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Meeting of the Board of Regents | November 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008 - 7:00am

sed seal                                                                                                 






Higher Education Committee


Johanna Duncan-Poitier


Proposed Amendment of Section 3.47, 3.48 and 3.50 to the Rules of the Board of Regents Relating to Requirements for Earned Degrees, Honorary Degrees and Registered Degrees



November 5, 2008



Goal 4






Issue for Discussion


Should the Board of Regents amend sections 3.47, 3.48 and 3.50 of the Rules of the Board of Regents, relating to requirements for earned degrees, honorary degrees and registered degrees? 


Reason(s) for Consideration


              Review of Policy.


Proposed Handling


The proposed amendment is before the Higher Education Committee for discussion at the November 2008 Regents Meeting.  A Notice of Proposed Rule Making will be published in the State Register on November 12, 2008.  The proposed amendment will be submitted for action at the January 2009 Regents Meeting.  Supporting materials are available upon request from the Secretary to the Board of Regents. 


Background Information


Currently, section 3.47(c) of the Rules of the Board of Regents prohibits the required liberal arts core from being directed toward “specialized study or specific occupational or professional objectives.”  The proposed amendment deletes the phrase “specialized study” from the definition of the liberal arts core content in order to clarify the distinction between the liberal arts core of an undergraduate degree program and courses directed toward a specific occupational or professional objective.


The purpose of this amendment is to reduce the ambiguity that higher education institutions and Department staff have encountered in interpreting what courses constitute work toward the required liberal arts content in undergraduate degree programs. The interpretation of what constitutes liberal arts has been one of the topics discussed in meetings of Department staff with SUNY and CUNY administrators as a result of the Commission on Higher Education. SUNY and CUNY administrators have agreed that the definition of liberal arts should be clarified.


The proposed amendment also creates a new degree title, Master of Studies in Law (M.S.L.), in the category of Professional Degrees and Specialized Degrees.  New York University (“NYU”) has petitioned the Department for the addition of this particular degree title. NYU has provided information about the availability of the degree in seven other states, as well as the District of Columbia, and a rationale based on the content of the degree as contrasted with the existing degree titles in law.  A Master of Studies in Law or Master of Legal Studies degree is offered by such prestigious institutions as Stanford Law School, Yale Law School, Southern Illinois University School of Law, and Georgetown University Law School.  These institutions also all offer LL.M. degrees.


The purpose of the M.S.L. degree is to make a non-licensure legal education available to non-lawyers. In this regard, the degree is fundamentally different from a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree, which is an advanced degree for students who have already earned a first degree in law. The majority of applicants for the M.S.L. degree are likely to be scholars from other fields, or practitioners in such fields as journalism, medicine, accounting or other professions.  The Department has determined that the proposed program meets registration standards.


The proposed amendment also adds a new section 3.50(d) to authorize community colleges to award honorary associate degrees in accordance with section 6306(5-b) of the Education Law. 




Not applicable. 


Timetable for Implementation


If adopted at the January Regents Meeting, the effective date of the amendment would be February 5, 2009.










Pursuant to sections 207, 210, 214, 215, 218, 224, 305, and 6306 of the Education Law.

1.  Subdivision (c) of section 3.47 of the Rules of the Board of Regents is amended, effective February 5, 2009, as follows:

(c) Undergraduate degrees. Undergraduate degrees shall be distinguished, as follows, by the minimum amount of liberal arts content required for each degree. The required liberal arts core shall not be directed toward [specialized study or] specific occupational or professional objectives.

              (1) . . . .

              (2) . . . .
              (3) . . . .

              (4) . . . .

              (5) . . . .

2.  Paragraph (2) of subdivision (d) of section 3.47 of the Rules of the Board of    Regents is amended, effective February 5, 2009, as follows:

(2)  Professional degrees. Graduate professional degree programs must be comprised of advanced studies in professional or vocational fields. While they may have strong theoretical underpinnings, they must have as their primary purpose knowledge for application in professional practice. Master's degree programs of this type are primarily terminal in nature. They may serve as preparation for advanced studies at the doctoral level, but they shall not be designed primarily for this purpose. The doctorate in such studies is likewise practical, insofar as it prepares the student to train or supervise others in the field, to discover new knowledge that has practical application in the field, or to prepare the student for a life of practice in the student's particular profession. Only the following degrees may be conferred upon the completion of a professionally oriented graduate program:
Bachelor of Divinity (B.D.)

Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.)

--------Engineer (-- -- E.)

Master of Architecture (M.Arch.)

Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.)

Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.)

Master of Comparative Jurisprudence (M.C.J.)

Master of Comparative Law (M.C.L.)

Master of Divinity (M.Div.)

Master of Education (Ed.M. or M.Ed.)

Master of Engineering (M.E.)

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)

Master of Food Science (M.F.S.)

Master of Forestry (M.F.)

Master of Health Administration (M.H.A.)

Master of Hebrew Literature (M.H.L.)

Master of Industrial and Labor Relations (M.I.L.R.)

Master of Industrial Design (M.I.D.)

Master of International Affairs (M.I.A.)

Master of Landscape Architecture (M.L.A.)
Master of Laws (LL.M.)

Master of Library Science (M.L.S.)

Master of Management in Hospitality (M.M.H.)

Master of Music (Mus.M.)

Master of Nutritional Science (M.N.S.)

Master of Physical Therapy (M.P.T.)

Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.)

Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.)

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Master of Regional Planning (M.R.P.)

Master of Religious Education (M.R.E.)

Master of Sacred Music (S.M.M.)

Master of Sacred Theology (S.T.M.)

Master of Science for Teachers (M.S.T.)

Master of Science in Education (M.S. in Ed.)

Master of Science in Pharmacy (M.S. in Pharm.)

Master of Social Science (M.S.Sc.)

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Master of Studies in Law (M.S. L.)

Master of Theology (Th.M.)

Master of Urban Planning (M.U.P.)

Doctor of Arts (D.A.)
Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.)

Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.)

Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.)

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Doctor of Engineering (D.Eng.)

Doctor of Engineering Science (Eng.Sc.D.)

Doctor of Hebrew Literature (D.H.L.)

Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.)

Doctor of Law (J.D.)

Doctor of Library Science (L.S.D.)

Doctor of Medical Science (Med.Sc.D.)

Doctor of Medicine (M.D.)

Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.)

Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)

Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.)

Doctor of Nursing Science (D.N.S.)

Doctor of Optometry (O.D.)

Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.)

Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.)

Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (D.P.M.)

Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.)
Doctor of Professional Studies (D.P.S.)

Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)

Doctor of Public Administration (D.P.A.)

Doctor of Public Health (D.P.H.)

Doctor of Religious Education (D.R.E.)

Doctor of Sacred Music (S.M.D.)

Doctor of Science in Veterinary Medicine (D.Sc. in V.M.)

Doctor of Social Science (D.S.Sc.)

Doctor of Social Welfare (D.S.W.)

Doctor of the Science of Law (J.S.D.)

Doctor of Theology (Th.D.)

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.)

              3.  Subdivision (c) of section 3.48 of the Rules of the Board of Regents is added, effective February 5, 2009, as follows:

(c) The board of trustees of any community college may confer any registered honorary associate degree.

4.  Paragraph (12) of subdivision (b) of section 3.50 of the Rules of the Board of Regents is amended, effective February 5, 2009, as follows:

(12) Law:

Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.)

Master of Comparative Jurisprudence (M.C.J.)

Master of Comparative Law (M.C.L.)

Master of Laws (LL.M.)

Master of Studies in Law (M.S.L.)

Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.)

Doctor of Law (J.D.)

Doctor of the Science of Law (J.S.D.)

Note:  The degree of Doctor of Law (J.D.) shall be granted to persons who, before commencing the study of law, have successfully completed at least three years of acceptable college work in an accredited institution, or its equivalent as defined in rule III-3 [22 NYCRR 522.3] of the rules of the Court of Appeals for the admission of attorneys and counsellors-at-law.