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My MBA at the University of Phoenix Online, Part 2: Admissions

University of Phoenix LogoNormally, when you want to be accepted into a university to study towards completion of a Master’s degree, schools require potential students to take the GMAT, a standardized test.

The University of Phoenix does not have this requirement. The school has a different philosophy for accepting students.

According to the Graduate Management Admissions Council, the organization that manages the GMAT, scores from the test do not predict success in graduate school. In fact, they concede that undergraduate GPA is a better predictor. Lately, more schools are dropping the GMAT as a requirement. (I read this in the news several months ago, but can’t find the source at the moment.)

Thus, the University of Phoenix has a GPA requirement for admission to the MBA program. Here are the details:

To enter a graduate program, you must have an undergraduate degree from a… nationally accredited college or university… and a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale) as shown on the undergraduate degree posted transcript.

The University of Phoenix also requires at least three years in the workforce and active employment in order to immediately apply concepts and provide insight during the classes.

In August 2003, after making the decision to take on this degree program, I communicated with an admissions counselor, paid an $85 application fee, and I was ready to begin classes. The rest of the story didn’t play out exactly as I expected, and there will be more about that in a future post.

This is Part 2 of a series about my experiences with the University of Phoenix Online. Here is what has been published so far.

Updated June 17, 2014 and originally published September 25, 2006.

About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of shizennougyou. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar 1 Anonymous

Interestingly, the GMAT doesn’t predict graduate school success, but it is considered a good enough indicator of actual intelligence to be admissable to Mensa. Since using it that way, I’ve questioned whether it was really true, seeing as I was the one who spent $250 to take a test when I could barely pay for groceries…

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avatar 2 Anonymous

So basically, anyone with $85 can get into the program?

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avatar 3 Luke Landes

… And a GPA of at least 2.5, and active employment. Those who aren’t right for an MBA program will end up dropping out after the first couple of classes, and even more drop out before the final three classes.

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avatar 4 Anonymous

Most schools that I’m familiar with with put you on probabtion and eventually expel you if you can’t maintain a GPA of 2.0. A 2.5 GPA is not a very high standard. Active employment is an even lower bar. By those criteria, someone could have taken 10 years to graduate before securing a job at the local McDonald’s and be UofP material. So basically, anyone with $85 can, essentially, get into the program.

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avatar 5 Anonymous

Yes, you are correct – admissions “standards” are not broad nor far reaching. However, as a recent graduate, I can certainly attest to the fact that those not willing to participate and perform work to an acceptable standard eventually fall by the wayside. If it is more important to you that the students with you in the beginning curriculum meet your definition of high calibre, then perhaps this isn’t the best course. If, however, you are willing to work to get the most out of your education and take personal responsibility for your learning then you will do well. I was hung up on the low admission standards before enrolling. And yes, the beginning courses are attended by some folks simply “kicking the tires” that truly have no place in an MBA program. These unsuitable tire kickers eventually go away and you are left with high quality students that may be doctors, attorneys, business owners or command ships. Ultimately you must be comfortable enough with they notion that you are in charge of your own learning – not whether or not a classmate meets some pre-conceived notions of quality. Much as the real world is frought with poseurs – any program such as this will be full of them, too. They ultimately get exposed, especially in an online program that demands self motivation.

Hope this helps.

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avatar 6 Anonymous

Following your line of reasoning you might as well buy the books and do some research online, as you are in charge of your own learning. UoP doesn’t seem to be accredited by the main MBA accreditation institutions. Don’t take me wrong, I am certain that you can learn a lot there, but if you are spending that amount of money and can go to a school where the requirement standards are higher, you can learn more from your classmates as well as through the institution. The nature of the program is set up for you to learn from your classmates as well as from the institution. Again, if you feel that the title and education you get through the online experience is good enough than go for it, however if you are looking to have an experience that will change the way you look at business, perhaps consider going somewhere else.

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avatar 7 Anonymous

Traditional colleges such as the University of Washington, Northwestern University, and Arizona State are all very well respected and accredited Universities yet they are ran like a bureaucracy. Lots of red tape and very difficult to get things done. They also have a limited amount of classroom space. The GMAT helps weed out applicants in order to save physical space in their facilities.

Since the University of Phoenix is done online and ran like a business things get done quick. The University of Phoenix is able to meet the demand because of their vast amount of resources. Think about it…If all of a sudden in Bellevue Washington 1000 people wanted to take the MBA program and the professor in Bellevue could only handle a workload of 30 people they could split the workload with professors around the country. Whats the difference? Your not going to see the guy anyway.

The UPX is an accredited school. Just because the school is ran like a business does not de-value the degree people are receiving. Many online Unversities have been stripped of their credenitals yet the University of Phoenix is still going strong. Their programs offer what employers want and make it available for people to attend school. Stop your hating on the UPX people its not doing anyone any good.

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avatar 8 Anonymous


I agree and can only say the same; furthermore, I am a recent undergrad BSIT/ Software Engineering.

I want to get my MBA outside of programming – a different look, and into the business world which is where I am at and for what I can see the rest of my life.

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avatar 9 Anonymous

Maybe you need to look up University of Phoenix Rip-Off site and tell 15 pages (30 complaints to a page) worth of people threatening to sue the u of p, what a great school it is.


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avatar 10 Anonymous

One correction. The University of Phoenix is NOT nationally accredited. They are regionally accredited. Regional accreditation is higher than national even though it seems backwards. Their credits are accepted everywhere!

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avatar 11 Anonymous

No matter what school, business, or company you are looking to get involved with, you can put the word “” or “” after it and find something on everyone one.

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avatar 12 Anonymous

Try it with Harvard, Stanford, London School of Economics, INSEAD or TiasNimbas…?

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avatar 13 Anonymous

Perhaps it may be true about “ or “”, but the stories about UOP online are consistent throughout the years. Try having the credits accepted by Edinborough University or Stanford, for just two examples.

A UOP degree is only good for having the piece of paper.

It’s a perfect example of being able to go through the motions, spend lots of money, only to end up with a meaningless degree.

Same scenario: I have known several people who hold Cisco Certifications, but put them in front of a real CISCO product and they haven’t a clue as to how to program it in even the simplest of ways. Perfect example is to ask them to reset the router password!

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avatar 14 Anonymous

Oh and by the way, my friend went graduated from University of Phoenix with a 4.0 and was accepted by Harvard to the MBA program. Of course, he aced the GMAT, but still…clearly, a UoP degree is not meaningless.

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avatar 15 Anonymous

ktombo: i ‘spend lots of money’ because i can and because i want to. i too am attempting Harvard entry. then i will have 2 ‘pieces of paper’.

let me be more clear, i don’t know anything because you said so. but when i write the check for all that schooling, it doesn’t bounce. i must be doing some things right. maybe some other students are too.

consider it.

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avatar 16 Anonymous

I am thinking that the majority of the people that are attacking University of Phoenix have never actually taken any of their online classes. I am certainly not going to say that UoP is any competition for Harvard, but it does provided a very good education.

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avatar 17 Anonymous

UPX is not only online, people tend to dismiss that. Even high ranked schools have online programs. JGK, UPX is competition for Harvard… I graduated with a BA from UCONN and acquired my MBA through UPX…. UPX was not easy. In fact, I found UPX more demanding then UCONN. I had friends in other MBA programs across the country that had less than half the work load UPX required.

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avatar 18 Anonymous

I am a recent graduate of University of Phoenix, and I can speak for myself and my fellow classmates when I say that we earned our degrees the hard way, just like any other college graduate. It is a very difficult program and does require a lot of time, perhaps more so than a regular university. Additionally, employers are beginning to catch on to, and even prefer, online education. It shows a true devotion to success, as the majority of attendees of online universities work full-time simultaneously. Look at it this way: an employer would much rather hire someone who has relevant work experience, displays time management skills, and has a degree from a regionally accredited university than hire someone who went to daddy’s Alma Mater for 9 years (first 5 years for partying) with no work experience except Starbucks for three months.

Also, to those who think UoP simply gives anyone with money a meaningless piece of paper with the word “Degree” on it….isn’t this the case with all degrees?? Alas, we need these pieces of paper to get good jobs.

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avatar 19 Anonymous

I currently hold an associates and a bachelors degree from UOP. I begin their MBA program in one month and I can surely attest to the fact that the curriculum at UOP is hardcore. I have attended regular classroom settings in different colleges earlier on in my life and I didn’t have near the workload that I had at UOP. Also, the coursework is very up-to-date and relevant to our current times. In the associates program I thought that I had made a mistake as I was in class with people who could not have possibly held a high school diploma or GED for that matter. Half of them couldn’t even write one simple sentence without sounding ridiculous; however, once I was half way through the bachelors program I quickly realized that those of us still there and kicking were serious and intelligent thinkers that wanted to better their lives. To be perfectly honest I am a little nervous about the MBA program at UOP. I am a single mother of three young children and I know from previous experience that the workload is going to be gruesome but at the end it is well worth the work and effort put into it. I truly believe that those who complain about UOP are former students who couldn’t handle the responsibility. The time constraints and level of work due is tough and those looking to be lazy thinking that the degree will just be handed to them are seriously mistaken. I am proud to be a Phoenix and those who have had the pleasure of starting and finishing with UOP would most likely feel the same way!

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avatar 20 Anonymous

I agree with you completely Crystal!! I am in the BS/PSY program now and felt the same as you during the associates program. Now in the BS/PSY I can see that those of us left are the ones really trying. It is very hard to commit to doing the large amounts of work at times while working a full time job and most of the time I feel that all I do is work and school. However, if it were not for UOP, I would not be able to go to school at this time because jobs do not allow you to miss work for school and it is difficult to find a job around school hours. If I went to a regular school I would have to quit work and I cannot do that at this time. I also agree that the ones who complain about UOP and their practices are the ones who could not follow the rules, could not commit to the work, or lollygagged around until they got themselves into a tight spot. I am also proud to be a Phoenix!!!

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avatar 21 Anonymous

I have attended UoP for years. Not years because I took time off, but more than four solid years of class every day. I take the curriculum very seriously and apply myself thoroughly. I completed bachelors with the highest honors last week, and I will continue on to complete an MBA.

I’ve worked with many of the students during my time at UoP. I figure they fall into a few broad categories. The first type might want to succeed, but they like to do their work on a cell phone and their work suffers for it. They will often seem like they can’t spell or write, but they just don’t want to go back and fix the phone’s auto-complete “corrections”. Then there’s the type that is smart, and does try, but writing just isn’t their strong suit so they may not come off as well as they would in a face-to-face classroom setting. Another type are those that don’t speak English as their first language, so while they may be trying their best, the subtle nuance of the language eludes them and they may seem inept when they really aren’t. Finally, there’s the ones that just doesn’t care. They’re usually gone by the associates program, but not always.

These ones are the worst by far—the poison. They’ll just coast along getting by with as little effort as possible, and think they have it made, because “hey, this is easy!”. Then, once the degree is achieved, they get out and get a job using their new degree, only to find that they don’t know anything because they didn’t apply themselves. So they are stuck with a big wad of student loan debt (it is not cheap), AND being the loser at work that doesn’t know how to do their job. And each month when they have to write that check to pay for the education they flushed down the drain, they resent more and more. Many of them would rather blame anything but themselves so they turn (once again) to the easiest course of action: they hop on the “let’s insult UoP bandwagon” and feel a little better about themselves… at the expense of others.

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avatar 22 Anonymous

The GMAT a worse predictor of grad school success than GPA? Google it and you’ll find exactly the opposite.

This “personal” blog/article seems questionable from the get go… is the the result of UoP PR?

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avatar 23 Luke Landes

You cite information from the official GMAT website stating the GMAT is “the most reliable predictor of academic success in graduate business studies?” Don’t you think that’s a little biased, and speaks more to marketing jargon than actual study results?

No, this article is not a result of UoP PR, it is my honest opinion, and the non-personal information is based on actual studies. I think you have your PR goggles on backwards.

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