For discussion of this article, see the message board thread, James Allan Matte.

Polygraph Operator "Dr." James Allan Matte Is Not a Genuine Ph.D.

Degree Obtained from Unaccredited School

by George W. Maschke
18 April 2005

James Allan Matte (, the 1997 recipient of the American Polygraph Association's John E. Reid Memorial Award For Distinguished Achievements in Polygraph Research, Teaching or Writing, holds himself out to the public as a Ph.D. in marketing his polygraph services, self-published books, and expert testimony. However, what Mr. Matte does not advertise is the fact that his degree was awarded by an unaccredited school called Columbia Pacific University that in 2000 was ordered closed by a California court.

The comprehensive Dissertation Abstracts database (the definitive worldwide collection of doctoral dissertations including over 1.6 million records dating back to 1861) includes no doctoral dissertation by a James Allan Matte. In fact, Dissertation Abstracts includes no dissertations from Columbia Pacific University at all!

Contacted for comment, Mr. Matte offered that in 1989, when he received his "doctoral" degree, Columbia Pacific University "had received Full Institutional Approval as a California Degree-Granting Institution by the California State Department of Education." But whatever arrangements the school's operators may have made with California officials, the fact remains that Columbia Pacific University was never at any time an accredited degree-granting institution. Indeed, a 2004 United States General Accounting Office report titled "Diploma Mills: Federal Employees Have Obtained Degrees from Diploma Mills and Other Unaccredited Schools, Some at Government Expense" includes among the examples cited (at p. 9) a person who received his "Ph.D" from Columbia Pacific University in 1985, some four years before Mr. Matte.

Those contemplating hiring Mr. Matte's services because of the letters "Ph.D." that he places after his name should carefully consider the provenance of his "degree."