Graduating with a Ph.D. from Texas State could soon be possible within more academic departments.
Doctoral programs in the computer science, applied anthropology and public administration departments at Texas State are currently in different stages of the Ph.D. proposal process, which involves a preliminary authority request followed by a degree proposal.
According to the Graduate College webpage on the Texas State website, 11 doctoral programs are currently offered within the College of Applied Arts, College of Education,, College of Science and Engineering and College of Health Professions.
Debbie Thorne, associate vice president for Academic Affairs, said the preliminary authority request examines the state of the job market in the field of the proposed doctoral program.
Faculty qualifications in the field are considered and the current curriculum within the institution is examined. Once the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approves the preliminary authority request, the degree proposal phase can begin.
Thorne said during the degree proposal phase, the coordinating board requires an institution to have a review team examine the infrastructure and qualifications of the department before faculty can write a degree proposal.
The process of adding a doctoral program starts at the university level and works its way up to the Board of Regents and the coordinating board.
Thorne said the preliminary authority request was approved for the Department of Computer Science about five to six years ago. Writing the full degree proposal for the department will commence soon and is projected to be complete in 2016. If the degree proposal is approved, the doctoral program will begin operation within two years.
The preliminary authority request for doctoral programs in the public administration and applied anthropology departments will be complete by 2016, Thorne said.
The College of Liberal Arts houses the public administration and anthropology departments, while the College of Science and Engineering is home to the department of computer science.
Michael Hennessy, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, said the focus of doctoral programs at Texas State is in taking research and being able to apply it in ways that will make a difference.
“We’re developing Ph.D. programs that will produce people that will not just be teaching back at universities,” Hennessy said. “They will have other careers that will support the economy.”
Thorne said public administration is something Texas State is well known for, and computer science is an in-demand field in today’s economy and job market. He said the forensic studies conducted by students at Freeman Ranch are an indicator of the success of the anthropology department.
Elizabeth Erhart, chair of the Department of Anthropology, said it is important to avoid duplicating doctoral programs at other universities. She said there are currently no doctoral programs for applied anthropology in Texas.
“It’s an open niche basically,” Erhart said.
In some instances, graduates are required to have a Ph.D. to do certain types of work, Erhart said. Private companies hire archaeologists who have doctorate degrees to lead excavations.
Ph.D.s are also preferred for people looking to go into the forensic anthropology fields.
“Continuing to add doctoral programs is a signal to business and community leaders that Texas State is a true leader within that particular area,” Thorne said. “All (the departments) demonstrate excellence in terms of faculty and graduates.”