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In July 2010, MSU Denver received final approval and accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission to proceed with three planned master’s degree programs, the University’s first-ever graduate-level offerings. The inaugural programs included Teacher Education, Professional Accountancy and Social Work.
President Stephen Jordan called the addition of master’s degrees a significant milestone in MSU Denver’s journey to preeminence and likened its significance to the University’s move to the Auraria Campus.
“It’s a bold and fitting step for [MSU Denver], as Colorado’s leader in educating in-state undergraduates, to offer students the opportunity to pursue master’s degrees that are high-quality, affordable and convenient. It will enhance the value of an [MSU Denver] degree for our alumni and all of those who will follow.”
The goals of the University’s Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) initiative dovetailed with Jordan’s strategy to offer master’s degrees, as research of HSI institutions showed that those with graduate programs and similar Latino demographics had higher retention and graduation rates.
The addition of master’s programs was cited as “one of [MSU Denver’s] several new ventures designed to better position itself for the future in response to the higher education funding crisis” in an Oct. 20 Chronicle of Higher Education article, “Retirement Incentives, New Degrees, Grant Writers: How One College Is Tackling the Crisis.”
The quest for legislative approval, which ultimately was granted in May 2010, began with the Board of Trustees voting their approval in November of 2009.