[TACRAO] Listserv SMU: Degree Name Change

Hall, John A. (University Registrar) jhall at mail.smu.edu
Fri Oct 11 12:59:38 CDT 2019

Nathan -

As the registrar at the University of Bologna said in 1350, "Try to avoid like the plague".

But it does happen.

Two examples from the 1960's that were nationwide -- the redesignation of the Bachelor of Laws degree to the Juris Doctor and the redesignation of the Bachelor of Theology degree to the Master of Theology /Master of Divinity degree.

For both of these, institution boards approved the change, and the regional accreditors were on board.

At SMU we updated the LLB and BTh records with the new degree names (huge chore - think record cards and type writers). Graduates could return their diplomas and either pay a fee and get a new diploma or their diploma was rubber stamped with the new degree name. My father in law was too cheap to pay for a new diploma so his framed diploma in his office was rubber stamped Juris Doctor.

With the trend at the graduate level to include the discipline in the degree name, I'm guessing we'll see a few more requests to do this as discipline names evolve over time.

So far we've avoided making any other retroactive degree name changes, but I will not be surprised when one comes along.

Best regards,


From: tacrao-bounces at tamuc.edu [mailto:tacrao-bounces at tamuc.edu] On Behalf Of Dugat, Nathan
Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2019 9:19 PM
To: tacrao at tamuc.edu
Subject: [TACRAO] Listserv Degree Name Change


One of our colleges wishes to change the name of a degree that they issue, and they wanted to know if they could retroactively offer this changed name to students who have already graduated from the program. Is this something that you would allow? In this case, the coursework is the same.

Thank you,

Nathan Dugat
University of St. Thomas - Houston

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