Thanks, David (Kirshner), but I've got a British MA.
The Open Uni MA is really called a Master of Research, and it looks well worth doing; in general, the folks at Milton Keynes would support what Peter said about coursework. I think what they expect, if you are going to opt out of it, is a proven research record, meaning multiple publications in refereed journals.
Actually, I'd always wanted to do my Ph.D. here at our university, partly as an experiment in the content based learning of advanced Korean. But we haven't been granted permission to launch our Ph.D. program, and it now looks like we won't be for another seven years. So I really am out shopping.
A lot of British unis offer research and/or distance Ph.Ds (e.g. Birmingham and Nottingham). But you really DON'T get much supervision; you meet your advisor, and that's pretty much it. Now, if you've got a good advisor, or if you don't need much supervision, that's okay, but I know people whose advisors meet them only a few times a year and don't have much to say beyond "No, do it again." They've been at it for years, and the university doesn't care; it's free money as far as they're concerned. So one thing to look at is whether or not there's a time limit (Open University has a six year limit, including the coursework).
Yes, of course, I exaggerate: there do exist undergraduate courses in the USA taught by professors. But I think the 19-hour limit or 20-hour limit (often been crammed down the university's throat by union rules or labor laws) is frequently broken, particularly by novice teachers or people who are having trouble with the language. Where it isn't, undergraduates are often getting stiffed. So I think our old system was better. It also meant more professors got hired!
Seoul National University of Education
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