An aspiring graduate student in philosophy writes:
I'm not really sure what the answers are to these questions, so I thought I would open it for reader feedback--perhaps other foreign students can report on their experiences, or faculty on their views having done admissions. (I haven't done PhD admissions in a good number of years now, and I don't ever recall seeing applicants from distance-learning programs. I do recall seeing applicants from schools in parts of the world we knew little about, and it is fair to say it was rare for those students to get in, since we really couldn't assess the program or the letters.) I'd ask faculty to post with their full name, students may post simply with a valid e-mail address.
I am a student from Bangladesh, and greatly appreciate your effort in making crucial information available to aspiring philosophers. If I was privileged to waste a bit more of your precious time, I would have asked you a question regarding the value of a distance learning degree in philosophy.
I am very passionate about philosophy, but I had a break in my education. Now I want to resume my studies, but am confused about whether to get admitted into a local philosophy program in a Bangladeshi university, or get a distance learning degree such as the BA Philosophy program offered by University of London International Programmes (academically directed by Birkbeck College).
Which option would provide me a better prospect of gaining admission to a PhD or atcleast a terminal MA program in the USA or Canada? I know there is an issue about getting recommendations through distance education but some universities, such as San Francisco State University don't require recommendations for admission to their terminal MA programs. Is a good distance learning program looked upon more favorably than a degree from a top university in a third world country?