Strange Doctorate perequisite-WIGS

Discussions on the value or merit of unaccredited programs and institutions.

Strange Doctorate perequisite-WIGS

Postby nosborne48 » Wed Dec 26, 2012 12:08 am

WIGS, the Washington Institute for Graduate Studies www.wsltax.com is an unaccredited online/resident school offering master's and doctoral degrees in taxation. The school suspended admissions to its doctorate program some time ago but has now reopened the program following a complete overhaul. One thing they did was change the name of their degree from Doctor of Philosophy to Doctor of Taxation. I assume the purpose is to satisfy DETC. They also added a requirement for teaching experience and some specific research coursework.

Here's something that strikes me as odd for an American doctoral program. The school requires applicants to hold a Master's degree and possess "Fifteen years of taxation experience, which must include being employed in the field of profession during the five year period preceeding their application to the program."

No, I am not qualified to apply nor would I ever do an unaccredited degree. Had it not been for that strange experience requirement, though, I might have considered it once DETC gave the nod.
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Re: Strange Doctorate perequisite-WIGS

Postby Rich Douglas » Wed Dec 26, 2012 1:02 am

I think it's because they're pretty serious about what their doing and for whom they're doing it, irrespective of accreditation.
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Re: Strange Doctorate perequisite-WIGS

Postby nosborne48 » Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:53 pm

Yes. they're serious, alright, though what value the D.Tax is likely to have to a serious academic in the field is unclear to me. Even with DETC accreditation...well...hm. Maybe. Maybe for someone teaching accounting in a community college. My local University and its affiliated CC are HETA signatories and they mean it even when considering faculty appointments. The teaching requirement is telling.

What this thing is not is a practitioner's degree. The standard but by no means universal degree for tax practitioners is the Master's, whether M.S.T., LL.M., or M.Acc. Not coincidentally, these three degrees also qualify their holders to take the C.P.A. exam in most jurisdictions.

There ARE Ph.D. C.P.A.s out there but they are not common. There are virtually no tax lawyers with doctorates.

The WIGS program looks almost like the old European-style mid-career doctorate.

What color would the hood velvet be? Drab?
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Re: Strange Doctorate perequisite-WIGS

Postby major56 » Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:20 am

Now San Diego located WIGS is certainly a credible, yet narrowly focused taxation school –going back to its beginnings and longevity in Idaho and/or Utah. Nonetheless IMO way overpriced for a legitimate, yet still, unaccredited DL school. Moreover, with its newest admissions policies … enrollment opportunities will be more so restrictive including the M.S.T. degree offering (seriously limiting enrollment opportunities for WIGS). There are better M.S.T. /M.Tax available RA options as well as NA universities. Taft comes to mind.
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Re: Strange Doctorate perequisite-WIGS

Postby nosborne48 » Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:55 pm

Taft Law is about the same price as WIGS and is DETC accredited which is why I did my LL.M. there. OTOH, Taft's Master of Laws is a strictly directed research and writing program and they assume an awful lot of technical tax background on the part of the student. There are no lectures or lecture-like materials and very few hints beyond the assigned essay questions themselves and the textbook or treatise reading assignments. WIGS provides lectures which I'm sure would have made my life much easier.

I'm told that grad students essentially educate themselves. That certainly was the case with Taft Law. I read, researched, and wrote more for a single Taft tax law course than for a full semester as a traditional J.D. student. MUCH more.

Taft Law does have an attorney-track J.D. program that uses on-line lectures and discussion. Much more like a typical "undergrad" resident law school experience.
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Re: Strange Doctorate perequisite-WIGS

Postby Peter French » Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:54 am

Why do you saythat it is not a practitioners degree?

I see some merit in it wth the special nature of tax gaining momentum. In Australia/UK we are professional/learned society biased vis a vis degree biased but it is clear that the previously accepted basic degrees and professional accreditations no longer meet the need. Postgraduate Fellowships are sought by practitioners, employers and the consumers alike especially in an environment like ours where statutory registratons are mandatory.

The future could be interesting - especially to me as a retired observer.
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Re: Strange Doctorate perequisite-WIGS

Postby Rich Douglas » Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:51 pm

Normally, a poster necromances a thread, not the other way around.
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Re: Strange Doctorate perequisite-WIGS

Postby nosborne48 » Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:12 pm

Good question. My thinking runs like this:

1. I have never seen a position for a tax practitioner, whether from the accounting side or the legal side, that "prefers", let alone "requires" a doctorate. "Masters preferred" is quite common.

2. I have never seen or imagined a position for a tax practitioner that needed 30 hours of classroom teaching experience.

3. The WIGS D.Tax does not, by itself, qualify the holder to take any professional licensing examination. The applicant will likely already be CPA-eligible but it won't be WIGS that got him there.

I don't see how the WIGS doctorate will make for a better tax practitioner but it would make for a better tax instructor.
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Re: Strange Doctorate perequisite-WIGS

Postby Peter French » Fri Dec 28, 2012 11:35 pm

Time will tell.

There are some similar programs in the design stage at the moment. The instructor component is required by large legal/accounting firms with a significant tax practice --> specialist staff training/updating and client staff training/updating. These people are not firm client related as such, not directly advising the end users. It is also a significant option where taxation is the accountants domain and not that of the lawyers.

As for Rich's comment - g'day Rich :D
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