TROY - The Alabama Commission on Higher Education today approved Troy University's first-ever doctor of philosophy degree.
The Ph.D. in Sport Management will be offered both in class and online, and addressing a need in Alabama and with military students, said Dr. John Miller, interim Dean of the College of Health and Human Services and a professor of sport management.
"The Sport Management program will fill a strong, distinct and well-document societal, education and economic need for students Troy University serves," he said. "The doctorate will provide a reputable online Sport Management doctoral program that meets the needs of students and working professionals in the sport industry and, in particular, within the state of Alabama."
Miller said that over the past two decades, research indicates the sport industry has grown from a $121 billion industry into a $435 billion industry that generates billions of dollars in economic impacts in the state.
The University's Sport Management faculty members have served on 132 doctoral dissertation committees and, collectively, have published 13 textbooks, 60 textbook chapters, nearly 320 peer-reviewed manuscripts and have delivered more than 580 national and international peer-reviewed presentations.
While the institution's first Ph.D., Sport Management will be the University's second doctoral-level degree, having already graduated its first two classes of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program. The University's primary accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, has recognized Troy as a Level V (Doctoral) Member since 2011.
The Commission also approved Troy's proposal to offer a Master of Arts in Economics degree, building on its Economics undergraduate degree program, slated to begin in 2015. The program is designed to prepare students to pursue a Ph.D. in economics and careers in public policy, government, business and the nonprofit sector. Additionally, it will become one of the only programs in the country offering graduate-level courses in Austrian economics, an approach that emphasizes the role of entrepreneurship and knowledge in the economy.
"I'm excited about the approval of the master's program because it ensures students the opportunity to advance their understanding of economics and what it means for our country," said Dr. Scott Beaulier, who chairs the Division of Economics, Finance and Insurance, and directs the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy in the Sorrell College of Business.
Beaulier said employment by private-sector economists had grown 57 percent since 2009, and cited a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report that states people who hold graduate degrees earn substantially more and have lower unemployment rates than college graduates.
Also approved was a Master of Science in Second Language Instruction that aims to develop students who can teach language to non-native speakers. It's schedule to launch in Fall 2014.
"The ability to teach English or a language to non-native speakers is a needed skill throughout Alabama and the world," said Dr. Kathy Hildebrand, dean of the College of Education. "We look forward to this opportunity to contribute to the language development of Alabama's residents."