Review Averages: 6.0 out of 10 (252 reviews)Northcentral University in Arizona is a regionally accredited online school featuring distance learning degrees in business, education, and psychology. Its rigorous business school is recognized by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Northcentral students study at individualized paces and receive personalized guidance from faculty mentors when needed.
Accreditation: The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
Northcentral University Reviews:
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Don't Listen to the Negative Reviews
PhD in Business Administration - June 10, 2015
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.
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Ask about graduation rate
PhD in Business Administration - April 6, 2015
I was able to learn about business admin and finance by performing the readings. I was disappointed in the low engagement of the faculty. The dissertation phase seems to be about dragging out the process rather than fostering progress, this is frustrating to a business person. I worked in high level positions for 20 years, and have an MBA from an AA accredited university. Ask them about their graduation rate. In a student only conference call, they seemed to brag about their low graduation rate, implying it indicates rigor, rather than failure. You decide.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Don't waste your time.
DBA Organizational Leadership - March 25, 2015
This is one of the worst schools for quality of instructors and support for the Doctoral degree. There was no guidance about course selection and very little communication either from the school or my so-called Advisor. Their lack of written communication was shown to me as being my fault since I did not give them a change of address nor new email address. When I specifically showed them on their database that they had my correct email and home address, they did not respond. I had completed all the course work and comprehensive exams and was in the Dissertation phase when they supposedly dropped me from their program as non-responsive. When I requested re-activation, I was then told that I needed two new courses plus the Dissertation and that I would have to basically start the program over again. I was not happy. I wasted a lot of time and money.
17 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Education with an e-learning specialization
Ed.D. - January 6, 2015
My experience with NC thus far has been extremely positive. I study anywhere from 40 to 80 hours per week, working on my doctoral degree. If you are not willing to work for your degree, you will not like the high academic standards at NC. But if you are sincere about your education, I dare say you will love it like I do. I researched online schools for six years before deciding on NC. Did you know the school is highly rated and becoming known as the "Harvard online school?" And, mentors have always answered my questions within 24 hours. I highly recommend this school. True, a lot drop out, but if you are willing to put in the necessary work, you will be happy. Also, the price for this school is average in comparison to other doctoral degree programs. Good luck and study hard for the degree!
19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Money Milking Machine
PhD in Business Administration - December 16, 2014
The core curiculum will tak a couple of years, cost $20,000 or so. You will get good grades, and then take a "comprehensive" exam, which will cover nothing which you have covered in the previous couple of years. The chances are high that you will fail, and then (for another $2,500), you will take it again, and you will pass. Then you will be assigned a "Dissertation Committee Chairperson", who will most likely be an expert in a discipline other than yours. You will then be required to write a concept paper, and the only issues reviewed will be citation format, whether it is in the NCU library data base (God forbid that it's not...no matter how important it is..."peer reviewed"), the age of your references, your justification for using them (annotated bibliography... why, strength, weaknesses, etc.), and whether you quoted the authors too closely (not whether you've cited them). The chances are high that you will never finish your concept paper. Each "Disertation Research" course requires 10 sbmissions, whereby your "Dissertation Committee Chairperson" will review part of your work, and request that you revise it. You will probably receive no suggestions or explanations. The submissions are to be made by Sunday evening, and you will usually receive the correction on Friday. Your weekends will be no longer yours. It's impossible to work on your paper during the week, because of the slow turnaround by the "Dissertation Committee Chairperson". By the way...Yyou will never speak to, or even know the names of the other committee members, or the Dean of your school. The school will change your "Dissertation Committee Chairperson" without your consent, which will, of course, require you to revise your "Introduction", "Problem" and "Purpose" statements, as well as your "Theoretical Framework" review. Remember...your Chairperson will also likely be from a discipline other than yours, so you will basically have to convince a layperson of the legitimacy of your concept...in the strict arbitrary format which the school proscribes...difficult, if not impossible. My personal discipline was international business I'm a CPA in Germany), and my Chairpersons were from the school of education somewhere on the east coast. Each 10 week course will cost $2,540 for the first year, and then $950 every 10 weeks thereafter. The part-time professors (often in other parts or time-zones in the US) really only want to keep you in the program as long as possible, so that the school can keep collecting tuition. Finally, if and when you ever have your concep paper approved, you can start on your dissertation an dissertation research, and can expect to spend another couple of years and another $10,000 researching and writing your paper. In the end, you will probably spend $50,000 to $60,000 getting a Doctorate from a school with a poor reputation, regional accreditation (only) and with professors who do not come from your field...ergo, they will not be able to help you through their relationships in your profession or academia. One more thing. It's almost impossible to contact your "Dissertation Committee Chairpersons" by telephone or Skype, so you will probabl have no personal relationship with them, just as the administration is difficult to contact (Dean, Academic Advisor, etc.).
14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Not a good choice!
PhD in Business Administration - December 5, 2014
I enrolled in Northcentral University in 2010 with hopes to have a good academic experience but most of all to earn my DBA in Business Management. Instructors are referred to as "Mentors" but they really don't help much. If you have a question, you send an e-mail and keep your fingers crossed that you receive a response before your assignment is due. You are paying only to be able to submit your work online. All prior universities I attended you were given an school e-mail, not at NCU, your personal e-mail is used for communication. Out of the four years I have attended, I've always experience issues with communicating with instructors in a timely manner. They pretty much set you up for failure. I did well in all my classes, accumulated tons of loans, only to get to the last three classes and did not do good with my COMP exam according to the instructor, after failing the class I appealed the grade but my academic advisor was no help, actually she encouraged me not to appeal, her advice was "there's a slim chance that you will be granted another try". I asked to speak with the dean no one would allow me to speak with the dean, it was like everyone I called was instructed to tell me the same thing. My advisor as well as the re-entry coordinator both stated they could offer me a Masters Degree versus allowing me to remain in the doctoral program. I already have two Masters what did I need with another one. This school is a huge RIP Off, I wouldn't advise anyone to go here unless you have $$$$ to give away. I feel that I just wasted four years of my life and paying for it dearly. Something needs to be done to stop schools like NCU from taking students money and giving them nothing in return.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
NCU Actually Worked With Me
PhD in Business Administration - November 30, 2014
I was treated with respect the entire time I was enrolled from 2/03 to 10/08. I completed the PhD program and will tell you this took tremendous work on my part. If you get past yourself and get out of the way you can most likely make it. No one will hold your hand and the faculty will expect you to perform as an adult. This is not suppose to be easy as a obtaining a PhD should not be a an small task. NCU does care and will work with you if you apply yourself and are not acting like an adolescent. Apply, work hard and it will happen for you. If you do not like putting in the time and effort that on-line requires then don't apply. Applying and then complaining makes no sense. Being lazy will catch up with you in this program. I'm glad the underachievers are weeded out. I think NCU offers a lot for those hungry enough to go to work. The complainers want an easy ride but will not find it at this university. I recommend those wanting to attend NCU have a sincere commitment to personal perseverance, aptitude and attitude. Couple all this with adult behavior then you can make it at NCU. I am glad I graduated from NCU. When I am testifying in the court room, which I do frequently as an expert, no one questions my credentials and often stipulate to my PhD from NCU.
12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Excellent experience from a decade ago
PhD in Psychology - October 30, 2014
I enrolled a decade ago and received my degree six years ago, so I can only speak from my experience of NCU as it was. Seems like the new owner is profit oriented versus the original founders and management actually cared about education. Regardless, I now teach online college courses in another institution, and I can definitely say that NCU overall is a good online school. It is up to the students to find instructors that are responsive and good with encouraging student interaction. This is true for both online as well as face-to-face class. I cannot speak about the tuition issue as I never ran into that. However, I think if you find a good dissertation chair that cares about your topic, and put together a committee that supports your research, you can get a lot out of your educational experience. Online means you must be self-motivated and persistent in chasing down your instructors. Like with all colleges, there will be professors that you tell yourself "never again" as well as those you say "I need to take more classes from this professor". I also found the tech support and library were so wonderful in helping me to solve all my problems so quickly. I have nothing but respect for my dissertation committee. I hope the current owners is able to sell this great institution to someone who can build and expand this great learning place that it was.
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Hidden Pitfalls, Unfair Policies
Northcentral University - October 20, 2014
You'll undoubtedly see many reviews on sites like this that laud or lament NCU's online degree programs. The truth about NCU's program is that it's nothing special and mired in lagging technology and a frustrating lack of quality control. But any prospective NCU student should understand the following before enrolling at NCU: 1) Course drop policy: Dropping a course means you can exit the course without being on the hook for any tuition. Understanding the course drop deadline and how a student requests a drop are critical factors in assessing how flexible the program actually is. NCU has a seven day drop policy. Not totally unreasonable for eight week courses. But the devil is in the details. Consider that NCU starts all courses on Monday. That means the drop deadline is always the first Sunday night. The net effect of this policy is that NCU students have no access to any academic advisors from Friday evening at about 6pm MT until after the course drop deadline. Students can request a drop by email right up to the Sunday midnight deadline. But if you need advice, there’s nobody on the other end to help. Not exactly flexible or convenient. There are countless other online schools of equal or better value and reputation that offer a more student-friendly course drop policy and procedure. 2) Course refund policy: Once you’re past the course drop period—-the period when you can exit the course without any financial obligation—-exiting a course is most often a course withdrawal. Withdrawing from a course means you’re going to spend some cash. Many schools will offer a pro-rata refund based upon the number of weeks you attended a course before withdrawing. For example, withdrawing from a course in the second week might mean you’re obligated to pay 20% of the course tuition. If you withdraw in week 3, you’re on the hook for 30% and so on. Unfortunately, that’s not how they do it at NCU. I have seen countless students get ensnared in this devili$h trap. At NCU, students are obligated to pay the full course tuition even if they withdraw in week two. This could well seem to not be a big deal. Many students think they'll never need to be concerned about withdrawing from a course. Trust me, it happens to most students. And not always for academic reasons. Life happens. Spouse, kids, in-laws, car accidents, illness, death…you name it. At NCU, that’s really just too bad. If any such event occurs after the 7th day of your course and you need to withdraw from your course, NCU requires full tuition be paid. This is extremely inequitable, even predatory. My advice is to find a school with an equitable refund policy that doesn’t penalize life events. After all, you're probably going to school online precisely because you need flexibility. You don't have to choose a school that locks you in for full tuition on the 8th day. Many schools of greater value and prominence will credit you tuition on the "unused" portion of the course. This can add up to big money!!! If you attend a school like NCU with no pro-rata refund policy, you may as well add a 15%-20% contingency to your budget above the stated tuition. Chances are good you'll pay considerably more than you think. 3) Graduation Rate: Not only does NCU refuse to disclose its graduation rate, but they go out of their way to present alternative statistics about "completion rates" which exclude students who by definition don't complete their programs. It's extremely misrepresentative and a bit diabolical, to be frank. If you want to assure yourself that your degree is a worthwhile investment, consider having to tell a future employer or colleague that your degree was granted by a school that refuses to disclose fundamental statistics about its ability to enroll and graduate qualified students. If you get a degree online, you'll inevitably face those who (often rightly so) do not regard online degrees as comparable to traditional schools. So why make it worse by attending a lesser of the online schools? 4) NCU failed it 2011-2012 financial solvency test For the second time, NCU failed its solvency test, scoring in the bottom 1% of the over 3,300 schools tested. In addition, NCU's CFO just recently jumped ship. This really is reason enough to consider other schools instead. There could be no worse a fate for a masters or doctoral student than to learn half way through their degree program that the school has lost it's ability to accept financial aid or just plain goes out of business. Transferring credits at this level is extremely murky and limited....meaning you'd nearly be starting over. You can see the financial solvency composites scores reported by the federal government here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/about/data-center/school/composite-scores The best advice for any prospective online student is to do your research. Seriously, do your own due diligence and consider it the first research project of your program. These ratings forums are littered with smart people who didn't know what they were getting into until it was too late. Especially online, it can happen fast. If you do a good job researching your options, you'll have a much better chance to succeed. Best of luck!
22 of 31 people found the following review helpful
PhD in Business Administration - September 25, 2014
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.
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