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RULE §5.46Criteria for New Doctoral Programs

Requests for new doctoral programs must provide information and documentation demonstrating that the proposed programs meet all of the following criteria:

  (1) Design of the Program. A doctoral-level program is designed to prepare a graduate student for a lifetime of teaching, creative activity, research, or other professional activity. The administration and the faculty of institutions initiating doctoral-level programs should exhibit an understanding of and commitment to the long tradition of excellence associated with the awarding of the traditional research doctorate degrees and of the various doctoral-level professional degrees.

  (2) Freedom of Inquiry and Expression. Doctoral programs must be characterized by complete freedom of inquiry and expression.

  (3) Programs at the Undergraduate and Master's Levels. Doctoral programs, in most instances, should be undergirded by quality programs in a wide number of disciplines at the undergraduate and master's levels. Quality programs in other related and supporting doctoral areas must also be available.

  (4) Need for the Program. There should be a demonstrated and well-documented need for doctoral level prepared professionals in the discipline of the proposed program both in Texas and in the nation. It is the responsibility of the institution requesting a doctoral program to demonstrate that such a need exists, preferably through an analysis of national data showing the number of doctoral degrees being produced annually in the area and comparing that to the numbers of professional job openings for doctoral degrees in the discipline as indicated by sources such as the main professional journal(s) of the discipline. The institution must also provide data on the enrollments, number of graduates, and capacity to accept additional students of other similar doctoral programs in Texas, demonstrating that current production levels of graduates are insufficient to meet projected workforce needs. The institution should also provide evidence of student demand for a doctoral program in the discipline, such as potential student survey results and documentation that qualified students are not gaining admission to existing programs in Texas.

  (5) Faculty Resources.

    (A) There must be a strong core of doctoral faculty, holding the doctor of philosophy degree or its equivalent from a variety of graduate schools of recognized reputation. Professors and associate professors must be mature persons who have achieved national or regional professional recognition. All core faculty must be currently engaged in productive research, and preferably have published the results of such research in the main professional journals of their discipline. They should come from a variety of academic backgrounds and have complementary areas of specialization within their field. Some should have experience directing doctoral dissertations. Collectively, the core of doctoral faculty should guarantee a high quality doctoral program with the potential to attain national prominence. The core faculty members should already be in the employ of the institution. If an institution is required to hire additional faculty prior to opening the proposed program and enrolling students, the institution will provide documentation on a schedule determined by the Coordinating Board of the faculty hires through submission of a letter of intent, curriculum vitae, and a list of courses in the curriculum that the faculty hire would be qualified to teach. Proposed recruitment of such faculty shall not meet this criterion. No authorized doctoral program shall be initiated until qualified faculty are active members of the department through which the program is offered.

    (B) In evaluating faculty resources for proposed degree programs, the Board shall consider only those degrees held by the faculty that were issued by:

      (i) United States institutions accredited by accrediting agencies recognized by the Board; or

      (ii) institutions located outside the United States that have demonstrated that their degrees are equivalent to degrees issued from an institution in the United States accredited by accrediting agencies recognized by the Board. The procedures for establishing that equivalency shall be consistent with the guidelines of the National Council on the Evaluation of Foreign Education Credentials, or its successor.

  (6) Teaching Loads of Faculty. Teaching loads of faculty in the doctoral program should not exceed two or three courses per term, and it must be recognized that some of these shall be advanced courses and seminars with low enrollments. Adequate funds should be available for attendance and participation in professional meetings and for travel and research necessary for continuing professional development.

  (7) Critical Mass of Superior Students. Admission standards, student recruitment plans, and enrollment expectations must guarantee a critical mass of superior students. The program must not result in such a high ratio of doctoral students to faculty as to make individual guidance prohibitive.

  (8) On-Campus Residency Expectations.

    (A) Institutions which offer doctoral degrees must provide through each doctoral program:

      (i) significant, sustained, and regular interaction between faculty and students and among students themselves;

      (ii) opportunities to access and engage in depth a wide variety of educational resources related to the degree program and associated fields;

      (iii) opportunities for significant exchange of knowledge with the academic community;

      (iv) opportunities to broaden educational and cultural perspectives; and

      (v) opportunities to mentor and evaluate students in depth.

    (B) Institutions are traditionally expected to meet these provisions through substantial on-campus residency requirements. Proposals to meet them in other, non-traditional ways (e.g., to enable distant delivery of a doctoral program) must provide persuasive and thorough documentation as to how each provision would be met and evaluated for the particular program and its students. Delivery of doctoral programs through distance education and/or off-campus instruction requires prior approval of the Board as specified in §4.261(3) of this title (relating to Standards and Criteria for Distance Education Programs).

  (9) Adequate Financial Assistance for Doctoral Students. There should be adequate financial assistance for doctoral students so as to assure that most of them can be engaged in full-time study. Initially, funds for financial assistance to the doctoral students usually come from institutional sources. As the program develops and achieves distinction, it increasingly shall attract support from government, industry, foundations, and other sources.

  (10) Carefully Planned Program. The proposed program should be a carefully planned and systematic program with a degree plan which is clear, comprehensive, and generally uniform but which permits sufficient flexibility to meet the legitimate professional interests and special needs of doctoral-level degree students. There should be a logical sequence by which degree requirements shall be fulfilled. Consideration must also be given to alternative methods of determining mastery of program content, such as competency-based education, prior learning assessment, and other options for reducing student time to degree. The proposed degree plan should require both specialization and breadth of education, with rules for the distribution of study to achieve both, including interdisciplinary programs if indicated. The plan should include a research dissertation or equivalent requirements to be judged by the doctoral faculty on the basis of quality rather than length.

  (11) External Learning Experiences. There must be a plan for providing external learning experiences for students, such as internships, clerkships, or clinical experiences, in disciplines that require them. The plan should include provisions for increasing the number of opportunities for such experiences if the number of students in existing programs equals or exceeds the available number of opportunities in Texas.

  (12) Support Staff. There should be an adequate number of support staff to provide sufficient services for both existing programs and any proposed increases in students and faculty that would result from the implementation of the proposed program.

  (13) Physical Facilities. There should be an adequate physical plant for the program. An adequate plant would include reasonably located office space for the faculty, teaching assistants, and administrative and technical support staff; seminar rooms; laboratories, computer and electronic resources; and other appropriate facilities.

  (14) Library and IT Resources. Library and information technology resources must be adequate for the proposed program and meet the standards of the appropriate accrediting agencies. Library resources should be strong in the proposed doctoral program field and in related and supporting fields.

  (15) Costs and Funding. The institution should have a budgetary plan for the proposed program that clearly delineates the anticipated costs and the sources of funding. Costs for new personnel and physical resources should be adequate and reasonable, existing programs should not be negatively affected by the reallocation of funds, state funding income should be calculated correctly, and total revenues should exceed total costs by the fifth year of projected program operation.

  (16) Program Evaluation Standards. The proposed program should meet the standards of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and the accrediting standards and doctoral program criteria of appropriate professional groups and organizations, such as the Council of Graduate Schools, the Modern Language Association, the American Historical Association, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology or other bodies relevant to the particular discipline. Out-of-state consultants shall be used by the institution and the Board to assist in evaluating the quality of a proposed doctoral level program. The institution submitting the proposal is responsible for reimbursing the Coordinating Board for the costs associated with the external review by out-of-state contractors.

  (17) Strategic Plan. The proposed program should build on existing strengths at the institution as indicated by its Program Inventory, should fit into the institution's strategic plan, and should align with the state's strategic plan.

  (18) Marketable Skills. There must be a list of the marketable skills associated with the proposed program in keeping with the state strategic plan, 60x30TX, and a plan for how students will be informed of the marketable skills.

  (19) First Doctoral Program. When an institution has not previously offered doctoral level work, notification to the executive secretary of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges, is required at least one year in advance of program implementation.

Source Note: The provisions of this §5.46 adopted to be effective May 28, 2003, 28 TexReg 4125; amended to be effective February 22, 2005, 30 TexReg 835; amended to be effective February 23, 2011, 36 TexReg 918; amended to be effective August 27, 2012, 37 TexReg 6589; amended to be effective February 26, 2013, 38 TexReg 1151; amended to be effective November 24, 2013, 38 TexReg 8427; amended to be effective February 22, 2016, 41 TexReg 1228; amendedto be effective May 29, 2018, 43 TexReg 3347

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