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Talk:Diploma mill

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This Crime related article has been awarded BRONZE status for quality. It's getting there, but could be better with improvement. See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.



To a certain degree, this article lumps completely fraudulent schools in with religious schools that opt for non-accreditation.

While there are some that fit into both categories (Patriot Bible University, I'm looking at you right now), if you look at Pensacola Christian College's web site, they seem to be running a "legitimate" school. You may disagree with what they teach, but they're not doing a "send us cash and we'll send you a doctorate" operation.

Now, it is fair to point out that a degree from a non-accredited school is of limited worth in the real world, but the average student probably isn't seeking looking to work in a "mainstream" job, anyway. They may be contemplating entering the ministry, if they're studying education they may want to teach in a fundamentalist school, etc etc etc ad infinitum ad nauseam. With career goals like that, prospective employers may not care about accreditation; they'll be impressed by a degree from PCC -- it's a school that teaches the values they respect.

I'm not defending what PCC teaches, mind you; I just debate whether or not it's fair to accuse them of being a diploma mill. MDB (talk) 11:23, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

It's a good point, actually. The term "diploma mill" is supposed to imply effectively buying an apparent qualification for little or no work. Whereas the type of religious college you mention may require a bit of effort for qualification (certainly obeying PCC's rulebook is hard work enough!). It also comes down to what a "qualification" means. They're pieces of paper, really, if that. They're given meaning by the people who accept them. A non-accredited course in nutrition or physics will raise some eyebrows if you want to become a professional dietitian or work at the Large Hadron Collider - but a "non-accredited" degree from PCC may well be good enough for people to enter ministry because ministries that accept these students would recognise the qualification. Lumping the two under the same term isn't particularly good. Perhaps limiting the definition of diploma mill to those that ape "real" qualifications for use in the "mainstream" world - e.g., Gillian McKeith getting her supposed PhD to appear as a respected dietitian on TV - and not those, like PCC, that might just be teaching for a specific world and lifestyle that accepts it. Scarlet A.pngtheist 13:10, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Even more, PCC actually offers bunches of degrees in secular subjects. Even though you would be right to wonder about a Biology degree from a strict YEC place, it is, overall, actually quite impressive (for a small, primary undergraduate school). OrthodoxBeliever (talk) 05:21, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
Generally, the mill list in this article is mostly wrong. Lets look at ot, shall we:

So, 60% wrong at best.


  • David Duke - MAUP is infamous for anti-semitism, but is accredited. Actually, Duke's degree is issued by the state (as all research degrees in the country), to Ukraine's ethernal shame. As if its politicians are not embarrassing enough.
  • Ian Paisley - honorary degrees are quite separate issue from mill degrees. One can technically call himself "doctor" with such degree, but it is poor taste and is generally only done by charlatans. People like Archbishop Desmond Tutu may not even know how many such degrees they have (Tutu's number in the hundreds).
  • Orly Taitz - William Howard Taft University is indeed a "correspondence-only university which is not accredited by the American Bar Association". But it's hardly a mill. For one, it's accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council ( a second-tier but recognized organization). Also, it is one of three or four California correspondence law schools that has the Bar pass rate in double digits AND graduates enough people to be interesting. Taitz is nuts for different reasons. OrthodoxBeliever (talk) 12:30, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
I have cut the obvious non-mills from the list. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 05:04, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
Thank you. I guess there's room for argument for other ones. I still think David Duke's MAUP/IUPM and Taitz's Taft Law are not mills. MAUP is the biggest government-accredited private university in Ukraine, that country's University of Phoenix. It is headed by legitimately-credentialled and enterpreneural educators. Many of these fine people just happen to also be crazy antisemites (and peddlers of that class of conspiracy theories). It has all outer marks of a non-mill. I guess you can still leave it in that category on the count of its general crapiness (and becaure it's not clear why the bleep the place would even have a doctoral commitee in History. I guess for their own undercredentialled gen ed teachers - and David Duke).
I lurk on a distance learning discussion board, and Taft Law is actually gets recommended the most for people who have the strange need to become attorneys by distance. Cal Bar rules spawned a subculture of registered "non-accredited correspondence" schools. Most of them have insignificant number of graduates and/or dismal bar passing rates. There are only four schools with annual graduating classes in high dozens/low hundreds AND pass rates over 20% - Oak Brook Law, Concord Law, Taft Law and Northwestern California University. Oak Brook is evangelical Christian, and Concord is too expensive. That leaves Taft and NWCU. Taft has somewhat better track record and additional DETC accreditation, while NWCU is cheaper, so these are the two rational choices. This is not Yale Law, but arguably not a mill. OrthodoxBeliever (talk) 08:31, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Who says the Diploma mills all have to be religous?[edit]

On a previous wiki I was on, we tackled some of the issues of "rip-off" colleges. Why are these fine institutions not on the list?

  • Devry College
  • ITT Tech
  • University of Phoenix

All these institutions offer degrees, take anyone with a pulse, (arguably) fraudulently promise job placement, and have tuition more expensive than some of the nicer private colleges. I know of many folks who got screwed by these people. One guy got an AAS in Graphics design only to be laughed at and ended up as a grill cook at an Olive Garden with a 50K student loan. I know of 4 or 5 that got Med Tech or Surgical tech degrees that are having to wipe butts as a Nurse Aide for a little over min. wage because why hire a Med Tech if you can hire a LPN for a dollar or two more and they can do more. No one ever takes any credits unless it is an English or Algebra from them EVER. So, if you do go to a real school, you start ALL OVER.

Of course seminary schools always suffer from this "shortage" propaganda crap stupid folks put in Yahoo and web content articles that have no clue just like IT and most other fields. There are no shortages of preachers. If you are in a church with wealthy followers and you are making bank, you are going to die or retire at that church. A new grad would either have to travel around church to church at his own expense to preach for free until someone likes him enough to advance him or some geezer croaks. Either that or if he is lucky be sent to the sticks to preach to churches with 20 members.--Green1 (talk) 14:13, 6 May 2012 (UTC)

While I am thinking about the topic and providing our readership with a fairly informative article, we probably should talk about degrees in general. There are very few places that will give you a piece of paper for just cash and no time spend short of the Universal Life Church. Technically, that is not even a diploma, either. It is merely a public service to allow you to perform weddings for your little doomsday cult Kool-Aide drinkers if you would like.

Any school you go to will give you a worthless diploma. There is also degree inflation. Back when my parents were coming up in the 60s, if you had a High School Diploma, you were a badass. Now, no one even checks these things unless you are trying to get into college or joining the military. Other than being able to read, spell somewhat, and add two numbers together (which many HS grads can not do), ALL public and private high schools could be considered "diploma mills" to some extent!

Even "legit" 4 year colleges are not immune either, if you choose to go be lazy or nt do research. You can get a degree in "General Studies". No Lie! It would be easy. Not much advance calculus or other bull. Just core stuff you like and the fact of being there 4-5 years (which many students actually WANT to avoid being some landlord and employer's bitch). Can you do much with it? Only thing a four year degree does is maybe get you past folks that only use 4 year degrees as a barrier to ensure you are at least middle class (or could put up with and finish something like school) I suppose if you had the right classes, you could apply for Masters with it. That opens up a whole other can of worms, as there are arguably worthless Master's too, depending on perception. I suppose with emergency certification procedures in many states you could take the NTE and teach with it. Is this a worthless diploma? And would the institution, even if it is Louisiana State or Michigan State be a "diploma mill"?--Green1 (talk) 14:40, 6 May 2012 (UTC)

Interesting observation! I think there might be another avenue of 'worthless' here: the fact that education standards vary depending on where you are. For example, although I go to a state school (in New York) the particular university location I attend is very selective and my degree probably has more 'meat' to it than the degree of someone who went to the same university system in a less selective, less focused location... but that might not mean anything to a future employer. Without some cursory research, Small Selective State School looks the same as Large Cattle Herd State School. It might not be certain that a future employer will distinguish Small Reputable Private College from Small Disreputable Private College. Nor are they garunteed to know the difference between a bachelor's degree in a state with poor education standards (and even culture, there are a lot of degrees that in some place of the USA at least women take simply to 'go to school' and find a husband!) from a bachelor's degree in a state that holds students to very high standards. I grew up quite close to the miasma of the 'very prestigious' universities near Boston (Harvard, MIT, BU, Brandeis, etc.) and all of THESE might be discerned at a glance by a potential employers... but others? Not as likely. ±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRlongissimus non legeri 14:53, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
You are correct in another observation I missed, KnightoftheTL;DR, outside of something like Harvard or Yale which even their dropouts seem to do well, there really is no difference. Only think then is cost and if it allows you to take the real board test or gets you in a clique. I can only think of one example otherwise. There is one guy I knew who was a boss over a major federal engineering department. His office was painted maroon and white. He had Mississippi State Bulldog memorabilia all over the place. Hell, the guy even had MSU chairs. Guess what? Everyone he hired went to MSU. There is a "religion" aspect to college, too. I think the happy medium is what the medical field does and the law field does. The degree only allows you to get a certification. Only those with the certification can do that job. Now, it is not just doctors. Even the guys that empty the bed pans at a hospital went to school one semester and got a certificate. However, you will still end up with degree inflation. Everyone wants the layout and jobs with no one ordering you around. No one wants to be a grunt. This is the reason Physical therapy is now a Master's and Nurse Practitioner is going to be a doctorate next year! What is next? Will you need an AA degree in Hotel/Restaurant Management to work the friers at Mickey D's 10 years from now? Oh, and the "meeting your husband" thing is fraternities and sororities. Why in the hell would anyone spend 100K at someplace like Tulane University for a teacher job paying 30-40K? --Green1 (talk) 15:39, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
A lot of this is stuff that professor friends of mine despair of on a relatively regular basis. I am very much pro-education and if I had one semi-omnipotent wish I would give everyone the knowledge of at least an average bachelor degree at a good (I.E. not crappy) liberal arts college (as in, not avoiding any subject in particular: some sociology courses, math courses, science courses, history courses, etc.) because even if the piece of paper is sort of a victim of various problems in education at large, the fruit of an actual sociology course or an actual science or history course is very very valuable, and I know very few people who go out of university (at least up here, other parts of the country may... vary) less informed than when they went in. The content of at least a good college education is inherently valuable, but the 'market' or the perceived value of it is very very variable and very very unstable. This is NOT helping to encourage people that education is valuable and it's NOT helping people to treat someone who did struggle and learn valuable material with the right amount of consideration. ±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRjust shut up already 16:08, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
I hear you, and I am just as passionate on this topic. I do not wish to take from anyone who earned letters or are now a local expert in a field. I also think that if you are around others that want to get better at any subject, you have more chance of learning. I also believe being exposed to to different things is good. However, I disagree that everybody wants or needs a BA or BS. And, short of being able to take some board to get trade or profession, is a scam and robbery! This is the reason for this article! One of the best ways of learning is through actually doing. I am glad I can talk about Charlemagne. I even know what a more is from sociology. But, if I am a plumber, it does not help much. Even as a plumber, though, there is no stopping me from reading everything I can get my hands on. There is no stopping me from attending lectures or art exhibits. With wikis like wikipedia, hell... there is no excuse not to learn, if that is what you wish! So, we get back to the real reason for college. That is, "to get ahead in life". I think, while it make this more likely, there is some propaganda here. Sorry, I hate brainwashing and propaganda! I have been corrupted by my anarchist leanings, maybe. I know folks with puny AA degrees making bank traveling cross country with two houses so they never get cold or never get hot like snow birds. They perform useful services to society, too. I will close with this. On the flip side, I mentioned many with worthless AA degrees and even 4 year degrees. One prominent university in my area never gives out diplomas in my area for graduation. Oh, they do have a great ceremony, but container they give you is empty and they mail you it. That is because the paper is worthless. Your experiences, though, or any skills are up to you. Are you taking a board and getting something? Or will you do good at Jeopardy? (if you did not just rote memorize then forget because it was a skate by class)--Green1 (talk) 06:35, 7 May 2012 (UTC)
I totally agree with you about people not wanting or needing a degree but unfortunately in the UK there has been a push by successive governments to channel as many 18 year olds in to degree courses as possible without giving any thought whatsoever as to whether or not the country really needs another 100,000 media studies graduates or countless numbers of 21 year olds with a qualification in business administration every year. You're also right when you say the "one of the best ways of learning is actually doing" and there we start to get in to debate about the demise of the apprenticeship in favour of academic study where academic study is inappropriate.
It seems to me, and I'm talking largely from personal experience here, that in the actual real world large numbers of perfectly legitimate degrees are, like diploma mill degrees, worth not much more than the paper they are written on outside the world of academia and not necessarily even then. Employers (or rather human resources departments) appear to split in to two groups, those that won't touch you unless you have a degree, in which case you are fighting against every other bugger with the same degree, or companies that value experience over paper qualifications in which case your degree is probably useless.
There was a time when having a degree was almost a guarantee of a well paid career but those days are long gone. A 'Mickey Mouse' degree doesn't even give you an advantage getting a job shelf-stacking these days so why even bother? To be honest most jobs simply aren't that difficult and if you can bullshit your way through the door and manage not to get sacked you can usually pick up most of what you need to know in a week... Degree or no degree. Well... It's always worked for me anyway and I've never let the fact I don't have a clue what I'm doing get in the way of a job.Longdog (talk) 12:21, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

Milling diplomas[edit]

...exist, apparently. Peter mqzp 10:20, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

I thought it was another kind of milling...--ZooGuard (talk) 11:29, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

Merging the articles: Diploma Mill and Academic Accreditation[edit]

Anyone agree? Because the information from Diploma mill could be reformatted to the section diploma mill in the Academic Accreditation.--Rationalzombie94 (talk) 02:15, 3 December 2015 (UTC)

Mark it for duplication and I'll agree. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 13:02, 3 December 2015 (UTC)

About my revert[edit]

My reasoning behind my recent revert

If there's degrees being offered at some obscure university which many well established universities do not offer, this is sketchy. I'll be frank, if someone pays a large fortune of money on something and never bothers researching before making their purchase, I'd say they're gullible. It's unfortunate the individual got screwed over and a person should research significantly before making a huge purchase. It's bad that Diploma mills exist and the consumer has to take some responsibility because they are keeping these Diploma mills alive. If the consumer determines before paying that the Diploma mill is a scam, the mill will not receive any money to stay in business. That's my rational behind it.—CheeseburgerPlate (talkstalk) 01:38, 6 April 2017 (UTC)

Also my point was not entirely about "not being PC" I just couldn't fit this explanation into an edit summary. :P—CheeseburgerPlate (talkstalk) 01:40, 6 April 2017 (UTC)
Goodpost.gif My impression is really that there's two types of people who attend diploma mills... The gullible who are more or less duped or talked into it, and the people who are just as scummy as those who run the mills, and know they're just bying a fake degree so they can bullshit other people with it. Perhaps the sentence needs rebuilding to reflect that there's both victims of shysters and shyster customers who purchase degrees from diploma mills? Reverend Black Percy (talk) 01:44, 6 April 2017 (UTC)
I was thinking about quackery when I saw "gullible fools" and was reminded of this article where quackery is hard to spot and people who are fooled aren't necessarily stupid and don't deserve their treatment. So I see the phrase "gullible fools" and I think that it's not quite correct (since diploma mills can be tricky, sneaky, slick bastards) and of course, not politically correct either, but I think it's harmful to characterize those victimized by diploma mills as "gullible fools" or even "gullible". Of course, there are those who cheaply take advantage of diploma mills for cheap credentials, but that's another boat and I didn't file those people under gullible fools. --It's-a me, LeftyGreenMario! 01:51, 6 April 2017 (UTC)
That's a good article link. But basically I think we're in agreement here — we just need to be clear that there's both what are basically victims (be they victims of their own gullibility or not), and what I'd call knowing clients, i.e. people who know they want a fake degree (that can pass for a real one), just as much as a kid knows why they want a fake ID — to be able to use it to pass for shit they shouldn't actually pass for. We can easily make both the point that one can be taken in by these mills (which certainly work hard to seem legit), but that there's also people who know the mills are mills just as much as people who are out to score drugs know that their own dealer deals. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 02:01, 6 April 2017 (UTC)
This argument can be applied to a lot of scenarios: obvious scams vs sneaky scams. I suggest having a separate article on it because it's not just limited to diploma mills.—CheeseburgerPlate (talkstalk) 02:22, 6 April 2017 (UTC)


Could the 'mills of god' quote be worked into the text somehow (as the diploma mills are the reverse).

And one doctorate is never questioned. Anna Livia (talk) 14:08, 6 October 2017 (UTC)