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I've noticed several academic programs that require, or accept in lieu of more traditional entrance evaluations, industry credentials for admissions.

Is there a comparative analysis of programs that allow industry licensing/certification versus those that adhere to more traditional entrance requirements like the GRE?

The specific credential that I'm thinking of is the CISSP (1). This certification has been eligible for transfer credit equivalency for some time (2), but I've only recently seen the certification as an admissions requirement (3) for an academic program.

Some data points that I would would be interested in are:

  • How do examinations, such as GSE/CISSP/CISM/etc, compare to the GRE in terms of overall academic preparedness?
  • Is there is measurable difference in the comparative difficulty between the different categories of examinations?
  • If you've taken both types of examination, industry and academic, is one class of examination better or worse for gauging candidates, and why?

Refs:

  1. The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is an industry standard credential and certification.

  2. For example: American Public University System (private, for-profit) and Walsh College, MI (private, non-profit)

  3. Capitol College, just one of several examples.

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APUS is not a public university system; it is a private, for-profit, online institution. Don't walk. Run. –  JeffE Feb 4 '13 at 19:37
    
I didn't say that it was a public institution, it is only mentioned as an example of a college that accepts transfer credit from certification or license... but in either case does that have any impact on the question or potential feedback? I ask out of honest curiosity. The APUS (APU & AMU) is accredited by the 'Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association', so I'm not sure how the status of public or private is relevant. –  grauwulf Feb 4 '13 at 19:45
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The phrase "US education system" in your footnote suggests that APUS is representative of the US education system. It isn't. Also, the word "public" in the name of the institution suggests that the institution is public. It isn't. –  JeffE Feb 4 '13 at 19:47
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What kind of academic programs are you interested in? If you're asking about graduate programs in computer science, for example, I don't know of any that would accept industry certification in place of GREs, or that would offer academic credit for an industrial certification. (On the other hand, many computer science graduate programs don't bother with GREs, either.) –  JeffE Feb 4 '13 at 22:14
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@grauwulf: For most academic programs, the honest answer is "Yikes! Take the GRE already!" I'm trying to narrow the question enough to solicit something more helpful. –  JeffE Feb 5 '13 at 5:22
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1 Answer

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Is there a comparative analysis of programs that allow industry licensing/certification versus those that adhere to more traditional entrance requirements like the GRE?

I am not aware of a formal analysis of the differences. One could probably divide graduate programs into two camps, with some gray area between. In a really general sense, academic research doesn't prepare you for industry jobs and industry jobs do not prepare you for research. Therefore, the two type of graduate programs are research targeted and industry targeted. I would argue that any program that accepts/requires/weights industry certifications falls into the industry targeted camp. The two camps are so different that trying to compare across them is silly.

As to your other questions

How do examinations, such as GSE/CISSP/CISM/etc, compare to the GRE in terms of overall academic preparedness?

Is there is measurable difference in the comparative difficulty between the different categories of examinations?

If you've taken both types of examination, industry and academic, is one class of examination better or worse for gauging candidates, and why?

Standardized tests in general are pretty rubbish metrics and that is why most admission committees also request transcripts, essays and recommendations. The GRE is likely marginally better at predicting success in research targeted programs and the industry exams will be marginally better at predicting success in industry targeted programs. As for difficulty, it really depends on the experience of the individual. Is an History exam more or less difficult than a Math exam?

Yes, but it depends on the individual. Individuals with an industry background will likely find the industry tests easier than the GRE, while those following a research based academic career path will likely find the GRE easier than the industry exams.

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I've contacted two schools to ask them what their reasoning for one path over the other is, and I'm still waiting to hear back from the industry focused program for more specific details, but I think that your answer is pretty much what I've gleaned so far. I'm going to accept this but I will also add another answer once I have more definitive feedback. Thank you for your response. –  grauwulf Feb 11 '13 at 14:03
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