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      CofC gets initial OK to pursue doctoral programs

      COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The College of Charleston has received initial approval toward efforts to offer doctoral degrees that align with area businesses' needs.

      A Commission on Higher Education panel on Tuesday approved changing the college's mission statement so that it can pursue doctorate programs. The vote sends the recommendation to the full commission next month.

      Provost Brian McGee says South Carolina's oldest college is still years away from offering the programs. He says a "yes" vote from the full commission would start the planning process. Proposals to offer specific degrees would then need approvals from the commission and the accreditation board for Southern colleges.

      State law bans non-research universities from offering doctoral degrees.

      The recommendation gets around the law by recognizing that a separate "University of Charleston, South Carolina" exists within the college.