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Thread: Mid-career Ph.D. options

  1. #1
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    Mid-career Ph.D. options

    I'm well into the early middle of my career and there are times I regret not going the academic route. But, I also love being a Planning Director and I really love my current job and hope to stay where I am until I retire. I'd also like to stay current in this field or one closely related. Further, I like working on complex projects that take a long time to complete. I have a BS and an MA from a Big 12 university and a decent GPA in each. I test well and I truly believe I have both the time and ability to attempt this project.

    So, my fellow Cyburbians am asking for your help. I'd like to spend the next seven to ten years of my life working on a Ph.D. program online while working full time at the job I love. (I have a mortgage, life, and am far too well settled to go back to university full time.) Can this be done? Is there a legitimate and respected online Ph.D. anywhere? I’m looking for something closely related to planning.

    I've looked at a few online programs and I can't seem to separate the wheat from the chaff. It appears that Walden University wants about $600,000 for a Ph.D. in Public Administration. Yikes!

    So, what do you know about online Ph.D. programs? And do you know anyone you respect that is working on one? Thanks for your thoughts.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    I can't hep you on advice for PhD programs, but I'm unclear as to why you want to spend the time and money on a degree that seems to be pointless. I mean, you said you want to stay to retirement at your current job. Will the PhD get you a larger salary? Will your employer cover the cost? Is it simply a matter of pride? For the honor?

    If your out-of-pocket expenses will be minimal, then by all means go for it. Otherwise, why not simply take the time and learn the things you want to learn. At one level the actual paper is just a certification - the actual learning is the key.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Flying Monkeys's avatar
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    I looked at a PHD, and am still considering it. But not on line. The best online programs I found were for the MBA. I really considered this...but the cost ranges from $600 to $1000 a credit hour + books. And these type of programs don't allow you to skip classes...if you do not take a scheduled class, then you have to wait a year or more to get it again. So...min outlay for calsses is $10k a year. Hard to manage...
    What’s in a name? – Your reputation….:)

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    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    If you want to get a PhD to be an academic find a brick and mortar university with a reputation and professors that research in the field you want to specialize in. Walden and the other online universities do not have the repuation which is all that matters when finding an academic job. If you want a PhD for other reasons then Walden might be a track worth considering.
    "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shinseki

  5. #5
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    bdaleray Thanks for your response
    Flying Monkeys Thanks for your response
    Brocktoon Thanks for your response

  6. #6
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    I have never heard of an online URP PhD... ...I cant imagine it online; it is such a mentor-apprentice relationship.
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  7. #7
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Hmmm

    How about a Public Administration Ph.D? or one in Management? I think the important thing is the degree and what you take away from any program and how you choose to use that knowledge. So while I would suggest an accredited program, I wouldn't dwell on who you get it from, as long as you get what you need out of it

    So someplace like the University of Phoenix or Walden could work out just fine.....$600,000!!! Was that for real! I hope not
    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
    John Kenneth Galbraith

  8. #8
    Cyburbian southern_yank's avatar
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    Though I may be in the minority, I'm weary of on-line masters/PhD degrees. A large part of the value of a degree is the personal and professional connections you make with students and faculty - something more difficult to do with on-line courses.

    Having known a few people who dropped out of PdD programs, it's important to be absolutely certain of your research goals and career objectives before enrolling. Though it's naive to think you can save the world, somewhere in yourself you need to believe your research absolutely matters to the progress of mankind (corny, I know, but true). Your mentor/advisor will also be of huge importance and can make or break you - not sure how that would work in an on-line program.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian RubberStamp Man's avatar
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    I'm with bdaleray on this one. Why the PhD again - were you hoping to teach? As another has previously mentioned you will want to get your PhD at the best university possible, which may mean making sacrifices.

    You mentioned you like doing long, complex projects. Another option would be to get published. So set up a project, either related to your municipality or your own interest, work through it and get it published. When you get that one done, set up another one and make it more complex if the previous one didn't satisfy you. Hook-up with your local uni faculty or your alma mater for research topics - That is essentially what a PhD is, with mentorship of course, but it didn't sound like you were looking to be mentored in your description.

    IMO there is a serious lack of research in the profession from practicing planners, that aren't just showpieces of projects they previously worked on.

    But of course if you were looking to just add the letters after your name then we are talking about something different from the previous scenarios.

    In all of my higher learning research I have never encountered an on-line planning PhD.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian RubberStamp Man's avatar
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    Actually, I recall USC offering a PhD in Public Management a few years back aimed at current professionals. It required attendance some weekends and for a week or two a year - its all very hazy. Don't know if its still offered though but worth checking out.

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