I received an MS degree from an elite engineering university (Stanford). I then started a PhD at that university but left the program after a job offer. Ever since then I always wanted to work toward a PhD but it was never feasible. I work as an engineer.
My current employer has given me an offer to pay for a Part-Time PhD at a local university while I continue to work for them. The reason is the research project intersects with my current work, so we can basically pick up a PhD while working on the project. Their are a number of other mutual interests between the company and university so it made sense.
Normally a Part-Time PhD is not feasible but my position is unique in which my work will intersect with research, and because I've worked for a number of years, becoming very good at my job such that I can take on another task.
The reality is that the only universities near me are low and/or unranked universities. My company has a very good relationship with these universities, allowing for many engineers at the company to work towards a PhD from them on a Part-Time basis. There is no elite university near by, with exception of one. And this elite university, just like most top universities, will not allow a part-time PhD enrollment. So the only feasible option is a PhD at a bottom ranked (or unranked) university.
1) Is it counterproductive to add a PhD to one's resume if the PhD is from a substantially lower ranked (or unranked) university? I wonder if this could hurt my resume...
2) What impression would you get from a professional who had a BS/MS from an elite university but a PhD from a bottom ranked (or unranked) university? It may be more effective not go for a PhD at all, and have my record just have the elite universities on it.
3) Does your final degree erase your prior degrees? Is it considered over the other prior degrees?
4) If you were me, what would you do?
I want to do a PhD, and I have no desire to do receive a doctorate from a top ranked elite university. But I would prefer that the university at least be a mid-ranked Top 50 program, or close to that threshold. That fact that the only options are low ranked universities makes me reconsider if this is a worthy pursuit. I would love to hear any opinions on this.