Is this a scam? Laureate Online Education & University of Liverpool MSc programmes

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Student Money Saving
67 replies 100.1K views


  • FroggittFroggitt Forumite
    5.9K Posts
    “Diploma mill” is a bizarre charge to make against a globally ranked, top one percentile University.
    Top one percentile? Liverpool doesn't even make it into the top 25% in the UK and that's a list that includes hallowed institutions such as Bishop Grosseteste Glyndwr Harper Adams Falmouth Newman

    Even so, Im sure Liverpool have to get the courses externally moderated to ensure that the teaching and students work is up to nationally recognised standards for Masters degrees. But it does sound like its a nice little earner for Liverpool to put their name on something they have minimal involvement with.
    illegitimi non carborundum
  • cgk1cgk1 Forumite
    1.3K Posts
    Tenth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    Yeah, this is increasingly common in the UK, universities putting their names out to Diploma mills.
  • Froggitt wrote: »
    Top one percentile? Liverpool doesn't even make it into the top 25% in the UK

    [FONT=&quot]My understanding is that all of the Russell Group institutions can legitimately claim a global top 1% HE ranking (including Liverpool), but of course various league tables have their own methodologies, criteria, statistical methods and metric weightings. The one you cite is limited to national focus, and arguably values research output / H-Index metrics substantially lower than tables that hold research quality output as a more relevant institutional quality metric. (That’s not to say one is better than the other; teenagers looking to pursue a foundational degree would obviously have more interest over the former than the latter).[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]Nevertheless, to deride a well-established, bricks-and-mortar institution as a “diploma mill” is, as I stated previously, a bizarre charge, and probably due to ignorance over any academic prejudice I would suspect.[/FONT]
  • FroggittFroggitt Forumite
    5.9K Posts
    So, its a degree that the University of Liverpool do not teach, you cannot make "Use of physical facilities at the University of Liverpool", you don't get to speak to a tutor or lecturer, its being "sold" by salesmen in Holland and the USA, and there are currently 8,000 students studying for a University of Liverpool degree online in 175 countries

    Are any of those "facts" in dispute Spiny?
    illegitimi non carborundum
  • Froggitt wrote: »
    Are any of those "facts" in dispute Spiny?

    I don’t work for the institution so I can’t offer a qualified rebuttal to who is on who’s payroll or how many students are enrolled at any particular time. (The international mix / countries represented is in the public domain however. I’ll let you do your own research to pull that up).

    Access to physical facilities on campus is a curious expectation for a distance learning programme specifically focused at international, mid-career working professionals. If you need access to laboratory equipment you’d be doing a residential or blended (Ivy League preference) course, and if access to such resources were required there’d be no distance learning option in any case. I've done both; each have their own merits and limitations.

    The other points raised are either false or disingenuous, so I will not address them.
  • edited 22 July 2013 at 10:47AM
    acedemicacedemic Forumite
    1 Post
    edited 22 July 2013 at 10:47AM
    My experience of this university is not good. The University of Liverpool link is tenuous, so when things go wrong the UoL claim they cannot do anything. I can only assume that they provide the brand of the UoL to the Laureate degree programmes, Masters and DBA to give it local credibility.

    They are not cheap either so if you can afford them, you can afford to study at a university with say - its own long standing research, its own name (rather than needing to borrow one) and a tutor student relationship that is attentive. Many universities have strong reputations and online programmes. Ask also what the Quality Control and Assurance is... do not be fobbed off! Who credits the degree programmes and what quality standards do the follow from which country? If the answer is the UoL then you would expect them to follow up on complaints and yet many people here say that is not the case including me.

    As some one else has said, when things go wrong it is not easy to know who to talk to as the Laureate is so dispersed. Holland , the States and the UK. Accountability in such an organization with an unclear HQ and a customer service that disappears when you make a complaint or query but is oh so present when they are looking to recruit you....

    Any University that hard sells has to to make you think. I just think that, as it is your money and your time, WHY RISK IT? Go to a university that either has a physical presence you can visit or a long term reputation in academia in your country or in one country such as the USA or the UK and which uses its own name.

    If looking for a degree why not try the Open University that has always worked online. Look too for accreditations for the programme. The Cranfield DBA for example is accredited by AMBA whereas the Laureate programme has NO accreditations so no external QA or QC.

    Look for the top uni you can for your money
  • I have been enrolled in the online MPH program at Liverpool since May 2013.

    I should preface this by saying that I'm an American, more specifically a Californian, and while I don't consider Liverpool a top-ranked university, I did attend a top-ranked university for my undergraduate degree. I graduated three semesters early with a 3.75 GPA from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.S. in Molecular Environmental Biology. (As an aside, Randy Schekman, one of the winners of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Medicine/Physiology was one of my professors (Fall 2009 MCB 130 Cell Biology). In case you are wondering, he is a superlatively nice guy, but couldn't teach to save his life; as one of my classmates in MCB 130 put it, he could make 2 + 2 = 4 difficult to understand).

    While UC Berkeley also offers an online MPH, I chose Liverpool for two reasons: international faculty & student body, and cost. In U.S. dollars, the MPH at Liverpool will end up being cheaper than my B.S. at Berkeley, that is, it will be under $18,000 USD, compared to UC Berkeley's MPH which at last check was $42,000 USD.

    I will concede that before I started the program I had reservations and was apprehensive that it may be a scam, and may not even be affiliated with the University of Liverpool. But after enrolling in the program, I can say with absolute certainty that I have a received a very rigorous education hitherto, and that I have learned more in the past 8 months than I did in the 2.5 years I spent at Berkeley (sad but true).

    My academic writing has improved by leaps and bounds since I entered the program. I actually should be working on my IP for my management of health systems' class right now! But I wanted to take some time to post a rebuttal.

    Some of my professors are based in the UK, others are internationally based, and it's true that I always have at least one student in each module whose grasp of English is questionable at best. However, the vast majority of the students are competent and capable, and many are as articulate as I consider myself to be, which again, is more than I can say for the time I spent at UC Berkeley. In each class or module, as they are called, I typically have fewer than 10 classmates, except for the first class when there were twelve of us. Either way, enrollment is capped at 20.

    The grading system is very rigorous, although that may just be the UK system in general. In the US, if you meet all the requirements, you receive an A. In my online courses through Liverpool, if you meet all the requirements, you receive a C. To receive even a B, you have to go above and beyond those requirements, to receive an A you basically have to write something worthy of publication in a high impact journal like NEJM or BMJ :) Pardon the hyperbole, I'm just not used to getting B's on written assignments, and it's perturbing but it pushes me to be more thorough in the construction of my arguments.

    Anyway, I routinely write upwards of 3500 words per week, although with the due date of my IP swiftly approaching (the 31st), that number is now closer to 4000 words.

    Finally, the discussion forums with the students are far more useful than an in-class discussion; in the online forums, there is an expectation that you cite pretty much every other sentence with peer-reviewed literature. In an in-class discussion, you are expected to share your opinion, but you are not necessarily expected to support those opinions with outside research of published, peer-reviewed literature by beginning each of your sentences with, "According to Girotra et al. (2012)..." Even if you did, your classmates would not have the time in the context of an in-class discussion to read your outside readings such as the Girotra et al. (2012) paper and compose a cogent rebuttal, by pointing that Girotra et al. (2012) actually stated x, not y or z.

    To that end, I do not think that Liverpool online is a diploma mill per se, at least not more so than any other brick and mortar university in the US, where the tuition fees are significantly higher, and student evaluation is sketchy at best.

    As to other criticisms, I would say, don't knock it until you've tried it, or at least until you know someone who actually has. If you want more information from an actual student, feel free to private message me. By the way, there are no weekends in the program, it runs Thursday through Wednesday, so I better get back to work!


  • Hi There,

    I am applying for UOL distance learning and now i am getting doubt in this program. I need some information such as:
    1. In admission process, it seems very easy to get the acceptance letter. Even for other university, we need to proof such as TOEFL, TOEIC or any equivalent language proficiency level. Do you have any comment on this part?
    2. In learning process, who actually teach the students? the lecturer from Liverpool or Laureate's people?
    3. Why they don't have physical visit to Liverpool to just give us the legitimation in this program?

    Thank you very much to share your experiences.
  • FroggittFroggitt Forumite
    5.9K Posts
    Its nothing to do with Liverpool, other than using their name, and sending them a cheque each month for use of the name. Using Liverpool's physical resources would be very costly.

    The previous poster seemed to think the course was OK.....I cannot comment.
    illegitimi non carborundum
  • Don't knock the University of Liverpool online programs people. What are you all talking about? I just got into a MSc in International Management program there and I got to tell's hard to get accepted to this University!! The school has a 13.9% acceptance rate, which means I had to get a 2.82 GPA at Aurora University + write a publishable quality 500 word essay + a stellar letter of recommendation + over 25 years of professional experience in order to get into the school! I mean isn't that all you are really paying for with the education? A verification of an honor's degree from another school, plus additional thesis writing skills learned through the education? I know of others who have done Argosy University's online DBA program and have gone on to publish books on MIS and business admin and have made a fortune at it. That's ultimately my goal here is to publish books and work at a university. It's not a scam! There's nothing wrong with online education, take it from me. I did some online education at AU and DePaul University, you basically watch the class at the University take place in real time, on your computer over the take notes, you read books, get the same education as those who are sitting in the actual classroom......there's no difference. You people should not write this stuff, trashing online education, saying it's a ripoff or a scam. You are giving people a false impression of it. That's wrong. With today's technology, including Skype, you can recreate the same experience as sit down brick and mortar stuff, that's the way of the future, that's what all these university's are turning to these days. I say all those who are against online education better get with the times!
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