Northcentral University Reviews - Doctorate in Education
Review of Education Doctoral Degrees
I am poised to defend my doctoral dissertation. Thinking over the past four and a half years, there is no doubt that my experience has been positive. The work is as rigorous as at brick-and-mortar school, maybe even more rigorous. Although it has taken a little longer for me to complete my program, I am satisfied with my experience at Northcentral University. I found the faculty supportive and usually available to answer questions or provide any ecessary clarification.
The doctoral program at Northcentral University is designed for serious students. It is asynchronous, follows a written curriculum, and is evaluated using course rubrics. You will have a one-on-one relationship with your mentor (who will guide and support you) but you, the learner, has the more active role in your learning success.
They keep raising tuition every few months or so. I wish I had chosen a college that guarantees no increases after you begin (they do exist). Advisors have been rude and have enrolled me in incorrect courses, then would not correct their mistakes nor return calls or respond to e-mails. I regret spending my time and money here; it is very difficult to transfer credits in Ph.D. programs, so I will have to start over if I go elsewhere; however, I cannot continue at Northcentral with the frequent rate increases and service that keeps getting poorer and poorer. Turns out they were not truthful about costs when I enrolled. Fortunately, more reputable brick and mortar schools are now offering online programs at more affordable rates and will hopefully run schools like this out of the market. I am thinking of reporting them for their practices.
I cannot with a good conscience recommend this school. You teach yourself and instructors are paper-graders. Faculty and staff pretty much come and go. They had several different provosts during my stay. There are lots of issues with good instructors who feel they are not valued, nor receive tenure. The coursework is relatively easy. The comprehensive exam is a little challenging. Then the dissertation is a nightmare. What makes it more difficult is that being an online school, the student does not have immediate access to his or her chair. I attended about seven years. Everything is fine until you run into issues, then the truth is revealed. Don't forget it is a for-profit institution and run by business people, not educators. You feel proud (Maybe) to have the doctorate, but you earned it in sweat and money.
I'm not sure if many people get that ALL universities are FOR PROFIT now... even if they don't say that, and many people pay a lot of money for colleges and still get treated like crap. I was at UVA... it cost $40K a year and most of the the professors never had time for you. I had a STAT's 2 teacher who couldn't speak English clearly and no one in the department would help me. I had an advisor who was nuts - even got arrested for grand larceny, but he's still there. So please don't think that in-person universities are better. I'd rather know that I'm at a for profit university - they know their job is to take care of their customers. I did a lot of research to find NCU. Yes, you have to be responsible for keeping up with your progress and finances, because the advisors are just logistics people, but I've also had some really amazing professors who have far surpassed the quality of instruction I received in UVA's grad program. My research writing has improved significantly because of the professors at NCU. The books that they select and the sequential design of my program has allowed me to build one skill on top of the next. The feedback that I've received from most of the professors has been great. I used to ask for help at UVA and they called me lazy... they made me second guess my abilities during a serious medical issue... so I left. NCU has much better about accommodating me. FYI - it is a great bang for the buck, especially when compared to the money I paid at UVA and got very little back for it.
I began my PhD journey in May of 2012 and defended my dissertation in September of 2016. The program I was in was rigorous and I spent many hours each week during the course work to complete my assignments, the bulk of which were 5-7 page papers; at the end of each (8 week) course, there was a signature assignment that was more along the lines of 10-15 page papers. I learned a great deal in these classes. You absolutely need to be intrinsically motivated to succeed at NCU. There is no one there to remind you to submit. You have to know your stuff. APA 6th ed. format is a requirement, and it must be adhered to. I had one chair in the dissertation stage. She was helpful, offered clear feedback and always stayed within the required response times as indicated by NCU. My committee members overall seemed to genuinely care about my research and were also helpful, articulate. They all challenged me, asked difficult questions and as a result, my dissertation is something I am truly proud of. It is hard to stay motivated and focused for four+ years, essentially give your life over to academics while still working full time. I would recommend NCU to someone who is a self-starter, who doesn't need a ton of affirmation. While my academic adviser always had the correct answers, and got me the information I needed, she wasn't my personal cheerleader or advocate. The expectation is that students are independent learners, workers and self-advocates. The only real frustration I experienced was with the length of the Institutional Review Board Review. However, my friends who have studied in brick and mortar schools have shared that the situation with IRBs is tricky everywhere. I loved my experience at NCU. I am glad I did it. And... I am glad to have those three magical letters after my name now ;)
I just finished my PhD with a 4.0. It took me 3 years and 2 months (with a period of no activity of about 4 months due to external issues) to complete the degree, including coursework. I am not brilliant, but I was dedicated and motivated to complete the program and do the best I could do. I also teach in a local state college and love doing that as well. I found the education that I received was excellent. While not every professor can be the best I ever had, I found the vast majority to be excellent. I did have to stand up for my rights on a couple of occasions. When I did so firmly and respectfully I found that I was treated in the same manner. This is an excellent school and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to complete an education online and who, like me, will benefit from individualized instruction. I wish they offered more degrees! I am exploring a second with them now.
If you're looking for a perfect school they don't exist. If you are not a self-learner, if you have difficulty synthesizing information, and if you can't do serious research do not attend NCU. After almost 6 years I've finished my doctorate and it wasn't easy. NCU is not going to hand you a doctorate degree. My academic advisor was great and though my first chair was really horrible, NCU has gone through and weeded out the subpar mentors and chairs. My chair was fantastic, always there for me. If you are not ready to put in long hours, deal with the ups and downs of completing a doctorate I would advise attending another school. If you decide to attend NCU you will be in a rigorous program, one that will challenge you every step of the way. I feel I am well prepared after attending NCU and wish only the best for the mentors, staff and students.
Do not waste your time. This is the worst school on the planet and needs to be shut down for stealing students money. I tried withdrawing and they had all these folks contact me. The only way to leave was to fail out the course. GO TO A BETTER SCHOOL.
Glad to be finished. Would not recommend to anyone. They treat adults like children. Always want more money. Too many ongoing changes. They are unfair if you question policies. Greed is the order of the day. Don't really care about students. Online school is the most difficult way to pursue a degree and you teach yourself at this school. Classes are fine but when you pursue to doctoral degree, look out. I am so so glad to be finished!!!