RICHARDSON, Texas (July 28, 2005) — For the first time in its 36-year history, The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) is conferring more than 100 doctoral degrees in a single academic year. On Saturday, Aug. 6, during UTD’s commencement exercises for the summer semester, Dean of Graduate Studies Dr. Austin Cunningham is expected to bestow approximately 40 such degrees, bringing the total for the 2004-2005 academic year to about 126.
Although the precise number will not be known until after the commencement exercises, when the results for the summer semester are tabulated, the number for the year will easily surpass the university’s previous record of 77 set in the 1988-1989 academic year and will bring to more than 1,500 the total number of doctoral degrees conferred by the university since its founding in 1969.
A doctorate is an academic degree of the highest level and is awarded in recognition of research that is of a “publishable standard” and represents a “contribution to human knowledge.” Recipients awarded the approval of their peers are welcomed into full membership in the academic community and evaluated as showing promise for future scholarly productivity.
UTD awarded its first Ph.D. (in geosciences) in the fall of 1972 and went on to offer two more doctorates in the spring of 1973. Comparatively, 10 years ago, during the 1994-95 academic year, UTD awarded just 72 doctoral degrees.
The university currently offers 26 Ph.D. degrees. In addition, UTD’s School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences offers a doctorate in Audiology (Au.D.) that combines broad-based professional preparation in audiology within an environment supporting an active program of clinical services and research.
“I am extremely proud of the fact that our doctoral program has come so far and grown so much in only 33 years,” Cunningham said. “I look forward to continued growth and additional doctoral offerings in fields that will offer UTD students the opportunity to further their knowledge, broaden their horizons and contribute to society.”
UTD offers doctorates through its Schools of Arts and Humanities, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Engineering and Computer Science, Management, Natural Sciences and Mathematics and Social Sciences. General Studies is the only one of the university’s seven schools that does not have a doctoral track.
Many of UTD’s Ph.D. students have gone on to receive awards and honors and have highly successful careers. In fact, earlier this year, Aziz Sancar, who received his doctorate in molecular and cell biology in 1977, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the most prestigious honors in academia. Sancar is currently the Sarah Graham Kenan Professor of Biochemistry at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
UTD itself counts four members of the National Academy among its faculty and staff. Dr. David Daniel, president of UTD, is a member of the National Academy of Engineering; Dr. Brian Berry, dean of the School of Social Sciences, is a member of the National Academy of Sciences; Nobel laureate Dr. Alan MacDiarmid, a professor of chemistry and physics who holds the James Von Ehr Distinguished Chair in Science and Technology at UTD, is a member of both the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences; and Dr. Don Shaw , a professor emeritus of electrical engineering, is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
About 40,000 doctorates are awarded annually in the United States.
The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor®, enrolls more than 14,000 students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university’s website at www.utdallas.edu.