By Curt Yeomans
Clayton State University officials are pleased to see their School of Graduate Studies grow from only existing on paper two years ago, to having roughly 118 students taking classes this spring.
Since the Fall 2007 semester, alone, enrollment in the university's four graduate programs has skyrocketed by 71 percent. Most of the growth has been driven by a Master's of Business Administration (MBA) program which is more popular with the community than Clayton State officials anticipated.
"We expected our graduate programs to be quite popular," said Dr. Tom Eaves, Clayton State's associate provost and the man in charge of the graduate school. "I think the business program has exceeded our expectations, though ... We've had a greater enrollment than expected, but that's a good thing."
Clayton State's School of Graduate Studies will host an open house for college seniors, and residents from the surrounding counties, tonight. The open house will take place from 5:30 p.m., to 7:30 p.m., and will be held in room 201 of the Harry S. Downs Center, which is on the university's Morrow campus.
The school will have displays set up for each of its four graduate programs: Liberal Studies, Business Administration, Health Administration and Nursing. The directors of each program, as well as some current graduate students, will be in attendance to answer questions about each graduate degree.
July 1 is the application deadline for the fall 2008 semester. Once a prospective student has been accepted into the graduate school, he or she still has to be accepted into his or her desired graduate program.
The university's graduate school has been introduced over the last year and a half.
It began in August 2006, when the first students in the Master of Arts of Liberal Studies program began taking classes at the university. A year later, students began taking classes for the business administration, health administration and nursing programs.
There were 69 graduate students enrolled at the university during the fall 2007 semester, according to enrollment data provided by the University System of Georgia. Clayton State's spring 2008 graduate school enrollment has increased by about 49 pupils.
The programs are designed for a wide variety of students, ranging from recent college graduates to people who have been out of college and working in the private sector, for several years.
Twenty students are enrolled in the masters of arts in liberal studies program, Clayton State's first graduate-level program. The MBA program is the university's most popular program, with 71 students enrolled since the program began in August 2007.
The university began offering it's MBA program at a second location, in Fayette County, in January. Fourteen of the university's MBA students take classes at that location. Since the MBA students are admitted in cohorts, or groups of students, who take the same classes, at the same time, there is room for 35 new students each semester, Eaves said.
Additionally, there are about 20 students enrolled in health administration, and nursing remains the smallest program with only seven pupils.
The university's first graduate student could graduate in May of this year, with a master's degree in liberal studies, pending a successful defense of the pupil's thesis. E
Eaves said officials from the graduate school are considering three ideas for future growth of the graduate programs. Clayton State could add masters degrees in teaching, archiving and psychology in the future, but graduate school officials are still weighing their options.
"In most of our high demand undergraduate programs, we are seeing some interest in adding graduate-level degrees," Eaves said. "As the Southside area continues to grow, the demand for quality education continues to go up. We're trying to meet that demand."
On the net:
Clayton State's School of Graduate Studies: http://graduate.clayton.edu/