, there shouldn't be anything new to teach since you have already gone through at least seven years of college prior to your acceptance into the program. The support staff at the school have been excellent in my opinion, from the initial advisers signing you up for your classes, to financial aid, down to the academic support center they have. If you need help with any of your classes, you can utilize their tutoring services, which they provide twice a week for free. I used it for my Stats course and it helped me tremendously. The books for this program are so much lower than any other school I have gone to, even when compared to my undergraduate degree at a state university. And they reuse some of the books in future classes! Do yourself a favor and disregard the negativity that comes from some of the comments here on this site and others. That's what I did because I read a few reviews that said just what I am saying to you. It doesn't matter what school you go to, online or B&M, you will get people that aren't satisfied with their experience. Just think about it, are you more likely to fill out a survey if you have a negative or positive experience? Most people would say negative. This is why I wrote this response to educate prospective students out there. Don't listen to the noise! If you are looking for a challenge in an independent home environment where the only person that can fail you is you, then consider NCU. The grades I have received are not easy to get so I really feel like I worked for those grades. I am much more satisfied with my education at this school than in either of my Master degree programs or my undergraduate program."
  • Reviewed: 6/3/2015
  • Degree: Business
"I decided to write this review because I wished I had listened to the complaints I read before enrolling and do not wish this school on my worst enemy. Like others, I surmised that these complainers were biased and were most likely emotional at the time they wrote their complaint. I withdrew from the university in March and decided to take time to cool off before sharing my experiences. I thought I was pretty thorough in my research before deciding to attend the university, reading reviews and complaints, but honestly I don't think anything prepares you for the experience. I left the university with a 3.9 GPA and completed all of my courses leading to the comprehensive exam. For the most part, I did not have any problems during this time except for a couple of bad mentors (but there are a few bad apples at every school). I had some very good mentors who were responsive and appeared to genuinely care about the success of the student (I initiated contact with the mentors and most of them responded positively). It's true that the syllabus and required books were dated, but I disagree that you could not find less expensive books elsewhere (In fairness, around the time I was contemplating withdrawing from the university, the school was in the process of updating the coursework--I had already taken the courses, so I cannot tell you if the content was better or not). I did not experience problems until it was time to take the comprehensive exam. I did not successfully complete the exam at the first attempt and I must say that I was partly responsible as I experienced a technical nightmare on my part. However, I found out later during my retake that the mentor deleted a couple of the required articles to complete the exam, so now I understood why I had some of the difficulty that I had in completing the questions. I don't think the mentor did this maliciously and to make a long story short, I think she was trying to be fair (I know it doesn't make sense, but it would take too long to explain). It was during this time that I began to see some creative calculations with my financial aid. Like other former students, I had trouble with reaching the financial aid department and there were so many different explanations when I did that I decided to keep a paper trail by sending email. I was told that I was short financial aid. There was no way that could be the case. I kept going back and forth with them about their inconsistencies with what was on the Department of Education website versus what they had on record. It did not make sense. I know how to count, I graduate with a BBA and MBA with honors. Something was incredibly wrong. And the kicker was that I was dealing with all of this during my retake of the COMPS exam. Also, during this time my mother in law had a recurring bout with cancer and I was dealing with this crap. I was stressed. I did not feel comfortable with paying anymore money to NCU, I needed to help tend to my mil and I could not concentrate, so I decided to withdraw as I did not have the option to take a leave of absence in the middle of the exam. This where its gets very messed up. I was informed that I owed the school approximately $3500. NCU was already paid for both the COMPS and COMPS retake and the retake should have completed my payment period of three courses; however, that's not how it works. Let me try to explain: NCU defines a school year as 6 earned courses; divided by 2 payment periods of 3 courses each. However, the caveat is that NCU defines an earned courses as meeting the time requirement and passing the course. So, if you fail a course, your payment period is extended by one course, so instead of 3 courses, you now have taken 4 courses (pending you pass the 4th course) to complete a payment period. This is the same with withdrawals. If you withdraw from a course after 7 days, you are on the hook to pay full tuition for the course and you are given an Incomplete as a grade. However if you withdraw from the course after 14 days, then you are given a failing grade for the course. This means that either way, you will owe them money. If you have the incomplete, you owe the tuition for that course (and if you did not complete the payment period of 3 passing courses, you may be on the hook for additional courses) and if you receive a failing grade for withdrawing and you did not satisfactorily complete 3 courses, you are on the hook for the difference. Once you withdraw, NCU is required to submit a form calculating the money they have to return to the Department of Education as a result of your separating from the school. The calculations are based on the percentages of earned courses versus the total number of days required. The total number of days depend on satisfactorily completing the payment period of 3 courses [passing grade and time (8 or 12 weeks each course)]. If the percentages are less than 60%, then you did not "earn" enough courses and so the school has to return money to the Department of Education. If the payment period is constantly expanding due to the withdrawal or failing grade, then the student will never earn enough. NCU returns this amount to the Department of Education and passes the amount to you. For the most part, you have two options: pay the balance they say you owe or do not (and risk damaging your credit, collection calls/emails, etc. and hijacking your transcript). The Department of Education has turned a blind eye because they allow the schools to set the conditions of their withdrawal and refund policies. So whether you withdraw or fail a course, you will end up owing NCU some amount of money. It's almost like you are being penalized for withdrawing or failing a course. I withdrew from NCU with a 3.9 because I experienced a situation that caused concern over how they were handling my financial aid and I felt that I better get out before I end up losing much more money that I have to pay back. They told me I owed around $3,500 and it took me a minute to figure out what was going on. I was then transferred to their collections where one of the clerks appeared to take my questioning personally and told me that they are right and I pretty much need to get with the program. I filed a complaint with the Dept of Education and NCU response to my complaint was pretty basic, they followed proper protocol and pretty much I did not understand the process (despite having proof of the contradictory statements they made in my situation). According to the date/time stamp on the email, almost immediately after NCU's response, the investigator assigned to the case stated they found no violations and closed my case. So for those of you who do not understand why you owe money after withdrawing, this is why. I have decided that I will allow them to send the balance to collections and take a hit on my credit report. The only thing I can surmise is that the investment company or NCU itself has hired lobbyists to lobby legislation in their favor. I was able to access the Department of Education's policies and it does allow for non-traditional institutions to create their own withdrawal and refund policies. Clearly NCU's policies favor their stockholders and board and not the students. So although unethical, it's legal for them to do so. The school does have a low graduation rate and contrary to NCU's belief, it's not because of the rigor of the degree. Although I do not have first hand experiences about the dissertation process, I know of students who have gotten the run-around during the dissertation process and they are 6 - 7 years into the program and are still trying to get their concept paper approved. After the 7th year, those students are dismissed. I've seen where students cannot get into touch with mentors, the subject matter expert disagreement with the Chair, personality conflicts between the Chair and the student. Students have been assigned Chairs who do not specialize in the student's area. Unfair policies such as not being able to take a break between dissertation sequences. The policies are changed at a drop of the hat and previous students are not grandfathered into the former policies. Again, this is so unethical, but NCU has somehow managed to stay in that gray area. I do not doubt there are some students who had great experiences with NCU; however there are too many in the doctoral program who have not. I know of about 5 students who had problems but did not want to spend time complaining because they thought it would be a lost cause or they're embarrassed. A majority of NCU's student population are doctoral students, so one would think that there are more doctoral graduates than the other degrees, but take a look and you would be surprised. Then compare the graduation rate to ivy league schools or even other online schools. Then ask yourself would it be financially prudent to attend NCU? That is the question I wished I had asked before I enrolled. I apologize that my post is so long, but I attempted to give a fair description of my experience at NCU. I cannot recommend that anyone attend this university to pursue a doctorate degree unless you are into giving away money."
ncu student
  • Reviewed: 5/19/2015
  • Degree: Business
"Ask about grad rate and time to grad. I had a poor learning experience. The curriculum was outdated. The texts were old editions. The disertation process changes many times. The class schedule is flexable. Most profs would not talk with me. One said she was busy and could not take a call."
Rodger O Young
  • Reviewed: 2/25/2015
  • Degree: Business
"Initially I was very satisfied with Northcentral University. However, during my Comprehensive exams I was provided with a unqualified professor causing a retake, and afterwards a uncooperative and unchangeable Chair. With continuous changes in Review, Academic and Ombudsman processes; creating extensive delays in the learning process. I have dropped NCU after seven-years and would not recommend NCU to any professional wishing to better them self."
  • Reviewed: 2/21/2015
  • Degree: Business
"I am in my last 3 core classes before my comprehensive exam. I have a lot of reviews about how hard the courses are and my only response would be...Its a Doctorate degree! This journey isn't supposed to be easy, nothing worth having is. The workload is demanding and some of the teachers are rough, but it is to make you prepared to defend you dissertation. I like NCU and have a great learning experience here. No matter where you go, you will need to put the blood, sweat and tears in to be successful. It is what you make of it. Buckle down and work and accomplish what you came here to do~"
  • Reviewed: 1/18/2015
  • Degree: Business
"I have read a number of reviews on NCU. I can only say that folks who complain about turning papers in on weekly basis, being stalled during the dissertation process, books only available on the book store, ramifications of not citing properly have not fairly reviewed the course. I am in PhD program and it's hard. It is designed to teach curriculum related to your area of expertise (15 courses) then teach you to be a researcher by focusing you on your dissertation process. My wife and I have had a saying since I started: "they just don't hand these degrees out". NCU has no benefit from keeping students from completing their degree. In fact, once you exceed the four course period to complete your dissertation coursework, they only charge you 1/3 of the standard course. So in fact, they take financial hit to make sure you succeed. If they wanted you to stay in limbo, they'd just keep charging you the full course fee for of about $2,600 for the 12 weeks instead of the $900 for the 12 week course continuation. This is a great school and I will graduate knowing that I earned the degree and put in the same amount of work I would have at any top school. I know it because my Dissertation Chair has not made it easy on me, but she has made the end result much better."