Maryland Universities Clash Over 'Duplicative' Degree Programs: Towson's New Business Analytics PhD Sparks Controversy


Stephen's Hall at Towson University. (Credit: Van Fisher/ Patch)

TOWSON - The recent decision by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) to approve Towson University's application to offer a doctoral program in business analytics has rekindled a longstanding dispute with Morgan State University.

Morgan State, one of Maryland's Historically Black Universities (HBCUs), protested that Towson's proposed program was so similar that it could harm their own. The two universities are located only four miles away from each other and already offer many similar degrees.

The Baltimore Sun reports that Morgan State University President David K. Wilson penned a letter to state legislative leaders asking them to intervene, requesting a review until a process to prevent undue academic program duplication is implemented.

The conflict reflects a history of difficulties faced by historically Black universities in Maryland, with traditionally white universities offering similar degree programs. The 2021 settlement of a 15-year federal lawsuit saw a total of $555 million awarded to several historically Black institutions in the state, including Morgan State, over a period of 10 years.

MHEC has defended its approval of Towson's program, stating all procedures were followed and that they are beginning to reform the process of approving degree programs.

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