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Regional Interests

Oregon’s regional universities to offer professional doctoral degrees

Bellamy Hall at Western Oregon University in Monmouth.
Bellamy Hall at Western Oregon University in Monmouth.

Thanks to a newly passed bill, Oregon’s regional universities will be able to offer professional doctoral degrees starting in 2022.

Prior to the passage of Senate Bill 230, Southern, Eastern and Western Oregon universities could only offer up to a master’s degree.

“We are excited about this long-anticipated outcome,” WOU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Rob Winningham said in a statement. “Now, Western, under its independent board, can control its destiny by proposing and delivering academic programs that meet market need. WOU is simply continuing its evolution to remain relevant in today’s economy.”

In a news release, WOU noted that professional doctoral degrees differ from research doctorates, or Ph.D.s, which the regional universities still will not be able to offer. Professional doctoral degrees prepare students for a particular specialty, in fields such as education, health sciences and business, WOU said.

Although the bill allows the regional universities to begin offering professional doctorates as soon as 2022, the universities must still have their programs approved by the state’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission before they begin.

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting