Texas State officials are experiencing significant growth in the Graduate College with a record number of PhDs awarded last year and the continued development of new doctoral and master’s degrees.
Texas State’s Graduate College offers 100 degree programs—12 doctoral degrees and 88 master’s degrees. As of now there are a total of 3,949 students enrolled in graduate college. Of that number, 444 are doctoral students and 3,505 are master’s students, said Andrea Golato, dean of the Graduate College.
In the 2012 academic school year, 1,415 degrees were given to graduating students. Throughout the last academic year, 53 students received doctoral degrees, which was the highest-ever number for the college, Golato said.
“The reason this is the highest number is because of the newness of the doctoral program,” Golato said. “The program has been around since 1996, but the first doctorates were awarded in 2000.”
Graduate College officials are looking to increase enrollment numbers but want to ensure there are enough faculty members on hand to manage these students, Golato said. Officials are still looking for high quality students even with a larger admittance pool, she said.
Golato said the college is looking to make some new degrees, such as a Masters’ in Engineering and Dementia Studies, but these are still going through the development process.
Terrica Watkins, communication studies graduate student, continued her education three months after receiving her bachelor’s degree at University of Houston in May 2012.
“Graduate school allows you to engage in critical thinking, and professors actually ask you what you think instead of you having to listen to them as much,” Watkins said. “It challenges you to think for yourself by having discussions in class rather than being lectured, too.”
Without graduate school, students are introduced to their fields but do not get the in-depth experiences to be qualified for higher positions, said Sandy Rao, assistant dean of the Graduate College. Graduate programs allow students to become competitive in the market of their choice, she said.
Rao said the Texas State Graduate College is not in competition with the University of Texas at Austin but instead serves to offer students another choice when looking to further their education.
“We have small-school feel, and our faculty gives attention to students,” Rao said. “We also cater to students with jobs by having classes in the evening or classes online.”
Professors have higher work expectations in the Graduate College, and they get to know students on a personal level, Watkins said.
“In the beginning I was afraid to go to graduate school due to certain expectations and the fear of change,” Watkins said. “I have now realized that change could be for the better and you should embrace it.”
Golato said graduate school allows students to push boundaries through college research by aiding with interpreting the world as a whole and serving as both a scholarly and a creative opportunity.
“It’s a challenge, but it’s a challenge that’s worth it,” Watkins said. “You learn what you are capable of at graduate school. You learn about yourself and about your field. You become a better person and realize how much you truly love the field.”