MGA Approved As Level V Institution, Paving The Way For Doctoral Degree Introduction

Author: News Bureau
Posted: Tuesday, December 8, 2020 12:00 AM
Categories: School of Aviation | In the News | School of Arts and Letters | Faculty/Staff | Students | School of Computing | School of Business | Events- Public | Pressroom | School of Education and Behavioral Sciences | School of Health and Natural Sciences

Macon, GA


Middle Georgia State University is now a Level V institution following approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The new status, which SACSCOC announced on December 8, 2020, means that Middle Georgia State (MGA) can move forward in offering its Doctor of Science in Information Technology beginning in June 2021.  

The University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents approved the doctoral degree, MGA’s first, in January 2020. Middle Georgia State made plans to offer the degree in 2021, pending the SACSCOC review and level change.  

Up to this point, MGA was accredited as a Level III institution, which allowed the University to offer master’s degrees in addition to undergraduate programs. (Level IV institutions can offer specialist’s degrees, which focus on subjects related to K-12 education.)  

“A doctoral degree is almost universally the terminal academic qualification in a discipline or field. It represents the gold-standard of academic qualifications,” said Dr. Christopher Blake, MGA’s president. “As a public University, we could not be more proud or motivated to join those institutions that have been publicly granted the responsibility for providing the doctoral academic qualification.”  

SACSCOC designates institutions by levels that reflect the kinds of degrees those institutions are approved to offer. Level I refers to an institution for which associate’s degrees are the highest level offered, Level II refers to an institution for which bachelor’s degrees are the highest level offered, and so forth.   

In the University System of Georgia, the mission of a “state university” is to provide, in addition to bachelor’s degrees, a limited number of master’s degrees and doctorates that support regional economic needs. By comparison, a “research university” such as Georgia Tech is a doctoral-granting institution where faculty and students are engaged in “high” or “very high” research activity. 

Teaching is still the primary activity of state university faculty members but they also engage in applied research that would impact students, the institution, or the community in positive ways. 

MGA became a state university in summer 2015 and began offering master’s degrees shortly thereafter, with a longer-term goal of developing doctoral degrees specifically for professionals in certain career fields. The University now offers eight graduate degrees and certificates, including a new certificate for nurse practitioners. The new Doctor of Science in information Technology will allow MGA to continue to fulfill its mission of “educating and graduating inspired, lifelong learners whose scholarship and careers enhance the region through professional leadership, innovative partnerships, and community engagement.” 

“Graduate enrollment has grown by over 400 percent in five years and accounts for nearly 5 percent of our enrollment total,” said Dr. Kevin Cantwell, MGA’s dean of Graduate Studies. “With the addition of the doctoral degree Middle Georgia State has really come into its own as a state university.”  

The University’s Doctor of Science in Information Technology, housed in the School of Computing, is designed to produce graduates prepared to assume leadership roles and manage information technology and systems within organizations. Doctoral students will study quantitative analysis and research, strategic planning as it relates to information technology, data science and analytics, leadership and management, and more.  

The degree will be among the most affordable in the nation. At current rates, the doctoral degree will cost a student about $20,000, a worthwhile investment for careers with potential six-figure earnings. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for computer and research scientists in 2018 was 16 percent higher than the average job demand over the next 10 years. For computer and information systems managers, the 10-year outlook was at 11 percent.  

“Thousands of those jobs are in Georgia and the southeastern U.S.,” said Dr. Alex Koohang, dean of the School of Computing. 

Information technology was one of the first bachelor’s and, later, master’s degrees offered by what is now Middle Georgia State. IT remains among MGA’s most popular and far-reaching programs. Middle Georgia State is designated as a National Center of Digital Forensics Academic Excellence by the Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center, as well as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education. The School of Computing recently launched a Center for Software Innovation at MGA’s Warner Robins Campus in partnership with the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex (WR-ALC) at Robins Air Force Base. 

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges is the recognized regional accrediting body in the eleven U.S. Southern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia) and in Latin America for those institutions of higher education that award associate, baccalaureate, master’s or doctoral degrees. The Commission on Colleges’ Board of Trustees is the representative body of the College Delegate Assembly and is charged with carrying out the accreditation process.  

For more information or admissions, please contact the Office of Graduate Studies at 478-929-6865 or or visit