In Defense of Degree Mills

My colleague Chris Lawrence contemplates the case of a private school teacher with an education doctorate from a degree mill:

Yet I am forced to wonder how much we should really be bothered when Taylor could easily have gotten his degree from an accredited and moderately-well-respected institution such as, say, SIU Carbondale, where the standards for doctorates in educational leadership don’t seem to be significantly higher at least in some individuals’ cases. If the credentials in an entire field are deeply suspect to begin with, whether the degree was bought from Uncle Bob’s House of Academia and Animal Husbandry or “earned” at Harvard really doesn’t seem to make that much difference.

Well, there is that.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Diploma buyers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose except the stigma of your degrees!

    I’m going to be a big hit in faculty meetings, I can tell already.

  2. You’ll be fine in the departmental meetings–it’s just those meeting involving administrators who desperately want to be called “Doctor” too and their leadership “doctorates” that will be strained.

  3. I’m sure it’s no coincidence that the preferred medical nomenclature for male member malfunctions is E.D. So close to Ed.D. it’s scary.