Anybody familiar with The University of The Pacific in Stockton, CA?
January 17, 2014 10:58 AM   Subscribe

The problem is I am finding a lot of conflicting info regarding the quality of the school in my research. Does anybody know anything about the quality of the school? More specifics inside.

Hi, you might remember me from this post about an online Organizational Psychology Masters program at Colorado State University. Most Mefites were pretty down on the idea and I decided online is not for me. Mainly because you make absolutely no real contacts with faculty or students. I believe the a great value of grad school is the relationships you develop that can help in your career later.

You may also remember me from getting into a Work Psychology Masters program at The University of Barcelona only to have my acceptance redacted because I didn’t have an undergrad degree in psychology. The university did however help me get accepted into a sister program at The University of Valencia and I wasn’t able to get my visa on time so I had to turn the offer down and let a local student have my place.

So I’m looking at all my options again and as I’m 37 and have a good and pretty high paying job, I have decided that it is better for me to find a program in which I can continue working while studying rather than taking two complete years off. One program I found sounds very intriguing at The University of the Pacific. It is a Masters in Intercultural Relations. It’s completely up my alley and is a limited residency meaning I visit several times a year and do the rest from a distance. So unlike the CSU program I get face to face contact with students and faculty, an advisor, and I get to do research and write a thesis.

Here are the rankings I have found from various sources online.

The Princeton Review rates it 80 out of 378.

Forbes gives it a 345 overall out of 650, 241 in private colleges, and #67 in the West.

U.S. News and World Reports gives it a 112 out of 300.

The worldwide QS top college ratings gives it a 701+ which is the lowest ranking they provide (I think basically its unrated) and of which there are a couple hundred schools with this rank. Now I know this is a completely different sample of schools.

If one is a career minded, full time, older student maybe one should one be less picky about school quality and go with a mix or quality and practicality? I’m attending for the knowledge and experience to work for myself consulting in the specialized field of cross cultural training for expatriates and multi-cultural teams so I’m not concerned about impressing any hiring managers in the future.

I know these rankings are a bit controversial so I come to you my friends. Does anybody have any experience, thoughts, or knowledge of this school? Does it look like a decent program?
posted by Che boludo! to Education (7 answers total)
If you're going to work for yourself, will your clients care that you have this degree or know the difference between a good school and a bad school? What randos on the internet think about the degree doesn't matter much, it's what the people who you're going to be working with think about it.
posted by mskyle at 11:28 AM on January 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't think any of the rankings you've linked to is particularly meaningful--they're of the university as a whole, which is all but useless when you're considering a single graduate program.
posted by hoyland at 11:44 AM on January 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

That's maybe more glib than I should have been - basically, even not-that-great programs can serve a purpose. Think hard about what you hope to get out of this program and then look realistically at whether this program will be able to give you that. You say you're not looking to impress hiring managers, you're looking for "the knowledge and experience to work for yourself" in this field. Talk to professors and current students and find out what they're learning and what kinds of experience they're gaining. Be rigorous about this. Think about what this masters would give you that you couldn't get by just diving in on your own, or working in the field.
posted by mskyle at 11:58 AM on January 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Are these rankings for the university overall (including as an undergrad institution)? If so, they don't really matter all that much on the graduate level anyway. If the school has name recognition in your field, that can definitely help if you're trying to get a new position after graduation. Otherwise, I doubt it's going to matter much.

I would try to ask people who are already in your field what they think about this degree and if they know the school. I would think about how you are going to explain to people what a degree in "Intercultural Relations" means. What are the equivalent programs at other schools? How is this one different? Are there any well-known faculty members?

To be blunt, I've heard of the school, but it's not a brand name that everyone will recognize. It probably won't open doors unless this program is very good at helping students find jobs. If you are paying for this degree yourself, I would proceed with caution. If you know you'll be footing the bill and the top tier schools are not in the cards, it's usually best to go with the lowest tuition option, which is usually a nearby state school.
posted by pourtant at 12:24 PM on January 17, 2014 [3 favorites]

I grew up in the valley. Have you ever been to Stockton? Visit first, think carefully. memail me.

There's a college in Monterey that does similar MA's. If neither school is big name, all things being equal I'd opt to not live in Stockton. ymmv, I suppose...
posted by jrobin276 at 12:30 PM on January 17, 2014

Response by poster: I don't have to live in Stockton, thank the Gods. I would only have to visit two weeks at a time a few times a year. It's a limited residency program.
posted by Che boludo! at 12:37 PM on January 17, 2014

It's a good school for many things. I know that it's one of the few schools in the nation that has a business + art major (the business of art, basically, galleries, performances spaces, dance companies, etc.) I know a few people who have completed that program and went on to do amazingly cool things. That is at the main campus in Stockton.

The Law School (McGeorge) is 2 blocks from my house in Sacramento and it's considered a good law school around here. I know many people who have gone there and some of the instructors have recognizable names, at least locally. They are decent neighbors.

I believe it's a catholic school, but I may be wrong about that.

Most importantly, there is a Dave Brubek center sponsored by the great jazz musician himself. Once again, I may be wrong, but I think he taught there in his later years or was artist in residence or something.

Anyway, none of these things have to do with the program you are considering, but I just wanted to give some tidbits to show that this is a good school. It's not a scam, it is small, but well respected around here. And possibly the best thing about Stockton.
posted by Duffington at 4:19 PM on January 17, 2014

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