Virginia Doctoral Minimums

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by FireMedic_Philosopher, Apr 5, 2024.

  1. So, in earlier threads we saw that VUL DHA students must do a practicum to graduate because the STATE requires 90 graduate hours to matriculate at the doctoral level...

    It got me thinking.

    Liberty, has a 48 hour DPA
    the PhD in Public Admin is 48 also
    the Doctorate in Worship Studies is 45
    D.Min is 30 hours
    D. Strategic Leadership 51
    D. Theology 51
    D. Nursing is only 41

    There were others,but you get the idea.

    University of Virginia also has doctorates with less than 60 hours.

    So do other Virginia schools.

    So, with the STATE requirement for a student to have 90+ hours to graduate, how are these degrees happening?

    I understand that some masters degrees are longer than others, but the vast majority are 30-40 hours in length. For those folks, what is the expectation?

    My RA masters in public safety administration was exactly 30 hours.

    If I wanted to do the DPA or PhD in Public Administration for example, I would have "only" 78 hours beyond my undergrad degree.

    Are the universities not under an obligation to ensure students have a pathway to finish? If all Virginia schools have this limitation, why are the shorter doctoral programs not specifying the extra work up front?

    Again, I understand some Masters programs are longer than others, but this is not universal.
  2. Michael Burgos

    Michael Burgos Active Member

    I think it's odd that a state government would dictate higher educational degree requirements. In any event, I can speak for the DMin: The vast majority of DMin programs require at least three years of demonstratable full-time ministry experience (or its equivalent) and a 90-credit MDiv (or its equivalent with specific disciplines). Therefore, the average DMin grad likely has around 120-125 graduate hours.

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

  4. Tireman 44444

    Tireman 44444 Well-Known Member

    On the other hand, the Liberty History PhD is 72 hours to complete. I know because none of my hours ( University of Houston, too old, North Carolina Central University, too old and UNISA, you have to complete the degree in order for the hours to transfer) transferred in and I had to do the program from scratch to finish.
  5. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

    Maybe Virginia applies the 90 graduate hour requirement to non-RA schools but not to RA schools? Maybe Virginia applies the 90 graduate hour requirement to new programs but not to grandfathered programs?
  6. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Is there a link to the law or regulation?

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    Is the accredited agency considered as COUNCIL under the #5 EXCEPTION?

    8VAC40-31-140. Certification criteria for institutions of higher education.
    A. This section shall apply to each institution of higher education for which certification is required.

    B. In order to award a degree, the institution's programs must meet the following generally accepted minimum number of semester/quarter credit hours required to complete a standard college degree.

    1. An associate degree shall be granted only after the successful completion of at least 60 semester hour or 90 quarter credit hours of collegiate level study.

    2. A bachelor's degree shall be granted only after the successful completion of at least 120 semester hours or 180 quarter credit hours of collegiate level study.

    3. A master's degree shall be granted only after the successful completion of the requirements for a bachelor's degree and at least 30 semester hours or 45 quarter credit hours of collegiate level study.

    4. The doctoral degree shall be granted only after the successful completion of a minimum of three years of full-time graduate study or equivalent (90 semester hours or 135 quarter credit hours) beyond the bachelor's degree, including dissertation credits or research study.

    5. Exceptions to these standards must be approved by the council. Proposed programs will be evaluated by the standards of similar programs in public or private postsecondary institutions.

    6. A student shall complete a minimum of 30% of course work at the institution in order to be granted a degree from that institution.

    7. An institution that awards life or work experience credit shall have its related transfer policy approved by the council. No more than 30% of the credit in a student's degree program may be awarded for life or work experience.

    sanantone likes this.
  8. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Thanks. It sounds like the program should be at least three years OR 90 semester hours, if it's an accelerated program.

    Even though DMin programs are typically around 30 semester hours, they follow a three-year plan. Plus, there was two to four years of study for the MDiv. A 48-credit PhD that takes two to three years to complete would be in addition to a one to two-year master's degree.

    Since VUL's program is designed to be completed in 12 months, they have to rely on credit hours to meet Virginia's requirement.
  9. My issue is this...

    If the state requires 30 for a masters what is the expectation for a student whose total is less than 90 when they finish with a doctoral program?

    The college has to provide some sort of pathway to completion.

    And to a lesser extent, if a student completes the degree requirements as specified in a school catalog, isn't the school legally obligated to award the degree?
  10. Suss

    Suss Active Member

    I'm speculating, but it would seem that this part of the law applies:

    "5. Exceptions to these standards must be approved by the council. Proposed programs will be evaluated by the standards of similar programs in public or private postsecondary institutions."

    So maybe the state approved an exemption from the 90 semester hours requirement based on what other institutions have done for the same degree.
  11. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    "Council" in this instance would be SCHEV (the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia).
  12. Bump...

    Wondering if anyone who completed a doctorate of some sort through Liberty, U of V, or any other Virginia school could comment.

    Just curious if anyone had first hand knowledge that

    A) didn't have an unusually long Masters (like a DMin or MSW)


    B) didn't have an unusually long doctorate.
  13. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    If could be that the 90 graduate hours means for someone entering with a bachelor's degree (even some PhD programs allow entry with a bachelor's but then are longer).

    The Liberty University doctorates probably assume Masters degree. Of course as Burgos pointed out, the DMin has an exceptionally long run up for a doctorate. It generally assumes a 90 graduate hour MDiv and several years experience to enter the doctorate.
  14. Tireman 44444

    Tireman 44444 Well-Known Member

    Liberty PhD in History
    72 hours to complete the program. I did not transfer in any hours for my MA in History and 5 doctoral History courses at the University of Houston were too old. The comps courses (911, 912, 913 and 914) are tough ( mine were 8 week courses. They have 8 and 16 week now) . Tougher than UH or Rice. Bold statement, but true. Why? They only have to do two comps courses, not four. They consist of 16 books per course, 2 5 to 7 page book reviews, one hour oral exam, 6 hour final exam of 20 to 25 pages with a minimum 20 source bibliography and lastly, 6 discussion boards of 500 to 700 words each that are referenced. I read 77 books in 7 months. My dissertation phase was from August 2022 to January 2024. My defense took 1.5 hours.
  15. Michigan68

    Michigan68 Active Member

    That is an impressive amount of work.

    ( I do not understand the “credits are too old” situation. What’s expired in history? Nothing. Seems like a money grab)
    FireMedic_Philosopher likes this.
  16. Tireman 44444

    Tireman 44444 Well-Known Member

    It is a SACS and school policy ( deoartme too). There are folks that transferred in up to 24 hours. I am actually glad they did it because I believe it made me a better researcher, student, and historian. Remember, I can only speak for the history department. For the other departments, not sure.
  17. Suss

    Suss Active Member

    New records are discovered that overturn accepted knowledge. Previously ignored archives are searched, yielding fresh ways of looking at common historical facts, and even transforming subjects previously thought unsuitable for history research into the latest hot thing. New technology makes some types of historical research simpler, or even makes impossible research possible. Statistics form a significant part of history research, which might not have been the case eons ago.

    It's not like electrical engineering, with major obsolescence setting in within a couple of years after earning the degree. But if you studied history 20-30 years ago, a lot has changed, from accepted facts, to suitable study areas, to new technology.

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