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Grad education is hallmark of university status

Feb. 28, 2007

KALAMAZOO--Graduate education, the traditional hallmark of a great university, has blossomed at Western Michigan University since 1957--the year the Michigan Legislature made WMU Michigan's fourth public university.

To date, more than 59,000 graduate degrees have been awarded, including 2,000 at the doctoral level and 56,856 at the master's level. More than 500 specialist degrees also have been awarded.

At the time it became a university, WMU offered only master's degrees, with the first awarded during the 1952-53 academic year. Nearly 700 master's degrees had been awarded by the time the legislation making Western a university was signed into law.

In 1966, WMU began offering its first doctoral degrees in science education, chemistry, sociology and educational leadership. The first doctoral degree were awarded during the 1968-69 academic year, and the 2,000th doctorate was awarded during December 2006 commencement ceremonies.

Today, WMU offers 29 doctoral degrees, 66 master's degrees and one specialist degree.

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Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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