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King University News :: King University to Offer Doctoral Degrees Beginning in 2014

King University will proceed with plans to offer doctoral degrees beginning in 2014 after receiving approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

SACSCOC, the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states, voted at its recent Board of Trustees meeting to approve King’s application to operate as a Level V institution. This new designation allows King University to offer doctoral degree programs in as many as three disciplines. King will offer a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program beginning in 2014, and additional doctorate degrees in business and education may be offered in the future.

King was granted a Level V designation after a two-year application and review process.

“Our designation as a Level V institution is a momentous achievement in the history of King University,” says Dr. Greg Jordan, president of King University. “King’s accreditation by the SACS Commission on Colleges recognizes King’s current alignment of resources, programs, and services to offer the DNP degree, and demonstrates our commitment to the rigorous educational objectives we have established as an institution. Maintaining our accreditation and pursuing this opportunity to offer doctoral degrees has been, and continues to be, a collective effort among the Board of Trustees, our administrative staff and our dedicated faculty.”

King University’s SACSCOC accreditation was positively reaffirmed in 2009 and will be re-evaluated in 2018. Reaffirmation requires institutions to conduct an intensive self-study and internal review. Peer reviewers examine the written documentation and conduct on-site visits before making a recommendation to the SACSCOC Board of Trustees, which ultimately determines compliance and accreditation standing.

The designation change process required an equally detailed evaluation process, focusing on King’s proposed Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program. This included an assessment of the planned curriculum and educational program, admission, and graduation requirements, and the qualifications of King’s faculty, staff, and administration. The University’s library and learning resources, education support services, and the financial and physical resources were also examined. The findings of the DNP degree program’s comprehensive review mirrored those of the general accreditation process, confirming King University has the resources and services in place to offer quality educational programs to its students.

“This is a peer-review process,” says Becky Thomas, associate dean of Academic Affairs for Accreditation and Institutional Effectiveness for King University. “To have the accredited designation means that our peers in the industry, those who know higher education best and are the practitioners in the field, have recognized the quality of King University and the rigor of its programs and services.”

King University has designed a unique educational experience to help prepare students to make meaningful and significant contributions to society through their chosen career paths. With its new Level V designation, King University has expanded its academic programs to include more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees, and concentrations in such fields as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate levels. King’s pursuit of the expanded designation aligns with its mission to provide degree programs that are of interest to students and also in demand in the workplace.

“In addition to the health care industry’s prediction of major shortages of advanced practice nurses, King University found our own students and alumni are very interested in pursuing a doctoral degree in nursing,” says Dr. Matt Roberts, chief academic officer and dean of Academic Affairs for King University. “In fact, 65 percent of King’s 2012 Master of Science in Nursing graduates expressed a specific interest in entering a DNP program at King University.”

King University is headquartered in Bristol, Tenn., and has established 14 campuses and locations across Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. King University also offers degree programs online.


King University is a Presbyterian, master's-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia. For more information, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.