Northcentral University Reviews - Doctorate in BusinessSee reviews of all programs at Northcentral University
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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~
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.
My experience was consistent with some other posts. Classes were fine for an online school My big problem is the dissertation phase. I have spent two years, and feel the chair does not want me to proceed at a reasonable pace. I do not feel like I am learning about how to perform research. Going to NCU was a decision I regret.
The WORST experience ever, and I'm an educator! The courses aren't too bad...some fairly easy, some harder but in classes like stats, being an island is tough. The Ph.D. "mentors" or dissertation "chairs" are a joke for the most part. They have 3 weeks to return anything and often took a month or more, so you end up extending your program by months and months...more money for them, less for you. My Mentor never, in 2 years of working on the dissertation sent me an e-mail that wasn't replete with spelling and grammar errors, never seemed to know what I was talking about with statistical analysis, and when she wouldn't reply to something and I'd finally get a hold of her she'll tell me she needed a nap, or would do it after she took a nap. Apparently she often forgot to get up again. REALLY? If I weren't so vested in their stupid program I would have dropped it a long time ago. The mentors and chairs don't respond well to complaints however, and you'll never get through the program if you do. Best course of action is keep your mouth shut, pay and pay and pay your money, get out of there and THEN write the accrediting agency. Better yet...don't go there to begin with.
Before reading my review, realize that I was doing well in their program. I took three classes with NCU and had a 3.8 GPA in their PhD of BA program. I decided to leave the school for the reasons below. To put it bluntly, NCU is a scam. The classes are nothing more than busy work and hardly on a graduate level. The assignments you're required to turn in each week can be nearly devoid of useful content, just as long as they're in proper APA format and you cite the required number of references. I don't think the instructors actually read anything I turned in, because the feedback I received was 99% about the paper's format and 1 % on the content. But if the paper I turned in was in good format, cited the minimum number of references and met the minimum length I was given a good grade, regardless of the mindless drivel contained within. To pass the classes I quickly learned to take a simple answer to a simple question and drag it out four 5 - 7 pages while quoting a few loosely related articles from academic journals. If this is what passes for higher education these days, then I think I'll stop at my master's degree. My "academic advisor" was a salesman, and a bad one at that. When I tried to address my concerns about the content and the focus of the courses he tried to convince me to stick it out for another year or two until I got to the point where the "real learning" would begin. Additionally, he was completely unaware of what course I was in, or even what level the course was on. When I called him out on it, he tried, again, to convince me to stick around longer and keep paying. It was not only a useless conversation, but one of the worst examples of bad salesmanship I've ever experienced, to include used car dealers. Additionally, the required textbooks for each class can only be bought from NCU's bookstore. Not even Amazon carried them. On top of that, they charged $200 for a used textbook for one class. I can only imagine how much profit they're raking in from book sales alone. On top of that their tuition rates are the highest of anything out there, nearly $3000 a class. You would think for that kind of money they'd run a quality institution of higher learning. NCU's education model is to make the students' turn in papers weekly, but the constant work is just a method of keeping the students' heads down and keeping them too busy to realize that they're not really learning anything. To put it bluntly, don't waste your time. A degree from NCU is completely worthless. I'm not sure who they bribed to get accredited, but it must have been a hefty amount of cash. If your goal is to waste thousands and thousands of dollars learning nothing more than how to write in APA format, then this is the school for you. If you want an actual education, I highly recommend going somewhere else.