San Diego State University is quiet and nearly deserted while classes are not in session.
San Diego State University. Photo by Chris Stone

Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed SB 684 allowing San Diego State and other California State University campuses to offer independent Doctor of Public Health programs. 

The signing of the bill is a welcome development, according to San Diego State officials, who have advocated for independent doctorates. 

“SDSU has long argued that independent doctorates are our future,” said President Adela de la Torre. “This new legislation is a step towards that, and will allow us to meet a critical workforce need.”

San Diego State, like other CSU campuses, is not broadly authorized to confer doctoral degrees independently, and instead have been required by state law to partner with other institutions, like private universities or those within the University of California system. 

Hala Madanat, SDSU’s vice resident for research and innovation called the development “the best possible outcome for the greater public good.”

“This legislation is the sign of our state moving in the right direction for our students and for the communities we serve,” Madanat added.

State Sen. Ben Hueso authored SB 684.

Newsom, who signed more than a dozen bills related to higher education, said Friday in a statement: “California is increasing resources, adding services, and advancing equity to boost graduation and transfer rates throughout our higher education systems. Thanks to the Legislature’s leadership, we’re building on my administration’s efforts to ensure all of our students are well-equipped to succeed and prepared for California’s future.”



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Ellen Bullock