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Bill allowing California State University to offer more doctoral programs signed by Governor

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Kevin McCarty’s (D-Sacramento) bill expanding doctoral programs at the California State University (CSU) was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom. AB 656 allows CSUs to offer more doctoral degrees without having to get legislative approval for each program – making obtaining a Ph.D. more equitable.

California is home to over 10% of the most valuable technology companies in the world, and has thriving industries in the areas of finance, business services, government, health, trade, agriculture and manufacturing. However, many of these sectors have reported advanced degree workforce gaps in areas not addressed by University of California (UC) campuses.

“It makes little sense to continue to require legislative action one professional degree at a time,” said Assemblymember McCarty.” Over 60% of CSU students stay in California after graduation and become an integral part of the state’s economy. By increasing the number and types of doctoral programs that are available at the CSU, countless students who previously may not have had access to a doctoral degree may obtain one.”

“On behalf of the California State University and our 23 universities, I am grateful to Assemblymember Kevin McCarty for authoring AB 656 and Governor Gavin Newsom for signing it,” said CSU Chancellor Mildred Garcia. “This thoughtful expansion of the CSU's doctoral granting authority means more Californians will have greater access to advanced degrees that benefit their personal and professional growth and allow them to apply the knowledge they've learned to better their communities and the state. The CSU is committed to not duplicating doctoral degrees offered by the University of California and looks forward to continuing to further our state's diverse workforce."

 “Sacramento State students will benefit tremendously from the expanded doctoral degrees program offered through the CSU,” said Sacramento State President Dr. Luke Wood. “The new offerings at Sac State will meet the needs of the growing workforce in California, especially in the field of business, cyber physical systems, advanced manufacturing, engineering, and counselor education. Many thanks to Assemblymember Kevin McCarty for his leadership in authoring this bill.”

Additionally, the bill requires CSU campuses that want to offer doctoral degrees to provide data on workforce needs and enrollment projections to the Board of Trustees (BOT) prior to approval. The bill also sets out a clearly defined process for handling duplication concerns.


Kevin McCarty represents California’s 6th Assembly District, which includes the city of Sacramento and parts of unincorporated Sacramento County. McCarty serves as Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance. Website of Assemblymember Kevin McCarty: